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August 30, 2008

USC 52 University of Virginia 7

Dual eta Carinae Nebula
Click images for desktop size: "Dual Eta Carinae Nebula" by NASA
I didn't get to see the game on TV. Here, for reasons unknown, they showed powerhouses Utah versus Michigan . . .
I did get to stare at a flash animation of the game and then catch as many highlights as possible. I've gotten used to following the SC season this way . . .
There are still a lot of questions.
I Spit On Your Grave Most startling was the welcome lights out performance by Mark Sanchez! To start the season with a 300 yard game is remarkable.
That he wasn't sacked and that the O-Line opened up some gaping holes were pretty welcome sights.
I expected more from Virginia. (At least they weren't the poxy powder puffs that the Big Ten played. Ohio State opens with a 1-AA school but insists they be considered for a National Championship? More than ever I want to best these guys in two weeks.) Virginia had such a fine season last year I find it hard to believe they are this poor. I plan to follow the rest of their season with interest.
Once again I am not very pleased with Steve Sarkasian's play calling. We threw the ball too much. While its hard to argue when Sanchez was so stellar the team and the game would have been better served by punching the ball up the gut more.
The linemen will be facing some faster bigger opponents in two weeks. Letting them bull dog a few of these VA linemen would have been better for their advancement.
One truism in line play: The man who gets his hands on his opponent first always wins. Its why I like line men to work out on boxing speed bags. When you get the flipper or the punch up and in there first and disrupt your opponents entire body he's reacting to you instead of to the play, In that tenth of a second where he's recovering you can guide him and put him where you want him. The O-Line is going to need more of that against Ohio State.
The Buckeyes in their classless scheduling of an exhibition opponent to open the season didn't show me much. Their front seven is quick and strong.Wonder Woman
Click images for desktop size: "Wonder Woman" by DC Comics
They can be handled. I don't know if this group of 20 year olds got enough experience today to do deal with the Buckeyes LB's. We needed to run more and give them the feeling.
I also wasn't thrilled with the constant calling of the dink passes. Mark Sanchez has a killer arm and our receivers clock out as the fastest in the country. Sanchez can hit the bomb. (1 for 49 yards and 1 for 20). Why the short ball first instead of as a count down? Its like he's still calling plays for John David Booty. He's not calling the plays for the players on the field but from his playbook.
I think it will cost us down the line. Not adapting to the players and not calling a game plan to develop them are near fatal mistakes that I always relished seeing in an opponent.
The Defense could have been minutely better. The held them to under 200 yards. VA's game plan was terrible but understandable when SC jumped to a 21 point lead.
The D will improve.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 I find John McCain's choice for running mate just weird. Like Senior Bush picking Dan Quayle was weird. This Palin person seems George W Bush creepy in every way. And in her entire life she's gotten as many votes, well nearly as many votes, as there were fans at Nebraska's opening game.

I'm worried about New Orleans. I think most of us are. Just three years after the Republicans attempted to destroy the city to be faced with the same carnage while the same hateful Republicans are still in charge is just incredibly sad.
So many lives destroyed then and to face the same destruction and to know that the government that awarded itself huge kudos for their bumbling apathy is still in charge and still out to destroy you is truly heart wrenching.
I found Michael Moore's inane comments about God wanting to disrupt the Republican convention as weird as McCain's choice for VP.Liv Tyler
Click images for desktop size: "Liv Tyler" by Unknown
I guess Moore has gotten so fat and rich that he's lost sight of people. That used to be a strength of his.

Next weekend brings on the NFL. I've already registered for my on-line contest.
I want to win a prize. They have money prizes but I want to win a real prize . . . like a Roomba!
Aside from the picking the winners they have an additional contest this year. You have to pick one sure winner every week, but you can't pick the same team twice! Seems like fun.

And this company, Pet Care Choice . . . really screwed over the order for the flea stuff. Nearly a month later and nothing. I threatened to go and dispute the charge with my credit card company and actually, finally, got a response from them. They claim they'll credit my card in the next 5 days. We'll see.

August 29, 2008

Now that I've said "I love you" I'm falling more in love with you with every breath
Arisa Kaneko

Pin Ups
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by JW McGinnis
Yesterday was my birthday.
It was alright. Very alright.
We went to a Chinese Buffet. Twenty five bucks during the week but only ten bucks for lunch. And it seems that for lunch they serve bacon. I line my pockets with plastic bags so the puppies Come Dance With Me were all pretty stoked with that. I also got them a sausage each.
With that I got to be king of the dogs for the day. I suddenly became infallible. Dog king and dog pope all in one. I think it was the first time any of them had ever had bacon.
The rest of the day was quiet. I liked that. My friend, the dogs and the gentle bloated feeling from a buffet lunch.
The only damper is I seem to have picked up an infection. These are going to happen. They hurt but they hurt a lot less than living in a plastic bubble. Those are the alternatives. I'm still hardy enough that these little infections aren't going to kill me. They just make me uncomfortable.
I thought some about all the stuff in my life. It doesn't mean much. I've made my share of mistakes. I don't regret them. If I'd turned right instead of left I wouldn't be where I am now.
Even when I've been suffering it wasn't so bad to wish the suffering onto anyone else. The suffering passed or I got used to it. That's all there is to do.
I'm glad to be what I am and where I am. I want some things changed but that's just my nature. It isn't perfection I want its to constantly be striving for perfection.
Ended the evening watching a Japanese piece of fluff, "Train Man". I liked it plenty. Its the story of a nerd (Takayuki Yamada, from Crows Zero!!) who in the only brave moment of his life meets a girl. "Train Man" is his handle on a chat site. He rushes to the site and tells his "buddies" about his meeting and about the girl.
They call the girl "Hermes" because she sends him a simple gift: a pair of Hermes tea cups, in gratitude for his little act of bravery.Chine Eye by Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Cina Eye" by Luis Royo

Showing greater courage than he knew he had "Train Man" telephones Hermes. (Her number was on the delivery slip.) He manages to make a date.
The people in the chat room hold his hand and get him to get a haircut, buy decent clothes etc. The helpless nerd spends his days putting questions and conversation tips into his palm pilot as he rigorously rehearses their date.
Of course he falls helplessly in love with "Hermes". This is a gentle film. The only conflict or dramatic moments come because "Train Man" doesn't have enough self esteem to see that he can affect and impact others nearly as much as they affect him.
All the drama is only within him. I liked that because its pretty accurate for most of us.
I liked the movie fine. It had nothing but happy moments. The people in the chat room become inspired by "Train Man's" success, no, they become inspiredRocky Horror Picture Show by his attempts at love. His story opens up their own worlds to the romance and beauty it already contains or can contain if we only open the door.
There are way too many cute bits in the film. They all add up to a warmly recommended from me. It was the prefect film for a birthday or any day when happiness is already in the air and you want that happiness to be remembered and treasured.
Its been raining. There are still puppies to play with.
I think today will also be a memorable day.

USC is already in Virginia. They had to fly in two planes because the Charlotte Airport couldn't handle their Jumbo Jet.
Football season starts tomorrow at 3. My friend thinks USC is going to lose. On this front she is clearly absolutely nutz.

August 27, 2008

Be careful what you aspirate

Ogres Become Kings by J3 Designs
Click images for desktop size: "Ogres Become Kings" by J3 Designs
I got a haircut yesterday.
Just another episode in my unending quest in for the perfect single digit priced hair cut.
This ones okay. My friend says its the best cheap haircut I've gotten in years . . . Even falling apart I look good.
Grizzly I had to make 3 dozen fresh spring rolls for my friend to take to a work pot luck lunch today. They changed it from their normal Friday to today so that my friend wouldn't miss it. She'll be off the next six days. (We have no plans that I know of except for Saturday with USC vs Virginia!)
I started chopping at five, started putting them together at seven and finished at 11:30 p.m. I'm fastidious. I had to take the garbage and recycling out and then I got a welcome phone call from my puppy's Aunt and Uncle. She's got an important job interview today; in about 45 minutes!
Best hoping being done here for her there . . .
She called to wish me a happy birthday. Wrong date.
When I was like 6 or 7 I looked my birthday up in an almanac to see what other important things happened on the day. The only significant event on my birthday was the explosion or Krakotoa . . . That was a pretty big deal. They even made a movie about it: "Krakotoa, East of Java" except Krakotoa is actually South WestHomless
Click images for desktop size: "The Plight Of The Homeless" by Unknown
of Java, which doesn't speak well for the movies accuracy, I guess. They did a TV remake in 2006. I managed to avoid that one.
For years the largest explosion on earth, bigger than an H-Bomb had always occurred on August the 28th 1883. Then somebody decided that that was wrong . . . and suddenly this event was bumped back a day . . . daylight savings time or leap year I guess.
Or, more likely, they needed to re-write history in order to leave the day totally clear for the entry commemorating my life.
Anybody who has ever watched me go through a stack of photos and pick one up and say, "Hey, who's this good looking guy?" Only to be told that the guy in the picture was me has good reason to wonder if I'm joking about re-writing history.
Gun Crazy I'm still feeling the stoke of the upcoming football season.
I've registered for the contest predicting games. I hope they have a Roomba for a prize again. I need a new Roomba.
I still prefer the College game for excitement and beauty but the NFL still offers the world's finest athletes in destructive clashes. It has its own beauty and sense of wonder.
I'd never predict a college game. Look, USC lost to Stanford last year . . . but the NFL lacks the heart that young kids bring to the game. So in response to the question, "Who's going to win the Super Bowl?" I can only say, "I have no idea."
But the great thing about predictions in August is that only the cruelest person would remind you of them in December.
I can't see the New England Patriots not winning the AFC East. It won't be the excitement of last season. The other teams have improved and New England is older and beaten up but they have too much. The Buffalo Bills are thin but they've got the starters to make a serious run at a playoff spot. Buffalo is such a destroyed city that I hope they do make it.

The AFC North is a mess. This should be Cincinnati's year to take it but they're a huge mess on both sides of the ball and so desperate that they bought back Chris Henry after swearing they wouldn't. I love Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson but it still looks like its the Steeler's Division. Cleveland is too beaten up and just looks and feels disorganized. They still need to learn how to win the important games.

I think that this could be the year that Game Time
Click images for desktop size: "Game Time" by NFL Films
Jacksonville upsets Indianapolis for the AFC South championship. Dungy is tired, Manning is coming off a serious surgery. The Colts did little to bolster their roster this season while Jacksonville proved that they've learned how to win. They could romp this year. I'd still pick the Colts for the Wild Card though.
The teams in the AFC West were a bad joke last year. They've done little to step up. You have to give it to San Diego by default.

The NFC East is interesting. Four desperate teams. With no D-Line left I can't see the Giants repeating, maybe not even making the playoffs. Jim Zorn is a fascist and totally unknown as a coach and the Redskins still need a QB. Philadelphia is angry. I don't think they've got the fire to win but could make the play offs. Which leaves the Cowboys. I don't like much about the Cowboys, including their signing of Tank Johnson and Pacman Jones. The Hideous Sun Demon But at least they want to win. I think they will, if they don't blow up in the locker room.

The NFC North is as big a mess as the AFC West. No team made serious attempts to bolster their rosters this year. The Bears were a joke draft day. The Packers will spend the season recovering from the Brett Favre fiasco. The Vikings still have Jackson at QB and figure they did all they could the year before. So, for years its been chic to pick the Lions to breakout. I'm a slave to fashion. I'll go with Detroit.

The NFC South is easy. New Orleans. The Saints went and filled needs. Dru Brees has proven he's an elite talent. Reggie Bush should follow OJ Simpson and have his break through season now. It took Simpson three years and an impressive display in the All Star game to break loose. Reggie Bush has too much talent to not follow that trend.

There must be something about the West. The NFC West is nearly as big a joke as the AFC West. Seattle has no one to challenge them yet.

I wish it were as easy to pick a President as it is to pick football. Obama's choice of Biden as a VP leaves me with no confidence. This seems not like a choice for "experience". It sounds more like business a usual instead of any sort of change. I've heard of nothing yet to convince me he's for real and plenty that makes me distrust him. And the stuff I dislike about him doesn't come from the maggot McCain supporters but from his own camp.
Click images for desktop size: "Anime" by Unknown
McCain is a lying jackass jackal. I almost want to see him elected to see how he finishes off destroying America. That is what he and his diseased cronies would surely do. His supporters deserve the carnage he'll surely leave behind.
I'm still searching for someone I want to vote for. The Libertarians keep grinding the same rhetoric of the past 20 years. The Green Party is invisible.
I just don't know.

The dogs want to take me for a walk. I have calls to make and motions of trying to make work to go through.
Much going on, none of it at all bad at all.

August 26, 2008

The sword is not for killing. The sword is for protecting that which is precious
Korean Proverb

Invisible By Stag
Click images for desktop size: "Invisible" by Stag
I was awakened in the middle of the night by something slimy crawling over my face.
Maybe it was death but probably it was a cat.
My valiant dogs did nothing to protect me. The giant dog jumped up on the bed Friday the 13th-Mother's Dayjust to make sure I was completely awake. A couple of hours later I managed to fall back asleep.
In those groggy hours I thought about stuff. I thought about why I like Korean films so much. I almost consider South Korean films their own genre.
I watched a movie last night, "Santa Maria". The sub titles were duff but I could follow it well enough. It looked like it was going to be a light comedy. The first half was.
A Seoul Homicide detective transfers back to his home town as a traffic cop. He does this so he can spend more time with his son. Before he even hots town he has a run in with his old childhood friend/enemy, now a cab driver. They had a huge falling out over a girl Yon Hee as teens. When they were doing their military service (compulsory in Korea) the cab driver was his superior and he made the cop suffer.
So now the cop uses his traffic job to totally harass his old friend. The cop moved into his childhood home and the cab driver is his next door neighbor. Of course the two sons become best friends and the cab driver's orphaned niece develops a crush on the cop.
There's plenty of amusing banter going on and it was a slight but pleasant little story.
Then it got ugly real, near heartbreaking. The cops son tells everyone his mother is dead. The cab driver thinks some ugly thoughts abut the woman he doesn't think he knows.
The mom isn't dead. She's in a vegetive state from a degenerative disease. The cop borrowed 100,000 from a loan shark to keep her on life support. She's been on life support for five years.
President Bush - Sports Illustrated
Click images for desktop size: "President Bush" by Sports Illustrated
The loan sharks show up in the small town. They want their money. They seem inept and they are comical. They are also dead serious. They kidnap the cop's son.
At the urging of the cabbie's son and with his own concerns over the kid's well being the cabbie goes with the cop and mets up with the loan shark.
There is a brutal and savage fight. Shockingly tough. The cabbie is pummeled mercilessly. The cop can fight and does his best but there are too many of the enemy.
They are at a dock. The loan shark stands on the cop's head so he has to look as one of the henchmen ties the kid to an anchor off a boat prow. The henchman throws the anchor overboard.
As the anchor winch unwinds the cabbie freaks and starts to scream that he'll pay the debt. He'll pay, just don't hurt the kid.
Of course , later that night, he is shocked to discover how The Giant Claw large a sum he has agreed to pay. But he doesn't back down from his promise, even when the cop tells him not to worry about it.
There's a touching scene where he is in the yard talking to his son. The cabbie is heavily bandaged but lies extravagantly to his son about the big fight and the honour of his wounds. Combined with earlier scenes and later the film takes on a serious weight. Villains and cardboard are replaced with real breathing people. No bad guys, no good guys just people trying to survive in a world that sometimes threatens to overwhelm them. Surviving it with pride, dignity and innate beauty.
There's still some amusing moments. The cabbie has been saving to buy a new cab so he has the 100 k. They go to the bank to get the money only to discover that his wife has changed the password on their account!
Consoling the cop he drives with him and the cop's son to visit his wife. The cabbie is shocked to discover that the cop's wife is Yon Hee, the woman he and the cop had their huge falling out over.
What follows is heartbreaking. Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
Some of it for personal reasons. The young son sits with his comatose mom and pours out his heart. He tells her she has to let his dad go. His dad loves her but its all too much for him now.
Its accentuated by the cop telling the cabbie that Yon Hee broke up with him when she discovered she had the disease. He found her again and told her that any time they had together would be worth it to him, so she married him and for 4 years they were blissfully happy.
The two of them go back into her hospital room as the kid is finishing his monologue. Then there's that sound that I've heard 3 times in my life. Its the ugliest cruelest sound in the world. Its the sound of the ekg machine's flat line alarm.
The mother dies. Some might think it a bit much that she died with a tear in her eye and a breathing tube down her throat. I didn't.
Green Glove That night the cabbie goes to his wife and asks her for the password to their account and explains in full honesty what he wants it for and why it is important to him. She, tearfully, tells him how she feels and about how she feels that he married her only because he was mad with grief about losing Yon Hee.
They talk and the talk is real.
In the hallway the kids and the funny father eavesdrop.
The next day the cop and the cabby get the money. And that ends it. The movie becomes just a window onto an episode into a group of people's lives. With laughing crying and all that's in between.
The bad guys aren't seen again. The presumption is that they're still out there loaning money and threatening people. But not these people.
I like Korean movies. Even the slight films contain elements of humanity. That they know that in drama their are moments of comedy and wry cynicism, and that in comedies there are moments that make us sad and sad reasons that make us laugh.
Jacques Tati and Chaplain were hailed as geniuses for trying to turn those same themes into movies. Just the attempt got them hailed.
"Santa Maria" is not a great film by any stretch, but I enjoyed it like it was a great movie. I enjoyed it the same way I enjoyed movies when i was a kid. Movies could reaffirm things I already knew and show me things I never imagined. From giant dinosaurs that squashed people underfoot to loves that burned as bright and true as hope in a child's heart.
I like Korean movies.

August 25, 2008

This morning my bad dream is awake and walking the streets of New York City
Steve Van Zandt

Ferris Wheel
Click images for desktop size: "Ferris Wheel" by Unknown
I'm getting worried about healing.
I've got two wounds. A scratch from the cat that is just about healed. It's five weeks old. A gouge in my shin that's over three weeks old that is barely healed.
Farenhehit  451 I used to heal fast. It was one of my greatest talents. I never used to get sick. When I got the measles as a kid I had two spots, chicken pox gave me one lump. And wounds would be gone in two or three days.
Maybe it was that over abundance of healing white blood cells that led to my getting leukemia. Who knows. Everything has a price in the USA, so who knows.
The brand of leukemia I have/had has at least four names. The only one I remember is lympho ballistic. When you depend on medicine being precise it bugs me that my brand has four names.
My friend says its just that I'm getting older. That's scarcely consoling.
I'm feeling as okay as usual. Its just something to worry over.

A few people have noticed that I've shut down comments on a few entries. Now it worries me that people have even noticed.
No great mystery or rewriting my history here. The only deception is against the comment spammers.
This blog and my puppy's blog were getting nearly five hundred spam comments a day. Movable Type's Typepad Spam locker and Askimet kept them from appearing on the sites but it was wearisome cleaning them out. Annoying as I'd get bored quickly and just delete all the comments en mass. That was hardly fair to the few people who took the time to write something to me, to you.
The way spammers work, it seems, is they send Freaks out robots that look for Movable Type or WordPress blogs. When they get a hit it launches a script that automatically searches for entries allowing track backs and comments. They like to look for older entries that they assume will be overlooked by the site manager.
Then they inundate it. The idea being that google's robot will scan the site and note all those links. The end result is that the spammer's client will raise up higher in their google page ranking. Stupid google.
Getting to the top ten on a google search is worth serious money. I guess google has to have some criteria for automatically deciding where to put a site so we can find the most useful info.
I'd be more impressed if google and yahoo could at least manage and update their databases correctly. After a year on Movable Type they both still index and show links to the old WordPress php based urls. That's just stupid. Especially since the yahoo and google robots eat up over a gigabyte of bandwidth a month scanning the this site.
Eiffell Tower by Albo
Click images for desktop size: "Eiffel Tower" by Albo
Anyway, the spammer's are generally lazy. Figures, right? They like to saturate the same post over and over again. Two of my puppy's posts received about 300 spam comments a day.
The easiest solution is just to turn off comments for that post. Crazily that works. The spammer's scripts don't seem to react to the fact that they are doing nothing. I expected better.
I don't very often do more than that. Reporting the spammers is a waste of time. Since our government tacitly approves of spammers there's not a lot going to happen. Everyone knows this. I have reported about 4 spammers. Only because I get angry about bestiality and porn sites spamming my puppy's blog. It infuriates me that their is even a chance that some kid, and my puppy's site is mainly visited by children, might have to deal with something as designed nasty as a bestiality site makes me quietly enraged.
Friday Foster I search the ip (well recorded by Movable Type) through arin's whois service. All the ip's have an email address registered with arin for dealing specifically with abuse. One abuse is perpetuating child porn or pandering porn to children. I've never received any sort of response from any ip. Twice I got auto-responses. They don't care. Why should they? There's no penalty, no redress against them or their clients. They probably just whack the spammers with a surcharge for excessive bandwidth usage and then make a donation to the RAIA.
Evil. So evil. But its business and business isn't about the future and children. Its about money now.
There are some spammer's who are a bit more persistent. When their robot advises that a post has been shut down they search for other posts where comments are allowed and begin to spam them.
The only solution there is to completely block the ip address. This only works if you pay a hosting service for hosting.
I don't much like blocking an ip. Most spammer's use dynamic ip's. (Means they change periodically). It bothers me that some kid who likes to laugh at silly dogs might get a blocked ip and not be able to see a picture of the puppies.
But blocking the persistent ones seems to work. So far I've had no spam for the past 3 days.
I don't know if that is worth worrying about some kid my puppy and I don't know yet.
Have to wait and see.

Juan Gimenez
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Juan Gimenez
This weekend was pretty good. Too hot for me. People labor under this idea that LA is hot. It isn't. Like we get 10 days of rain a year we get about 14 days of hot weather. Most of the time it is monotonously the same: Comfortable.
I do much worse with heat and humidity than I do with cold. Odd that.
We didn't do anything exiting, but it was nice just having my friend and the dogs together for a while. I got pancakes and fried potatoes. I like that. We went and got dog treats . . . made some home made organic flea spray which seems to work about as well as the store bought stuff . . . I think it costs more to make though.
Watched a couple of interesting movies but I have a lot to do today. Mostly including fixing my bike, mowing some lawn and cleaning stuff as well as seeing what minor injuries I can inflict on myself today.

August 22, 2008

Please let me wait for the train to arrive
Arthur Lee

Over The Rainbows By SW4
Click images for desktop size: "Over The Rainbows" by SW4
Its been a year since my puppy and I made our big move.
Some of it hasn't been easy. here's been a lot of fear, financial hassles, rage and growing and adaption pain. We were happy where we were. The Exorcist Not completely but with our foster dogs, our local friends and non-crazy neighbors we were happy.
We knew the world and it knew us.
We're happier now. With all the grief and the grief yet to come it was the right unregretable thing to do.
My puppy has grown into a beautiful dog. She continues to delight and amaze me. She's become her own person but the two of us have only gotten closer.
For some reason this has got me thinking about the last dinosaur.
There had to be a last one.
The dinosaurs didn't go extinct on a Tuesday at 3:00 o'clock.
I guess they actually did, because when the last one died that was it.
But as long as that one was left walking around the species, the race continued. Not with much hope but one dinosaur refused to die and held on to life as long as he or she could.
Yoshitaka Amano
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Yoshitaka Amano
With all their digging around in old bones those scientist guys still don't understand much about dinosaurs. They don't even know if they could think, let alone what they might think about. They don't know what kind of dinosaur was the last one or if it was male, female, young or elderly and wise, whether it was spotted or green or brown or loved or in love.
I think that if a dinosaur was unique enough to survive the holocaust that killed the others it may not have been unique in all things but it had to have some things in it that were unique. It had to be gifted in some things. Or else why would it survive when everyone else was dead, gone.
I don't think I have ever felt lonely. At least not like other people describe loneliness to me. I have felt alone.
I'm sure the last dinosaur had to feel alone. I don't think it was a terrifying sense of being alone. If it was the dinosaur could have chucked himself into a tar pit or one of those bogs like those guys were always finding themselves snagged in.
He wouldn't do that. Why survive only to die?Devil's Story (Nazi Zombie)
It had to be jarring to wake up that morning and realize that he was alone, completely alone. To know there were no others. No others.
It had to miss his friends and family. Those baby dinosaurs he cavorted with when he was a baby, maybe she missed the babies she had raised and fed and taught to hunt and forage for food.
If it were me I would miss my enemies the most. Friends and family give us love, support and companionship. They give us a reason to live.
Our enemies give us a purpose for life. We have to survive our enemies. We have to struggle to fight them and protect our loved ones. The relief of having our enemies suddenly vanish would be out weighed by the atrophy that comes with no struggle. Life is a struggle. Without the struggle it isn't life, its only existence. Who needs to merely exist?
As the last dinosaur wandered his swamp or his plain or his desert did he look up at a dust filled sky and remember when the sun used to bake his bones and remembering did he let out a mighty roar and then stand dead still waiting for a response, a sound he could convince himself was a reply.
Did he do this everyday for as long as he lived, knowing that there would never be a response, but he felt obligated, or he needed to check to calm himself.
I bet he stood in front of a drying pond and looked at his dino reflection in a puddle and thumped his tail rapidly on the ground while he danced his little matingEnter The Dragon dance. He remembered some happy times that always reside even in the most brutish brain.
When he noticed the little scurrying mammals (who would have gotten more brazen with the paucity of dinosaurs to stomp on them) after he tried to eat them did he try to befriend them, play with them? Did he try to form an uneasy alliance of the huge with the small? Some symbiotic relationship?
Could some miniscule monkey that evolved into man have raised up to survive the evolution wars because he had a giant dinosaur to act as his muscle?
I think the last dinosaur would tire of that rapidly. He would want to stand with the other giants, he would remember that, remember when he was many. He would dream of contentment and decide that his survival was more to him than being a servant.
I think about the time when the last dinosaur would heave his bulk into the mud and before he became oil, or bones for grave robbers to ponder over he'd have time to consider his life. I'm sure his mind drifted back to those times he lived in and he remembered and smiled.
He didn't pity himself. Burning Sun
Click images for desktop size: "Burning Sun" by Unknown
He didn't think of how lucky he was to have been the last of his kind, how he managed to live past his time and get to see the birth of a new world. a world that was the same as his but so so different.
I hope in his last moments he looked out across the plain and saw gray sunlight playing across the backs of creatures he had never before need to acknowledge and before he closed his eyes the final time I hope he decided that it was time for him to go. He had done all that a dinosaur could have done or could have wanted to do.
Then he could cry himself to sleep as he mourned the passing of his mighty race knowing that being a legend, passing into myth was not as good as living.Fallen Angel

I like to think about dinosaurs.

My friend took the gentle dog to work with her today. I'm glad for him. It feels lonely without him. The other two didn't help dispel that feeling. The giant dog stood in the window yapping! My puppy howled.
They're sleeping now.
My friend has a week off next week. Six days anyway. Actually 3 days, cause 3 of the days are the weekend and Labor Day.
It will be my birthday.
We're too broke to do anything special but it will be special anyway.

August 21, 2008

The awards and things are nice for my family. All I care about is playing better every day so I can do my part to get this team to where it should be.
Rey Maualuga

Attack On A Wagon Train by Russel Charles Marion
Click images for desktop size: "Attack On A Wagon Train" by Russel Charles Marion
My ebike is driving me crazy.
Late Tuesday I started it up and it ran beautifully. I rode it around, filled up the tires and was mildly excited.
Wednesday I turned it on and it sat there.
I was dispirited. Tinkered with it a little.
Help Nada. I figure that somewhere in there is a wire that is heating up when its running and then separating and shorting. Except I can't find it. Its more confounding as the lights all work fine like this. That should help narrow down where the glitch is but it doesn't seem to.
Then this morning when I was out with the dogs I decided to turn it on just to aggravate myself. It fired up right away. I turned it off for a second and then flipped it back on and of course it was as dead as Dicken's coffin nails.
With the new ebikes floating around $2,500 there's a bit at stake getting this thing going.
My vision is fading. My left eye is only useful for giving me binocular vision. There's no way I could pass a driving eye test.
I need to get my little bike running.
I was so insane I decided that the dogs were sabotaging the bike. They figured that more biking time for me means less walking time for them . . .
Audrey Hepburn
Click images for desktop size: "Audrey Hepburn"

My friend finally and truly has finally finished her year end stuff.
I don't quite accept that either but it seems to be true.
She even took off yesterday (if working from home can truly be called taking the day off) to go to get her physical.
She's lost weight. 104 pounds (7 st 6) is not cool for someone 5' 4". But that's the only negative. Weight can be put back on.
To celebrate the clean bill of health and the end of the marathon trudge through financial records we had a mini-celebration. I barbecued some fish.
This went pretty badly. I figured sole and cod would be very nice.
This was a mistake.
Cod and sole do not grill well. They crumble up nicely and fallThe Dead Next Door through the slits . . . I never knew that before. I suddenly remembered that the only fish I'd barbecued before were swordfish and shark. I suddenly knew why.
I'd rubbed it down with alder wood salt (that my puppy's chef relative got for us), margarine and key limes. It smelled good at least. In trying to save it I dropped a big chunk on the ground. I think it hit the ground. I couldn't swear to it. Three dogs were on it faster than I could move my eyes.
It ended up making a very interesting fish medley. Not to bad at all, really. I think the dogs liked it a lot more than we did.
I got an email this morning asking me about coaching. I called just now. They want me to pay them six hundred bucks for the season . . . I think its a serious obligation to give to children, to help them to have a life greater than your dreams of the future. But paying to do it?
This guy explained that its to cover my expenses, buses league fees etc.
I don't feel its a scam but I can't afford it and if I could I'd donate the money for footballs or some other equipment. My time isn't long enough to pay to give that little time away. Maybe if I wanted to learn about coaching or get something on the CV (resume) but I think I've got enough rep left to not have to pay to coach.
And that's sort of how its going right now. Odd cycle. Nothing terrible happening, some good too, but overwhelmed with the not so good.
That will all change if my Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Unknown" by Unknown
dog's flea stuff arrives today. I hope but its like "hope for the best but expect less". This is the final day for the shippers due date for delivery.
I'm not looking forward to fighting with them about a refund.
I got the weed whacker repaired last night so I plan to while away the day doing yard work.
Chances are pretty solid that I'll hurt myself in some minor way so that it will at least seem that life is progressing back to its normal space.
One thing that keeps life normal is that the dogs all remain incredibly happy. Yesterday we went for our usual walk but this time my friend came along. It felt very different. It was different for them for sure.
They were even happier and were totally exhausted when we got home. (Not so exhausted that they couldn't swoop down on fallen fish pieces of course.)
Of course it made no difference to my puppy. She was just pleased to get us there and back.
She's like that.

August 19, 2008

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.
Eddie Robinson

Carlo Carra
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Carlo Carra
There are 41 Trojans on the US Olympic team. Six more Trojans are representing the countries of their birth.
Some of them played football as well.
I don't think USC will be playing for the National Championship this season. The defense certainly looks good enough to beat anyone but the offense does not look as blessed.
Daleks-Invasion Earth Every player on the offense is a stud. They have talent, they have technique but it will be too long before they start playing as a team. They could end the season as the best team in the country but it seems to much to expect that from them in the first half.
The O-Line is a huge concern. The kids are too young. I kept a 200 page play book for the O-Line. I'd pare it down until the guys could learn it and get comfortable.
They have to learn the plays and they have to learn each other. And in the middle of all that they have to reassess themselves and be capable of brutal self criticism.
And they have to be able to talk to each other, read and inform, ask for help and recognize when a teammate needs help.
Its not easy. Transformers By Hasbro
Click images for desktop size: "Transformers" by Hasbro
They are benefitting from getting to practice against a D-Line and a set of Line Backers that are frightening in their intensity, desire and talent. But I worry about that. We all have a need to feel happy. It sticks to our skin, this need to be comfortable, at peace. When a child or a dog is abused daily they seldom settle into a nasty funk over it. Instead they learn to think that the abuse is all they are entitled to. They feel uncomfortable when they aren't being abused and beaten. They think the diminution of themselves is happiness and they are not capable of seeing it any other way. Thy think the constant lessening of self is love, is happiness.
Pete Carroll is a good enough coach to be aware of this and to deal with it accordingly. If you just want to coach football you have to be in the NFL. At every other Curucu, Beast Of The Amazon level you have to be a shrink, a dreamer, a surrogate parent in .love with your changing charges - in other words a coach.
But the young men on the defense have no responsibility like that. There job is to throw their bodies around, to respect their opponents and their teammates and to win. Its difficult being a huge 18 year old kid and to suddenly be all over TV and playing in front of 100,000 strangers. Especially when all you know is that day in day out for the past 2 months you've been getting your head handed to you by a teammate who likes you.
The next worrisome defect in the team are the wide outs. Johnny Morton was a fine player and a decent coach but he is not motivating his charges. There's no receiver who stays focused throughout an entire game. Steve Smith was the best receiver USC had in years. He learned and he took what he learned to making the winning catch in the Super Bowl.
Right now this corp looks like it will catch the bomb on 1 and 10 but blow the easy fade when the games on the line. They all have some incredible talent, gaudy talent, but there doesn't seem to be the all consuming desire to win.
On every big, important play it seems like their minds are someplace else when the ball is in the air.
Kids who would come to me wanting to play wide receiver always worried me. Too often they wanted to play wide receiver because they got to stand way out over here and look over at that big pile of violence that was going on in the middle of the field, like it was something outside of them, something they couldn't be responsible for or to.
I get something of that from this group. They know the glamour of Youth By A Reflecting Pool by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Youth Reflecting By A Pool" by Maxfield Parrish
the position and they've worked hard to develop the skills required. (Although all of them need work on their crack back blocking especially with the way the line is looking.)
The QB situation doesn't worry me greatly. I want Mark Sanchez back for a lot of reasons. Least of which is his giving the team the best chance to win. He does that. He's a clear field leader. But mainly, I like to watch him play.
Mitch Mustain has me confused. I saw two of his games in Arkansas (on TV) and he was unbelievable. Now he seems reticent and confused.
There's not that much difference in prestige or pressure playing at Arkansas or at USC. The system seems tailored for him to succeed and blow people away. I can't imagine what's going through the poor guys head. He is clearly working so hard and seems so focused and committed to winning.
The Day The Earth Stood Still As good and dimensional as Aaron Corp has been looking I still give a big edge to Mustain. He knows how to win and wants to. Like some actors I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of the star light erupt in his eyes on game day.
I don't think SC will have a weird melt down ala Michigan last year. I still can't see them not winning the Pac 10 for the 7th year in a row. They'll be in a bowl game.
Who knows. Maybe I'm over estimating the opposition. Right now I see them not covering the spread but beating Virginia. Ohio State will be a coin toss. It could end up being a 3-0 game.
Whatever I can hardly wait.
The weekend of my birthday at 4:00 will begin another year of beauty.
I love football.
(I love my friends and my puppy too.)

August 18, 2008

You might as well say I see what I eat is the same as I eat what I see
Lewis Carroll

Cole Phillips
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Cole Phillips
Huzzah and haroo!
With all the pleasantness of the Olympics and Michael Phelps shattering records, the Jamaican runners, NFL pre-season football, the Dodgers taking 2 of 3 from Wild Card leaders Milwaukee, and even with the stories and videos of USC'sCult Of The Cobra spring practices, even more exciting than the glimmer that Mark Sanchez might be ready to play against Virginia, one thing has made me giddy like a school girl.
My friend has finished her year end stuff.
Not completely. All that's left are t crossings and i dottings.
She got to take yesterday off (after a 14 hour day on her Saturday). She spent most of the day recuperating. Ambitious plans just vanished while she tried to heal up.
She spent most of the day napping. Oddly this fit my puppy's schedule perfectly. My puppy thinks playing and fighting are only for when the food dish is empty and the naps are all finished. The naps are seldom all finished.
So it was a dull day by most standards, but I found myself immensely pleased. Sometimes its fun just being lazy.
I am having trouble sleeping. Its an old pattern. Deep sleep for 45 minutes then trying to scratch my way back to sleep.
I used to do square roots in my head. Open Arms
Click images for desktop size: "Open Arms" by NFL Films
I'd calculate my exact age as a decimal to the day, then I'd take that number and do the square root. If I got the root number past 5 decimal places I'd give it up and not bother even trying to sleep.
Now I play the old Lewis Carroll invention "Syzygy". Its a word ladder game. An easy example is "Turn a cat into a dog". You change one letter at a time into a word until you get to the word you want to get to.
  1. CAT
  2. CoT
  3. COg
  4. DOG
My big variation is to take two words at random that happen to have the same number of letters and go from there.
It generally works and I usually fall asleep. Its more effective for Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride me than self hypnosis. (Tensing than slowly relaxing every muscle in your body and them pretending you're on an escalator going down while you count backwards from 100).
Or sometimes I can watch a mediocre movie . . . I watched "Return To Oz" this weekend. I rather like the flic. I like most thinking about the exec who green lighted the film. A sequel to one of the most beloved movies of all time that has Dorothy visiting a shrink for shock therapy treatments!
Its hardly shocking that the film was reviled and a huge flop. But I liked it then and still do.
Watched the very good "Black Belt". Its a unique film that started from a unique premise. Instead of actors the director. Shunichi Nagasaki, hired true black belts and then taught them to act. it pays off. I can't imagine how hard it was to nurse maid 3 inexperienced actors through their parts but it paid off. They are all believable in their complicated roles.
The ineffectual guy, who was wounded in the opening sequence was a 1st dan, the nominal hero who explores the philosophy behind bushido and karate was clearly 5th dan Shotokan (the highest belt Shotokan awards). The protagonist, the one who strays to create his own path was 6th dan (Japanese Karate Association-JKA).
Their opponents in the film were also black belts so the fighting is as lyrical and jarring and as brutally sloppy as real kumite.
It was interesting, to me, to compare the screen fighting with the other great real life fighter Bruce Lee. Lee once said that karate was like a steel bar hitting an opponent while jung fu was like an iron Naruto Masashi
Click images for desktop size: "Naruto" by Masashi
ball at the end of a chain.
This movie made that clearer to me than the years I spent in martial arts training.
I also watched a free episode (from iTunes) of a TV show called "Primeval". It was terrible. They messed up everything. The premise is dinosaurs roaming the streets of modern day England.
Now granted that sounds cool but they forgot the important things, like everybody knows dinosaurs only appear in earthquakes and atomic bomb tests. Dinosaurs all love kids and dogs. They only stomp on and eat adults, which keeps a natural order to the universe. (Except the Tyrannosaurus Rex, which are just too tough and crazy).
When you mess up the basic facts the show becomes unbelievable. And the CGI was wretched.
Also watched a vaguely amusing series called :Kung Fu Killer". It starred David Carradine as a monk who wanders the west . . . The west in this case is west Shanghai.Creatures The World Forgot Carradine still can't fight but he's got the branded tattoos.
This isn't the old TV series or even a spin off. See, in that one his name was Caine. In this one his name is Crane. And that makes all the difference . . .
Every Sunday we watch an episode of the old "Kung Fu" so we should know . . .
Today is to be spent in waiting for the mail man. I ordered some more flea stuff. The dogs are tearing themselves to pieces with the fleas.
I still blame cats. Almost all fleas in North America are designated as cat fleas! There's my proof.
Tried Zodiac. I've always liked Zodiac's pyrethrin spray but there topical 30 day treatment lasts about 3 days up here. Advantix worked well for about two weeks . . . so now I'm trying Advantage which is Advantix without some of the other stuff for mosquitos etc.
If this works poorly its back to Frontline. Which just costs an awful lot.
Now I'm calling the phone company. Reducing the service to the bare minimum. I sort of want to go back to Vonage but can't get a commitment from them that my old Vonage router will still work in a different location. I don't want to have to buy a new one.
There's also the scary idea of having to move to a "dry" or "naked" dsl. Internet connection with no phone line.
It can be done. They have to string a second phone line in while disconnecting the old one. A bit of a hassle no doubt.
And if the weather holds I plan to mow the yard.
A bit messy a bit scattered a bit unpedictible. Smells like life.
I like it fine.

August 16, 2008

The city that day
Matt Skiba

Nykoli Aleksander
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Nykoli Aleksander
When Mark Spitz won his seventh gold medal in 1972 I was in hospital getting cartilage scraped out of my knee. It was a magic time in sports. Miami going undefeated, The Oakland A's with all those cool names (Catfish Hunter, Blue Moon Odom) blasting through the Big Red Machine (Pete Rose, Johnny Bench) in the world series.
Cat PeopleBut it was Mark Spitz that everyone was talking about. The day after he won his seventh medal I was hobbling around and went to the hospital gift shop. They had a rack of Mark Spitz posters with him wearing red, white and blue trunks and seven olympic gold medals around his neck.
Then Mark Spitz was everywhere you looked. Billboards, magazine covers TV. I remember him on a big deal Bob Hope Special where he wore some strange Chattaqua outfit complete with a straw hat and bamboo cane, and sang and danced a duet with Bob Hope. He was terrible.
He was even worse on the "Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour". He couldn't act, tell a joke or sing a song. He was as bad as your next door neighbor would be on TV. (The next door neighbor who always refused to throw your ball back when it went into his yard. That neighbor.)
It sort of amazing that we never had to see Mark Spitz in some Superfly knock off movie, or see him in some big swimming movie where he mentors Captain America some loser kid to super stardom.
I'm sure the offers were out there so I suspect that it was his decision and not the exploitation producers. The whole thing is we kept watching. Seven gold medals and as terrible as Spitz was he always looked like he was having fun, as much fun as we would if we were in his place.
Then abruptly he stopped it all, went back to IUPUI (Indian University-Purdue University-Indianapolis) and finished up his dentistry degree . . . dentistry . . . is anything less fun?
A lot of guys on TV were stunned by this. I'm sure Spitz's agent wasn't too thrilled either. There was an awful lot of commentary about how dentists have the highest suicide rate in any profession.
The same people who were (fairly) bum rapping his abilities on TV were now bemoaning Spitz's proposed absence.
I thought it was cool. Even my parents had long serious discussions about whether Spitz was doing the right thing.
One thing that they mainly ignored was Mark Spitz's hair. In an era when swimmers routinely shaved their entire bodies in an effort to get that dolphin like streamlined thing going. When they showed that a single lock of hair could add one thousandth of a second to your time Spitz didn't shave his body and he wore a mustache and a moddish haircut.
When every coach and parent in the US was yelling at their kids to get a haircut Spitz's arrogance and confidence seemed totally cool to us. And being cool he became a hero.
I don't know much about Michael Phelps. Like most of us I only really heard of him just now. I know he's from Michigan, or at least goes to Michigan. Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
He's got a website, but nowadays, who doesn't.
What I do know is he tied Spitz with seven medals. He's got a shot at busting two records. He can get an 8th medal and join Spitz as the only athlete ever to win every single event he entered. Rah.
I hope he follows Spitz's career all the way and becomes an aggravating fixture in the media and then after he burns all the fun out of being super famous he calmly and happily goes back to his life.
How cool.

My friend is still working like a mad woman.
She had visions of being finished yesterday but encountered a major snafu involving misappropriation of funds or at least unauthorized use of nonexistent funds or something like that (over my head). It wasn't malfeasance just bone headed and wrong.
Since part of the snafu's guy's job is to prevent this sort of thing its becoming a monstrous undertaking getting it sorted out. Count The Hours My friend also has to move around the cash to cover his "bad checks". So, well, the hope is she'll finish today and slowly get our life back.
She didn't take a dog with her today. Seems foolish to me. Dogs are very good at this sort of stuff.
She told me about an email she sent out with the subject line, "The Year End That Wouldn't". Which is a pretty good joke for an accountant (controller).
She was looking at this website in a browser instead of the rss feed. She was pretty impressed with how it looked.
I like how the pages look here. I don't think she understand that I can reread my story just by looking at the pictures.
The words really are here just to frame the pictures.

August 15, 2008

The worst troubles I ever had came about because I tried to justify things spiritually instead of just seeing things as they are. It's the world we've made.
Julien Blythe

My Home Planet by Macwindows
Click images for desktop size: "My Home Planet" by Macwindows
I managed to upgrade to Movable Type 4.2.
It was the easiest Movable Type upgrade I've ever done. The only things it broke were a couple of plug-ins. That was my fault. I always upgrade to a new directory and save the old one for the expected emergencies.
Broken The main joy in the upgrade is the increased speed in generating the html pages. It took it 4 seconds to regenerate all the indexes on this and my puppy's site. It used to take a few minutes.
Other than that I was sort of disappointed in the fact that the interface didn't go through any changes at all. I don't much like the colors, so I was semi-hoping. (Not big time. I don't want to wear out my hoping muscles or use up any luck on the mundane.)
The only other thing to note is an odd tic. Now when the search engines crawl the site it generates an entry in the activity log for every tag as it crawls. Very peculiar.
Its more than a touch aggravating as I note that Yahoo and Google both still heavily reference the old WordPress php url's. Which, of course, now sends people nowhere. The only reason I notice is that, and I'm embarrassed about this, Microsoft's clunky search engine is the only one that's become accurate.
My feeling is that if Microsoft can do it, it must not be that difficult.
The dozens of activity log entries are mildly annoying. I'd expect it to be fixed soon. It could just be the way I've set up my tags.
One of the biggest positives is that Comment Spam has become almost non-existent. It still happens but from 500 to 600 a day to two or three a day is pretty exhilarating. It also means I won't be so aggravated as to accidentally delete the real comments when trying to weed through the enormous list.
I don't use the web interface to post so I can't speak to it.
Nothing else seems to have much changed.
Click images for desktop size: "Death" by Unknown
Maybe it was thinking about all my kids competing at NFL camps around the country and the handful of kids in China, but installing the upgrade sent me into a nostalgic mode about an old web app called Coranto.
Coranto was a perl based "news" writer. I installed it on the kids web site (since down, the host that donated the free lifetime service went bankrupt. A sad time for a kind man). The beauty of Coranto was that in the days of CSS 1 I could give the kids a password and they could go in and write a news story, upload a picture with the story and "wham" have it appear on the web page all neat and prettily laid out with their byline! And they could do it all from their browser and never had to learn any html code or layout! A lot of big time news agencies used Coranto for their web sites too so we looked like we were competing.
It seemed pretty miraculous at the time . . .
Of course Coranto and all the other news writers rapidly evolved into blogs, Captive City which rapidly evolved into CMS and, now, social networking sites. (Another feature of Movable Type I'm not interested in so I can't say how well it works.)
I liked those old days of excitement. The excitement of seeing something you typed actually show up and for some one else to actually read it! A couple of my kids had the moxie and chutzpah to use their little stories on the web site to promote themselves jobs in the press.
I'm as proud of them as I am of my kids who are struggling with the NFL camps right now.
I've been up since before four. Couldn't sleep. My friend worked another 14 hour day. I hope she's coming to the end of the project, at least that the project ends before her health does.
The dogs have all come in, one at a time to see what's up with me. My puppy came in first, then she left to let the others come in and now she's wrapped around my feet. She doesn't look worried. She just looks happy.

August 14, 2008

Empty cartridges and blood fill the gutters in the street
Marshall Tucker

Knotted By Joel Faber
Click images for desktop size: "Knotted" by Joel Faber
Not feeling well. Better is the Brit-Speak: I'm feeling unwell.
Nothing I haven't felt before. It has just become more annoying as it goes on.
I keep thinking that I'm near the end of the road. Its been a great trip. More dips and valleys then a sane person could accept as normal, but its been good.
Body And Soul Not ready for it to end.
I can still laugh and I can still enjoy my puppy fighting to get close to me. I still like the sound of the guitars making like a mini-symphony with more grind.
Just tired and unwell. No big deal. Just the unwelcome thoughts going through my mind.
I always worry some. It keeps me cool and unpanicked, I think.
Alkaline Trio are on tour. I think about seeing them. I figure I'll be disappointed but what a nice way to be disappointed.
There's a lot more movies I need to see. There's a mystery that needs solving and the key might be locked inside of one of those frames.
Battle Of The Amazons There are stories I haven't heard yet. People, real and fictional I haven't met yet.
When my mother got depressed. (I always remember her smiling and giving me something to eat . . . she couldn't cook, at all, but I remember her handing me food). A divorced mom, barely out of her teens with a rambunctious son had plenty of reasons to be depressed back then. The only solution for an uneducated woman was her own cottage business or to marry well, or at least better.
Anyway, when she'd get depressed she'd tell me the story of somebody, I think it was one of the Eastman's. This fellow woke up one morning. Photography had been his life, not taking pictures but creating the cameras, the tools and the film. That morning he awoke and realized that his art form had progressed as far as it possibly could. There was nothing left to create or to perfect. No one would ever take a better photograph than Stiglitz or Cameron or Weston.
Thinking there was nothing new and exciting in the world, that his art was perfected and that his work was done he calmly shot himself in the head.
Later that day they announced the Polaroid Land Camera. Instant photography . . .
As a kid I never understood why my mother gathered strength thinking about Polaroid cameras. It still baffles me.
It bothers me still that she allowed herself to get so depressed that she had to think about some rich guy blowing his brains out.
I guess what matters is that she gained strength, strength from a story. Strength to carry on from a story.
For me, that's the important part.
Start-Trafalgar Square
Click images for desktop size: "Start-Trafalgar Square" by Unknown
And like my buddy Jim used to say, (Jim was the guy who I did that radio show with) "It doesn't matter what we play. There's always somebody out there who will like it."
Morbid thoughts.
My birthday is coming up soon. Too many birthdays for me to care.
I used to use my birthdays to gauge what I'd accomplished, what I'd gained in the past year. I used to spend the day deeply analyzing this.
Since my goal for the past few years have been mainly to stay alive there's not much need for introspection there. Its a pretty binary question: Yes or no.
But I am alive.
I'm pretty happy, happier than I'd thought I'd be in a long time.
I want to stay alive. That also seems pretty binary but, unfortunately it isn't.
I need my own story.
The Bride Of Frankenstein I think I have one. I write it every day.
That sounds trite. It is. I need reminding sometimes.

To distract me I'm updating the website to Movable Type 4.2 Pro today. It will probably break stuff. The updates usually do.
Since Movable Type has spun off a side bar Open Source Project and since 4.2 has been in open beta testing for about 90 days, I have a bit more confidence in this update than I usually do.
The best part about Movable Type is that it generates those stationary html files so even if I break anything you probably won't notice!
Which means I get all the sweaty nerve wracking fun trying to figure out permissions and perl code. Hotcha cha . . .

August 13, 2008

Only a fool wants to live forever
Fai Shi Kun

Gas By Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: "Gas" by Edward Hopper
I got stung by a hornet last night. They made a nest in the mailbox.
It hurt but no real after effects. I'm still pretty non-allergenic, I guess.
One of my kids got released from his NFL team yesterday. I feel badly for him.
He's one of my kids who I always had the hedging feeling that I failed. Not athletically. He did a great job there. A Study In Terror This is his first failure.
Failing doesn't mean much when you expend no effort. Its another thing to fail when you've given it everything, when you've created the dream and then done everything physically possible to attain the dream. Its when you don't add in the mental toughness that I get worried.
He's a man now. This would have been his fourth NFL season.
People always ask about what I mean when I say that turning a young person into a stud athlete isn't my job.
When I was eleven years old my friend Tom and I were great Little League ball players and we dominated Pop Warner.
Baseball was the love of my life. Our coach was the father of our pitcher. I found out years later that the coach had been in the major leagues. He never had an at bat but he tore up Triple A ball and kept getting called up but never seemed to have gotten a real shot.
He and his wife were divorced. The time he spent with his son was as our coach.
He seldom came to our practices. That was fine, we just played pick up games. He gave me one coaching tip in 3 years. It was a good one about how to shade a batter with runners on; how to read the batter to see if he's trying to hit behind the runner or hit away. It took him about 14 seconds. He was drunk. He usually was. That tip stayed with me forever. It was invaluable.
I wondered if Bill Lancaster played ball in our league. He once had a mad crush on a friend of mine. She was gay so it was pretty unrequited. I never got to ask him. Bill wrote "The Bad News Bears". Walter Matthau played a drunk little league manager.
The Alligator People During games our coach would sit in the dugout next to his cooler. He drank about a beer an inning. He was pretty ripped by the 7th. We turned in the line up cards at all the games.
During games he muttered a lot but never really talked to any of us. I don't know if he even knew what the score was.
Thing is we won our league 4 times. We advanced into the World Series sectionals twice.
As kids we didn't care much about things other than playing and winning but as an adult I always figured that people always congratulated our coach and told him he was doing a great job. Maybe he was. Maybe a bunch of poorer kids playing in a rich guys league needed that kind of coach. I can't reflect that properly.
By the time I was getting recruited by colleges I was a superb athlete. A true stud. I was also a pretty poor substitute for a human being. I was arrogant, close enough to sociopathic to at least Anime by Fleya
Click images for desktop size: "Anime" by Fleya
consider that as a job description. My only contact with any shred of humanity was via my unbridled affection for dogs.
It was my running backs coach at SC who took the time to be more concerned about me as a human being than as a stats machine. I mean he took time.
We were pretty successful then too.
But that is the kind of coach I wanted to be. It was hard, much harder for me than just learning the drills and to watch a young person and see if there was an athlete in there. Its harder to see the person inside the body.
Anybody can teach you to run faster. But it takes someone special to give you a reason to want to run faster.
Its about building self respect, self esteem and teaching the young people entrusted to you that they have a value to society and to the world and that that value carries with it responsibilities.
Somehow in my tiny brain greater talent and value carried with it even greater responsibility. Responsibility to your teammates, to your family, Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla to the neighborhood, to the kids watching you play and foremost a responsibility to yourself.
A responsibility to uphold those things that make you what you are; that make you proud of yourself on and off the field. And when things look bad because you hold to those believes you can rely on your teammates, your family and your neighborhood to trust in the kind of man you are and support you and stand with with. And, of course you can always rely on your coach.
If I had learned that simple minded stuff when I was eleven I know I would have been a better player and a happier human being.
I would have been less sociopathic. I'd probably still be as arrogant as I am today.
Comes with the territory I guess.

August 12, 2008

An Experiment

Hieroglyphics By DeBerardinis
Click images for desktop size: "Heiroglyphics" by DeBerardinis

Wild Rockabilly Collection from the Twilight Zone - Obscure and known collection

Death Race 2000

The Juicy Fruits - "Goodbye Eddie",
from the movie "Phantom Of The Paradise"

The Alan Price Group and the theme song from Lindsay Anderson's "O Lucky Man!"

Billy Ledbetter is out
"Stealing Hubcaps"

New offense looks to level the playing field for smaller schools. Looks like fun too.

Little Steven & Southside Johnny duet on
"If I Were A Carpenter"

Click images for desktop size: "Living Underwater" by Unknown

The Dickies
"Nights In White Satin"

Neil Gaiman's "Stardust" is more enjoyable then it looks. Worth the rental.

Death In Vegas performing the swirly neo-psychedlic "Scorpio Rising"

Microsoft continues to believe that evil is better

Boston Celtic Punk fusion band Dropkick Murphys does "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya"

Why did these guys break up?
The Stems and "She's Fine"

A Cry In The Night The Sonics get back together and they sure are old but they remain unstoppable. Live in Norway.

The Strangeloves pretended to be from Austrailia to compete with the "British Invasion". They didn't need to lie. Often covered, never equalled "I Want Candy" still rules.

Endless summers with Jan & Dean
"Sidewalk Surfin'"

Good Advice. Former Trojan on being a rookie in the NFL

The Ventures mix the blues and reverb and make what I think is their best record with
"House of the Rising Sun"

The funniest comic strip since "Calvin And Hobbes"; "Pooch Cafe" is about dogs and people. This is merely a sample.

To end on that proper wry meloncholic touch, Me First & the Gimmie Gimmies rip through "Over The Rainbow"

Its been a rough few days. Much business. Nothing bad but exhausting nonetheless. All is well.

August 10, 2008

Don't be like a tree. Trees get chopped down. Be like the moss by the river. Living where ever there is food and light.
Daniel Kwok

Ninja Princess
Click images for desktop size: "Ninja Princess" by Unknown
It's hard to say which is the biggest shock: Russia and Georgia declaring war on the first day of the Olympics, George W Bush behaving like a buffoon and going to the Olympics to frolic while the world burns, or Mark Sanchez (USC Starting QB) dislocating his knee playing catch, Ohio State suspending two players for two games against AA opponentsIt Conquered The World but making sure they're eligible to face USC or the fiasco/soap opera that saw retired Brett Favre end up a New York Jet. Bret Favre was always one of my favorite players. His openness and candor about his life on and off the field was praiseworthy. His brilliant performances on the field made legends no press agent would ever imagine.
When Favre retired it was at the top of his game. It left many of us in tears.
His coming out of retirement was . . . I invested so much emotion in watching him leave the game I was more irked than pleased about his 12th hour decision to come back. Then to disrupt his team to that extent . . . and now, with the Jets, he seems to have revoked one of his greatest claims. Sandy Koufax is the only other athlete at Favre's level to ever leave the game with class and dignity. I always dream about that "One more season" but the legend and memories are more burnished and glowing because Koufax left intact.
Favre has thrown in with Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, Marcus Allen and Joe Namath as guys who moved on and played more on their reputation than their talent. Favre will have success and some failures but he's tarnished the beautiful dream. It's hard to forgive something like that.
That's disappointing but not really shocking.
Ohio State suspending players is regrettable but understandable. Who can forget Joe Paterno suspending 4 of his starters the night before the National Championship game and Penn State still went out there and thumped heavily favored Miami.
That Ohio State bent over backwards to ensure that the punishment of the players would not impact the team is disgusting. As long as the "Big Ten" and all eleven of its teams continue to place money before the development of their athletes into young men and community leaders I will continue to hold it in low regard and with the contempt Shoot The Piano Player I usually hold for unworthy opponents.
Yeah, I want Ohio State to face USC at full strength. I played against Ohio State 3 times. They are the biggest bunch of cry babies I ever played against. Every loss was because they got improperly flagged for an overt illegal dangerous play. Or, my favorite, their players got hypnotized by the beautiful LA weather . . . If they had to lose two starters and lost they'd be crying all over to the press about how the Trojans cheated by exploiting their lesser players begging for another chance to be humiliated in the National Title game. The school still makes big bucks the TV appearance. Why risk tens of millions of dollars for something as mundane as a young person's future?
Sadly the Big Ten, Ohio State and the NCAA don't shock anymore. This is their standard.
George W Bush continues to prove he is a selfish boor. He can take time off to fly to see the Olympics but he could only spare a "fly over" of New Orleans when the crisis there was at its worst.
I am pleased that no athletes have gone on record saying something about how the President inspired them to victory or something of that nature.
Even the President's "huh" attitude towards the tragic murder of the American tourists wasn't shocking. In fact Bush will only shock me if he ever does something intelligent, or caring or something not in keeping with a typical arrogant loser.
I don't know enough about present day Russia or Georgia to understand the how's or why's of their war. I haven't been to Russia in over 7 years and then it was a country in wild upheaval. A country demanding change.
Clarence Holbrook Carter
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Clarence Holbrook Carter
War is always a shock. A stunning condemnation of our status as human beings. I hope this war is about something not money or about the lies the government spreads. I doubt it, but I still hope it.

Yesterday the giant dog got a bath and a haircut . . . he still hasn't quite forgiven us. For some reason he holds me as almost solely responsible.
If I can get some more decent photographs I have a post nearly ready for my puppy's website. That will, hopefully stop people from being mad at me.
As it is I'm just waiting for the sun. And a walk with the dogs.
So far my only reaction to the Olympics has been overwhelmed by the pictures of Beijing. It appears such a fascinating city I can't really grasp or emote over the proud athletes efforts.
I'm just waiting for the track and field events.

August 8, 2008

You can't keep a good man down unless you hit him really hard

Before The Storm By Vaclav Krivnek
Click images for desktop size: "Before The Storm" by Vaclav Krivnek
I learned computer on Macintosh. We used them for sound controllers and digital recordings in the studio. We also used Excel on them, back when Excel was Mac only.
I got frustrated with Mac for some pretty silly reasons I don't even recall and got a 386 Windows PC. It was madness but I'd spent the money. It did a good version of a Mac especially when playing Sim City. I didn't mind Lotus 1-2-3 and Text Adventure games were an okay diversion.
Cleopatra PC clones really couldn't compare to the hardware that Apple churned out. But Apple stuck to that dull one button mouse. It was easier to work in Black & White on Mac. The color was sort of dreary, even compared to VGA. So I went along with Windows up through Windows 95.
I messed around with Linux. I liked it but the sound recording and editing apps left a lot to be desired. Sound was a hassle in general.
Then along came BeOs. I loved it. I had to dual boot so I could use Sound Forge in Windows. Everything else I did in BeOs and smiled.
I understand how Microsoft fan boys can happen. You spend so much time learning how to make the computer work so it will do some mundane task that you get high faluting ideas about yourself. You think you're an expert. Linux was cool for somethings, especially scripting and some light programming but BeOs, I just did my work and didn't worry about anything else. It just worked.
The built in file indexing meant I never lost another file. Every chore was easy and working was just that, working, not crashing out, not dying Reveries By Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Reveries" by Maxfield Parrish
and wiping out hours of work. I even loved getting error messages. They were always an thoughtful haiku.
Microsoft got busted big time for illegally destroying BeOs. They had to pay a huge fine that they didn't even appeal.
I wandered along with BeOs for a while but with no new development it seemed pretty futile. So I switched to Windows XP. I thought it was a huge kludge joke. It basically corrected the total ineptness of the Windows ME world and was hailed as . . . the solution.
I hated it.
A fellow named Scott something or other was the huge prophet for BeOs. He was a writer and programmer. He wrote some coolness scripts for mp3's for BeOs that I adored.
I read an article he wrote lamenting the passing of BeOs and guardedly suggesting that the new Mac OSX while not as complete as BeOs came close, making up for its shortcomings with some advantages (java support for one).
Voyage Of The Rock Aliens I got an iMac and gradually began to accept it. For music it had improved. For graphics it was tres cool. I feel in love with it when I got my 12 inch Power Book, that still runs well today.
I never looked back. Then the iPod became a huge cash cow, then the iPhone then . . .
When I got my new iMac (mostly as a gift), it came with a Mighty Mouse. The mighty Mouse is a beautiful looking thing. Apple's first TWO button mouse. The little scroll ball is a pleasure to use . . . for a while.
For some asinine reason Apple designed the Mighty Mouse in the same over priced disposable mode as their iPod. The problem is that the little scroll ball gets clogged quickly and easily. Even constant cleaning of your hands can't prevent it. Suddenly you can't scroll anymore.
Apple knows this happens. They have a web page devoted to cleaning the little scroll ball. it relieves the issue for a few days and then its back. No scrolling.
The cleaning process isn't that easy and its too stop gap. When you search the web the solutions for cleaning the little scroll ball are insane. One guy says he gets good results by filling the mouse with denatured alcohol and then whipping it around his head to clear out the gunk!
The other modes are insane and involve a few hours of bisecting flimsy plastic parts (and praying you can reassemble them and glue them well enough to work and not look too ugly) in order to clean the little rollers.
Apple clearly knows this is an issue. They're ignoring it.
As the Mighty Mouse runs about eighty bucks shipped this hardly seems like a disposable gadget. Considering I can get a logitech that's ugly and not as comfortable but WORKS for less than 20 bucks it seems either Blue Morning By Shifted Reality
Click images for desktop size: "Blue Morning" by Shifted Reality
ridiculous or of the same arrogance that Microsoft has shown over the years. The get what you get and shut up attitude.
I've got two Mighty Mouses (Mice??) and I swap back and forth between them and then swap to the logitech when I get too frustrated.
With Apple's refusal to come down in price, the proliferation of iPods and iPhones and the increasing shoddiness of their supposedly high end line I notice that Ubuntu is free and looking better and better.

I've been getting castigated (even by adults) for not updating my puppy's web site. It's hard. For 10 months my puppy, my little blind dog and I were a trio. We had adventures together. Real adventures that fascinated the two of them, me and the kids who read her web site. We were going to have a big adventure hunting lions at the Lion's County Safari near us when the little dog passed away.
1935 - a night at opera2xs.jpg My puppy is doing fine she's still laughing and telling me bad dog jokes but its hard for me to get the joyousness that the little kids deserve and sometimes need.
Checking the logs her website normally averages 40,000 visitors a month. Its fallen to about 25,000 right now. I'm touched that a few thousand people are still watching the little movie about the little blind dog.
I'm working on it. Honest. I have to take the pictures and get into the mood. I'll try.
My friend has still been working insane hours. The 4 days lost to the Windows crash made her miss her deadline by one day. Still, she's closer than anyone else. I miss having her around.
Tomorrow the giant dog gets bathed and clipped. He's such a mess and his coat so heavy as to defy the consumer quality clippers that he gets to go to the groomer.
Its a car ride. All by himself. He'll be so pleased until he sees where we're going.
Totally stoked to watch all the videos of USC practices. I'm shocked at how well the defense is playing and even more shocked at how good the offense looks!
So far Mark Sanchez looks like the hype that surrounded him coming out of high school was less than he deserved. The O-Line makes mistakes but they are so fast its staggering! Speed can correct a lot of mistakes. Since they're almost all freshmen and the one returning starter is on the bench the unit is becoming less of a worry to me.
Twenty two days until Virginia. I can hardly wait.
I'm holding on well. Some pain but not so bad that I can't resist loading up on pain killers. Who could ask for more than that.

August 7, 2008

You can't let the fearful control your life

Zavh By R Lattrell
Click images for desktop size: "Zach" by R Latterll
The cat passed away last night at 7:25.
Earlier in the day I had her outside resting in the sun while I mowed the grass. She enjoyed it. She preened in the sunlight and stretched herself in the warmth.
The dogs were pretty peeved by this. The cat was on their favorite perch and they always get locked in when I have the lawnmower running. (My puppy watches me intently from the window, the giant dog gets up on his back feet and looks through the door window).
The Phantom Of The Paradise When I bought the cat back inside I was confused. She seemed tired but content. She purred loudly and slept comfortably.
I took her outside again for the second half of the mowing. She didn't object but didn't seem to enjoy it. She lie there pretty unresponsive. I always checked on her every few minutes. I bought her back inside when I saw that there were flies on her and she was doing nothing about it.
She took some water by hand, twitched her tail and seemed to fall asleep.
About 7 PM she lost control of her bowels. She meowed in complaint when I cleaned her up but was happy to lie back down on clean towels and cushion.
A little bit later I got a brief phone call. As I hung up the cat made a deep groan like meow. I sat on the floor beside her. She trembled for a short second and then she was gone.
I gave her some mild CPR. I waited a few minutes until I was convinced she was truly gone.
I emailed my friend to tell her. Then felt that was callous so I called her office. (She was still working on her dead line, she was until 3 AM) I told her the sad news.
Because I like almost all animals in general (except cows and bugs) I'm saddened by the cat's dying. I'm more worried about my friend.
This is the second loved one she's lost in less than two months. That's a harshness; a cruelty.
The Mummy's Hand My little blind dog's presence still hangs heavily over us. Its hard to accept that he's gone. (And though he was clearly my little dog it was my friend who raised him and tended him and loved him, even if she didn't know that she was holding him for me, she felt that the little dog was hers.)
The cat loved my little blind dog. She would always work her way to get next to him. He was never too impressed with that. He'd always wake up startled to find a cat cuddled up next to him!
My puppy always gave the little guy a hard time about that. Called him a "cat lover". He always vehemently denied it.
I buried the cat by one of the little dogs favorite trails, one he would drag me through all the time.

Yesterday was busy for me in other ways.
As I mentioned I mowed the gas. It was in bad shape. We couldn't afford gas for the lawnmower so it was overgrown badly. There's over a quarter acre of grass to cut with a push mower so it gets tiring for me. HK Pepnix
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by HK Pepnix
The dogs loved it cut and played outside most of the day. When they'd come inside to check on me their muzzles were coated with green grass mush.
I called every secondary school around here. There was no one rude to me but not much interest in an unpaid assistant. I've encountered that before. Its that goony thing where people feel someone unpaid who does a good job will dilute their standing and pay scale. Maybe they're right. I've never coached in high school for money so I don't know the politics. I'm sure they're politics. There always are.
Its a good thing the game is so beautiful.
I got an email from a good friend. He was congratulating me Vertigo for things that really have little to do with me.
Four athletes I've met are going to the Olympics. I think my coaching tips to them were of my usual class ("Run faster!" being my favorite.) And I have over a dozen kids who've played don my teams in NFL camps.
All these athletes are there because of their efforts. I'm excited and pleased that they allowed me to stand on the sidelines to watch these kids develop from boys and girls to fine men and women.
Of course I'll be watching for them. I'll be cheering for them.
Some of the kids in the NFL camps worry me. Most of them I know are of the caliber to deal with all of the nonsense, but a couple of them . . .
I'm just an old man afraid to let go, I think. They'll be fine. I just wish they all make the team.

August 6, 2008

A Voice That Cries At Every Dawn

Home Town
Click images for desktop size: "Home Town" by Unknown
The cat is still alive.
We gave her Arsenicum Album. That's supposed to help ease her and maybe to help her to pass over.
I can't tell if it helped make her feel better.
You're only supposed to give it 3 times. If nothing happens then it "wasn't the proper treatment". I have no way to grasp that concept. All it means right now is that it didn't appear to work.
The Glass Key Today will be hard. If she doesn't start to improve I'm going to have to make arrangements to take her in and have her put to sleep. That won't be easy. I don't want her to suffer. I'm certain she isn't yet. She's not happy but she shows signs of happiness more often than any indications of distress.
At moments I feel like I'm torturing her just to assuage my own soul and rage. Then she starts to purr and tries to nuzzle.
I don't like cats. I don't want them or any animal to suffer. Its not easy to dislike something you've tended to, that you've cared for. The cat's important to my friend. That just adds to the gravity of what's happening.
It's selfish but I'm very glad that my little blind dog didn't go through this. He stayed happy and excited until he just quit. He went so quickly there wasn't even time to take him to the vet. He left nothing but happy and joyous memories.
Maybe I'm feeling for the cat because her state and condition reminds me too much of my own state. I didn't think I was that self centered, but who knows. The entire point of trials and stress is to see what comes out of it, to see what you are.
I do all sorts of little tests on myself everyday, checking my mind mostly. Everything changes. Everything.
My friend has been working super long hours. I worry about her. She doesn't know how to test herself and will just keep running until she can't run anymore.
She has a deadline, fiscal year end stuff. She worked about 18 hours last weekend. Then had yesterday wasted because the computer crashed. Windows. What sort of asinine system allows this: She was saving her work every thirty minutes or so to avoid the crash problem. When it crashed this time it deleted the data file . . . deleted it and blanked all the data. Blanked 18 hours of work . . . She got lucky. Where she works does twice daily back-ups so she only lost about 90 minutes of work. It took them almost the entire day to get her file restored. She got it all re-done and, being Windows, it crashed again and, of course, deleted and blanked the data file.
They were able to restore it more quickly this time but it was still the old back-up with the same 90 minutes of work missing.
Windows. And the Microsoft fan boys always like to tell me how its so much better for business than Linux or Apple.
Click images for desktop size: "Girl" by Unknown
All of this has sort of dampened my usual enthusiasm for football.
USC began camp yesterday. Almost all the players reported. Two valuable additions aren't there yet. They're freshmen and need NCAA Clearing House approval. A D-End didn't make it academically. He was good. He's gone to one of the Virginia Prep schools I've had experience with. A good choice for football but a very very poor choice for his academics. He'll be missed.
The fallacy of the BCS was shown last year when there was no USC Georgia game. Now USC is number three and Georgia the pre-season number one. Both teams faced mooks in their bowl games.
Mark Sanchez is turning into something special. He claims that he watched all three of his starts from last year almost continuously this summer. The Incredible Two Headed Transplant He's the fire that will either crash and burn or destroy. He's got the brains, the heart and the guts to be a monster.
He had better be. Super Mitch Mustain waits in the background. This kid has been proven under fire in the SEC and has fit into SC brilliantly. In 3 years he'll lead USC to the National Championship. The O-Line is scary. Not in the good way. All young, all monsters but only 3 weeks to become a unit. I think that as the season goes on they'll become true monsters and start to blow up defenses. Unfortunately they start off with Virginia and Ohio State. A rough place to be learning. If they can survive those two they'll come out of that destructive and unbeatable.
Running backs . . . Stafon Johnson and "OH NO IT'S" Joe McKnight. And 4 other guys who can stomp and run and cut. Stanley Halavi as a true FB keeps it scary and sweet.
At wide receiver there's nothing but talent and not one guy who stepped up to even approach his potential last year. Sanchez and Mustain can go down field. They need these guys to stretch out and make some catches. (Isn't that the most obvious statement ever made.)
Tight End will be fine.
The defense will be even better this year if they get a decent nose tackle. They don't even need great. LB and FS have all the greatness you can imagine. They're projecting 4 first round picks here including the incredible Taylor Mays, Brian Cushing and Ray! Pure destruction.
Today they take the field for the first time at 5:30. I'm anxious for the reports.
Mountain White Flower
Click images for desktop size: "Mountain White Flower" by Unknown
Its a beauty that is real and will distract from the reality so close at hand.
I'm calling the high schools around here today and volunteering to coach. I'm hoping for something positive or, at least, encouraging.
I've decided my health isn't where it needs to be to work with the little ones in Pop Warner. They need more than I've got. It bothers me because Pop Warner is always hungry for experienced coaches. Little ones are too important to risk doing a bad job. That said, I might consider it if nothing comes from the high schools.
That might sound wishy washy but I've thought it through carefully.

August 5, 2008

You know what, kid?

Awakening By Walter Girotto
Click images for desktop size: "Awakening" by Walter Girotto
My nights have been filled with nightmares. Death and destruction dreams. Omens of things ending.
It might be the ill health of the cat. That is wearing. The cats still alive. I don't know for how much longer. She moves on shaky legs but purrs when you pay attention to her.
The end I keep feeling down my spine isn't that calm. Its a wild end caused by bombs and governments.
It's a dream but filled with Latin brass and Teenagers From Outer Spacevivid syncopated percussion. Not dreams of others deaths. Not dreams of guilt but dreams of innocence.
Death crouches like a dog waiting for scraps.
I'm walking. It could have been for hours or more. It could have been longer or no more than a few minutes. I feel the heaviness in my legs and the fatigue in my hips. I can't tell. My brain is as numb as my fingers, toes and the ice cube on my face that used to be my nose. I remember that Dante postulated that the Final Circle of Hell was not fire but ice. He believed that the only way out of Hell was inwards.
I keep seeing faces in my mind. So clear the faces blot out the landscape. (Death crouches in the corner, stinking like a beggar.)
I try and blot it out and concentrate on my steps, keeping one foot moving always one foot in front of the other.
My eyebrows are frozen into sparkling spikes. They give off brilliant flashes whenever I blink. Its a nice diversion. One foot in front of the other.
I think that my steps are growing shorter. I can't tell for certain. My legs have long been numbed by the cold.
I stop rubbing my hands together, trying to get some feeling into them. (death crouched.)
And my eyelashes! They must weigh a ton. So hard to raise them more than a slot . . . A slit, a slot, a happy thought . . . My brain was dancing. My puppy was off dancing to the tune in bright green pastures. She's begging me to come dance with her.
There are others calling out to me too. I hear voices and barks. They all want me to come with them into the warm and to dance and not be bothered by the weight of my body any longer.
The Big Knofe My voice is shaky, thin. It barely sounds like my voice at all. The only song I can think of is "Beautiful Dreamer." "Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me . . . "
It feels hard to stay awake. I was in the middle of nowhere. I can feel unmarked paupers grave vibrating underneath my feet. I feel the vibrations shake my body through the dirt and through the snow and ice I feel them. "beautiful dreamer, wake unto me."
I have to stay awake. I was in the middle of nowhere and (something) sat crouched and waiting. I thought it wouldn't touch me. I was the Beautiful Dreamer. "Weave a circle 'round him thrice, and touch his eyes . . ."
My eyes kept sealing shut. The icicle eyelashes, the swelling frostbite on the eyelids, the terrible aching desire for sleep makes me close them. It doesn't matter. I'm still on my feet. One foot in front of the other. I'll just rest my eyes (touch his eyes with holy dread) for a moment and keep on walking, the important thing is to keep on walking. Go ahead. I'm not going to meet anyone along this road. "Beautiful Dreamer."
Arabian Girl By Le Revant
Click images for desktop size: "Arabian Girl" by LeRevant
I hear someone shouting; "For he on honeydew has fed." A voice from the night, a voice that was a rasp that the wind caught and smashed almost before the words reached my ears. Then I realized it was my voice. That made me laugh. Keep walking. You're not going to meet anybody.
But I did.
With an effort I forced my frozen eyes open and saw that I had wandered into a copse of tree. The trees all looked like naked men and women, naked people who were all running from the icy wind. The copse was on the edge of a deep pine forest. Where was the road? I was hip deep in snow, leaning against the trunk of a sturdy blue spruce. For some reason the tree reminded me of my mother. And there I saw him. Him. In the same cluster of trees. Crouching. Waiting.
I tried to talk. It was only a low whisper. It hurt my lungs to talk. "you've been looking for me all along, haven't you?"
the big sleep-6.jpg I sat down in the snow. It felt so good. Eyes so tired (touch his eyes with holy dread). And as Death wove his circle around me, I felt the frozen lines in my face crack into a smile. I don't know if my lips moved but I wanted recite the last lines of the poem "For he on honeydew has fed . . . " Its going to be all right now. Death wouldn't stay too long with me. It had another appointment.
"And drunk the milk of Paradise," was all I could whisper.
You're supposed to wake up when you die in a dream but I couldn't close my eyes, so the snow swirled in and filled in the open slots while it blanket me in brilliant white.
And then Death went on up the road.

August 3, 2008

He was a man so much like other men that he seemed unique

Click images for desktop size: "Nautilus" by Unknown
Our big pizza party had a hitch.
The giant dog stole the frozen pizza off of the counter and made a line for the corner of the backyard. Before I realized what had happened he finished the whole thing . . .
My puppy and I spent the day ostracizing him.
Teenage Caveman Strangers On A Train He has to figure out how to make three bucks to replace our pizza. If he ever stops laughing I plan to tell him so.

I had the cat out for an hour or so. She kept trying to find a dark nook to hide in. I spent the time dragging her out and putting her in the middle of the room.
The improvement in her walking was noticeable as she worked her leg. Towards the end she even managed to climb the child gate to the closet without too much difficulty.
She's way too thin. I'll keep working on her. She's no stoic. She's uncomfortable, I think but not really suffering.
I still don't know if she's going to make it. She's old but its anyone's guess as to how old.
She did noticeably better when my friend held her in her lap and stroked her.

"Mary Shelly Overdrive" is a band that's doing something I like.
They're giving away their newest EP. Seven Songs, all covers. Cool covers too - Bo Diddley, Devo, Antiseen. Cool stuff. You can download "Hideous Sexy", their album by clicking on the name. The cover art is included and it is uber cool. Very much worth seeing. I also like the caveat on the album: "If you try and sell this music we will find you and we will kill you". Grrr-eat stuff.
The only thing I'm not too wild about is the music. Disappointed. They do serviceable covers of some great songs, but, for me, the sound is too dark and cavernous. Doesn't mean you won't like the noise they make. Everything else about this project is totally right headed. It is definitely worth the bandwidth to download the tracks (oh yeah, all 192k mp3's, encoded with iTunes). If you're in a band the package should get you excited about getting your music out there.

I saw "Red Cliffs" last night. The big big movie Chine made sort of for the Olympics. Its based on a six hundred year old historical novel, the most popular book in China. The characters in it and variations permeate and form the base of most Chinese fiction, written and movie. Its a very cool movie. What keeps it from greatness is that its in two part! The second part due out in December.
John Woo returns to China with a flourish. He's done a sweet job of encapsulating Hollywood and Chinese story telling techniques. Its cool and all the lead characters are memorable and lovable.
There's a scene where two of the leads are feeling each other out trying to figure on a military alliance against the bad guys. Neil Doshi
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Neil Doshi
They don't talk instead they play a duet on those wild Chinese dulcimer like things. When the duet finishes the visitor gets up and leaves with barely a word. His companion follows after him and says, "you never even asked him about going to war!"
The advisor replies, "He told me in his music. He will fight for freedom."
Back inside the wife asks the general, "What was that about?"
The General replies, "I heard it in his music. He needs a friend."
That put me deeply in mind of Del Shannon and the new album of his I got: "The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover".
The albums from 1967. In '67 the charts were dominated by The Beatles "Sergeant Pepper", (I know its getting considered as the greatest album ever made. I've never been able to listen to all the way through. I've heard all the tracks. Some I really really hate. A couple I think are okay. When you're not in agreement with the greatest ever its a time to consider Soylent Green getting out of music . . . ) Jimmy Hendrix, Cream and the burgeoning Hippie Movement.
A couple of years earlier Del Shannon had been touring in London. He met Andrew Loog Oldham (best known as the guy who made the Rolling Stones and for wearing tons of eye makeup.).
A lot of American pop stars went to England after they discovered just a how badly the Americans and the RAIA had ripped them off.
Oldham and Shannon recorded an album. The label shelved it because it wasn't psychedelic . . . Shannon was rightly stunned. Songs like "Stand Up" show an evolving talent that was encapsulating his urban vision to a world view, keeping the teen aged fighting spirit. Shannon's take on relationships remain quixotic and passionate.
The label had Shannon return to America and work with a new "hep" producer. The new album got close to Shannon's skin. The title reflects it. Charles Westover is Shannon's real name. "The Further Adventures" part refers to having to make a second attempt to get out a record, at least on the surface.
On the record the producers showed, at least that they had a grasp on the power of Del Shannon. In an time where concept albums and "Rock Operas" were the new vogue he realized that Shannon was composing teen operas from the start. Shannon didn't need to 24 tracks to tell a deep story. He could so it in 2 minutes thirty six seconds.
They recorded "Runaway '67" a rococo stab at wildness, trying to plant Verdi onto pop. With its chiming mandolin and dark brown string section it nearly works. Regretfully the rest of the tracks take off from that basis. It does have a few cool numbers. What project by Del Shannon wouldn't?
Shannon's cover of Boyce & Hart's "She" has a certain power where Shannon cuts through the Mujer con Rebozo Azul
Click images for desktop size: "Mujer con Rebozo Azul" by Unknown
strange production effects.
"The House Where Nobody Lives" shows that Shannon could walk away with any project. He was a major talent as a song writer and a performer. The production tries to undercut this but fails.
The best thing about the disc is that it gives life to the shelved album.
Listening to this and to the last album of Shannon's career, before he pulled a Cobain and shot him self in the head with a 22 rifle, songs like "Walk Away" show that he retained his clear vision and knew his tools and power. I'm always reminded that Shannon learned to play ukulele at age 4. His mom taught him. He taught himself guitar. He got kicked out of school at age 14 for playing the guitar in class!! He perfected his guitar chops and vocal style screeching and wailing the school bathroom.
The guy's talent was eternal and too brief.

August 1, 2008

You fool! This isn't an audience. It's a trial!
H.G. Wells

Lion Waiting In Nambia
Click images for desktop size: "Lion Waiting in Nambia" by Unknown
Bad news on the cat front.
She's still alive but early this morning she started mewling. When I checked it seemed she'd lost the use of her back legs.
I examined her pretty fully and could see nothing surface apparent.
My little dog who got pancreatic cancer; after her surgery she had to stay in a crate for almost two weeks. Slaves In Bondage Like a bedridden human her tendons shortened and she had trouble walking when she was finally released from the crate. I'm hoping its the same situation here.
The cat has gone off her food as well. My pancreatic dog went off her food as well at about this time. The cat purred at me this morning. I take that as a good sign. These are the only things I have to go on.
The gentle dog went into work today with my friend. The gentle dog was thrilled and quite considers it his right.
I just have my puppy and the giant dog with me today. I'm planning to put them out in the yard and then let the cat roam the house on her own for a while. Hopefully this will give her the exercise to stimulate her appetite and work her muscles. She showed an interest in her food even if she didn't eat much of it. The interest she showed gives me hope.
If she doesn't show signs of recovering . . . It makes me fearful. I don't like cats. I lived with them. I've met a couple cats I do like but I just don't like cats. But I don't want the cat to die. I seen enough death. I've lost enough friends, human and animal, to know that death is too permanent. Every death leaves a hole in my life, in all our lives.
For locking the dogs outside and risking exposing them to cat I got a cheap-o frozen pizza. Just the kind we like. (We are not quite as impoverished today.) We put odd junk on the pizza and then we split it up and feast!
Aside from the complaints that I get more than m,y share cheap-o frozen pizza always sheers them up. They'll forgive me.
Leopard Woman
Click images for desktop size: "Leopard Woman" by Unknown
Thanks for everyone for voting for my puppy's picture. You can stop now. She went from 7 to nearly 70 votes. There's no prize or anything. I meant it mostly as a joke, I think. Maybe one of those half kidding jokes . . .
I suddenly realized that since my little blind dog passed away I haven't been taking pictures of the dogs. I used to take pictures almost daily.
It somehow isn't as much fun. That's not right. I love my dogs. Even my dogs I don't know well or haven't met yet.
I think that his passing shocked me. Sturdy reminder of mortality. Mortality sucks even if it does give everything before it some significance. Instead of getting pictures I'm just enjoying the dogs' time with me.
I'm doing laundry today too . . .