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July 31, 2008

Don't cry. The world was intended to be a painful place.
Byung-chun Min

5 Centimeters A Second by Kabegami
Click images for desktop size: "5 Centimeters A Second" by Kabegami
The weather improved enough yesterday for me to give the gentle dog his bath. Oddly, he was not in the least bit grateful.
Today my puppy gets her bath. I hope we both survive.
On that pet picture page, where they entered my puppy without consulting me. Her poor picture is now number one for the day. I feel like I cheated.
Skinwalkers The cat continues to stay alive.
So do I.
I have a cold. Fighting it my usual way.
As I mentioned I find it hard if not impossible to fall asleep in silence. My friend can't sleep while the radio plays. So my hare brained solution is to go to sleep wearing earbuds listening to a special sleepy time playlist.
Aside from not being able to sleep on my side its working fine. Last night I fell asleep in ten minutes. Woke up an hour later to The Dream Syndicate covering "Let It Rain". Its a great song to wake up to and fall back to sleep to. I keep wondering if anyone outside of Southern Cal has ever heard of Dream Syndicate. They're a great band. Anyone who can make an Eric Clapton song memorable is great to me.
(By the way - I've gone back to my more aesthetically pleasing but more aggravating to you mode of not having any links show up unless you hover over them. More than ever I dislike the underlines or other methods of calling attention to "this is a link!")
One good thing, at least good for me, is that I got to listen to my two new acquisitions yesterday.
Most of you know that my personal pantheontology contains Jan Berry and Del Shannon. Most of you can't understand where I'm coming from.
I mean, you'll cut me some slack on Del Shannon - he had hits and all that, but Jan Berry of Jan & Dean bewilders you. He gets called kiddy pop and the like. I consider him one of the great song writers and performers of the 20th Century. So do most of the people who live West of the I-5.
She-Freak When Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) was sitting in a Gardenia High School penning "Be True To Your School" 15 year Old Jan Berry was listening to Doo Wop and arranging old songs, teaching those old songs how to rock. He paired up with an older guy, Arnie Ginsberg and made a recording in his basement. "Jenny Lee" became Jan Berry's first Top Ten hit. He was almost 16.
Jan & Arnie made a few more successful records when Arnie abruptly got drafted. Jan was furious. Wanted him to. well, not abandon the band.
Its impossible to say what might have happened if Arnie had become had draft dodger. It might have made a cool scene at a concert when the Marshall's came to arrest him. Arnie just went into the army and Jan found Dean Torrance on the beach.
A high school kid who's a national celebrity has a lot of cachet. Dean sought Jan out and demanded he sing with him. Together they had about 26 top 40 hits, 5 Top Ten albums. They were the biggest thing in pop when Jan got his draft notice.
Leaving the draft board after getting his 1A classification (that meant he was next) Jan was tooling in his Porsche Spyder when he smacked into a stopped on the freeway dump truck.
He was brain damaged. The prognosis was irrecoverable brain damage. It took him two years to learn how to speak and to walk. He had the mind of a 5 year old.
His recovery and his return to the stage are the stuff of Lifetime TV movie legend. My pal, Dalene Young, even wrote it. It was as good as it could have been with Richard Hatch (!?!) as Jan and Bruce Davison as Dean it was as inaccurate and about as good as it could be.
Onstage Jan & Dean were great performers. Always dressed in the height of beach fashion Jan was the sexy cool one while Dean was the crazy cool guy. Dean's jokes and antics reeked of class clown but that was the point. Thunderball by JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Thunderball" by JW McGinnis
On stage they were us. The stage act at the concert halls was the same stage act when they bash acoustic guitars and dance and sing at their impromptu surf side parties. (Everyone invited).
Here's the two of them doing "Do Wah Diddy Diddy". If you've ever played in a band you've had that moment when you've played a totally scorching number, every note just right and power dripping heavy in the air and you stop and all you hear is the buzz of conversation and a couple of half hearted hand claps, usually from your girl friend. Your front man has made himself hoarse exhorting the crowd to dance or at least listen. Even legends like James Brown and Wilson Pickett would have to lead the audience with "Say YEAH!" or the like. That they could get a response says an awful lot about their juice.
In "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" Jan & Dean are doing a cover. Its 7tj Voyage Of Sinbad hard to hear with all the little girls screaming but when Jan & Dean get to the chorus its clear they were listening. Because Jan & Dean just stop singing and after just a beat the audience sings the chorus, unbidden, uninvited but knowing that this was their cue.
Its chilling. Its more chilling that it was done so good naturedly, so happily.
With joy.
I think about that and a million other things whenever I listen to Jan Berry. The album I got is called "All The Hits". It has better copies of all the hits and a lot of stuff I never heard before: Radio chatter, studio chatter commercials and promos. Cool stuff.
It also has some of the obscure tracks like "Batman" from the totally bizarre concept album (in the days before anyone ever heard of a concept album) that saw Jan writing songs about his favorite comic book and all the characters there in!! Strange stuff but cool.
Jan was an awesome arranger and producer. He also put together the greatest bands ever. One of the treats of the album are some tracks laid down before adding the vocals. Listening to Ruslana Korshunova
Click images for desktop size: "Ruslana Korshunova"
Hal Blaine and Billy Strange is always a thrill like in this blinding take of "Deadman's Curve".
It it also includes the strange but wonderful track "A Beginning From An End". The sweet song with the soaring chorus about losing a wife to gain a daughter all told from a teen husbands perspective . . . YOW!
If you don't know Jan & Dean this is an album worth having. Its not complete but its the best I've seen. It would be cooler if it had some of the uncredited stuff Jan did with Brian Wilson and the dozens of other groups that sprung up imitating Jan's unique sound.
This has gone on too long. And I've barely said anything about this great band.
I've got a dog to bathe so I'll try and remember to tell y'all about the second album tomorrow.
I mean, if you're interested. Who couldn't be?

July 30, 2008

Burning Down Paradise

Samurai
Click images for desktop size: "Samurai" by Unknown
I was a bit distressed to discover that this big multi-national pet food company (that I don't like - they're the ones who "pioneered" using old shoes as "beef by-products" in their dog food; to up the iron content to the bags specs they added iron filings . . . this was over 20 years ago but I hold a grudge) took a picture from my Flickr account and put it in some sort of poll on their web site.
Taking the picture and posting it without telling me doesn't bother me except they took, whatReptilicus I think, is a pretty cruddy picture. And it seems to be some sort of poll and MY PUPPY IS LOOSING TO CATS! Cats . . .
Here's the link to the page: Petcharts. Its the top little window on the left. There's a scroll bar underneath the pictures. A Yellow Lab is winning. Last night my puppy was number 9.
Please vote for whomever you feel, if you're so inclined, except for CATS!
Mixing my puppy in with cats just seems so unwholesome . . .

I've been up since 4:30 this morning. I was awakened because of CATS!
I believe that an army of militant cats were stalking the house and preparing some sort of nefarious plan of an evil so loathsome that only a feline mind could conceive of it and then be so heartless as to execute it.
I was lucky. The dogs chased them away. They may have done it loudly, the dogs may have come and checked on my safety a few too many times. They may have barked a little bit longer than was required after the cat pack had been run away. I understand about being sure but . . . There's no denying they probably might have saved my life.
The Return Of Dracula I figure the cat I've been nursing hired or perhaps even masterminded the cat pack attack. Who knows what evil lurks in the feline mind.
The cat is doing fine. She sits easy, eats, urinates, defecates, stares at me with unbridled hatred. I'm hoping that in a couple of weeks she'll be healed up enough to start exercising and putting on some weight.
I spoke to City Hall yesterday. My dog sitting/walking service is cool. Needs nothing special. I was half hoping I could get some sort of Government recognized certificate to assuage people's doubts and fears, but that is not happening.
My idea for posting fliers is a no go. I figured there'd be reg's about them. I didn't know they were strictly prohibited. Makes sense. I asked about all the fliers I saw stuck on posts and got a spiel about what is allowed; Removable signs. I do see a lot of those.
So I still have to design a flier for the pet stores, vet's and neighborhood bulletin boards. Neighborhood bulletin boards still exist. Just not as often. I liked it in London when the local shops all had them/ They were a great local replacement for the newspapers expensive classified ads.
Now I need to consider whether I should put on a row of little tear off slips with my phone number on it. That means using a full sheet of paper or if I should use something more index sized with a picture and the new cell phone number in LARGE numbers.
I was going to put in testimonials from my dogs but I didn't think they'd say anything to nice about me for public consumption.
Midsummer Holiday by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Midsummer Holiday" by Maxfield Parrish
The pups did go with me yesterday so we could study a couple of bulletin boards. They were uniform in that they were devoid of all inspiration . . .
My other plans for today have been splashed by the weather. I was going to mow the lawn, do laundry and then bathe my puppy and the gentle dog.
My puppy needs it. The fleas are eating her up. They are so rugged the Frontline stuff only lasts about two weeks! She looks horrible with her blown coat and picked at bald spots!
The gentle dog needs a bath so he can go to work with my friend on Friday. He went with her on Sunday and Monday and Tuesday he was genuinely startled that going with her wasn't his new job. Monday he moped about it.
Don't think I should bathe dogs on rainy muddy days. I think the clean effect of a bath should last at least a full day . . .
I figure today I can use the rain as an excuse to listen to the new-old music I recently got.

July 29, 2008

Every doubt has an answer

Flying Lemons
Click images for desktop size: "Flying Lemons" by Unknown
I was sick yesterday. Not bad sick, just excess body fluid expunging sick. Some kind of flu I'd guess.
My friend put in a 14 hour day at work. She didn't get home until after 1 a.m. That might be a good thing. There was no one for me to take out my crabbiness on. Especially since she was near as sick as me.
Raw Deal The cat is surviving my haphazard health care. She bit me again while I was "treating" her. She's healing well, clearly. We are starting to settle back into our casual calm antipathy.
I did manage to watch a modestly interesting film, "Prey For Rock & Roll".
It started out interesting, at least. Its about a mid 30's woman who's been playing in bands for the last 20 years. Clinging to the dream of being a rock star.
This bit of the story was told with a voice over narrative. She talked a lot about things that bothered all of us who were still standing in front of a drunk crowd while we were considering whether it was worth it to buy medical insurance.
The movie had some good lines, "In twenty years I'd had more bands than I'd had lovers"; "It was a good gig. We made thirteen fifty apiece. That's not enough to support my eyeliner habit."
The fact that 3/4 of the femme band is gay was okay. It made it interesting to hear some of the same fears all gigging bands have come from the heart of a woman.
I liked the band stuff: The leader supporting Gothic Wallpaper by DE
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by de
herself with a tattoo parlour, the lead guitarist giving guitar lessons to thrashing chicks. That was good stuff that was to easy to relate to. The friction between boyfriends and girlfriends, the friction and joy within the band was all presented well and it was scary identifiable real. I liked the meetings in coffee shops with promoters.
I didn't even mind the stuff about dealing with the families. I even liked the older woman trying to cope with her lesbian heavily tattooed daughter who was nothing like the dream she had when she gave birth to the little girl. She wanted a housekeeper not a rock goddess.
But then it got stupid. It introduced too many melodramatic moments and just frittered away the story of the band. I mean the jerk off boyfriend (of the one straight member in the band) turning into a sexual predator with serious hang ups was hard to take for the wrong reasons. (The actor being really poor didn't help that bad idea much either) But then they added in this extraneous character and sub plot about incest and murder, the movie just got stupid. I watched a lot of it in fast forward Reform School Girls while my interest disintegrated.
I liked the idea of a band in LA. One thing that's true is Hollywood sucks in the young beauty contest winners and now it sucks in the people with rock star dreams. There seems to be enough to hold a movie together. For the first 40 minutes it was making a pretty cool feature but the filmmakers either got scared or they ran out of ideas and turning it into a movie about vulnerable women was boring stuff and wasted a great start.
Like most people I get the most disappointed when you promise me greatness then deliver me to drivel.

Today I'm going to work on a flier for the dog walking thing.
I liked meeting the new little dog. I figure a flier with a phone number would feel more real to people and maybe assuage some of the worries that I'm a house breaker or some such.
I also need to find out the local laws about posting fliers on lamp posts and things. I'd like to hit like every light post, at least one every fifty yards or so. But I don't want to get fined or something.
I'll also hit all the animal hospitals and pet stores (thanks for the suggestions)>
And I'll take the dogs for a longish walk. I still feel a bit ill. On the upswing but still thick around the middle sort of thing.
It doesn't sound busy but it will be.

I'm getting a lot of requests, again, abut where do I get this or that picture.
I've answered this before. Some people send them to me. They make them. I trade sometimes and sometimes I just stumble across them. A very very few I make myself. A lot are art scans I turn Wolverine
Click images for desktop size: "Wolverine" by Marvel Comics
into desktops (wallpapers for you Windows guys).
I used to not use stuff that had no artist info but I soon found out a lot of that info was wrong anyway. But I seldom remember where I got anything that has a generic name or an unknown attached to it. If it says anonymous that means the person who sent it to me doesn't want their name floating around. I respect that.
I got some interesting "new" music this weekend. I hope I get to hear some of it today.

July 27, 2008

I said a prayer and played the jukebox
Anthony Gourdine

Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
I found some work. Its walking a dog for two days.
I like the dog plenty, a graying black mutt with happy blue eyes and a big desire to play. I don't like the woman who hired me. She's watching the dog for the owners who are in hospital. I probably would have liked them.
Prehistoric Women The woman described the owners as an "older couple". As in, she couldn't understand why an "older couple" got such a young dog . . . The little thing has to be at least 12. That's not young for a dog, even if the pup is spry and happy.
I used the money to buy some household necessities. That felt all right.
The woman who hired me left me notes I had to sign and date stamp . . . and there were spies noting my coming and going. I do wonder why they'd spy on me instead of just offering to take the dog out. He's a sweet thing and no trouble at all.
I didn't have keys to the house. She left the dog in a pen in the yard. Its a nice pen with plenty of water and shade plus a nice old school dog house. So it doesn't bother me too much that he has to spend time there. She still cried when I left her.
This lack of trust was something I hadn't counted on when I started running the ad. Thinking about it there really is no reason to trust me. Although I do think that offering to walk your dog would be a weird way to gain access as a house breaker.
Bonsai by Le Revant
Click images for desktop size: "Bonsai" by Le Revant
I guess I either have to get to know more people for references or buy a bond or something. Both aren't bad ideas. I'll have to see if I can make more money to justify the bond. If I get enough customers to justify it I probably won't need it (the bond, I mean).
I'm tired. More from all the walking. It's like nearly two miles there. I wade it in 20 minutes, which is good but I ended up drenched in sweat by the time I got home. Really harsh big drop soak your shirt sweat. I'll recover.

On the home front I hacked the AppleTV. Not as complicated as it sounds. My main reason for doing this was to recover the stuff on the AppleTV that was lost when the PowerBook HD crashed.
For whatever reason Apple decided that the AppleTV would only sync one way. I suspect that was to keep people from sharing music and movies. Its the requirement for the iPods so it seems logical. Except the iPod is so ubiquitous that there are plenty of apps to let you recover your music from the iPod (I like Senuti - its free and does the job well Niagra and easily. Senuti doesn't even let you accidentally duplicate tracks or overwrite songs with old versions.)
Unfortunately there's no software to do the same thing for the AppleTV. So they only solution was to hack the thing. The hack enables SSH communication between the computer and the AppleTV. This is cool because I can now download all the lost music and photo's back to the PowerBook.
What isn't cool is that I can't figure out how to copy directories across a network so the files have to be dragged across one at a time, virtually. This is tedious but preferable to losing all that stuff.
The hack has a couple of other things I didn''t think I'd care about. One of them is to use SSH to put Xvid files on the AppleTV. It plays them flawlessly! This is handy for those oddball flics I want to see but have no desire to keep. It takes about 3 minutes to upload an Xvid avi to the AppleTV as compared to the four hours needed to convert it to avc.
The hack also allows for "Couch Surfing". Which I can't figure out the "why" for. Its a pain to input url's using the virtual keyboard and the Apple remote, but I looked at it anyway.
To install the hack was pretty no-brainer stuff. Its just formatting a memory stick, putting it in the USB port of the AppleTV and rebooting it.
The best thing is that the hack does nothing to harm the old functions of the AppleTV. I went into this with the attitude of do or die. I'd either get all the stuff of the machine or I'd lose it all. So leaving the data and old functions untouched is a real killer find for me.
It looks like the hack does it by Vampi by Frank Frazetta
Click images for desktop size: "Vampi" by Frank Frazetta
setting up a separate directory that leaves everything else untouched. This also means you can play with it pretty safely.
I'm happy with it.

I'm also happy as I got a very early birthday present. A cell phone. Its a pay as you go. You have to love that an impoverished guy has a cell phone.
With my serious iPod addiction I'll probably never hear it ring. Since I usually keep my cell phones in my back pack odds are I'll never feel it vibrate either . . .
Most of you are used to me never answering my phone and no matter how frustrated you get with me, you still call. Thanks for that.
Now there's a new shiny way for me to be rude to my friends . . .
I'm very happy about it and with it.

July 24, 2008

When you walk down the street you never know if you're looking into the face of a murderer or an angel
Alex Gardener

Carlo Carra
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Carlo Carra
In a small town in the midwest there were two sisters. They were both unmarried, both young and beautiful. They lived together in the same house their entire lives.
There was a lot of gossip and conjecture about the two sisters. Their good looks kept most of it from being harmful to them. The nastiest comments about two women in their late twenties still living together, still sleeping in the same room, came Manson from the corner gas station. There young men who'd hung out there in their teens still went because there was usually no place else to go.
They talked about the sisters and their jet black hair, their purple blue eyes and their slender but promising bodies with a carnality that they'd never experienced.
On a day in June the sisters' mother died. Their was a large funeral. It was well attended. In a small town like this everyone knew at least everyone else's name.
Besides it was a clear sunny day, not yet warm enough to be oppressive. It was a good day to wear a suit and tie.
Many of the young men in town came for an excuse to take some time off of work and to catch a glimpse of the two sisters dressed all in black.
At the funeral the elder sister, the one generally considered to be the more classical beauty of the two, saw a man all dressed in black. He was a stranger she had never seen before. He came across the cemetery and touched their mother's coffin, stood for a moment in quiet contemplation pretending to listen to the preacher and then turned and walked away.
The elder sister fell in love with him. Completely, totally and madly in love with him. In those brief moments she felt a surge of wild emotion she had never felt before. She had never felt love for a man. This deep and full love overwhelmed her to the point where she hoped her near swoon was seen only as grief by the crowd.
She wanted to run after the stranger but small town decorum and rules said you don't leave your mother's graveside to chase after strangers.
Murder My Sweet That evening the elder sister told her younger sister about the stranger. She did not tell her of the intense emotion and longing she still felt for him. The younger sister agreed she had seen the man but had nothing further to say about him.
She didn't think he was handsome, or interesting or even that his behavior was odd. To the younger woman the stranger was just one of those things that happened like a storm or a bird hatching from an egg. They were a part of the life that was always around you. It existed but it did not touch you or hold much interest.
That night they went to bed. The elder sister's mind was swirling, her yearning was deep and pure. She loved the stranger in black and fell asleep dreaming of him.
In the middle of the night she awoke. She got out of the bed and went to the kitchen. She selected her largest carving knife. The one their dead father used on Thanksgiving and Christmas for carving the turkey. She went upstairs and straddled her sister. The younger woman did not wake up, not even when the knife went into her chest.
The first blow killed her but the elder sister kept striking and hacking intent that her sister be for once truly and completely dead. Do you know why the elder sister killed her?
Gothic Wallpaper
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" and Unknown
"Because in her grief over her mother she thought the younger sister would come between her and the stranger?"
That's a boring answer. Most normal people would answer something like that.
But a murderer knows that life and death are much simpler things than that. She killed her sister because she knew that to see the stranger again there would have to be another funeral.

That's what I thought about while I was working today.
I didn't make much money but I didn't have to do much either. The money seemed even bigger to them than it did to me. So it was fair. And now I have a reference, a satisfied customer or some such. The hardest part was the walking. I have to fix my bike this weekend.
The job came from the craigslist ad. I like fast responses.
The cat is doing well. She wants to be unconfined which is good but she'll have to stay in the dog kennel for longer than she wants.
My finger still bothers me but its healing.

July 23, 2008

Eating lettuce sandwiches

The Night Is Coming by Mikolaj Humienny
Click images for desktop size: "The Night Is Coming" by Mikolaj Humienny
I wonder what it means when each day you wake up and the room feels like someplace new, that you arrived at for the first time late last night and this is your first viewing in daylight.
Who knows.
The cat is surviving, doing better.
The cat and I are both anxious for her to fully recover so we can get back to our mutual dislike of each other.
Macumba Love The cat bit me hard. I don't blame her for that. I was digging at her, giving her medicine. I am interested in how hard she bit me. Went right through a leather glove and did a gouge that's about a 5/8 inch long and a quarter inch wide. Went down to the muscle. I think it could have used a stitch or two. Too late for that now.
Its bugging and hurting me two days later.
It was busy yesterday. I still found time to email my Senator and my Congressman to urge them to support House Resolution 1345. This is the weak kneed resolution calling for the Impeachment of George W Bush.
Its sickening that it has taken this long to get to even this stage. The rush to impeach Clinton was amazingly quick. Bush's lies have led to the deaths of about 4,000 Americans and all we've done is drag our feet.
Its makes the sacrifices of those young men and women seem even more horrifying.
They deserve answers. Clearly an impeachment proceeding, even one at the 12th hour is needed. Even if it clears them the people will at least know what those people have sacrificed their lives for. We'll know what they've stolen our freedoms for.
I've finalized my craigslist ads. I've been talked into running more than one. A separate one for each of my many skills.
I'm putting up two.
Today doesn't look any easier. And all that I have to do won't make me a dime.
I did the laundry yesterday, relying on the weatherman. Of course the thunderstorms came. I look at the wet clothes on the line and wonder if I'd have saved some energy (mine and Con-Ed's) just hanging the clothes and letting the rain have its way with them.
Spraying the house for fleas seems to have been successful. A whole lot scratching last night. Ladybugs by CG
Click images for desktop size: "Ladybugs" by CG
I don't know if the dogs appreciated it so much as it bored them. Scratching might have been the most enjoyable thing for them to look forward to.
The dogs were very good yesterday. After the spraying I had to keep them out of the house for four hours, added to the hour or so they had to stay out of the house while I sprayed I was surprised at how un-insane they were.
I took them out for a walk for a couple of hours. Walking three dogs is tons of fun, so much so that I forget that its also a chore.
I had to sit for a bit and only the Giant Dog was able to sit by me and relax. My puppy just keep nudging me to keep moving and the Gentle Dog kept biting me trying to inspire me to do something fun!
Even with all the tending to the cat it doesn't seem like much but it left me exhausted.
Something odd. I can't fall asleep without noise. I used The Maltese Falcon to use the sleep function on the TV. Now I use the iHome and the iPod sleep function. Even if I pass out as soon as my head touched the pillow when I invariably wake up it consoling to me to hear silence. It means I've slept at least an hour. If I hear music I can at least enjoy the tune.
Last night I found out my odd habit is really bugging my friend. The music that comforts me keeps her awake.
I don't see this as an incompatibility so much as an excuse to come up with some super-cool invention where I can pound music through my head while not disturbing her!
I've already run through a half dozen Rube Goldberg type ideas. Most of them while I was drifting off.

July 22, 2008

This place I know

Clarence Holbrook Carter
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Clarence Holbrook Carter
The cat I was nursing scratched and bit me twice yesterday. Drew blood.
She's doing better.
I've decided to put up an ad on Craigslist. Trying to sell my services. I have to work on the ad. My first draft was all inclusive. I mean when you're Lust For A Vampire advertising for Handy man type work I don't think I need to put down familiar with css and html . . .
I thought about starting out with "Semi retired gent looking for light yard work, clean up etc" but that sounds like a personal ad.
Also I'd be pretty offended if the perspective employer didn't think I looked too young to be semi-retired . . .
Ego and pride . . . That often seems like a prescription for poverty.
Anyway very busy today. Spraying the house for fleas, doing laundry in between the storm clouds, taking the dogs for a walk, writing the ad and posting it then waiting for my mailbox to overflow and keeping the cat alive.
Doesn't sound like much. Feels like a lot.
I've applied to three jobs on cragislist already. Not a word back from anyone. This may be a futile move on my part. But its free. Who knows. It might work.
And I certainly need to work.
I'm not sleeping. I don't worry too much about that. The body takes its rest. It makes my eyes burn and makes it harder than ever to see. My head feels like a concrete block. I'll probably collapse sometime today. I already fell down the stairs . . . twice . . . so if I collapse I probably need to.

July 21, 2008

Being dead can't be too bad. No one complains and in all of history only a couple of guys changed their minds.

One Day in the Big City by Justin Maller
Click images for desktop size: "On Day in the Big City" by Justin Maller
It was not a very good weekend.
On Saturday it rained all night and continued to rain all through Sunday. My friend needed to go into work but her computer system was down so she had to stay home and watch her schedule and deadlines flitter away.
I'm selfish enough to not have minded that. I like having her around.
Lady In The Lake Then the cat who has looked near death for a while showed up with a wooden tongue and some pretty nasty revolting causes for it. Tried to clean her up. Did a good job of it. It was harder on my friend than on me. I don't like that. Not because I've had too much experience with tragedy and destruction but because I don't like anyone else having to know what its like. She soldiered on pretty well. I'll never like other people having to be tough.
It bothers me the most that she holds herself responsible and sees the cat's illness and mortality as her fault. I respect people taking responsibility for the world. It saddens me when that responsibility becomes a source of pain.
She then began the arduous task of clipping the Giant dog. Maybe as an act of penance but most likely because he really needs to be clipped.
The Giant dog was astonishingly cool about the whole thing. It was amazing because a few days before he went ballistic at the sight of a scissors and the sound of the clippers. He looks silly now, but he enjoys looking silly.
She also made Blueberry muffins and homemade Frosty Paws for the dogs! Actually the blueberry muffins were for us. The dogs never got any of them but since they refused to share their Frosty Paws I guess that's all fair.
My friend then pointed out she doesn't like me being so possessive of things, like "my giant dog", "my blueberries", "my kids". Its my habit. I know its not always a bad habit. Its a lever I use, I guess, for inspiration and to keep my dedication up. It requires more thought from me.
I did get to watch a mess of movies. That always elevates me.
Untitled by A Brito
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by A Brito
For some reason in the West and particularly America there's not a lot of respect or credence given to internet writers. I mean people who set up web sites to publish their fiction. I'm not talking about blogs that get picked up by publishers. The ones they pick up always seem to be of the "Emma Bombeck" school of treacle.
Its like Preston Sturges said in "Christmas In July": "I know its a good idea because somebody else said it was. I didn't get where I am today by trusting my own judgement!"
Just because some metricious reader at a publishing house or a get richer literary agent has passed on a work that the writer believes in we, the public, seem to want to side with the establishment and ignore work that hasn't been pre-screened for us, usually screened by people we wouldn't want to have as friends or who wouldn't want to have to talk to us.
The Last Woman On Earth In Asia that prejudice isn't nearly as rampant, in fact some writers web sites are checked frequently, the readers as anxious for the next installment as Victorian readers waited impatiently for the next Dickens part or Sherlock Holmes episode.
The Japanese and Korean film makers have even made some extraordinary films based on internet novels. "My Sassy Girl" and "My Heart Cries Love At The Center Of The Universe" come immediately to mind. This writer Gwiyeoni, a south Korean will now only publish his stuff on the internet. His stories have made some great great movies, like "He Was Cool".
All the internet novel movies share some things in common, aside from a freshness and a unique way at approaching life. There's the ready acceptance of technology and the impact that it has on our lives and on our relationships. There's a deep down respect for humanity, a respect that is deepened not deaden by the tech. The stories are deeply melodramatic and romantic. They see humor in tragedy in each melodramatic occurrence. People act like people and not always as we expect or want. Every person has a point of view that is different from the object of affection and that never creates friction, just understanding.
And the movies are always about the young.
The latest internet novel movie out of Korea has made the stars celebrities. It was a monster hit and yet I was seriously disappointed. "Do Re Mi So Pa La Ti Do" looks vaguely promising in a teeny bopper sort of way. Its about a cute girl and a cute boy. He's in a band and does a lot of K-Pop songs.
They fall in love with all the intensity and devotion that only teenagers can really inspire in each other. Except she has a past. This is one part of the problem. The tawdry past isn't very tawdry.
It all leads to a massive headache that only happens because of the selfishness of frightened youth. Pueblo Street Market
Click images for desktop size: "Pueblo Street Market" by Unknown
The male star has a total psychotic break and regresses to infantilism.
The heroine decides to recreate the massive trauma that led to his break. Now the sensibility of this is pretty darn questionable. It does lead to one of the great lines in the movie when a fem member of the band says to the heroine, "Why can't you leave him alone! Maybe he's happier the way he is."
Of course it all works out . . . for everybody I guess.
There are some cool scenes and some fascinating characters but the movie never astonished or amazed.
The only other movie of note was a real oldie. Ernest Lubitsch's "To Be Or Not To Be". Made in 1942 and Lubitsch's response to having to flee Europe and the Nazi's its a film that makes titters guffaws and a lovely feeling of contentment and wistful happiness. Carol Lombard really proves why she is a legendary movie actress. Jack Benny is delightful. All the scenes work exactly as you'd hope. It never sinks to bathos and was just a pleasant way to end a tumultuous weekend.

July 18, 2008

All I want to do is make some money and bring you home some wine
Raymond Douglas Davies

Its All Grey by Jakob P
Click images for desktop size: "Its All Grey" by Jakob P
I didn't go out looking for money yesterday. Probably a good thing.
My blood sugar dropped below 2. It's supposed to not fall any lower than 4 and never any higher than 10. So too is hyperglycemic pass out time.
I put it down to too much exercise, too much sweat. I found some chocolate coated coffee beans in the fridge (what kind of impoverished people have chocolate covered coffee beans in the fridge?) and a few of those stopped the black spinning spirals Incredible Shrinking Man and just left me with the shakes. Astonishingly the injection of chocolate only raised my blood sugars to 4.3.
My friend thought that the Doc's wanted my blood sugars to be near hyperglycemic. The opthamologists do. They want me to keep the sugars between 4 and 5. That's to slow down the blindness.
The other Doc's want me to stay between 4 and 7, with a spike up to 10 after meals being acceptable. A couple years ago there was a lot of debate as to whether I'd go blind before I died. I always wondered if they started a pool about it. A few of the Doc's were throwing around odds like 5 to 2, that's why I suddenly paid attention. I thought they were talking about football or something interesting . . .
My sneaky food stealing puppy always amazes me. When I was starting to tumble she locked in close to me with none of her usual demands. She just stayed close (but not so close I might fall on her) and watched me intently.
Earlier we'd gone for a walk to the post office with a slight detour through the park.
The gentle dog was so excited he spent the first two hundred yards springing up to my eye level and laughing. He only stopped when we reached the park entrance and looked so imploring we had to make the tour.
Dream Days by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Dream Days" by Maxfield Parrish
In the park a couple of kids wanted to play with the dogs. While I was explaining to them that the giant dog and the gentle dog couldn't be petted one of them grabbed my puppy's ear hard enough for my puppy to yelp. I was impressed with my puppy because she didn't snap at the kid, which I would have done, but remembered her therapy dog training, pulling away and coming to stand beside me on the opposite side.
She behaved better than the kids, when I explained to them that they couldn't play with the dogs and hurt them the seven or eight year old flipped me off!
Their father came over by then and apologized for them. That calmed me down but I was still shaking my head. Its okay to hurt me but not my puppy, I guess. At least in my mind . . .
We went to the Post Office and met an older woman who had a heavy Brummie accent. She wanted to talk about the dogs. She was delighted with them and even knew my puppy's breed! The pack liked her too because she scratched their ears properly with no pulling.
Harem Keeper of the Oil Shieks I keep getting hammered with doubts about my suitability to be involved with people in the face of my deteriorating condition.
Of course the way I handle that is to not handle it. I'm going out to look for money in a bit. I'm hoping that the heavy heat and humidity might scare off a few workers and about now the "boss" will be looking for bodies, no matter how inept, just to lug stuff around.
I'm your boy for that.
It might seem foolish but its more important to me to not be beaten.
I've fought these diseases for a good chunk of my life now. Some of my Doc's have even understood.
The important thing is to not give in to the parts of my body that want to just give in and collapse. It takes fight to stay alive and to have a life worth living.
It would be easier to just lounge around all day, play with the puppies and pretend I'm healing. Some days that is all I'm capable of.
Most days its better to believe I'm out there and fighting and winning.
When I was working my old job I never missed a day in two and a half years due to illness. That didn't mean I was a loyal employee. I hated the job. It meant I wasn't giving in and that I wasn't going to be beaten by a disease.
At least not until the diseases gets stronger than me. I want that to take some doing. I'm happy now. Why let some rampant cells shorten the happiness.

July 17, 2008

Just give me raw power
Iggy Stooge

I'm Melting by Janet Tangus
Click images for desktop size: "I'm Melting" by Janet Tangus
I didn't find any money yesterday.
I did get to change shirts twice. Sweated through a cotton button down and two T-shirts. Too hot for me. People always think that LA is hot. It's not. Its just fine.
My friend is feeling "improved" which I think is the same as better, but I wouldn't count on that. Last night she finally played with the AppleTV. I Dismember Mama She discovered Jack White on YouTube. She was particularly taken with the Raconteurs' version of Cher's "Bang Bang". The Raconteurs version seemed more based on the Nancy Sinatra cover than the original.
I was just glad to see her having fun and being excited by her various discoveries.
There's a band I love that a lot of people seem to hate: Guitar Wolf. They have a lot of videos on YouTube as well. There's one in particular "I Love You, OK". Its a solo, just Guitar Wolf (The band is Guitar Wolf, the members are Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf - keeps things simple, doesn't it?) on electric guitar rasping and growling through a vicious number that I guess is a love song. He sings it in Japanese so I can't really say for certain.
As Guitar Wolf slams his guitar around and growls in a controlled apoplectic fit at the mike the song always appears about to disintegrate into low level noise but he fights and wrestles it back to the pounding chords and the inchoate melody so that the chorus, "I love you, OK" floats between being a demand to an insane plea. I like the way he fights to control himself, the guitar and his voice. It gets close to a Lichtstenian ideal of art. To me at least. Most people just wonder how I can put up with all that white noise guitar and screeching. I can. I do. I like it plenty.
I've always liked Guitar Wolf. I even liked their movie: "Wild Zero". It was an insane bit of film made for no budget. It swiped the plot from "Plan 9 From Outer Space". Yes, that "Plan 9" worst film ever made, "Plan 9".
The plot is that an alien invasion is presaged by converting earthlings into the living dead, ZOMBIES FROM SPACE!
Guitar Wolf aren't even the real heroes. The hero is a Japanese kid who wears leather and dresses like Elvis. He wants to be Guitar Wolf, the entire band.
There's a beautiful drag queen, a beautiful ninja warrior, a crazed club owner with a penchant for wearing hot pants, and enough gore and zombie head explosions to satisfy the most jaded zombie freak out there (like me). There's also plenty of Guitar Wolf music, J-Pop and the band driving around Japan raising their fists defiantly to the alien space ships and shouting their war cry "lock and lor". Its a great ultra low budget movie. If Guitar Wolf hadn't done anything else I'd have become a fan. As it is they've done nothing to disgrace the image.
Robert Crumb
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Robert Crumb
I've always like Japanese rock. I lost my collection of Shonen Knife with the hard drive crash. Thy started me into it. Then The 5-6-7-8's got famous when Tarentino exploited them for Kill Bill. They were the coolest thing in the movie, dressed in gold Dragon Lady dresses and bare feet slapping out the beat of "Woo Hoo". They've always been pretty big in Japan. I like their covers, like "Wooly Bully" is a hoot and their take on Tommy James' "Hanky Panky" is enthusiastically original.
There's a great Japanese compilation album called "My Summer Love". It features a couple dozen of the best female hard rock/punk bands in the country. It some how always strays into J-Pop territory, which is fine by me. There are plenty of good to great tracks on the disc. For me the most atypical is The Pebbles doing "I Love You Baby". Everything you need to know about I Drink Your Blood - I Eat Your Skin The Pebbles and most of the girl groups in Japan is all right there in the sound waves. If you have any unanswered questions you can clear them up with a fast listen to The Bunnies cover of "Let's Dance". For me this is high art becasue its intended to me nothing but fun and a reminder of the joy of being young.
The Japanese compilation brings to mind that classic USA comp, "Now Just The Girls". The American's are more driving and wear their influences a whole lot more subtly but they have a base iconography that's pure bliss. Candypants doing "Nerdy Boys" has more in common with The Bunnies and Jan and Dean than Metallica and I approve.

I'm not going to look for money today. Too hot for me. My blood is too thin and used to dry heat. The kind of heat that dehydrates all these bugs!
We need money but the situation is serious and not desperate.
There's no danger of having no home. The bills are paid. The mortgage is current. That just doesn't leave any free room for luxuries like food. I don't drink so that's cool and I loaded up on a coupon item so I've plenty of Diet Dr Pepper so I can feel like I'm drinking like the rich.

Its been a month today that my little blind dog passed away.
I still check under the chair to make sure I don't roll it over him when I get up. I still miss him huffing behind me following me everywhere I go. Getting mad at me for not just sitting down and staying put for a while.
I'm taking the 3 dogs on a walk to the post office. I miss how excited he'd always get even when he was walking into telephone poles.
I wish he'd come back.

July 16, 2008

Shakespeare with a hole in his sock doesn't write the same sonnet as Shakespeare with socks intact
Ken Patchen

Green by Brian Loper
Click images for desktop size: "Green" by Bryan Loper
I didn't go out and look for work yesterday. My friend woke up ill and stayed in. It was a good excuse to stay home and play inept nurse.
We're both losing weight. I've no idea if that's a good or a bad thing. Probably good for me and not so good for her.
Grave Of The Vampire Although it was probably a good idea that I didn't go out looking for work yesterday. I mowed the lawn here. I had to do a rather poor job in order to save gas in the mower. Even that, 2 hours of pushing a lawnmower nearly killed me.
Sweat in the eye, ginchy grabbing pains sort of killing me, not the real deal killing me.
There was a brief but violent thunderstorm this morning. I'm hoping that it might have scared off some workers and I can go hit around the few construction sites and maybe pick something up.
My head still fills like its loaded with concrete but they won't be interested in whether I can think or not.
One thing about today. I woke up wanting to be part of the community. Yesterday there was a power outage. It bounced pretty hard and screwed up the network (as usual). I went out on the street and spoke to some of the neighbors who were out. Any kind of disaster and everyone runs outside. When I was a kid I used to run out in the street during earthquakes because I was convinced dinosaurs and lava would come springing out of the newly opened crevasses.
I was always disappointed. Although I did get to see a brick chimney collapse once. Cool but not as cool as a red hot dinosaur springing out of the ground ready to commit mayhem. I was certain that the ravenous dinosaur and I would be fast friends and he and I would go reek a horrible vengeance against the adults of the world.
But I woke up today wanting to be a part of the community again. That's a good thing. I tempers my stoic cynicism. I thought about coaching football. The schools around here aren't much for the sport. When I called when I first got here Giant Panda
Click images for desktop size: "Giant Panda" by Unknown
they were more than a bit astonished that I was interested in seeing a game, let alone volunteer coach.
There's plenty of demand for Pop Warner coaches. I'm not sure if I have the physical strength and endurance to deal with the little ones. They take a lot more care and hands on demonstrations. They are amusing though.
Where my strengths in coaching lie are in turning kids into athletes. I tend to do it with mind numbing repetition. Like the stick foot move. It where you have to an abrupt change of direction to make a tackle or throw a block. Its a simple thing in theory. You stamp the ground with your foot and let momentum swerve you while you continue to run and pursue.
In practice its not so easy. The point is to do it so often that it becomes reflex. A player can't think on the field about anything but his assignment and the situation. If he has to take the micro second to consider the correct way to make a move even a guy House Of Wax with 5.0 speed will be one and a half steps past him and then further adjustments are needed. It doesn't work unless its just done automatically.
And with endless repetition the body gets so tired that it starts to do these things properly, without exaggeration or thought. It works. I've had enough players progress to higher levels to know that.
With little ones the main idea is to make sure they don't hurt themselves and that they play well enough to have fun. After that I worry about fine tuning the athlete and after that I worry about getting them to play as a unit and then, if there's time I worry about winning.
I've sort of given up on playing even softball. The arm can't take it. I've no zip on the ball and my accuracy decreases expoentially to the amount of zip I put on it. Maybe this weekend we can go watch a softball game and I can see how ept or inept the competition is.
No I have to go to work, or at least beg for it.

July 15, 2008

I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes
Reg Presley

Blue Circles by Dorian H 49
Click images for desktop size: "Blue Circles" by Dorian H 49
I walked around for 4 hours yesterday. Couldn't find any way to make money. No work. No hundred buck bills in the gutter.
I'm going to do the same today. Hoping for a better result.
Tuesday is gardener's day for most places around here. Its going to be a totally lovely day, so it won't be bad looking for work but I'm afraid that with the nice weather all the regular workers will show up.
GOG The shortage of cash isn't life threatening. Its just uncomfortable.

Not feeling my best. Not sure why. Part of it is my little blind dog still weighs heavy in my heart.
I miss the little guy.
The other three seem to have finished adapting to losing a "pack member". New routines, new positions for guarding and sleeping.
My puppy did something funny. Both "ha ha" funny and peculiar funny. My friend was in the bathroom. My puppy forced the door open then looked around it to make sure she was there. My puppy then went over and stole some dog food from the Gentle dog's bowl.
My puppy steals food by hiding giant mouthfuls in her cheeks, like a chipmunk. When my friend caught my puppy she said bad dog and my puppy dumped all the food from her mouth on to the floor and slunk away. My puppy hates being called a bad dog.
Well, I thought it was funny.
My mouth and teeth are causing me trouble. They told me 8 years ago that there was a good chance that one of the trials I was on could make me lose all of my teeth in 10 years. Interesting side effect. I didn't pay much attention then and I only remember it when something happens. A large chunk of a tooth shattered. My mouth is sore and shifting around.
Makes me realize I'm not much afraid of dying. I've been close enough to know that's a fact. I am afraid of what leads up to the dying. The slow process. The slow disintegration.
Its like Seth Brundle in Cronenberg's "The Fly". I always vividly recall the scene where Jeff Goldblum is at his medicine chest meticulously storing and keeping the parts of his humanity that he keeps shedding.
Dragon Tao
Click images for desktop size: "Dragon Tao" by Unknown
I try and deal with it by clowning. I think laughing and being silly is the best way to regain humanity. It annoys everybody else so I'll have to find another way. When life is thin the little things mean a lot.
I can't afford to aggravate too many people.
I got an email wanting to know why I went on so much about Woody Guthrie. The writer had never heard of him and figured he couldn't be as important as I was trying to make him out.
Well, history books and media are all controlled by rich men. The rich can be more vindictive then the poor, and they are experienced in recognizing their enemies.
The people control music and songs. The RAIA wants to control it but they can't, not yet anyway. They can't stop you from singing a song to yourself or singing a song with your friends.
I think if Woody Guthrie weren't such an effective enemy of the loathsome rich he'd be better remembered. If he were less of a hero people wouldn't still be singing his songs today.

July 14, 2008

Just a dollar down and a dollar a week
Woody Guthrie

Clyde Cadwell
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Clyde Cadwell
I'm used to change.
Throughout the 70's and 80's after a surf session, to start a long night, to remember the game we'd just played, just because the weather was nice and the top was down, we used to go to Delores.
Not the one in Santa Monica adjacent . . . the one on Night Of Dark Shadows Wilshire, just west of LaCienega. We always went there for Suzy-Q fries with Delores Sauce and a Cherry Lime Rickey. Delores had car hops. You used to honk your horn when you were ready to order or wanted the tray taken away. (See, they had this tray that hooked over your window and propped itself level against your car door.) When the condo's started to encroach they asked you not to honk for a car hop, just to flash your lights. It worked well enough.
Delores was one of two places left in LA with car hops. Tiny Naylor's at La Brea and Sunset had them too, but La Brea and Sunset with all the pimps and hookers, the sleaze of Hollywood, the working girls hanging in the parking lot at the strip club next door made Tiny's a pretty different drive in experience.
It was too far east for all the time stopping anyway.
We liked Delores'. It fit our youth and our love of automobiles. When we got older it was a gentle nostalgia for the times we sat in our tuck and rolled upholstery and dreamed big dreams of waves and love and believed in a future we had no way of understanding. Always with the stereo playing so loud you had to shout the order over the blare.
Delores' drive in is gone now. They put up a 3 story parking lot there.
Tiny Naylor's is gone to. I don't care enough about it to remember what they put up there.
When you come from LA you get used to change. You even like it, even when you don't like what's changed you learn to love that change always happens.
Like I one took my son to see the oldest stone building in LA. Its an Anglican Church in Los Feliz, by Griffith Park. It was built in 1952. It was older than I was Blue Dynamic by Yurock
Click images for desktop size: "Blue Dynamic" by Yurock
which impressed us both. I always thought of the Anglican Church as Catholic lite, but they did an animal blessing. It got to be a habit to take our dogs there for the blessing. I figure it couldn't hurt and it was a whirl of fun seeing all the other dogs, birds, reptiles, snakes and plain old critters all lined up while the priest said the words, made the signs and then threw holy water in the animals faces.
There was some sort of schism between low and high church things. I don't understand that at all but it meant they no longer blessed the animals.
Change.
Today mark the birthday of Woody Guthrie. He played guitar.
He changed the world. Not many guitar players can say that.
He didn't just change fashions or styles. He helped change the world.
Night Of The Howling Beast I don't know if he ever played in any clubs. I'm sure he never played any big concert halls. He did some radio shows and he made some records. Mainly he did that to make a few dollars to feed his family.
Where he made the music that mattered was usually playing on the back of a flat bed truck. Most of the time he played solo but sometimes there'd be another guitar picker in the audience, or a guys with a Juice Harp, or maybe even a harmonica. They were always welcome on "stage".
He sang to the coal miners. Men tired from work with black lines etched into their faces from the grit and dust of their 12 hour work days, grime so in grained into their skin that a week soaking in the bath would never remove. He sang to their wives, woman emaciated and gray from fatigue but with eyes filled with sorrow and love for their families. He sang to the miner's kids, kids who never realized how terribly poor they were.
See, back then the coal companies didn't pay their workers. They gave them script. Script was company printed money. It was only good for buying stuff at the company store. At the company store food usually cost 3 times as much as when you bought it in the town stores. They had to live in the tin shacks the company threw up. Shacks with no plumbing and no electricity. They were charged as much as a house payment to live there. They had to live there to work. They had to work to stay alive, for their family to stay alive.
Woody Guthrie would blow into these camps sometimes with a union organizer, sometimes just by himself and he would sit up and put on a show so people could dance and forget the terrible strife of their lives. They could dance, they could sing songs that they were surprised that they could remember. They had a good time.
Guthrie didn't sing many songs about how oppressed they were, about how sad and miserable their lives were. He sang about joy and love. Ali Baba by Maxfield Parish
Click images for desktop size: "Ali Baba" by Maxfield Parrish
He sang and played them songs that reminded them they were people, that they were human beings and not gray machines working in some fat man's bigger machine.
He reminded them gently that they were people who owned a big part of the world. He sang to the workers.
He sang his songs to the miners in the east, to the fruit pickers in the west and the share croppers in the south, the melon growers in the south west. He sang for the workers reminding them we are all people and we were put on this planet to laugh as well as cry. To live as well as to work and die.
If he was lucky his pay would be a meager meal the workers all contributed to.
I don't think he was a communist. Riding the rails and hitching rides isn't a very communist thing. And rich guys have a way of branding anybody who thinks that mere human beings have value. They'd have to wouldn't they? I mean, if they have a shred on conscious they have to brand everyone who believes in people with a name that they can despise so they can teach their children how to despise them too.
The Night the World Exploded Guthrie has one famous song almost everybody knows. "This land is your land, this land is my land". It should be the American national anthem. Its a song that sums up America and its truth and dreams best. "This land was made for you and me."
We live today because the world was shaped and changed by the men and women Woody Guthrie gave a song to, a song that they could hum or sing, a song that lifted them from their drudgery and gave them the vision and the hope to see a better life for their children, for you and for me. A song that wasn't a war song but it was the score for battles as important as any war between armies with generals. This was a war for people demanding to be recognized as people.
He must have been an odd parent but he did raise a son who became a pop star. His son took his mega bucks and bought a building and turned it into a free drug rehab clinic. You can see his son their many nights. He sometimes has to sweep up the place. I'd say his son turned out okay.
I don't think its happenstance that Guthrie was born on Bastille day.
I like change. I like Woody Guthrie.
I wish I could change the world for a better with a song. Let people dance their way to freedom . . .

July 11, 2008

Went for a walk to see what we could see
Freddie Cannon

Vienna
Click images for desktop size: "Vienna" by Unknown
Got to work yesterday.
Made fifteen bucks by hauling 15 refrigerators up 2 and 3 flights of stairs in a renovated apartment building.
There was another guy helping. The boss paid us in advance!
My immediate thought was to look over at my partner to see if he'd skip out on me and leave me with all the hauling. He didn't but I think he was considering it. I think that if I'd said I'd go along with it he'd have rabbited.
New Adventures Of Batman and Robin It was pretty easy work. Took us about 3 hours. It really should have taken about 90 minutes tops. I thought about some guys in Texas I'd worked with. They'd have finished the job in about 30 minutes and then we'd have been off looking for another job.
Nice not to be quite that desperate.
A neighbor woman, older than me, if you can believe such an ancient person exists - older than me indeed, was out mowing her lawn. My instinct was to offer to do the job for a few bucks. She's nice to the dogs so I offered to help her for free. I admit I was glad she turned me down. All the walking and hauling had left me pretty shattered. My ham strings are unbelievably tight.
The rain is pouring down here. No chance to amble and look today. Then there's a weekend so its staying in and suffering the modern way, with beau coup movies and music to divert and amuse.
I'm out of pills, out of sugar free sweetener. I still can't drink coffee without sweetener. I'm a wimp like that.
I still miss my little blind dog.
The rain bought him fresh to the fore front of my mind. The thunder terrified him. When it thundered he'd get as close to me as possible. During bad thunder rolls he'd dig his head into my arm pit if I was lying down, or jump into my lap if I was sitting.
Seems creepy missing somebody like this. Missing them being terrified, I mean. It seems cruel.

I still don't want an iPhone. I'm mildly interested in an iPod touch, which is just an iPhone without the phone. The only impact the iPhone has on me is that Apple updated the AppleTV firm ware to work with the iPhone. The update included some nicer looking icons.

July 10, 2008

Yo! Prime Minister!
George W Bush

The Lava Pit by Ravena
Click images for desktop size: "The Lava Pit" by Ravena
A lot of years ago I was in Paris. A bunch of French and Italian friends of mine all went to a restaurant. It was a middling fancy one. Pricey but not absurd.
A big table was filled with about 8 loud Americans. They were from Kansas. High school teachers on a two week vacation. I was sure of this because they told anyone who passed by their table. Ms 45 They always said it in English. As most of the people in the restaurant didn't speak, or at least acknowledge that they spoke, English my countrymen's solution was to shout each word distinctly and slowly, as if they were talking to a slow student.
For the 30 minutes we were in the restaurant with the school teachers I heard them insult the culture of the French, the Italians and the Jews.
They did it loudly, arrogantly and with a smile and a laugh. They talked to everyone, especially those who tried to avoid and ignore them. The hostility they were generating was palpable. After an insult they kept saying things like "I bet you don't see much courtesy like this. It takes an American to show you how."
When they eventually got around to me i just called them "bloody foreigners" which got a big laugh from my table but didn't do much to ease my embarrassment.
That was one of the few times I've been ashamed to be an American.
Yesterday was another.
Yesterday a new law was passed. A law that destroys the Constitution. It permits the government to spy on us at their whim. It allows giant corporations to spy on us at their whim.
This law removes protection and it removes redress. It means were consumers and we have no standing other than to consume and to be consumed.
Barrak Obama voted for this odious law.
Now I have to find another candidate to vote for.
I can't vote for McCain. He's looking more and more like the slime that our nation presently reveres.
I can't understand why the Democrats aren't going after McCain for being a traitor. Why do they constantly call him a hero? Their is a film where McCain is collaborating with the enemy. The Birth Of Europa by Macindows
Click images for desktop size: "The Birth Of Europa" by Mcindows
The only evidence he was tortured is his word for it.
It was easy for the Republican's to call the acts of heroism by John Kerry misleading and false because two or three guys made unsubstantiated claims but the Democrats can't make anything out of McCain filming propaganda pieces for the Viet Cong.
They can't make anything out of a multi-millionaire claiming a 50,000 buck per year disability claim? They call him a hero . . .
I can understand the desire to run a "clean" campaign and to avoid mud slinging etc. But, gee, shouldn't you just refuse to comment on the guy's war record? Why call a man who sure looks like a traitor a hero?
Why agree with these kind of guys that we Americans have too many rights, too many freedoms. What happened to "better one thousand guilty men go free than one innocent man be unjustly condemned." What happened to "Give me liberty or give me death." "Don't tread on me."
Near Dark The terrorists have won. They've destroyed America. We fought with bullets and Coca Cola and they exploited our cowardice and our greed to destroy a once great country.
So I'm going to have to find some fringe candidate to support. They all seem sort of whack to me but that's the reason they're third party candidates I guess. There's always a Green Party candidate. I can always get behind not destroying the world.

Rah. There are a lot of Buckinghams' fans out there. I never realized.
The band is still together. It looks like they even still have a website and are playing gigs even as I write.
I don't know how I feel about that.
I like the Cocteau image of our loves dying young and beautiful in the snow, untarnished by age or reason.
But that's just me.
I'm sure the band is a lot happier still out there and still making noise.
I wonder if they still play, "I've Been Wrong Before"?
If I did some research and got some facts I might never say the things I say and where would the fun be in that?

July 9, 2008

You gave away the things you loved and one of them was me
Carly Simon

Subway by Tulivien
Click images for desktop size: "Subway" by Tulivien
Stiff and sore this morning. Too much walking. Shoulder (expected) throbbing and hips achey.
One good thing about doing all that walking is the time spent for listening to the iPod and for thinking. Yes, I think best when I have music at about 94 db pouring into the middle of my head.
Killers From Space One thing that has always fascinated me is the most popular recording artist of 1967 . . . What fascinates me is asking people who they think the top selling artist was in 1967. Most people hear 60's and guess the Beatles, following that wrong answer up with the Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan.
The number one record sellers in 1967 were a group from the west side of Chicago. They infused bright squirrelly pop with R&B and jazz. Starting out on the legendary local Destination label they recorded a little ditty called "Kind Of Drag". It hit number one in Chicago and then got picked up by Columbia for national distribution (every band's fantasy). It knocked the Beatles out of number 1 nationally and started the epic string of hits.
They were the Buckinghams. A seven piece outfit that even included a horn section! They stomped on everybody and just kept on churning out hit after hit. Happy songs, or sad songs sung with a smile. Astonishingly they had number 1's with covers of JAZZ tracks. Their cover of Cannonball Adderley's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" made Adderley a pop star. His original even broke into the Top 10.
For me, the most astonishing Buckingham's single was a cover of the Beatles' "I Call Your Name". This might be heresy in some quarters but I think they handed the Beatles their heads. Your not supposed to dare to cut heads with the reigning Kings Of Pop, but to dare and then to cut them is a wonderful thing. (Paul McCartney probably just opened up another bank account with the royalties from this hot selling cover.)
The tight and rich 5 part harmonies even shocked the Beach Boys. Brian Wilson felt the need to retaliate and went from the modal mash-ups that typified the Beach Boys sound and moved into the esoteric intricate harmonies that set a new standard for pop.
The Buckinghams ended '67 with the quasi-psychedelic "Susan". It starts out pretty pedestrianly but after a rather silly seeming "psychedelic freak out" the track suddenly explodes with a driven chorus reflected and scatted over and over. This wasn't Leonard Cohen, for sure. This was teen pop with a purpose, a purpose only the little girls understood.
And then . . . nothing. The band was still around but they never had another hit. For the outside world the Buckinghams were as suddenly dead as razor cut haircuts. It was not a shock. Pop just moved along.
They haven't even hit the oldies or the revival circuit.
It was like they stopped existing or Smoke
Click images for desktop size: "Smoke" by Unknown
maybe never even happened.
Their legacy was inspiring North Side Chicagoan Jimmy Guercio to swipe their sound and found "CTA" who metamorphosed into "Chicago". "Chicago" are still the largest sellers of albums in history. Go figure. That band pretty much ended when Bobby Lamm copped the true heart of the Buckinghams with the driving "Feelin' Stronger Everyday". I like neat circles even if I have to work hard to imagine them.
I guess I'm thinking a lot about Chicago because I miss our house guests. There was a lot more stupid laughing with them around. We need more stupid laughing in our lives. Who doesn't.
I think I sorted out the mp3 leeching grief. I resented it. One site based in Japan was selling a monthly subscription so you could stream your playlist via your browser. Except they streamed the music from others servers and not their own.
Kiss Of Death Its sort of incredible the depths that the RAIA has forced people to. Even corrupting politicians in their mad quest to terrify the world and force them to give them all our money.
But why aren't the Record Company Gestapo going after people who are actually making money from the music? You gotta figure the RAIA respects crooks. And it might be more difficult. Better to pick on an unemployed single mother who had an empty Kazaa folder in her system . . . Given the history of the RAIA it wouldn't be too surprising to find out that some members of the RAIA were clandestinely involved with these kind of sites.
So much better when musicians just wanted to make music and felt lucky to be able to make a living doing it.
Look, Gene Vincent is the greatest singer the world has ever produced. A whole world of music he created was after shows, hanging out in hotel rooms singing with friends and hangers on. Like when he was in some guys living room in Japan and someone had the sense to turn on a tape recorder to capture Gene Vincent singing "Bring It On Home To Me". Vincent was always broke. The man who wrote and recorded the largest selling single of 20 years Celestial Reckoning by Kayaga
Click images for desktop size: "Celestial Reckoning" by Kayaga
("Be Bop A Lula") always needed money. But he still didn't want to get paid to sing with friends.
(Back then the RAIA stole from musicians by doling out publishing rights to managers and collecting hare brained fees.)
I'm tired and scattered.
I saw two really poor movies. "The Happening" and "The Ruins". They made me think that this is the summer of the killer plants . . . Yeah, two movies about dangerous shrubs.
I dislike the bad filmmaking of M. Night but I was intrigued by Mark Wahlberg and John Leguizamo in "The Happening". Of course I didn't realize that M. Night cast them as HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS!!!
I, for one, would be terrified of any school that would have those two on their faculty.
Zoey Deschanel gave the most horrible performance in film history.
This film was a disaster and not in a fun way. M Night has even forgotten to cop those ginchy Twilight Zone style endings, this one just grinds to a halt like a junker Studebaker with a blown rod.
"The Ruins" isn't much better. At least here the plant moves. Well it moves a little. It has a couple of gotcha moments and a couple of mildly interesting scenes. Metropolis And no one attempts to talk to a plastic tree . . . At least the actors were working hard but this film is still a worthless mess.
Horror films used to be the easiest way to break into the business. Look at Rami with "Evil Dead", Hooper and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre". There hasn't been a great new horrow film in a long time. Now they're just another repository for the creatively bankrupt.
The dogs keep waking me up in the middle of the night. Too much heat and too many cats prowling in the yard.
I don't blame them . . . much.
I have to figure out the rest of the day. I have to make some money some how some way some day. But maybe not today.

July 8, 2008

The eyes have it

Love With A Gun
Click images for desktop size: "Love With A Gun" by Unknown
Went out and found some work today.
Not much. Looked for about 3 hours. Worked for about 2 and a half hours. Made twelve bucks.
There were times when twelve bucks looked tiny. Other times when twelve bucks looked even bigger than this. Phantom Of The Opera These dollars look only slightly larger than human sized.
I got 7 bucks for one job helping an older guy clear stuff out of his yard and stack it by the curb. Found it in the first 1 hour. Worked for about 45 minutes. He paid me with all the change he had in his pocket - seven dollars. I thought it was fair.
Then I walked around for a bit, let the sweat dry on my body. Finally got on at an apartment complex with the landscaping crew. Worked for about 2 hours, raking, blowing (with one of those heavy gas powered things strapped to my back) and picking up the garbage.
I didn't mind the work. It was tedious so I let my mind go other places.
I came crashing back to reality when the Foreman gave me five bucks . . . I told him I thought he made a mistake, that I'd been working for over 2 hours. He then told me where'd they'd be tomorrow if I wanted to show up . . . Then he just turned his back on me and walked away.
My options were to either look ridiculous, chase after him and slug him. This probably would not have gone well. He had about 2 inches and 40 pounds on me, even if 30 of those pounds were fat.
Or I could get my pack, sling it over my shoulder and walk away, cursing him under my breath and vowing he'd never steal another Tuesday from me. Which is sort of what I did.
With the economy going the way it is there might be a day coming too soon when that five bucks looks bigger than it is.
Walking home I thought about how America has been destroyed by the guys who scream loudly that they're trying to save our country. Someone once said never to trust a man who wear his patriotism like a flag.
All that group appears to have done is fatten Crow Dancer
Click images for desktop size: "Crow Dancer" by Unknown
themselves on our backs and create a country that has seen the rich get richer and evolve into a tighter and smaller group. Right now they say that 10% of the people in this country have 90% of the wealth.
I remember when these stats were used to explain banana republics and to explain and criticize the poverty and turmoil of a starving peoples.
RoboCop was the first film where it was calmly stated and accepted that Corporations are evil and that they're going to stay that way.
Recently I was stunned to discover that Roger Ailes is the head of the incendiary news department of Fox TV.
Now ignoring the fact that FOX is owned by a Briton who got an astonishingly fast American citizenship so he could own American TV networks and newspapers . . . and send the money out of the country. . . A citizenship that might have gone to someone who actually wanted to live here and be American, who might contribute to society instead of taking from it.
I met Roger Ailes a few times decades ago. Back then he was personal management for some actors I knew.
The last time I met him was at a Hollywood party. Jaws 3D The discussion there was how he was quitting show biz. Not really, he was media consulting for Republican Party candidates.
As he espoused their values we couldn't help noticing that all of his new political candidates were extreme right wing and all pretty well established losers. A couple of his former clients noted that he espoused his new clients credentials and suitability for the job in the same tones of fervor he used when pitching one of his clients for a Cheeto's commercial.
I noticed weeks later that all of his clients lost their elections. Ailes must have been good though. Next time I read about him he was handling Presidential campaigns.
Now he's heading a TV news department. He's managed to combine show biz and politics. Pretty nifty. I have no concept or clue as to his sincerity. I mean selling Cheeto's and selling the way we're going to live our lives isn't that big a difference in my mind.
And he's even richer and I'm begging for dollar bills.
By the standards of America 21st Century that means Ailes has been right and I've been wrong.
I miss the days when the bad guys played the same way they do now. With evil, no scruples and a sick joy in the pain and damage they inflict as they ignore the rules and plot endlessly for their own selfish goals. I liked that because a good guy would come along and kick their butts. He wasn't handcuffed by the rules, he relished them and believed that "Right made Might!"
Now there's no more heroes. We all play by the same lack of rules and I don't like it.
Madhouse
Click images for desktop size: "Mahouse Comics" by MC Publications
I don't like it near as much as when the lines actually existed and good and bad weren't dependent on the wind of the day.

I got the mp3 leeching problem sorted, I think. Please let me know if anyone has problems.

My friend went to the doctor yesterday. Nothing happened. New doctor who did nothing but talk - not tests or . . . so she has to go back.
No one likes going to the doctor, especially for a second visit that has to accomplish the same thing that the first was intended to.
I know about that.
The important thing is that I was measured at 5' 11 and 1/2 inches. She was 5' 4 and 1/2 inches.
This means I win the all important height war by a handy margin. Even though I wonder where I lost that 1/2 inch I always used to have with me . . .

July 6, 2008

Things they do look awful cold
Pete Townshend

JSA - DC Comics
Click images for desktop size: "Justice Society Of America" by DC Comics
We had fresh spring rolls and sugar free home made coffee cake for dinner last night.
Its hard to feel miserable when your broke when you can still whip up things like that just by burrowing through the fridge.
Being broke doesn't scare me. Being poor isn't that Man With The Golden Gun much of a worry either. Being homeless with my puppy - that terrifies me. Governments terrifies me. Corrupt government officials and daffy corrupt incompetent judges terrify me. Being broke, Being poor is just a state to ease through. I don't like it but its not as important as, well, so many other things the list boggles.
I was up late last night.
I got an email from my hosting service. It was pointing out a huge upswing in bandwidth. Nothing to worry about, just an advisory sort of thing.
I went and checked the server logs and was at first shocked, then freaked and finally just annoyed. It seems that there are a couple of shyster sites out there hot linking to the mp3's I post here. Some people don't even know I post them here. I dislike the way links tend to look on a web page. You have to hover over the link to have it appear here.
Anyway there are a lot of unidentified robots crawling the site. It must have come from there. I don't like hot linking. I have to pay for the bandwidth. When I went to look at the sites doing the linking I was really peeved.
They disguise themselves as mp3 search engines or as music repositories. They are heavy with advertising, malware, spyware, pop ups, pop unders etc. They're making a lot of money. One of the sites sells the music for 99 cents. Only problem for me is that they don't sell the song from their server. They link to mine. There's a well designed perl script that disguises the url but you pay them or look at their adverts to download the song and the song downloads directly from my server.
I resent commercialism as much as I resent the out dated copyright laws that the bigger thieves in the RAIA and MPAA hide behind.
Its the world of the internet, I guess.
The reasons behind my site tend to be complex and personal. Gothic Spirit
Click images for desktop size: "Gothic Spirit" by Unknown
It started out as just an easy to access diary and journal, a place I would always b able to find. Then I discovered the social networking aspect of it. I dabbled in that for a tiny while before I quickly got bored with it and discovered that all I was really doing was making myself available to all sorts of hucksters.
Then, quite pleasingly, it became a way to quickly inform all of the people I know and care for about how I was doing. Share jokes and anecdotes.
Then it became something uglier, but even the ugly parts passed. (I can understand people being angry with me, or even hating me. But it soon passes the point of justification and becomes just boring vandalism.)
Like my puppy's site is a better example.
It was started so I would always have a place to remember her for each day of her life. I wanted to keep all of her pictures close to hand so I could look at them. Then I could also tell my friends the url so they could go look at the magnificence that was my puppy.
Because my puppy was timid I ended up Johnny O'Clock deciding to try training her as a therapy dog. She ate up the training. She loved working with kids and was comforting to them and to many other people in hospital.
So her site became a way to extend the relationship with the children she saw every week. The kids, mainly 5 to 11 loved having a place to read about her. I had plans to design games and stuff to entertain. I was just incompetent at Flash and lacked the talent to make some of my dreams real.
Still the kids loved reading about her. They knew her and had a relationship with her that I wasn't ken to. It didn't bother me.
What did bother me was the spam that suddenly started to proliferate her site. Sick stuff. Bestiality sites, porn. No child porn, fortunately but stuff that these ill children didn't really need to know existed.
I had to shut down comments. I set up an email account for my puppy. The kids loved writing to her and liked it when she'd answer them.
Then, as is the way, her email account started to get deluged with spam. Dating sites, credit card phishing schemes, viagra, porn. Background by Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Background" by Lawn Elf
Even messages that she'd gotten messages on her Friendster account . . . My kids were always inviting me to join their MySpace, Friendster what have you, so when I received the porn spam from those sites I took it as a matter of course. My puppy does not have a membership to any of them.
Its just the way of it, I guess. People need to make money. It makes me glad being poor doesn't bother me. Being broke bothers me but not in any way that shows.
I've made some temporary fixes to stop the music hot linking. I'll need to come up with a more permanent solution. I'm trying to figure out how to write the robot.txt file so that the rip off sites can't crawl this site. It won't work. The aggro robots just ignore the txt file.
All I wanted was for my friends to know about songs I was liking and listening to. It worked. It should work. Who knew that someone would have the money to figure out how to make more money from it.

July 4, 2008

A man of wisdom accepts there are things he does not know
Richard Fairweather

Frank Mellech
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Frank Mellech
I spent most of yesterday looking for work. Not for a job but work.
It was a loser but still what I plan to continue to do today.
I also spent a lot of time thinking about my puppy's blog. I need to write something for her. She's started it. Sometimes it hard to be funny. Or even just amusing.
Jackson County Jail One thing I keep thinking about is a conversation my friend and I had a few days ago. It was about actors.
She couldn't understand why actors even wanted to be actors. Who wants a career where all you do is pretend to be someone else?
At the time the only thing I could think of was for "Fame and Fortune". Note fame comes first in the list.
But that didn't and doesn't feel right. Its superficial.
Most of the problem is that I'd never thought about actors in that way before. I like actors. It was actors who got me to look past my adolescent homophobia. In person they make me laugh and are almost always entertaining. They feel things differently than non-actors, at least the best of them do.
And I've always thought that actors were always there, always a part of us.
I mean back when that crazy greek cat Antigones, or something, was writing comedies called Frogs and producing plays in pits in the ground there were actors willing to wear one of those cool masks and stand in front of a crowd of strangers and convince those strangers that he wasn't a peasant, that he was a a great and thundering god come to smite the world. He could make that audiences heart quell. Then the next night he was a poor beggar seeking a lonely dinar to feed his family and he could make the new bunch of strangers cry and beat their chests at his plight.
Actors are cool. They have a talent that I don't think can be minimized.
It was an actor who helped change the course of history. John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln and leapt to the stage writing his own drama in real life.
Demon Forever
Click images for desktop size: "Demon Forever" by Unknown
I don't understand what makes an actor take the job. Maybe they're born to it and then they get to spend a few years suffering and working as hard as a coal miner to perfect his craft to the point where skill becomes art.
And I think a lot of being an actor is compulsion. I don't think its pretending to be somebody else. Impersonations wear thin pretty quickly. Its a willingness to be a tool in the hands of a director and a writer. A tool to espouse and convey ideas, feelings and emotions to strangers. The cheaper actors manipulate, the best of them use their tools to paint a human body that reflects ourself. They fool us by exposing a soul to us that we never imagined existed, a soul that exists only in at least 3 peoples mind and no where else until the actor unleashes it on stage or on screen.
I understand some of that compulsion. Every time I'm as broke as I am now I always think of one thing. Being in a band.
Its part of my adrenaline addiction I think. I like surfing, sky diving, rock and mountain climbing for the adrenaline rush. That feeling that evades words and rests only in a hungry brain. (except rock climbing has too much pain and fear to be a true addiction for me. I like thinking about what I did but I don't think I'd ever want to do it again.
Kill Baby Kill and Sound of Horror Like the drunkard dreams of his bottle and the junkie dreams of his next fix the old and crippled musician dreams of being in a band.
Its gotten tot he point that when I listen to music I'm arranging the charts so that my cramped up little hands can play that song. Sometimes the charts in my head seem a little bit like fake book stuff but that's okay too. If I can transpose it to a lot of open chords and simple shifts instead of bouncing all over the neck I could probably get through a whole set.
I like bands. I like that moment in rehearsal when you finish a number a realize that it sounded just like a song. I like that first time on stage when the bands starts out and the crowd is continuing their conversation, shouting over you and then abruptly someone notices and says, "Hey, those guys are good!" and someone else says a bit later, "Those guys are really good!"
I like that we get paid for doing this.
I don't like the inevitable bickering that ensues. Usually the only things the band has in common is music. Most of the time you have different goals and different places you want to end up. Some where in all that the music gets lost.
It most often falls along the same lines. The front man thinks they're not getting enough credit. The lead guitarist wants endless solos to show off his most recent hard won plateau. The rhythm section wants to make a move into a different groove. The girl friends or boy friends all think that their special band member is getting screwed over.
Its fun even in its predictability.
Predictable. Like when the little girl shyly approaches you after the gig and her biggest compliment is that on a certain cover you sounded "Just like the record."
At first I thought the little girls were nuts. Abstract Balls by Sam Short
Click images for desktop size: "Green Balls" by Sam Short
Our version sounded nothing like the original recording. Once, in my last band we played a club out in the sticks. They wanted the Beatles and Stone Temple Pilots. None of the band except me knew any Beatles' tracks and only the drummer knew any Stone Temple songs. So we played a half dozen of each, faking it as best as we could. The crowd went crazy.
Each band member got told how we sounded exactly like the original recording only punchier, all by different people in the audience.
I know now that they didn't think we sounded like the record. We just transported them to a place they enjoyed when they first heard the song. Or they got overcome with the emotion for which the song was their soundtrack. Or, at best, we thought we were special and for a moment they thought we were stars and for that same moment they felt a joy they It's Alive couldn't describe, a feeling that their own greatness was somehow a products of the bands thrashing around.
I like that too.
Maybe I could just go busking? Nobody is less critical than a passerby. I knew a lot of guys who at the end of the month would head out to the street and bash out some tunes. No worse than playing on Bourbon Street! They used to pick up 50 sixty bucks a day!
I've always been a bit shy for busking. I need a stage and at least 4 inches of platform to face a strange crowd. A crowd of strangers.
So yeah, I want to be in a band. That makes me think I've got the right to claim to understand why an actor needs a stage or a camera or a role.
Difference is that reality will smack me down like the last wave.
I'll get over it.
I watched a movie last night, "Closed Note". A japanese film that doesn't seem to be about much of anything. Its about a student who works in a shop selling pens.
In one of the scenes though she's in her music class and they're playing one of the Back Toccatas. It sounded strange until I realized they were playing it on some of those wild Japanese instruments, those fretless banjo and mandolin like things. It was cool and exciting.
There always be music. They won't miss me standing on a corner begging for change, selling them a song.
I say that with bemusement and gladness.

July 2, 2008

They found me face down in the street
Matt Skiba

Fly
Click images for desktop size: "Fly"
Back from the doctors.
It was a very cursory examination, except for the money part. They were very thorough collecting the money.
Oddities. My left eye is even more worthless than I thought. With my glasses on I could read line 8 of the chart with my right eye but only line 3 with my left, and the left reading was hesitant. I wouldn't bet I got any of them right.
Ironmaster The doctor made no comment.
At the blood test it took the the tech 3 stabs to find a vein. I'm moderately used to that. The good techs can do it in one jab but the new ones thunder about in a panic and hurt me more than if they just gave up. She prodded and twisted the needle a lot in both arms before taking the blood from my right wrist. She poked a nerve . . . I can still feel it.
Luckily I don't bleed. They pull out the needle and give it a swipe and I'm done. I made the poor woman so nervous that she bandaged me up too well. All the gauze and tape were nearly as uncomfortable as the sticking.
The X-ray was nothing. Just one full on chest. I don't have TB. I guess that's good news . . . I wasn't worried about it.

On the plus or negative side my friend got to stay with me. Which was cool. Then I even got a ride home. A part of me was curious about taking the bus home, and getting a chance to check out the new Alkaline Trio Album on the iPod.
I enjoyed hanging out with my friend more than that though.
I guess not having to make the 4 miles of walking isn't a bad thing. Saves me the strength to terrorize my dogs.
The negative part is that she took of work to meet our house guests and my puppies brother so she's had like a full vacation. I worry about her not being back in work. Its not my worry but I still do . . . worry that is.
On the way to the doc's saw an animal control truck. There was a little white samoyed yipping and running about. We stopped and watched. It had a collar on so hopefully the little guy will get reclaimed ASAP. Monument Valley Lady
Click images for desktop size: "Monument Valley Lady" by Unknown
We stopped to watch mainly to make sure the dog catcher didn't use a taser or tranq darts on the little guy. Foolish dog. He should have come to our house. We're just around the corner.
Still he was only about 15 yards from a busy 4 lane street so it was better for him to be picked up.
And after all is said and done we're FLAT broke. But only for 2 weeks until the next paycheck. It will be harsh but not so bad as being flat broke and not having a paycheck to look forward to.
Taxes. Yeah, taxes broke us.
But I'm home and my dogs are all feeling terribly neglected. We took them to the lake yesterday but they didn't enjoy it near as much as they did when they had to impress my puppy's brother.
We're going out into the beautiful day that is, so far, free of fireworks. I realize where I lived before that the people were too poor to afford all the stuff they set off around here.
I hate fireworks every time one of the dogs cringes.

July 1, 2008

It takes a lot of lights to make a city
Raymond Chandler

Bird in Branches
Click images for desktop size: "Bird In Branches" by Unknown
Its going to be a beautiful day today.
The sun is bright. It won't be too warm. The air is cleansed by the storms.
The house still beats empty. The loss of the little blind dog is still keenly felt.
The absence of vivacious house guests and an extra tentative puppy is still noticeable.
Infra-Man Th constant explosions of fireworks and mini-bombs still has the pack in a constant state of ill ease. The Gentle dog put himself in the bathroom and even closed the door to shut out both the silence and the explosions.
Still, its going to be a beautiful day today.

Beautiful day means I finally get to do some laundry. The dryer is busted. It was mangling clothes. Really mangling and ripping them apart. Now have to do the old clothesline trick.
Drying clothes in the sun isn't that big of a pain. Main thing is having to remember to put clothes softener in. Clothes dry really stiffly on the outside in nature. Fabric softener reduces that to a tolerable level.
The biggest issue, especially in a house filled with dogs, is no lint removal!
It feels like a "rich man's complaint" carping about having to haul clothes around and clip them to a rope. It could be worse. It just feels strange having my rigid schedules dictated by something as arbitrary as sunshine and nature.
You all know its my rigid schedules that let me cope with the fluid unpredictable world. So this feels different . . .

Yesterday was not eventful. Well, it was the way life has a way of always being eventful
I have a doc appointment tomorrow. Just a physical. Had to get ready for that. Two days in advance . . . I LIKE rigid schedules!
I have to eat muesli. I don't like it much but I got to eat it sometimes. One of the nuts wedged against a tooth, one of the loose teeth I've been fighting to preserve . . . mainly out of vanity.
Coagulation by dDefinder
Click images for desktop size: "Coagulation" by dDefinder
It wedged and bent it. The tooth still in in there. It looks jagged and like it should be wearing braces. It looked bad before but now it looks worse and its uncomfortable.
I still don't want to just let it fall out. I don't think I can tolerate losing another part of me, even one so small. And because its in front . . .
I thought muesli was supposed to be good for me.
The giant dog disappointed. Not really. I think he was tired of hearing how good and trustworthy he'd become. He stole a bag of dried banana chips from the table and ate them. Didn't make him sick. I guess that's alright. His breath smells like monkey's.
My puppy is clamouring for an adventure. Fortunately her idea of adventure is going to the park and maybe getting pizza!
Low expectations are usually pretty easy for me to fulfill. Its the real stuff that gives me a problem.
Watched a couple of movies. Generally amusing Invasion of the Saucer Menwas "Godzilla and Mothera: Battle For The Earth". It was cool because it focused on all these serious environmental issues. The earth was attacking, well, the earth, because of insane developers and fossil fuels! It had great lines in it like, "The Planet Earth is trying to destroy us because of our arrogance!"
Why the Planet Earth chose a giant moth who shoots laser beams as its agent of destruction is some speculation to avoid.
The watched a rather dreary Japanese "Battle Royale" rip off - "Kill Devil". It was pointless. Still it had two scenes that I liked a lot. One made no sense. Two guys we'd never seen before (or after) are in a cell and start to do a beat box rap and dance. It was stunningly impressive.
Then after everyone in the film is dead . . . how dreary . . . they somehow come back to life to end the movie with a totally out of place 7 minute dance routine. The dancing was modern ballet and hyper-cool. I just have no idea what it was intended to mean.
Finally. I installed the new MacOSX update: Ruslane Korshunova
Click images for desktop size: "Ruslane Korshunova" by Unknown
Leopard 10.5.4. This appears to be more in getting Mac's ready for the 2nd gen iPhone, so I had moderate interest. I've been running it for 12 hours and it seems fine. I don't notice anymore extra stability, but its not crashing or giving me the spinning beach ball so it seems okay. I did notice it gives you some extra and welcome information when your repairing permissions (something I guess you're supposed to do every/any time you update the OS) but nothing flashy or insanely cool.
I'm more interested in the upcoming iTunes. I'm hoping it gets more stable and uses less memory while holding more securely to the networking with the AppleTV.
Just have to see.
And still a bit concerned over network and internet security in general. Since the WordPress site got hacked I had an inexplicable invasion on the iMac. Still studying that.
So, now its time to remark: Its going to be a beautiful day.