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August 30, 2009

When foolish men stand at the top the people under them suffer needlessly
Shinoro Honrio

Chain by KRM Photos
Click images for desktop size: "Chain" by KRM Photo
I saw the space station in the sky tonight. It was cool. The humidity has cast a haze of the stars and The Avenging Conscience made them feel soft and distant but the light from the space station cut through the haze and seemed to burn pure and white.
Because I look all white sometimes people say the most outlandish things to me; hateful bigoted things. The things they say are so inflammatory and stupid and they prove the stupidity because they say them to me thinking that because I look white I probably agree with them. I don't.
It bears repeating. I've been around the world. There aren't many places I haven't spent some time. I know instinctively and in my heart that no person is better than me and I know that I'm no better than anyone else. Same way I know that all governments are inept, cruel and corrupt. The governments started with the softest and best intentions usually end up being the most vile.
My personal politics is closest to the Great Depression inspired Humanitarian Populism. Which in simplistic terms believes in the general absence of government with deep misgivings about the essential governmental services. There's also the belief in communal living with all members of society contributing to each other in a genial barter system inspired not by amassing wealth but in group survival. I'm not anti-wealth but it makes more sense for the guy who provides the best products and services to amass the most of others stuff. A middle man, a reseller is a predator, and a government that steals from its people's stuff to enrich itself is best avoided.
I think its just reasonable. Taxes are needed. People are what they are so you need cops. We have to educate our children and they need to have decent paths to school and home. It has to be paid Queen of Her Home
Click images for desktop size: "Queen of Her Home" by Unknown
for. But the people entrusted with seeing these things done should look to the community to aid in the building, not to pay to profit people outside the community. And I;m foolish enough to believe we don't need massive armies and billion dollar planes because I don't think you can ever conquer a free people.
So because I believe in freedom right wingers think I believe in what they believe in. Because I believe that we are all part of a single community liberals think I believe what they do. Sometimes I do.
Right now I am severely disappointed in Obama. He has done nothing of what he promised. He has been weak. He has kept in place the draconian crap laws that steal our freedom and lead to revolution. The only progress Obama has made on any issue is to criminalize our children should they download the wrong song. He's protected and further enriched the most scabrous contemptible non-essential greedy industry in the history of the world. I figure the next move would be to The Battle of the Sexes criminalize not paying pimps their fair share. It makes as much sense as helping loan sharks collect the interest on their street money.
He has acted in a cowardly fashion in being afraid to stand up to the right wing lunatics who attack him with impunity.
There was the idiot walking around with a loaded semi-automatic rifle at an Obama rally. First off why was there no hero going up and tackling this dangerous lunatic, this Presidential assassin, tackling him, disarming him and then kicking his face in until the cops could arrest him. There are laws Models in Space
Click image: "Models in Space" by Unknown
about bringing weapons around the president. We don't need anymore of them shot. Bush killed off our heroes. Sent them thousands of miles away to die unseen. Obama is keeping them there.
It feels like if this maniac had bought his gun to a Bush or Cheney rally he'd have been shot dead before he got within a hundred yards of the event. And even I would not have been able to raise to strong an objection.
Obama, afraid to ruffle feathers did nothing.
I don't understand why nothing is being done about the people on TV, radio and in the churches who are trying to foment violence. Who preach death and attempt to incite riot. There are laws that should cause a sweep of these dangerous domestic terrorists.
See, I didn't vote for Obama so that he could appease the Republicans and the right. They are a tiny minority who are using classless unethical tactics to steal my voice and to obliterate the people's will. And the President keeps trying to appease them instead of telling them that the trains coming and they had better get on it or get crushed under the rolling steel wheels of the people.
Obama has screwed up the health care reform. It's not going to happen. This is going to please a handful of multi-millionaires and leave the rest of us in a sick quandary. Suddenly Lyndon Johnson Korean
Click images for desktop size: "Korean" by Unknown
has become a genius.
When Johnson rammed through the Civil Rights bill, probably the most important and far seeing piece of American legislation since the Bill of Rights, no one wanted it. Johnson twisted arms. He threatened. If they were a democrat and threatened to vote against the bill Johnson let them know he would destroy their political careers, he'd see they never got another nickel of Democratic money. He bullied them to do what was right for this country.
He did worse to the Republican dissenters but he got it through, a law that said that all Americans were simply that, human beings locked in a struggle to live happy productive lives and we all had a right to that struggle.
Health Care, the right to live period is vital to us all and Obama has blown it because he can't get down there and kick the Democrats in the ass because he won't get in the Republicans face behind closed doors and show them the FBI pix of the Senator with his mistress and tell him vote right.The Big Sleep
Instead he lets them add hundreds of amendments to gut the most important legislation of the century, and then they go on TV and laugh about how they're still not voting for it.
Obama hasn't undone Bush and Cheney's commie Stalinesque laws. He hasn't repealed the idiocy of the Patriots Act, he hasn't returned the country to the people, He's kept American rights and freedoms for the rich, for the corporate and for the politicians.
I feel harsh. I'm tired of a tiny group of people preaching at me in the media. I'm tired of them encouraging the scant minority of dangerous bigots I have to deal with. I'm annoyed that the President hasn't done anything to make us proud.
I miss my puppy. I miss USC having Mark Sanchez at QB. I miss having a body that does all I imagine it could do and a body without pain. I'm tired of my country not working together not cooperating to make this place better for us all.
I probably just need a nap.

August 29, 2009

One thing I never will forget is the beauty of a friendship that's not ended yet
Roger McGuinn

High Life
Click images for desktop size: "High Life" by Unknown
It was my birthday up until a few minutes ago.
It didn't seem to mean much. Thanks to the people who remembered.48 hours1xs.jpg
My sole celebration was to go to the Chinese Buffet. It was better in my memory than in reality. Probably its just the world of memory. And not having a puppy to filch tidbits for.
I still rather enjoyed it but in a softer way than I usually enjoy these things.
I was tired. Had to run around a bit and get my shoulder x-rays. I finally got an appointment with an orthopedist. For Monday. It's a bit Doris Day
Click images for desktop size: "Doris Day"
dull that I have to hand carry my x-rays in. I got to look at them at least. I can't tell a thing, other than it's my shoulder for sure.
Other cause for birthday celebrations was I got my first pay check. It was at least 8 hours short, 8 hours that should have been overtime. I didn't want to talk to the boss about it until I'd studied and confirmed the figures. It will have to wait until the next paycheck anyway.
I got my new debit card but I have to go make the long trek to the bank to activate it. Probably do that tomorrow/today. I can't really touch the money until then. Even though it's a short check there's still enough to make a dent in my debts. That's important.
My friend has waived enough of the debt payment so I can get a new Apple keyboard. I hate having to buy it but the Logitech board is horrid to use. I hate the key feel but the monstrosity is that the keys are just small enough to force a ridiculous amount of typos. And whenever I type an A or hit tab, I also hit the Cap Lock . . . So it's frustrating.
The thing I did mostly on my birthday was play with Snow Leopard. the newest update to Mac OS X.
Back in the day an update to OS X was a sort of geeky thrill. Now that Apple has gotten so big and Life by Cole Phillips
Click images for desktop size: "Life Cover" by Cole Phillips
Microsoft continues to crumble its lacks the joy of participation.
There are a couple of things I like about Snow Leopard. Its faster and feels snappier. Too many of my standard daily apps don't work. A couple required upgrades but a couple are just dead. It also seems to have a problem burning to my external DVD Burner. Which is a stone drag.
But what I like the least is that way too many icons now look distorted and fuzzy! Like hell really. I can't figure out why. Some of the 128 px icons look fine, but others are a real mess, including some of the 256 px ones. Since OS X now permits 512 px icons this is annoying. Even stranger is that several of the pre-installed icons look terrible too. Disc Utility looks amazingly bad. It also crashed several times while trying to repair permissions. Creepy in a way I associate more with Windows than with Apple, which just goes to show how the two have grown closer in feel and philosophy.
Apple was better when it was a decided underdog, trying to appeal to the hardcore. iPods and Doomsday Special iPhones have pushed them into great wealth and success and then into tyranny and sloppiness.
The rest of the day was spent sleeping and dreaming of my puppy coming home to me. Hopefully next week. I'm on edge enough about this to need constant reassurance.
I miss my puppy. She's okay but chances are she misses me too.
My days have been filled with working nights while only managing to sleep 3 or 4 hours a day. I'm in a bit of a constant daze. Its endurable. I don't like the job at all and am sort of glad that they'll be moving at the end of September. Probably moving to a location that will be inaccessible to me.
I get asked questions.
About the girl who used a high speed grinder to make sparks fly from her body. No. I did not find that sexy. I did find it terribly cool.
It would have been the same if had been a guy up there 90% naked and touching tender body parts with power tools. I wouldn't have stared as hard at a naked guy but watching people potentially do great harm to themselves in the realm of entertainment is a rush that guys seem to enjoy.
Like I had a gay friend who got drunk and decided he wanted to get a tattoo on his rear end. He wanted a bunch of blue birds, hearts and flowers flying out of his rectum.
Whatever you think of that pales beside his decision to go to the Pike in Long Beach to do this. There are plenty of tattoo parlors on the Pike. If you don't know the Pike is a beat to death amusement park out on a pier. The area is filled with bikers, dock workers and hard drinkers. The tattoo parlors are not cute and cool artistic studios. They are old school and cater to the man who Still Life by Jan Lievens
Click images for desktop size: "Still Life" by Jan Lievens
wants his girl friends name tattooed on his chest or a naked mermaid tattooed on his bicep.
This was not the place that you would figure an effeminate set designer should be going. Of course I went along because I knew there would be trouble and none of the trouble would be my responsibility.
We got to the Pike and the set designer was sobering up. We stopped in a bar. Behind the bar was a low stage with a band where I knew the guitarist. it was a surprise meeting.
I told him what the set designer was planning to do as an explanation as to why I was in a sea front bar known for broken teeth and smashed skulls. He was there for $100 bucks a night, as the band was cheaper than replacing the juke box that invariably got busted during the nightly bar fight.
The guitarist tried to talk the set designer out of his plan. He explained it was dangerous and that none of the tattoo artists on the Pike would welcome his custom.
The set designer stood on his rights as a human being, which are true and accurate in a civilizedA Dog's Life society but this area really didn't respect individuals too well. People in the bar were already giving the set designer, who was sharply dressed, all 5' 6" of him and muttering some pretty nasty comments.
The guitarist implored the set designer to reconsider. This just made the set designer more trenchant and determined. So having done his best the guitarist joined us. he felt he deserved to see the fun after he'd worked so hard to do the right thing.
We started the search of tattoo parlors. As soon as the set designer described what he wanted to the bare chested men we were thrown out of their joints, usually with threats of violence.
I was impressed with the little guy. No matter how much the much larger, dangerous looking tattoo artists threatened and berated him he stood firm and talked about the stupidity of discrimination and his refusal to give up his right to have pretty birds, flowers and hearts tattooed around his rectum. I was also surprised that with all the yelling and swearing no one tried to punch us out.
Only one guy offered to do the job and I pulled the set designer out of there as it was obvious the guy was going to get him into a compromising position and then just hurt him.
Pin Up by JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up" by JW McGinnis
The set designer wouldn't give up. His insistence on walking into places that clearly wanted to hurt him was a lot of fun. Much better than TV.
The only negative was he finally did find a female artist willing to do the job. Since her work displayed was mainly of burning skulls and various devils I thought she might not be the one to render the set designers artistic vision. She spent a few hours doing the work. I went and listened to my friends band while I waited for him. (I drove so I had to.)
The negative was that the set designer made me inspect the finished product. The woman had seriously done her best but the work was crude. It wasn't artistic. The hearts looked like they should have been bleeding or had daggers shoved through them. The flowers were blobs and the blue birds looked like hawks. That and the fact that staring at guys naked butts is not a fave past time of mine was depressing.
The set designer went to one of the trendy tattoo artists on the strip. I can't remember his name butAdventures of Captain Marvel he was famous for doing Cher's tattoos. He cleaned the work up quite a bit. My punishment for my violence tinged voyeurism was having to inspect the new work as well.
So watching the sparking woman was a lot like that. Seeing her dance and striking the grinding wheel on the tiny strips of metal to generate the sparks, and knowing that she could hurt herself severely with a simple wrong move of a half inch or so was what fascinated me. And she was fit . . .
The other question I've been asked a lot here rather surprises me: How much longer do they give you to live?
Since I have nothing of huge value to leave anybody other than a huge movie collection and a beautiful puppy this is rather startling.
Since other doc's had given me erroneous time lines I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. I called the doctor who was happy to discuss this morbidity with me. I knew it was going to go well when the conversation started off with something like, "Frankly, I can't quite accept the fact that you're alive right now!"
The leukemia put my body through a serious beating, the diabetes is a progressive disease that just wears you down. The techniques used in Canada are different then the preferred method in America but I have to live with it. They have no idea how I managed to survive the second heart attack, the one intentionally induced by the Canadian Government which they refused to treat. They said the damage caused by that heart attack was more severe than the first one.
But I am alive and the damage to my heart, while serious is nowhere near as bad as it should be or as bad as the scarring indicates it should be, I guess.
There's no real answer to how long I can live. If I stay on my diets pretty well and keep swallowing Head Hunter
Click images for desktop size: "Head Hunter" by NFL Films
the handfuls of pills they believe I can return my heart to about 98% (Before the second heart attack it was believed I could get it back to 100%)
In other words I stand a good chance to make it into my 60's . . . maybe.
All I can guarantee is that I will live at least one more day than my puppy. After this episode I will not ever let us be separated again.

Even with the job and my constant exhausted (but not fatigued) state I can still follow football. I'm surprised and concerned that Pete Carroll has named Matt Barkley the starter. Matt has the chance to be one of the greatest QB's of all time but his senior season in Orange County was solid but far from spectacular. In practice he's looked brilliant and incredibly young by turns.
I'd just feel more comfortable with the equally talented Aaron Corp playing QB against Ohio State. The Asphalt Jungle Next week San Jose State is just a tune up game. A game I'm irked USC is playing. San Jose State has a talented Div 1A defense. Its quick enough to give Barkley a look and some problems. I hope Corp gets some time in because I still think Corp is the key to a successful season.
These 12 games a year - 12 days that these kids have spent a life time getting ready to play are too important for experiments.

I've got another year to start. I think I get to say when that year starts. It didn't start today. Today was as disappointing as Obama's plan for health care reform. It is certainly not going to start until I can start to use my right arm again, I've got my puppy beside me telling me doggish jokes, and I can get up in the middle of the night and talk to my friend. Interestingly I've compensated for the arm so well that I have either deceived everyone that my arm is fine or else everyone around me is too self obsessed to notice . . . I don't know how to compensate for the lack of puppy or lack of friend.

August 22, 2009

Battles Without Honor or Humanity
Kinji Fukasaku

Click images for desktop size: "Predator" by Unknown
One of the last memorable gigs as a band was at a benefit party. The party was being thrown by some slick, over priced arty magazine. Curse of Frankenstein-Horror of Dracula
It was one of those functions guaranteed to attract a lot of A & R people, heavy weights, stars etc. Plus the magazine was certain to give itself serious coverage. A cover story. What was amazing was that nobody in the band objected to any of the details or even the pay. It was the bands usual tact to find some highly objectionable reason to not doing these career boosting gigs . . . We had all been in too many bands and the music excited us but the business was something that just seemed to be in the way.
It was sort of miraculous that with our lack of promotion and ambition that the party promoters had even found us. Like we once got it together to mail out ONE CD of demo's to a magazine. They picked it as the CD of the month. Wrote quite a bit about it. We all read the article, tired to take it with professional maturity and then basically did nothing. We rehearsed more and got together when we felt like it.
But we got this gig and agreed to it. I don't know who set it up. The venue was huge, very nice. Had a full pub as sort of an attachment, It had two separate stages and an outdoor amphitheater that could hold a few hundred. We were scheduled to play in the amphitheater, the fourth act. I was irked we weren't the closers but the band that was closing had a single in the charts and had a brief appearance on "Top of the Pops". They were a techno-dance band and fought for closing.
I was standing at the bar, not drinking quietly, when this fellow started talking to me. I'm used to that. For some reason a guy not drinking at a free bar attracts more attention that a rowdy drunk.
This fellow was as tall as me, fair haired going to baldness. He wore khaki shorts, broken aviator Scarlet Cascade
Click images for desktop size: "Scarlet Cascade" by Unknown
sunglasses, a too large hawaiian shirt, white socks and Doc Martin boots. He was drinking tonic water and bitters.
He was excited about an act in one of the smaller stages. The act was some girl who shot sparks out of her body . . . he was so excited about it that it was contagious. I had no idea why it sounded exciting but he made it seem that way. We made a date to go see the woman's act. Then our attention got diverted by the cute little hostesses who wanted us to stop our not drinking and do our sound checks. The guy in the hawaiian shirt was in a band too.
The little hostess who was assigned to take me to the staging area explained that he was the guitarist for "Siouxie and the Banshees". She made it clear she wished she'd had him to baby sit instead of me as she explained he'd also played on some of the "Little Furry Creature" tracks. My only thoughts were that he sure didn't come off like the original Goth guitarist, he was too likable for that.
We did our sound check and then did whatever we could to stave off boredom. The Hawaiian shirtDark Passage Goth guitarist came and found me. The acts were starting on the inside stages and the spark girl was starting soon.
Spark girl was the opening act. Big mistake. The woman walked on stage to some nondescript acid trance music. She wasn't very pretty but she was fit. She knew how to appeal to guys. She was mostly The Wizard of Oz
Click image: "Wizard of Oz-Bewtween Takes"
nude. To keep it legal she had strips of black clunky metal pasted to strategic places on her body. On her head was some sort of clunky Grace Jones geometric thing. What was interesting was a high speed/power grinder in her hands.
She did some mildly salacious poses on a chair while she revved the grinder in time to the music. Suddenly she touched the grinder to her body which let off a huge shower of red and white fiery sparks. She then danced around some touching the grinder to the black strips and shooting sparks all over the place. It was great!
She ended the act by lying back on the floor and touching the grinder between her legs shooting a twenty foot shower of sparks over the audiences head.
I was pretty slack jawed. I was also starting to write songs that required an electric grinder accompaniment . . .
My time for being put in my creative place wasn't over. The Hawaiian Shirted Goth guitarist was opening the show. He had a trio he'd put together just for this gig. They were a little raw but very competent.
The Goth guitarist took the stage in exactly what he'd been wearing. He played a pink Fender. It looked customized and had a lot more sustain than you usually get from a strat.
There were about 300 people there and he treated the audience like they were guests in his living Fractal Axes
Click images for desktop size: "Fractal Axes" by Unknown
room. He was the most relaxed entertainer I'd ever seen and he was totally chilled and, of course, great!
My memory of his set was just of it always being casual, friendly and driving. But his finale was shattering. He soloed on electric guitar doing a mind blasting cover of the Beastie Boys' "(You Gotta) Fight To Party". It is now one of my primal memories defining rock & roll.
Relaxed, self assured and able to get a few hundred people dancing to just your guitar. I was humbled, jealous and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
The only negative was thinking we have to follow that!
Out of the two bands that were supposed to play, one refused to follow him and the other had a late running drummer so suddenly we had to follow that!
We did okay. Had to work is all. Made for a great show. Everything was well received.
After the set we got approached by a few managers and A & people. Signed with a manager too but at the moment Goth Guitarist and I were anxious to get to the smaller stage. There was going to beDestroy All Monsters a female fire eater! We hoped for something similar to spark girl.
The fire eater was just okay. She wore a black bikini, was covered in interesting tattoos and did an interesting fire eating routine but she didn't shoot a tower a flame 20 feet over the audience's head from her vagina and after that precedent we couldn't help but be disappointed.
Oh, yeah. The magazine came out. The article was big. Opened with a double page spread of the spark girl. I think she deserved the coverage. They ran three pix of the band and wrote about a page and a half about us. I thought it weird that they only gave Goth Guitarist two columns.
The new manager got us a couple of gigs and got us into a recording studio, We laid down about a half dozen tracks and had some fun but the drummer got married, the lead singer got a job and discovered that he enjoyed not sweating the rent and eating regular. The bass player and I got this game for the Playstation and it seemed life or death to us that we get it finished . . . So another rock and roll fantasy laid to rest there.

Working the graveyard shift is killing me. Not the jobs fault. I think I'd be having the same problem working any hours. I can't sleep. The pain in my right arm just won't allow it. The latest wrinkle is that I wake up and my right hand is vibrating wildly. Vibrating faster than I can consciously will it to. I've tried to convince myself that this is a good thing, that it means the muscles are loosening up or something.
The arm was miserable the first two nights of work. Hurt constantly. The two numb fingers felt like they were filling up with blood and were fixing to explode. They don't look swollen or anything so Bulls On Parade by Olli Pekka Jauhiainen
Click images for desktop size: "Bulls on Parade" by Olli Pekka Jauhiainen
I'm lost as to what they might mean with all the hurting.
I've worked 10 straight days. This is the first day off. In that time I learned to fulfill my work duties and keep my arm protected enough that its only a distracting issue with the occasional burst of screaming agony.
The walking and being on my feet is tiresome. I have a 3.2 mile walk to and from work, which is probably a good thing for me. Except the final mile and a half coming home I discover that I'm almost crawling up the hills. I find that annoying.
Not walking on my day off I can feel my legs having a chance to recover and heal.
The job itself is inconsequential. I have little contact with my co-workers. I only deal with them at shift change. One is fine and the other is a nightmare, but I only have to see her for 15 minutes a day so it doesn't wear too thin.
One thing that bugs me is the ever present cameras. I don't like being looked at quite that much.The Deadly Mantis
As to the job. Its just that a job. I have no feelings about it at all really. Maybe just too tired to know what I might feel.
The only drag part is after the shooting incident of my first day the landlords have evicted them! They plan to move the place but everywhere they've talked about moving would be impossible for me to get to. So its now a temporary job. Rather annoying.
So I'll get about 6 weeks in. I've restarted my job hunt, lightly right now but will step it up this week.

My puppy is now scheduled to be with me on Labor Day weekend. It think about that a lot. I want her with me. I keep seeing things that would interest her. I think about how how much faster my walk to work would be if she were there to help me along.
One interesting thing is that no one at my job has recognized me as her companion. Its about the only place I've been in this town where that's happened. Too tired to make anything of that.
After she's settled in and feeling comfortable I'm going to bring in a foster dog.

August 13, 2009

We already have “death panels”, although my insurance company refers to it as “pre-existing conditions"

Lenbach by Franz Von Hirtenknabe
Click images for desktop size: "Lenbach" by Franz Von Hirtenknabe
I got a job.
It pays more than the minimum wage. Not much more but its a small point of pride for me.City Limits
It's honest work.
Its a 40 minute walk from my house!
I work the graveyard shift. Midnight till 8 AM. As the cashier/manager of an internet cafe. copy shop, FAX service thing. With a key difference. There's a court order posted prominently on the wall. It basically says that on-line gambling at an internet cafe is legal and the fact that part of my duties are "redeeming" credits is fine so long as I do not cash out customers accounts . . . which is the same weird pedantic measuring of words that make poker parlors legal in Gardenia.
It means that 60% of the customers sit and play slot machines, poker and other gambling games (I haven't paid much attention) for from 25 cents a game to 6.50 a game.
Last night was my first night. The patrons seem to be primarily over 35, mostly female. They'll sit for hours on a twenty buck, or less, investment.
The top prize seems to be $10,000 although here the biggest winners are in the $2,000 range and they've had quite a few of those.
Last night I had nothing like that. I gave two people $50. One woman on a $20 investment, the other on a $3 stake. They were pretty happy.
What made it interesting was when I walked to work I saw that the animal hospital that's in the same strip mall had all of its windows broken out! I assumed some junkie had busted in looking for Linda Darnell by Vargas
Click images for desktop size: "Linda Darnell" by Vargas
drugs . . .
I got stopped by the cops, frozen in a spotlight. I understood. A guy, late at night, wearing dark glasses and an iPod saunters into the scene. Appears from nowhere into the dim light.
I was right about drugs but it wasn't a break in. It was a gang war! Or maybe a drive by shooting. Its odd to me that small town cops will discuss this stuff with you. I'm used to cops telling you its none of my business and "move a long".
They didn't have a clue as to the whys of what happened but there were over a hundred bullets sprayed all over the area. Four shops had their windows shot out, six cars got shot up too.
Being who I am my first worry was that no dogs had been hurt inside the hospital. The cop must have loved animals too because he knew right away that no animals had been hurt. Just two drug dealer types. No innocent bystanders had been shot either, just their cars.
I walked past the glassy carnage from the shops. I couldn't help but notice that there was no blood on the ground, no pools of black crimson being hosed away by the fire department. Big city instincts The Creature Walks Among Us and too much experience say that should accompany over a hundred bullets.
I got into work just a few minutes late. My boss barely noticed. He was upset about the shooting. No one had been injured in the shop but a bullet had gone through the wall! It went through a straight line, three walls before being stopped by a microwave. The cops picked up the spent lead.
He told me the two guys who had been shot had both run into the shop, being the only one open. Again I thought it was surprising that Bing Crosby
Click images for desktop size: "Bing Crosby"
the two victims were not only ambulatory but that there was no blood trail leading to the shop and no blood inside of it. Its a clean place too. I figure small town "gangstas" must be pretty terrible shots.
My new boss rabbited on about it all night. I can understand being upset. I was surprised I wasn't. Angry about events like this, dumbfounded and pleased at the amateurishness of it but not upset. I guess I've evolved and my emotions go in different places.
The job seems fine, so far. Its been there a couple years and this is the only bad event. And my new boss was giving serious consideration to ways to make sure nothing similar ever happened again, like hiring a security service or some what. That pleased me.
I only got three twinges from the bad shoulder. None so bad that I started cursing or rolling around in pain. I do hope that no one notices how much I have to favor my right arm.
The day didn't start out that promising.
I didn't get the money credited to my food stamps card! (Food stamps now work on an electronic card, like a debit card). I called and sweated out an answer. The computer system had been down Korean
Click images for desktop size: "Korean Girl" by Unknown
for two days! And there was no recovery in sight. I might not get the money until Monday or Tuesday.
I was out of food.
My friend had mailed me a money order, as a loan. The mail came and no dice.
My friend was kind enough to wire me fifty bucks, which was a life saver. I went to get it at the grocery store but their computer was down . . . so I had to walk another mile and a half to the next Western Union but I did get the money!
I ate Quorn dogs salt free oven baked french fries. It was a good thing I did or I don't think I would have gotten through the first night at all.
Now, if I get my puppy back I'll have nearly half of a life.

August 9, 2009

We cannot live only for ourselves; a thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men
Herman Melville

Fractal Fury by Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Fractal Fury" by Lawn Elf
I saw a humming bird the other day. It surprised me. I hadn't seen one outside of California before.
This hummingbird was bigger than the ones I grew up with. Its colors weren't as vibrant andBucket of Blood startling. It was more a mottled black with some green iridescence about its wings and sides.
It hovered about three feet in front of me. It was inspecting me.
I don't know if my nose was so sunburned that it wasn't certain that my nose wasn't some giant red flower. (Humming birds like red flowers.) Then I thought that maybe I was looking sort of mealy. Humming birds eat meal worms.
Once after a big santa ana winds I was out walking my dogs when I found a baby humming bird on the street. I assumed that the winds had blown it out of its nest. That happened a lot in my neighborhood. My rate on saving these birds was less than 50% but I'm not good at walking away from something in trouble.
I never tried to save a hummingbird before but . . . I tried my usual method: dry baby food mixed with milk and sugar. It wouldn't eat it. I ended up buying instant nectar, the stuff people put in humming bird feeders. That worked pretty well.
Pretty soon we had a tiny little red and blue humming bird flittering around the house. He annoyed my little female finch, another rescue bird who had refused to go back to the wild. The finch had decided that its natural habitat was a shirt pocket.
At three weeks the humming bird was about the size of two joints of my pinky. That seemed small. I took it to our vet, who had gotten used to the various exotic animals we bought into him. I then found out that the little bird probably had not been blown out of its nest. Its mother had probably dumped it. She had a birth defect. I didn't know that her legs weren't supposed to look like they did. I mean, who has ever seen a humming bird's feet?
Hajime Sorayama
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Hajime Sorayama
I also found out I had to grind up meal worms to mix with her nectar. Protein. And pretty disgusting protein. Fortunately we had a disgusting mixer we used for other disgusting pet remedies so it was okay.
The little girl did fine. She even got to the point of teasing the dogs, an obvious rite of passage in my house. Any animal who lived with us eventually had to devise a way to torment the dogs, who were the dominant species in the house.
The cockatiel rejoiced in bathing in the dogs drinking water. The rabbits liked to pounce on the dogs when they were napping and then hide under the bed just out of the reach of tooth and claw. Even the finch enjoyed landing on their backs and steal wisps of fur so it could build its nest in my shirt pocket. The dogs, of course, bought all their complaints to me, so annoying the pups had the added benefit of making more work for me.
The humming bird just enjoyed buzzing around their heads until the dogs just had to snap at it, of course the humming bird had moved three inches to the left before they got there.Captain Blood
For the record, and records are very important to dogs, the dogs never hurt any of the animals in the house. They bore them easily and took the others intrusions as validation of their native superiority.
At about 6 weeks the humming bird was looking pretty fit. I took her into the vet and he operated on its feet. Its feet were very malformed so it couldn't grasp a perch or a stick. With some surgery we had hopes.
The little girl survived the operation. And after a week could sit on a Lena Horne And Dean Martin
Click images for desktop size: "Lena Horne & Dean Martin"
perch, although she still preferred sitting on top of my head the most. After another week I decided she could go back to the wild.
I took her out to Bronson Canyon and released her. She took a huge 50 yard arc, darting back and forth like a dragon fly on crystal meth. Then she made a screaming dive bomb and landed on my head wrapping her claws so tightly around my hair I couldn't pry her lose. She didn't loosen her grip until we got back in the car.
I thought maybe if I released her in the back yard she'd live outside happily, still close to the friends she'd grown up with. She wasn't having that either.
She only lived for about 18 months after that. She was too little and too messed up. I never really minded grinding up the meal worms. I did mind the meal worms though.

My puppy is an orphan now. Her mother passed away. Cancer. I only met her mother the one time but I liked her. She liked me too mainly because I'm very free with treats around dogs.
Green Forever by Cyreuss
Click images for desktop size: "Green Forever" by Cyreuss
It was from her mother that my puppy inherited her equipoise, her grace and her willingness to address her fears. She also got her stubbornness and determination from her. And beauty. You can't talk about this family without noticing their incredible beauty.
I met my puppy's mother in the company of one of the greatest dogs I've ever met, Uncle Hank. He was great because he was so happy being a dog. Even in his overwhelming happy company you had to notice the mom. All the dogs went to an abandoned dog park. My puppy, so tiny, jumped into a little pool there and was having a wonderful time keeping everyone else out of it!
After the adult dogs got bored pretending to be intimidated by my little puppy they went about their own games. My puppy bolted the pool and headed straight towards her mother. The mom turned on her and snapped at her fiercely, really yelled on my puppy. My puppy ran over and sat at my feet looking to her mom for approval.
The world is emptier for Reina's passing. I know its okay to grieve for the loss of a dog. I will beChamber of Horros grieving for her and for my newly orphaned puppy.

Aside from watching the birds that are watching me my job hunt continues unabated. I thought I'd be working much sooner than this. Its still possible.
The doc's called. I did have a major heart attack caused by the Canadian jerks refusing to give me the proper meds. I survived it. The doc's still aren't certain why or how. Their was significant additional damage to my heart but not to the point of changing any of my meds or diet restrictions. I still don't like it but I've learned to cover my flinch reflex when they say its pretty miraculous that I'm still alive. I guess that's the only way people can congratulate you on surviving life. Doesn't seem like much of an accomplishment to me. All I did was not die. I didn't even realize that was an option.
The only real negative is that before it was possible I could heal my heart back to 100%. That doesn't appear to be an option anymore. But I'll wait on that call till they've done all the research.
The shoulder is still bad. I'm maybe being to gentle with it now. I got scared by the idea of by GBR
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by GBR
"irreparable nerve damage."
They're trying to find me an orthopedist who'll see me in the program. I believe they're working hard at it.
I've been taking some criticism for not updating this site everyday. Its because I'm locked into an obsessive mode and hate being repetitive.
there's also the odd thing. It used to be that this site averaged 100 to 200 unique visitor a day. Cool by me. Since the prison story I've been averaging 50,000 a day. With 600 coming through the front door. On days with a new post it goes up to 80,000 and 1,000. This is just weird to me.
A part of it is the new fangled competition between google and bing I think. A lot more people squawking about graphics and stuff. But that only accounts for about 20% of the traffic.
I don't mind, I actually like people coming to look at the pictures but I don't really care about their critical comments which to me seem to be about nothing. Like I'm somehow obligated. Like they're paying me. They're not.
I don't understand the sudden continuing surge in traffic at all.

August 6, 2009

The real significance of crime is in its being a breach of faith with the community of mankind
Joseph Conrad

Dream Stream by Matthew Turner
Click images for desktop size: "Dream Stream" by Matthew Turner
Yesterday I saw the cardiologist. I was surprised at the high level of care.
It started with me meeting a nurse who verified the data already in the computer and added someThe Blob things specific to the cardiologist.
I then met the doctor's assistant. She did the vitals, examined my drug and pill bottles. She noticed the awkward placement of my arm and the exhausted cast to my face. She asked about the arm and then asked if I'd had Bells Palsy in the past.
I was impressed that she noticed. We went through that history. Everything was checking out fine. My blood was well oxygenated. My pulse was reasonable and my blood pressure was within the allowed parameters.
Then I met the oncologist. This also surprised me. It was a thoroughness I wasn't used to. He drew the blood himself. He even asked reasonable questions like if I still felt the leukemia was in remission. I liked that he had enough sense to know that I was a veteran of 4 trials and chemo's. I do know what the onset feels like.
Next was the doctor in charge of the rehab of my heart. He ordered an EKG and then was thinking about whether or not a sonogram would be needed. A sonogram of the heart is cool. Its exactly like the sonogram they do of expectant mothers only its of your heart.
He asked me why I hadn't seen any cardiac specialists. I felt obliged to tell him about how Canadian Immigration had falsely arrested me and thrown me into a Maximum Security Prison. I told him that they insisted at my hearing that I was receiving excellent care.
He said rubbish. Throwing me in prison was illegal. I should sue them.
I told him that my only real concern right now was finding a job and getting healthy again.
His response was, "You're a lot calmer about this than I would be or anyone else for that matter. I guess, in the circumstances, that's a good thing." He was one of those guys who talked with Eric Claptons Les Paul
Click images for desktop size: "Eric Clapton's Les Paul"
They wheeled in the EKG machine. The nurse wired me up and ran the test. When it was over she let me look at the tape. I noticed it didn't look much like my memory of the last EKG I'd had. There was an extra abrasive line. In my last EKG tape there was the oily discordant line that signifies a healthy life on top and the same jangly bit on the bottom save for one out of place tight squiggle. The squiggle was the heart attack. This new tape looked the same on top but there was a second hard pressed squiggle in the bottom row. I put it off on a different machine and that they'd hooked up at least four more wires to me than they had on the last EKG.
Next I met the lead doctor, still not the guy whose name was on my appointment. This was the guy I'd be dealing with on a day to day basis.
I liked him. He was friendly and professional. He looked at the EKG and then asked me about this story about Canadian Immigration. He also said I should sue them. In the USA Immigration cops pullThe Black Alley Cats that stuff all the time and now face criminal charges for it. He got very angry, in a scary muted way, about the way I was treated. It overcame him for a minute. I wanted to ask him if he'd lost someone to with held care but thought I didn't know him well enough to get into his personal life.
He pulled himself together. He asked me about the leukemia and about the diabetes. He agreed that the insulin was most likely a Glenn Miller
Click images for desktop size: "Glenn Miller"
catalyst. He said the psychology of what was happening to me was pretty much being ignored, the stress just being ignored while they dealt with the symptoms. He said I should expect or demand a higher level of care from his team. They depended on me to be honest and to try and ignore my normal denial and calm acceptance of the hand I've been dealt. He dais his team's objective was to see me live as long as I deserved and in a good happy way.
He then asked me about my right arm. I explained the frozen shoulder. He said, "You sure do seem to get the full rift of side effects. I don't know how you stay so calm."
He then asked me if I had any numbness in my hand. I told him my pinkie and ring finger had started to go numb, sometimes they were painful. He nodded and then touched a spot on my elbow; "Do you get like an electric jolt right around here at times?"
I was surprised, "Yeah!"
"You have to see an orthopedist as soon as possible. You're running the risk of some irreparable nerve damage. Its your ulnar nerve that's damaged."
I felt awkward describing the plan I was seeing him on, mainly because I barely understand it other Deadly Angel
Click images for desktop size: "Deadly Angel" by Unknown
than its free. I was able to get out that I was told it would be about a month before I could see an orthopedist. He said, "I can get you in to see an orthopedist tomorrow. This should have been dealt with weeks ago. I guess if they ignored a heart attack its too much to expect them to notice nerve damage."
I promised I'd call the program director first thing tomorrow (today.)
He gave me his card and said I was to call him first thing about anything related to my heart. If i had to take a nitro pill or go to emergency I was to call him. We made an appointment to meet again in 30 days. He shook my hand and nearly tore my arm with. He grimaced an apology at me and said he was going to meet the doctor who I'd be seeing shortly.
It was a while so I went through all the cabinets. I figured they must have heard about me. There was nothing left lying about that would have been worth playing with. While doing my searching I overheard some conversation in the hallway and realized that they were talking about me. I heardBrain of Blood the words, leukemia, diabetic from chemo and now heart attack. I stopped listening when I heard the word prison. I decided to look harder for toys. When none were forthcoming I played with the 3D raised plastic poster of a heart attack.
Then the "Great Man" came in. He was older but not yet elderly. He looked distinguished, smart and concerned. He shook my hand and then said, "Hey! Your the man with the dog!"
I knew what he meant. He went on, "My wife's a volunteer at the hospital. I've seen you and your dog on the cardiology floor. She's remarkable! The doctor was filling me in on your story. You should write a book!" We then spent ten minutes discussing world medicine and his opinion of the Health Care Reform which, funnily, did not contradict my own feelings in any major way. He agreed that health care cost too much. We also agree that the European systems were fine for primary care but horrid for complications. He's on a few research committees in Canada and Europe and has a similar (from a different perspective) hands on experience of the systems. He also Dials by Eric Freitas
Click images for desktop size: "Dials" by Eric Freitas
told me that none of the other doctors or nurses knew I was a "free" patient at the cardiology clinic. If I didn't tell them they'd never know. This was his own idea and he felt no need to confide in them or seek their approval or disapproval.
As I think that any doctor who seeks to fight death face to face needs more than a touch of arrogance I liked his attitude.
While we were conversing I sneezed. This hit my shoulder unbelievingly hard. I did manage to avoid my usual string of unending profanity and just go, "Oh, oh, oh."
He did a quick examination of my arm. He said I needed to see an orthopedist immediately. He asked if the pain hit around 9 or 10. I told him, "yeah."
That bought our rather enjoyable conversation to an end. He studied my EKG and decided we had to have and echo, a sonogram. He said my EKG showed damage to another part of my heart. He said, "Probably from those bastard Canadian prison doctors withholding your plavix. We'll do the echo,The Body Stealers then you go home. I'll have one of my staff call you if there's anything that requires attention."
He then laid out a rehab program and gave me the nutritionists report. He said that since I was already on a low fat diet because of the chemo I'd have little problem with it. He detailed a low sodium diet and said it was important but less directly managed than fat. It had more to do with how I felt and how I was reacting to things.
As we parted he praised my calmness. He thought I'd have to miss this season but he could see me coaching again next year.
I liked the guy a lot more than I was expecting to.
Then I got the sonogram. It was great. I got to see my heart beating and to see the valves opening and closing, looking like greedy sea anemones grabbing for food. The tech said there was definite scaring that shouldn't be there. She brought the Great Man in and he confirmed that I'd had a serious heart attack in prison. He said it was pretty surprising I survived it at all, "Clearly you're not a man to get into a fight with. At least your heart won't ever give up. We'll look at this." Then they drew some blood to run some enzyme tests. then I saw a glorious thing. The tech did a 3D sonogram of my heart! IN COLOR! Although not the natural colors it was still cool, all green, blacks, whites and pastels. I was having a good time looking at it so the tech showed off her skill and rotated it and let me play with it for a minute.
I liked looking at my heart. I asked the tech if she got bored doing this and she said, "No. Every heart is different. Every heart teaches me something new."
As I walked home I was tired from all the blood drawn and all the time thinking and listening. Still I felt pretty good about it all, like I had a chance. I also thought that the level of care I'd recieved was very high, as good as I got at the free clinic at least.
Amazingly the best care I've gotten was either for the poor or for the rich. I feel for the people in the middle and it does just point out the need for health care reform.

August 3, 2009

It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance
Thomas Huxley

There Was a Time
Click images for desktop size: "There Was a Time" by Unknown
The battery in my watch died.
The watch and my back pack were presents from my kids. Poor kids. I value them to the point of Adult Version of Jekyll and Hyde treasuring them. I had the battery replaced once before. It cost $5.00, now I have to find that guy again and hope he hasn't gone out of business or jacked his prices.
This morning I went on two job interviews.
I got the Sunday paper and found 3 jobs to go to and 2 to call. I still like that more than applying for jobs on the internet.
Too many spam and scams running on the internet. Scams are all geared towards the desperate and the greedy. Who's more desperate than the guy looking for work?
I did a google search on three of the suspected scammers today. I was relieved to discover they were con artists. I was worried I'd tossed away an opportunity.
But I like walking into a place and handing someone a resume. It feels better. Emailing is cool. Filling out those tedious on-line job apps is not. They eat up an hour of your time and then you get an auto response and then silence.
What I hate most is the "psych" test they all seem to enjoy: "When is it alright to steal from your employer? a) Anytime you need money b) Sometimes c) Never".
Tough multiple choices and not a little insulting. But I'm desperate. I can't call their corporate office and tell them what I think of their time wasting corporate snobbishness. Maybe when I find a job I will. Most likely I'll just forget all about it. I don't think anyone who needs to ask those kind of questions is going to hire me anyway.
The pain in my right shoulder keeps getting worse. I feel like I've developed some sort of strange tic. I am constantly on my right shoulder and neck with my left hand. The muscles are atrophying and I can feel the adhesions building. I keep breaking them up and trying to stretch the thing. The repayment is always pain, a burning pain sometimes the old knee dropping electric pain at others. Leon Frollo
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Leon Frollo
Its spreading other my whole right side. Even the pinkie and ring finger of my right hand are now stiff and numb. Just a reaction to the frozen shoulder.
I ran out of insulin last night. The place that gives me the cheap drugs won't carry Lantus. Too expensive. I have to be tight with my diet. That is okay. If the blood sugars get to high I can get cheap 70/30 insulin.
That's the old school type. Requires testing your blood six or so times a day and injecting yourself six or seven times a day. Rah. With a tiny bit of luck my drugs will come in on Thursday. My routine has devolved into going to bed at 11:00 PM, tossing about until about midnight, then waking up in pain. I can generally groggily calm the pain down but get awakened about 1:30 then sleep until about 3.
Last night I tried not getting out of bed until I could see the sunrise. It didn't really work but it was no worse than when I'm up and puttering about trying to calm down the aches. All the aches.
That's my day now. Wake up. Have coffee. Check the internet ads. Fill out any apps. Take a showerAn American Werewolf in London .
Its so hot I've taken two showers, one at night and one in the morning. The morning one is the important one to me.
For one thing hot water pounding on my right shoulder loosens it up enough to stretch it as much as I can. I wash my hair. Soap up my face with my fancy prescribed soap and then I shave in the shower.
I don't have much of a beard but it is tough and cuts easier in a steamy shower. Now a days every time I go to shave I have a flash of rage. I pick up the razor and I think of those thieves at Maplehurst Prison in guard uniforms and what they stole from me and what they tried to steal from me.
I still can't fathom stealing a man's razor. That is so low its beneath even tent city dwellers. I got the exact same razor that they stole. The second I touch it I feel the rage. I use that as a barometer. A warrior is useless fighting from rage. Berserkers inflict some damage but berserkers always loose.
There's going to be a fight. I don't believe that any system that purports to be civilized should be Cleo Jones by Lavakillu
Click images for desktop size: "Cleo Jones" by Lavakillu
allowed to do what they did: Steal a man's freedom in direct contrariness to their own laws. Lock someone up illegally. Treat the guilty and the innocent as if they were caged animals with no human rights or self respect. Breaking down a person's self respect. Teaching that theft and violence are the only currency of value.
No government has a right to destroy men and women. No one has that right. But governments can make laws and then allow them to be broken or circumvented. That's why almost all governments are inherently evil. It takes a good man to serve people. Their aren't many good men who'll seek the job, and when they do they seldom get elected.
I've fought governments before. I won. I learned a lot in those wars. Mainly that you have to be cold, thick skinned and to never underestimate the ruthlessness of a government.
The wars I fought? Letting abused women leave home with their children, instead of forcing the kids to stay with an abusive violent man. You'd be surprised how hard that was.Assault on Preceinct 13
Protecting children from sexual predators was the hardest. You would think it would be obvious, that one. It was 9 years of fighting. I won a lot but not enough, I think. I was part of stopping the ridiculous law that would lower the age of sexual consent to 12. Yeah, the government nearly passed that one.
I've fought for street lights, and stop signs and recycling. I win those because its the right thing to do but mainly because I stay Stevie Wonder
Click image: "Stevie Wonder" by Unknown
calm. I'm calm enough to see the opposition coming. Placid enough to let it wash over me and let the places to strike present themselves to me. Like when I fought for a program for the social inclusion of youth via sports through a self supporting plan of volunteers. I was never prepared for them to say good idea but lets hire someone and get a budget to do it and delay the whole process by three years. But I didn't get angry I just fought quietly until the thing was implemented and running 30 months before scheduled.
When you're angry and start these fights you get hurt and that just makes you angrier. The people you're fighting are seldom angry. They don't care really. They just want to protect something, usually something as base as graft or their own indiscretions.
When I get them angry I know I'm closing in on winning. And that is what matters.
I think about that every day while I shave. I'm doing pretty well shaving left handed now. It makes me go slower so I think about it longer. I think about shaving and I think of the war to come.
The Bride of Frankenstein
Click images for desktop size: "The Bride of Frankenstein" by Jack Pierce
After the shower I take my pills. I think about my puppy and the way she always gives a shape to my day. With my puppy its always an adventure waiting to happen and neither she or I ever know what it will be.
After the pills I check for emails. I look to see who has to be called today. I check the help wanted. And then I wait.

Last night I got a funny call from my vet. It was a conference call with this fellow who makes premium dog food. He works in small batches. The food uses superior ingredients and sells for about 50% of what a comparable pet food store would cost. AND HE DELIVERS!
They'd been discussing the imminent return of my puppy and had decided pretty much on what her new diet should be. Somehow they figured I should be in on this . . .
After the very cool pet food chef got off I spoke to my vet about her kids and her life. It was allBeyond a Reasonable Doubt going well for her. I'm glad. She also assured me that if my puppy needed anything that I wasn't to worry, that we'd work something out. She always remembers that my puppy was only the third person to see her first child in hospital. We got there in front of her parents and her in-laws. She still remembers my puppy smelling the baby and smelling her and trying to put it together. She still thinks my puppy's reaction was, well, you can't eat it and its too stupid to play.
I said it's been over two months since I've seen my puppy. I was worried. She said something important to me, she said that she'd been a vet for over 15 years now and that she was jealous of my puppy and my relationship. She said she's never seen a dog and a person who loved each other so much. She also said she's never seen two people bicker as much as I and my puppy do . . .