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August 24, 2014

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society
Mark Twain

Fairy Tales By Clarke
Click images for desktop size: "Fairy Tale" by Clarke
Back then, back in the 80's the cardboard cities began springing up. Horrifying edifices to an outsider but homes to the working poor. Refrigerator boxes taped to washing machine and TV boxes, making little complexes to house the working parents and the children who were always dressed to go off to school.
The Most Dangerous Game The funny result was that the really homeless began keeping dogs. Guard dogs for the heaped up recyclables on their shopping carts and guard dogs for when they slept at night.
Soon it seemed every homeless person had a dog. They were strays only alike in that they were all hungry and underfed. In LA the issue was noticed. People shook their heads and made tsk tsk noises with their teeth clenched and then kept driving.
In London (The UK one) the Blue Cross (an animal charity, not a GNP gobbling insurance company) opened up clinics around Victoria and other hot spots so that the homeless could bring their dogs in for injections and health inspections. When it seemed that only the really insane were still out there the Blue Cross sent out rescue workers to walk the Strand at midnight to plow through the underpasses and look out for dogs in need of free health care.
My crew started out as 3 people, a tiny little vet student from Acton. She was about 4' 11", gold blonde hair she wore in messy ringlets, a round face set off by large studious glasses. I called her Little Doc because I can never remember anyone's name.
Her over protective boyfriend wasn't officially part of our crew. He might have made 5' with boots on. He was friendly enough, but out of his element with us. I could understand him wanting protect Little Doc. She was special enough and probably more than he thought he'd ever deserve.
I guess I was the "muscle". After a few weeks the boyfriend got bored, or frightened. I don't know which really, Little Doc told me I wasn't just protection. I was the only volunteer who wasn't afraid of the various dogs, and the only one the dogs weren't afraid of either. Maybe. Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Elf" by Unknown
Even after she told me that I found it hard to work up the concern to think about it. All I knew was that once a week from midnight until 7 AM we'd start with the Strand. We'd start at the food truck that passed out expired Marks & Sparks sandwiches (the shrimp ones were pretty good)and wend our way through London's underworld. I'd talk to the dog owners while Little Doc gave them shots and certificates.
Most of the people didn't trust us, even though we had plastic laminated badges and all that. The vast majority were still anxious to get their dogs looked after. They questioned Little Doc's qualifications more than anything. I noticed that some of the people had bags of high quality dog food in their squats.
We had not trouble or incidents other than some who were fearful we were there to take their little dogs away. It wasn't an adventure; it was work. Some nights there were some adventuresome things that happened but all events just turned into work. But work with dogs hardly seems like work at all most times.
mr-magoo-radio.jpg There was a reason I'd gotten involved in all this trekking through the hidden life in London. Back in LA in the 80's I was working at Zoetrope (nee' Hollywood General, nee' Desilu Studios and who knows what in between) I was planning to go down to SIR. Someone told me they were selling off some of their rentals.
I was walking by Gower Gulch. Across the street, under a smog choked tree, there was a homeless guy. When I got closer I saw he had a coiled up rope in his hand and was whipping a dog. I went over and grabbed the guys arm. I wasn't very gentle. I looked at the dog. He was shaking and cowering, covering his head with his paws. He was about 50 pounds and as ugly a gray dog as you could imagine. He had a bad under bite that gave his face a punched in humanoid look. I didn't notice at the time but he was thin but not terribly under-fed.
I looked at the guy I was holding. He was squirming but, back then, I was a lot stronger than he was. He was ashen gray under that peculiar plastic sunburn living in the LA sun non-stop can bring. His face and forehead were covered in old peeling scabs. He was dirty.
I told him to knock it off. He told me to f... off surfer boy. I thought that was a weird insult but an insult is an insult so I hoisted him off the ground by his throat and was ready to punch him out when something miraculous happened.
The ugly little dog I was protecting attacked me. He didn't draw blood but the khakis I was wearing were pretty torn up. He didn't care about my motives, he didn't care that I was trying to save him from pain, this sad, ugly beaten wonderful dog only knew I was hurting the only thing that was precious to him.

So this podcast is for all the wonderful dogs I've known. I think there's too much country western in it but they're good tracks.

Cool ANd The Crazy 24
Where Has My Little Dog Gone Hoosier Hot Shots
Plenty Of Dogs Lolas
I'm Walking The Dog Del McCoury Band
The Puppy Song Nilsson
Wild Dogs Of Kentucky Nervous Norvus
Barking Up The Wrong Tree Heartbeats
Little Woman Big Dog Frankie & The Pool Boys
Old King Neil Young
Get Down Marykate O'Neil
Hunger Strike Temple of The Dog
Every Dog Robin Zander
Werewolf Frantics
Spanish Flea Herb Alpert
Dad Gave My Dog Away T. Texas Tyler
Doggone Fine Roy Loney
Gonna Buy Me A Dog Boise And Moss With A Side Of Hamm
Loving Leash Meyerman
Hound Dog Link Wray
Hound Dog Man Fabian
How Come My Bulldog Don't Bark Howard Tate
Dog My Cats Wildfire Willie & The Ramblers
Old Blue Louisiana Honeydrippers
Man With Money Fabulous Poodles
The Poodle Dog Song Jimmie Davis
Tiki Dog Razorblades
It's A Dog's Life Plasticland
Dog Tired Tash Mints
Fox Chase Earl Taylor & The Stony Mountain Boys
Fox On The Run Sirens
Tennessee Hound Dog Osborne Brothers
Jackson Dog Larry Brinkley
Hot Dog Ohio Express
Dog Eddie Adcock Band
Bull Dog Down In Sunny Tennessee Dock Walsh with The Carolina Tar Heels
Dog Leg Hipbone Slim & The Knee Tremblers
Old Rattler Grandpa Jones
I Found My Best Friend In The Dog Pound Burl Ives

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October 13, 2013

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon
Edward Lear

Meow by SingPat
Click images for desktop size: "Meow" by SingExpat
Recently I read an article; they now claim that dogs can understand up to 255 words. When I was a kid they thought dogs could understand only 25 words, when I was an adolescent they upped it to 50 words.She Gods Of Shark Reef
Either dogs are getting smarter or we are.
Then there was the "shocking" discovery that dolphins have names and that they use these names to refer to each other. And a few days later they discovered that wolves also have names and that they use those names to refer to each other.
Then the latest discovery is that dolphins can remember things that they learned 20 years ago. No reinforcement during the years, they simply remembered some non essential trivia they were taught 20 years ago.
Humanity has always been an insecure race with low self esteem. We're the center of the universe, we're made in god's image ergo we are small gods! That sort of stuff. Why else could we possibly believe that inferior beings just like us were fit to rule us.
Thomas Aquinas had to be deified because he proved that animals have no souls and were placed on this planet for us to dominate. He made doctrine that animals had no feelings, that everything they did was the merest instinct. He justified our cruelty and deceit so that we might live peacefully within our own heads.
Throughout history there are countless stories of dolphins rescuing drawing swimmers, people being attacked by sharks, guiding lost ships to a safe harbor. Somehow we always accept those swamp gas official explanations; that the dolphin was just following instinct, looking for food, trawling the garbage blah blah blah.
It's crazy to me. If a 9 year old kid suffers the tragedy of uncomprehendingly watching his little sister drown in the swimming pool we assign no guilt. The kid had no way of knowing that his sister was even in trouble. But when an animal, a dolphin looks at an alien being, a person, drowning in the ocean and the dolphin logics out that the person is in trouble and then devises a solution to end that person's trouble we don't show a similar amount of empathy and readjust our thinking and consider theDragoneye by JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Dragoneye" by JW McGinnis
intelligence required to make that complicated decision and solution.
I mean if we saw a dolphin splashing around in a puddle we'd most likely walk on by. Because we are people we know that we're far more important than any animal in trouble and an animal isn't going to pay us for saving it, is it?
I hate that ancient superstitious nonsense that hobbles us and makes it so hard to see the wonder around us. It prevents us from approaching and appreciating the others we share the planet and our lives with.
When I got my first job, cutting negatives at Universal, I started every day with a dawn patrol at Manhattan Beach Pier. I liked the Pier more than Laguna because the pilot seals in Laguna were too playful and in the way. The Pier was usually empty at the dawn except for a time when this dolphin showed up every morning.Suspiria
First time I met the dolphin he pulled a trick on me. It scared me to death by pretending to be a shark. When there's a gray fin cutting through the ocean at 6:00 AM it's not very applicable to run through the differences between a shark and a dolphin fin.
After the dolphin scared me to death he surfaced and laughed at me. Then, four the next hour he surfed with me. It was a pin in the neck mainly as the sol;phkn had enough speed to catch all the waves and was a total wave hog knocking me off the board more than a few times.
That started my winter of the dolphin. He was there every morning. We'd bicker and we'd surf.
One night the santanas never let up and there was a 5 foot swell with occasional 6 footers. My solitary dawn patrol was crowded. The dolphin was there too.
There were about a dozen of us, fortunately the swell was perfect the waves were perfect peelers and looking out to sea all you could see were rushing humps. Good thing as the dolphin was a total wave hog. With his tail and body he could pull of late take offs we could only dream of. Guys were shouting at him, "off my wave dolphin dude!" Off my wave!"
Click images for desktop size: "Melted" by Unknown
Didn't work. The dolphin hung all all session and started to chatter back at us. Maybe they were the equivalent of dolphin whoops. He just hung out in the line up with the rest of us bobbing around. It was a great day. I was late for work.
I never dug zoos, except sometimes the one in Santa Barbara, and only because Santa Barbara had this lemur who could open cages so you'd see this lemur and maybe his companion wandering around. They'd not be terrorizing anybody.
Santa Barbara Zoo also let you get too close to the elephants who were beyond infinitely cool. But aside from that I don't like zoos. A few dozen field trips to the Griffith Park Zoo couldn't change this. I don't like that Wild Animal safari junk either. I'd liked Africa and the animal preserves, but they've gotten too popular so it's not the Snuff same anymore.
Anyway, I'd never been to Sea World, which I always thought was just like some sort of floating zoo. I was wrong, it was like a floating circus. I had to go for work for some reason. It was terrible. I watched the dolphin show. I was impressed. I made a mistake. I used my studio pass to hang around and look at the dolphins.
I saw the saddest thing I had seen since I was 6 years old. That was when my mother took me "backstage" at the Barnum and Bailey Circus. I saw the elephants begging to walk but chained and I saw the clowns the clowns drinking out of pint bottles and smoking unfiltered cigarettes. I don't remember if the clowns said anything. All I heard was the clinking of the elephants chains.
The dolphins were lying there in their lagoon. Lying on their sides and staring at me. They were almost motionless, just a tiny few inches of lolly gagging twisting to vent their blowholes. They stared up at me with one eye apiece. The eyes moved to watch me even though they did not move. They were eyes without hope or passion. Concentration camp eyes like I'd seen in that archival footage and in those old black and white photos. Eyes that had seen nothing but despair for so long that they'd given up and were only waiting until they would be allowed to die.

May 16, 2013

All things of creation are children of the father and brothers of man. .. God wants to help animals, if they need help. Every creature in disgrace has the same right to be protected.
St. Francis of Assisi

Bath_Day-1128.jpg Today should have been Shelby's eighth birthday.
She's still gone. I still miss her and grieve for her everyday.

April 20, 2013

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream
Edgar Allan Poe


Patti Page-(How Much Is That) Doggy In The Window
Cat Stevens-I Love My Dog
Lolas-Plenty Of Dogs
Tampa Red-Let Me Play With Your Poodle
Ronnie Self-Ain't I'm A Dog
Nina Simone-Mr Bojangles
Candy Butchers-Call Off The Dogs
Don Woody-Bird Dog
Doughboys-Keep Your Dog Off Me
Dogs-Dog Walk
Soledad Brothers-Walkin' The Dog
Elvis Presley-Old Shep
Everley Brothers-Bird Dog
Delbert Barker-No Good Robin Hood
Astronauts-I'm Gonna Buy Me A Dog
John Entwhistle-Mad Dog
Junkyard Dogs-Born To Cry
Adam And The Ants-Dog Eat Dog
Chuckie Chandler and The Chandeliers-Rockin' Moondog
Mel Price-Little Dog Blues
Big Mamma Thorton-Hound Dog
Byrds-Old Blue
Gene Vincent-Bird Doggin'
Nomads-Call Off Your Dogs
Jeff Dahl Trio-I Wanna Be Your Dog
Cliff Johnson-Go Away Houndog
Rubinos-Cats And Dogs
Russ Tolman & The Totem Polemen-Portrait Of Blue
Marques Brothers-Let Me Play With Your Larse
Beach Boys-Wouldn't It Be Nice
Jackie Wilson-(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher
Patti Page-See That Doggie In The Shelter

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My puppy has been gone for 23 days. I still mourn her. I still miss her because every morning I wake up expecting to see her standing there ready for another day of adventure.Road Gang
This podcast is not about her. Not that much. For nearly a year I've been gathering up songs about dogs. And I intentionally avoided things like the "Singing Dogs", which are cool in doses but pretty much just tedious.
The Patti Page bookend songs are pretty self explanatory as are the rest of them. A couple of the songs aren't so much about dogs but they are about my dogs, which makes their inclusion mandatory.
The Beach Boys and Jackie Wilson tracks are because that is how I feel about dogs. When my wife was in Canada and I was down here a neighbor asked my wife, "Where's that crazy guy who was always out in the yard dancing with the dogs?"
The crazy guy was me and the Beach Boys and Jackie Wilson were two of the guys we'd always dance to.

There's not been much to interest me. No great movies are startlingly great music. One thing of small interest is the resurgence of power pop. Radio 2 in Spain has even put together a string of shows featuring some of the old power pop bands! Since I either shared a stage with these guys or went to see them in the 80's I find them interesting. I do take a perverse pleasure in the fact that most of them have aged far worse than I have . . . It also brings that long held fantasy of a come back!
Then I read about another popster dying (Scot Miller of "Game Theory" being the latest) and I remember Peter Case lying in the hospital and I miss my puppy all over again.

April 11, 2013

It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane
Philip K. Dick

Pack We took a long trip this weekend. A trip we could not begin to afford. It was to look at dogs.
We went to the Aftershock Kennels. After a long tedious drive we arrived to doggie insanity. There were 30 to 40 of the dogs. It was a loud but delicate howling madness that made me smile.Dog Soldiers
We had to take the trip. We had to look at dogs. I've been miserable with constant pain in my chest that was worse than adolescent heartbreak. People kept trying to be kind but it never worked.
I've a friend who is a dog careerist - shelters, Animal Control, dog walking services and she said to me, "I've known hundreds, no, thousands of dogs and in my whole life I've never seen a dog so tightly bonded to anyone like Shelby was bonded to you. She lived her whole life for you."
Well, maybe.
But it misses the point that I loved her at least as much as others thought she loved me. I couldn't make Shelby do much of anything. She did things that would please herself and that would please us. We bickered a lot. She was smart and headstrong. But people are still stopping me on the street to tell me how wonderful Shelby was, they all wanted dogs as well trained as Shelby. They don't understand Shel and me.
For years to strangers I was the guy with "the big black dog". To which I could only respond, "You mean my little girl?" Shelby always seemed to know many more people than I did.
I've always heard how hard it is too train Belgian Sheepdogs. I've never had that problem or any of the scary issues that people describe. I think it was because they wanted an elegant show piece of a dog, one who compliments the wardrobe. (Don't smirk. Every breeder has a story about someone returning an adult dog because it clashed with the new decor.)
Belgians take advantage of anything - poor locks, ambivalent orders, weakness. Who really wouldn't? But, I think, that if you approach things as equals, as two living things who are sharing a space and that each of you has differing responsibilities and responsibilities to each other, things Two Weeks seem to go fine. Just fine.
So in a car that needs 4 new tires; a car filled with 2 people and 2 dogs, all badly in search of a new home, we took off to the Aftershock Kennels. It was a mildly uneventful trip, filled mainly with my anxiety at the cost of gas and lodging and my constant barrage of thoughts about how stupid this trip was. No one and no thing could ever replace Shelby. I live with four dogs already. I have a wife who depends on me for somethings. Why did I feel the overwhelming need to fill the Belgian sized hole in my heart?
The next day we arrived at the kennel. It was rather glorious and strange.
The dogs were a fantasy. I have never seen so many gorgeous dogs all together in my life. Thy barked a great melange of warnings and welcomes.
It was a bright and sunny day. The closest I've seen of spring this year. The GPS sent us in the weird route over hilly dirt and gravel roads. I assumed we were hopelessly lost when we topped a hill and all you could see were fences and Belgian Terv's.Labby
There was an electric gate. We watched it roll back as we sat in the car. We congratulated each other and the TomTom for finding the place. The first dog to come greet us was quiet and definitely not a Belgian. It was some sort of funny cross between a labrador and a corgi! It paddled up on its short legs and tried to lead the way to parking.
The lab-corgi was named Labby. She was a rescue that had been hit on the road. Labby showed no sign of the accident. It was funny seeing this squat bright black creature keeping the pack of Belgians in line! Funnier because Labby took her job so seriously. She easily climbed 5 foot gates and scampered around tending her herd of Belgian charges. The Belgians accepted her!
We spent four hours in the bright sun looking at Belgian Tervurens form 2 weeks old up to 15 years old. We were never offered a drink of water or a place to sit. It didn't much matter.
An 8 week old mail, bigger than the litter and the only one whose ears weren't fully erect yet, fell in love with my wife. He followed her around just like a puppy dog, through all the distractions and 8 Weeks play attacks he clung to her.
My wife claimed that it was because she was the only one of us to sit on the ground. While its true the other puppies and dogs took her low position as something to explore the big flop eared puppy was there before she sat and continued to follow her even when it came time for us to leave. He got stuck under the fence trying to get next to her. He took that good naturedly and was happy so long as he had my wife's attention. It was clumsy love, but it was love.
There were only two dogs that seemed potential to us. Not including the puppy. One was a two year old with a silver face and black veil and red body. She was supposed to be living in Japan as a The Lover foundation dam but the owner fouled up the export/import paperwork so her she stayed. She was a very reserved girl, even for a Belgian. She was also very quiet and very tender. Her confirmation was impeccable and she had the sturdy bone structure with a fine elegance. She was loving without being pushy. A magnificent dog who wanted to be part of a pack that valued her and what she could bring. I thought she could do anything she dreamed of. Her name is Boudicca. Boudicca was a Celtic warrior queen. That appealed to my wife who doesn't know too many warrior queens but believes herself to be Celtic.
The other girl who caught our eye was called "The Beetle". She was beautiful and tender; mahogany red with a light black veil and deep deep eyes that carried Beetle's message that she craved to be held as a special being. Beetle had one issue she has some sort of neurological dysfunction, maybe a brain issue so she moves rather clumsily. She lived in a paddock with the primary sire of the kennel. He cared for her but never coddled her. Clearly he thought she was fine and could make do on her own. That meant a Watch Dogs Watching lot.
We came home with no dogs except the two poodles we brought with us. I needed to think about it. I needed to assess the insanity of my plans. And I had to consider whether a Brown dog could ever fit into the space left by a black dog. And most importantly I had to consider whether I could give these two girls or that baby boy the love, attention they deserved and the finery and food and comforts they need.
My job might have finally ended! After several false stops it should be finally over. Unemployed due to the Supreme Court. Yow! Cool.

March 30, 2013

There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.

Shelby Smiles
I miss my little dog.
It is causing me terrible pain, as bad as when my first wife and my son died. It is a different pain but it feels like my soul his being slowly ripped through a hole in my chest. I can't think of her without tears. I can't talk about her because I choke up and the pain gets so bad I almost wish for a heart attack. I get angry because no one cares enough that a great living thing so full of love has been ripped so unfairly away.
People wish me condolences on the loss of my daughter. She was never my daughter. It was more important than that. Shelby was my dog and I was her boy. We weren't family, we weren't Bossing the bed codependent, we took care of each other and taught each other and cared for each other.
The only reason I could afford Shelby was because she failed her puppy temperament test. The first time we met each other she bit me. Drew blood. Then she laid on my foot and then sat calmly in and out of my lap.
That night I had as luxurious crate prepared for her as I could afford. She'd have none of it and cried until I let her out. She dragged herself into the bed and slept on the pillow next to my face. In the morning she used the crate as her toilet until I dragged her outside.
The day the breeder, Julie, took Shelby and I to the dog park with Shelby's mother and her Uncle Hank. A last romp and a goodbye for when Shelby's family said goodbye.
Shelby ran to her mother , Reina. Reina rejected her aggressively. Julie explained that was normal and Reina was just telling her it was time for Shelby to make her way in the world.
Shelby waiting What everyone noticed was that instead of running to someone familiar she ran to me.
And that was how it started. For the next 8 years every time I looked down I saw Shelby looking back at me, always laughing, always ready with a dog joke to tell me or pull on me.
Living in a big city I know that everyone has hundreds of great stories about their dogs. So do I. Too many.
Every day with Shelby was an adventure. Every walk was an odyssey of excitement. The day we saw the giant opossum, and watched a rabbit and a crow have a fight. Or discovered dinosaur bones, and dinosaurs and ducks. And when she met her best friend, the little blind dog, Ben, the two of them made discoveries unheard of.
In the Atlantic I suppose Shelby's biggest accomplishment was becoming a therapy dog. It was my idea. I thought she could use the training. She was just over a year old when she started and she was terrible. She wanted to play with everybody. I thought she was terrific any time she completed an exercise. The trainers were charmed by Shelby, so charmed that it compelled them to not throw us out of the class.
I didn't expect Shelby to graduate. I was surprised that during the final exam she not only did well she had top grades. She was so gentle they asked if she could work with children.
Thinking of her then shunts my pain aside. She was amazing. Playing with the children was fun for her and she worked hard at it. She bought a new joy to the children. Some of those kids remembered Shelby as giving them their last smiles. The children would come to my work to visit Dr Shelby. Many cars would pull over when we were walking so that parents and children could come and say hello to the Dr Shelby.
It was when she did her serious work in the oncology ward that she amazed me, me who already thought she could do anything. She walked the hospital hallway, quietly, calmly, wended her way past gurneys and nurses until she came to an open door. She'd stare into the room for a moment and make her decision to either enter or go to the next room. I tried not to peek into the rooms. It was her time. People would talk to me about Shelby but they weren't really talking to me. They wanted to talk to her and didn't know how to talk to a dog.
When's the party? Around then I felt like I should get back into coaching. Of course, Shelby came with me to every practice and she was on the sidelines for every game. In our second year the team got to State; at the football banquet the players voted Shelby their favorite coach.
I just now moved my chair and I remember how she always watched over me. Even when I was in hospital. At night she stayed as close to me as possible. Even when she was sick she always pressed though the pack to get to see me first to make sure I was all right. She loved me enough to tolerate the 14 foster dogs I bought into her life. She didn't like all of them. She wanted them to follow the rules, her rules mainly. But she endured them even if sometimes I did get "looks".
Her last three weeks were terrible but she was always loving. I have to walk the five dogs 3 or 4 times a day. I have to make 3 trips. Shelby always insisted on making all the trips with me. She would walk with me or in front of me and the other dogs. As she sickened she started walking 5 or ten feet behind us. She started to walk with her head low, she began sitting and lying down in an untypical way.
We took her to the vet for her annual exam. When they drew blood for her panel her blood was not red but rusty brown. They tested it and her blood count was 12. We began a treatment of massive minocyclin and predosterone (a steroid). Shelby was not responding well, even though her blood count did rise an insignificant amount.
At home she still insisted she go out with me at any opportunity. She wanted me close to her. She slept in the living room. She liked the cold air blowing on her from our drafty front door.In her woods.
We have to climb a hill to get to the street. When she could no longer climb the hill she figured out another pathway. In a few days even the other path was too difficult. I stopped taking the other guys up the hill and she would slowly follow us around the back yard.
Even after her blood count held steady she was weakening. She started to refuse to eat. But even till the end she always wanted her cookies. She could move fast for a pizza slice! Every time she took a cookie I had hope.
Every night she still found the strength to come and trick me and play jokes on me. She'd put her big old paw on me and make me pet her. She used her paw to direct me to her tummy. She loved her tummy rubs. She was always smiling the same way she smiled at life.
Dr Karen decided we should start to cut back and wean Shelby off some of the drugs, to see if they could be hurting her appetite and energy. To try and be certain what was ehrlichia and what might be a side effect.
Shelby got worse. I took her to work with me. She enjoyed herself immensely but I was tortured thinking that I was putting too much strain on her.
One funny thing she did at work: Shelby always kept a time limit on how long I was able to be out of her sight. I had to step out of the office. I was bent over working on a computer when I was suddenly poked in my butt. I jerked around and there was Shelby all over joyed with herself for finding me.
When she was a puppy we always played hide and seek. She remembered.
Sleeper Of course all my customers were screaming about the dangerous looking wolf-dog running around on the loose. Shelby and I didn't care about them. She was just happy to win our game. I was happy that she still wanted to laugh and joke.
We got home that night and Shelby was worsening. She still insisted on coming outside with each of the other dogs but she struggled badly. She was searching for an easier way to get down the gentle slope into the backyard. The search was to hard so she just sat and laughed at me trying to walk the other dogs without her help.
Tuesday she looked too weak to come to work with me. The day at work was miserable without her. When I got home she didn't have the strength to push to the front of the pack. I pretended not to notice for her sake.
Wednesday we went to the Vet hospital. She was moving so slow. She still wouldn't eat.
In the car she wouldn't lie down or sit. I sat terrified that this would be our last car ride together.
At the hospital she still gobbled up every cookie I offered her. She could barely walk. We could only get about 10 yards at a go. She'd take a break, make me pet her and then continue on another 10 yards.
After 90 minutes we finally got to talk to the Doctor. The Doctor was pregnant. The Doctor still sat on the floor, putting her hand on Shelby's back. Shelby did not try and move away from her.
The Doctor laid out the plan of attack on the ehrlichia. Shel's blood count was stable so the first thing was to check her reticulites. Which is how many blood cells she is producing. Then if the Sunny Day reticulates were low we would have to do a bone marrow aspiration!! I've had several of those and they are up in the top 10 of excruciating pains.
I listened to all this like a petrified log. I led Shelby back into the hospital proper. I got them to give her a run so she could look around and lay out easily. When I left I looked back. Shelby was looking at me with a scared panic free face. She wouldn't follow the hospital tech until I broke off eye contact.
We waited two hours for the reticulate readings. When they came back they were good, very good. She needed a 60,000 and she got a 200,000! So no bone marrow tests!
The decision was to give her two units of blood and then to do x-rays and a sonogram to try and pin point where she was loosing all the blood she was producing. They let us see her in the run. She was dangling tubes and such. I watched the blood pump labor away while I thought of teasing her about spying on her.
Even with just 1 unit of blood in her Shel was more alert, lying down but with her head up. She watched everything.
The blood transfusion took all night. I went home and showed great discipline. I only called 3 times. Shelby was always doing fine. In the morning she refused food but she did go for a walk and she defecated.
About 8 am the hospital called and said Shelby's blood count was 22! Still far from ideal but higher than they had hoped for!
Around 10 they called me to recite the bill and to ask my permission to do the x-rays and ultrasound test. Again she was doing great. Standing and watching everything going on. She commented on how well behaved and gentle Shelby was.
My heart was singing.
At 12:10 PM Thursday the Doctor called. She said a lot of blow softening stuff I couldn't focus on. At 12:02 Shelby stood up and gave a short howl and then collapsed.
They had tried twice to resuscitate her via chemicals and electricity. They were still doing CPR but she was not responding.
I asked them to stop the CPR. After 10 minutes I thought it was hopeless and a miracle resurrection The joker
would still leave her brain damaged.
My wife and I got there as soon as we could. They put us in an examination room and wheeled Shelby in on a cart. When I touched her all that fur made her feel warm. When I had my first two heart attacks Shelby and I were foolishly separated for a few months. When we were reunited she didn't run and jump into my arms; she snapped at me and tried to run away. She thought I was a ghost returned from the grave. When she saw that I was flesh she was back to leaning on me and demanding I scratch her butt. When I felt her warm fur I thought she was going to jump up and yell at me, "Now you know how it feels!"
It would have been a great joke. But it wasn't a joke.
I could still feel that Shelby was there. Probably why it felt confusing. I told her she was a good girl and that she would always be my dog.
I asked the Doctor about her howl. I wanted to make sure it was or was not her emergency howl for me to come rescue her. It didn't sound like it was. It sounded like Shelby was caught unawares and surprised. It was an inarticulate utterance caused by a blood clot from brain suddenly dislodging and striking her brave little heart.Going home
They had covered Shel with a blanket. I pulled it back and saw the weariness of her battle, the two places where they'd shaved for the catheter and how they'd shaved her stomach below her heart.
I rubbed her tummy telling her she was a good girl and that I loved her. More than even a cookie she loved being called a good girl. She hated being called a bad girl and would argue if she thought it was undeserved.
At first her tummy felt like it was Shelby but abruptly it felt like something gray and dead. It was then I realized that Shelby had finally left.
We're having her cremated. We'll pick up her ashes next week.
Shelby would not be happy at Rainbow Bridge. She wouldn't run and play. She would only sit and wait for me.
If you believe in reincarnation I can't imagine a higher life form for her to evolve into. She loved who she was and it was as close to perfection as any of us could want.
She was the greatest dog in the world. She was my dog. I was her boy.
If you can't understand that. I've nothing to say.
If you do understand and are jealous I understand. I'm jealous of the me that was.
She was 7 years old. Nearly 8. She did nothing but brighten the world for a lot of people but mainly she illuminated my world. It seems even darker now without her in it. It's not fair to her.
One thing did happen. My wife locked her keys in the car at the hospital. We had to call a locksmith. He was there in about 5 minutes. I don't know how we must have looked; while he was getting into the car he told us about his 13 year old pit bull who was the glue of his family. He then said, "No charge."

March 28, 2013

God must have needed him a good dog
Steve McQueen "Soldier In The Rain"

Shelby, my puppy, passed away today at 12:02 PM.
It was surprising only because she had been showing so much improvement. After enduring 2 units of blood in a transfusion all her vital signs showed marked improvement. There were signs that this was going to be treatable or at least manageable.
But then she suddenly let off a strangled howl and collapsed, dead.
After 10 minutes of CPR there was no response. I asked them to stop as even if she miraculously survived after that time she surely would have been brain damaged.
I will miss her. So will many others.
She was the greatest dog in the world.

March 23, 2013

Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers each night
Clifford Siodamak - "The Wolfman"

Creepy 1966 by Frank Frazetta
Click images for desktop size: "Creepy 1966" by Frank Frazetta
My puppy has a heart murmur and she has anemia.
It's bad. What makes it somehow worse is that it comes from a disease called Ehrlichia.

Ehrlichia canid infection in dogs is divided into 3 clinicopathologic stages:When The Earth Cracked Open

acute phase of disease:
fever, anorexia, lethargy
This phase begins 1-3 weeks after exposure.

Most dogs recover at this point, but others progress to the subacute and chronic phases subacute phase of disease:
hypergammaglobulinemia (polyclonal or sometimes monoclonal gammopathy), thrombocytopenia and anemia usually subclinical, but can last months to years

chronic phase:
lethargy, weight loss
Mortality can be high in dogs that progress to the chronic stage of disease.
Three hundred military dogs were lost to this "Tropical Canine Pancytopenia" form of ehrlichiosis during the Vietnam War. Progression to subacute and chronic disease is generally attributed to an ineffective immune response on the part of the dog. German Shepherd dogs appear to be predisposed to the severe, chronic form of disease.

It kind of sucks to be my puppy right now. If nothing else, I love her. I can only hope that means Transformer
Click images for desktop size: "Transformer" by Unknown
something to her. I think it does. It could just be my massive ego but she still wants to keep me in eyesight.
My puppy has even figured out new paths and methods to keep me in sight which reduce the stress on her little body. When we walk up the hill to the street for our walks she insists on coming along on all three trips. Instead of bouncing up the hill and vaulting the retaining walls like usual she's figured out a path that she can make in her own plodding style.
When I walk the other dogs she lets me go to where she knows I'll have to turn around. She will stand there and wait for me to come back. If I move five feet further away than normal she adjusts and waits.
So the flesh is weak but her mind is strong.Cry Of The City
Her initial blood test showed her with a 12% blood count. It should be around 36%. My own blood count once fell to 5%meds but and they were writing me off then. I know how uncomfortable a 12% can be.
We started her on a massive program of antibiotics and steroids. My puppy showed all the side effects of the meds but no real improvements. In fact she seemed to be going downhill.
I took her to work with me to monitor her. She watched me closer than I monitored her! If I left my office door open she'd very slowly follow me out and just trudge along until she found me. When she did find me she would just laugh at me.
I took my puppy back in Friday for another blood test. This time the blood count was 14% but her protein count was down from 6.7 to 6.
Those 2 points caused my heart to flutter. It could be a false hope due to the various testing methods used. But they can't take way that she at least is not getting worse.
Ehrlichia is a tick born disease. Like lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Fever it comes from being Concerti Vivaldi by MA Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "Concerti Vivaldi" by MA Parkes
bitten by a tick.
I'm still trying to figure out what purpose ticks serve in ecology. I wonder about that a lot less then I wonder how to get revenge on a phylum.
Most of you know that my big prayer has always been for me to live one day longer than my puppy. Even though she showed that she can survive far better without me than I can without her.
I wish I'd never offered that prayer. I'm wondering now if she's just trying to keep pace with me; as if I'd given her a command to go first.
I've been having a lot of warning sign, signs I'm constantly on alert for: Constantly dropping things - Count Dracula And The Vampire Brides explained away as a side effect to the frozen right shoulder and football neck injury
Thinning hair - I'm getting older aren't I?
Odd wounds that don't heal - I have a few in my scalp. My wife examined them and said they looked like bug bites.
Fatigue - I've got a burdensome loathsome job and five dogs to care for.
They did a blood work on me a couple of weeks ago. I got the call yesterday that I need to go in for some more blood tests.
Lost 25 lbs since November - My wife moved in. New living arrangement and eating habits change. And there's been a lot of stress with her family, house and friends. It all effects me. Four pounds a month is not what anyone would call a massive weightless now, is it?
I sort of blew it off. I was feeling okay and had a good explanation for what was going on in me, but last night it was an herculean task to lift a dog bowl of food and stir it up. I wrote it off as using my bad right hand but it was just as impossible with my left.
I got it done because me and my puppy do share that. We just keep on going till we get there.
I might be coming out of remission, but then again, I might not.

If you check the podcast button at the top of the menu you'll find the latest. I'll have another one up this week.
After that will come the tribute to summer and then the tribute to dogs, with every dog song I could find that is cool and or crazy.

January 12, 2013

She was ready to deny the existence of space and time rather than admit that love might not be eternal
Simone de Beauvoir

Admral Skull by Frank Hamilton
Click images for desktop size: "Admiral Skull" by Frank Hamilton
I'm going to have to remove all the mp3's from the site.
I've spent a lot of energy in not monetizing this site. And I get approached a lot. I find it strange. I The Great Escape mean I track the 100 or so visitors that come here a day. I don't track them but I like the little counter at the bottom of the page. It counts the number of people who come here to the front page and that manages to exclude the number of google image searches and the ilk. I like to think of people enjoying the pretty pictures but i don't feel the need to count them. Some people do though. I guess if you count the people I don't know the site has about 47,000 visits a day. Which is still not that many.
That also doesn't count robots. Little apps that crawl the whole structure of the site. I have most robots turned off in robot.txt but , of course, complying with robot.txt is voluntary.
About a half dozen of these robots are looking for mp3's. Which is no big deal except these robots generate html links to sites that sell the mp3's for money. Which I think is creepy and wrong. But what bugs me is that they never asked me or even told me what they were doing and a few of their rather lazy customers assume that I get a cut or get pay from these sites!!
I think there are enough places in this world who view the world as a walking wallet and enough people conniving how best to extract money from you. I wanted to make sure that this thing of mine was a haven from that. It's the point, among a myriad million other diffuse points, of this thing.
So I guess the best thing is just to delete the mp3's.
The podcasts stay though. No one has figured out to extract money from them yet!

It's been a bad week for me. I hope for no one else. I had to go back to work. Bad news. I live in a "Right to Work" state. That means workers have no rights. I mean none. Not even the right to a A Letter by Vargas
Click images for desktop size: "A Letter" by Vargas
coffee break or a lunch 15 minutes. No rights whatsoever. And plenty of employers who contrive to exploit that.
Our new little white puppy had to go in for heart worm treatment. I once had another little girl who died of heart worm so I'm a bit obsessive about it. They inject the dog with arsenic to kill the heart worm. They use long needles in the lumbar region. Then it's important, as in life or death important, that the little girl stay as quiet and as unexcited as possible for two months!
The first night the little girl cried woefully and it agony all night. The next day she had to be rushed to the vet. It seemed she was having a bad reaction to the pain killer she gets for the heart worm treatment.Guys And Dolls
That night the giant (100 lb. plus) dog broke through the baby gate and attacked the little girl. She had to rush to the emergency vet. Three hundred bucks and a lousy patch up job later and she was still alive and all right and probably regretting ever being "rescued".
She's such a sweet and gentle thing she bears no grudge or anger. She tore me up pretty badly but that was always just her panic and pain. The pain she did to my body was minor to the pain and guilt I felt for letting her down and being remiss in protecting her.
She smiled at me today and that makes it better.
I'm still angry with giant dog.

This is a failed podcast. I wanted to tell an emotional story to celebrate my wife's birthday. Somehow it comes off as just a bit of an uptempo mess that's pretty much subject to incorrect interpretation. But there's some great tunes here and you can dance to it. And, get right down to it all these podcasts are for my wife anyway.

The Cool and The Crazy 7
Lady, That's My Skull

Gene Pitney & George Jones - I've Got $5 And It's Saturday Night
Shonen Knife - Bitzkrieg Bop
Ricky Nelson - There's Good Rockin' Tonight
Bob Luman - Let's Think About Living
Strangeloves - I Want Candy
Elvis Brothers - Motormouth
Wanda Jackson - Riot In Cell Block Number 9
Beat Farmers - Hollywood Hills
Preston Epps - Bongo Rock
Buckinghams - I Call Your Name
Phantom Rocker & Slick - My Mistake
Adam Schmitt - Can't Get You On My Mind
Spirit Of Troy - Hang On Sloopy
Boss Hoss - Go! Go! Go!
Travoltas - Barbra Ann
Me First & The Gimmee Gimmees - Sloop John B
Los Planatronics - Shape Of Things To Come
Del Shannon= Reason To Believe
Starry Eyed & Laughing - Chimes Of Freedom
Byrds - 5D
Dl Byron - Listen To The Heartbeat
Downbeat 5 - Dum Dum Ditty
Roy Orbison - You Got It
Trashmen - New Generation
Weird Al Yankovic - Canadian Idiot
Boss Martians - She Moves Me
Equals - Police On My Back
Bomboras - David's Mood
Jigsaw Seen - The Daily Planet
Gene Pitney - It's Over


May 18, 2012

Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life
Terry Pratchett

Click images for desktop size: "Elephant" by Unknown
I like movies from the early sixties. They were momentous movies and big stories that were only about people.Rinty
It was the bigness of ourselves that gave the stories their weight, the importance of ourselves to ourselves and to each other that made the morals important. The universe didn't have to be in jeopardy to keep our interest because there was enough universe in each of us to make any story interesting.
There was time to smile and laugh and tragedy didn't always mean that life could only end in death. It was a more complicated time because we were a more social race then. We were smarter and had to be better educated in order to survive and thrive in a world were madness only burbled over a distant horizon, instead of at our doorstep.
One such movie I can always quote is "Soldier In The Rain". It doesn't follow all of my guidelines but it's still pretty indicative. It starts out a light hearted military comedy but then, for a period grows dark. The dramatic impetus is the death of Steve McQueens dog, Donald.
We never see Donald in the movie, except for a small snapshot, but he is an overriding presence in the story, a thing that is real but also encapsulates all the hopes and dreams of a man, because that is simply what dog's do.
Loaded with grief Mcqueen retreats to his local bar to have a beer because that is what men do to swallow their grief. There, a few bar flies begin chatting him up trying to hustle some free drinks. McQueen talks about Donald and the bar flies give unconvincing support. McQueen talks in sad rapture about Donald and then orders a round for the barflies, He stands up and smiles then says, "Mister, you never had you no dog."
It's a scene from a moire that stayed with me since I was 8. A good scene that made a kid think about the awesomeness of a dog's love and the depth and capacity of a man's ability to love.
And today it reaffirms how much I love my little puppy.
With the Republican party leading the charge to try and tell us how we have to live instead of just giving us rules to co-exist by with each of us free to choose how to live I remain eternally grateful for dogs and the innocence of amateur sports.Skull Island-Kong
Click images for desktop size: "Kong-Skull Island" by Unknown

My puppy was eight years old on Tuesday. I look at her and I still see the skunky little puppy who demanded obedience and treats.
First time we met she bit me. Drew blood. She bit me and glared at me defiantly, from then on we were best friends. Shortly thereafter she got rejected by her mother and she ran to me for protection and an explanation.
When we were separated because of my heart attack and my eternal grief with governments we met again after six months. Six months where we were never permitted to say goodbye. She looked at me with terror and she bit me. When she was convinced I was not a zombie she leaned against me for pets.
A dog looks at you without prejudice. I love my wife but when she looks at me I know that she sees me through her lifetime of pain, hurts and joys. It's the only way we can look at anyone. We're only human. But dogs can look at you with nothing but love.
For eight years I've been blessed with a puppy who did anything she could to please me. She made me laugh. She commiserated when I was sad. She showed me that I could be more than I had any right to be.

June 27, 2011

To kill the Bhudda you must be a Bhudda
Kazuo Koike

Eerie 1967 by Frank Frazetta
Click images for desktop size: "Eerie 1967" by Frank Frazetta
I was watching "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and there was this really ancient guy who they're debating whether he was killed or suicided. The solution was that he couldn't have suicided! He tookChristine Keeler Affair 14 pills a day! That was the only fact they needed.
I take 14 pills a day.

My puppy got a bath on Friday. She spent all of Friday hating me and blaming me. Of course she waited until I had rescued her from the sadistic groomer! Then its safe to hate me.
Can't blame her for that.
She looks great. She's been blowing coat in this maddening heat. They got her all brushed out, nails trimmed. She's just as beautiful as I imagine her.
I can never get over how easily she forgives me for the wrongs, and the perceived wrongs, I've done her. My puppy cares about me, rejoices in me.
It's reciprocal.

I suppose the biggest deal this week though is my job.
They fired the supervisor for theft. I was surprised and disappointed by that. And then shocked by the depth and amount of the theft, as well as the duration.
I've successfully avoided any sort of supervisor/management responsibilities at this job but this time, as much as I tried to avoid it, I'm stuck.
At first I thought I was going to get out of it easily. Thier initial offer of a promotion would have entailed a fifty cent an hour DECREASE in my current salary. Somehow they were unaware that I already earned more than the mamgers and supervisors.
Flux by MX Steel
Click images for desktop size: "Flux" by MX Steel
They fixed the offer and made a few other concessions so now I'm it.
The major thing for me is going back to working during the day. I start at 8:00 AM now instead of midnight. I'm hoping this does something to fix my constant fatigue. Maybe not but who knows.
It will be an adjustment I figure. No longer moving quietly through the dark nights and no longer dealing with crack heads and drunks with a violent attitude. Or at least not dealing with them when they're in full roar to their addictions.
I figure the little bit of extra money will go to the immigration lawyers.

June 18, 2011

You must die! I alone am best!
Yor Chun "Wutan Swordsman"

Minnesota Valley Canning Company by Andrew Wyeth
Click images for desktop size: "Minnesota Canning Company" by Andrew Wyeth
Life has been a chore lately. Debilitating heat and sweat mixed with hopeless rage and mercurial hopes.The Champ
Its like not much to walk 6 miles in a day but, nowadays, ending and starting your outside world day with that long walk and for it to be that way for 2 years is a feat, a testament to toughness and a gateway to helplessness. Independence comes at that cost most of the time.
My days have become tossing and turning in baed for 10 hours trying to get 4 hours of sleep. Then I walk around near zombie-ish for the rest of the day while I head into trying nights at work. It's a living.
So, I've been spending my idle thought cycles contemplating dogs. My puppy in particular and the species in general.
It's not that complicated. I'm not really capable of that complicated a thought process, pretty much like dogs. I'm reading this book about the emotional life of dogs: "For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend" by Patricia B. McConnell, PhD. -whew- that's a mouthful and so is the book.
It gets pretty laboured at times especially when it tries to justify things that we intuit are right and good but really have no apt words to describe. The greatest pleasures in the book are when they codify, justify and give weight to things we already knew about dogs but were generally met with derision or at least sceptism by people who don't have it in them to be able to love another species.
I've never been able to grasp why not being able to love another species is considered cool, especially in the Judeo Christian ultra religious circle. Maybe loving an abstract that depends on faith wears out all their brain pan so they the synapses are too fatigued to love something that is standing at their side watching them with loving eyes. (I blame Thomas Aquinas a lot for this and Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
the endless tripe this ancient bastard spewed out that became accepted as dogma. His whack job insistence that dogs had no more soul than a chair leg is so mean spirited and cause for so much cruelty that one can only hope he's wandering the same circle of hell as child rapists.)
I guess the best part of the book are those chunks that make you go, "HAH! I knew it!" I, for one, always enjoy being able to toss around a book with actual words that defend and protect my position on abstract and obscure matters.
I don't think that the book will convince the animal haters or move the stupider or shake the faith of those who condemn dogs to the same role as furniture and fashion accessories. It might convince doggie agnostics but just might. One thing that's annoying is that McConnell works most often with working dogs and justifies the working dog as the pinnacle of doggie achievement. My puppy is a working breed and I still feel that is hog wash. Dogs are dogs and selective breeding (further proof of evolution?) might have certain purebreds crazier than others, and selective breeding may have Burglar distilled certain traits, in my experience dogs are dogs. While I might find acclimating to a Belgium shepherd easier as I know what to expect from specific breed traits there is no doubt that each of the Belgiums who've I've met and have lived with have been as different as human beings are different.
Environment, expectations and education have a greater impact than fur or skin color.
I also think McConnell comes close to but shows the timidity of all Yul Brenner And Deborah Kerr
Click images for desktop size: "Brenner & Kerr"
over academic thinkers. She comes close to but shies away from the logical conclusion that dogs have a certain amount of reasoning and rough intelligence. I think that all emotions and their grade and intensity are predicated on intelligence anyway.
Sadly the idea that an animal has the ability to reason, that they have an ability to discern the difference between right and wrong is earth shattering and controversial. Rah! It isn't. I mean that mutant weasel who shot Congresswoman Gifford was found unfit to stand trial as he couldn't tell the difference between right and wrong (although he was sane enough to buy and own powerful hand guns??). I think my puppies are all capable of that sort of numbskull decision. The fact that they don't bite and crush our hands when they don't get the treats they want is proof of that.
Animal behaviorists like to ascribe that complicated thought process to simple learned behavior. Which is scardey cat twaddle or it can be put down that all humans are simple behavior machines. I reject that theory out of hand, except in the case of mutant weasels.
Like the giant dog has a joke. He likes to go to the door and act like he needs to go outside to go to the bathroom but as soon as you get to the door he spins around and jumps up on the couch and Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
laughs and laughs.
It his joke. It's not a great joke at all but it's nearly as good as the jokes 4 and 5 year old humans have inflicted on me.
It also knocks the behaviorists theory for a loop. The only thing giant dog gets out of his joke is that he gets to laugh at you for getting up out of the chair. He gets satisfaction from convincing us he had to go to the bathroom. He gets no food, no treats, no physical satisfaction at all except the ability to laugh at us.
As to thought he had to imagine the result. He had to desire that result and logic out a way to arrive at that result. This is a creative complicated thought process with the payoff being laughter and amusement.
I wish the joke were better but he's just a dog.Canadian Mounties VS The Aliens

I've also added a new guitarist to my pantheon. Evan Foster of Boss Martians, Mystery Action and a stunning solo Surf album.
The Boss Martians are his main band but he's bursting with so many riffs that he starts as many side projects as Jack White! But Evan is cleaner and edgier than White. At first its not obvious how stunning Evan's guitar skills are. He believes, like me, that the song is the main thing, so his riffs are designed to make your jaw drop, they're designed to serve the song and let the tune rip your heart out. Avoid him at your peril.
His twisted cover of Link Wray's, "Fire And Brimstone" shows he has chops to better anybody, while his album "Instrumentals" is a maniacal take on reverb drenched excess.

One bright dot on the landscape is that I'm broke. Broke because I gave all my money to an immigration lawyer who seems very confident that my wife will be an American green card holder before Christmas.
That still makes me feel buoyant and happy.
Now it just has to happen and I will be happy.

May 23, 2011

Have mercy on me
Cannonball Adderley

The Earth by Milad
Click images for desktop size: "The Earth" by Milad
I was in hospital last weekend.
Tight chest pain, dizziness and weird pain through out the left side of my body. It felt like the side of The Big Bird Cage my face that got paralyzed was turning into melting wax.
I started to work and decided I couldn't make it. So I took the doc's advice and turned left instead of right. Ended up at the emergency room.
The good news is that I wasn't having a stroke or a heart attack. The bad news is that I wasn't having a stroke or a heart attack but I'm now on the hook for all the tests that told them whether I was having a stroke or a heart attack.
They kept me over night. I'm not fond of hospitals. Not fond of many doctors either. If you remember the War in Grenada. Reagan's "Little" War. They sent in the marines to rescue some medical students . . . Rich kids who were too stupid to get into a real school. I mean they were so stupid that their rich parents couldn't even pull strings to get them into a real school, so they paid huge fees to go to this butcher shop in Grenada so they could pull strings to get their dumb kids a license to practice medicine and become self supporting.
I mean these kids were so dumb that their parents could get a war declared but they couldn't get them into a real medical school in America.
Every time I get a real stupid doctor, and they out number the good ones, I always ask them if they studied medicine in Grenada. I haven't met any yet but I have met two went to med schools in the Caribbean. I asked to see other doctors.
So after wasting a night and a day in hospital where I was pretty much ignored I went home. My puppy was glad to see me. Odd thing was that she hadn't defecated since I'd been gone and she had refused to play with her Kong. I thought she loved her Kong. I guess she only loves to tease me with the Kong. Maybe my puppy thinks I love the Kong.
Untitled by Tomas Brechler
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Thomas Brechler
I sleep in a single bed. I don't usually move around much so I'm comfortable in one. My puppy is comfortable in one too except she doesn't share and will seldom spend any time on the bed with me. When I lie down when I got home she jumped up and rested her head on my stomach and refused to move. She woke me once howling in her sleep but went right back to rest easy. I hope she wasn't dreaming about me.
I went back to work that week. It was hard. I still feel badly.
On Friday they sent me to see more doctors. More EKG's, more blood drawn, more tests, more physicals.
Theblood takers bugged me. The primary one commented on how young and tight my skin was then called over two others to see and touch me. It was embarrassing as well as making me feel put upon. I The Black Cointhink they might have been trying to be complimentary but that is possibly just a hope. They also sent me to an endocrinologist. I don't recall ever seeing one of those before. He was interesting, cautious but open with his instincts. They're doing all sorts of tests and will let me know the results in a letter or a phone call and then set up a follow up appointment. They said I need more protein. They also said I'm still in remission. They also pulled me from the drug trial for some pretty obvious reasons. I asked if this meant they were revoking their six year life expectancy guarantee. He said something that made me laugh. "I see at least three times they've given up on you. It seems there's no good reason you survived your second heart attack and with no treatment. I don't think anyone would ever bet against you."
They gave me another pill to take. I know take 11 in the morning and three at night. Lots of chemicals.
My puppy doesn't care so long as she gets fed. I approve of her attitude.

May 8, 2011

For the quality of owning freezes you forever into "I", and cuts you off forever from the "we"
John Steinbeck

Untitled by Marta Dahlig
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Marta Dahlig
I did my blood work on Friday. They take too much blood. That night the fasting and the blood loss made me wake up with the shakes and the night sweats. Since it was in the mid 50's being drenched At The Circus with sweat was disconcerting. My puppy, who know matter what anyone says is a good girl and very crazy, took care of me and watched over me.
The blood work was as annoying as usual. They always have to stick me too many times to find a vein. The person drawing the blood kept talking about how tight my skin was. I asked what she meant by that. No one had ever called me a tight skinned anything before. It was a good thing, a compliment I guess. I might have taken it better if the nurse in charge hadn't put me through the usual tom foolery about how I don't look as sick as I am.
Won't get the results for a while. Have to get them online. Internet age. A curious thing, I think sometimes.

My wife has a new foster dog. An all white shepherd looking girl. The white girl dog was rescued from some well meaning but neglectful S4w-FashionSexPoliticsAndMusic-294.jpg
Click images for desktop size: "Unknown Goth"
abusive owners who thought they were doing the right thing . . .
The white girl is doing okay. She has issues. How could she not. She doesn't get along with the giant dog, which is understandable but she also has issues with the gentle dog. That is not understandable.
Still, experience dictates things will calm down and mellow. Dogs are too much like people sometimes. You take a small scared person and drop them into an established family and you know what happens.
Everybody reacts differently and yet we all react the same. Most, but not all, abused creatures including people are scared. When they come into a new situation from an abusive one they spend an amazing amount of energy either succumbing to the further abuse they anticipate or, the healthier ones, doing whatever they can to try and stop the abuse from ever happening again.
Purple Angel By Artemis Rosakis
Click images for desktop size: "Purple Angel" by Artemis Rosakis
Both types of people will usually respond to some calm and some laughs. They just need the space to be jerks and in a short time, shorter for dogs, when they don't get the terror they expect in response they give up the act. Some are too terribly abused and it takes more to get through to them, but they can be gotten through to if the goal is to let them be happy and not to control them.
I think the white girl will fit in well enough until she finds her forever home and that's all I ever ask.

One surprising effect of the great movie :I Saw The Devil" (which my wife thought was bleh) is the typical Asian rip offs of it. A sub genre exploring the tenets and roots of evil and fighting evil when just being good is nowhere near enough?
Jeong-beom Lee's "The Man From Nowhere" could never have existed with "I Saw The Devil". That Bad Girl doesn't stop it from being great. It actually benefits from the association and uses some shorthand to amplify its effects. Iy also uses a similar shorthand referring to Bresson's "Leon" to good effect.
Lee leaves most of the weighty stuff behind but gets plenty of good enough actors to give the timbre in the scenes.
Bin Won plays a former secret agent who left the service when his wife, pregnant with a girl, is killed in retaliation for one of his assignments. Won responds by becoming a ghost. He runs a pawn shop. He lives in the back of the shop and touches no one.
His clientele are junkies and thieves. One drug addict hooker has a little girl. Won has a safe affection for the little girl but keeps her at arms length. He barks at her and bullies her. She fills his iPod with music, for a fee and pawns her mothers things for drug money.
One day the mother gets involved in a drug heist. She is way over her head as the owners of the drugs want them back. She sticks the drugs in a camera case and has her daughter pawn the case to keep them safe.
After the gangsters show up to get the drugs this becomes a rip roaring action tale and its awesome, never letting the message get in the way of some terrific and terrifying fights. The message is pretty simple: The world is a terrible place and it is up to all of us to look after each other, especially for the strong to protect the weak.
The other rip=off movie that rates highly with me is Ching-Po Wong's :Revenge: A Love Story". Not surprisingly the title also describes the plot.
The movie starts with Juno Mak murdering women, pregnant women in the vilest most inhumane fashion possible. He slashes the women open and rips the near term fetuses from their bodies. He Pirate Pattern by Pirate Boy
Click images for desktop size: "Pirate Pattern" by Pirate Boy
then throws the fetuses into the river.
The murders are brutal and excruciating. We soon discover that the dead women's husbands are all cops, not only cops but cops on the same team. And just when we're about to settle in for a good ol' serial killer type film there's a shift. The cops catch Mak and after brutally torturing him we see, in flashback, the reason for these heinous crimes.
What we see is unexpected, terrifying and tear inducing. There's no way to prepare for the reality of the situation presented here other than it's more than just tragic. Its presented in a totally believable way and is guaranteed to score the soul.
A few American reviewers have trashed the movie as being pretentious, a B action movie with A movie aspirations. I say, so what?
It separates itself into sections introduced by Bhuddist koans. I think this makes some uncomfortable and needing to write the whole thing off.
It explores evil at his most common denominator. And it does so with a grim purpose to force us to have an understanding of humanity and with all understanding comes a dark price: Forgiveness.

January 29, 2011

I was just a boy giving it all away
Adam Faith

Deep Sea Hunting by Photoneu
Click images for desktop size: "Deep Sea Hunting" by Photoneu
I saw a picture of my puppy. I was slightly stunned to see how mature, elegant and regal she looked.
When I look at her I still see her as a little puppy, the little girl who played "Alligator: with me, The Van where she'd hide under the bed and try and pull me into her "swamp".
The serious little girl who stayed with me in the hospital growling at the nurses when they came in and constantly looking up and checking on me. The puppy who went to therapy dog school and played tricks on me but still tried her hardest to please me. And the young lady who won a second level discipline obedience class while never having attended any obedience classes.
I look at her and I see all those puppies and dogs and they shrink down into one who waits for me.
She's my dog. We belong to each other.
I miss my other two dogs plenty. The gentle dog misses me too. The giant dog . . . who knows what thoughts go through his brain.

I set my alarm clock to wake me with radio, then I set the station to a top 40 pop station. Nothing gets me out of bed faster than turning off a top 40 tune blaring from a cheap radio.
A few days ago I was startled to hear a Jason Mraz tune. I'm not a fan, but I'd been working on a tune for the past few weeks. I'm always working on a tune the past few weeks, at least in my head. This one I was stumbling around with the lyrics, trying to clarify and enunciate some feelings. The harder I worked on it the more obscure things became, until I heard this Jason Mraz track, "Lucky".
The chorus pretty well summed up everything I was struggling to say in verse after verse: "We feel lucky to be in love with our best friend".
And that was it. That was all I was trying to say.
I'm never too sure how I feel about having my lofty emotions perfectly encapsulated in a pop song . . . but there you go.
Intitled by Solano Lopez
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Solamo Lopez
I guess the lesson is to always say things as simply as possible and to avoid the glitter and too much deep thought. Hey, maybe Jason Mraz is a genius! I still work off the standard that anyone who can do something that I can't must be a genius. I still got ego.

I have been hearing some interesting music lately. I guess everyone is psyched by the Jack White/Wand Jackson collaboration. Watching the numerous videos is a two edged sword. Seeing Wanda, my adolescent throbbing need, be real 50 years later is too much for me to comprehend or accept. ut that's offset by Jack White. He's pulled together one of the best rock bands I've ever heard and with him DANCIN' around the stage in his cat clothes and playing band leader is as thrilling as being at the birth of rock itself.
The record's not bad either.Voyage of the Rock Aliens
The other band is strange. they took their name from a Sonics' cut and even cover a Sonic's tune. And somehow they've become a country band??
I first heard "Boss Hoss" when someone sent me a demo of them covering the Rolling Stones' "Mother's Little Helper". I thought they were strange but great. I just assumed they were another garage revival band with enough talent and attitude to take things to their own level.
Their latest album is "Low Voltage" and its insane. The band looks like a 21st century Tex-Mex Salsa outfit. Too many guys in cowboy hats. The album is filled with brass, strings and fiddles, bass saxaphones and harmonicas and, of course, guitars filled with truck driver 8 part harmoney and it sounds about as country as the White Stripes meet the Beat Farmers. A distinctive and welcome sound.

That's it. Still working. Still suffering. Still trying to get my wife into this country (legally). And looking to survive the newer ages.

November 21, 2010

People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it's simply necessary to love
Daniel J. Boorstin

Untitled by William Wagner
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by William Wagner
Yesterday my puppy and I went to get her picture taken with Santa Claus. We both had an uproarious time. Dozens of dogs and dozens of free cookies!Night Runner
It was the sort of madness that restores sanity. I talked to a few people and talked to all of the dogs. My puppy was hands down the prettiest. Gilda, the sparkly red basset hound ballerina was the most stylish. An irish setter wore a striped Christmas sweater and the little 3 year old girl escorting him wore a matching outfit.
There was only one cat. That would have been a good thing except this one was so fat it should have counted as 3!
It felt hopeful and it felt like the holidays.
The best news is that we finally got a receipt number from Homeland Security for my wife's immigration application. The receipt number is important for all the other stuff to proceed. Like, with the receipt number I could impose on a senator to show an interest in the matter and maybe get this thing sped up a little bit.
No matter what I feel about the entire process it has to be done.
And my job . . . The law is still in place for my job to cease to be in 8 days! The owners last gasp hope rests in a lawsuit. They've used whatever influence high priced law firms have to get the matter heard before a judge they think will be friendly to their point of view, meaning, they expect him to grant an injunction letting them stay in business.
I'm of two minds about this. I want a job. I need a paycheck but these places have no sane or reasonable reason to exist. You can make more of an argument for how bad they are than any posit that they need to exist (except for greedy owners.)
So I'm up and down about the whole thing and just want it to end so we can move along one way or the other.

This is one of the cruddiest most bizarre seasons ever in the NFL. The lack of consistency from any Untitled by Jim Steranko
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Jim Steranko
team and the on the fly rule changes make it hard to follow and impossible to predict. I was just watching the CBS pre game show and was surprised to discover that I've had more correct picks than any of the coaches and players on the panel!! For that matter so does my wife!!

My picks are in bold.

Chicago at Miami - The Dolphins are too depleted to stage any sort of threat to the Bears.

Buffalo at Cincinnati - The Bengals season just leaves me feeling sad. The Bills finally won one but you have to figure the Bengals have some pride left.

Detroit at Dallas - Cruddy game of the week. The Lions need a healthy Matt Stafford to compete. The Cowboys won big and look incredibly boring doing it.
Night and the City
Oakland at Pittsburgh - The Raiders on't have the talent to expose the Steelers weaknesses but I still think this will be a closer game than most figure.

Houston at the New York Jets - The Jets are one of the few teams playing to their potential. All games are must win for them as they're fighting to be Superbowl contenders. They have the tools to shut down the Texans.

Gene Kelly & Cyd Charisse
Click images for desktop size: "Gene Kelly & Cyd Charisse"
Baltimore at Carolina - The Panthers are starting an 8 year vet who's played in 5 games in those 8 years . . . Destruction and mayhem are in the cards.

Cleveland at Jacksonville - The Jaguars are playing good football. The Browns only beat elite teams.

Washington at Tennessee - The Titans Chris Johnson must be dreaming of setting records today.

Arizona at Kansas City - The Cardinals are the classic example of a coach thinking he's more important than a team.

Green Bay at Minnesota - My upset of the week. Brett Favre is near the end of the string. He'll want to remember this game.

The Beggar by Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "The Beggar" by Unknown
Atlanta at St Louis - Many are picking the Rams at home. Not crazy at all but Matt Ryan and the Falcons have risen to every challenge thus far.

Seattle at New Orleans - The only way the Saints lose is if the Reggie Bush-Pete Carroll connection overwhelms the sense of team.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco - This is a game of the week contender! Go figure.

Indianapolis at New England - Game of the week but only because of the history of Brady vs Manning, Billichek vs the Colts etc.

Denver at San Diego - Kyle Orton is playing better than Jay Cutler and the rest of the Broncos like to sit back and watch him . . . Same for the Chargers and Phil Rivers.

New York Giants 24 at Philadelphia 28 - I hate the Eagles but they are fast and the Giants are not.

April 8, 2010

They say the worst bad habit we have is memory

Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
I'm getting a lot of mail and questions. Some from strangers, some from people that I love. "You dead?" to "Did you give up blogging?"The Dunwich Horror
I'm just tired. Hard tired.
Everyday thoughts go through my head; since I can't write them down, get them from there to here, they stay in my head.
In my skull thoughts get crowded. They swirl around until they form a primordial mélange. Working nights leaves me constantly sleepy. After work, in the morning, I care for my puppy; dose myself with my drugs; stick myself in the belly with insulin needles; answer as many emails as I can (more for my puppy than myself - it's more important that the kids know she, my puppy, is fine and swaggering); look for another job; deal with things I have to deal with and then fall into disturbed and anxious sleep.
I toss and jumble myself while trying to rest. And the thoughts settle into their confused sparking mélange and the past stays merged with the present.
The job in the Quasi-Casino has disrupted the undemanding plan for my life. Survival; traded my life plan for survival. We have to do that too much.

There are things I can't forget that need remembering.

I was walking with my puppy in the dark, before work, on a warm and windless night, when we heard a strange noise. Can't describe it. It wasn't noise it was just a sound, a vibration in the ground. Then by street lamp and moonlight we watched a 35 foot tree snap off the trunk 8 feet off the ground and crash to earth.
My puppy and I were enchanted. The owner of the tree's backyard came running out. Ruined a bit of Betty Page by William George
Click images for desktop size: "Betty Page" by William George
the atmosphere. All I remember about our conversation is that he said "wow" a lot.

It was time for my puppy's annual physical. She was fine. The vet gives you a little sheet detailing all the various tests and things. At the bottom Dr K wrote, "She IS great!" with "is" double underlined.
My puppy is always so happy. She makes me happy even when she repeats her same old jokes a dozen times a day.
There was a fairly recent report revisiting the intelligence of dogs. They now figure dogs can remember over 250 words and have a general intellect comparable to a human 3 year old.
That's easy to accept. A combination of better testing techniques, evolution and better breeding practices.
The AKC used to start their description of Belgian Shepherds with the unequivacable statement, "the Experiment in Terror most intelligent breed."
Politics costs Belgians that statement, but politics can't take away their dark chimp like eyes and unyielding affections.
My puppy loves her kong. That's a hard rubber toy. Two years ago my puppy lost her kong in a snow drift. My puppy loves her kong; not any kong only her kong.
There was a snowstorm recently. At the height of the storm my Lucille Ball
Click images for desktop size: "Lucille Ball"
puppy got frantic. She insisted on going out. She ran to a pile of snow, dug for a minute and came out of the hole with her kong in her mouth. She trotted inside, giving me the eye as she brought her outside toy to the inside. It had to be inside, she had to know it was safe.
What impresses me is that she pulled an event from 2 years ago; saw it as a problem and came up with a solution.

Went to the doctor. Part of my heart is dead. Not the part that hates or the part that loves.
Got the bill for my emergency room visit: 20 minutes - $4,780. Yeah.
We don't need health care reform. Hospitals are as trustworthy as Wall Street Banks.

I saw one of the best pro "rasslin'" matches ever recently. On this alternative show, "Ring of Honor."
The show is cool. Kind of gritty, kind of cheap and highly entertaining. It's not as comic book-y or stupid as the generic WWE bizzaro world.
ROH does less talking and more yelling. They play the little dramas faster and with more intensity.
In the last WWE show they talked for 30 minutes before the first match started.
Jack Kirby
Click images for desktop size: "The Mighty Thor" by Jack Kirby
The ROH match that blew me away was The American Wolves vs The Young Bucks.
it was great. In its best moments it was as exhilarating as Chan Cheh Venoms movie with bodies flying through the air at breathtaking speed and landing and launching from impossible angles. It wasn't the sophomoric soap opera slowed down treacle sports entertainment, it was four guys pretending to beat each other up really really well. It was sweat infused art.

Some where around here I got married. It was actually March 17. The date had no significance to me before. All I did was agree to it.
There was no big decision for me. The only thoughtful part was being certain I wasn't marrying to have someone put roses on my grave.
The ceremony was okay. There were good dogs in attendance. My wife got all the dogs sparkly Dracula Sucks green bow ties. All the dogs kept them on, even my puppy. Gentle Dog started to lead a cheer during the vows and my puppy who was circling the altar had to go tell him to shut up until it was time and then we all had to whistle and stomp our feet. I liked their participation plenty.
The food was good if a bit too vegetarian for my puppy and me. But it was good. Good music. Good friends etc.
My new "mother-in-law" said something that made me bristle. She's always been obnoxious and rude to me. I don't care much about that. I tend to just ignore her, but she said one of the nastiest things I've ever heard at a wedding to my wife. I still feel like snarling every time I think of it. Her attitude explains a lot.
We got lost returning from the wedding. It bodes well that we got out of it with no big hassle and that dogs kept sleeping quiet in the back.
We did a second wedding the next day. It was out in the woods by a rushing stream. The first "legal: wedding was done by an okay Methodist minister who kept to his own wedding agenda. In this one we got to spout off a lot more. My wife said a lot of pretty words. I kept watching Giant Dog start to amble down the stream. When it was my turn I said my words from memory until Giant Dog got himself into trouble, so then had to stop everything and resuce him until he decided that was good fun and proceeded on a faster clip to get himself into trouble again . . .
I still liked the second wedding better.
It was sad when they left. Even my puppy was sad.

February 22, 2010

I'll be sorry but I don't care

Haiko On Hanami by April Joy E Jasmin
Click images for desktop size: "Haiku On Hanami" by April Joy E Jasmin
My mother used to be terrified that she, being only fifteen years older than me and divorced, was going to deprive me and traumatize me. The only book, the only resource for new mothers then was Delinquent Schoolgirls Doctor Spock. She couldn't go to her mother for advice. My grandmother hadn't talked to her since my mother's divorce. So my mother fumbled around and did the best she could figure out.
Sometimes this entailed taking me to work with her. When she was working at the concession counter at the drive-in movie theater going with her was very cool. I would sit at a picnic table on a concrete slab by the projection booth, right next to a blaring metal loud speaker and float into the movies while my mom's teen co-workers inundated me with sugar-y soda, popcorn and ice cream.
It was in that state that I first saw "Godzilla". A warm California night, the sea breeze and eucalyptus scenting the air and sixty feet of city munching reptile destroying everything adults hold dear. Perhaps my still holding love affair with Japanese jidai-geki movies has more to do with remembering a mother's love than it does my fondness for giant lizards and men in rubber suits. I wouldn't know. I'm more Adlerian than Freudian.
I liked monster movies. So did my mother but she worried so her next big plan to keep me from being deprived was a subscription to The Children's Book Club.
This was some weird thing, probably from an ad in "Teen Mom's Weekly". For fifty nine cents a copy your child, meaning me, got a hard cover classic of children's literature.
They were cheaply printed things. Thing I remember most were the super ragged edges of the pages. But I liked the books. I liked the stories in them. Classics is a pretty broad term. There were Hardy Boys stories, strange science fiction and "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland". I really liked that book at age 7. I liked the pictures and I liked the horrible things that happened to the little girl.
Purple Vectors
Click images for desktop size: "Purple Vectors" by Unknown
At that stage of my life torturing little girls was a major part of my entertainment. Not real torture but stuff like dropping snails down their backs, stealing the heads from their dolls. Typical stuff. The one girl who thought it was cool and fought back instead of shrieking and threatening to tell on me became a life long friend.
So I liked that all the animals yelled at Alice, picked on her and tormented her. It kept my interest up.
I read that book and re-read it then got on with surfing, torturing little girls etc. In high school someone gave me a copy of Martin Gardener's "The Annotated Alice". I don't remember who. It took me a long time before I started reading it. When I did start to get into it I was enthralled. It started my trek into Lewis Carroll fandom.
I recently got a copy of Jenny Woolf's new book, "The Mystery of Lewis Carroll". It's a bit dry but it attempts to debunk some of the more bizarre suppositions about Charles Dodgson like that he wasThe Deadly Mantis actually Jack the Ripper. It also attempts to tackle the issue of his being a pedophile. That has always driven me crazy. I've read some persuasive arguments for it being so and I've tried to accept that he was a pedophile who never actually improperly touched or harmed a child.
That goes against my knowledge of pedophiles. When I took my training to help abused kids part of it was attending group therapy sessions and listening to child abusers. I think the plan was to get us trainees to have some compassion and empathy for the offensive Audrey Hepburn
Click images for desktop size: "Audrey Hepburn"
It didn't have any such effect. I have been alone with thrill killers, reputed Mafia hitmen, drug addicts, prostitutes and movie stars. At some level I've always felt a bond of humanity. Sometimes it was tenuous and difficult but it was always still there.
Prior to my meeting the child abusers the group I felt most distant from were the hard core crack addicts. They were so lizard brained that any cloudy memory they had of being human was only called on to try and manipulate.
Child abusers, the ultimate victimizers, didn't have even that. To me they were an alien insect race that would be best served with a claw hammer and a room draped in plastic.
They have no control over their actions. They must abuse. So sordid and ingrained is their delusion that they speak often and in agreement that children are sexual seducers who lure them into the abusers horrific attacks and fantasies.
The thing is that they were all like this, all out of control. Even chemical and physical castration has not deterred child molesters from attacking children.
No matter how convincing the arguments it was hard, nearly impossible for me to put Dodgson in Rise on an Angel by Titusboy
Click images for desktop size: "Rise on an Angel" by Titusboy
this category, this misshapen lump. I could not even accept that he was a pedophile who had somehow managed to NOT harm children.
Ms Woolf's book tries to address this issue while presenting an image of Carroll full and deep. She uses a few newly discovered letters, gets some interesting interpretations of available data from MD's and such and uses a unique and solid bit of hard evidence.
She uses forensic accounting. Recently discovered are the complete bank records for Dodgson. From the first penny he spent till the decimation of his estate at his death. Financial records.
It seems odd. But so did bringing down Al Capone's empire based on his financial records. It paints a picture of Carroll and Dodgson that I am much more in agreement with that any other previous. Meaning it jibes most closely to my own perceptions of a major part of my pantheontology.
Woolf's writing style is a bit dry and prosaic but her observations are keen, her conclusions are onlyDevil Girl From Mars pedantic when strongly supported by evidence. It makes a good read and provides at least for the fans, which I am, a nice amount of dream time considering Dodgson/Carroll. My only complaint is that a bit too many words are spent rejecting some of the more inane conclusions about Dodgson.

I went for my stress tests on Wednesday. Interesting stuff. They made the mistake of leaving me alone in a room too long. I found a remarkable plastic model of a heart. It was dumped behind some boxes in a cupboard. I coveted it and considered stealing it. I didn't. Not because of any high handed moral arguments or out of fear but because it occurred to me that it might only appear to be discarded and might be of service to some other poor slob stuck in my kind of hell.
The stress tests themselves were not all that difficult. The first one was on a treadmill. I was out fitted with all the ekg terminals and an x-ray machine was pointed at my chest.
Wally Wood
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Wally Wood
It was hard getting my pulse over 100. Not that I'm that fit but because the treadmill didn't offer up enough resistance and I was ordered to not bend over too much to accelerate so that the x-rays would hit the right spot.
After that we went to the stair masters. Due to my chemotherapy history they eschewed x-rays. Didn't want to blast me with too much radiation in case I turned into a super hero I bet. So this time I climbed the unending staircase and was monitored by electrodes and sound waves. I could see the sonogram as I worked out. It was so incredibly cool looking at my heart beat. In motion I was trying to control it and make it do interesting things. That got me yelled at.
Don't have all the results yet but what there is is good. My heart has healed. There are abnormalities but they have to be looked for rather than appearing as distorted lines and squibbles.
My vitals are all good. they doubled my blood pressure meds. Rah. My BP was 120 over 60, but they decided they want it even lower! Part of this is due to the congestive heart failure I had with theDouble Indemnity Lyrica. Then my BP was hovering around 190 over 80 due to all the fluid in my chest compressing everything. Getting my standard BP even lower will enable me to endure a real congestive heart attack (that's what killed my grandmother when she was 98 . . .) They said I was on an extremely minmal dosage anyway and this would still have me below average.
Now I just wait for the rest of the results and the fitness and fury.
Just wanted to mention my puppy. She's continued to be wonderful. She's crazy and calm by turns. When I'm feeling more under the weather than usual she's protective. When I'm feeling better she's bossy and obnoxious, demanding her way. She's my friend.
She's been on a diet. She hates it. But we went to the pet store yesterday and she has lost nearly TWO POUNDS! Bringing her weight down to 71! Only six more pounds to go till she is her ideal weight!
She could care less about ideal weight. She'd rather have ice cream at all of her meals.

November 22, 2009

To be or not to be; that's not really a question
Jean-Luc Godard

7th Vision
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by 7th Vision
Another day at work. Spent my waking time arranging my transportation for physical therapy, optician and neurology appointments. It seemed a dreary and depressing chore.Robin and Marian  
Took my puppy for her walk and, as usual, marveled at how much she enjoys just being with me; how keen she is for adventure. We saw a rabbit. It was disappointing that the bunny wouldn't sit still to be smelled.
We met a new dog in the neighborhood . A boy.
It made for a good morning.
I fell asleep at the computer reading emails, went to bed at 11 AM. Begrudgingly my puppy agreed to share our single bed. Slept fitfully until my phone rang; robot calls, two in a row, confirming the physical therapy and the neurology appointments.

Pouring rain; makes me feel even sicker.
Went to Physical therapy. It was good. He explained to me why drops in barometric pressure cause my shoulder to hurt and why the corresponding effect is a two inch loss of mobility.
The explanation was filled with tech terms and medical jargon. The ones I got were the easy ones like orbital and viscous fluid. Even when I didn't understand it all it gave me comfort to have it explained out loud.
Stretched out the three ligaments in the shoulder. Hurt but felt I was getting some good out of it. Then worked on the shoulder with some machines and tools. I made a special effort to remember the names of the tools. Can't recall any of them. Don't know if that's due to the fever or lack of sleep.
Next time I'll write it all down. Taking notes on my life.

The war with Canada escalates. I received a two page letter from them. It makes no sense. It Untitled by 3D
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by 3D
clearly was rushed and not even proofread.It is so insane and bewildering that I wish I had a good attorney I could afford to interpret it. It is as full of lies as a government letter normally is but ends with a whack phrase "I find you not to be inadmissible so I refuse you entry to Canada . . . "
To which I can only say, "Huh?"
Its what I expected but I expected a little more care to be taken and for their to be some precision and not so filled with wild conclusions and down right lies, demonstrably false lies to boot.

After a painful day at work I fell asleep in front of the computer but woke up in time for Physical Therapy and to go the neurologist.
I had to sit for over an hour in the waiting room. It was the kind of waiting room I've come to hate; large and over bearing with noise, not helped much by the two flat screen TV's blaring different commercials for medical services from opposing corners.
Met the Doctor. He was in his late 20's. Seemed like he was sort of brilliant. As we talked I foundRancho Notorious out he was one of the lead's on the NFL concussion and neurological research team.
Watching him rip through the medical database (which is still a thing of beauty) was cool. An impressive feat was that he'd gone and dug up data that wasn't in the database. Early medical treatments from before the database existed and before I lived here. A lot of research for a new patient. I started to think about how much the wunderkind Stalin
Click images for desktop size: "Josef Stalin"
must charge.
One unsettling fact was that one of the first chemo's I had, a pretty nasty one - the constant sickness and hair falling out in clumps that makes good dramatic movie fodder but is still no fun to live through, it started with a Vin or some such, well this Vin chemo contained a neurotoxin as one of its ingredients . . . it would sort of be impossible for me not to have some nerve damage. This was also the chemo that gave me diabetes. Nasty stuff. It didn't work either.
He explained that diabetes also caused a certain amount of inevitable nerve damage. Then he said the only cringe inducing thing of the day, "you know you're a pretty fascinating guy. When I was doing your medical history I was expecting someone well, no one like you. You don't even look your age let alone like someone who's been through all this," as he waved his hand at the computer screen and its load of open documents.
I replied with something weak like, "A guy is always more than just a bunch of words and pictures," with a shrug. He started to say something back and ended with, "Well, I should get on with the examination."
And that's what we did.
I have definite damage in the ulnar nerve. This was possibly caused by the cop twisting my arm. Shaped by 3D
Click images for desktop size: "Shaped" by 3D
Also my left foot surprisingly has some dead spots. I can feel a jab but I can't feel the buzz of a tuning fork.
Oddest was that I have mag something or other in my left eye. When I look to the left my left eye bounces around independently and crazily. I was totally unaware of this. The wunderkind was annoyed that the opthamologist hadn't noticed this. I didn't think much of the opthamologist so I wan't surprised by him missing it but I still have no idea what it means, other than another series of tests EMG's on December 4th.
I received an odd phone call. I'm being recruited to coach a semi-pro team. A couple of my former players are pushing hard for it.
I don't see much value to semi-pro football; at least not the values that I think I can teach. These are men and I still think I can teach young men and women best. I'll listen but I remain skeptical.

For Thanksgiving I gave myself a present. I took my puppy to see Santa Claus. I laughed a lot.Red Sonja
' We saw a lot of great dogs and ran into two of the people who were in our first therapy dog class. The dogs and the people who fed them remembered my puppy and me. I didn't remember the people but I remembered the dogs. Maybe it was the other way around for my puppy.
Their male dog just finished two years of being cancer free after being operated for melanoma. He worked as a therapy dog at the VA hospital even through his chemo. He demanded that I pet him and was begging for a cookie. My puppy let him have my attention, which is not common with her.

Which means that I'm looking forward to this week of football. A chance to get lost in the reality and beauty of a game that reflects and magnifies life.
In the contest my friend leads with a 97-94, but as you can see justice is beginning to prevail and I am inching closer to total victory!!
Last week I was a magnificent 10 of 15 while my friend was a laughable 9 of 15. A lesser man would gloat and laugh at her ineptitude. A slightly better man would feel sorry for someone so clearly out of her depth but me, well, I stick to downright mean gloating.

My picks are in bold.

Miami at Carolina - I picked the Dolphins. I think their record is poor but they've been playing better football. They were hard hit when Chad Pennington went down but have adapted well. Carolina is a great inconsistent mess of a team, talented but unreliable.

Indianapolis at Baltimore - Manning pulled off another miracle to remain undefeated. The Ravens Winter's Hunt
Click images for desktop size: "Winter's Hunt" by Unknown
won't be impressed. Their season is on the line. Oddly the defense has been incredibly inconsistent. They miss Rex Ryan as DC more than they thought. But their offense has been strong. The Colts freakish win over the Patriots is the sort that can give a team swagger through the rest of the season but it can also cause the wrong people to relax and just count on the miracle. With a new HC I'm figuring that will be the result and the hungrier, desperate Ravens pull one out at home. This is my Game of the Week but only because the schedule is pretty rotten.

Washington at Dallas - There's no heat for this game. The lack of heat actually favors the Redskins. The Cowboys record is adequate but loaded with wins against doormat teams. The Redskins are a doormat this season. This is a magnificent example of who cares.

Cleveland at Detroit - Cruddy Game of the Week. My Survivor Game. There are 839 "Survivors" left in the pool. Since you can only pick a team one time during the season you end up with a pretty Star Wars decrepit looking selection of teams at this stage. I'm picking the lions because I don't think they have a chance to win any more games this season. The Browns truly stink. Brady Quinn as starting QB is a joke. The Browns D is off looking for condo's in Florida. Matt Stafford gives the lions O some life. If I can get past this week I actually have a chance at winning the Survivor game.

San Francisco at Green Bay - The 49er's are a team playing better ball then their record shows. The Packers have been incredibly inconsistent but their 5-4 record is better than they are. If Singletary can keep his team together and away from being discouraged they should smash the Packers.

Buffalo at Jacksonville - The Bills make me nervous here, not that they are any good but they're the first team this season to fire its head coach. Historically cruddy teams have won like 70% of their first games after the HC has been dumped. Otherwise Jacksonville and fiery Jack Del Rio should take it to them in a rout.

Pittsburgh at Kansas City - This is going to be an ugly game. And pretty uninteresting too.
Ten-My target by TCYC
Click images for desktop size: "Ten: My Target" by TCYC

Seattle at Minnesota - Adrien Petersen, Brett Favre.

Atlanta at New York Giants - The Giants are favored in this one? Old prejudices die hard. Matt Ryan is flying high. The Falcon ground game is potent while the Giants have been bumbling. Steve Smith is looking great as a possession receiver but they mix Plaxico Burress more than they want to admit.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay - The Saints are without Reggie Bush and Sedrick Ellis. That hurts. Dru Brees' mother committed suicide. The Saints might be ready to fall. The Buccaneers have been looking eerily potent. This game is their SuperBowl. I'm sticking with the Saints out of faith.

Arizona at St Louis - This should be a rout. If it isn't there should be an investigation.

San Diego at Denver - The Chargers are starting to peak, too early for the playoffs of course, while Running Wild the Broncos are falling hard back to earth. They remind me of an old Chicago team (Remember Bobby Douglas - for your sake I hope not) that started the season 7-0 and finished 7-7 . . .

New York Jets at New England - This would not be the week I'd want to play the Patriots. Angry after the last second loss to the Colts (And I think Billichik's decision to got for it on 4th down was right. Even a great punt would not have changed the out come. The only question I have is not putting the ball in the hands of Randy Moss or Wes Welker). Tom Brady is going to turn buzz saw and looking to put his foot on someones neck. The shambolic Jets defense are going to be the poor guys out there.

Cincinnati at Oakland - The brilliant play of Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco on offense and Keith Rivers and Rey Maluga on D will keep this one entertaining. A new QB for the Raiders isn't going to be anywhere near enough.

Tennessee at Houston - I wouldn't have thought it possible but Vince Young is pulling the Titans together. The Texans are trying and get Steve Slaton back this weekend. This one has the potential to be entertaining especially watching Brian Cushing chase Vince Young down.

Philadelphia 34 at Chicago 35 - The Eagles shouldn't miss Brian Westbrook much, they've got plenty of weapons. I'm picking the Bears at home because Jay Cutler seems to follow up horrific performances (5 picks last week) with stellar jobs on his next outing.

November 8, 2009

USC 14 Arizona State University 9

Orangeness by LawnElf
Click images for desktop size: "Orangeness" by LawnElf
Its been another exhausting week. Being sleepy is my natural state.
I work and go to physical therapy. That's about it. All I can handle. Oh, and fight with the CanadianMountain of the Cannibal God government.
Physical therapy has entered that stage of really doing me some good, but that means a whole lot of pain.
I do get excited about the improvements. Its hard to tell anyone about it because they're so small but important. I can reach in my front pocket without squealing. I can put my wallet in my back pocket and not have to do a 5 minute twirling dance to get it out. I can brush my hair with my right hand.
My shoulder blade has finally separated from the rib cage. That was hard. Now there's a dull burning pain surrounding my shoulder blade that intensifies when I do the 3 exercises to keep lifting it back to normal.
For the rotation which was the most damaged because of what the cops did to me, I have to stand with my hand braced waist high on a door jamb. Then I simply turn. I hurt myself pretty badly doing this.
I like my physical therapist, we talk about martial arts films and various techniques for strengthening thigh muscles in kids. He takes me seriously and often starts our visits by telling me the results of his research into one of my more difficult observatory drills. But he doesn't remember what kind of maniac I am. Like most of us when we like someone we assume they're sane and more like ourselves than anyone could actually be.
Assuming I'm sane is risky and foolish.
When I was doing the rotation drills I'd put all my weight into it. More strength means faster recovery, right? I did them until the pain was nearly causing me to black out, pushed right through all the pain and when the soreness didn't leave I continued with the next set on schedule and just Cole Phillips
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by C Coles Phillips
kept pushing through the soreness and pain.
Turns out that's pretty stupid.
I'm supposed to do the twists with light pressure and only to the point of where the pain starts. The pain is supposed to stop as soon as I release the pressure. He was incredulous that I was doing them my way. I was incredulous that he didn't tell me not to hurt myself . . .
The soreness went away pretty quickly doing them his way but i don't think I'm seeing as rapid a result as I was with my methods.
Today I raked up the leaves in the yard and now my shoulder feels only tired without a trace of soreness. Two months ago it would have been an impossible chore.
One bright spot of the week was that the Apple Store exchanged my retro keyboard for a brand new one with no hassle or skullduggery. As distasteful as I find a lot of Apple's new business techniques and their shoddier manufacturing they keep winning me back with the superb customer service.
Like I still love my 2nd hand iPod Touch (what a clumsy name). I like the little casual games, I love Never Trust a Gambler finding wifi hotspots and checking my email anywhere. I like reading news feeds and while I'm on the bus or waiting for the transportation to pick me up from the doc's I like watching movies on it. "Riot in Cell Block 11" was totally cool. And it plays music. Its become an indispensable part of my life. I can see wanting an iPhone but not while its tied to At&T or, rumored, Verizon and their exorbitant fees and slip shod service.
The other delight is and will always be my puppy. She's dealing okay with the rescue dog. He's too aggressive with her and resists learning Brigette Bardot
Click images for desktop size: "Brigette Bardot"
how to play "properly".
One of the neighbors commented that my puppy was the most elegant lady like dogs she'd ever seen. She said my puppy always acted with grace . . . which I sort of doubt but I don't mind that being the public perception of her.
One of the traits of her breed is their sensitivity and their memory. I've never struck, swatted, kicked or struck her. It sickens me and enrages me when I see someone strike a dog, almost as much as it does if it were a child. But my puppy reacts to harsh words like they were knives cutting her flesh.
I fell asleep and forgot where this was supposed to be heading . . .
Anyway, while we were out for our walk today we stopped into a drugstore. I lashed my puppy to a garbage can so I could see her through the door and make sure no one messed with her. While I walked past the counter a dark voice barked at me, "COACH!"
It was one of the kids I coached when he was in high school. As I think he was voted the student most likely to get 10 to 20 years I was pleased to see that he was working. At first I thought it was a cruddy job he had but then decided it was at least a better job than the one I had . . .
Indian Camp by Charles Russell
Click images for desktop size: "Indian Camp" by Charles Russell
He came form behind the counter and asked me, not how I was doing or some such but, "Hey, where's Coach Puppy?"
I told him that she was outside. He said, "Yeah, I wouldn't mind but the manager probably get upset if she came inside, but heck, she's the Coach!"
We went out together and bought her inside. She seemed to remember the kid and probably asked if he'd been scoring any TD's. He scratched her butt which pleased her. They talked while I got the few things I went in there for.
While we walked he told me how he still lived with his grand mother. He also told me something I didn't know. His grand mother had been in the hospital with a heart attack. She'd been one of my puppy's patients. He said she still tells people about the black dog who'd come and peek around her door to see if she needed any doctoring.
He said that he can always make her laugh by telling her some of the stories about the doctor dog being his football coach.My Gun is Quick
I'm always proud of my prim little puppy but sometimes it is nice to be reminded of why.

Last week I was a stunning 8-5 in my NFL picks . . . my friend was a mediocre 9-4. I think she has hacked the server and manages to change her picks, not enough to attract any attention from the guys running the game, just enough to beat me!
Despite her ability to cheat I still feel confident that this week I will over take her and prove my innate superiority in all things football!

My picks are in bold.

Washington at Atlanta - This is my Survivor pick this week. There are only 14,000 still left in this contest! The Redskins are a manic depressive mess. The Falcons are facing being eliminated from the play offs if they don't win. Easy choice.

Arizona at Chicago - The Cardinals are schizo's. Their stunning win over the Giants was a fluke or a Orion Nebula by NASA
Click images for desktop size: "Orion Nebula" by NASA
pure revenge game. They're bewildering. The Bears are a good enough football team that are still working out how to play together, the defense without super stud Urlacher has joined up to play fierce football while the offense still has not adapted to its new super stud diabetic Jay Cutler. They seem to take a step forward then get flustered. They'll need a complete game to handle the Cardinals. There's no reason to think they won't pull it together.

Baltimore at Cincinnati - Game of the Week. And it should be a burner. The Ravens brutally exposed the Denver Broncos last week while the Bengals have discovered defense and inspired play from Carson Palmer. While Chad Ochocinco has been spending the week bragging on what he plans to do to the vaunted Raven's D while NOT giving them any bulletin board material! This is pretty much a must win for both teams and both teams are capable of mashing the other. That certainly excites me! I'm picking the Bengals for no real good reason. I just love the way Palmer and Ochocinco play.Night of the Living Dead

Houston at Indianapolis - The Colts' defense is an injured shambles and as much as I dislike the Texans and their football I can't ignore they've been throwing up a lot of points lately. The Colts have Manning and there's nothing in the Texan scheme that makes me think they can stop him. This is a game of the week contender, a contender because I don't much care for games that are evened out due to injury.

Kansas City at Jacksonville - Cruddy Game of the week contender. No Larry Johnson, who I met as a high school footballer and thought the world of, for the Chiefs so an underpowered O gets weaker. Their D is incapable of getting any worse. The Jaguars are under achieving and totally exposed. Jack Del Rio won't let them lose to a vastly inferior opponent.

Miami at New England - I think the Dolphins' running game will gouge the Patriots D for plenty. Ted Ginn has finally shown he has some talent but I can't see him getting any TD's against the Pat's special teams. The Dolphins can hang with the Patriots now but they don't have much to answer Brady, Welker and Moss.

Green Bay at Tampa Bay - This is one of those boring games that is killing the NFL. The Packers are a team and the Buccaneers are a discombobulation wearing jerseys. If the Buc's do win I'd demand a congressional investigation. Too many of those guys seem to think sports are more important than things like health care anyway.

Carolina at New Orleans - The Saints are undefeated! The Saints. The Panthers are playing far Dracula's Daughter
Click images for desktop size: "Dracula's Daughter" by Universal
below their talent. They'll step up their game against the Saints but I hope it's not enough.

Detroit at Seattle - Cruddy Game of the Week. The Lions haven't won a road game since the Great Depression. They don't deserve it but the Seahawks should win this one, probably on a last second field goal.

San Diego at New York Giants - Two of the seasons great under achievers. I wouldn't be surprised to see the two teams trying to lose this one. Might be entertaining.

Tennessee at San Francisco - the 49er's will make the Titans rethink starting Vince Young. Mike Singletary has them playing inspired football far above the talent level to that point where the high level IS the talent level. I wouldn't be surprised to see Kerry Collins reappear.

Pittsburgh at Denver - One of those solid games that used to make up the bigger part of the NFLNo Way Out schedule. The Steelers' strength on offense is pretty well nullified by the Bronco D, but the Bronco's O will be negative oxygen reserve against the Steelers' D. It should get pretty smash mouth and close. I have to trust Rothliesberger in the close ones. This one and Dallas and Green Bay are the only away teams I picked this week!

Dallas 22 at Philadelphia 21 - The Eagles Dismantling the Giants last week doesn't make any where near as strong an impression as them getting manhandled by the Raiders. Dallas is a mediocre football team that was designed to beat the Eagles. I'm willing to let that play out.

November 1, 2009

USC 20 Oregon 47

Happy Halloween by Julia Nikolaeva
Click images for desktop size: "Happy Halloween" by Julia Nikolaeva
I'm not feeling too great. Mostly in my head and heart. My body feels mostly like it always does.
It was a pretty good day. Got things done that pleased me. But then the letter A stopped working on Maniac my keyboard and that started the slide.
I couldn't avert the slide, even when I discovered the keyboard is still under warranty. Now I just have to get it there to exchange it. Another task. Just means that's the keyboard wasn't the root of the issue, just the last straw sort of thing.
My job is pretty horrible. The hours make it worse. Not only am I always exhausted but I deal with the degenerate gambler types. They're not very nice or polite. After the first week they're not interesting. Their differences are all overwhelmed by their identical compulsion. This is pretty low rent legal gambling so I guess I shouldn't have been distressed to discover the compulsion is something for nothing. Most of my "customers" don't have jobs. They describe sitting in a chair and clicking a mouse to make the electronic slot wheels to spin as hard work. Maybe it is. I tried it and found it boring.
There's not even a rush. For this to be legal, and right now it is legal, this is a sweepstakes. The winnings are determined as soon as you sit down and log in. The slot machine aspect is simply a reader to hook you in. What they spend hours doing could be accomplished in about 10 seconds. But then they wouldn't keep spending money.
People do win, the biggest winner was $9,000. It doesn't really matter to me. These people don't tip. They run me ragged but it never dawns on them to tip. Their attitude is that it's my job and they feel no need to show gratitude or pay a gratuity. So I clean up their messes, protect them from the predators because it's my job and I'm paid plenty . . . I've heard them say often, "Don't pick up the garbage. It's his job, let him do it."
The women are almost all enormously fat. They don't want to sit on the toilet seat so they crouch Death
Click images for desktop size: "Death" by Unknown
sort of over it but they are so big they mainly urinate all over the floor and then complain about how the bathroom stinks. I clean it up.
I bought three bags of Halloween candy. I figured it was too much for any trick or treaters. We got one here. So I was giving it away to some of the people. It made me feel human. One person said thanks. Mainly they wanted to exchange it for something better. Most came up and demanded their free candy. Nearly all complained about the selection . . .
It wears you down. When they lose they get nasty. And I'm the only one around who they're pretty sure won't slug or shoot them for being nasty.
And I need a job. I make enough to be broke. I'm still far enough down the poverty scale to still be eligible for food stamps and free medical. Without a job I'd be even more lost.
Then there's my continuing war with governments. I wonder why I suddenly became so important that they need to fight so viciously. There's nothing bureaucratic or professional about it. Its just cruelty. Ridiculously I understand it. People want me to fight. I want to fight for justice, just like in MAgnum Force the comic books but I am so weary.
I miss my things. I never thought that I'd be one of those people that's defined by his possessions. I like my music. I like being able to watch football. I like my clothes. Maybe the broken keyboard reminded me that the only thing I have left is this computer. It keeps my music. It stores my movies. I watch them here now. It's not satisfying. Its hard to get lost in a story on a computer screen. At least it is for me. I keep checking emails.
Betty Hutton
Click images for desktop size: "Betty Hutton"
I just feel beaten up. It will pass. Depression doesn't scare me. I'm not suicidal really. Never have been. But sometimes I get in these moods. Fortunately I have a good dog who loves me nearly as much as she loves her Kong, her ice cream, her treats, her food . . . I'm sure I'm in there somewhere.
The first time my puppy and I met she bit me! After being separated by the heart attack episode she snapped at me. We have that kind of relationship. She knows I'm depressed so she acts the clown. That's hard for her. She's a pretty beautiful dignified thing most of the time.
I can't be depressed too long. If a cure consists of more than a kiss and scratching her butt or chasing her for the Kong she gets confused. She needs to know that what she does works. She needs to know that I am okay. Its those traits in her that make her a great therapy dog and why the children love her.
Right now I smile because I think of how incredibly tickled she gets when she makes me chase her for the Kong. She is so overjoyed she looks like she could explode with joyousness. If she were human she'd have to sit down and laugh for 10 minutes while wiping away tears. Right now she's awakened and looks at me just long enough to make sure I'm okay. If I weren't she'd come over and doctor me, whether I wanted doctoring or not.
Dracula's Daughter
Click images for desktop size: "Dracula's Daughter" by Universal Pictures
When I'm not here she spends most of her time waiting for me. That saddens me.
Halloween was fine. My favorite pet store is going out of business. I went to their last day sale and got some good bargains.
The crazy people on the corner, the ones who over decorate their house. (Spiders crawling up the wall, a graveyard with animated figures, giant cats and purple spiders, billowing smoke , music and sound effects - it almost sounds slick. It isn't. Its WalMart cheesiness run rampant) The husband dressed up as Leatherface and was chasing the trick or treaters with a toy chainsaw. It was enough of a show that the street was blocked with parked cars and kids waiting their turn to ask for candy and get chased.
They did this for themselves, not for charity or for profit but for the fun. Somethings are nice in small towns.
I went to the Chinese restaurant and spent my last 6 bucks on some Mu Shu chicken. When ever I get mu shu I always wonder why those pancakes are so valuable, I mean they give you a pint of muThe Midnight Story shu and four pancakes!
I watched the USC-Oregon game on-line. It was pathetic but I'm still a Trojan. Always will be. It's okay to gloat over our worse loss in 8 years, cause its been 8 years and seven consecutive championships. We'll probably still go to a bowl game. It was a bad loss but that's all it was.

I don't feel much like going into great detail on my NFL picks this week. But so many people like to ridicule me over them it feels like it would be selfish to not make them public.
Last week I was 8-6. As usual I was pretty happy about losing half the games and flummoxed by the other 3. My friend somehow stumbled to identical record. Her cheating ways have stopped paying off! She remains five points ahead for the season. But you can sense that I'm about to make my move!

As always my picks are in bold.

Denver at Baltimore - Denver is not as good as their 6-0 record . . . which is probably one of the Fashion Plate
Click images for desktop size: "Fashion Plate" by NFL Films
ridiculous things my friends like to hear me say. The thing is that the Broncos think they are a perfect tam and that kind of belief very often works. The Ravens are a lot better than 3-3 and they know it. Attitude and home-field advantage make me pick the Ravens.

Cleveland at Chicago - I'm sleeping through this one, if the Bears can stay awake they should throttle the dispirited Browns.

Seattle at Dallas - The Cowboys win last week was one of the games that bugged me. I don't like this team much at all. The SeaHawks are the new trademark of the NFL completely erratic.

St Louis at Detroit - Cruddy game of the year, perhaps the decade! I have no memory of what prompted me to pick the Lions. Who cares who wins. Maybe they can figure out how to tie.

Houston at Buffalo - The Texans have become the flavor of the month recently. They won two games they had no business winning and did it convincingly, I still think they stink. Their wins arMondo Cane e more a product of the diluted NFL product than talent or skill. The Bills have looked surprisingly better, like they whipped the schoolyard bully and are now going after all comers. It should be interesting.

San Francisco at Indianapolis - I really like the 49ers and where they're going. They're playing good football and have a definite future except they lack a lot of talent. The Colts don't lack much of anything.

Miami at the New York Jets - The Dolphins played the game of their lives and instead of a win they ran into the Dru Brees, Reggie Bush thrasher. Incredible game, good enough to keep faith in the NFL. Can the JEts stop Ricky Williams? Probably not but I don't think the Dolphins can stop Mark Sanchez and the hot dog!!

Oakland at San Diego - My Survivor Pick of the week. Not chosen cause the Chargers are so good but because the Raiders are so bad.

Jacksonville at Tennessee - The Jaguars are starting to play good football while the Titans are 0-6 and bringing head case and USC destroyer Vince Young back as starting QB. So I'm picking the team in disarray because it just feels like them winning would be the better story.

Carolina at Arizona - After their great win at New York last week it's a sure bet they won't be ready
Click images for desktop size: "Face" by MK20Face by MK20 to lie down against the enigma team that is the Carolina Panthers.

Minnesota at Green Bay - For some reason the big story if Brett Favre returning to Green Bay and Lambeau Field. I think the big story is that they're coming off a loss and Adrian Petersen ain't happy.

Atlanta at New Orleans - Game of the Week. The Saints are undefeated . . . The Falcons are rising rapidly but the Saints are undefeated . . . A good one on Monday Night!

New York Giants 30 at Philadelphia 28 - Now we no longer have to hear about how the NFC East is the best division in football. They stink like the rest of them.

October 25, 2009

Oregon State 36 USC 42

Bleed by Janet Angus
Click images for desktop size: "Bleed" by Janet Angus
Once again my week has consisted primarily of recovering from work and falling asleep in the wrong places.The Last Man on Earth
My job gets no better. At least it is a job. I work Midnight till 8 AM and I get at least 5 people a night wanting job apps. Since two thirds of those are gamblers I do wonder what money they are using to play with, but thats a different point.
The big point is at least it's a job. I get paid. I dislike it with an edged bitterness which I start each shift willing myself to forget. Gamblers appear to be rude, obnoxious schemers. I extend myself to be courteous to the point of unctuousness. About 1 in 20 respond with even a curt acknowledgment. When I pay them their winnings I get perhaps one thank you in 50.
The same way I'm often pleased that I don't drink or get high I'm pleased that I don't have any impulses that demand I gamble. Just lucky I guess.
I realized this week that I had some long stretches where my shoulder did not hurt! I'd get the stabs if I used to much or twisted it around behind me but just sitting or walking I had no pain. It was a unique experience. I also noted I have much more use of the arm, I'd guess and my physical therapist agrees, that I have about 60% use of my right arm!
I was feeling so good I made the mistake of telling my physical therapist about it. I forgot an absence of pain is merely an excuse for him to hurt me even more. I've gotten4 more exercises to do each day. They're simple enough and hurt like hell but getting my arm back is so worth it.
The orthopedist came into my Friday session and checked me out. I have a knot in my trapezius about the size of a baseball. When I'm lying down it hurts like a son of a gun when I move my head. The doc just pointed out that its one of the worst of the "defensive" damages I've done to myself trying to cope with the pain of my shoulder. The main focus in my physical therapy now is trying to Candles
Click images for desktop size: "Candles" by Unknown
loosen up the shoulder tendons so I can get full mobility back one day, bringing the atrophied muscles back and eliminating the damage done by the cop torture and my trying to cope with the agony of the shoulder for 8 months.
The general feeling from the two doc's and the physical therapist that another 6 months of me trying to survive (like the Canadian doc insisted I do) would have resulted in the loss of the arm. I still have to see a neurologist to assess how much damage I've done to my ulnar nerve. They thinks its possible if not probable that I've damaged it in more than one place. A third of my right hand is still numb. I've gotten used to that.
The other big event was getting my monthly supply of drugs. A pain. There's one that isn't covered under any of the plans I'm on. Means I have to buy it from the drugstore at full price. Careful shopping has me getting it at $32 for a month's supply. It's not covered because it's a medicine for heart attack victims that is pretty well restricted to leukemia victims. This confuses me. It feels like The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue I'm being penalized for being too sick or something. It becomes a niggling complaint when two of the drugs I seriously need to survive, Plavix for my heart and Lantus for the diabetes (a 24 hour insulin) might become unavailable. The program that got these for me has run out of funding. I might be stuck.
I have about 3 weeks of Plavix left and about 3 months of inulin in hand.
I got to speak to a curt nurse who is in charge of the program. She wasn't too helpful other than they were trying. I'll have to shop around. I know they're expensive. This month the drugs cost me $180 which is a lot but still a great deal. I can almost afford it.
While I was picking up my drugs you can't help but notice that the economy (unemployment and low wages) combined with inept health care has packed out the clinic I depend on for survival. As in it normally takes me about 10 minutes to go in, pay for and pick up my drugs. This Friday it took over two hours. Of course I fell asleep and missed them calling me by about 3 minutes. I got aggro and pushed to the head of a line and got it sorted right away. The workers all thought it was funny I had Blackfeet Burning Crow Buffalo Range by Charles Marion
Click image for desktop size: "Blackfeet Burning Crow Bufallo Range" by Charles Marion
fallen asleep because I'd been standing.
My housemate took his new dog into the vet. He went to see my puppy's Dr K, which I felt was fairly cool. The new guy checked out fine. Dr K tried to talk my housemate into taking him to an obedience class. Don't think it took.
The new guy checked out fine except he had whip worm which is fairly contagious. I took my puppy's stool sample to this vet's office up by my work. I'd never take her there except in a psycho type emergency but to look at feces under a microscope I think they're fine.
They told me that she didn't have worms. I was glad for that. When I got home I was petting her head. She had this lump on her head I had been putting off to her tussling with the new guy. It wasn't a lump, it was a tick!
Since she uses Pfizer's Revolution (at about $45 a pop) she's not supposed to get ticks. I used alcohol to try and loosen it. I'm still worried that I got the entire thing out of her skull. I'm now The Legend of Hillbilly John terrified of her getting some nasty infection. For every inch of terror I have an equal amount of anger of Pfizer's product not working. Since Revolution is also supposed to prevent heart worm I'm agitated that it might have failed there too. I hate that I was duped into trusting a mega corporation, a company that blithely pollutes the water table and various other crimes against humanity. Why I would think that a company like that would do their best to protect my puppy makes me angry with myself.

Last week was a rough time in the NFL. I valiantly managed to Angelina Jolie
Click images for desktop size: "Angelia Jolie"
struggle to a manly 8-6 record with my picks. My friend using arcane arts, blind luck and clearly some cheating went 11-3. I should point out 11-3 is not good enough to get a prize.
For the season she leads 63 to 58. For some reason she now thinks she can give me tips on football! She's even taken to sending me her picks so I can have a chance to change mine!
I might have to become a soccer fan . . .

As usual my picks are in bold.

Green Bay at Cleveland - The Brown's season continues to sink into the quagmire. They tried to look stout against the Bengals last week but it was still a defeat. Their season can be summed up by Brady Quinn, the former Notre Dame, has been squawking that his being benched for ineffective play will cost him millions in potential incentives . . . The Packers have not been very reliable this season but against the Browns all they really need to do is show up.

San Francisco at Houston - The Texans were surprisingly strong last week upsetting the Bengals. Pin Up Art by JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up Art" by JW McGinnis
Schaub threw 4 TD passes. I can't see him duplicating anything like that against Mike Singletary's 49ers, especially with them coming off a bye week. The idea of the 49ers being in first in the woeful West is the only thing I find interesting about this game.

San Diego at Kansas City - The Chargers looked pathetic in their must win game against Denver last week. They managed to all but eliminate themselves for the division championship. The Chiefs managed to win their first gamer of the season against the hapless Redskins which gives us the Cruddy Game of the Week. Week 6 is too early for a meaningless game in the NFL but here it is.

Minnesota at Pittsburgh - Game of the Week! Brett Favre, Adrian Petersen and a stout D have the Vikings undefeated. The Steelers can answer them on all fronts except they have nothing in the running game to compare to Petersen, who does? Troy Polamanu is back and looking full strength.The Lost Boys The Steelers need him, without Troy I'd almost make this a lock for the Vikings. You have to figure the Vikings front four will knock Rothlisberger around some, not enough to stop him , but enough to keep it interesting, Hines Ward will destroy the Vike's secondary but Favre will return the favor. Dick LeBeau will scheme to stop Petersen but no one has yet. This has the potential to be a classic game. I can hardly wait. It feels like whoever has the ball last will win this one.

Indianapolis at St Louis - This is my must win Survivor game. A certain female football know it all isn't in the Survivor game any more . . . I'd feel sorry for the Rams. This has to be a low spot in their season, having to face an undefeated Colts squad that actually appears to be getting sharper and more confident with each week of play.

New England at Tampa Bay - If I didn't have friends in England I'd be opposed to the NFL tax deductible trip to the UK, but I'm pleased the kids get to see Tom Brady. This game is so unfair to the Bucs. The Patriots throw up 59 points. To have to face these guys at home is daunting enough but to give up even that little edge when you're a pretty inept team seems cruel.

Buffalo at Carolina - The Bills are banged up beyond belief, their stirring win over the Jets came at a high price. It could give them some sort of karmic edge, a lot of guys are going to get their chance to make an impact sort of thing . . . nah. The Panthers are healthy and should roll on this Afterglow by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Afterglow" by Maxfield Parrish

New York Jets at Oakland - I loved it when the pigeon decided to play special teams for the Raiders. Watching it fly downfield and keeps it lane was awesome. When the very forces of nature are with you, when the animal kingdom is rising up angry against the Eagles and Michael Vick it's a glorious thing. Sadly for the Raiders the Jets don't have that sort of nasty baggage, they just have a clear eyed rookie QB who's coming off his worst game as a pro. Sanchez needs a stellar game to keep his confidence up. The Jets defense will get a much needed boost of confidence facing a bumbling offense.

Atlanta at Dallas - This is a hard game to read. Could the Cowboys be as bad as they've looked this season? The Falcons are playing well enough to clearly expose them. The Cowboys running game will find it rough going against the Falcons front 7 which will put the game in Romo's hands. Only Falcon fans want to see that happen. Matt Ryan will continue to impress.

New Orleans at Miami - The Dolphins must be praying for a hurricane. That's the only thing they LSD Flesh of Devil can do to slow down the Drew Brees Machine. The Saints defense matches up too well against the Dolphins O. I expect the Ricky WIlliams Wildcat will put up some points but there's no way it keeps up with the Saints' scoring.

Chicago at Cincinnati - One of the most interesting games of the week. Jay Cutler managed to lose the game to the Falcons almost single handedly. He's too good to do that two weeks in a row. The Bengals were either exposed or just had a bad day against a buzz saw in their loss to the Texans. So two talented teams with chips on their shoulders, both teams in bad need of a win to have a chance at the post season. Sounds like a game! I adore Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco. With Cedric Benson looking revitalized he's in a great position to make the Bears regret their less than stellar treatment of him. Revenge is a great way to win football games. This should be interesting and is only a Game of the Week contender instead of the Game of the Week because both teams are coming off of losses.

Philadelphia at Washington - What a stinker. And another game that is already close to meaningless. The most interesting thing will be seeing if a tornado hits the stadium and snatches Vick away to Oz. What a cruddy Monday night game.

Arizona 14 at New York Giants 27 - The Cardinals have yet to win on the East coast. With the Giants feeling exposed and brutal after having almost half a century hung on them by the Saints it's a bad time to be searching for an identity. Not my choice for a prime time game but its better than most of the schedule. Warner will keep it mildly interesting.

October 18, 2009

USC 34 Notre Dame 27

Untitled by Steve Argyle
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Stephen Youll
Its been a long week. They all are, or at least seem to be. Lonely most of the time.A lot of things that seemed important became trivial or forgotten.
I'm just now shaking the cold. Two weeks. I felt congestion building up in my lungs. When I walkedJuvenile Jungle up the big hill at night it felt like pneumonia was going to win out for sure. Massive doses of Vitamin C seemed to do the trick there. I do not like the feeling of drowning on dry land.
The graveyard shift hours continue to weigh heavily on me. I remain just constantly exhausted, constantly in need of sleep. I keep dozing off like a narcoleptic. At least I don't drive. It would be scary if I did. My puppy has taken it upon herself to lead me places. She knows better than I do when I'm walking in my sleep.
My days off are spent exhausted while I try and give my body some time to heal so I can survive the coming week. Pretty creepy cycle.
Work is the same. It's a terrible job. I got another raise. That just seems odd to me. Money doesn't make me hate the job any less. Two more people have quit. Couldn't take the abuse from our customers.
I guess gamblers are abusive. It comes with being obsessed and unable to comprehend the rest of the world. I've snapped at a couple of them. They either apologize or else they get huffy and tell me how to do my job. Even old and crippled I can intimidate the latter group.
Also for reasons I can't comprehend all my fellow employees hate each other. They probably hate me too but like to talk to me and tell me how much they hate the others. Since we only see each other about 15 minutes day this just seems stupid to me and a huge waste of vehement energy. The main complaint is that the other emplyees won't do what they're told and the only reaction is nasty gossip. Stupid. See?
My physical therapist came back from his conference this week. I went in. Even though the sessions are doing me a lot of good the traveling there just wears me out even more. At this session I got two more daily exercises. I've gotten the two tendons in my shoulder loose enough to start working on the third tendon.
My shoulder blade has also gotten locked in and I have to loosen it. The new exercises are so Supermom
Click images for desktop size: "Supermom" by Unknown
nothing looking but they are excruciating for me.
For the shoulder blades I have to put my hands against the wall and lock my elbows. I then have to raise my head and chest to the ceiling and then lower them while trying to raise the shoulder blades from the rib cage. When I do it right its electric. I seem to do them wrong most of the time.
The other requires a stick. I put one end in the palm of my hand and push it with the other hand as far back as I can stand, which is not very far.
My other personal high lights: I got a new pair of shoes, on sale; 90 bucks gotten for 40. I got a haircut - bad haircut. Amazon.com was for some unknown reason giving away the entire Mojo Nixon catalog! I like Mojo Nixon just enough to download his stuff for free. Further mystery: the stuff was only free in the US.
I got a couple of people asking me how I came to my conclusion of not wanting to work with the high school football team, especially since the coach said all the right things.Jeopardy
It might be difficult to explain even though it shines with crystal clarity in my mind. Every coach has certain things they want to do, would love to do with their teams on the field. They have a vision. In the NFL you get to draft players to fulfill that vision, you get to sign free agents to make it complete. It's the same way a conductor goes about hiring musicians for his orchestra.
In college ball the coaches and staff get to recruit players who they feel can help them realize their vision.Its only in high school football and below that the coach has little say in who is going to play for him. For me this is one of the challenges and the great beauties of Mike Tyson
Click images for desktop size: "Mike Tyson"
this level of football when seen only as a game; that the coaches have to adapt and change their philosophies and hence grow alongside their players as they envision and dream of ways to win together. It's a different relationship to the players and to the game.
I like a wide open game. Wide splits from my O-Line, a punishing FB and a zippy RB with a QB who can rifle the ball 30 yards down field on every play. Except you seldom get the players who fit the mold.
Some coaches stick to their diagram and they can teach well enough to win and every five or six years they produce a champion. But they still have to adapt if only begrudgingly.
I've had a 5'2 135 pound full back. I've had O-Lines where the heaviest player was my 180 pound tackle. I've had QB's who had no accuracy further than 20 yards down field. But we all worked together and figured out ways to win.
The Wing T formation, of which the present day Wildcat formation is a variation, was invented by a coach who had small players and no defense. He came up with it as a way to control the ball and the clock, forcing a low scoring game and giving his kids a chance to win. The spread and the veer Swan King by Michael Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "Swan King" by Michael Parkes
were invented for the similar reasons.
Now the coach I was talking to liked to run a no huddle offense. That can be a very pretty thing to see and to execute. It requires experienced players who know the game well enough to react and play almost on pure reflex. Payton Manning and Tom Brady showed you can play an entire game that way. It increases your time with the ball and wears a defense down. But if you don't have experienced players the nu huddle is a brutal thing to see, ugly and sad. You have QB;a making wrong reads, and WR's running wrong routes and worst of all you have O-Linemen hesitating instead of attacking.
In football one-tenth of a second is the difference between a TD and a tackle for a loss. That's why speed is so important. As are reflexes. A football player who has to stop and think even for a tenth of a second is a guy who is still standing there thinking while the play is over.
That is exactly the play I saw that night. The Head Coach was locked into running a no huddle It The Terror From Beyond Space offense even though he had no personnel that were equipped or ready to run it. That means that the coach cared more about his dreams and ambitions than he did about the players on the field. The team is 0-8. That kind of record breeds weird things in young men's minds. Some forget about winning and just try and enjoy being on the team. Most begin to doubt themselves and their worth as players and as human beings as they see themselves failing miserably at executing their coach's orders. I think that the coach is giving orders that shouldn't have ever been given.
That he wasn't willing to scrape the no huddle and work instead on executing his plays, in teaching how to figure the assignments and how to attack the assignments tells me the truth behind the words.
I could never work with a coach who places his tiny dreams over the hearts and ambitions of his players.
That's all there is to it really.
My puppy remains. She's doing well on her diet. She looks beautiful. To me she never stopped Conan by John Buscema
Click images for desktop size: "Conan and Red Sonja" by John Buscema
looking beautiful.
Her life has taken some upset again, not in a bad way, but upset is upset. My housemate got a new puppy from the shelter. He moved in on Tuesday I think.
He's a rottweiller mix. He's pretty goofy and lovable. My puppy hates him. He's taken to "marking" everything she has, my bed, her bed etc. He gets too rambunctious and when my puppy tries to get him to back off he gets vicious with her. He wants to play but he's too young, too wild and too big!
He's bitten me a few times, play bites but they hurt. He doesn't back down when you yelp like most dogs. He needs training but for right now he needs to realize he's no longer in the shelter. He was there for 6 weeks and before that . . . He was a surrender but his owners couldn't even be bothered to bring him into the shelter, they called the dog catcher and told him to pick it up or they'd kill it.
When he calms down he's pretty nifty. My puppy still hates him but she's willing to try playing with him and just turning her back on him when he doesn't act "right".Invasion of the Space Preachers
He'll be fine. I just hope that the two of them can learn to play together. They both need rough and tumble playmates.

Last week I was an uninspiring 8-6 in my NFL picks. Well, uninspiring to someone with my lofty standards perhaps but to someone who was, oh, shall we say 7-7 a record of 8-6 must look very lofty and impressive indeed.
My friend was 7-7 last week. Her cheating finally caught up with her! She still leads for the season 52 to 50 . . . I believe she hacked the website but it would be beneath me to say that until I get the evidence. I make no accusations but I point out that she is leading and keeps beating me week in and week out. I only ask how is this possible?
I read a lot of columnists agreed with me that last weeks NFL schedule was the dreariest ever. This weeks is no better really.
The biggest news is that the NFL actually decided to not let an avowed racist own an NFL team. Rush Limbaugh, who describes the NFL as watching the Bloods vs the Crips, wanted to buy the St Louis Rams. A few players said that they would refuse to play for a boss who hated them because of their skin color. Fair deal.
As badly as Goodell has responded to the lack of parity in the league and his bumbling handling of Michael Vick at least he was quick to respond and refuse Limbaugh to purchase an NFL team.
Limbaugh, of course, blames the blacks and the liberals. He never apologized for being a racist. He never explained it or claimed it was said merely to pump up his ratings. He was appalled that he didn't have a right to buy a team and make it all white, I guess.

My picks are in bold.

Sea Creature by Evegeny
Click images for desktop size: "Sea Creature" by Evegeny
Houston at Cincinnati- Last week Carson Palmer's win against the Ravens was a thing of incredible beauty. They played a classy well ordered game against a what appeared to be a stronger team. The only way the woeful Texans win is if the Bengals fall asleep and relax against a mediocre opponent.

Detroit at Green Bay - This is saved from being a cruddy game of the week contender by Aaron Rodgers spirited play and that the Packer defense hasn't curled up and died. Like all .500 teams the Packer's main problem has been consistency. They should be able to put together a pretty complete game against the Lions. The Lions have improved a lot since last year but not enough to pose anything other than an upset threat. The win against Washington has sharpened the NFL, no one will over look them again.

St Louis at Jacksonville - Cruddy game of the week contender. As the team at the center of the The Killers Rush Limbaugh fiasco, well, a major distraction is what this woeful team needs. Anything would be better than thinking about the quality of football they're playing. The Jaguars are one of those joker teams playing the elite teams well while messing up with everyone else. It would take an amazing amount of screw ups to lose to this Rams team.

Baltimore at Minnesota - Game of the Week Contender. The Ravens two losses were beautiful things, games that bought out the best in their opponents. They played sterling football and got beat via legendary efforts. This is still a great team but they've yet to rise to the level that lets them produce those super human efforts themselves. Meanwhile the Vikings are making the Bret Favre acquisition appear to be a genius move. Adrian Petersen is still the most fearsome back in the league and Favre is just the guy who can make a defense pay when it tries to misalign to contain the running threat. The Viking D is playing up to expectations which is just good enough. In Baltimore I'd pick the Ravens but in the Vikings DomeI have to go with Favre and Petersen.
Untitled by Al Moor
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Al Moore

New York Giants at New Orleans - Game of the Week. Two undefeated teams. Both with attitude. The Giants are blue bloods, a team expected to win and the Saints, a team that got famous for having it fans show up wearing bags over their heads. Drew Brees is an elite QB and flanked with Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and a vengeful minded ex Giant in Jeremy Shockey, they produce one of the most potent and pretty offenses in NFL history. And the Saints Defense is suddenly looking fierce and serious. John Vilma has finally become the LB he was expected to be. The Giants O has been solid, good running game, Eli Manning has been consistent and his passing attack has barely noticed the lack of high quality receivers. Their D is slightly off looking but hasn't really been challenged yet. They'll be challenged today for sure. This should be business as usual for the Giants while the Saints are looking to be taken seriously. Normally I'd pick the business like team but this time I want the Saints to win so badly I scarcely care. This is a pick for my heart.Kiss And Kill

Cleveland at Pittsburgh - This is my survivor pick of the week. Only 2,993 people still in the Survivor contest. I wonder if the teams will wear those horrible throwback uniforms this week. Do they serve Rolling Rock in Three Rivers? I always think of that as Pittsburgh's beer. Its probably some corporate NFL approved beer. I think my shoelace is untied. And that's the more interesting things that cross my mind when thinking about this game.

Carolina at Tampa Bay - Cruddy Game of the Week contender. Maybe the Panthers are getting it together, I mean they finally won one . . . Their defense is a gawdawful mess which matches up well with the gawdawful Buccaneer offense. I expect a lot of Cadillac Williams up the middle . . . I have no idea what the major talent on the Panthers' O will do. Not much from past experience. Which is okay because there's not much the Buc's can do to stop much of anything.

Kansas City at Washington - Cruddy Game of the Week. I'm picking the Chiefs because the Redskins are just too appalling to believe. How did they win 2 games? The Chiefs can't be as bad as their record insists they are. Can they?

Philadelphia at Oakland - There's talk of arresting the Raiders HC for punching one of his assistants . . . which is more hitting then the Raiders are doing on the field. If the Eagles lose this one they should force Vick to go apologize to the dogs he refused to visit (jerk) while the rest of the team should seek anominity by opening up a record store across the bridge in Berkeley.

Click images for desktop size: "Smokers" by Unknown
Arizona at Seattle - In the papers, on Monday morning this game might look more interesting then it will be to watch. Hasslebeck has the Seahawks looking respectable while the Cardinals are committed to making last years Superbowl run look like a pure fluke.

Tennessee at New England - Here are two underperforming teams. At least the Patriots have looked solid. The Titans looked good in their season opening day loss and then have proceeded to totally disintegrate. Tom Brady's getting more and more on stride and his supporting cast is getting healthier. The Patriots O-Line is looking cracked and suspect but that won't be much of a problem against the Titans. I'd look for the Patriots to fatten up here and get completely well and confident.

Buffalo at New York Jets - After a record setting 3 wins reality hit Mark Sanchez hard with one loss where he looked terrible and another loss where the Jet defense was inept. Sanchez sent out a Kung Fu Mama tweet last night asking opinions on what movie he should watch. (Hangover, Angels and Demons, Terminator, Funny People, Public Enemies or Star Trek) Nothing fills me with confidence more than a relaxed QB, At home against a sketchy Bills defense Sanchez should completely on track. Trent Edwards and Terrell Owens have not looked very good. Marshall Lynch may have hit a wall in his career. They shouldn't pose many threats for the Jet D.

Denver at San Diego - This is a good intriguing game. The Bronco's have a jaw dropping looking record put together with fluke plays and the leagues strongest home field advantage. Are they real? This is a solid test in their division. The Chargers are 2-2 even while Philip Rivers is looking pure elite and near flawless. This is do or die for both teams and the best Monday Night game in ages. I'm looking for the Bronco's to possibly getting exposed on national TV while the Chargers look to shine on the big stage.

Chicago 21 at Atlanta 20 - This is a good mid level game, like the type that should fill the NFL schedule (instead of all the cruddy games dominating the schedule now). I've flip flopped on this one a lot. It's a good game to think about with Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan and two solid defenses. Neither team has much of a sustained running attack so it's going to be an aerial fantasy. I think Cutler has a slight edge with his less than stellar receivers which includes the enigmatic but incredibly explosive Devin Hester. And this is one game where special teams could be a huge factor in which case the Bears have it all over the Falcons.

These picks are for amusement and ridiculing only any other use is just kind of foolish don't you think?

October 11, 2009

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it
Thomas Jefferson

Look Deep
Click images for desktop size: "Look Deep" by Unknown
My puppy and I are really back to normal; CONSTANT BICKERING.
Wouldn't have it any other way.Dracula AD 1972
She is still too protective of me but she's settled in nicely.

My housemate has decided to get a new dog. His passed away about 6 months ago. She was a good girl.
I went to the pound with him a couple of times. I thought almost all the dogs were pretty special for one reason or another. He picked two, went and spent time with each of them in these little visitor "cells". Then we took the big step of taking my puppy to meet his final choice, a male rottweiler mix, somewhere between 6 months and 9 months old. He's a handful.
My puppy didn't like him. She wouldn't, especially when I'm around. It will be fine. She's been around fosters and other dogs most of her life. She'll bully him and then decide he's worth playing with. The point of the meeting, in my mind, was to make sure he didn't try and savage her. My puppy thinks she's a great fighter but . . .
I managed to talk the person showing us the dog to let us take them both on a walk around the property. It went well, I thought. We even managed to have a chance encounter with the other dog my housemate had picked out. It made for a pleasant day.
Today he went and filled out the adoption papers, paid the fee. The new dog should be moving in sometime between Wednesday and Friday. Coolness.

I still have a cold. It's the reason I'm not supposed to catch colds. The cough is irritating but not debilitating.

The coolness is that I got a second hand iPod Touch. I like it a lot. Cost me $75, so far works fine. I Neat and Tidy
Click image: "Neat and Tidy" by Major League Baseball
got a raise at work so this was my treat . . . actually I just wanted one. I like being connected on the WIFI but its pretty obvious that having an iPhone and 3GS connections would be incredible and incredibly expensive. I'll stick with this and just hope for miraculous hot spots. Since I have WIFI at work it means I can answer emails and stuff at will instead of hoping the owners fix the rickety lap top we have at our disposal.

The WIMAX from ClearWire is pretty paradoxical. It went out, the modem wouldn't connect. I called and was told that it was because I would have to move to their Clear service which is 5 meg down and 50K up. (50 k up is painfully slow, 5 meg down is okay). I had to wait 3 days to get the new modem. When I got it they hooked up fine but there was a weird charge on my card. I called again and got an apology and a credit, 3 days later, for the $25. Curious.
I was reservedly happy with the Clear service, even though I thought this was a lot of grief for a service that wasn't a month old yet. Until I got an email telling me I was using the service too much House of Wax and they were going to cut me off or charge me more . . . So I'm not allowed to use the bandwidth they give me? YOW!
This isn't going to work out for sure. Hammering my debit card with two incorrect charges for some unknown reason, cutting me off for 3 days, then say that I'm using the service more than anticipated is kind of nutso. They claim the service agreement covers excessive use but that seems crazed to me. I'm paying for a service that I can't use? Great googa mooga. What a great idea for a business, selling you stuff you're not allowed to use.
WIMAX is a totally cool idea but Clear or ClearWire are jerks and not a trustworthy company from my experience.
Back to looking for a dry loop dsl provider.

I still don't have a TV but thanks to friends I got to see an mkv fie of the USC-Cal game. Very interesting. I'm impressed and dumbfounded by turns. The greatest disappointment for me was the O-Line. I expected them to be monsters and they've looked merely competent. Too much talent to Art and Beauty by Robert Crumb
Click images for desktop size: "Art and Beauty" by Robert Crumb
not overwhelm.
Matt Barkley doesn't look as good as the hype. I know his shoulder must still be sore but he lacks the confidence at weird times. Maybe with Ronald Johnson coming back for Notre Dame the deep threat will let him open up his game.
I'm incredibly unimpressed with Jeremy Bates as a play caller. Way too much NFL fear play calling. College ball is about being loaded on faith and hope and looking to a player to step up and perform a miracle. It's not about making the "safe" call and prevent defenses.
Still this is a very good exciting team I feel proud of.

I went and saw the worst football game of my life on Friday night. Very poor. It made me sad as the kids were pretty typical and totally willing to lay it all out there.
I got to talk to the HC and they're interested in having me as an assistant. He said all the right The Hunchback of Notre Dame things but when I watched the game I realized I could never work for him.
The team is 0-8 for a reason, and it's not the talent of the kids. The HC had implemented a no huddle offense. You could see hesitation at the line as the kids attempted to remember over complicated assignments. The no huddle is a very cool thing if you've got the personnel. It was obvious that this isn't the case. It was just an ego thing playing to the HC's fantasy and ignoring the talents and weaknesses of the kids.
Frank Sinatra
Click images for desktop size: "Frank Sinatra"
You have to lead kids and the only way to do it successfully is to be their servant.

And to prove my deep understanding of the game of football; last week I was an impressive 9-5 in my NFL picks. I can bask in that for a moment. 9-5.
I forget what my friend got. I think I was 11-3 or something trivial. I have discovered how she cheats. She reads my picks and the ones I get wrong she chooses the other teams! How low and nearly contemptible. I don't think her score is official so even if she unofficially has 45 correct picks for the season my 42 exactly correct picks are assuredly official and hence count for far more. As usual my picks are in bold.

Cincinnati at Baltimore - The Game of the Week1 Carson Palmer is playing like the elite QB he is while the Bengal defense is playing way over their heads. They are looking like a play off team. This week they meet the team I still think has a chance to get to the SuperBowl. The Ravens are playing meticulous football. Their game against the Patriots showed they are in the oxygen thin stratosphere, a brilliant team playing at the level of their talent, executing with precision and playing with heart. The Bengals are playing with intensity and beauty as well, but theirs has the feel of street football, which is exciting and pretty in The Outsiders
Click images for desktop size: "The Outsiders" by Marvel Comics
its own way. I'd love to see the Bengals win this one but the Ravens don't look like a team ready to lose two in a row.

Cleveland at Buffalo - This is an up year rating wise for the NFL. The good games are great but pretty few. This season offers up more stinkers every week than you can imagine. Like this cruddy game of the week contender. Buffalo has talent and Terrell Owens making waves. Cleveland has . . . Derek Anderson, who I still like and then . . .

Washington at Carolina - This stinker has the winless Panthers coming off a bye week. Did they use the time trying to pull the team together or did they grouse about their contracts? The Redskins are a mess but less of a mess than the Panthers. This one could end up 6-3 or 49-47. Either way it will stink.

Pittsburgh at Detroit - I watched Ben Roethlisberger on RAW this week. I was surprised at how I Married a MOnster from Outer Space much I liked him. He took it to the Chargers last week and the Lions don't have much to compare to the Chargers or to anyone except the Panthers and Buccaneers. This is almost a sure win.

Dallas at Kansas City - The rest of the world is finally twigging to the fact that Tony Romo is not a very good QB. The Cowboys look good as a power running team though and have enough good backs to keep inserting them, at least for now. The Chiefs . . . I feel sorry for them. They have some players and those players are surrounded by a bunch of practice squad stiffs who seem to have given up on the season already. The Cowboys are ripe for picking off but I've no confidence in the team rising to the occasion.

Oakland at New York Giants - Another slaughter. It doesn't matter whether or not Eli Manning plays. The Giant Defense will score enough points to beat the hapless Raiders.

Tampa Bay at Philadelphia - My Survivor pick of the week. McNabb looks on schedule to come back this week. Doesn't really matter as Kolb has the team looking pretty good. I just hope they keep Vick off the field. The Buccaneers have Cadillac Williams and then a prayer.

Minnesota at St Louis - The 4-0 team vs the 0-4 team . . . so much for parity. The most interesting thing about this game will be seeing if Adrian Petersen runs wild after being contained pretty well last week.

Atlanta at San Francisco - Game of the Week contender. The 49er's are playing beautiful football, A Family
Click images for desktop size: "The Family" by Unknown
the team rising above the individual players talent to being a cohesive force. The Falcons are a good team coming off a bye week. It will be an exciting match. I'm going with home field advantage to make my pick but I suspect it will come down to the final two minutes one way or the other.

Houston at Arizona - This is one of those white noise games. It will happen but no one really knows why. The most interesting thing to me is wondering when the Cardinals will let Matt Linehart into the game.

Jacksonville at Seattle - This cruddy game has some small interest in that I think the Seahawks can actually win. I'm a Jack Del Rio fan but his Jaguars, this season, are an incredibly inconsistent bunch. This is a long haul road trip to an unfriendly place. The Seahawks, what little I've seen of them have not looked like a bad football team. Matt Hasslebeck should return this game. They have a chance.

New England at Denver - I have no idea how the Broncos got to 4-0. Its like last season, somehowThe Incredible Two Headed Transplant they get all the flukey breaks in the first half of the season before it all come crashing down. The Patriots don't really believe in flukes or luck. I watched the Raven game and this is a scrappy team. I like that. This could be a good game.

New York Jets at Miami - Mark Sanchez and the Jets ran into a buzz saw called New Orleans last week. They didn't look that bad. They have a chance to look good against a confused and confusing Dolphin squad. Sanchez tweeted right after the game something like "I made a lot of mistakes and cost us the game. I have to study and learn from them and not let them happen again." We'll get to see here. I'm counting on the cocky kid.

Indianapolis at Tennessee - At the start of the season this looked like it be a cool matchup, a changing of the guard as the Titans stepped up over the Colts. Instead it's a flash back to ten years ago with the colts being 4-0 and the Titans being 0-4. The Colts keep improving each week while the Titans keep blowing up and looking worse and worse. I can't see prime time making any changes in any of this.

These brilliant picks are for your amusement only. You might want to print them out and use them to light your fireplaces.

September 23, 2009

Natural born enemies: You protect what is while I envision what can be

5 cm by Kabegami
Click images for desktop size: "5 cm" by Kabegami
My puppy has finally recovered from her diarrhea. His distress was caused by some stupid government regulation that was supposed to protect somebody or other. Certainly it wasn't intendedDiary of a Madman to protect her or to protect me.
That's the problem with governments; they always start off planning to fulfill some dream, some hopes but they always just turn into governments.
I wish I knew of something that could replace governments. I can't. I just know that what they all evolve into is something evil and wrong.
But we need them. We can't live without governments. We can't trust ourselves.
The rich are going to rip off the poor and the poor are going to steal from the middle class while the middle class kill each other. So we need laws to slow down the process, except for the rich of course.
We need roads, we need dams. Maybe not in the excess that some governments build them, but we need them. And governments naturally begin to feel important. Graft sets in. The cops become uniformed thugs. Laws aren't passed to protect the people but to protect the government.
Governments can tolerate enemies, but they seldom do. There are too many ways to kill. It's too easy to not simply kill.
When you're a government its easy to ignore the law, merely pretend it doesn't exist, selectively apply a law, or just rip through your enemies with impunity.
Governments, after a certain time, have no other function than to protect themselves. They will protect themselves to the point of war, sometimes gaining, sometimes losing but always winning by using the carnage of war to thin the crop of people who might be difficult and potentially pose a threat to the government.
It is not above a government to declare war against the people it was intended to govern.
The City by Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: "The City" by Edward Hopper
I don't like governments. I just don't have a viable alternative. Government is by nature corrupt and cruel. Its inevitable that it forget its original purpose and ignore its mandate All governments end up hurting more people than they protect, kill more than they aid. They perpetuate senseless appearing acts, but far from being nonsensical these acts are nothing more than carefully constructed props to insure the governments survival. It is a monolith comprised of desperately lazy people who thrive off the hard work of the people they govern.
There's little to like about a government. And little to choose between them. I was indoctrinated, like most of us, that democracy was cool and its flip was despotic tyranny, which was evil.
I was in Uganda during the reign of Idi Amin. The border guards were threatening and intimidating, brandishing automatic weapons. They forced us to change our money into Ugandan script and charged us a usurious rate.
In Uganda the people were genial. They seemed happy in our limited view.Dragnet
When I returned home I was greeted by armed customs officers who charged me an insane duty on worthless knick knacks and souvenirs.
I'm sure there's a difference but its beyond me to see.
A few years ago, In London, I meet a Ugandan. He was a nice guy. He told me a story about Idid Amin. He didn't know the man. He Elvis
Click images for desktop size: "Elvis"
agreed he'd gone insane but he still thought of him with an intense pride. He told me a story about Amin entering some sort of auto race. He was proud that his ruler was willing to go out and compete with his people. He was proud that his leader was willing to have fun with the "common" people. He thought that Amin was a man to be proud of.
In Canada I was recently held on demonstrably perjured evidence by a racist cop. I was illegally detained, my freedom quashed, treaties broken, I was tortured, nearly killed.
The Canadian government doesn't dispute any of this. They genuinely don't care or feel anything about this is extraordinary. So it seems safe to assume that this is all pretty natural to them, that "of course our cops lie and cheat, steal and kill. How else would you expect them to get anything done?"
Governments must all look the same when you're within them.
Governments do a lot of things. In 300 years America allowed slavery, abolished slavery then said we could no longer treat the slave's descendants as slaves but as human beings.
Petra Neimann
Click images for desktop size: "Petra Neimann" by Unknown
Even setting aside the issue about how the hell we ever allowed slavery in the first place I have to think that 300 years to fix the stupid injustice is a bit out of line.
So. Governments are clunky, self serving, efficient only in the modes of harming their governed. And I've got no answers or alternatives.
People used to call me an anarchist because of the way I think. That's lazy thinking. I'm not into anarchy. Not into massive violence. Revolution only brings in a new government and starts the same old processes over and over again.
If anything I'm just a mean old cranky stoic existentialist, not the French kind of existentialist, the born in America kind. For politics I'd fall closest to the far right because I believe in freedom but I also believe most in community and that every person in the community has an obligation to each other. I just don't believe we need a government to enforce that obligation, which makes the label that fits closest: Humanistic Populist. That takes me out of the far right camp and makes me seemDouble Indemnity like a liberal, who are so ashamed of being liberal that they changed their name to progressive.
So I'm old, mean, crabby and easy to label. Not much but its me. I never promised to be deep.
Today I got to read my cardiologists report. No question I had a second heart attack. A doctor I don't know read the data and decided it appeared the second heart attack was induced by "criminal negligence at best but there are several indications that it was intentionally induced". That's when the Canadian government threw me into a Maximum Security prison for no reason other than they could. When they found out they made a mistake they decided they had to kill me. It went on to say that my surviving the second heart attack was beyond their medical expertise to explain. I know why though: stubbornness and meanness.
Logical thinking for the Mafia, the Nazi's and other despotic governments. They tried a few different ways to kill me. I don't think I fought back very hard. How could I?
Now a reasonable man would say that the Canadian government would be one to avoid at all costs. They struggle by with their rep and live their little racist government lives, destroying people, Painting'
Click images for desktop size: "Unknown" by Unknown
humans for corporate greed and off kilter ideology.
Stay out of Canada boy. I don't have a private army or any large bore weapons so it would seem like good advice.
There wasn't much I liked in Canada. And a whole lot I didn't. Like their recent decision to allow two giants to control all communication in the country. Rah! Pretty 3rd world stuff. Idi Amin and Hitler both did similar and communicating with people was a lot more difficult back then so it was easier to control.
Normally I'd have no desire to ever see that white hell hole again. I've got enough to do just staying alive. I've fought countries before. You can win but its pretty costly and winning is counted as just slightly more than you lose.
As usual there's something that counters good sense and primal survival instincts. Give it a fancy name: Elevated survival instincts?
There are three reasons that trump common sense. Two of them are fuzzy; not in conception but in texture.
I saw my doctor Thursday. She was pretty horrified reading the cardiologists report. She said Dracula's Dog something that irritates me. "When I read your medical history I think that I should be talking to a shriveled up broken man but you still look so strong. You don't even look your age." I know how much I've aged and I think I look 30 years older than I looked 10 years ago.
She gave me the number of a lawyer while she explained that she couldn't begin to guess how much longer I'd live. I told her that according to the last actuarial table I saw I out lived my expectancy last year. She laughed and said, "you might live till your 90! No one can know. You're doing remarkably well. But with your medical history I don't see how anyone can promise you anything."
No promises.
So I don't feel it would be fair to ask my friends to move from hell hole Canada to the chaos of my my America. Not when I could keel over in a year or two or five or ten.
Maybe that's not my decision to make. At least on my own. That's a late night thought.
Governments and their borders. How can't you hate them.

Physical therapy is going slowly but it is going. Its been dark and rainy here and that's making my shoulder ache . . . Yeah, I'm now one them old galoots. "By crakey my shoulders aching. We be in for a big storm and a long winter!"
The physical therapist put the interact on my shoulder again. It registered a reading of 80. It should be 10. He said its not the worst he's ever seen. After the treatment it was down to 54. The numbers measure the rigidity and hardness of the muscles and ligaments.
On Friday I did swimming pool therapy. Underwater exercise reduces the pain of stretching and rotating busted up joints.
On a swing
Click images for desktop size: "Dace On a Swing" by Unknown
I felt pretty lame doing the incredibly simple exercises. I mean, the most difficult one was clapping! I had to do it underwater so that probably increases the difficulty by .05%
The pool is designed for therapy. Lots of ramps and stairways into it and it goes from 4'6" to 5'6" deep. It's a rough trapezoidal shape about 35 feet on a square.
As soon as I touched the water I had to try and swim. Nearly killed me. The arm squeerched up at the first stroke.
The new physical therapist yelled on me, "This is a therapy pool! No swimming!"
It felt good to be in water and I tried to fake it by just porposing to my destination. Porposing is swimming just using your legs.
The exercises were all ludicrously easy. But my shoulder was incredibly sore an hour afterwards. My range of motion has increased a good 9 inches forward, about 3 inches reaching up and about 1 inch reaching back. The rotation of the joint has hardly improved at all. Bot physical therapists say IEatien Alive have to extend the first two a bit more before we can start working on the rotation. For some reason I understand that.
On Monday I see the physical therapist and then my orthopedist.
I'm starting to get fed up with all the doctor appointments. Its starting to feel like when I had leukemia and doctors overwhelmed my life. That was trying to stay alive. This is just trying to live easy.
Between the doctors and my constant tiredness, caused by lack of sleep and my cruddy job, I feel that I have no life.
Last evening my puppy and I went to watch a high school football game. To ease her into it we went and watched from a hill overlooking the stadium. Aside from the end zone view of it they're excellent seats.
My puppy used to be an excellent football coach. Three years ago she got an award for being the team coach of the year. We've watched other games from this hillside. She was always very interested before. This time she showed no interest at all, except in some bushes and some perhaps edible garbage nearby.
I guess she's got no interest in coaching anymore. Maybe her award was the pinnacle of her career. How will she ever best that. I note that without sadness and only a twinge of nostalgia. She was tons of fun to have on the practice field but I wouldn't force it on her.
I bought her back home. My plan was to drop her off and then return to the stadium proper to meet the new head coach and to discuss whether there was anything I could do for the team this season.
What actually happened was we made the five minute walk home. I sat down in my chair to check e-mails and then woke up at 3:30 AM . . .
I gotta get a new job.

September 19, 2009

Being powerful is like being a lady; if you have to tell people you are, you aren't
Margaret Thatcher

Enforced Modesty
Click images for desktop size: "Enforced Modesty" by Unknown
Eventful week, so far.
I guess the biggest impact was that on Wednesday I quit my job. The Security Guard who extortedCollege Capers 20 bucks from me and then broke 4 promises to repay me came into the office for a confrontation. It was strange.
He started it with, "I tell you everybody loves me!"
The only response is, "If everybody loves you why did you have to borrow money from me and tell me you'd have to hurt your dog if you didn't get it?"
He ignored that and went on to get nastier and more insane. He did the traditional jerk thing, exaggerated facts, made up others to fit his world view, ignored my facts and versions with insane justifications. It was wearisome.
I finally got to the point where I couldn't take it so I called my boss, at 1:00 AM and told him I was giving two weeks notice. The Security Guard grabbed the phone from me and said, "This is Sergeant Kayhlee." I stopped listening to him but I wondered why a security guard would insist on introducing himself by a make believe rank. I still don't have a real insight to that.
After that I put it out of my mind and finished off the night. Then at 7:00 AM my boss came in and asked me to reconsider. Since I spent the night feeling partially relieved and partially worried about having no job, figuring how long my final paycheck would last me, I said sure and retracted my resignation.
I hope I don't regret that too soon.

While staying with my housemate I've been cadging off of his Road Runner service. I really hate Time Warner and Road Runner. When it works it's barely adequate but then it doesn't often work, at least out here.
House Plans
Click images for desktop size: "House Plans" by Unknown
The service here is supposed to be 5 MB. They charge for it. I usually was able to connect at about 240 KB. But then the line would drop several times a day. Of course Time Warner insisted everything was running fine.
When I originally lived in this area I had fits with Time Warner. During one 6 month stretch I had 12 service calls and horrid service. Finally they sent a supervisor out. His response was to yell at me for stupidly having the wrong modem . . . the wrong cable modem as provided by Time Warner.
He replaced the modem two weeks later and things went fine enough, unless it rained or was too windy, but I accepted that.
What I didn't accept was that no credit appeared on my bill. It took about 16 phone calls and two months for Time Warner to give me 1 months credit for the six months of non-service created by their installing the wrong modem.
Now, the service here now was as bad as the service then.
Rather then war with an uncaring government supported monopoly I decided to try WiMax. I'm moreConvict 13 interested in the LTE network but ClearWire is the only one with towers around here. Even though they are 4G they claim they can update to LTE with no problem.
For those who don't know WiMax is sort of like having a cellphone. It catches the internet from out of the air. All you need is a modem or a card and you have the internet anywhere you're within range of a tower.
So the only wires are a power cord and the ethernet cable going to your router or computer.
The only serious drawback to ClearWire in this area is the top speed of 1.5 Mbps. Crazily enough that is only slightly slower than the 5 Mbps Road Runner. And the ClearWire has yet to show a hint of going down.
I've been promised that within 3 months and probably sooner I'll be free upgraded to a 5Mbps modem and service with no increase in price.
A lot of the reviews talk about how happy they were with ClearWire at the start but then claimed that the service degenerated. The slightly slower speed and that worry keep me from completely enjoying or endorsing ClearWire.
Little Big Horn
Click images for desktop size: "The Little Big Horn" by Unknown
If I get a MacBook Pro, as I plan for my next computer, the idea of go anywhere unlimited internet for 30 bucks a month is very exciting cool.

My puppy has completely readjusted. We are back as an inseparable unit where she knows and trusts me and I her.
It didn't take long.
We have serious talks. She tells me jokes, pulls her tricks on me and does nothing that doesn't reinforce our love. There are so many things she does that I figure everyone but me would find sort of boring, like when she does her imitation of me.
I've managed to create an explanation for our first few horrifying minutes together. I don't think it anthropomorphizes my puppy.
If I were 3 or 4 again and saw the world through those eyes; and if I loved someone and one day I saw my loved one dragged away, strapped to a stretcher and loaded with IV's and wires I wouldn't be able to understand it but I would no it was not good. And then days went by and I didn't see him.
And my life would be a little empty and sad.Creature From the Black Lagoon
One day I got trundled off and sent to live with people I knew, one of them my brother. And I'd think about my loved one being carted away and I'd remember those scary nights I spent sitting with him in hospital and I would decide I would never see him again. I would decide this was my new life.
As I'd been taught I'd work being happy in my new life, with new people and new things to see and do. And like would be good (because if a human being is allowed to forget everything wouldn't a Doris Day
Click images for desktop size: "Doris Day"
dog have enough sense to do the same?)
Then on another day, after just enough time to think this was going to be my life forever, I get trundled off again and taken back to a neighborhood that I used to know, to a house I sort of recall and when the car pulls up to the house there's a man I knew and loved. And I know that it can't be. I know that man is gone because if he weren't gone he never would have left me for so long.
That's the way my puppy responded. She looked at me when the car pulled in the driveway. Her eyes widened and she then ran to the other side of the car, trying to get as far away from the ghost as possible. She snapped at me when I go close and stayed afraid until she realized I wasn't a ghost. Then she was angry. Angry that I'd left her, left her alone.
Then finally she was glad to see me.
It took about a half hour. Then she was afraid I'd gone away forever again. She knows that we're together now. She gets nervous if I'm late coming home from work. She looks out the window and paces. She still greets me with a smile.
We had to go to the bank this morning. We walked past her pet dinosaur. Someone had cut the head off and the head had recently been replaced. She ran to her dinosaur and was irked that they'd put up a new fece. You can see the repair to the fiberglass but you have to be looking for it. They did Fatal Blonde by Ricky Carralero
Click images for desktop size: "Fatal Blonde" by Ricky Carralero
the repair well.
The repair between my puppy and I was done better. We're both flesh and blood and want to be with each other.

The physical therapy is going great. I've added about 7 inches to some of the rotation, and two or three inches of movement to the worst parts. There's pain, sometimes big slabs of pain, but at its worst it's not as bad as the continual pain I had prior to the steroids shot.
I had a treatment with an intraxtor device. It's a more modern version of the TENS machine. It allows heavier doses of electricity to enter the muscle mass but doesn't create the muscle contractions of the TENS machines.
It is all helping a lot.
On Friday I have to go to the swimming pool. There's a whole series of exercises designed for underwater and to help stretch the shoulder while approaching the atrophied muscles.
Spent two days breaking up the adhesions that have developed on the right shoulder blade. It hurt a lot but immediately increased the range of the arm.
It makes me feel more human even if between PT, doc's and work it feels like I'm getting nothing important to me done, I still feel more human.

September 13, 2009

USC 18 Ohio State 15

Eastern Western Eyes
Click images for desktop size: "Eastern Western Eyes" by Unknown
After looking horrible the entire game Joe McKnight managed to win it for the Trojans. Matt Barkley looked over his head. Maybe this was enough experience to send him through the brutal Pac 10Crypt of the Living Dead schedule to come.
With Lou Holtz and Notre Dame crashed to reality the schedule makes it look like a National Championship run is possible, but we're still away to Cal . . . and the UCLA defense looked decent against Tennessee. Looks like a great season ahead. Now if I only had a TV . . .
I got my puppy her rabies shot, which duplicated her rabies shot from 4 months ago, her three year rabies shot from four months ago . . . stupid governments.
Our vet, Dr K, was shocked to see us. My puppy is looking gorgeous and I'm not dead.
Everyone seems to think I don't look bad enough. My puppy's gramma, who is a nurse, made comments to that effect. My physical therapist, who is a great guy but I still hate anyone who hurts me as much as he does, had to read the medical records because he didn't believe I'd had two heart attacks in the last 90 days.
I guess its good to look better than expected. I don't see that its gotten me anything.
After the vet we went for a walk in the woods. My puppy loved it. She even dived into the river to get herself a drink. She is still too protective of me and still a bit too co-dependent but she's for sure my dog and is happy, even if she did get a shot.

First week of the NFL. Here are my picks. Laughter is not mandatory, nor will I back up my choices with money!
My picks are in bold.

Tennessee at Pittsburgh - I made the right choice but for the wrong reasons. I got to see an avi of the game and was impressed with the Titans. Very impressed. They've improved when I'd figured Untitled
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
they'd gone downhill. For the Steelers they still have Troy on Defense and Heinz Ward on O. Ward plays wide receiver like you dream your receivers might one day play.

Miami at Atlanta - My screwball pick of the week. The Dolphins looked good in pre-season. Really! THe Falcons looked okay. The Dolphins have something to prove to the world and too themselves while the Falcons are already seeing themselves in the play offs. I'm going with the hungry team with no dreams in their hearts, just a gritty need to win.

Kansas City at Baltimore - The Ravens are beasts. The Chiefs are not. Matt Cassell gives them a chance but he's coming off a short pre-season and an injury. These are not the guys you want to practice against. I don't see how the Chiefs can stop anything the Ravens can do on offense. I alsoThe Creature Walks AMong Us would be terribly impressed if they scored.

Philadelphia at Carolina - I'm one of those guys who thinks that VIck served his time in prison and deserves a second chance. I dislike the cynicism that the NFL showed in reinstating him so quickly. I also hate the harsh business sense that led the Eagles to taking him; to push McNabb and to play VIck enough to win and then use him for serious trade bait. That they lied about their intended involvement in pro-animal rights and that Vick has barely paid lip service to his promise to repay dogs for the sick cruelty he perpetuated against the species makes me want to never pick this team again. The Panthers are an enigma. They still have a lot of talent but they never seem to put it together for a season, sometimes not even for a game. They'll have the Vick haters to inspire them and a home crowd. It should be close.

Denver at Cincinnati - The Bronco's trade away their best player and get nothing much in return . . .Helmet
Click images for desktop size: "Helmet"
Carson Palmer showed he can be a stud but since that one glorious year he's been incredibly brittle. If they are going to roll this season they have to put it together here. Cruddy game of the week.

Minnesota at Cleveland - Brett Favre? He's still a legend. The Browns might improve this year, maybe even enough to not stink. Brady Quinn does not look good to me. The Vikings till have Adrian Petersen and who ever plays QB knows all he has to do is hand it off.

New York Jets at Houston - I don't much like the Texans and I love Mark Sanchez. But Sanchez has merely looked good in the pre-season when the intensity level gets turned to 11 I'm not sure he'll be able to match it in his first sight of it. Even with Rex Ryan (Rex?) the Jets D is pretty sickly. It will be a good game but the crappy Texans should win.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis - The Colts start without Tony Dungy. That's a huge loss. The JaguarsDay the World Ended though have disintegrated into something unrecognizable. Payton Manning and crew will prove that life goes on without Dungy.

Detroit at New Orleans - My Sure Win of the week. Dru Brees. Reggie Bush. Matt Stafford has looked pretty bad most of the time. Woman at Yellow Wells
Click images for desktop size: "Woman at Yellow Wells"
The lions have had to improve. Inertia wouldn't let them stay as bad as they were last year but going against a committed to winning the championship Saints team is no medicine.

Dallas at Tampa Bay - I don't like the Cowboys but the Buccaneers are a terrible mess. The Cowboys would have to struggle hard to lose this one. Who cares game of the week.

San Francisco at Arizona - It's killing me. I want to pick the 49ers. I really do.Common sense kills my football picks. I expect this to be a chilling exciting game but the Cardinals just looked so sharp last year. I say Warner is a year older, players are grumbling about their contracts and getting lazy landing easy endorsement packages. They should fall.

Washington at New York Giants - All I know about the Redskins is that they didn't get any of the free agents high on their shopping list. And they're still going with Jason Campbell at QB. The Giants The Chosen One by Titusboy
Click images for desktop size: "Chosen One" by Titusboy
didn't replace Plaxico Buress. What's usually a marquee match up looks pretty dreary this season. Taking the Giants out of habit.

St Louis at Seattle - A cruddy game of the week contender. If you don't live in either city why would you even care. Seattle's at home. they loaded up with agin ex-Patriots. I guess that's enough to beat a Rams team that still looks tattered.

Buffalo at New England - Game of the week. Tom Brady. And he's expecting a child. They could go 18-0.

San Diego at Oakland - The Chargers look geled. Tomlinson is old and past his prime but still a weapon. Phillip Rivers looks ready to be dominant and Shawn Merriman is back and back in trouble.Death Race 2000 Oakland needs to be disabnded. They are expansion team bad.

Chicago 34 at Green Bay 27 - Tie Breaker Game. The Packers were heading downhill last season. Not Aaron Rogers fault. The Bears pick up of Jay Cutler should energize the O to scary levels even without a legitimate wide receiver or running back. And a decent offense will spark up a ragged defense. This should be a good match that I'd like to have seen later in the season.

There you have it. My picks are for entertainment only or a good piece to pass over to your enemies who might think they want to learn more about the game.

September 9, 2009

This is no way to treat a superstar

Truck in Field
Click images for desktop size: "Truck in Field" by Unknown
My puppy is back with me.
The first thing she did when she saw me was to try and bite me.Cinderella 2000
She acted like she was afraid of me. For nearly 5 minutes she ran from me and tried to hide behind others.
This hurt. It hurt a lot.
She's never been afraid of me before.
She got over being fearful and she became angry. That I expected. She poked me and vocalized.
Then I war permitted to scratch her butt. After a moment of that she was suddenly glad to see me. We became inseparable again.
She slept on the bed. She was an exhausted puppy. She would sleep, then wake up and stare at me long and searching before flopping her head back down to sleep.
She was far too tired. It came time for me to go to work. I didn't want to go, but if I didn't go in, I wouldn't get paid. It's that cruddy a job.
I spent the night at work at a low level of stress. I kept worrying about my puppy. I spent hours pondering why she had acted so fearfully. It still hurts and bothers me. In all my nightmares I never imagined my puppy being afraid of me. Being bossy and angry with me are fairly normal, but she'd never been afraid of me, not even afraid to be wrong. I was the one she ran to when she was afraid. For the first time I was questioning whether my puppy and I belonged together. Whether I'd made a mistake and pulled her from someplace where she was happier and better off.
It put a light veil over the joy of our being reunited.
I rushed home. She was waiting for me at the front door. We went for a walk. She was pretty normal, the puppy I know and love. She headed for her old hangout, the corner that leads to the football stadium and the hospital. She loved coaching football. She loves being a doctor dog.
I was going to walk her past there when her grandparents, who had delivered her, drove by. They were coming for us to go to breakfast.
A Vampires Rage by Titusboy
Click images for desktop size: "A Vampire's Rage" by Titusboy
We went to the old school Southern diner. Good food. Better getting to spend some time with people who raised my puppy, it was better getting to know them better.
I got home. My puppy greeted me enthusiastically. When her grandparents went to leave she paid no attention to them, instead she stayed close to me, barely acknowledging them.
She said goodbye to them and then started to play with me.
We were playing with her Kong. My puppy gets so ecstatic and full of herself when she gets me to chase her. Suddenly the neighbor appeared. He's the wannabe drummer.
He shocked me. He told me that after I left for work my puppy howled for hours!
My puppy hadn't cried since she was about 4 months old.This distressed me. I didn't understand whether she was howling because she was alone, missing me or missing her temporary life, the life she'd just left, and the life that the two of us had to abandon.
I thanked the guy for telling me and apologized if she had disturbed him, but then he went on until IChampion realized he was squawking. When he said that her crying had disturbed his FIVE cats sleep I started to feel angry.
There was no place for the anger so I let it go. But I remember the people who worry more about their petty comfort and value that more than the obvious distress of an animal. I can be polite but if he asks me for help with his music or playing again I'm going to politely refuse.
A dogs howl is more mournful than a human's. For a dog it is the only George Chikharis
Click images for desktop size: "George Chikharis"
tool they have. Its is beautiful and profound. It contains their soul and expresses their fears, their heartbreak and their pleas. To not feel compassion for something that is so instinctively well crafted and full of nothing but sincerity is something I can't understand. To not be moved and compassionate forces me to harden my heart.
I've never met anyone who could ignore the distress of an animal who would understand much of anything else, including themselves. I'd listened to him moaning about his girlfriend leaving him. And I listened to him whinge about not being able to meet anyone. Know at least I knew why. It also explained the lack of passion in his drumming. It didn't explain why he couldn't keep the beat. Listening to him once I realized he doesn't count. (Drummer pun)
My housemate came home from the Labor Day weekend; I figured he'd be enough company for her that my puppy wouldn't cry. That didn't work.
She started to howl her wolf like cry of despair. SInce she's a good girl she stopped as soon as my housemate spoke to her. But she howled twice.
She met me at the door and was all excited. She remembers where she is. There was a dog whom The Challenge by Charles Marion
Click images for desktop size: "The Challenge" by Charles Marion
she used to play with. It passed away last Thanksgiving. When we got to the house she lunged to see her old friend.
She kept close to me all day. She slept on the bed with me, and tried hard to push me off. She woke me to feed her. That night she only cried for me once. I remember my vet talking about the howling. She said it was mixed emotions because the dog looked so beautiful when it howled but you knew that the howl meant its heart was breaking.
Wednesday was the date of my first physical therapy appointment. It was scheduled for 2, with the car (in some circles I'm considered disabled) picking me up at 1. I needed to sleep yet my puppy was so overjoyed to see me; she was full of jokes and wiggle butt merriment.
She'd howled during the night but only the once and only about half an hour after I'd left. I think she was beginning to believe that I would come home to her.
We played and got about 30 minutes of sleep. At least that's all I got, she was pleased when I got upCorruption so she could take over the bed.
We stood outside the house together and waited for the car. She loved just standing outside with me. She loved it so much there was no protesting when the car pulled up and I had to leave her in the house.
The Physical Therapist was good, very good. Which means I'm hating him.
There are three main ligaments in the shoulder. Because of my frozen shoulder they have all shortened, the biceps and triceps have atrophied. Before we can work on the shoulder I have to lengthen the ligaments. They are so short that one of them is locked solid and can't be worked until I get some motion in the other two.
The PT pointed out that I kept my right arm too well guarded. I never relaxed it, clearly for some months. When I told him it had been bad since about April he was shocked. He wondered how I can stand that much pain for so long.
He gave me four exercises I could do They hurt and are embarrassingly simple.
I was dippy from very little sleep when I went into work that evening. But I was fine when I heard my puppy had not howled all evening.
I was starting to feel better about her being with me. I had doubts. Not about how much I needed her but doubts about whether she needed me. If she wouldn't have been happier where we used to be or where she used to be.
The doubts are dissipating more and more as we walk around and are together. I've seen that she is also initially distrustful of people she has known but then she also warms up to them in exactly the old way, but there is that moment of confusion that people feel. It wasn't as intense and there's no Waiting for Spring by Elena Savitskaya
Click images for desktop size: "Waiting for Spring" by Elena Savitskaya
anger in her but she seems to feel a need to reintroduce herself.
Its like when I ask her if she wants to go outside to go to the bathroom or just to play. She works so hard to understand me and she considers her answer. And she always tells me the truth. It's a part of the trust between us. It's a part of the love we have for each other.
She loves her kong and when she gets me to chase her for it she nearly explodes with giddy joy. I watch her play with others and there is fun but there's not that sense of being tickled to near endurance breaking levels.
We still bicker. We still argue but we do so in the sense that no matter what the anger there's no chance of it impinging on our love for each other.
She is my dog and I am her boy.
I got paid today. I'm already broke. But I'll get through till next payday.
My puppy's aunt sent somethings along with her, including a bed my puppy sometimes uses andColossus of Rhodes some toys which she ignores and food which my puppy always demands. There were also some things for me. A cool Silver Surfer T-Shirt I'm wearing now.
Today was also the second visit to the physical therapist. This one was rough. 45 minutes of having my arm manipulated. I still find it near impossible to relax the arm, this is causing some nasty bad cramping in my neck and collarbone. The manipulation heightened some of that but it also relieved the numbness in my hand.
It hurt and left me very sore but I get out of doing the painful exercises, at least for the day. I also noted I can raise my arm a good two inches higher than I could three days ago. Small but important and encouraging.
Tomorrow I have to take my puppy to see the vet to get a booster rabies shot. What a waste of time and money. Her original vaccine of only 4 months ago is made by the same American company that is approved here but because it was done out of state, not out of country, they do not recognize it. I've tried to understand. Rabies is a problem here. Its found often in raccoons and in bats(!). But this just seems stupid. No one disagrees but the government . . . I have to get her licensed so we Night Man An Wolverine
Click image: "Nightman and Wolverine" by Marvel Comics
can get out permit to use the dog parks!
I continue to be disappointed in Snow Leopard, the new OS for the Mac. There are numerous benefits but they seem piddling to the issue with icons. For the most gorgeous interface imaginable for Apple to continue to ignore the loud complaint that the 512 pixel icons (why do you need such huge icons) suddenly vanish and that the older 128 pixel and 256 pixel icons look horrid, like a 1 inch jpeg blown up to bill board size, is inexcusable.
I always remember when Macs were a cult item. We accepted Apple's mistake calmly and with the knowledge they'd be addressed rapidly. Now that they are merely an iPod factory (Even though I still want an iPod Touch!) I am pretty disgusted with this. It is far too similar to the buggy junk that Microsoft foists on people who think they have no other choice.

September 6, 2009

San Jose State 3 USC 56

Tiger Dream World
Click images for desktop size: "Tiger Dream World" by Unknown
In about 24 hours or so my puppy will be coming back to me.
Matt Barkley's debut with the Trojans was a qualified success. The whole team looked terrible in theBullit first quarter. Our vaunted secondary looked feeble and our line looked like they were looking for a leader. On the O-Line two false starts were costly. Fumbling was endemic. It was a disaster.
Of course the way it ended was as it was expected. Over 600 yards total offense to San Jose's 100 plus. I have more confidence with Aaron Corp at QB. The offense seems stilted with Barkley. He's an awesomely talented kid but all near risk plays were off the table as they had him manage the game.
All in all the Trojans played half a game and looked incredible in the half they played. If they can play a whole game they will be frightening indeed.
Next up is the highly anticipated clash with Ohio State. They looked horrifyingly bad barely beating Navy. It took some heroics after the final Navy TD to keep the game safe. Navy was going for the two point conversion. The pass was intercepter and run back the other way for the two points to keep the victory. Before that play OSU was fading fast while Navy was accelerating.
Both lines for Ohio State looked bad. The linebackers for Ohio State looked weak and were easily blocked. Terrell Pyror played well but not brilliantly.
If they don't step it up the game next week could be a boring repeat of last years. The Trojan D looks solid enough, better than Navy's. I'd love to see a competitive game but it appears OSU might be over rated. I hope not.

In about 24 hours my puppy will be back with me. I hope she'll be glad to see me.

The NFL starts this week. I'm giving serious thought to using my next paycheck to buy a TV and then Tree by Girish Chaudry
Click images for desktop size: "Tree" by Girish Chaudry
to get satellite. It is cheaper than cable and DISH Network was a package that has all I want for 30 bucks a month. Thing is I only want it for football season. Trying to sort it all out in my head and my pocketbook.
With the NFL season comes my usual NFL picks. More people, old friends, new friends and strangers write to me about the NFL stuff than any other topic . . . I guess it's amusing to see a coach with 20 years experience be so stupid about the pros. Either that or people can say "My picks were better than his! Why, I could probably coach better than him too!"
I don't know why people want to see me make a fool of myself. I won't disappoint.
My friend has signed up too. The contest I'm in has lousy prizes this year. Kind of grim. It's not about the prizes. Its about winning, no, it's about having fun.

My puppy is coming back to me in about 24 hours. I hoe she remembers me. I hope she's glad to see me.Casino Royale

I don't get Labor Day off. The real sign of a cruddy job.
The co-worker I liked has given notice. The job wears you down hard and fast. The customers tend to be rude and self absorbed. They quickly forget that were human too and they don't understand we get a miserable wage with no coffee breaks and no lunch break. In fact they make unreasonable demands. They also manage to make my co-workers feel unsafe. I understand it even if I don't share their fear.
I plan to keep the job either as long as I can or until I get a good job. I keep sending off resumes and scanning the ads. The pickings are scant though.

Click images for desktop size: "Fred Astaire & Rita Hayworth"
My puppy is coming back to me. Less than 24 hours. I hope we're as happy together as we usually are. I worry that she missed me as much as I missed her. It took me months to ease her dependence on me. Now I'm a touch sad and proud that I was succesful. Proud of her, I mean. My puppy works hard to please me. She worked hard in her therapy dog training. She learned there how to be around people. She even learned to like some people and to tolerate those she didn't like.
My puppy's life has been pretty easy. The only harshness she's had to deal with are baths, being seperated from me, and her eternal diet. She's a fatty. I never see that. I only see my puppy and whatever it is she is inside and outside is the dog I love.
I figure she'll forgive me for being stupid enough to not have my dog with me and then she'll spend a few days making me pay . . . and whatever she does I'll find it adorable.

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 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.

July 31, 2009

Only for you would I let my life stay the same, only for you
Bobby Fuller

Twisted Mind Show by Titusboy
Click images for desktop size: "Twisted Mind Show" by Titusboy
I have a pretty strong ego. The Canadian prison is designed to quickly and ruthlessly proclaim you to be a worthless piece of flotsam unfit for society and beneath contempt. That goes for the innocentWitchcraft 70 and the guilty alike.
That doesn't work on me. I can't ever absorb as anything other than its a lie that anyone is better than me. I also encourage everyone else to feel that no one in the world is any better than they are. Instead it makes me think that the bastards in government who created and perpetuated this system are pretty pathetic individuals on a level with pedophiles and the cops and guards they hire as beneath contempt as any eunuch with a truncheon should be. (There are female eunuchs too . . . I think I dated a few.)
There are things that humble me, that make me feel small and insignificant. Walking without my puppy does that. Its a constant reminder of vulnerability. It feels like there's nothing in this life that can slake justified rage.
Today I walked to the store. I was slogging back with my bundles. My backpack on, crushing my shoulder badly. I was certain that the pain would be worse if I tried to move it or readjust it. The iPod was playing The Ronettes "Walking in the Rain". I paid attention to my heart. The heat feels unbearable to me. And then it started to rain. But the rain was hot. Not just warm but hot water, hot as a shower.
Steam roiled on the asphalt and made choking hot chemical clouds that the rush of cars pushed into my face. This was a pretty significant indictment even I couldn't ignore. It took me thirty minutes to walk home, less than two miles. the thermometer said it was already pushing 90. It wasn't 9 AM yet.
I consoled myself by putting my things away and thinking there's a chance my puppy and I will be sludge by Peter Lovacs
Click images for desktop size: "Sludge" by Peter Lovacs
together in a couple of weeks. I don't want to get my hopes up too high. There's only so much dashing I have in me and only so much dashing of hopes I can absorb. Still a lot of planning to do.

On Wednesday I completed all the interviews to get into the Access program. They sent me down to cardiology on the spot. Just drew some blood. They wanted to inject some die into my blood but saw that I was on metformin for the diabetes and went another way.
I spoke to the cardiologist on the phone. He started to get on me because I hadn't seen a cardiologist since the heart attack. I told him I was in in a Canadian prison for two weeks and the doctors there didn't think it was necessary.
He got angry and said that the "worst hack who ever got a medical degree wouldn't do that. That's scandalous. Were they trying to kill you?"
I shrugged at the phone but couldn't think of anything to add to that. I don't know if he understood my silence but he changed his schedule around to see me ASAP. ASAP meant in only one week. HeWerewolf left me with the orders: If I have any heart pain or discomfort I'm to go to emergency immediately and have them beep him.
I liked his anger and intensity.
I kept trying to explain to anyone who seemed to be in charge of anything that I was more worried about seeing an orthopedist than a cardiologist. My shoulder hurts worse than my heart (at least my beating heart).
Morgan Freeman
Click images for desktop size: "Morgan Freeman"
Someone finally told me they'd send me a letter with an appointment. I only got the cardiologist so quickly because I'd been neglecting things . . .
Thursday I saw my GP. Things look better. My blood work sort of confirmed some things. My overall cholesterol is 76. The bad cholesterol that I was supposed to work on getting down below 50 (which I thought was impossible) is at 40. The good cholesterol is still too low at 28 but its not too much of an issue since my overall cholesterol is so low.
I asked about the physical stresses of coaching and if I'd be able to go back to it. She then asked if I was the coach with the black therapy dog. It turns out my doctor's husband is a wrestling coach at one of the conference high schools and my puppy being on the side lines during the big game against us was the thrill of that season. Then she told me about how all the nurses, who I was convinced hated me and my puppy, were in deep mourning when we left.
I figure we had to go away for them to realize that the two of us weren't so bad.
She told me some of the stories about my puppy and I. I was surprised that they were pretty much The Road from New Jersey by G Studio
Click images for desktop size: "Road from New Jersey" G Studios
true and didn't have the need to get defensive about any of them.
One positive is that she'll talk to her husband about me coaching at his school . . . for pay. I have mixed feeling about that. I don't like the idea of taking money for working with kids but I need a job.
There's also the worry about whether I can physically withstand a season. Like I can see me running down the sidelines throwing my hands up over my head signaling a touch down jerking up in agony as my shoulder decided to rebel and the pain and embarrassment giving me a heart attack . . .
She thought that there were still things I could do with kids. She said that kids all loved me and talk about me and my puppy. (She didn't say in which order they talked about us which I thought was pretty diplomatic.)
Then the friend who's letting me stay at my house went on vacation. So I'm now house sitting for two4D Man weeks. Not really but it sounds better than leeching.
He's another one who's excited about the possibility of my puppy coming to me. He'll be instrumental in getting her back her if my complex plan unfolds . . . I don't have a plan. I just like to think I do.

I'm down to retail stores for job apps. I was going to even apply to Pizza Hut!! They require all employees have a driver's lisence and "Reliable Transportation (Not Public)". They claim its because you might have to make a bank deposit or an emergency delivery . . . but I figure the reality is they don't want anyone late claiming the bus broke down.
For every job I apply for I seem to get 5 spam emails and 3 scam phone calls, all offering me employment. One phone call said I could make thousands a month just by blogging . . .

July 23, 2009

Did you really think love was worth dying for; its just trouble
John Entwistle

Irises by Sakai Doitsu
Click images for desktop size: "Irises" by Sakai Doitsu
Its amazing how still the air is. Not a hint of breeze. Smoke from the cigarettes goes straight up, tendrils without a wisp of character. The trees are silent, nothing moves. It feels like death might Spellbound feel.
I haven't written anything the past few days. Nothing has happened that I need to remember.
I miss my puppy terribly. That's not going to change. It feels like she's been stolen from me, which isn't actually the case but it feels that way. It feels like a lot of what I am has been stolen from me. Its only my sadness that makes me feel this way.
When I run into someone I know they're fist question is, "How's your puppy?" That proves they actually know me. Several people I don't know have come up to me and asked after her. Some have tried to identify me as my puppy's "father". Then they ask where she is and how she is.
The adults will often tell me a story about how my puppy helped their child through a traumatic illness. Some tell me how my puppy helped them through their child's illness. They always tell me how beautiful and smart and devoted my puppy is.
They've built a dinosaur trail here. Its just an established path in the forest and they've hidden something like 20 fiberglass dinosaurs on the path for kids to discover and play on. It opens tomorrow. I got a formal invitation to take the inaugural walk with my puppy and some kids from the hospital. It would be fun for all.
Its possibly just as well we can't do it. My puppy would have enjoyed the walk but the kid have an image of her sometimes . . . especially around the dinosaurs. I fear they would have been disappointed in how she reacted to the big adventure, but possibly not.
I continue to be desperate for a job. Nearly broke. I going as intense as I can. Just churning away.
I had two interviews yesterday. One was a waste. It was a group interview . . . there were five of us. Three were high school girls. The job was weekend cashier at a chain drug store.
Howard Schatz
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Howard Schatz
On the second I at least got a nice free lunch. I had wild mushroom ravioli. It was okay. This was a meeting with my old boss. It was nice enough and a pleasant couple of hours. Except on the work front they hired two people within the last two months.
Its not too nice having to hope for some one else's failure to have a chance at success. Way too Hollywood.
There's one unexpected result of using the internet for my job search. Not only d I get some pretty virulent spam offering me all sorts of scam type jobs I also get phone calls.
On Tuesday I applied on-line to a chain book store where I used to know some people. The on-line job app is their preference, I did all the tedious work.
I haven't heard from them but I got three phone calls. I'm on a pay-as-you-go mobile. The first few minutes of each conversation is with me trying to figure out who these people are. What job I applied for that they're calling me about. It takes a while to figure out that they saw my resume andStraitjacket want to offer me a fantastic opportunity . . .
One call was from a company that needed to verify my employment history. I asked which employer they were working for. They couldn't/wouldn't tell me. I decided not to cooperate with them. I said I'd gotten too many spams and scams to risk giving out my personal details to a stranger.
I hope that wasn't a mistake. The concern is just a reflection of how stressed I am.
I had to talk to this foundation after. They're the ones who will provide access to a volunteer cardiologist and orthopedist. It was an interesting phone interview. Te gist of it was to figure out if I was actually wealthy and scamming to get free health care. I did discover that all the jobs I'm applying for, well, the wages would still keep me below the national poverty level and keep me eligible for the program. Pretty solid mixed feelings about that.
Click images for desktop size: "Hiding Turtle" by Unknown
I haven't had any real issues with my heart. Even with the sadness and the worry. No pain. I seem to just be aware of it.
The arm and shoulder on the other hand are a terrible nuisance. The pain stays at intolerable levels.
Yesterday I was in the bathroom when I heard the phone ring. I scrambled to answer it and rammed the bad shoulder into the door jam. I was mewling . . . it was electric fire blinding.
I didn't get to the phone in time. It took twenty minutes to recover. The arm was weak and useless. A new wrinkle has been the numbness of the pinky and ring fingers.
I was able to see who called and call back. Good thing. It was a job I'm seriously interested in. Interview Tuesday.
I'm sleeping better. I've discovered that I can build a sort of cast made of pillows around the arm and shoulder and that with some adjusting I can sleep almost pain free. This has served me the last two night so I'm sleeping nearly 5 hours a night!

July 19, 2009

Now all I've got is sorrow and pain
Joey Ramone

Emily by Jugeminias
Click images for desktop size: "Emily" by Jugeminias
Missing my puppy badly.
I slept better last night. Discovered a plan that semi-worked. Involved a lot of propping with pillowsRabid and proper splaying. I slept for 3 hours straight through.
But dreamt of my puppy. On nights like this she'd tell me puppy jokes, watch over me and recommend a good snack. Being a doctor dog she'd know when to nuzzle me, when to play with me, take me outside, when to have me pet her.
I miss my puppy. Trying hard to not let my desperation for her turn into obsession.
Obsession almost always means you miss the obvious solutions in life.
I'm hoping that tomorrow starts to yield some results to my mad flurry of resume rending job searching. Its time for interviews and time for hoping.
I went to this store, Ross. They have plenty f cheap slacks. They sell Dockers for like eight bucks. I figure dockers are okay for some interviews. I begrudge spending the eight bucks.
I bought some used books yesterday. The trip was to drop off job apps. I got four books for nine dollars. Three of them will be interesting but hardly vital, the find was David Drake's "Killer".
"Killer," is a book I was thinking about months ago. Its a science fiction tale about a vicious killing machine monster that gets loose on earth. What makes this story compelling is that the earth its gone to war with is ancient Rome! And the monsters hunter is a former gladiator!
I'm into the first one hundred pages. The story drags a bit more than I remembered but its still fascinating. There's some effort made to show the life of free Romans. The history lesson is integrated well into the plot so it hardly feels like you're learning anything at all! Good stuff.

July 5, 2009

We woke the next morning with heavy growing hearts. A border, an imaginary line meant we had to Enhanced Canadian Wilderness By James Davidson
Click images for desktop size: "Enhanced Canadian Wilderness" by James Davidson
go our own ways.
The Days Inn provided a free breakfast. We decided to save some money and eat it. The breakfast was poor but could fill you up.
The worst part was a tray full of eggs cooked someway that they're all perfectly round. They are also nearly indestructible. Even though heaped on the plate none of their yolks showed any hint of breaking. I was afraid of them. They did not seem like food but more like the Japanese plastic sculptures of food the restaurants display.
To while away the time until checkout we walked and talked. We thought of strategies, of hopes and of plans. All bright optimistic stuff to avoid thinking of my departure time.
When we checked out we went looking for a bookstore, so I could get something to read on the long bus ride.
We went to Borders. My friend found a couple of cook books and a gluten free magazine she'd never before seen. I couldn't find anything. The prices for he titles were too high for my remote interest inThe Return of the Vampire them.
We then found a spectacular looking used book store but it was closed on the Sunday. We looked through the windows and regretted the day.
It seemed a nice place to sit and talk and attempt to say goodbye.
Divine Right
Click images for desktop size: "Divine Right" by Marvel
We had lunch at this Irish style pub. I had a quesadilla . . . it was not good but better than I feared.
Following a last second "I need another bungi cord" panic we went to the bus station. We sat and waited. Talked.
There were two US Immigrations cop hanging around. Border Patrol this far from a border? My bus pulled in but we weren't allowed to board. The Border Patrol had to go in and harass the passengers. They pulled an Indian guy off the bus and were huge jerks. They made him get his luggage and they inspected everything in an incredibly arrogant fashion.
I got on the bus. My friend was in tears. I flashed all the ASL I knew at her. I don't know if she knew what I was saying. I kept flashing ASL even as the bus pulled out. When we got to the other side of the bus station my friend was out there. She waved. I waved back and watched her walk to her car. I wanted to tell her there's no sense in crying. No one was dead yet.
So two days out of prison, nearly 4 weeks from a heart attack and here I was on the dreaded Frank Melech
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Frank Mellech
Greyhound. No chance to recover. No chance to breathe.
I had 16 hours to think about things.
I started thinking about the racist cop who started this ugly turn. I don't like cops. Its their insanity and their presumption I don't like. After they've been at it long enough they start to think that everyone is guilty and its only a matter of time till they have you under the lights burying their saps in your kidneys.
This Scott McVicar wasn't even unique. I'd noticed that the area cops were almost all of a freaky breed. They remind me of nothing more than the cops in "A Clockwork Orange". "Just jobs for two who are of job working age!"
They're thugs too cowardly to run with the gangs and the worst of them who find the gangs to tame for the sadistic hatred they carry in their souls.
The sick part is that they no longer make the cops wear uniforms, not consistent uniforms. They let them fuss and futz with their uniforms to the point that there is no longer any relief when you see aSan Quentin cop. McVicar wore no name tag - ever. He even obscured his badge. He fitted and tugged his uniform and wore so much extra unofficial gear he looked more like a manga character than a cop. He wasn't alone. The end result is they look like a manga inspired gang that gets to carry guns and openly hate.
I've never seen any police force in the world that allowed its cops to customize their uniforms to such an extent that the officers couldn't be readily identified. Not even in Africa around the equator. They want the police to be readily identified in an effort to stop trouble except in Canada where the by-word is to let the thugs keep the thugs in their place and who cares what they look like.
Suddenly squad car cops are allowed to do investigations. And a cop so stupid and ignorant he thinks everything he sees on the internet is true. And based on that I was thrown in prison. I was never fingerprinted, photographed nor DNA tested. They have no idea if I was even the guy in the story. But on the whim of a racist cop who thinks in sci-fi fantasy cop terms I was arrested and thrown in prison by K.W. (Ken) McMurtrie, an immigration cop who tried to glamorize his role by Frankenstein
Click images for desktop size: "Frankenstein" by Universal
pretending that I was a dangerous arch fiend so he could justify his budget. Then when his speculative case fell apart he lied and tied to justify his heinous acts. He doesn't care about people. Just about his superiors reaming him about going over budget.
In my friends neighborhood there was a mini scandal. Some 25 year old kid walked up to an old man and punched the old man until he was dead. No one could understand it.
Now I do know what happened. He'd just been released from Maplehurst.
You can't take a young violent man, throw him in a ell, abuse and debase him through a constant, clearly administratively approved series of verbal, physical and psychological abuse. Reduce his self esteem to less than zero and then give him nothing but time. No encouragement, no chance to improve himself, just encourage his violence, set him up to commit institutionally approved violence against other inmates.
Are the people who set up this system illiterate? Haven't they bothered to read or even be aware of Shiver of the Vampire the last 60 years of penal work and reform.
MAXSEX (Maximum Security) is harsh. I've visited prisoners in MAXSEC in Europe and the USA. I was treated with respect. So were the prisoners. The sort of behavior exhibited by the guards at Maplehurst would not have been tolerated at any of those prisons if only because the type of prisoners in MAXSEC would think nothing of killing a guard ho was insulting and belittling and threatening, but also because everyone knows very few MAXSEC prisoners get life sentences. Most of them will be out on the street. In a true MAXSEC prisoners case every effort is made to attempt to rehabilitate him to avoid just spitting killers back onto the street. They succeed quite often. More than 70%.
The prisoners at Maplehurst are NOT MAXSEC! Shoplifters are not MAXSEC. They do not promote a danger to others around them. Guys on two year sentences for being drunk and disorderly are not MAXSEC.
Maplehurst makes no attempt at education or rehabilitation. They punish. The punish the innocent and the guilty equally. But what else they are doing is training killers. You could even produce an argument proving it is intentional.
It was in the 1930's that it was shown that the treatment of prisoners especially in modes such as practiced at Maplehurst increased a prisoners propensity to violence and that propensity stayed with the prisoner long after his incarceration had ended. Repeat offenders increased and the repeat offenses were noted for their escalating physical violence.
Click images for desktop size: "Forest" by Unknown
The punishment administered at hell holes like Maplehurst punishes society far more than it punishes the prisoner.
We got nearer my stop. The bus was over crowded and it was making my shoulder crazy.
I knew instead of thinking of the injustice of the recent past I needed to start thinking about the future or I'd be in trouble.
All I could think about was my puppy.
But she's not here.
Maybe she never will be again.
I refuse to accept that I deserve anymore punishment. I rebel.

July 14, 2009

Prayer ain't going to kill that bear, we got to run for it
Wet Willie

Alone in the World
Click images for desktop size: "Alone in the World" by Unknown
Feeling worn down today. Been sort of off the past three days. Sick, flu like off.
I think it has to do with my body re-adapting to the meds that the prison medical care, (the finest Hostel Part 2 available according to some idiots with agendas). My illness corresponds pretty exactly with the side effects of one of the heart attack drugs.
Good news is that Reina, my puppy's mom, is doing some better. Her gums are pink and she's livelier. The results of her blood test should come out today. I keep worried and hoping.
I'm worried also about getting my puppy home to me. Less than a thousand miles away but I'm bewildered. I miss her and it causes me pain. I hope she's different and not stressing.
I'm still job hunting. The only positive note so far is that my old boss wants to meet with me next week. One can only hope is the thing.
There were no new ads in the paper today or on any of the job sites I keep checking. I don't want this to let me down.

I've gotten a few emails wondering if I approve of the way the Canadian prison system runs. I guess because I'm just trying to relate facts and avoid editorial opinion it could lead people to wonder. Also that I find the facts so abhorrent that I presume anyone else would too.
The system I experienced is insane. For people with mental illness to be housed with convicts and people on remand is wrong. A civilized society would not accept it.
The MAXSEC (maximum security) system might have a purpose but to use it on shop lifters and immigration detainees is insane, cruel and vicious. Agin, no civilized society would tolerate it.
To use that onerous system for people on remand, people who are not guilty of anything is sick and beyond unfortunate.
To take a violent young man and to dump him in this system for 18 months and deprive him of a Ava Gardner
Click images for desktop size: "Ava Gardner"
chance to educate himself is sick and dangerous.
This mid twenties offender is on the dole, broke and bored he seeks release in drugs and alcohol. He gets violent and causes great distress. Now putting him in a place run by a corrupt authority and the guards are corrupt in my experience, an authority that derides, dehumanizes and insults at every opportunity is merely creating monsters that will reenter the fringes of society and reek and experienced hate filled havoc on society in general. THe havoc will be fueled in ignorant violence, the education given in a Maplehurst is to hone and improve the violence, to make it more devastating, permanent and overwhelming.
What rational being would expect different.
I've worked with young people who were already so marked by the system. They were hate filled, rage fueled and already written off. The game I teach and that I love taught these young men self respect, self worth. It gave them a place in society and once having a place they wanted to improveIt Came From Outer Space themselves and in improving themselves they sought and did improve society as a whole. They became politicians, professors, cops, firemen and happy working stiffs.
If the violent offender on the dole is taught a trade that he can excel at, where he can earn money to improve his life so he can afford to meet and associate with people who have similar goals to his; to be happy.
Letting an inmate read lets heir minds open to possibilities that might never have occurred to them. Allowing them to use their time to benefit themselves rather than to use the time pursuing violence and cultivating and nurturing the hatred that must well inside of them . . .
The best way to stomp out crime is education and hope. The best way to worsen and promote crime is via unjust punishment and the reduction of humanity.
Who doesn't know this? Who hasn't seen this proved out time and time again?
July 1, 2009

Today was Canada day.
We were expecting lock down. On many holidays or even just very nice days enough guards would call in "sick" that the warders would decide they had insufficient staff and order a lock down.The Human Jungle
Its amazing how much even an hour out of your cell can be missed.
To everyone's relief there wasn't a lock down. I was relieved as well as I expected my friend to visit so we could have our 20 minutes to discuss what had happened yesterday at my kangaroo court hearing.
I got yard. There was this guy I didn't know who kept eyeing me. I always spent the first 10 minutes of yard running wind sprints and every time I reached the wall and turned around I saw him staring at me.
Benny Goodman
Click images for desktop size: "Benny Goodman"
Hosia, the Yardie, came over and warned me that the fellow checking me out was shanked. A shank is just a home made knife. They make a big deal about not permitting shanks at Maplehurst. We get toothbrushes with one inch handles, rubber spoons.
A shank is just a hunk of something that a hunk of metal can be tied to. There's plenty of concrete walls to use as whetstones to sharpen the hunk of metal into a stabbing weapon. If your patient enough it can become a slashing weapon as well, but that's harder to make.
With all their dehumanizing fussiness there's plenty of stuff around to make a shank.
When I finished running this guy came up o me and started to run at me. He lunged. I was lucky enough to turn aside. He fell and broke his wrist. His shank skittered on the concrete and I kicked it into the grated storm sewer.
While they were helping the guy out of the yard the rest of us were checking out the sewer. It was thick with cigarette butts and roaches (marijuana butts). When I'd come back late from getting my insulin shot most of the guards were unaware that any prisoners were roaming about. More than once I caught a couple of guards out in the yard passing a joint back and forth.
Artargatis by Mortalitas
Click images for desktop size: "Artagatis" by Mortalitas
Yard got extended a tiny bit because of the fellow's accident. We enjoyed that.
Back in my cell I tried to wait calmly. I really hoped my friend would show up and we could talk and plan and think about where to go with all this.
She never came.
Later I found out that she'd been downstairs waiting to visit. They kept her waiting for six hours before they could figure out that there were too many holiday visitors to get everyone in. knowing the guilty or the innocent makes you guilty in the limited guard mind. They treat visitors only slightly better than they treat prisoners.
I didn't know. I could only feel abandoned.
Even my muskrat didn't show up on his daily rounds. I worried for him.
That night when I did my blood sugars they were 6.8. The nurse proclaimed that was perfect. I was surly enough to say that I hadn't eaten in two days so that number was exceedingly high.
The nurse shuffled and said, I'm writing in perfect anyway."

July 13, 2009

Good golly Miss Molly's going to be there too
Peter Case

Steel Cowards
Click images for desktop size: "Steel and Brass Cowards" by Unknown
Not a good day yesterday.
Reina, my puppy's mom, dam, has cancer. She looked to be doing well with her chemo but thisGirls, Guns And Gangsters weekend she took a bad turn. Sunday she seemed better.
Today Reina will get a blood work up. Last time she had too many white cells and too man immature red cells. Hoping for the best for her. She gave my puppy all of her best traits. It would be sad and near devastating to have her leave.
It made me terribly sad and thinking I'll never see my puppy again.
I had to go to hospital. Two nitro pills and you got to go. They did an EKG. They believe my heart has worsened. With all its been through how could it not.
The arm is getting worse and worse. The pain more biting and the use of it almost nonexistent. Its not going to help n my job hunt, that's for sure.
I've not been able to sleep more than 2 hours at a stretch before it starts to bite me. It is annoying.
I filled out a lot of on-line job apps. It was tedious and repetitive. Much simpler to attach a resume, I think. No job looked golden but I have to try. And now its pouring rain.

June 30, 2009

It was a rough morning.
Late last night I was told I had a visitor. I was stoked thinking my friend had shown up to tell me everything was in place and that the lawyer figured I was going to walk home.
When I got to the visiting room I was not put in one of the little glass walled rooms. I was in a Women In Blue by Evegney
Click images for desktop size: "Women of Blue" by Evegney
narrow corridor surrounded by three menacing guards.
A woman in an expensive looking peasant blouse and jeans came in waving a sheet of paper. She demanded I sign.
I asked, "What is it?"
She said, "Just sign it or you'll be sitting here for a year at least."
"Who are you?"
"I'm from immigration," she said, "this is an agreement for you to waive your right to a hearing. Just sign it."
The guards stated to chime in, with a solid jab in my ribs one yelled at me, "Sign the f___ing thing. I got better things to do."
"I need legal advice here. I want to consult a lawyer,: I said.
A poke in the stomach accompanied, "I got your f___ing lawyer a__hole."
It was apparent why this meeting was disguised as a "visit" and why it was happening in this tiny area. I figured that they'd finally gotten the police report back and were trying to save face.
"Look, what's the big deal. I've got the Detention Hearing tomorrow. Lets see what happens there.The General What's the difference if I sign it now or tomorrow. I mean, why would I waive my rights anyway?"
"Cause you ain't got no rights motherf___er. Your ass belongs to us," one of the guards explained.
The woman said, "This is a one time take it or leave it offer. We could fix it so you spend the rest of your life here."
"Without lawyer to advise me I'll have to pass. Look what's to stop Johnny Cash
Click images for desktop size: "Johnny Cash"
you guys from coming in the middle of the night and just dumping me over the border without my money or my property. Where's my assurances? I'll wait for the Hearing."
One of the guards made as if to really wallop me but he backed off. I was lead back to my cell with a lot of barking at my heels. I didn't listen to it. I was too wrapped up in thinking about why I was constantly denied legal advice, whether I'd made the right decision, and mainly, why hadn't my friend shown up to tell me what was in place.
I barely slept. The pain in my heart and in my arm kept me awake enough to fret. I listened to the screaming man and wondered if his incomprehensible shouting would ever fall into a lulling rhythm.
The next morning I was wrapped in uncool anxiety. Aside from the tension of my waiting the guards had enough of the screaming man. I watched six of them strap on their loaded gloves (black leather filled with powdered lead to make an invisible black jack-one mistakenly grabbed me by the shoulder once while wearing his. The pressure and weight compensated mightily for any lack of Al Moore
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Al Moore
There was no news then the guards filed out. Then there came the stretcher and the old guy was finally quiet.
I got to take a shower. I noticed that the hemorrhaging on my leg ha cleared up. It wasn't gone but it wasn't violently black any more. For the most part the leg looked normal.
I wasn't allowed to shave. No razors. I worried about my appearance in front of the hearing.
Then there was just more waiting.
And more waiting.
Finally the guard came and told me my hearing was happening now. I was steeled. I thought , "Hope for the best but expect less." I think Fritz Perl wrote that or maybe it was Milton Berle.
I hoped to walk into the hearing room/linch room and find my friend and a razor sharp attorney. I braced myself for no lawyer but my friend being there to give evidence and the real scenario I played in my head was me walking in there alone.Great St Louis Robbery
It wasn't a cynical thought process. It was merely reality.
I walked into the room and was surprised that there were two women there I'd never seen before. I assumed I'd keep the same prosecutor and judge. There was no one else there.
I was glad I'd played all three scenarios through in my head. The judge started the proceedings by turning on the tape recorder.
I said that I wasn't quite prepared. I'd been expecting a lawyer as well as a witness who would give evidence proving that the core evidence presented by the prosecutor was in fact false.
The judge looked flustered. The prosecutor said that there was no lawyer present for me. She said that my friend had appeared (she laboriously looked for her name in a sheaf of papers and still mispronounced her pretty simple name.)
I asked why my friend wasn't here to give her evidence and to offer bail to the court. Yeah, I was being very eloquent, using up my many hours of watching Jack McCoy.
"I spoke to your friend for nearly 30 minutes. She confirmed all that we have presented. Including her original call to the police and the fact she has had several conversations with Officer McVicar Alice 19th by Usagi
Click images for desktop size: "Alice 19th" by Usagi
since that incident. She did offer to post a nominal bail," the prosecutor said rapidly.
"How was my friend? Did she look alright? You didn't leave her upset did you?"
Flustered the prosecutor said, "no. She was perfectly fine!"
"Well, I maintain that my friends evidence is being either misinterpreted or being incorrectly presented. It seems shocking that she would not be allowed to be here to present the evidence herself."
"She confirmed everything!" the prosecutor interrupted.
"If she confirms all the facts of your case it seems you'd want her here to do the confirmation,"
I got thrown for a little bit of a loop when the prosecutor delineated the charges for deportation. It was no longer as being an unfit character. It was for being "Allowed to leave".
I didn't quite grasp this and no one was going to explain it to me. Quickly I was able to figure out that the first time I entered Canada my Drivers License picture was smeared. They sent me back to get other ID. That was it.
I pointed out that I'd been back in Canada several times. At least twice for Immigration demands toHard Women visit Canadian doctors and the ilk.
I have to admit it was clever of them, if more than a bit nasty to change horses in mid-stream like that. How could anyone prepare for charges that they didn't know existed.
Then there was a strange gaff. She claimed that I had signed the waiver. When I insisted I had not in the face of much pressure from physical intimidation she backed off slightly.
I then went into my argument about my health. I quoted Bob Moriarity, the recentness of my heart attack, the improper dispensation of my life giving medicines and the total inappropriateness of this local for "Allowed to leave" transgressions. I then pointed out the questionable actions of the prosecutor to send away a witness and offering up only here say evidence. I said my witness could also address the "Allowed to leave" charges as well as the original charges.
I ended by saying that due to my health and its continuing degradation due to the insufficient care available at a MAXSEC prison I should be granted bail. That I had never been shown to have violated any bail conditions and that it was my fervent hope to be able to return to the USA.
Before the judge could give her decision we were told we had to break for lunch . . .
I was lead back to my cell. There was a fight or something going on in block 8. All the UCF wannabee guards were chuffed and shouting they weren't going to miss this one as they ran off to get into the fracas.
In my cell I evaluated.
I was glad my friend showed up. Chagrined by the "evidence" the prosecutor had presented as being from her. I decided the prosecutor was likely lying. I tried to read the judge. I decided that even Alice 7 by Vlad Studios
Click images for desktop size: "Alice 7" by Vlad Studios
though I'd presented a strong case she was going to search for reasons to disallow the bail. She never looked at me when I spoke but always looked at the prosecutor. She also had the freakiest ass I'd ever seen on a human being. It was like someone stuck a pillow in her pants. Her rear end extended four inches beyond her hips on each side.
After a tedious two hour wait we went back to the lunch room. As I figured the judge decided I should remain in jail. Some of her statements were alarming. She concluded that the health care in Maplehurst was the finest available!! Then she concluded that, and I will never understand this, that a cash bail was insufficient for me. That my friend did not have enough influence over me to insure I would show up for hearings. And that she believed that toHigh Plains Drifter avoid deportation I would flee into Canada . . . RAH!
After the prosecutor allowed me to sign my one chance only waiver. She insured me that I would get a minimum of 48 hours notice before they would remove me and that my friend, as my common law wife would receive the same notice so she could bring me clothing and money.
Never trust the government. Any government. They are all liars. You always need a good lawyer. You have to trust someone even when its someone it looks like you shouldn't. I've always believed that but I never imagined how right I could be.
I waited for my friend to show up that evening so I could tell her what happened. She never did.

June 3, 2009

I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way
Carl Sandburg

Irises by Vincent Van Gogh
Click images for desktop size: "Irises" by Vincent Van Gogh
Woke up in screaming pain from my shoulder. Very bad.
I see the doc's today at 3:30. I hope they have some sort of miracle pill to calm this thing down.The Devils Rejects
I'm far from impressed with the miracle of Lantus insulin. I thought it was starting to kick in. I got hypoglycemic trembles. Had to eat the glucose tablets to get them to stop, but it appears it was more from me not eating anything for 12 hours than the drugs.
Here's to today.

Football last night. It was good for me. It wasn't good in general but it was far from the worst session I've ever been involved in. The organizers' hearts are in the right place they just don't have the skills to pull it off.
The Equipment Manager and the Team Manager are stellar.
Saw 118 kids yesterday. No stud athletes. That's no big deal. They were kids. Some showed potential. Potential is all that they need right now. In general the kids seemed eager to learn, eager to play they just have no clue as to how.
I ran the agility section with the 6 inch agility hurdles. This is one of my and a lot of other coaches favorite sets of drills. We used to run these drills with "step over bags" which were about the same height as the hurdles and about six inches broad. One of the evolutions in sports science is how even this small thing has changed.
Originally the step over bags were about 12 inches high. The point then was getting the players to get their knees high, like stepping over arm tackles and flying bodies. Gradually it dawned on us that getting the knees high slowed the player down, it was not efficient use of kinetic energy. The step over bags got shorter and shorter. Virginia Tech was then using one inch plywood, eight inches wide and five feet long, as step over bags, getting the placement of the player's feet and legs while letting their knees and feet stay low and Indominitble
Click images for desktop size: "Indomitable" by Unknown
flowing to the motion instead of chopping against the motion. And now we accomplish the same thing with little plastic hurdles.
Part of me resists the change over. There are certain elements I think need the five foot long bags to properly implement. Since they don't have any step over bags and as raw as these kids are my normal concerns about finding a replacement drill aren't needed here.
I started with the "Bunny Hop". Six hurdles, 1 yard apart. The kids are supposed to keep their feet together and hop over each hurdle, one hop per hurdle. I had intended this as just a warm up and not part of the evaluation. Two thirds of the kids could not keep their feet together at all. One third could not clear each hurdle with one hop per hurdle. About 10% faded out and couldn't complete the drill.
They wanted to grade three drills. The single step, where the kids run through the hurdles taking one step to clear each one, come to the end, turn left, explode forward five yards turn left againThe Chosen and run through a second set of hurtles.
Then there was the side step, same drill basically.
The final drill were the in and outs. Just a weave going forward, side step, then backwards. What I look for are eyes, good football stance and good arm motion.
In West Texas and California high school ball 95% of the kids would have been given a 1. I gave most of them 3's. I only graded three kids as 1's and 4 kids as 4's. No 5's. I figured I should use a bell curve and not a rigid standard.
Gloria Swanson
Click images for desktop size: "Gloria Swanson"
Even the experienced kids kept their eyes on the ground trying to watch their feet, had no arm movement and no sense of precision. I tried to give them visualizations of what they were doing and why. They liked that. I gave the 4's more based on effort than skill. I like effort.
My friend ended up not working with me. She had to start and do the 10 yard time on the 40's. During a water break I glanced at her sheet. I was impressed I saw a few 5's and several 4's! Kids hitting 4 seconds in the 40's make my heart glow. Until I realized I was looking at the wrong column and the 4's and 5's were the 20 yard times!
Watching a few of them run it was apparent they all needed just some fundamental work. With times like that I can get some massive miraculous seeming improvement. I think the kids will work hard enough to accomplish that.
Since most of you know that my coaching technique involves trotting along the athlete and encouraging and exhorting I realized I trotted about two miles yesterday! I was pretty shattered Hug Me Forever by Jana Jelovac
Click images for desktop size: "Hug Me Forever" by Jana Jelovac
after practice. But it felt good.
We have to go again on Thursday. I'm going to push to take over my friends job and run the 40's. The kids clearly need some coaching there. That was my biggest surprise. I didn't hear any coaching, just instructions.
Oh, after practice we stopped and bought whistles! Just regular whistles. I still like loopy ones but that could terrify the parents.
That was the oddest part of the day for me, the 200 or so parents who just sat in lawn chairs on the side lines. I still don't quite know what to make of that.

New foster dog has decided he likes us. He spent much less time humping foster dog and more time hanging out with me and my friend. Yesterday he had no accidents in the house.
He was crated for about 4 hours while we were at practice. I hung out outside for 10 minutes before we left. There was no evidence of the bad behavior his previous fosters experienced.
New foster is a good little dog. He wants to be loved. Boy, does he not know anything! I think as heThe Giant Behemoth gets a bit calmer, he'll learn.
Foster dog has two more applications! No word on whether they are acceptable. Foster dog is pretty special. He's struggling to learn, struggling to find out how to fit in. He's a pretty great guy.
I took the Original Trio, gentle dog, my puppy and giant dog, on a walk with just the three of us. They needed the reassurance. My puppy not so much. She;s been through all these fostering things before. She stays steady. Gentle dog needed reassurance that he's still special the most, even more than giant dog who is is very insecure and jealous.
My friend bought me a new hard drive! A 500 gig Western Digital.
I'm not looking forward to installing it. The iMac case is NOT user friendly. There's so much tape and putty etc that it can get pretty overwhelming. Too many tight gentle windings to break, too many glues to distort.
Ella Fitzgerald by Bernardine
Click images for desktop size: "Ella Fitzgerald" by Bernardine
I did it before. I'm going to check around and see if I can get someone to instal the drive for 50 bucks or so. I figure 50 is about how much my fear is worth.
I feel oddly reluctant to let the computer out of my hands.
No issues from the "lost" files. I'm hoping it was just cache files or something.
I'm worried that I've loaded all these responsibilities on my friend, football practice, vets and doctors when she got hit with some ridiculous deadlines at work yesterday. I have to think of something reasonable so she can get her business and recreation done while I handle myself better.
I mowed half the yard yesterday. Not much of a contribution to her ease of mind.

June 2, 2009

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them
Walt Disney

Her Blue Eyes
Click images for desktop size: "Her Blue Eyes" by Unknown
Pain in my shoulder woke me at 4, again. Last night I updated some of the Apple software. The QuickTime update required a reboot. I hate rebooting. Now I can hate it with even more purpose.Teenage Doll
The restart began and then the computer turned itself off. Did that twice more.
I rebooted in single user mode (command line stuff) and ran a disk repair (fsck). The disk was unrepairable. The binary tree catalog had become corrupt. That's the entire file system . . .
I'd gotten lazy and hadn't done a full back up since Sunday. I was able to boot from my back up. 2 and 1/2 hours later DiskWarrior was able to repair the problem. At least for now.
I guess I'm going to have to start doing twice daily back-ups until I can find a replacement drive I can afford. DiskWarrior reported that I've lost 36 folders and 18 files . . . I don't know what they were. A quick visual scan doesn't show anything terrible. Maybe I got lucky and it was some cache files or something.
I replaced the drive in the iMac almost 3 years ago. A Seagate Barracuda. It was a terrible job. One I'm not looking forward to attempting again. What choice do I have? Last time I broke the DVD drive. Maybe I can fix that or replace it.
Working on the iMac is worse than working on a notebook.
If I suddenly cyber-vanish, well, you know why.
I remain grateful for IMAP. No fear of losing any emails, at least. Even when I don't answer them I like to have them.

Yesterday was strangely busy. Five dogs had a lot to do with that. Five dogs and thunderstorms.
My friend got to come home early, she got to work from home. Her MacBook running Parallels is doing studly duty, I think.
Click images for desktop size: "Modern Woman" by Unknown
We had a good discussion about the football tryouts this evening. I was just pulling out of my zombie state, where I'm resisting passing out. I hate naps.
My friend sometimes resists discussions. I think she sees them as arguments and with my propensity for going ballistic I worry that I engendered that. She was at one of the meetings about the tryouts.
At the meeting I heard, "The coaches won't do anything but observe and evaluate the players."
She heard, "The coaches will be assigned drills to run so best come prepared to work."
Pretty contrary.
Somewhere in there she said, "You don't approve of any coaches except the ones you trained." I could immediately think of at least a half dozen coaches I worked for who I liked and also thought were pretty good, better than me in most ways.
The end result of the conversation was positive for me. It reminded me of a truism that I have The Blob and Dinosaurus always held but in the middle of the volunteer coaches I know it is easy to forget.
The main point of sport at this age and this level is to help the athletes to be better people not just on the field but in society, in their neighborhoods.
No person is really capable of teaching that sort of skill. But it can be taught. A coaches job is to train the athlete to be the best that he can be. The real beauty of football is that its teaches more than Doris Day
Click images for desktop size: "Doris Day"
I ever could.
My aphorism has always been, "I teach them how to play the game. The game teaches them about life."
All men are, by instinct, competitive. For me to be successful as a coach, and I think I have been successful, it is important I rise above my animal instincts and not get sucked into who's better, best.
Working with pros I never had an issue knowing that. Amateurs, volunteers who are giving freely and deserve love and respect for their efforts made me forget that, if only just a little bit.
Remembering that changes my attitude greatly. Remembering my place in the great scheme of my goals is important. Even though I made my friend uncomfortable the conversation was important to me for that and several other reasons.

The five dogs . . . oh boy. New foster and foster dog are tight buddies. Even if it involves a lot of humping. They are both doing better and better each day. New foster still gets too nervous but he's starting to laugh and smile. When my friend or I upset him he now goes to look for one of us to protect him from the other!
He's not housebroken and had another accident, urinating in the exact same spot! I need to buy a Geisha Dream by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "Geisha Dream" by TitusBoy
newspaper so I can cover that spot.
We had another small incident. Giant dog is incredibly jealous, He attacked, not viciously, the new foster. The little guy ran and hid under a chair but let my friend coax him out. Just too many dogs and giant dog doesn't like us talking so much to the new guys.
Foster dog has had some intrest from forever homes. One was rejected out right. They'd adopted and returned two animals previously. The other two are lets wait and see right now. The new foster has a woman willing to wait for him until we can see how he really is.
My friend points out that with 5 dogs we cannot do a proper assessment as to how he'd do on his own with just him and a person.

I watched a terrible movie yesterday. A BBC documentary. In this country we have a strange idea of the BBC. I've disliked them and continue you do so. The doc was "The Rock and Roll Singer."The Animal World
It claimed to be an impressionistic view of a rock & roll tour from 1969. It was impressionistic becasue it had no point of view, no story to tell, and no skill in resolving it.
Still the 45 minute film was fantastic becasue the rock & roll singer was Gene Vincent. It was his tour with The Wild Angels" as his back up band.
Even inept filmmaking couldn't conceal the man's genius, his talent as a musicain as he rehearsed with the band. His insanity and his charm.
Although he was 34 at the time of the tour he looked well over fifty. He'd be dead in two years, dead from excess. There are five live numbers in the film, shot with a static single camera. That;s all he needed. When Vincent sang he collapsed the world in on itself.
The only effective filmmaking was a couple of pointless moments of Vincent walking around London, dragging his crippled leg around his corpulent body looking sadly at the world. Then there were the Advocation
Click images for desktop size: "Advocation" by Unknown
moments after the show where he had to fret over getting paid. He was worried about himself but there was also the worry about getting the band paid that seemed pre-emminent.
Even when they attempted to provoke and in each spontaneous moment there was no scandal, nothing to uglify, all there was is a drunken, sad man who still held close to the idea of being a Southern Gentleman in all things.
Gene Vincent. Even talentless hacks can make art when you have a demi-god to point your camera at, a demi-god who was also so very mortal and so little different from you or me.

June 1, 2009

When I told my doctor I couldn't afford an operation, he offered to touch-up my X-rays
Henny Youngman

Experiments Gone Wild
Click images for desktop size: "Experiments Gone Wild" by Unknown
Five dogs is too many dogs!
At least it seems that way today. Chances are that after a week or so it might very well change.Squirm
The new foster is a pathetic story. His story bears constant repeating. He's three years old; has no training whatsoever, not even housebroken. His front teeth have been knocked out. I've no concept of why or the method used. He has worms and it appears to be long term and never treated previously.
He lived with another dog. The owner of the pair went to court and was told to get rid of the dogs or face jail time. (We're not allowed to know what he was arrested and tried for. I understand that even scum must be protected even when it frustrates me.) He took the dogs to the pound and gave them instructions to kill them. They Keith Richards
Click images for desktop size: "Keith Richards"
were on 24 hour death watch when they were rescued.
The new foster was with another experienced foster family and for some reason he was destructive there. They couldn't cope with him. So he ended up here.
At first he was pretty crazy.
He's been recently neutered but still tried to hump every dog in the place. Our three told him off pretty quickly, since he's about half the size of the smallest here the new foster had enough sense to back off. Except that foster dog, also recently neutered, doesn't seem at all concerned. New foster humps him constantly. Foster dog just goes about his business with this little dog humping whatever part of him he can latch on to.
Its a bit annoying but oddly seems to have calmed both fosters down immeasurably! Strangely my memories from adolescence don't consider dry humping as much of a relief . . . It works for them.
New foster has had two "accidents" in the house. I think they weren't accidents. I think he did it on purpose. He defecated within the first 20 minutes in the house. Last night he urinated by the book case.
Fire by Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Elements-Fire" by LawnElf
He's been very good other than that. He's accepted being crated at night. My friend thinks he's a Pariah dog mixed with Basenji. There's no reason to dispute this, although I think the breed name is unfortunate. He certainly vocalizes like a Basenji, no barking but lots of odd little vocalizations.
He won't let his picture be taken. Dog myth about his soul being stolen? He eats more than the giant dog!
Today is going to be stormy. Beau coup thunder and lightening. We'll see how it goes.
He's a cute dog ad incredibly good natured. Stubborn about his dislikes but no real problems.
Today I have to schedule an appointment with the vet for both foster dogs. Foster dog for booster vaccines and heart worm meds. The new foster for worming (fecal sample!! yuk . . . )
They both need baths. I'm not sure if I have the strength for that.
My arms are killing me. I find it monotonous. On Saturday I was making the bed and flipped the duvet. It locked my arm up. I couldn't move it for twenty minutes.Sunset Boulevard
A couple of years ago I accepted the new pains and took some pride in being able to survive and assimilate them. But now the hurt just makes me weary. My doctor appointment is on Weds. I'm hoping that there is some sort of reasonably quick treatment available.
I'm getting better at suddenly becoming left handed but if I lose my concentration and use my right hand for almost anything I pay too severe a price.
I have other fears about the doctor this trip. I don't think the Lantus (insulin) is working. I think that they're going to try me on a different type of insulin.
Two hours after eating a kiwi my blood sugars were 15.8! I had nothing else to eat after that and my blood sugars were down to 9.1. This is not good.
This morning they were at 8.3. They should be around 4. I was getting very similar results with just the pills. I'm up to 27 units of insulin. Starting to push the envelope. When they started me on metformin I had to get up to the maximum allowable dosage before I started to see results.
I've finally adjusted to the side effects of the Lantus. The trembling in the morning is gone, as is Fallout 3
Click images for desktop size: "Fallout 3" by Unknown
most of the nausea and the extra hand cramping. Its a bit discouraging to have to imagine going to another type of insulin and additional side effects.
For some reason, maybe medical, I had it in my head that player tryouts were on Saturday. They're tomorrow and Thursday. Over 350 kids to look at and evaluate. At least I'm primarily an observer and won't have to run any of the drills or do much instructing. I have to get together the pad so my assistant (actually my friend) will know what I want and need recorded. I'll probably keep my little scraps of paper going to insure that I get all the data I can.
A lot of the drills will be worthless, I'm certain. For some reason my fellow coaches want to make sure that there are "fun" drills in the package. I think they underestimate the young athletes. The fun they'll have is in testing their limits, comparing themselves to their teammates, not doing "fun" Smartie Pants drills that accomplish little for them or in terms of evaluation.
From what I've seen I expect that some of the drills will be run incorrectly which will also make them rubbish. I worry about being judgmental but then I remember that six of the coaches I trained went on to coach professionally. One in the Div III championship game. I think I've paid the price to believe I have a glimmer of what things should be done.
I don't want to be judgmental. These guys aren't professional coaches. I suspect I'm the only one with a degree in physical education. For some of their swagger its also obvious that I've had more experience and success than the rest of the coaches combined. I admire that they're willing to work with the kids, that they have the drive and willingness to do the job. I know the rewards that come from coaching. They're huge. But they are not the sort of rewards that appeal to just anyone.
They deserve respect and have earned the right to be proud of what they're doing. I'll remember that even if I think they're being dumb.
Most of you know that I am capable of a dumbness greater and more profound that it is reserved only for the well meaning and the oblivious.
I'm going to wrap my shoulder and arm, maybe even wear some sort of sling. I don't think me rolling on the ground cursing in unintelligible grunts and groans will do much for my image with the kids.

May 30, 2009

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it
Clarence Darrow

Division by Robert Randtoul
Click images for desktop size: "Division" by Robert Randtoul
I was feeling somewhat better. Up at 4:00. Just over 3 hours of sleep but no where as bad as I've been feeling until . . . Satan's Sadists
I set my pills out. One of them started to roll off the table. Without thinking I caught it. Wish I hadn't. The quick move made me see black. Vision back in just a few seconds but the pain doubled me up for nearly 15 minutes. Still feel it 40 minutes later.
The deep nausea is much better this morning. Maybe I'm getting used to the insulin. Its not doing me much good as far as I can see. The injections still hurt. It makes me feel edgy right afterwards. I went to sleep with a good blood sugar count of 7.0 and woke up with a 12.4! Stupid body. Stupid pain.

Were getting a new foster dog today. An emergency placement. The dog was surrendered by the owner with another dog. It was one of those things, "Surrender the dogs or face jail time". So you can tell the guy has had a nice three years so far. He was going to be put down. Clearly fair. His abusive owner avoids jail time but the dog gets the death penalty. That's justice. Clearly being victimized was the dogs fault.
His front teeth have been knocked out. He's not housebroken. He's not crate trained. He has bad separation anxiety. I don't see much there that justifies the death penalty. Five dogs in a tiny house bothers me just a little. My flailing health and dealing with two fosters bothers me just a little bit more.
Looking ahead next weekend we'll be gone most of the day. My football teams "evaluation". I hope that a week with us will get the new foster enough time to know he's safe here and that we can be gone without him panicking.

Elegance by Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: "Elegance" by Richard Mohler
I am totally bugged by Obama. With all of the rhetoric he's going totally 19th century when it comes to consumer rights. And he's showing a deep hatred for the handicapped. I thought he was avoiding the sickening presence of lobbyists? It was one of his big promises, wasn't it?
There's the International Copyright Treaty convention going on. The Obama administration has presented an opposition to the treaty. He opposes books for the blind and for the handicapped. You know, people with no arms, people paralyzed from the neck down. Obama is sickened that these slackers have been getting a free ride at the expense of poor down trodden publishers. You know those poor publisher guys who need to park their Escalades in the Handicapped parking spaces at the grocery store.
The RIAA, MPAA and the publishing lobbyists are recorded as having open access to Obama. TheyShield For Murder decided that the Handicapped have had it their own way too long. No more free books in braille, no more handmade books on tape. The handicapped, according to Obama, have got to start pulling their own weight around here. I guess he figures they're handicapped, what right do the handicapped have to be informed or educated. They should just stay inside in the dark and out of sight.
This is the most repellant thing imaginable. The only reason for their opposition, at least the argument they presented to the conference was the verbatim page from the copyright lobbyists website, so you know Obama is watching out for us and not being unduly influenced.
More revolting is that come election day no one will remember this gross cruelty. No one cares much now. Its only the lost, the powerless, the disenfranchised. And that we will allow them to be exploited and forced into the shadows, deprived of basic human rights is revolting. It's not a country I can be proud of.

May 29, 2009

When I found out what made the world go round and that it wasn't love; that's when I went bad
William Rose

Californian Farm Sunset by 0videoman
Click images for desktop size: "Californian Farm Sunset" by 0videoman
I don't think its a good sign that I'm waking up feeling worse than when I went to sleep. It all feels so contrarian. Like a nap should cure a head ache or an upset stomach. Shouldn't it.The Quartermass Experiment
I'm feeling rotten. Worse than I've felt in years. No where near as bad as the first chemo but remarkably bad all the same. Hands all cramped up, stomach twirling, eyes struggling to focus through the head ache and my skin feels hot and clammy at the same time.
What a mess I've become.
Most of this was predicted as side effects to starting insulin. They're supposed to go away. I'm up to 25 units a day now with no stabilization in the offing. It bothers me that I was getting similar blood sugar numbers with just the pills and vigorous exercise. To have the expense and the discomfort as well as the psychological numbness from having to do the injections and not see any radical bim bam improvement is disheartening. This wretched feeling only adds to the malaise.
I've been using hot moist heat on my shoulders and elbow. It doesn't do anything to relieve the neuropathic pain but it does loosen up the other muscles that were clenched tight. It provides minimal relieve but minimal seems like a lot right now.
I looked it up and 25 units of insulin is equal to about one third of a milligram. I'm clearly astonished that I carry around a big old gland like a pancreas and all it does for all the care I give it is to produce about one third of a milligram of insulin a day. Its even more distressing to accept that I'm so vulnerable that a drug about the size and weight of a snow flake or half the size of a mosquito should have this devastating effect on me.
My friend is home from her conference. I opened the gate for her to drive into the yard and she ran over this big rock we keep by the gate for propping the gate open. The rock is about 10 inches in diameter. It didn't hurt the car but it did bounce the rock into my foot. My big toe is all blackened. It Silent Passage
Click images for desktop size: "Silent Passage" by Unknown
shows how bad off I am that I barely notice the pain from a traumatic injury.
I was glad to see my friend. I struggled hard not to pass out. By the time I'd sorted through that she'd fallen asleep! She slept for nearly 14 hours. Poor thing, she must have needed the rest.
She went into work today because she's the only management person who'll be accessible today. She took the giant dog and the gentle dog with her! That will be interesting for her and for her co-workers!
I'm going to miss them but I'm glad they're getting a break.
There was an upsetting incident with the foster dog yesterday. We took about an hour walk and been home about 15 minutes when I heard a bad bit of snarling and whining.
The foster dog had pressed the gentle dog into a corner and was snarling and biting at his neck. Gentle dog was not resisting but was clearly suffering. I pulled the foster dog off. He made no act or aggressive motion towards me.
The gentle dog was rattled but not physically harmed. He was upset but the one who was the mostReptilicus upset was the giant dog. He was trembling and stuck close to me for the next few hours. He was far more upset than the gentle dog.
The foster dog is subject to aggressive play. He initiates every play period and will not relent until the dogs play with him. After the attack they refused to deal with him for a couple of hours, all except my puppy who will only play with him if he plays her games.
Most of this is just a dog trying to figure out his place in the pack. Clearly he is not going to challenge me as the alpha dog and he's not interested in challenging my female puppy but he's using the Count Basie
Click images for desktop size: "Count Basie"
aggressive play to attempt to dominate the two males.
The only solution I have is to watch them carefully and when the foster begins to play and the playing is not reciprocated and continues to press he'll have to go to a time out.
The aggressive play indicates a lot of things. Breaking him of that bad habit may open him up to concentrating more clearly and being less stressed.
Its a saga.
One thing I might have known but didn't realize is that gentle dog was neutered late in life. This is odd to me because he is so gentle and happy, not in the way I associate with late neutered males. He was actually being used as a stud in the puppy mill he was rescued from which makes his gentleness and lack of aggression even more moving.
He still likes to bite me though . . .

For some reason I found myself thinking about Irvin Kershner. He's a film director there's no reason Call of the Wild by Cole Phillips
Click images for desktop size: "The Call of the Wild" by Cole Phillips
for anyone to know about except that for some incomprehensible reason he was picked to direct the "Star Wars" sequel, "The Empire Strikes Back". As I consider that to be the only watchable episode of "Star Wars" I find it interesting Lucas picked Kershner, a man whose career, up till then, had been defined by good but not remarkable gentle movies about people. There was never any hard edged cataclysms in Kershner;s movies. In "A Fine Madness" the hero, Sean Connery, is a poet who gets a lobotomy as a by product to trying to avoid jail for late alimony payments. in "The Flim Flam Man", George C Scott plays a con man who prowls the rural south. Scott is old, self aware, charming and sad without any bitterness.
Kershner's movies tended to be enjoyable, reasonably successful. How this translated out to working on a cash cow and making that cash cow the most interesting of the series is something worthRobin Hood contemplating.
Today figures to be much like tomorrow, with me trying to hold on. Friday is my friends "TV night". I've got the roomba running in the living room. I like to get everything nice so she can just veg out and enjoy the only show she watches. I'm still a believer in the Spartan aesthetic, and part of the asthetic is cleanliness. Even if she doesn't notice it makes me feel good getting it together for her.
I've learned how to move so as not to create any enormous pain for myself. I sort of had to. The sun has finally come out after 4 days! So it might be a better day.
There's no reason it shouldn't be. No reason it couldn't be.

May 28, 2009

With a firm and steadfast mind one should hold under all conditions, that everywhere the earth is below and the sky above, and to the energetic man, every region is his fatherland
Tycho Brahe

Business Lady
Click images for desktop size: "Business Lady" by Unknown
One odd thing that bothers me; when I dance and prance around to the music playing either in my head or on the iPod I used to feel liquid and elegant, now I feel stiff, jerky and unbalanced. Of Planet of the Dinosaurs course, that's just the way I feel. Maybe someone watching me sees me as smooth and swirling as I used to be (and yeah, I practiced my dancing in front of mirrors). Maybe everyone else always saw me as stiff, jerky and unbalanced. Everyone has their right to an opinion on my dancing. Naturally if you feel that way I'll have to fight you and my puppy would help me.

I'm not doing well.
I'm even gladder that the diabetic nurse called me. For some reason its better feeling miserable knowing that this is just normal adjustment of my body to the insulin than a new stage of misery unfolding before my life. Pain is not an enjoyable view of the future.
Yesterday was a loss. After the blood letting at the lab I got home loaded with ambition. They day turned out to me passing out for 45 minutes at a stretch then recovering then struggling to stay awake for more than a few hours.
When I went to bed for certain I woke up every 45 minutes, awakened by the pain. I'd keep trying to go back to sleep but at 3:30 I just gave up.
Now, three hours later, after all my meds and two cups of coffee I've managed to get past the nausea, my hands still feel cramped and my concept of arthritic. I've managed to hold my arms so that they and my shoulder are quiescent. The pain is just an easy endurable 2 on the chart, no worse than a bad headache.
I know I'm feeling better. My puppy has stopped her vigil, watching over me, and gone to sleep on the bed. I'm glad that she nor any of the dogs, don't see me as a god like master, but as another member of the pack that they love. My puppy loves me dearly. Sometimes I'm astonished at just Dark Tower
Click images for desktop size: "Dark Tower" by Marvel Comics
how much she loves me. The same way I'm astonished at how much the gentle dog and the giant dog love my friend.
The foster dog isn't sure who he loves he just knows he desperately wants to love someone.
As much as I miss my friend I'm glad she's not here to see me like this. Its easier to suffer and throw myself around when there's no witnesses. I wonder what it is inside me that makes me refuse to show this much weakness even to people I trust.
Last night they kept my friend at her conference until stupid late. She had to rush to get to the concert she's had tickets for for nearly two months. They got to hear six songs . . . I like numbers so I figure that between the two of them they spent 15 bucks a tune! She doesn't mention whether they were good songs.

I'm going to try and accomplish something today. I need to for my own sanity and self respect. Its still a grim looking day. I'm going to take the dogs out for a walk. Maybe we'll meet some newPanic in the Streets people and new dogs. Then some household chores. I'll try and avoid the nap fever.
I keep thinking that at the doc's on Wednesday they'll give me some pill that will like instantly knock out the terrible pain. I was even looking for the terrible mood elevator pills that they don't ever give as a mood elevator because it stinks at the job it was designed for. They use it for neuropathic pain almost exclusively. I hate the pill because it makes me feel like I'm hung over for a few days after taking just one.
I'm already feeling badly hungover so . . . the pills were expired for Janis Joplin
Click images for desktop size: "Janis Joplin"
two years. I feel better about that. I still have a knee jerk reaction to depending on pills. To relying on something outside of myself.

I'm up to 23 units of insulin. I discovered that the SoloStar, the "pen" I use to inject the insulin, locks down at the amount of insulin it still contains. The last dose in it was 14 units, which meant that I had to inject myself twice. Not too surprisingly the second injection was much more painful and annoying. I resisted the temptation to re-use the same needle to boot. I used a fresh one but it still hurt.
It was annoying having to use a fresh needle. they're relatively precious. I'm relying on the free samples the diabetic nurse gave me. It seems that since the doctor didn't prescribe them I have to pay a serious price for them. He has to write a script for needles then they're a lot cheaper. I'm asking him for one when he gives me the script for the pain pill they decide on.
My blood sugars are still all over the place. Its annoying. My diet is good. Last night before the Buffalo Hunt by Charles Russell
Click images for desktop size: "Buffalo Hunt" by Charles Russell
injections they were acceptable 8.1. Six hours of fasting later they are at 10.8! I still have to take all the pills I had to take before, the metformin and the glyburide (metformin makes my body more sensitive to insulin while glyburide squeezes what ever insulin there can still be left in my pancreas) the blood sugars are at 11.6! They should be in the 4 to 5 range.
I don't know what to make of it. I'll just keep doing the routine and see what comes off.

I was curious to see if anyone had been listening to the RIAA free music on the jukebox. I was a bit lost as it looks like no one has even taken a look at it. Maybe the feeling is that if the RIAA isn't willing to sue you for listening to it the music isn't very good. I disagree with that. There's some stuff there that I think is better than Hammer Double Bill most of what's out there. I guess you have to like guitar music.

My puppy just came in to check on me. She's laid down beside me and is checking me intently. I'm going to feed her now and then we'll take off for our walk, she, I and the other three. I always feel lucky when I look at them all. I wonder what good things I ever did in life to deserve such affection, trust and friendship. I wonder that always. Funny, I never wonder what I'd done to deserve all the hell.
My puppy just got up and stopped the foster dog from coming in to jump on me (bad habit we're still working on). My puppy, my nurse and care giver.
To the day. To this day and to all the other days to come.

May 21, 2009

I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed
Michael Jordan

Red Umbrella by Marta Dahlig
Click images for desktop size: "Red Umbrella" by Marta Dahlig
Modestly bad news on the health front. (My health has plenty to be modest about.)
Last night my blood sugars were at 12.7. I injected 18 units of Lantus (insulin). I was awakened atHercules in the Haunted World 4:30 by barking dogs and our guys wanting to go out and bark fight with them. I took my blood pressure and it was 150 over 80! My blood sugars were at 16.4. The blood sugars haven't been that high in years (?).
Three hours later the blood reports 10.5.
I feel frustrated.
I have to wrap my arms in elastic bandages just to move. It makes me feel like a Frankenstein monster in swaddling clothes. The bandage compression doesn't help the diabetic inspired neuropathic pain, but it suppresses the severe pain and cramping in the other muscles.
I haven't been able to stretch for months. Not even the old fashioned yawn-ey stretch in the morning thing, so that the muscles around the affected areas have started to knot up from the tension. I mean really know up. At first I thought I'd developed a series of tumors! I try and work them out with out much success.
(To understand how pain just below the shoulder point of the right arm and the elbow of the left has trashed my shoulder, neck, and clavicle I always use the story of Dizzy Dean. Dean was a hot shot Hall of Famer for the St Louis Cardinals. He broke a toe on his left foot. It annoyed him but it was just a small hurt, The Cardinals needed him. He needed the money so he figured he could easily pitch through the little pain. He pitched two games before he injured his arm and was out of baseball for good. His left foot was his pivot foot and the little pain forced an unnoticeable change in his delivery. His body compensated to avoid the pain and this produced enough torque in his elbow to tear the ligaments. They didn't have theKessel Energy Spider by Dragon Winter
Click image: "Kessel Energy Spider" by Dragon Winter
surgical techniques to repair it back then so a stubbed toe ended the career of one of the best pitchers in baseball.)
I'm starting to get angry about it.
The foster dog had a mild blow too. The perspective parents abruptly backed out. They claimed a family emergency that will necessitate them being in India for several months. I suspect if we had approved them and let them take the foster dog home they'd have called us in a couple of weeks and asked us to take him back. This is a pretty evil thing to do to a dog or a person. The timing is at least good for him.
I like to kid myself that I'm perceptive enough to have realized that these would have been the sort of people who would not see a dog as family, Any family emergency would, in my little world, have included the puppy.
Poor guy, but it could have been worse. He's a good pup. He'll find a home.
My goal with foster dogs isn't to move them out and sell them. I'm not involved in high turn over. I'm kind of known for making people jump through hoops. I want the dog and the people to all beHouse of Frankenstein happy together and to face life together. Love should not die.
The porch painting is progressing nicely. My friend is still having fun. That's the important thing. I don't care how long its taking so long as she has fun.
As the worst painter in any group I always get the cruddy job. Ceiling painting. It was hard because I had to extend my arms over head. It went alright though. The bandages got me through it.
It is finally looking like something. The color was supposed to be Judy Garland
Click images for desktop size: "Judy Garland"
sand and look like stone and gravel. Its sort of a yellowish brown in execution. Nothing wrong with the color, just not what my friend expected. (To me it still looks like the inside of a translucent mushroom.)
Painting the ceiling I managed to drip paint on everything. My hair, my iPod even the giant dog has a couple of interesting splotches on him. They add personality . . . the last thing giant dog needs is more personality. I kept throwing him off the porch but the sight of me cursing and shouting in pain while standing on a ladder is just too appealing. Even my puppy comes and peeks at me. She walks away shaking her head.
Today I start of the floor. Being a porch I get to use the hose on it. For some unknown reason I'm looking forward to that. Sweeping it down and then spraying it with the hose. I wish we had one of those high pressure "thousand pounds of pressure hoses". That would be cool and potentially destructive!
Ricordi Del Cuore by Titus Boy
Click images for desktop size: "Ricardo Del Cuore" by Titus Boy
I still love the idea of potential destruction.
I also realized that I have a coaches meeting on Monday. This meeting slightly baffles me. Its to discuss drills to be done in player evaluation.
I'm confused because this is silly stuff and doesn't fit the pretty slick image they've presented to me. There are a core of drills. Watching a kid run them, watching him step over bags, watching him run, watching him strive to compete tells me all I need to know. It shows his heart and his present ability level. It shows his attitude.
When kids get psyched and say stuff like "I need to get the pads on. When I'm out there hitting people then I can really show them what I've got!"
The kids are wrong on that. I can tell what you've got by the way you plant your foot on a post corner cut drill. I can see how well you'll mix it up by the way your eyes follow me as you do theI Walked With a Zombie step over drills. I can tell if you've got the heart to be unbeatable by the way you check others heights on the vertical jump. I can tell how hard you can hit by your distance on the broad jump. Most importantly, how you do on that tell me what I have to teach you and what we need to do together to shape your body into what you want it to be.
I always note coaches who want full contact drills. I was asked to coach an All Star team in Europe. I and the other American coaches were google eyed when we saw one of the European coaches running "nutcrackers". Nutcrackers were punishment drills, made to "toughen you up" is some jerk of a coach thought you were slacking.
You give the kid a ball and set him out to run into three defenders with no protection. The defenders are about five yards off from the kid. The kid is guaranteed to get hammered. Some jerk college coaches use nutcrackers to get kids to quit the team and give up their scholarships.
We asked the European coach what he was doing. He was seeing if the kids were tough enough and really wanted to play. Since this was an All Star trial I sort of figured that had been answered.
That coach never beat any of our teams.
I'm afraid how many of my fellow coaches in this meeting will want to run full contact drills to see the obvious stuff that they should be able to see on their own.
Their argument will be that the kids love the contact. Some of them, most of them hopefully, love the contact. I like to keep the kids hungry for it.
Picture Book by Robert Blum
Click images for desktop size: "Picture Book" by Robert F Blum
Maybe I'll be surprised and the meeting will be to discuss some new drills that some crazy scientist has devised that safely and intelligently give even more diagnostic proof. Maybe.
My friend is going to have to end her vacation by going to this meeting with me. She's going to become my statistician! I need her to follow me around and record all the trials. Most of you have seen me on my own with my little scraps of paper with dozens of numbers rapidly scrawled all over them. Some of you have even given me nice little notebooks which, in a matter of hours, I have reduced to little scraps of paper that fall out of my pockets all over the field.
I figure she might enjoy the meeting and might get an idea of the information she'll be recording. She'll enjoy that. even organizing it into spreadsheets!
Time to feed the dogs and start on todays porch project!

May 20, 2009

The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness
Joan Miró

LaGutin by Pavel
Click images for desktop size: "La Gutin" by Pavel
Last night I went to sleep with my blood sugar at 5.4. That's pretty good. I injected 17 units of Lantus (insulin) and this morning my blood sugars were 6.4 which is on the bright side ofGhost of Dragstrip Hollow  acceptable.
I'm eating lunch in a few minutes - cheap-o ramen. So in a couple of hours the verdict will be in on whether the insulin has finally kicked in and become a part of my body chemistry..
Bob Dylan
Click images for desktop size: "Bob Dylan"

People say I complain a lot, even about things I agree with and am happy about. I don't know about that. I think its a part of my constant consideration. Part of it is that I know there are too few golden chances in life. I don't want to miss one. Same part is that there are many traps, most of which we set for ourselves. I try and avoid those. Another part is that I think you have to consider all sides of a problem and an issue. I tend to do that in the front brain and sometimes it comes out aloud.
I'm also generally described as self deprecating. I had to look that one up. I don't think I ma at all. I just have a tendency to think about other things than myself first. I do have a huge ego. My only issue with self esteem is that I don't think others have enough of it.
Pin Up by Earl Moran
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up" by Earl Moran
I also have a natural cynicism and stoicism that makes me seem crabby . . . okay, I am crabby.
This is all thinking about stuff when pain in my arms woke me up. Three times last night. Once so badly I woke everyone else.
I guess I don't know how to age gracefully. Aside from having a total jerk of a step-father my young life was gold. Southern California; I was a good, sometimes great surfer, stud athlete, played guitar in a band that made "rekkids". My teen memories are flooded with images of girls sidling up to me and whispering outrageous things into my ears.
Now I was heartened when the diabetic nurse looked at my records and said, "oh, I never would have thought you were that old!" My hamstrings are so tight I have to stoop to pick something off the ground. I can't put the dog food back in the fridge without grunting. I've got my arm wrapped in elastic bandage so I can nearly raise it over my head. I had 6 teeth pulled, which makes 9 I'mGodzilla vs Bollante missing altogether. The psychological damage of the cosmetics hurt more than the novocaine needles.
I never imagined getting older would mean being less than what I always knew I was.
Somehow through all this I still know I can coach kids and teach them to be winners. I can still make enemies and I can still make friends. I can still not care what people think about me. I can still think highly enough of myself to stay true to myself. I can still be happy.
Happy thanks to my friend and my puppies.

It never rained at all last night. It is a golden day today. Might reach 80!! Too warm. I re-cleared the stuff from the porch so that the painting can continue today.
I needed the day off. A lot of the pain has recessed. I like the way the big project is looking. I like it better that my friend is still on vacation and finally starting to relax a bit. (She had to log into her work account yesterday. I don't really understand why. She just had to.
The puppies are doing well. Foster dog got a bit crazy yesterday. The kid next door is an ass. He was teasing the dog. I don't think he started out with malicious intent, but after I asked him to stop and he continued I got irked. With kids this came out as, "Please stop aggravating my dog. Thank you!" That stopped him as best as it could.
My friend thinks maybe the kid was abused or something. I've worked with enough abused kids to think the kid is just a bored ass.

Yesterday I mentioned my puppy's aunt. I mentioned her cat which is doing well in her struggle to survive. I wrote the cat was now 50. Okay. This was a typo. The cat is 15!
I think that counts as a retraction. Okay?

May 19, 2009

They'd live in New York and the stars would be their own; she'll be Debbie Harry and he'll be Joey Ramone
Helen Love

Nature by Celso Junior
Click images for desktop size: "Nature" by Celso Junior
Good news. Last night my blood sugars were 8.0 which is just a bit bad. This morning my blood sugars were 5.4 which is pretty good.Fantastic Voyage
I had a breakfast of eggs, frijoles, kiwi and potatoes. Two hours later my blood sugars were . . . (testing) 12.3 . . . That's not too good. Should have been between 7 and 10.
I'm up to 16 units of Lantus (insulin) so it will be 17 units tonight.
At least there's some sort of reaction.

The perspective foster dog parents didn't come yesterday. They'll come to meet him on Friday or Saturday. He could care less. He's found his place in the pack. Now he just has to face his place in the house hold.
The only thing wrong with him is that he is the world's sloppiest drinker. He drinks savagely and leaves at least half of what he takes out dripping from his mouth. I've watched him gulp up a pint of water, turn his head and let it all fall out on the floor. Fortunately I don't mind mopping a lot.
Yesterday, while cleaning up the painting for the day, the giant dog and the gentle dog found a real funny joke. I left the front door open because it was nice. The pair of them came up on the porch and whined and wiggled to get me to open the door for them so they could go into the house. They plowed in and two 20 seconds later they were back up on the porch begging to get into the house . . . I looked at them with one of my looks and let them in.
Twenty seconds later they RAN onto the porch, giant dog was wiggling and laughing so hard he could barely shine so gentle dog scratched at the door to get in.
I let them in. Five seconds later they were both stumbling onto the porch shaking with laughter and collapsing on each other going to the door. I laughed too. This was a signal to attack me and try and Peacock Phoenix
Click images for desktop size: "Peacock Phoenix" by Unknown
lick me. I hate being licked which, to them, made this all the funnier.
I have to remember I like dogs.
While I see painting as something that needs to be done I knew my friend enjoys it. I underestimated how much she would enjoy it. She said she was having fun. She looked forward to it.
This held even though she discovered that the paint wasn't exactly the color she had envisioned.
We got the paint at the Salvation Army! Recycled paint. It was cheaper but not a steal. Still it looks cleaner. The old paint looked like the product of a drunken hippy pipe dream. Not real hippies but like those old guys who have dreams of hooking up with a space cadet hard body chick. The chick had dreams of going to design school or being a fashionista.
She was with the old guy only because she had nothing else to do and no money to do it with. She probably needed a place to crash that night. After a couple of drinks and a joint she was probably wrinkling her nose at the state of the place and came up with this whacked design scheme. Since Freaks this was a way to get the chick to hang out the old guy readily agreed and the end result was . . . this?
She probably left as soon as it was finished, probably with the guy behind the counter at the liquor store.
Now the porch will look like the inside of a mushroom on a sunny day . . . Which is still better.
All week long there was an 80% chance of rain last night and today. So last night I spent about an hour hauling all the stuff I'd taken off the porch back onto the porch. There's a lot. The porch is more a summer room that a porch (two chaise lounges and three tables sort of things as well as an incalculable amount of lamps. My friend had fallen asleep so I had to do it myself. Hurt myself early and often.
Today its mid sixties and there's only a 30% chance of rain tonight . . . I couldn't have worked anyway. Even taped my shoulders are both killing me, add in all the dings and I'm close to worthless.
Still a vacation day is a vacation day.
I did watch two movies last evening. Back in the 80's Dolph Lundgren was the next big thing. There was this xeroxed magazine you couldn't afford to miss by the Hollywood Kids. It was six pages of No Peeking by Peter Dribben
Click images for desktop size: "No Peeking" by Peter Dribben
the nastiest cattiest fawning gossip in LA.
When Lundgren was cast in "He Man and the Masters of the Universe" opposite Frank Langella as Skeltor they went ballistic to the point of sneaking into the Lundgren's costume fitting. They reported he was more imposing and gorgeous in real life even if he did have pimples on his butt.
I figure that's the mark of real adoring fame. Either when someone takes the time to notice the pimples on your butt or loves you despite them.
Of course then then movie came out and Lundgren wasn't hot anymore. It was really bad. Langella survived because he got to wear a mask through the whole movie. Lundgren did a lot of junk movies after that. He became irrelevant.
He had that one interesting flash with "Big SHowdown in Little Tokyo" but everyone put that off to the burgeoning star power of Brandon Lee. Then he sort of faded to direct to video.Five Gates to Hell
I somehow got a hold of a copy of a movie called "Missionary Man" when I saw it starred Lundgren I left it on but proceeded to do chores while it played. It wasn't great but it was good and Lundgren directed himself in a way I guess he really wanted to be. Chaste, huge, dangerous with an leaning towards finer feelings that he and his character knew he would never fully grasp.
I liked it. Made me see his next (or maybe previous) direct to DVD thing called "Diamond Dogs". It really sucked.
But yesterday I watched the 1989 Lundgren "The Punisher". While Ray Charles
Click images for desktop size: "Ray Charles"
not a gruesome as the latest Punisher flic its surprisingly good. Lundgren is very effective as the deranged revenge fueled anti-hero. Marvel Comics wasn't the power house production company it is now so this is just a cheapie (even though Stan Lee still grabbed a production credit).
It actually made me feel warmly for Dolph Lundgren, and the cheap but stylish sets and his lumbering presence made for a cool enough 90 minutes.
After that I watched a strange movie, "Method Man". Nothing to do with the rapper/movie star. Its a seventies kung fu flic. This may be the worst movie ever made but and this is a shock the action choreography and the fighters are superb! It makes no sense. But when the fighters are mixing it up it reaches level similar to Liu Chia Lang's glorious choreography of Philip Kwok in the Chang Cheh flics that followed it. The fighters fly around and perform astonishing purely physical feats that dazzle and delight then we get back to the dreadful story which makes little sense even by cheapie 70's kung fu standards.
One Puff by Manogamez
Click images for desktop size: "One Puff" by Monogamez
Today is my puppy's aunt's birthday. To celebrate her 50 year old cat, (CAT!) is still hanging on. Perhaps just to spite me and my puppy. I can live with that. This is one of those cats with the sense to wish she were a dog.
My puppy's aunt other celebration was that their flat panel TV blew up! An over priced Sony. But even then there's a birthday miracle. They got the extended warranty so they get a brand new, current model FREE!
I've never heard of one of those extended warranties ever working out for anyone before. Sounds like a good, no make that an excellent happy birthday to me. Well, it should be.

May 18, 2009

Death is the same for everyone; life is not

Hot Robot by Lavakillu
Click images for desktop size: "Hot Robot" by Lavakillu
When I went to bed my blood sugars were 6.8. Acceptable. When I woke up this morning they were 11.6! It used to be the reverse of that. 11.6 is not good.Dracula Has Risen From the Grave
I'm up to 15 units of insulin. I have no idea how long before everything stabilizes.
Early Saturday morning I woke up with the worst headache of my life and I'm a guy who fractured his skull and had 3 concussions. It felt like a cheap description of a migraine. They warned me that headaches might be an early side effect to the insulin. I never imagined it would be like that.

We started the vacation project. Scrapped the entire porch and got the front porch 80% primered. It already looks better.
I tried wrapping my shoulder in an elastic bandage. It help considerably. I had a few twinges but only one drop me to my knees killer hurt. I worked through it. As everyone knows I'm stupid that way. It gentled up to an ache after a half hour.
I got whacked with overwhelming fatigue twice. There's no doubt that the fatigue from the insulin is a lot easier to push through than the leukemia fatigue. I'm pretty happy with how much work I got done. I expected to get more done than I did but, well, who wouldn't.
First coat today then will primer the back porch, there should be time to do that. Then have to bring everything back onto the porches. It is supposed to rain late tonight. I think the rain will come late enough to not mess up the paint.
If it rains all day tomorrow then we'll get to go to the Chinese Buffet!!
That will please the dogs no end. They deserve pleasing. They were very good through all the activity. Foster dog has settled in just in time to get adopted! There's been an application to adopt him and it has all checked out. They'll do the home visit this week. The potential adopters might Korean Girl
Click images for desktop size: "Korean Girl" by Unknown
come today to meet the foster and to be harshly judged by my friend and me.
Harshly judged in that we want what's best for the dog and for them. The important thing is everyone be happy. I'm always predisposed to anyone who wants to have a good dog in their life. The foster is a pretty good dog. Not as great as my dogs but pretty great for all that.
One thing about all the painting is got to spend a lot of time with the iPod. Anything would have been better than the sound of paint scrappers on wood.
I like the new Green Day album "21st Century Breakdown". There's nothing as grabbing as "American Idiot", "Basket Case", or even "Geek Stink Breath" but its alright. I'm pretty disappointed with the new Queensryche, "American Soldier". I've been disappointed with Queensryche since "Empire", but one always has hope.
I'm surprised that my favorite album so far this year has been Offspring's "Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace". Weird. Since I only knew them from "Pretty Fly for a White Guy" it is shocking to discoverEraserhead that a novelty band could com out with a nice crunchy set of pop anthems. I particularly like "Stuff is Messed Up".
I've been trying to get my RIAA-Free jukebox up on the site. Its a complicated affair. One of those things I thought would be dead easy but is turning into a chore. It has mostly to do with permissions (unix file permissions) and folder structure than anything else. I'll keep on it. It will be a cool way to display music that needs hearing.
I wish I liked Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead more than I do. They're two bands who get it. They understand the world has changed and refuse to stick with the stupidity that is epitomized by the RIAA and the MPAA.
Got to be brief. Life is catching up to me and I don't want to miss any of the show.

May 15, 2009

When you come to a fork in the road, take it
Yogi Berra

Gunslinger Girl by VM
Click images for desktop size: "Gunslinger Girl" by VM
Before my injection my blood sugar was 6.8, just inside the target. This morning the count was 5.9, which is okay.Circus of Life
It bugs me that a couple of months ago I was getting better numbers just from the pills. For all the stigma and grief from the injections I was expecting something more dramatic from the insulin.
I have gotten a bit better at doing it. My stomach is sore from it. The hardest part is, well the whole thing is hard and tricky; holding the needle dead steady while it hurts is hard then pushing in the little plunger is tricky and uncomfortable but the part I got wired is holding the needle inside of me for a count of 20. It makes me cringe now, even thinking about it.
The reason is that if you pull the needle out too soon the insulin seeps out . . . Crazy.
The insulin is not improving the pain in my shoulders yet. Its still excruciating and stops me from doing things like putting on my jacket. and combing my hair.
I mowed the rest of the yard yesterday. It rained in the morning but then the sun came out and there was enough of a wind to dry out the grass. My left handed falling pull start still worked. I was able to grimace through getting the mower over and around all the hills and stumps and things.
I was concerned because I felt more exhausted than I should. Its a side effect that should level out. Quickly I hope. Getting fatigued stirs negative memories.

Today is a big day. An important day. It is my puppy's fourth birthday.
Kurbatova by Playboy
Click images for desktop size: "Kurbatova" by Playboy
Four years old and in all that time we've only been apart about 15 weeks. Twelve weeks while she was being weaned from her mother. Three weeks when we moved. The three weeks were hard on both of us for exactly the same reason and with pretty much the same intensity and longing.
She may not be the perfect dog to anyone else but she and I are perfect together.
She remembers things I tell her and will do things to please me. She gets defiant and demanding. She gets angry. She gets loving and protective. She plays jokes and tricks on me. We bicker and fight. We play games that are meaningless to everyone but her and me.
Together we are a boy and a dog.
I never much liked the show "Cheers", knowing a couple of the writers didn't help, but I heard a part of one episode where one of the characters said he was writing a novel about a man and his dog wandering the corn fields and drinking beer. I could read a novel like that and picture my puppy asCountess Dracula the dog.
The entire world would be a scary bad place if by some cosmic mishap she and I had never met.
I feel pretty much the same way about my friend.

This is my friend's last day of work. Vacation time.
Only a week but it will be nice for and for me. Except someone stupid, probably me, decided that the vacation should be spent painting the porch . . . how dull. I mean why ruin a vacation just because the house needs the work?
So it will improve our lives, what reason is that to ignore frivolous self gratification.
I hate painting. It will be fine. We might even laugh while we're suffering through the arduous chore.

We managed to get tickets for the Jack White tour. The one he's doing with that other side band of his, Dead something or other. I like Jack White and still think he's the guitarist of the 21st Century. Punk
Click images for desktop size: "Punk" by Unknownk
His shows don't disappoint. He's an entertainer. Of course on this tour he's playing the drums . . .
I always viewed the White Stripes as pretty much a solo act. I can imagine White dragging along his ex-wife as support. You just don't do solo acts with just an electric guitar. White showed you could.
Meg was a pretty poor drummer. She'd lose the beat a lot but White keep a more driving steady beat in his head. His work on the guitar still astounds me.
Its interesting seeing him not be the soloist with the Raconteurs, to lose a part of himself within a real band. Some of the work is excellent, none of it less than good but it felt like White was losing some part of himself, like he was being too deferential to his band mates. I would have been more interested if it had been "Jack White & The Raconteurs" instead of a true band. It would have been awesome seeing White's manic intensity with a back up band. The Raconteurs are a collaboration.
I've only seen YouTube Videos of the Raconteurs live. The stage show looks like the same sort ofThe Day the Earth Stood Still democratic sharing thing until White does "Bang Bang" the crazy Nancy Sinatra number. Its worth seeking out. It shows what White could do as the frontman.
This will b interesting. Jack White as a drummer. Yow! He can keep a beat so we'll see if it catches fire.

I saw "Zatoichi 17: Zatoichi Challenged".
Peter Welling's defined an auteur as a director who was able to work within established genres and stay within the strict conventions demanded while still managing to express his own voice. Zatoichi movies are almost a genre unto themselves. Formally they are Growing Love by Frida Lind
Click image: "Growing Love" by Frida Lind
Chambara (sword fighting) and jidai-geki (period piece).
Within this definition it still astonishes me that Kenjiro Misumi is not recognized as one of the greatest directors in the world.
Zatoichi's movie's follow a path, a path that Misumi defined. I wonder if most of his brilliant story telling innovations have been lost as they have comprised the bedrock of Japanese chambara films in the sixties and seventies.
This entry in the Zatoichi saga is fascinating on its own, touching and startling, moving with an economy and sparseness that recalls zen. It stands on its own as well as laying the groundwork for Misumi's later works and themes.
Worth renting for sure.

The foster dog is starting to fit in to the pack better with each moment. Now we're off to the closed down dog park to see what there might be to see on this birthday day.

May 14, 2009

Make a difference about something other than yourselves
Toni Morrison

Fun Fair
Click images for desktop size: "Fun Fair" by Unknown
Last night my blood sugar count was 12.1, a little high. The insulin injection was no less painful and still left me with an annoying sort of tingling throughout my body. I slept pretty solid for 4 hours. IFrom Russia with Love was tired from no sleep and a pretty busy day. On wakening my blood pressure was 128 over 78, within target and my blood sugars were 8.8, still too high.
This means that tonight I have to give my self 12 units. I'm The Monkees
Click images for desktop size: "The Monkees"
supposed to increase it by 1 unit a day until the readings are right. There was some confusion this morning as my friend thought it was 1 unit every other day. I called and checked and I was right! I'm not sure if that's a winning thing or not.
I also found out that I have to replace my blood meter pretty soon. That sucks. The meter is about 50 bucks, but the test strips run about a hundred. There's the little plastic strips that have to feed into the machine to collect the blood. Each strip is coded and they don't work on different machines . . . Seems that the machines start declining in accuracy after 1 year. Planned obsolescence?
I think there's something wrong with America in that you can only stay alive if you can afford it. I was lucky before. There was a town where the government thought all of its citizens were precious Four Mounted Indians by Charles Russell
Click images for desktop size: "Four Mounted Indians" by Charles Russell
and there were doctors willing to donate their time. In Texas I could only afford my medication every other month or not at all.
When I was in grad school I drove a taxi cab at night. Held the job for 6 months or so. I had to give it up. Teaching and in school all day and working all night was kind of stupid. I'd fall asleep at odd times. When I was driving around LA about 4 am and suddenly it was 4:40 and I had no idea of where I was or how I'd gotten there. I'd been driving asleep for 40 minutes. Time to quit.
Driving a cab was unique. I made a lot of money. Meet a lot of people. Drag queen, drunks, hookers wanting to trade sex for the fare, gay guys telling me how they wanted a man like me, celebrities and sometimes people I knew. I thought they were all interesting except the wannabee pimps. I didn't like them much at all.
The cops used to flag me to pull over. While I was trying to figure what I'd done to attract the cop'sCat People attention they'd open the door and start piling in women, hookers. They'd throw a ten or a twenty dollar bill at me and tell me not to let the hookers out of the car and drive them west till I crossed the County Line. In LA the city cops run everything up to Crescent Heights and then its run by the Sheriff's Department.
The girls complained about how the cops had stolen all their money. The first time I figured it was just hooker talk. The fourth time I had to believe them. The girls always piled out of the cab at the first stop light. I had no intention of even trying to stop them. That would have felt to creepy, like kidnapping. I was a grad student driving a cab, not a cop.
Once a cop pulled me over and dumped a girl in the cab. She'd been stabbed. The cop told me to drive her to Queen of Angels. He didn't want to call an ambulance and fill in papers for street trash at the end of his shift.
She was bleeding but not terribly. We got to the hospital and there were a couple of orderlies and a Panda
Click images for desktop size: "Panda"
woman. They wouldn't let the woman out of the cab. She had no insurance, a credit card or $2,000 in cash. She was bleeding worse. I had to drive her to General Hospital (famous in bad TV series). Its the only charity hospital in LA.
Once I got flagged by a couple of guys in West Hollywood. One of the guys had been shot. Cedars Sinai was only two blocks away. I drove him there in less than a minute.
They went inside. I was in the back washing the blood off the seat when they came back. The one guy was still dragging his shot friend who was looking worse. Cedars wouldn't take his friend as a patient, not enough credit on his card and no insurance. The ambulance service wanted $125 in cash to take them to UCLA Med Center. The cab ride would be about 20 bucks.
(Even the Fire Department charges for ambulance service, but not in advance. They bill you. Same for Paramedic treatment. They used to not go crazy trying to collect, at least they didn't used to.)
So I know and I've seen that if you don't have enough money to live "they" are just as happy to see you die. And they can do it without mercy or fear. Killer world.The Blonde Vampire

I mowed the lawn yesterday. It hurt. I got the mower started by grabbing that rope thing with my left hand, holding my arm stiff and then sort of falling backwards. Took three times but it ran.
I could only do about 40% of the yard. The vibrations and bucking the machine over the hills and valleys created too much pain.
Click images for desktop size: "Che"
I was able to wear the iPod. The new cable is not as efficient as the old one, the silky wires one. It tangled a couple of times but not as badly as the Entymotics would tangle. I still don't have a solid feel for whether the sonic improvements and the probability that these cable won't need replacement are worth giving up the easy functionality of the silky ones. I still love the Ultimate Ears.
The foster dog is settling in. The gentle dog is very serious in hating him. The giant dog loves playing with him but hates him when he comes close to my friend. My puppy ignores him unless he plays one of the games he likes.
Situation normal.
My friend actually enjoyed her field trip. She got to hike through some untrammeled woods. She even got a cool walking stick from a dead tree. She bought it home for my puppy! Foster dog an my puppy played with it until the newcomer broke it in half. My puppy was indignant!

May 13, 2009

It's easy to make a buck; it's a lot tougher to make a difference
Tom Brokaw

Fabrique de statues sur isle de Bali by ebajart
Click images for desktop size: "Fabrique de statues sur isle de Bali" by ebajart
Before I went to bed my blood sugars were 8.1. My target is between 4 and 7, so it was high, just not terribly high. The nurse/diabetes expert said that most diabetics who start insulin after being onBlondie pills are looking at numbers around 25! She thought it was cool I was aware enough to catch it so soon. It spoke well of me following my dietary restrictions.
I did the insulin injection. Forget the propaganda about the needle in the belly not hurting. It hurt like a son of a gun! It burned,Lena Horne and Dean Martin
Click image: "Lena Horn and Dean Martin"
was sore afterwards and left a mark like a bug bite. It could have been worse I suppose. I'll probably get used to it, like I've gotten used to pricking my fingers two or three times a day.
Even though I've got a high tolerance for pain I've never been big on self inflicted pain. Way back in high school there was a fad amongst some of the more vapid football players. Two guys would sit opposite each other and rest their forearms against each other's. Then they'd drop a burning cigarette between their forearms. The first guy to flinch was called chicken.
I thought it was cool to watch but I thought it was pretty stupid too. I noticed that it was only me and the other surfers who never got involved in it. Some guys forearms were a huge mass of burn scars, many of them running about the full length of a cigarette. I don't know if the surfers had more sense or just figured that our sports banged us up enough. Maybe we wanted to show self respect, maybe we didn't have to prove anything to anybody, maybe we were chicken. Who knows? I don't like inflicting pain on myself. Full Moon by Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Full Moon" by Luis Royo
Plenty of people to do that for you, if your so inclined.
I didn't sleep well. It was predicted. Tossed and turned, tremors and head achey.
I had to take my blood readings immediately on wakening. Surprised me that I went to bed at 8.1, injected myself and woke up with an 11.8! I guess this proves that my liver is working fine at making all them sugars all night. It also means I have to increase the dosage by 1 unit this evening.
I took the kidney medicine this morning. Its side effect, which is viewed as positive is that it also lowers the blood pressure. I do note that when the tooth pain was finally gone my blood pressure dropped to well within my safety parameters. It can still afford to be lower.
I notice that the prescription bottle forbids driving. I can expect to stand up and fall down a couple of times.Battleship Potemkin
My friend had to get out of bed 2 hours earlier than usual. Her job is taking the entire region on a field trip . . . to let them see what all their efforts are accomplishing. The field trip is making them all take a bus. Reminds me of grammar school.
Not only did she have to get up two hours earlier than usual to catch the bus but the first person on the bus is her old boss whom she doesn't quite get along with. The old boss is still a VP. The VP is showing a hunting video . . . This is a conservation group. Somehow, I don't think its an anti-hunting video.
I dislike hunting. I've tried it. Shooting something alive doesn't seem like much of a sport. I've never been able to do it especially after watching guys who weren't as good a shot (on the range) as I was, maim and harm animals who didn't fall.
Also hunting is pretty boring. Hunting with a bow and arrow is just as boring to me and even lacks the thrill of worrying about your companion shooting you in the face or the back on accident.
I would find it especially distressing to watch a video of this "sport". All blood sports seem vapid to me anyway. But watching them? Watching 200 yard drives in a TV golf match would be more exciting.
The foster dog is coming along. His surgery has healed up enough to let him roam with the pack. He's still annoyingly stressed but willing o make some strides.
The Tradition
Click images for desktop size: "The Tradition" by Unknown
My friend and I disagree a bit on what his history was that bought him to this state in his life and his personality. Nothing serious. More importantly we agree on what his future will be. He's a good dog.
The giant dog loves to run and play with him outside. Inside he wants to kill the foster especially when the foster comes anywhere near my friend or me. Jealous guy. Shows the silliness of being jealous at all.
My puppy thinks that playing is great but not with the foster. She'll make light dalliances but if he doesn't respond in her prescribed fashion she ignores him. He's smart enough to ignore her right back.
But he won't ignore the gentle dog who seems to really hate him. Gentle dog is always growling at him when the foster dog breaks gentle dog's "circle of influence". (An old aikido term I really like).
This is all pretty normal. They'll shift soon enough as the foster calms down and begins to accept his place in the pack.
I worked last night with his aggressive play nature. Its not a good thing when a dog initiates playBeach Blanket Bingo constantly. I felt heartless about stopping a dog from playing but it worked. He started to calm down and then spent the final two hours of the evening wrapped around my legs as I sat in the office.
Today was going to be the first lawn mowing day of the year. I have no idea if it is but it seems to me that it should be a day worth celebrating. When I tried to start the lawnmower I nearly killed the bad arm. The right one not the bad left one . . . It dropped me to one knee.
Part of my pain chart goes like this: 2=headache, 6=slamming your hand in a car door, 8=tearing cartilage in your knee.
At rest my right arm is a constant 2, when I try to work it out with proper exercises it often reaches 6. When I forget and make a quick movement like stretching or reaching for a jar on a high shelf it goes to 8 for about 3 minutes then takes about 10 minutes to calm down and get back to 2.
The good news (?) is that its almost definitely neuropathic. There's a chance that getting the blood sugars correct will reduce the pain somewhat. Makes the pain of the injections (a 1 which equals a pin prick or a paper cut) seem worthwhile.
I'll probably need another pill for the pain when it settles.
I ant to mow the lawn today, at least a part of it. I want to listen to the iPod. I've been using the new cable for the Ultimate Ears long enough to have an opinion. I love the UE's, not least because they were a present from my friend. One of the things I loved about them was the silk like wire. They've stopped making that thin and super flexible Factory by Clarence Carter
Click images for desktop size: "Factory" by Clarence Carter
stuff. he new cables are heavier and stiffer, though not as heavy by far as the wiring on the Entymotics. The UE's are still capable of being light enough and non-obtrusive enough to sometimes make the music from the iPod seem like the music that often plays in my head on its own. I rather like that.
One advantage of the heavier gauge, other than it shouldn't need replacing like the silky ones is a noticeable increase in midrange performance. At about 2,000 hertz its more detailed, coming closer to but not exceeding or meeting the clarity of the Entymotics.
I'm on a fence whether the sonic improvement makes up for the lightness of the silky wire. I hoped the lawn mowing would make that clearer.

May 11, 2009

We live and we work so we can die
Sam Fuller

D'Amour by Douleur
Click images for desktop size: "D'Amour" by Douleur
I'm re-reading Raymond Chandler's and Robert Parker's "Poodle Springs". That's the book that was supposedly based on notes and pages Chandler was working on when he died. I've heard itsKing Kong anywhere from 5 pages of manuscript to 100.
Anyway, somebody hired Robert Parker to finish the book up.
When I first heard of this I rushed and got it right away. Got it in hard cover. I mean this is literature. Raymond Chandler. When you Hope and Crosby
Click images for desktop size: "Hope and Crosby"
live in pop culture land as much as I do literature that you can actually enjoy, that isn't some arduous task that will some how make you into a mythic better person, you have to jump on it. Buying it in hard cover made it mean something, made it permanent and real.
I was pretty excited and really sort of sad that it more than a little bit sucked.
Robert Parker isn't anywhere near the writer Chandler was. Chandler was about the scene, the characters, and the poetry. Parker is about the plot, about the mystery and the crime.
Because of Chandler I've read a lot of mystery stuff. Don't care for most of it.
Part of the problem is that its hard to figure which is Chandler and what is Parker imitating Chandler. Like there's a scene where Marlowe helps out a gambling cheat who's also a bigamist. He helps him avoid getting arrested for murder because he saw the guy with his first wife and thought they looked sweet together. That's not totally inconsistent with Marlowe, but it's a bit too sentimental to be taken seriously. You wonder how much did Chandler intend to keep and how much was just taking a look at it.
Conquering the World
Click images for desktop size: "Conquering the World" by Unknown
At this stage of his life Chandler did all of his writing into a tape recorder then had it all transcribed. He would then ruthlessly edit the typewritten pages.
Its easy to imagine the meticulousness that he approached his editing. When he submitted his first short story he went through and typed it by himself. Because the cheap pulp magazines used justified margins Chandler went through and typed his manuscript with the same justified margins! This wasn't mousing over a button and clicking it, he counted letters and spaces and figured it all out.
So even though he typed things out there's no guarantee that he would have left it in the final story. We all know that Marlowe could get sappy, but he never acted sappy and he never saw killers as friends no matter how much he liked them before they became killers, no matter how sympathetic he might be.
In the book Marlowe is married to the multi-millionairess Linda Loring nee' Potter from "The Long3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt Goodbye". Parker has them constantly squabbling about how Marlowe has to be his own man. Chandler never squabbled. You get the impression that Parker had so many great squabble lines that he decided he needed to use them all. Instead of condensing them all down to a bare element he scatters them throughout the story so they become tedious instead of whip smart. After the first squabble you know this marriage is doomed. Chandler would have let us see that love is always present but the people are just too wrong for each other. All the bickering just makes us dislike both of the people and feel relieved when they're apart.
I even wonder about the title. "Poodle Springs" as a nom de plume for Palm Springs is a little weird. Chandler didn't like dogs so perhaps he'd have kept it to show his contempt for the desert resort. But the same way he let Faun Lake stand in for Big Bear I don't think he'd have let his roman de clef predominate the story. It was the location, the air of the scene not the feelings for the place that overwhelmed.
Back in the life where I cared about such things I wrote an adaptation of Chandler's last original unproduced screenplay. I wrote it so I could make the movie with my friends, shoot it on 8mm stock with sound than transfer it to video for a sale to VHS. It was a good plan and I managed to strip the story down to free to use locations (borrowing from all my friends, their homes and their clubs, restaurants and offices). We even shot a few scenes before the contact I had at the video distributorship told me the cost the Chandler Estate agents wanted for my adaptation. The WGA said that my script contained about 35% of Hannabai by Kurkosawa
Click images for desktop size: "Hannabai" by Kurkosawa
Chandler's so I had to play ball. Forced me to abandon that little dream.
In rewriting his screenplay and bringing it into contemporary LA, a stripped down LA, I was inadvertently following Chandler's big advice for how to learn to write. He always preached that you had to read something you liked then sit down and rewrite it in your own words. Not copy it but try to recreate the impact of the scene or the characters.
The by product of this is that I learned more about how Chandler constructed his scenes, what appealed to me and also how different Chandler's and my view of the world actually is.
In understanding it I grew to appreciate the differences as much as the similarities. I was able to see more clearly his concepts of the world and of LA. It served me well in understanding people, and having compassion for those who are different and those who I think are just wrong.
I guess "Poodle Springs" as flawed and poor as it is still serves some purpose in that it forces me to remember the the LA that Chandler created so that I can recall more vividly the LA I lived in.2001

It rained all weekend. My friend had to work all weekend. Not the best of times. Done now.
My friend meets her new boss today, on the telephone. Conference call thing. Seems odd to me but at least they didn't ask her to make the 2 hour drive to meet him.
My arms have become ridiculous. I'm bored with the agony. Tomorrow, if I get my bike running today, I get my Doctorate in self Injectology. I'm holding out the wispy hope that insulin might go some way to relieving this grief. So bad that muscles around the pain have turned into walnuts. If I was of the paranoid bent I'd decided the knots are masticized tumors.
The foster dog is amazing. He has to live in his crate with the stupid cone head collar on but he remains joyous. Sometimes a little bit more than required. I've only ever had one foster dog who arrived calm. Charles. an old cocker> He was very much about his business and even more so about his pace. Otherwise every foster has arrived full of life, a complete ignorance of most things human, and an inbred compulsion to play with everything.
I think that's right.

May 8, 2009

A man must hide his tears and wear a forced smile
Aki Ifukoda

African Autumn by Miss Yucki
Click images for desktop size: "African Autumn" by Miss Yucki
The foster dog is doing well. A bit of extra work and I still the body that resents extra work.
He has to stay in the crate. Which is hard on him and me. I was enjoying letting him sit quiet behindWetbacks the gate to his room but he quickly discovered he could jump the gate with no trouble. He escaped out into the yard and ran around full speed play attacking everybody. After I had to catch him I checked his stitches. They were a bit fiery but not broken. The giant dog in particular was over joyed to have his play buddy back.
This morning foster dog started to worry the stitches with his mouth. I had to put the Elizabethan collar on him . . . he hates me. The other three are all impressed with the cone head looking dog. They all barked at him. I had him on lead while he did nothing but hop around excited and happy.
He's one of the least fearful happiest dogs I've ever seen. Regrettably Sigourney Weaver And Friend
Click image: "Sigourney Weaver and Friend"
this isn't the best attitude for recovering from surgery but I prefer it. Easier to calm him down than to cheer someone else up.
I'd be very surprised if we had this foster very long at all. I hope long enough to train him just a little. I think he'd like to learn stuff.

I noticed this morning that my thumbs have improved. Their pain is slight. It only took 3 months to get there.
My left elbow is responding to the exercises. This morning it hurt terribly but I was able to lift up the kettle for coffee without fear of dropping. As I work it the pain subsides.
My right shoulder is getting worse. It responds to working but not for any significant amount of time. Its peculiar too in that there seem to be too many ways to start the agony. I'm more familiar with this neuropathic pain only killing me if I do a couple of different moves or from moving too quickly and hard.
This shoulder has that but it also seems to go berserk from almost anything. The pain is so bad that After Magritte
Click images for desktop size: "After Magritte's Lovers" by Unknown
it hurts almost constantly, never really calming down. Just sitting and then shifting my position can set it off. Its waking me up several times a night.
It still responds to exercise. I use a therapy rubber band and move it under tension when I feel the first twinge of pain I hold it for a count of 20 then repeat until the twinges stop. Doing this has at least let me localize the pain to an area about 1 inch beneath the shoulder point on the arm.
I might have to see the doctor about it. I hate spending the money. I hate hurting all the time. Funny I never get used to it. I seem to be hurting all the time anyway.

This weekend will be spent getting ready for Tuesday. On Tuesday I have to get to the doc's office to get training on how to inject myself with insulin (and the doc won't look at the shoulder - requires aThe Wizard of Oz separate visit and a separate charge) , then I have to go about two miles further down the road to drop off the lantus and Avrio script. Get home and finalize my speech to the parents meeting that evening.
I'm going to spend the weekend getting the dreaded e-bike back in running order. All the walking would take about 3 hours. I figure I can e-bike it in a about an hour! Just have to spring maintenance it and be set to go terrorize.
Meeting the parents of the team members is not an odious task. I figure that all the other coaches will babel on and on. Amateur coaches seem to either talk to much or be taciturn. My experience is that 3 pointed minutes will get the points I want across and be memorable. (Its my same logic that forces me to find songs over 3 minutes tedious).
I'm going to need assistant coaches. Most of them will come from the parents. I can make a lot of my points by asking for coaches and lining out what I expect and demand from a coach: No berating the players; correct, instruct and encourage only. The Understanding that no coach ever won a game and no player ever lost one. The willingness to learn from me about turning the young people into athletes who play this sport. That's about it.
I've reached that age where my resume is impressive on its own.
Then today I'm playing burly housewife. The joint is dog heaven but a bit too messy and dirt for human habitation. And the foster dog needs to go out for a bit.

May 6, 2009

The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization
Sigmund Freud

Click images for desktop size: "Warriors" by Unknown
The only fallout from putting my mobile phone through the washer and dryer seems to be the battery life. I have to recharge it every other day now. I'm impressed with Samsung.This gun for Hire

The foster dog came home from the vet yesterday. When we picked him up he was groggy from the anesthesia. Had to lift him into the car sort of groggy.
When we got him home he urinated for about three minutes. Then defecated an astonishing amount, which pretty much confirmed my concerns about the vet's office not having a readily available exercise area.
All they did was neuter him. They didn't remove the double dew claws. It was relayed to us that the dew claws weren't particularly dangerous and removing them would cause him more grief than benefit.
I guess.
He got an odd reception from the other dogs. Giant dog who was adamant in his hostility before the vet was now seriously concerned for foster dog. Foster dog has to be segregated and kept still. Giant dog lay in an unusual position for him so he could look after foster dog through the grate.
Gentle dog, who previously had simply ignored the foster dog now expressed out right hostility. When my friend bought hi m in from a walk foster dog slipped his leash and made a bound for me, in a friendly way. Gentle dog stood up and unleashed a fierce snarl. I'd never heard gentle dog make a noise like that before.
I was pleased by his response. If he'd react that vocally to protect me, who he barely tolerates, I felt more secure about his ability to protect my friend, whom he adores, should the need ever arise.
Of course my puppy just continued to ignore him. She's consistent like that.
Foster dog is doing well.

Dog by S4W
Click images for desktop size: "Dog" by S4W
Apparently I need to be clearer about the details of medical care in the USA. I lived a long time in the UK and had to use the National Health Service (NHS) which provides "free" medical care. Free via a payroll deduction similar but larger than the Medicare deduction taken in the US.
In Texas i was unemployed, broke, and starting a new job in 3 days when I got tonsillitis. I guessed that's what it was. I didn't know. There was no place to go to find out.
When my temperature neared 105 and the pain had kept me awake for two days I walked two miles plus to the nearest hospital emergency room. I waited in the waiting room for a couple hours then got sent to an examination room where I sat for a few more hours. A nurse came in looked at my throat and told me, "Wait here." That was all she said to me.
A bout an hour later some guy came in told me to drop my pants. He gave me shot and left.
I sat there for about another hour when a different nurse came in asked, "What are you doing here?" I croaked I didn't know. I was waiting to be told what to do. She closed the door and came backTortilla Flats ten minutes later and told me I could go. I asked what was wrong with me. Finally she told me I had tonsillitis and the doctor had given me an antibiotic.
I left. Two days later I got a bill for about $1,800. Since I was already paying my Bells Palsy bill off from a different hospital at $25 bucks a week I was a little shook.
Now in England doctor's don't become wealthy only rich. You have to stop practicing medicine and become a consultant to get wealthy. In slow new seasons The Sun, England's biggest paper, will run an Marilyn Monroe
Click images for desktop size: "Marilyn Monroe"
expose of consultants making a million pounds a year by billing the NHS for 200 hours a week sixty one weeks a year. Everyone grumbles for a few minutes and then business continues as usual. In the UK you don't seriously mess with the wealthy.
Because of this there aren't quite enough doctors to go around. If you need one you have to register with a clinic. Your restricted to the clinics in your neighborhood and then restricted by whether the doctor has enough time to take you on as a patient. The doc's are limited by law as to how many they can take on to insure decent care.
I got stuck with a real croaker. An obscenely obese snob of a man who hated me for my accent. I hated him for hating me for my accent. It was a fine relationship.
I rarely saw him except for annual physicals. I never had to pay him anything. Then I started to feel a huge amount of fatigue and this creepy but not quite debilitating pain in my bones. It got to the point where it took a superhuman effort to get out of bed and dress. I just wanted to sit and stare. I Tribal Girl by Evgeny
Click images for desktop size: "Tibal Girl" by Evgeney
managed to never miss work. My friend (and boss) said I should see my doctor. I did. They ran some tests and the fat croaker told me I was just getting older. He gave me a script for some vitamins and told me to take paracetamol.
Filling the script cost me nothing too. I had to pay for the paracetamol because he didn't write me a script for it.
I didn't get better.
I had to take a business trip back to LA. I went and saw my old doctor. He wasn't in the same office anymore. He tagged up with one of those Medical Corporations. They ran the same tests. Word came back that I had leukemia,
We talked about treatments. They didn't tell me that it was close to a certainty that the chemo they wanted me to try would give me diabetes. He might have mentioned some damage to my kidneys. You'd have to be tougher than I am to pay real close attention to those sort of details.U Turn
When asked the only question I could think of was the same one that we all know about, "Will I lose my hair?"
He said, maybe not and that it almost always grows back. He never mentioned the fact that I'd have to look n the mirror everyday and see myself dying. It was during that time that for the first time in my life I wished I was only just getting older. I never imagined being old.
Its the stuff the doc's don't tell you that can kill you.
I guess they've stopped doing it. Chemo used to have support groups built into the treatment. Probably the insurance companies put a stop to them. Can't have people comparing notes about costs and they were expensive. I can see Blue Cross saying, We have to keep them alive. We don't have to make them happy," and canceling approval for the support groups. With the ay your going broke paying for your share of the chmo talking about it doesn't make sense to take on as an out of pocket expense.
I learned more from the other patients then I ever did from the shrink in charge of it anyway.
I've been through four chemo's. All the doctors made it a point that I had to do this NOW! The only Unforgettable Autumn
Click images for desktop size: "Unforgettable Autumn" by Unknown
way to make a decision was from what they did or didn't tell you. Like I had six teeth pulled recently. It was most likely caused by the second trial (chemo word for an experimental cutting edge treatment that looks like it might work). Its a known side effect. They might not have even known that at the exact time. Even if they had they may or may not have told me about it. The doc's like to give you a 5,000 word pamphlet and let you discover this stuff for yourself but give your consent now.
The only doctor who treated me like a person and not a patient object was the volunteer doc, my last one. He could have been off getting rich but he felt the need to give back to his community. I still think of him as a friend first and a doc second. He explained a lot of my past and presentVillage of the Damned (Belgium) situation to me. Th medical junk. He even took the time to try and get me to understand. And because he was free of charge he was a lot busier than the guys charging a hundred and fifty buck minimum for an office visit, but he still took the time.
I just think we all need a chance to understand what they're doing to us so we can see and make a better decision than we do when getting our car repaired.

Now I have to take care of my foster dog and the dynamic duo. Gentle dog got to go to work with my friend. He was ecstatic. Giant dog is so jealous. He's so put upon.

May 5, 2009

Do the leaves on the maple tree bloom or blossom

Untitled by Steve Argyle
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Steve Argyle
Yesterday was filled with nothing else but dogs. Giant dog has decided that the foster dog is okay so long as he is playing with him and not with giant dog's toys.Mad Monster Party
Foster dog would bring toys to me to throw and drop them in my lap. I would reach for them and discover that giant dog, who was sitting next to me, had deftly removed them. He was holding them angrily between his paws. Foster dog just went and got new ones. At one stage giant dog was holding three toys between his paws. He glared at me in case I had any funny ideas.
Even my puppy got slightly less disdainful. She initiated play. Of course the play was her game and could only be played by her rules.
When giant dog would play bound at foster dog gentle dog would join in by attacking giant dog! And then foster dog had to go to the vet.
If ever a dog needed a trip to the vet . . . doesn't make it easier. He was a pain. There was an unfixed female beagle at the vet's office. He was uncontrollable. I took him outside. This is the rescue service's vet so we had no choice, but I soon saw that there was no exercise area. No grass at all except the little patch we were standing on, and that little patch was next to the highway. Cars went by too fast for me to be comfortable.
I wouldn't have left my dog there.
Foster dog is going to be fixed, shot up and the have his dew claws removed. He has the ugliest dew claws I've ever seen on a dog. I'm amazed that he hasn't hurt himself before this. They have to be removed. The healing process is long. Three weeks minimum. He'll have to be crated and carried around some.
Poor guy. He's still one of the happiest dogs I've ever seen. His life has been pretty miserable but he keeps playing and laughing. He keeps the world shaped in his image. I admire that. I hope he keeps his attitude after all this surgery.
The Last Supper by Da Vinci
Click images for desktop size: "The Last Supper" by Da Vinci
This surgery will make his life better but I always wonder if it will be worth it if he loses that gift of changing the world to his own joyous view.
Its one of the reason I go on so much about my health issues.
When the doctor's tell you some bad news, you got this or that brand of cancer for example, and then detail the available cures they always seem to do it in a rush. When you ask for details they get brusque, especially about the side effects.
Something like, "You've got lympho ballistic leukemia. No big deal its curable."
In my case it took over seven years to cure. I've been cured, or at least in remission for nearly two years. I've often felt like giving up, even recently. But I don't regret still being alive. No matter how low I've fallen or how despair filled things have often seemed. When it comes to doctor's and scuzzy insurance companies sucking up my money (This policy cover 100% of all costs of normal and average acceptable fees as decided by us you will be responsible for any additional charges as decided by your service provider.Mata Hari
Its been worth it to me. I have my puppy and I have my friend. I like the world well enough, I stubborn enough to enjoy things like music and songs and stories.
Its been worth it to me but it might not be worth it to someone else. When the doctor says, "I won't lie to you," or "I'm not going to sugar coat it," its safe to assume that he's going to enjoy being brutal, he won't discuss things so you can have a clear idea of what's in front of you, and that he's been pretty much misleading you in things up till then.
Most people will be empathetic at first but they don't know how to act. Most of us don't much like confronting mortality. I sure don't. I The Bride Of Frankenstein
Click images for desktop size: "The Bride of Frankenstein"
always planned to be immortal, spitting into microphones, running down fields while opponents tripped over their own feet trying to catch me with all the dogs who've ever lived with me cheering me on from the stands or the mosh pit.
When they find out your ill people shut it out of their front brain and work hard to drive it out of their back brain too. The light we see blinds us to all but itself.
They get dismissive or they avoid you. Or worse, they suck it up so every meeting becomes more a confrontation than a casual conversation. Your mind's not working great either. You can't ignore the moments of self pity where you won't like yourself very much either.
I was kind of lucky and people really couldn't notice. I'm pretty dour anyway. In almost any relationship there would come a point would someone would look at me a bit amazed and say, "I never realized it before, your really a pretty funny guy, like you tell a lot of jokes. I never knew you were joking!"
The only difference for me is that they stopped saying that.
I think, no, I know that people need to know what's in front of them. They don't need to know the Taoist Immortals by Fûgai Honko
Click images for desktop size: "Taoist Immortals" by Fûgai Honko
future but they have to know enough to make a decision they can live with, not live happily maybe but they have to see some joy out there at the end of it all.
Steve McQueen went through it all, even ended up in Mexico swallowing extract of peach pit (Laetrile) while two people I know killed themselves. One by driving head on into a fire truck that was enroute to a fire.
I miss them all but there's no choice but to respect their decisions even if you regret their choices.
That's all.

I've listened to the new Bob Dylan, "Together for Life" and the New Neil Young, "Fork in the Road".
I like Neil Young. Everybody has had to sit through my Neil Young story. (Maybe that should be Neil Young Story - keep it capitalized so it enters myth). Me and my buddies hid on a hill at Point DumeThe Mole People and watched them build Bob Dylan's house and got a rush when we saw Roger McQuinn, even ran down the hill to talk to him.
I still listen to their stuff, their old stuff.
Because I loved their old stuff so much I probably took it harder and more personally that I think this new tuff absolutely sucks. Too old, too used to a life of riches and wealth. Young at least seems to try and understand what's going on in the world. He even has feeling for it but its not there in the music.
Dylan has lived in the legend cocoon so long that he's forgotten what it means to be human, to be angry and sad. He writes about heartburn like it was heartbreak.
It makes me sad.
What cheered me was re-watching "Hustle and Flow" as I did the usual household chores. An old movie but still the best film ever about creating music. It works from points of extremity and hyperbole. Music does. What I keep finding touching is the fact that the people here are all dreaming and reaching for that dream and in struggling for it they regain the humanity that the world has sought to pull out of them. All the other movies that tried to tell this story forgot about the human part, they wasted my time telling me about being an inhuman legend.
Time to take the dogs for their walk.
Next week I have to meet the parents of the players of my team. I have to prepare a three minute speech about what to expect from me and what I want from them so that we can build their children into something the children can be proud of. And I have to do this while I'm laughing at the latest dog jokes. Then I have to get ready for poor foster dog to come back to his home.

May 4, 2009

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less
Marie Curie

Sky 1 by Ausencia
Click images for desktop size: "Sky 1" by Ausencia
This weekend was as busy as I figured. My body is still in rebellion. Lots of pain from the usual suspects.Battling Butler
Sometimes I wish I got a little sympathy for the hurting. I'd probably resent that too. You can't win with me, or, as I prefer, I can't lose.

Saturday started too early. My friend and I arrived at the football equipment locker. We weren't the very first ones there.
My friend got to sit at a table and do all the paperwork, registering the new kids. A rough enough job that I was glad to avoid.
Snow Fun
Click images for desktop size: "Snow Fun" by NFL Films
I got stuck doing shoulder pads and fitting game jerseys. That devolved as some guys showed up late or not at all. Normal stuff. They got a couple of players to fit shoulder pads. I fit jerseys and double checked the shoulder pad fittings. I only had to swap out a half dozen sets of pads so the kids did alright.
Fitting game jerseys is a real pain. Game jerseys are ultra tight. Lot of reasons for this; being tight the help compress the shoulder pads increasing protection slightly and also enabling the player to hit with more impact. Tight jerseys make it easier for referee's to see holding. The jerseys are so tight that if a ref sees a player's jersey being pulled its obvious that this is far from incidental contact. It also helps protect the player from actually being held and unfairly impeded.
And tight jerseys look great.
My method of getting on a jersey is to put them on the pads first and then put the jerseys and pads on as a unit.
That's too pokey for this sort of deal. There was only one jersey of each size. The new jerseys would be ordered based on my measurements. That means I had to put the jersey on each kid and then Sinister by Yasushi Nirasawa
Click images for desktop size: "Sinister" by Yasushi Nirasawa
take it off.
The quickest way was to roll the jersey up from the bottom, have the kid slip his arms through, up to the elbow. I soon learned to tell ALL the kids to put their arms through the arm holes and not the neck hole. With the jersey on the arms the kid has to raise his head and arms to get his head through. Then I reach around behind them and pull the jersey over the pads and down.
I nearly choked out half a dozen kids . . . I'd then straighten the jersey and check it. The real grief was when I'd eye balled the wrong size and had to re-fit the kid twice (once it required 3 fittings, and one took four).
I also learned to tell the kids to stand strong when I was pulling the jersey, I still dragged about a dozen of them to their knees.
Getting the jersey off is worse. I have the kids pull one of their arms free then I pull the jersey King Of the Zombies loose from the pads then have them pull the jersey from the side over their noggins. The jersey then just falls off the other arm.
I didn't keep track but I probably fitted close to 200 kids.
I was on my feet for 8 solid hours doing this. If I was getting paid $7.50 an hour I'd have quit after the first hour and demanded my check. For twenty an hour I'd not have ever gone back and I'd have complained bitterly about no coffee breaks. For free I didn't mind it. My friend felt the same way.
I tore four of my weak nails. My hands didn't start cramping badly until 6 hours into it. I think its interesting that my hands cramp up after 15 or 20 minutes playing guitar. So logic says that guitar playing is 24 times harder than pulling kit around on kids.
I liked meeting the kids and having my brief chats with them and the parents. I felt there was a slightly higher percentage of parents who were in this for the right reasons, slightly higher than usual. Not at the cost of the parents into it for the wrong reason. There seemed to be fewer indifferent ones though. That's a nice positive.
Another nice positive was that they provided pizza for lunch. Eat on your feet thing. I asked them if they could order from this one pizza joint because they have a gluten free pizza that my friend could have. I was originally told no, they had reasons for that, acceptable reasons. Then they ordered from the same pizza joint I asked for because my request was more important to them than the reasons. EXCEPT they forgot the reason was to get a gluten Evening Chant
Click images for desktop size: "Evening Chant" by Unknown
free pizza for my friend. Amusing unless you're my friend who got no pizza!
There were 5 coaches I noted who scarfed down free pizza but never seemed to work with any kids . . . made the note to not let them near any of the kids on my team.
As soon as I'd sent the last kid out the door my friend and I hoped in the car to go pick up the foster dog.
He was being held by this really sweet couple. New dog is a big happy goof, totally bewildered by everything that's happened to him he embraces his confusion by laughing and playing until the scary parts go away.
Its pretty obvious that he lived for a while where he was loved but badly cared for. He's not neutered, his dew claws are dangerously long. He sort of knows a few commands. I think the family abandoned him. He was found wandering in the woods. Kept in a dog pound for a couple of months. Put on death's row, then thrown into a car and driven away, then another car, then a home for a few hours and finally ends up here.
He's smart, scared, confused and happy. The food they gave us for him is too rich after dog poundLaura grub - diarrhea and vomiting. Because he's not neutered giant dog hates him, my puppy has made it clear he's not to invade her personal space and gentle dog endures him because gentle dog is gentle dog.
All he wants is to play and be told its all okay.
His trip continues tonight when he has to go to the vet to get neutered, dew claws removed and all other vetting. It irks me no end that the pound couldn't do even these simple things to make his life easier. The idea of its wasted money on a dog they had slated to die doesn't cut it. Would you deprive a cancer victim of pain killers?
He's going to make someone a fine dog. He'll make them laugh. He's learning simple commands but still has a hard time concentrating. He'll be fine.
Sunday was the eagerly anticipated dog walk.
It was a bust. Highly disappointing. All the more so because there's no one to blame. I'd really have liked someone to blame.
Click images for desktop size: "Surf" by Unknown
The dog walk is normally at this gorgeous hotel grounds. Some guest must have seen that there was to be a dog walk and thrown a fit about loose dogs ruining her holiday.
This was last second. To the hotels credit they did not forbid use of their grounds. They have something like 300 acres. They just set up a different trail for the walk but THEY INSISTED ALL DOGS BE LEASHED!
In today's economy I can understand them not telling the rich guest to go to hell. The trail they set up was horrid. Dirty, hot. We had to walk through about a half mile of loose dirt and wood chips stepping in the tractor tread marks and depressions.
It would have been okay if the dogs were running loose and making friends. This was just a walk that we could have done better at any of a dozen places.
London After Midnight
The dogs still enjoyed it.
My friend's assistant from work bought her dog along. He was great. I was sad that the great adventure we had promised her had devolved into something bland.
She and her dog came home with us and new dog and assistant dog played incredibly hard and rough. It almost made the shambolic day worthwhile, for me at least.
My friend and I were both fatigued. I think she was as glad I was there as I was glad she was there.
Things seem to work out better that way.

April 29, 2009

Only the new born are innocent but we all get older
Jean Pierre Melville

Love Like This by Lavakillu
Click images for desktop size: "Love Like This" by Lavakillu
This weekend suddenly got busy. In a nice way.
Saturday I have eight hours of kit fitting for kids 13 and under. I volunteered my friend to doHillbillys in a Haunted House registration (paperwork) for the kids. The foster puppy will arrive in the area on Saturday morning.
Lots of logistics, kennels to set up, food dishes to shift about. Then the decision on whether the new comer will be up to doing the dog walk on Sunday.
Not a bad time at all unless they stick me on 8 hours of fitting kids for helmets . . . shoulder pads are a lot easier and quicker. Pants and girdles are the easiest. I've got a feeling I'll be doing a lot of helmets . . .

My friend says I was pretty upset Monday about the doctor. She also thinks she understands the doc thinking I was going to slug him.
I didn't feel upset. A little bit down probably. I thought I was being as gentle with the doc as I could be.
Maybe I hide this kind of stuff from myself but not from her. Possible.
One thing that does upset me is Joe Biden appearing at the MPAA dinner. Biden went as the Vice President. He got a standing ovation for calling kids who download music and movies from the internet "thieves".
This is just another step towards Obama's campaign to criminalize kids sharing music.
Criminalizing downloading will save the RIAA and the MPAA serious money. They won't have to hire scum bag PI firms to hack innocent people's computers searching for "illegal" stuff. They'll have the FBI do it for them. I doubt that the FBI will even have to get a warrant to do this. In the UK they're already forcing the ISP's to keep all the logs of everything anyone does on the internet. So do we. London Streets 1888 by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "London Streets 1888" by TitusBoy
Bush's lie was that it was to root out all those millions of terrorists. Nothing political about it they claim. Nobody would ever misuse all this data.
Obviously the FBI has done such a stellar job of removing crime that they have plenty of excess time to go trolling for 14 year olds scarfing down the top 40.
Then the rich jerks would save even more money. They wouldn't have to hire sleazy ambulance chaser lawyers, the US Attorney's office will prosecute the kids. Obama's hired the scummiest of them to train the rest in being even a purer distilled kind of scum. They'll get the kids jail time, probation time. Those services are all standing empty. The US Attorney has locked away all the rapists, child abusers etc and the prisons must be standing empty because everyone has been rehabilitated. Probation officers must be facing being laid off. (Of course America leads the world in having the largest percentage of its population in prison, we must be trying to beat our own record).Gun Crazy
And then the RIAA and MPAA can then ask the judge to award them money for the serious damage these children have done to their business. At twenty bucks a track times a billion or some other wretched formula. Obama himself puts the damage at $350,000 a track. Rah!
When Obama gets his law passed criminalizing the kids I'll boycott every rich musician who doesn't sign off of the RIAA. Like rich guys like Tony Bennett who shockingly claims he isn't rich enough and wants to squeeze even more money out of people who just want to La Liseuse by Fragonard
Click images for desktop size: "La Liseuse" by Fragonard
listen to music.
This really bugs me. If I buy a car and loan it to a friend for the weekend this logic would make me a criminal.
According to the RIAA and the MPAA when I lay down my twenty bucks I haven't bought anything. I don't own the CD or the DVD they do. I can't tape it or make a digital copy of it or let my friends hear it, play it at parties. Blockbuster can charge me to borrow it but I can't loan it for free. I don't know why. Neither do they. They just want all the money for the least amount of money.
They claim that me loaning my CD to a friend costs them thousands of dollars. They're losing money! Well, not losing money just making a bit less but they want it all: No Compromise. Sales aren't dropping becasue we're churning out cruddy product its becasue I think I own something I paid them for.
Silliness that they've spent billions during the last 60 years to turn into law. Unfairness. The rich bullying the poor.
I wish I'd voted for McCain. Not that he'd have been any better but I figure he'd been inept at getting Lost in a Bad World
Click images for desktop size: "Los in a Bad World" by Unknown
this stuff done. He wouldn't have the same deadly proficency that Obama has.
McCain would have hacked off our allies, like Canada, with the same stupidity and ignorance but he'd have been laughed at more than seen as real and threatening.
The comfort of incompetence.

There is something going on out there. I saw this video that I think everyone else in the world has already seen. Its just a little music thing. You can click here to see the YouTube version of this bunch of guys all over the world doing "Stand By Me".
Its exciting and unexpected. It reminds me of why I wanted to play music. Getting rich would have been nice but mainly I wanted to make a joyful noise. I wanted to make people dance. I wanted to be heard. It looks like these guys have the same idea. Its a great mammouth effort. I'm buying the CD becasue the RIAA has nothing to do with them and the music is sweet.

April 28, 2009

What you are is what you have been, what you will be is what you do now

Grand Central Station by Ian Foster
Click images for desktop size: "Grand Central Station" by Ian Foster
Yesterday was bright and sunny. It reached 80.
Today it is 57 and pouring ice cold rain.
Gammera the Invincible
I took the dogs out for a shortish walk. Every person who was walking a dog got an advert from me telling them about the wonderful dog walk on Sunday. I started the pitch with the off the wall info that this place is so beautiful that they charge a hundred grand to have a wedding there!
I wonder if anyone of them will show. Their dogs would love it.
I walked the 5 miles to the doctor's office in 43 minutes. It would not have been as fast if I had the dogs with me but it would have been more memorable.The Jolie Family
Click images for desktop size: "The Jolie Family"

It was hot and I was sweaty. From the reaction and movement of the other waiting patients they must have figured I had swine flu. Anyway it got me into an examination room in record time.
While I waited for the doc I had time to read an entire book! It was "Diabetes for Dummies". Interesting franchise. They seem determined to provide instruction for everything.
The doc came in in a rush. He was nervous about something. The man has no chin. Where his chin would have been was quivering. He asked a couple of unimportant although mildly pertinent questions, clearly to calm himself down. He was so nervous I tried to be relaxing.
He sucked it up and then just plunged into it. He pulled up my blood tests. He explained them so fast I couldn't follow anything he said. When I asked for clarification he didn't get much calmer.
The hardest part for him was that my diabetes was out of control. The pills (metformin) that sensitizes my body to insulin was still working fine but the pill that forces my pancreas to produce more insulin was not. My pancreas was producing almost no insulin. Time for me to go on the needle.
He flinched when he said it. As if he was afraid I was going to slug him. I still had the dark glasses In Like Flint by JW MCGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "In Like Flint" by JW McGinnis
on and I was certain that I had my normal blank poker face on so he must have been reacting to something deep inside himself. "I'm afraid you're going to have to start doing injections. It's only one a night. The needles are so thin they don't really hurt. Honest." He said it all in a rush then rared back in his chair pulling as far away from me as he could.
While pulled back he continued, "And there's albumen in your urine. The chemo damage to your kidneys is degenerating. You'll have to take some pills for that. Apropo, no, Avisio for them. To protect them more than anything."
I pulled my chair closer so I could see his computer screen more clearly.
"Boy, my bad cholesterol is super low, isn't it. Sixty really good isn't it?"
"Yes, but your good cholesterol is far too low. The proportion is bad. You seem awfully calm about all this?"The Girls on the Beach
"I kind of knew this was coming. One day. Not happy about it but . . . It will it be Lantus? Is that the insulin injection?"
"Yes. Lantus. I'm putting you on 100 units a day. Increasing it by 10 units a day until the blood sugars get under control. The Lantus could cause further damage to your kidneys."
"I got my dialysis in my future?"
He fumbled before he said, "Most people don't need dialysis even after years of Lantus. You can't promise anything though."
All I could do was nod. He took my blood pressure while he went on to explain all the new procedures and things I'd have to fit into my new daily routine. And all the arcane cabalic rituals I'd have to undertake before I could fill my new prescriptions. One of them is I have to meet with the staff pharmacist. Not to fill the scripts but to have the rules explained to me and to show me how to inject myself. A pharmacist?
My blood pressure was 120 over 60. I was expecting it to be through the roof but it was the best its been in six weeks. I have not the slightest idea what that signifies. The doc ignored my question about it.
So after I start taking the injections I have to check my blood sugars 3 to 5 times a day. That means bleeding 3 to 5 times a day. Two weeks after I start I have to do another blood panel. Two weeks after that I have to go back in and see the doc.
The money for all this worries me the most.
I don't know how I feel about all this. Not happy. Not too upset. Just the grim inevitability of it all. Not even paranoid.
2009 USC Football
Click images for desktop size: "2009 USC Football"
More pills, plus injections plus more blood work is a pretty worst case scenario but at least I ain't dead. I figure bad news here means I'm owed some good luck over there.
I walked home. A lot slower. I passed some youngish girls walking dogs. I figured that a sweaty man wearing shades and ear buds might not come across right so I didn't tell them about the dog walk on Sunday. I wanted to.
On the way home I stopped at the bakery to get some of the cheaper but superior bread and some Halvarti with Jalapeno cheese. The bakery was uncomfortably warm. There was an irate guy there holding a screaming baby. He was shouting at the little old ladies who work there. It seems he ordered some rolls that he was supposed to pick up on Sunday. He didn't. They sold them to someone else. He had it in his head that once he ordered them they belonged to him and they should have held on to them. He hadn't called and told them this. He hadn't paid them anything.
He kept getting louder. The baby kept getting louder and the little old ladies looked warm, Gorgo uncomfortable and frightened.
I was pretty calm and suggested he go outside for a minute and let the baby cool down. He spun on me. I had about five inches on him and I wasn't holding a baby. He took my well meaning advice.
The little old lady thanked me. I said, "For what?"
She said, "I wish Mr Giant Dog had been here! Hem must be so comforting to you."
I explained that the dogs were at home. I never thought of Giant Dog as being comforting, at least not in the way she meant.
At home my friend and I watched another Doris Day movie, "It Happened to Jane". It wasn't very good. The situation was too real to be silly. Jack Lemmon had a good monologue and Kippy's dad Ernie Kovacs, was pretty much wasted. First totally duff Doris Day movie we've watched together. Next up will be "A Touch of Mink" with Day and Cary Grant. Rah!
My friend was beat after her day but she still offered up a lot of sympathy and support. I don't think she appreciated that I'd rather think about the dog walk and kitting up the kids on Saturday.
No problem is so big it can't be ignored.

April 27, 2009

Someone got excited; they had to call the state militia
John Fogerty

Click images for desktop size: "Carp" by Unknown
It was a pretty unexciting Sunday. But pleasant. I'd forgotten that time can sometimes just be a pleasant thing to just see pass.The Exorcist There aren't ever enough of these moments. I often forget to treasure them. Times where life is just content. It will be short lived and can't be sensibly ignored or taken for granted.
After the bad storms the clouds passed and the sun came out. We drove to the Indian Reservation, did some more light grocery shopping and went to Taco Bell. My friend loves their hard shell vegetarian tacos. I got a bean burrito and a "Beefy Cheesy Melt". Since everything else was vegetarian someone took it upon themselves to make my Melt Beefy-less. It was fine, They made up for the lack of meat by using extra rice. Rice was what I was craving anyway.
When we got back home it was nice enough to sit outside with the dogs. The dogs love me but my friend is "The Mom". Her being outside set them into joyous doggie paroxysms. Like me dogs seldom express joy by sitting still in quiet contentment.
My puppy played with her Kong and pressed it against my friends leg. My friend didn't understand that this meant you were supposed to try and steal it from my puppy. The giant dog bought out one of his squeaky toys and just drove us nuts with that. The gentle dog was the happiest and most active of the bunch. His way of expressing his joy is to bite me. Not painfully, he likes to grab hold of my wrist and just hang on. For whatever canine reason this puts him into a state approaching nirvana.
Clearly no side effects to Saturday's vet visit.
That evening we watched the Doris Day, Clark Gable movie "Teacher's Pet". I discovered that my Midnight Worries
Click images for desktop size: "Midnight Worries" by Unknown
friend is a budding Doris Day fan. She even knows facts about her! I'd never seen more than bits and pieces of the movie before and was surprised at just how good it was. Plenty of surprises and plenty of laughs with just a tinge of bathos, just enough to make you think you were seeing something more worthwhile than an entertainment.
Good movie.
We watched an episode of "Kung Fu". We'd fallen off the ritual. I hold that it was because the last few had been so dire. This one was good. For one thing it had the genius that is Keye Luke in it for even the briefest spell. Even a small amount of Keye Luke is enough to make anything taste better. The episode was "The Arrogant Dragon". Carradine was very effective even though his fighting skill still stinks, his acting ability was clicking at a high level. High enough to hide some bad plot holes and some uncomfortable sexual tension. And my old buddy Jimmy Hong got to play a rat!
What I liked most was the careful acknowledgment of Chinese history. It was surprising and welcome even if scant. Basically they acknowledged the birth of the Tongs as being a result of theThe Hunted Manchu's burning of the Shaolin Temple.
Today I've got my doctor's appointment. I called this morning and they've got my blood test results. I'm out of excuses. I have to get my home test results diary into a readable-by-others shape. This morning my blood pressure was 140 over 90. About ten points higher than is considered safe and about 20 points higher than sis safe for first thing in the morning.
I'm hoping that this can be addressed just through diet. I don't want Stevie Wonder
Click images for desktop size: "Stevie Wonder"
to take any more pills. I want no more pills worse than I want to be able to stop restricting my diet any further. My fat intake is already restricted to 45 grams per day, no sugar, no pork etc. I guess coffee and salt are next on the list.
My blood sugars have been running on the high side of acceptable. Within the parameters. There's a chance I might have to deal with that. I get amazed that my diet has to be so restrictive. I know an older diabetic here, on insulin injections, and I had breakfast with him. He had bacon and eggs! BACON! Sometimes its hard to remember that my diet is restricted as much by the chemo's and their after effects as they are by the diabetes. As much as I don't want more pills I want injections even less. So it goes, Diet, More Pills, Injections in my order of preferences. And I really want none of them.
Next Saturday I have to spend 8 hours kitting out kids. I roped my friend in for 4 hours of registering the kids. Paperwork . . . I'm still pleased she'll be there for part of the day.
Hot Air Balloons
Click images for desktop size: "Hot Air Balloons" by Unknown
Then on Sunday will be the spring dog walk!!
There is little on the appointment calendar that is as much fun as the dog walk, for me and the dogs. This will be the packs third one!

Even though the door is open to the pretty day my puppy has chosen to spend this time inside wrapped around my feet.
I love my puppy. Its nice that its reciprocated. Nicer to know she's not mad about the diet. I've cut all her food in half. She seems no hungrier than usual and she's always hungry.

Congrats to the Men of Troy. Eleven players taken in the NFL draft and 3 of them in the first round! Then Tony Dungy saying that a kid would be crazy not to attend USC becasue SOuthern California is the school that gives you the best chance to succeed!! YOW!

April 26, 2009

May you live every day of your life
Jonathan Swift

Dolphin by AdaptD
Click images for desktop size: "Dolphin" by AdaptD
Took the dogs to the vet yesterday. Everything was fine, except the charges.
I was proud of all three dogs. My puppy did her sterling best to endure what she sees as a horribleDillinger torture. They drew blood. No heart worm, no lyme disease etc.
The only negative was that she's still overweight. Not obscenely so but enough to be concerned. I don't want her to die early or to be in terrible pain when she's older because she's fat. I don't quite now what to do. She's on a perpetual diet, she gets tons of exercise, 1-2 hour walk every weekday, she runs herself ragged in the yard, but she's overweight and I have to do something. I'll figure it out.
My puppy has now been microchipped. She thinks this means she is now bionic.
The gentle dog was sort of amazing. When the vet was drawing blood he rested his head on my fiends lap and smiled up at her so bravely. When it was time for his stomach to be palpitated he put his feet up on the bench to make it easier for the vet.
And then the giant dog . . . at first he wouldn't get on the scale. Soon discovered why. He weighs nearly 100 pounds!! He's still thin. This is still too large to be a lap dog, which is what he thinks he Girl's Day by Vii Lid
Click images for desktop size: "Girl's Day" by Vii Lid
is. When I consider how many times I've had to lift him up to move him from where he wanted to be to where I wanted him to be the deadly pain in my shoulder makes sense.
When the vet drew his blood for his test he nearly fainted . . . He endured the rest of the needles and poking with fear but since I was prepared for him to come bursting through the wall leaving one of those Wile E. Coyote silhouettes behind him I'm even prouder of him trying to be so brave.
We discovered that giant dog actually has a designation within his breed. He's a Royal Standard . . . Since my puppy demands she is Queen of all she surveys the air now seems rife for regal conspiracies, coups and intrigues.
We got a preview of our life to come. To celebrate the good behaviour of the entire pack we took them to get ice cream! I also figured this would be my puppies last treat for a long time.
While waiting for my friend to bring out the ice cream we stood in front and ended up chatting withDr Terror's House of Horror a few people who were fascinated by the three dogs.
My friend bought out the three cups of 2 buck ice cream. She gave my puppy her cup first because that's just the way its done. My puppy gave her ice cream a lick, to claim it obviously and then went over to steal the giant dogs cup! She was laughing and clearly thought this was just the first step to showing who the Royalty was in this house.
When we got home everyone was calm and easy. We went out and did some light grocery shopping. We've finally sworn off the mega Gary Cooper
Click images for desktop size: "Gary Cooper"
chain grocery store. Not only is the store one of the most oppressive atmospheres I've ever encountered, all mega clean sweat shop and greenish fluorescent lights hung from too high but they've stopped carrying the final product we could only get from them.
We got home in time for some incredible winds. I watched some of the trees bend 45 degrees beneath it. Then came the thunder, the lightening and the rain. Surprisingly the lights and electricity never died. I was anticipating it.
Gentle dog was unhappy about this. HE was on his love seat lying rigid with fear, his eyes wide open. He followed me trying to merely survive in a fear induced zombie trance.
My friend gave him some of that natural tension releaser med. I don't think it cut much through gentle dog's fear. He was locked into this scary rigor for a few hours. What snapped him out of it was the stupid cat.
I'd left the door open. It was warm. My friend said the terrible storm was because it had gotten so warm too quickly . . . This may be accurate and true but is still the dumbest thing I've ever heard. How can it possibly get warm TOO quickly!
For some reason the stupid cat decided to come into the house. She was dry! Gentle dog saw her and took off after her, chasing her right out of the house! He calmed down immediately after that From the Age of Fables by Giovanni Caselli
Click images for desktop size: "From the Age of Fables" by Giovanni Caselli
which proves something I guess. At least it shows that for animals hatred is greater than fear.
My friend bought the stupid cat inside and gentle dog ignored her, he'd proven his point. He went back to his quiet gentle animosity and decided he could tackle the world and went back to normal!
I fell asleep on the sofa watching a John Liu movie (bad movie but Liu is still probably the greatest leg fighter ever). Woke up at midnight when my shoulder jolted me out of sleep. Found giant dog was sleeping on top of me. Went to bed about midnight. Combination of snuffling dogs and my shoulder woke me at 4 A.M. I let the dogs out. They stayed out for half an hour. Shoulder aching so decided to stay up.
Doctor tomorrow. I'm going to mention the shoulder even though I know all he'll do is either prescribe a neuropathic pain killer, that I won't take, or refer me to a specialist that I can't afford.

April 23, 2009

She's one half rock and the other half roll
Bill Haley

Colorful Variants
Click images for desktop size: "Colorful Variants" by Unknown
The meeting last night was fine. Meeting the other coaches was interesting. For the most part it was pretty boring. Not boring to the point of me falling asleep or even to attempting to balance my pen Chinatown on my nose. Those are things I've done at most meetings. I won't delineate the things I've done that I got away with. I've been in too many of these meetings. Even if they are essential - too many.
From what I saw all the coaches are in it for pretty much the right reasons, for the kids and not to be "the boss". I didn't pick up on any of them having the calling to coaching. They seemed to be in it for the fun, which is possibly the best reason of all.
There were a couple who seemed to have that militaristic thing going but I doubt if its too deeply ingrained. I also doubt that they're into it to the point of berating players for their own shortcomings.
The only scary part came because of of question I asked before the meeting. The question was taken as a suggestion that was seized upon. It had to do with terminology.
Football is loaded with jargon. Middle linebackers are called mike backs or just mike, outside linebackers have become sam bakers and willie backs. Sam after s which stands for strong side (the Castle and Diana
Click image: "Castle and Diana" by DC and Marvel Comics
side the tight end lines up on) and W for weak side linebacker. And those are the more sensible bits of jargon.
All I wanted to do was get on the same page as the the team on the next level. Use the same jargon, the same passing tree and teach the same base package.
The passing tree is just a stick drawing based on a single long line, which represents the fly route-go long- with little branches shooting off representing the different passing routes. They're usually pretty much the same but they can get different names and/or numbers.
The base package are your bread and butter plays. Almost always they start off with the belly plays, the fullback dive up the middle and grows from there. You teach the kids the base package so they learn the fundamentals of execution and then you build your offense around and from them. It possible to go through a season and never actually run any of your base plays. I use them for education primarily.
Taking these elements from the next level gives the kids an edge when they move along. If I calledBrute Force the linebackers bodacious backs when they graduated to the next level they'd stand on the field bewildered when their new coach asked them play willie back instead of just getting into position.
I forgot the level of coaches I was dealing with. Their was an argument about numbering the holes (right are numbered odd, left numbered even or vice versa) and the passing routes (even in routes odd for out routes). We never got to even discussing base Fashion Sex and Politics by S4W
Click image: "Fashion, Sex and Politics" by S4W
Even though there was an argument it wasn't as violent as a lot I've had to sit on. I had nothing to say. There was no place in that sort of discussion for me to even have an opinion.
It went on from there. The most salient point for me was that I'd have to come up with my own assistants. I need a Defensive Coordinator. All I know about defense is that they always seem to get in the way of my carefully crafted offense!
I've always had top ranked defenses mainly because I've had great DC's and I am glad to stay out of their way. I can coach Defense but I'm not the best at it. I'll still make the occasional suggestion, usually based on what a D will do that really annoys me i.e. it proves to be very effective.
The other great bit is that they told me what I'd get in my coaches kit bag. An agility ladder!! My most favorite tool. Agility hurdles! The rest is pretty bog standard stuff. I have to buy my own whistles. They don't understand that is dangerous. I like to present a front that the kids expect and feel confident in, after that I like to use goofy whistles, bird whistles loopy whistles, things that be heard but get a laugh. I copped the idea from Preston Sturges and his idea of always directing films while wearing a silly hat.
Landscape by Del Sil
Click images for desktop size: "Landscape" by Del Sil
I have to go help the kids kit on May 2nd. EIGHT HOURS! I've already specified I won't do eight hours of helmet fittings. I think they've plenty of guys who can do it as well if not better than I can. Its the most tedious job though and takes time so everybody tries to sidestep it as much as possible. They figure to kit out about 300 kids over the weekend!
Still, I'm looking forward to meeting the kids and looking forward to the day.

It looks like we will have our foster dog on Saturday! Saturday will be a manic day. Our dogs go to the vet at 10 and then we have to buy dog food, a major undertaking.
This will be a different dog then the one we were originally going to home. Its my only complaint, this constant shifting around. Going from one dog to another. Its a minor quibble. I've tried to putCaptive Wild Woman myself in the dog coordinators place and while I can't quite get there I'm sure there's a lot of pressure trying to figure out what dogs can be saved (all of them) and in which dog the dogs can flourish and have the best shot at finding a forever home.
Yeah, mines an incredibly minor quibble.
Last night, when I went to the coaches meeting, the dogs were pretty chilled about it. This morning my friend had to go out of town for one of her money earning meetings - her job - when I went out to open the gate for her the dogs started a horrible pathetic howling and crying. I guess we're only allowed to abandon them once in a 24 hour period. They were pretty happy when I walked back in.
Its rough to figure out how the pack is going to respond to a new number. As individual dogs I don't see any personal issues, but as a group its a hard read.
The breeds seem to include the same no problem status. Especially since there's little question that they perceive me as the leader. They'll accept a newcomer if I do.
Giant dog will be the most difficult. He already thinks the other two take more than there share of the love, love that should all belong to him!
He'll settle in well enough. He always does.
So the only real issue will be how the new guy relates to belonging here. We have to take him to the vet on Wednesday. The break will do a lot to sort out issues in his mind. He'll come back overjoyed.

April 20, 2009

Going to turn it on, wind it up, blow it out little GTO
Gary Usher

A Day in the Park by George Serault
Click images for desktop size: "A Day in the Park" by George Serault
It's been a pretty eventual set of days. Shape shifting days. All for the good, I think.
The biopsy came back. It was negative.Alone in the Dark
That's pretty good. Pretty good. That puts my remission at just shy of 21 months. That's the longest remission I've ever had. I guess that makes me a record holder.
After the trek to the oral surgeon and that bit of news my friend dropped me at the blood lab. I was feeling light headed from the fast and absolute lack of coffee. They took 6 little tubes and one big one. Then the creepy urine sample.
I was talking to the blood taker. She was slick and professional but Buck Owens
Click images for desktop size: "Buck Owens"
seemed a touch preoccupied. She's being tested for Hodgkins Disease.
Not a pleasant future, Hodgkins Disease. I said a few consoling words but cut myself short when I flashed at how I felt about "comforting words".
She made a point of saying goodbye to me so I guess its alright.
After giving up the blood I broke the fast with a cup of coffee. Made me feel better, at least I felt that I could make the walk home.
On the walk I ran into a guy. About my first day in town I ran into him before. He was out walking his dog and slipped. Busted his head open pretty good. That day I would have walked past because he was already surrounded with sympathetic types at least one who appeared to know what he was doing, or at least he was doing pretty much what I would have done.
I only got involved because he had this little dog, a beagle mix, maybe a pure bred. My friend and I Aquatic Beauty by Titusboy
Click images for desktop size: "Aquatic Beauty" by TitusBoy
hashed out his address and took the scared little thing home.
The guy had no real memory of me but he remembered that day. We walked and chatted about dogs a bit before he turned to go home. The dog jumped on my leg for a pet then waddled away.
On Saturday I went to the "Equipment Fitting Seminar". It was as dull as I expected. The people attending were interesting. There were even a few players who were there to act as mannequins. I liked the people I met.
There was one thing I'd never seen before. A new helmet strapping configuration for little kids.
Its not more simple, its actually a pretty complicated system. I can't see how it would protect the kids any better but then I can't understand the different types of plastic they use in little kid helmets either.
After the equipment fitting we went to the animal shelter. We walked in fine but when I asked to see Captain Marvel a dog they said that we were too early! It was after 10.
So we went to a restaurant for breakfast. The place was an old favorites of my friend, even though it had been years since she'd been there she glowed in hungry anticipation.
Her food was excellent. We watched it as they accidentally sent it on a tour of all three floors of the restaurant. Even then it was still warmer than mine.
Hers was excellent. I managed to pry a couple of mouthfuls from her. Mine was horrible. Cold yet somehow over cooked in some places and undercooked in others. Even her fruit salad was better! She got all sorts of different fruit while I got one piece of papaya and 3 hunks of flavorless melon!
I figure they remembered her ad disliked me for keeping her away for so long . . .
Finally we got to see a dog. We took a big Burmese cross out for a walk. The dog was fascinating. As overjoyed as she was to be outside of the kennel she was still constantly aware of us. It appeared that she was merely ignoring us but when my friend walked to a garbage can the dog froze and watched and did not move until my friend returned.
Click images for desktop size: "Surf" by Unknown
I tried an experiment. I went and walked around a full pine tree so I'd be out of sight. Sure enough the dog froze. She sat right in front of my friend and stared at her as if to say, "Now's our chance! We can escape from him!" It was that sort of day for me.
Sunday was brighter, although not so warm and furry.
The coordinator from the Rescue Group came for our interview. Our dogs were incredibly well behaved. I was proud of them. She stayed for well over two hours. We'll have out first foster next Saturday or Sunday.
I couldn't be happier.
Or so I thought.
Just after the coordinator left I got the call from the football team. I'm the new Head Coach for the 12 year old squad.
I really didn't want to be an HC but it will make some things easier while adding a lot more Body Snatcherswork. On Wednesday is the coaches meeting where they'll lay out the schedule. I'll find out about equipment and if I can get a couple of bodies to run stop watches and to be eyes.
My friend has volunteered to be my clip board. Some of you know how I like to walk around and bark down observations. Its better to bark them out then to squiggle them on a pad. Mainly because 10 minutes after practice my notes are suddenly indecipherable.
I've already started mapping out the first practice so I can make a definitive list of equipment I can ask about.
I plan to tell them about "STAR" (Strength, Tenacity, Agility, Remembering) while they're running.
My goals for the team in the first season will be: 1) To have fun 2) To learn more about football 3) To learn what it means to be part of a team 4) Win the Championship and in that order. If we do the first three well the fourth will automatically happen.
My friend was awake all night working on her Qtr end stuff. I'm not happy about that but I guess better up all night at home than at the office.
She's been using the MacBook with Parallels to do the Citrix stuff. So far its been working pretty well, except this morning Windows XP crashed! It didn't even take down Parallels, just your basic stupid Windows crash.
The decent part was that it crashed in the middle of a save. The nights work was able to be recovered.
She went into the office. I'm worried about anyone being up all night and then being in an office on a rainy day.
My computer continues to limp along, now the console is throwing up wird kernel missed interrupt errors . . .

April 17, 2009

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing

Princess of the Day
Click images for desktop size: "Princess of the Day" by Unknown
Yesterday it was warm enough to leave the house door open. The gentle dog went to work with my friend, that meant the giant dog and my puppy were here and able to come from outside to inside at 4 Flies on Grey Velvet their whim.
Odd side effect; I started to notice that ever ten to twelve minutes my puppy would come inside, look at me and then trot back outside.
It didn't matter what she was doing always she came back inside to see if I was still there. Maybe she just wanted to see if I was Elizabeth Taylor
Click images for desktop size: "Elizabeth Taylor"
passing out pork chops or bacon. I don't know.She could have been bird watching, bark fighting or just running around tormenting the giant dog but she'd just stop and come rushing inside, look at me and then run back outside.
Considering the day started out with her following my friend and gentle dog to the car, jumping into the car (she hates cars) and then refusing to leave, determined to go for the ride, I don't know what to make of it at all.
There's a new wrinkle to the foster dog quest. The chow/shepherd mix we were going to take in is pregnant!
She's nine months old. I get a pretty grim image of her young life. There's no certification but it seems to me she'd have had to get pregnant during her first heat. General attitude is that its best for a female dog to be spayed before her first heat. This greatly reduces the possibility and probability of several fatal diseases including some cancers.
The people who had this dog, who shortly thereafter gave the dog away on a website classified site Pin Up by Suzanne Meunier
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up" by Suzanne Meunier
either intentionally bred the too young dog or else they were so neglectful they left the girl in a position to be bred.
I feel the same way about this as I did when I saw a twelve year old girl pushing a pram on a London estate. I asked her if she was watching her brother and she informed me that the baby in the pram was her son. I was well known on that estate and the next day the little girl's mother came to see me about her child joining my sports club. The mother of the mother was closer to twenty-five than to thirty. She dressed to meet me. She'd seen me on TV or something so she dressed in her best. Even though it was ten in the morning she was kited out in her best all night rave gear. (The little girl mom became a gifted high jumper.)
I feel sad for the chow/shepherd mix. We're willing to take her in and keep her until she and her The Adventures of Robin Hood puppies are adopted. Not without serious reservations and heart skipping and a tiny bit of sly joy at being surrounded with puppies. The people who fostering her now are willing to keep her until the puppies are weaned. They also note that the people who surrendered the girl to the kill shelter reported a lot of bad behaviour. They've had the girl longer than they did and they see not an inkling of the reported behaviours.
Since they're willing to give the girl a home it seems better for her to not have her moving around. A poor young dog about to give birth, lost in confusion and not having any place to go to understand needs some stability, I think. It just seems better for her not to have to readjust to a new home.
I'm disappointed slightly, for me, but think its best for her.
In the meanwhile the foster dog coordinator will be here on Sunday. We'll get clear on the fact that we're willing to foster the most at risk dogs so long as they don't try to savage our guys forever and ever.
Click images for desktop size: "Unknown" by Unknown
Tomorrow is my first coaches meeting. Looking forward to it. Hopefully they'll be a bit closer to my role. I don't mind being a head coach but I'd prefer working a position.
I've been running through first day practices both ways in my head. Most often in the shower. I'd like to get things firmed down so I can move beyond first day! Practice starts on April 22nd for the summer league.
I figure the first day will be in getting some measurables; forty times and such. If I've got linemen then we'll also get standing high jump numbers. Kids like prove of improvement. So do adults.
Then some group SAQ drills so I can assess the kids and see where they need improvement. That should about run them to death. Then some helmet only football drills mainly for assessments to lay out a plan and to see what sort of scheme the kids might be able to learn and implement.
I chatter at them during drills and its from the chatter that I start to form my psychological assessment. Not only to see who can be relied on in crunch time but how they're going to cope withSomething Weird life on and off the field.
Maybe not the best way but its the only way I know how.
Right now I don't even know if I'll let them call me by name or ask them to call me coach. It always depends.

My friend is home sick now. I have a hare brained theory that the pressures of her Qtr end and other work related things are what cause her to breakdown. She can handle a lot. (Hey, she can cope with me and that ain't easy).
I have to bumble on with prep for the weekend (coaching, visiting animal shelter, getting some hardware to repair some fences, foster coordinator and doggie playtime) and to do my best to be an inept nurse.

I do note with sadness that the guys from the Pirate Bay have been found guilty. This is not shocking. Freedom has to be fought for. They're fighting. But the RIAA and MPAA's wins are just bad for consumers and the world. Another step toward corporate take over of our lives.
I never cared much for the Pirate Bay. Never used it but I liked that it existed and will continue to exist.
The ridiculous sentence did not include ordering the site shut down.
I also note that for every loss their is a victory. Time Warner has abruptly backed off on the insane pricing plans. They haven't given up but have seemed to want to wait till October before going ahead. Probably figure they need to buy off a few more senators.

April 15, 2009

Its easy to see how we became snakes
Ribeye Brothers

Mourning He Warrior Dead by Charles Marion Russell
Click images for desktop size: "Mourning Her Warrior Dead" by Charles Marion Russell
Its seems I was mistaken about the dog shelters here. Blind man and the elephant thing.
The two shelters I've been to were non-kill shelters ergo I decided they're all non-kill. They're not.Two Faced Woman
The dogs we're fostering come from the kill shelter.
I begrudgingly concede that there might be a place in the world for kill shelters. Some dogs have been so cruelly tormented, usually by humans, that the end of life is the only way to end the poor creature's anguish.
I thoroughly believe that every animal and every person can become an important and necessary part of this world if they're Winning Hand
Click images for desktop size: "Winning Hand" by Unknown
only given a chance.
I have to concede that not everyone is capable of giving people and animals that second chance. Some of us have to work so hard to protect ourselves that its near impossible to drop the armour long enough to let an alien thing into our hearts. Understanding takes a toll too, even though I know the rewards are great so is the risk.
One of my fosters, Jack, was at death's door. He'd been fostered and even they couldn't cope with him. So he ended up with me. I never knew what the problem was. It was a lot of little things. Nothing that meant anything. He was fine. The only thing we couldn't cope with that he was worse than my puppy. When we went on walks the two of them were of the school of getting there fastest and getting back home even faster, and if they had to drag me along to do it so be it. He got better but that's just the way he is. He calmed down a lot, got curious about stuff and learned it was okay to love people.
That this is a kill shelter makes the decision about what pups to foster a lot easier. My urge is to Market Scene by Candle Light by Schendel van Petrus
Click images for desktop size: "Market Scene by Candle Ligh" by Schendel van Petrus
say, "Just give us all of them scheduled to die tomorrow," which isn't fair to them or to the dogs living with me now.
It looks like the pup we'll take will be a 9 month old chow/shepherd mix. YOW! Big girl. She was a surrender. The people who gave her up got her for free via one of those CraigsList permutations that runs locally. So they put about fifty cents worth of gas into her and gave her nearly a week to fit in.
She's head shy, afraid of children, afraid of other dogs. If you'd had three homes and a shelter in your life you'd feel pretty shy and scared too. She's being judged for temperament now. The only thing that worries me about a new dog is that it not be cruel to the dogs that live with me now. No vicious attacks. Yelling at them, nipping at them I understand and deal with but snarling ripping attacks are out.
I have a commitment to my family. The dogs who are my family members will help a foster and beVice Squad fine. They deserve most of my consideration at first. They deserve to feel safe in their home. If it seems hypocritical to place one animal's safety in front of another's I can live with being a hypocrite. The dogs and I have struggled to learn to live together and to be happy together. They are family and they deserve my protection as we welcome another family member into our lives.
We'll see how it plays out. I'm excited.

Yesterday was a pretty wasted mess. Too tired. Too cold.
I got the minimum done which is good enough most days.
I watched another episode of "The Mute Samurai". Mainly to see Misumi's direction. Misumi's episode was different in tone and effect than the rest of the series. Clearly personal. It was called, "The Girl with Blue Eyes" and was about a blonde gajin girl who washed ashore in the arms of her dead mother. The little girl is adopted by a kindly grandfather type. The rest of the village was prepared to let the infant to simply die. Even Anime
Click images for desktop size: "Anime" by Unknown
now with the girl only five years old they spit on her, revile her for being a foreigner.
The little girl is lonely. She spends her days wetting her hair and praying to the goddess of the stream that her fiery red hair will miraculously turn black.
A wanted outlaw comes into the area. He breaks into the grandpa's house and forces them to give him food. He does not harm them. He talks to the little girl, roughly and harshly but without prejudice. Then he leaves.
The next day the little girl is playing at the beach. There's commotion at the village bulletin board. They are all looking at the wanted poster for "Sabu", the outlaw who broke into her house. She goes to hear what they're saying and the adult women push her aside, calling her dirty and disgraceful.
The little girl goes home and begins making rice cakes and tea. She packs them into bamboo containers and heads off. She goes to the mountains and walks along a desolate path shouting the outlaw's name.
Sabu comes out and grabs her. She tells him she figured he must be hungry and offers him the riceTom Horn cakes and tea. He eats them greedily.
They're by a stream. As the little girl tells him what is happening in town she goes about her odd ritual of wetting her hair from the stream. She tells Sabu of her prayers to have black hair.
Sabu tells her he will turn her hair black if she brings him food everyday. She eagerly agrees and they continue talking.
Sabu uses her to deliver messages and to bring him food. She takes him to a deep cave, a better place to hide that only she knows about.
Finally Kiichi Hogan comes into the story. Kiichi is here for the reward. This time we see the subtle differences between Misumi's Ito Ogami, Lone Wolf, and Hogan. Ogami walks the path of hell but he is a complete, ruthless but sane, man. Kiichi Hogan is obsessive, loaded with rage and hate that his silence forces him to hold all inside of him. He's insane but has the saving grace of being a good man at his core.
In Misumi's episodes Hogan is not even allowed the ecstasy of voice over. He is just a massive unhinged killer who's innate goodness prohibits him from taking the easy way out.
Surprisingly this episode has almost no sword play, very little action at all. Hogan finds Sabu but at the little girl's entreaties he does not fight him and capture him. He leaves.
Other bounty hunters don't have his morals. They figure out the little girl is Sabu's contact. They grab her, hold her and without her help find Sabu's hiding place.
They're afraid to go into the deep cave and ferret him out so they tie the little girl to a tree and start to beat her with sticks, yelling into the cave that they'll stop beating the girl if Sabu comes out Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
to be killed.
Sabu does. The little girl yells, "I never told them anything!"
Sabu replies, "I know that."
The bounty hunters and gang surround Sabu. They forget the beaten little girl. With no announcement Hogan comes up behind her. He cuts her ropes, freeing her. She looks at him and then runs to Sabu.
With little flash Hogan kills the bad guys. That's it for action.
The episode ends with Sabu about to go to prison. He turns to the little girl and promises to take care of her when he is released. He also apologizes to her for lying that he could turn her golden hair black. The cop then tells the little girl she should be proud of her differences. She made a black soul like Sabu's white due to her differences. She is a gift from the gods.

April 14, 2009

Even inside your fist there is darkness
Kiboyashu Kurasawa

Long and the Tall
Click images for desktop size: "The Long and the Tall" by Unknown
The giant dog woke me. Simple method; barked in my face till I got up.
He was only the emissary. The other two dogs were agitated and waiting for me to get up and open They Call Her One Eye the door. There was something in the yard.
I let them out. Typical non-event. And little barking.
They're all asleep now. My friends asleep. The whole house is silent except for me.
Headphones on. Staring at LCD screens and thinking. Always thinking even when the thoughts are just about white noise and guitar strings.
My puppy stayed in the office with me for a while. I was boring. She left.
She did her job. She reminded me that no matter how dark the night I'm not alone, never alone. Free? As free as I can be I guess. Freedom in exchange for never being alone seems a fair deal. Never alone against no responsibility, no love, just me and my pills and my pain.
Maybe the deal is too much in my favour.
Some good news yesterday. Very good news.
It started when the Animal Rescue service called. We're going to get to be foster dog parents.
Very cool.
All that's left is the house visit. Which just means some house cleaning. There's little question this is a home built for dogs.
My friend wants me to find out about us getting a shelter license. Where we could have as many dogs as we saw fit (and could afford). I still have a strong distaste for dealing with governments but the pay off would be kind of astonishingly great.
Both my friend and I are experienced fosters. I love having the dogs come in. Its a positive for everyone. Our dogs get to meet and adapt to another personality, the foster gets out of the shelter. Marvel Comics
Click images for desktop size: "Marvel Comics Presents"
Even the nice shelters are pretty hellish, at least to me.
My last foster was in an area that still believed in kill shelters. There the fostering had a more poignant edge. The poor dogs had either me or death. This never stopped any of them from making my life pleasantly miserable. One foster ate a wall, I've lost countless frozen pizzas off of kitchen counters. One foster I loved had this incredible ability to dig a three foot hole in under 5 seconds!
My puppy would argue with them, play with them. My puppy used to like to lay out her stuffed toys in the sun light. She would spend an amazing amount of time laying them out and arranging them, then she would just lie down and stare at them. I guess she was feeling wealthy.
All of the fosters respected her little arrangements, until her back was turned. then they'd steal her toys and actually play with them like a dog is intended to.
Here they don't have any kill shelters. It sort of puts the lie to the myth that kill shelters provideThe Thing any sort of service. Even though the pups aren't facing unjust execution their lives are still sadly miserable.
The shelters here are nice. The shelters in LA are a disgrace. Visiting any of them is tantamount to seeing the undiscussed circle of hell. Here they're clean. Each dog has a room, not a cage, but its still prison. No dog is happy until someone stops to talk at them, and when the person leaves they sink back into their lonely misery.
One thing this agency does that is different from any past Marty Robbins
Click images for desktop size: "Marty Robbins"
experience; they let you pick which dog to foster.
I'm not sure how I feel about that. My experience is that the coordinator calls me and says that if I don't take this or that puppy they'll die tomorrow.
Its an unfair pressure I don't mind.
Here we had to go through the web site and pick one.
Considering that both my friend and I are prone to the "oh, hell, just give me all of them" syndrome and "we'll figure out how to deal with it as things come up" affliction, this is dangerous.
We picked two dogs for more info on. Both are Belgian mix breeds. In the pictures both dogs look terrified and terribly sad.
The female is a terv mix, about 18 months old. She was picked up on the street. No one ever claimed her. This makes me figure she was abandoned. Driven someplace and kicked out of the car to "wander lost and lonely like a cloud".
The male has a face too much like my puppy's. He's about 6 months. A surrender. That means that some one decided that his black fur didn't coordinate well with the new carpet, or his toes clicking on the linoleum grated on their nerves.
That's harsh. There are probably several good reasons for taking someone into your life and then cruelly dumping them. I can't think of any. At least its better than abandoning them to their own I Feel You by Jose Manchado
Click images for desktop size: "I Feel You" by Jose Manchado
devices. I don't really think so but it sounds like it should be better.
We'll know this weekend when we get the home inspection. I'll take the cowardly way out and let my friend make the final pick. I figure let both of them stay here, even though I know I could never cope with two new scared dogs, but I guess I'd figure it out.
I also love the idea of meeting the perspective adopting people. Its nothing but a warm experience.
The other nice news is that the football club apparently wants me to coach. They haven't figured out the assignments yet but they want me attend the "fitting" clinic this Saturday.
This is the clinic where they show coaches the right way to wear shoulder pads and the proper sizing and strapping for helmets.
Its been a lot of years since I had to attend something like this. I expect to be pleasantly bored.The Wolf Man
I used to keep up with this stuff by listening to the salesman. Eastman, Riddle, Air etc were always making alterations to their equipment, innovations maybe. Th salesman would demonstrate and point out any differences in how the gear should be worn.
I'll be most interested in meeting my fellow coaches. I hope there aren't any militaristic win-at-all-costs types. Most of the time you can't recognize the type until game day. They've learned to disguise it.
If that weren't enough my computer worked all day. Its still going.
My friend is learning to love her MacBook. She using Parallels along with gr to do her job and keep it all on her Mac.
The only slight negative is that yesterday was the last day of her four days off. This is the start of her Quarter End which means I probably not really see her until this weekend.
Its a bearable absence.

April 9, 2009

In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe
Carl Sagan

Rossetti and Dunton by Dunn
Click images for desktop size: "Rossetti and Dunton" by Dunn
Not feeling well today. Whatever I think is wrong I've decided is wrong inside of me.
I'm to see the doctor on April 20th. Have to bring along all my numbers, my health diary.The Lost Missile
Its obvious somethings wrong. After doing the lite exercise of working out the pain in my shoulder, Stretch it to the point where the pain just is about to start, then hold it for a count of 10 - repeat; trotting around the yard my blood pressure was 195 over 108. At the oral surgeons on Tuesday it was 180 over 90. Waking up its around 155 over 90.
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
A year or so ago it never got above 130 over 70.
A year seems rapid to me. A rapid change.
I'm trying to resist self treatment. Diet is easy and obvious. Cut out sodium etc. I get twitched because I keep remembering the oncology team saying that it was important that I keep my blood pressure low, like my opthamologist was always telling me my eyes would do better if I kept my sugars at near hyperglycemic levels. Truths we hold to be self evident stuff.
My blood sugars are okay but not near the low levels I was keeping them at. Sometimes I think I'd do better if I would just get overwhelmed. Let panic take me someplace.
At least I can still laugh and think.
The giant dog has gone to work with my friend. The crazy thing jumped about four feet up in the air on his way to the car, he was so excited.
Inside my puppy let loose the saddest coyote/wolf howl I've ever heard from her. Its what prompted Emotion Machine
Click images for desktop size: "Emotion Machine" by Unknown
my trotting around the yard with her and gentle dog. My puppy gets the Kong. I chase her. Gentle dog latches on to my wrist and tries to keep me from catching her.
It must be a great game to them. They want to play it all the time.
It will be funny walking the two sane dogs. Easier on me but the giant dog's intent insanity sure makes every one of our expeditions a memorable adventure!
My mind may be wrapped up in morbidity but I can still think.
I've been watching a TV series. A Japanese TV series: The Mute Samurai. The first episode was entitled "The Man Who Lost The Ability to Sing" which is pretty RAH when you think about it.
What attracted me to it was the star, Tomisaburo Wakayama, of "Lone Wolf and Cub". Wakayama's brother Shintaro Katsu, Zatoichi, makes appearances. Hideo Gosha wrote the story! When I saw that a few episodes were directed by Misumi Kenji, it became must see stuff.New House on the Left
I'm watching them in order. They're pretty standard TV fair. I'm not keen on the pacing. The plot is that Kiichi's father was an honest judge in Nagasaki. He refused to turn a blind eye to the foreigners illegal drug smuggling so the foreigners killed him, his wife and slashed Kiichi's throat and left him to die so he could watch the foreigner's rape his fiancee.
Lots of reason for hopeless rage there.
Kiichi spends the show as a bounty hunter. He lives off the money but mainly is searching for criminals who can lead him to the foreigners. When the show picks up he's been on the quest for 18 years!!
He's become a deadly swordsman who's only fear is that the foreigners might have left Japan before he can kill them!
The humour of the stories comes from Kiichi's discovery that he only gets half as much money for bringing in the criminals dead. That and people making fun of the strong samurai that cannot speak. This is a tough show. In the first five minutes there's a graphic decapitation.
Misumi directs the third episode. It fit in to the series canon but because it's Misumi it takes an odder slant.
There are ideas that flow through all of Misumi's films. That's one of the requirements to be considered an "auteur". One of the most telling is his depiction of society and its relationship to his swordsmen. Society becomes a dense but single character in his films.
In this short film (which is what most of these TV episodes come across as) his concept of society gets clearer than ever before.
John Kennedy
Click images for desktop size: "John Kennedy"
Society and the people in it are vile, frightened contemptible things. Why shouldn't they be. Any hint of heroism from one of its part leads it to being rejected and destroyed by the society that protects itself above all else. Self preservation rules the vast majority. It is all they have.
And due to the low cruel lives they are forced into it is the superior man's instinctual need to love these people. To protect them and enable them to perhaps grow into something more than the miserable thing they are condemned to be.
And the superior man does this while not living amongst them, not ever letting them touch him lest they contaminate the purity of his love with their sodden reality.
Society's only touch of humanity comes from the women who maybe just as rough as their men but they have samurai's strength in their hearts. They are not afraid to show gratitude and realize their is pride in humility.
It would seem that this grim view of the world is essential to the power of Misumi's imagery. ItThe House of Frankenstein forces him to construct his "fleur de mal" images of gore and beauty.
A world where the only thing worth loving is contemptible and represents dirt that you would never allow to taint your own soul is a tough place to live. That Misumi's heroes thrive in this world without regret and that they never let their love for their common man become infused with pity presents an image unlike any I've encountered in classical or existentialist literature. I guess it only works if you've got a heavy sword and the emotional where with all to calmly slay dozens at a pitch.
I'm going to take my pair of dogs out to explore a world that's not tinged with madness. I like walking all three of them. I always figure people see us and point while thinking to themselves, "There goes the luckiest man in the world."

April 7, 2009

Be who you are and be that well
Saint Francis de Sales

Clothes Make The Man
Click images for desktop size: "Clothes Make the Man" by Unknown
There are four inches of snow on the ground. The temperature is 27. Easter weekend is this weekend.
Yesterday my friend left for work. The giant puppy has strange issues. Whenever we or she leaveWee Willie Winkie he starts a pathetic crying. My puppy will often join in with a mournful howl.
Normally this all ends as soon as I step back in the house. I have to go out with my friend to open and close the gate behind her. Yesterday when I came back inside the giant dog's tears didn't stop.
Before I could start to comfort him the phone rang. My friend was Charmed to Meet You
Click image: "Charmed to Meet You" by Unknown
coming home. The snow was too bad for her to go into work.
I think the giant dog is taking credit for bringing her back to him.
As we settled in, her to work and me to annoy her and the dogs, I felt something odd. My gums had been swollen since the tooth extractions but they started to throb in a way that worried me.
I called the oral surgeon and got an emergency appointment.
The guy who pulled my teeth is on vacation. I liked his stand in far better. He said I had the start of an infection and I was healing much slower than usual.
Leukemia and chemo-patients are extremely susceptible to infection. Diabetics are slow healers.
It bugged me that this was in all my medical history. Before the extraction I even called and asked if I could pick up the script for the antibiotics before hand. I was told of course not.
I wonder if my call rankled them enough to not prescribe any antibiotics out of some sort of professional spite or in a vain attempt to not pay that much attention to my own health - let the Esther by Benouville
Click images for desktop size: "Esther" by Benouville
MD's handle it all, Just be compliant and shut up.
I figure the latter.
So the stand in doc gave me a script for Amoxicillin, a pretty non-specific anti-biotic.
I was so amazed and relieved that there was no charge for the visit that it wasn't till some time later that I started to wonder why I wasn't charged.
I spent the idle moments waiting around asking anyone who was foolish enough to listen what they thought about the weather. No one seemed as upset about the snow and cold as I did. Much to my chagrin they all seemed to accept it pretty much as the way things work "around these parts".
Other than that relatively complicated ploy of mine to annoy my friend and the dogs we settled in.
It was pleasantly dull. I didn't even have much time for my usual pondering of what is going to snatch my simple comfort away from me.
We watched a Japanese movie: "Suspect X". It was surprisingly good and entertaining. It startedThe Story of Temple Drake with a crazy cool "Mister Wizard" style explanation and demonstration on how to make a super particle accelerator from things you can find around the house, if you happen to live in a medical tech supply factory anyway.
The film is based on a successful Japanese TV series so I wasn't all prepared for what was to come. A murder mystery that became a struggle between a genius physicist and a super genius mathematician.
And somehow it became a tale of enduring and effective heartbreak, loneliness and profound sadness. Its smart enough in its story telling to lay out some red herrings as to the character and motives of the characters, allowing you to gleefully jump to some conclusions that will intertwine your own guilt with the guilt of the leads and the distaste for the mere cops who slave away to solve the crime.
At one point the "villain", the mathematician, asks the physicist to not solve the crime; "It will bring no one happiness."
The ending is searing, simple with an elegance that speak to the truth of the lost.
A warmly recommended movie. Not great but terribly cool entertainment.
I've already had the dogs out in the bad weather. They love it. They knocked me down once. Unintentional this time. My puppy and the gentle dog saw something and went after it while giant DC
Click images for desktop size: "DC Comics"
dog saw the same thing and decided to back away from it, probably to consider joining in on the attack. I was doing pretty well until giant dog decided that whatever was out there was small enough to make it safe for him to join in on the attack. He moved too fast for me so I went over. To the pups disgust I kept a hold on all three leashes.
One of my kids (former players) likes to send me the UK top 40 three or four times a year. I think I once muttered something about being afraid of loosing touch. For some reason he sends me the POP top 40. And once again I'm amazed that there are as many of those tracks that I sort of like and there are tracks I down right hate (keyboards and drum machines are often but not always the progeny of hate).

April 6, 2009

They are not pets; they are family
Tony Jaa

Autumn Maple by Kamisaka Sekka
Click images for desktop size: "Autumn Maple" by Kamisaka Sekka
Yesterday was pretty nice. Temperature's up around 50, felt warmer in the sun. The dogs were happy.Road to Rio
It was nice, like a pleasant autumn day.
This morning there was about an inch of snow on the ground and the threat of about 8 inches to come. Aggravatingly no one but me thinks this is peculiar and slightly disheartening.
The dogs are still happy.
It was a mildly interesting weekend. On Saturday we met my friend's parents at the Chinese buffet for their birthday lunch. We were surprised at how Bath Time
Click images for desktop size: "Bath Time" by Unknown
busy it was.
This impacted my doggie bag purloining. While I doubt if they care about me snatching tidbits to take home for the dogs it makes the experience much more fulfilling if its a clandestine operation I barely get away with. Not certain how much I'd be able to eat I went loaded for bear, both the inner and out pockets of my sweater/fleece were lined with plastic.
The crowd was so heavy and there was so much wait personnel that I only got 2 pockets filled. Fortunately their Saturday lunch is more of a brunch thing. There was bacon and pork sausage.
There was also an omelet chef. This was new and novel. My friend had a cheese and mushroom Beethoven
Click images for desktop size: "Beethoven" by Unknown
omelet that she thought was pretty good. Except it was too large for her. This probably saved them a fortune in sprig rolls and veggies.
I had no big problems eating. I got sick afterwards but I put that off to living on nothing but over cooked rice, pudding and other non-chewables.
Real food felt weird in my mouth. The only problem I really had was with the calamari. Too chewy to disintegrate it properly for swallowing. I sampled a little bit of everything. Everything felt odd in my near toothless mouth but there was no problem and no bleeding.
The table conversation perplexed me. My friends family is larger than I ever imagined. Every time she talks with her parents I seem to find out about another sibling. I'm an only child so its perplexing to me. I guess my ideas about extended families don't have much basis in reality. I always figured that they were closer, chatting daily. I thought they were more apart of life.The Red Rider
I don't like how everyone looks at me like I was retarded when I ask, "who is that?"
(I suddenly remembered I'm not actually an only child. My step-father had three kids from a previous marriage. I guess I met them once when I was about 7. Never had any contact or heard about them until my step-fathers funeral. They sent some flowers. I was bored and I asked my mother who some of the flower senders were. She gave me that same "how retarded are you" look and explained, slowly, that those people were my brother and sisters.
Click images for desktop size: "Nude" by Unknown
I thought it was pretty chintzy to only get one bunch of flowers from 3 people but then realized that since they'd never seen the guy in at least 20 years probably one of them thought to send something and just signed all three names. Fair enough and probably more than my step-father warranted. I lived with him and wasn't too thrilled to be there I can't imagine how his three other kids must have felt hearing he was gone. Heck of a legacy. They got mentioned in his obituary. I didn't. Suited me fine.
After lunch my friend and I headed to the Animal Shelter. There are plenty of reasons we should stick with having only three dogs, mainly economic and the lack of canine sleeping space. But there were two dogs there that seemed to need us more than we might need them.
I was surprised when her parents met us at the shelter. They'd never been there before. I likedSatan's Cheerleaders them showing up like that. Its the only pleasant surprise I recall from them. My friend seemed pleased which made it all the better.
Inside was not so great. The one dog, Rufus, was gone. He'd found a new home. The other little dog Jackson had an application for him pending.
Jackson is one of those dogs that really irk me. Not the dog but the people who were entrusted to him. He is at least 9 years old and they just abandoned him. The notes on him indicated severe neglect. He was intact. (Polite dog words for not fixed, which is slightly less polite for uncastrated).
This is a non-kill shelter and they're fairly fussy about who takes their dogs so we decided to give him a break and pull him out of the kennel. He was a little frantic and really wanted out. Understandable. Except the shelter was closing! We weren't allowed to spring him. I was looking forward to it.
It cast a pall over what had been a nice day. My friend's mother was surprised there were so few dogs there. I thought that was good news.
Our spirits were elevated a little bit when on Sunday we got an email explaining that we are still being considered as foster parents. Dog foster parents.
I like the idea of being fosters. Meet a slew of nice dogs and a bigger slew of some excellent people (for the most part).
My friend bought up another subject on Sunday. She's been corresponding with an old high school chum. It appears that woman is going through some strive. Her husband's girl friend was calling him constantly while their son was getting an operation. I also gathered that the boob husband was taking the calls. Yow!
Mermen by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Mermen" by Maxfield Parrish
My friend has invited her to stay with us if things get too crazy for her. (Crazier than that?) Now my friend is worried that her high school mate isn't very much like us.
We also had to deal with the stupid cat. When we came back from a little errand the stupid cat was standing in the neighbor's yard yowling its head off. My friend had to go into the yard but then couldn't find the thing. It had left the yard it was acting like it was imprisoned in. My friend caught the cat up and bought her into the yard where upon the cat demanded to be set down. Since the fence is separated from our neighbors by a quarter inch wire link fence we spent 10 minutes moving it a quarter inch.
There's someone who might like to take the stupid cat into their home. As much as I dislike the stupid cat, I mean I like skanky cat, the feral free loader, more than I do her, I still have a strong knee jerk reaction about moving an 8 year old animal out of the environment its used to.
My feelings aren't very important here so we'll see what happens.Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Finally my iMac is holding on. Barely. I think the Hard Drive is only part of the problem. I think the HD Controller and possibly even the CPU might be in trouble s well. I'm still doing daily back-ups, which are a pain.
I looked at the Pystar Hackintosh. Pystar is being sued by Apple for making and selling machines that run OSX. There's even talk, probably true, that the next version of OSX will have DRM in it to prohibit it from running on anything but Apple taxed machines. Still . . .
Even though its about 25% the cost of a MacPro and about six hundred less than the sexier non boxed iMac its still too expensive for us.
I think I could replace all the parts. Its scary working with such tiny screws on something so fragile but how else do you learn?

April 3, 2009

Birth was the death of him
Samuel Beckett

Water Sprite
Click images for desktop size: "Water Sprite" by Unknown
Passed out at ten p.m., which is early for me.
Woke up at 3:00 a.m. in the midst of a dream.Bight Watch
Like most of my dreams this one had a plot. I was back in LA as old as I am but looking like when I was 22. I was on the Hollywood Freeway, driving like a maniac through rush hour traffic, gunning up to a hundred in the fire lane and scuttering through traffic, not running away from anything but rushing to downtown.
I was driving my old junker red and white Ford Falcon station wagon, my sleeper. Some of you might remember it. Ran on airplane fuel. Looked like hell but tipped out at 145 in the quarter mile. The only real problem was that the carb kept catching on fire if it had to idle too long.
I hit downtown. The LAVA art exhibition was still going on. I tried to park by the Contemporary Art Museum but no luck. I ended up having to park deep in the nickel. I figured as much. Even in a dream you don't drive a decent car down to the Nickel.
I made a careful note of where I was parked. Put the keys in my pocket and started to run to my appointment. I was meeting my friend. We'd been separated for too long. She had managed to reconnect with her first love and they were living a very happy life together. It was her first time in LA and she'd been thoughtful enough to call me.
We were going to one of the grind houses. The last surviving one. Every town needs a movie theater where the bums can crash for a dollar. They were showing the double bill of Jean Luc Godard's "Masculin Feminine" and "Hong Kong Cat" which is actually not that weird a double bill for the old State of Being by Blatte
Click images for desktop size: "State of Being" by Blatte
grind houses. We scheduled our meeting to see those two and intended to leave before the other two flics, some gore schlock I'd normally have been interested in.
As we went to our seats I commented on how I was not a big fan of Godard's but "Hong Kong Cat" was a crazy cool mess of a movie.
We watched the flics, not even holding hands. Her lover, Rodney, had left us alone. He wanted to go see the Dodgers play the Angels at Chavez Ravine.
When the movies ended we left the theater. It had become inky and dangerous dark. My friend and I walked and talked. We talked like old lovers who never should have parted, with pain and lightness. We passed an SRO where a boom box with a blown speaker blared a salsa version of the Ramones' "Sitting in my Room". We were on Figueroa. There were lights and people. It was where she was supposed to meet Rodney. I left her in front of the old boarded up penny arcadeThe Phantom Empire where a bunch of cps loitered, drinking coffee and eyeing the gang bangers. It felt safe enough. She wanted to walk me to my car but I knew the area I'd parked in. It wasn't safe. I told her it was too far away and we might not get back in time for her to meet Rodney.
Reading Desk by Leighton
Click images for desktop size: "Reading Desk" by Leighton
We parted with an aerial hug. I tossed her up in the air and enjoyed looking at her flushed near laughing face against the blue black sky and the crossing wires.
She called after me but I pretended not to hear. My heart was tearing.
Then I realized I couldn't remember exactly how to get to my car. I wandered downtown LA lost in thought, the kind of fervid thought that comes when your heart takes over from your brain and you get lost in the way things might have been and forget the reasons why things are as they are.
I watched the drunks, the bums, the hopeless and the fearful. Around the corner from Sneaky Pete's Liquors there was a building being renovated. A group were stealing the scaffolding. Two guys ran off with a pair of acetylene tanks.
I watched them run off and watched a patrol car, its bubble gum machine strobing blue drive by slowly. The cops watched the stealing but never stopped.
I woke up.
I have no idea what it means or why this dream affected me to the point of memory.
A Dirty Job
Click images for desktop size: "A Dirty Job" by NFl Films

I'm doing better. The worst pain left is where they cut out the section for the biopsy. Yesterday I was practicing smiling in the mirror. Trying to smile so that I don't look like a hillbilly caricature. I noticed that the wound where they cut is keloiding. I hope it flattens out but I don't know if it makes any difference.
I went to meet the guys about coaching. I was shocked by how much kit and gear they had. Very well run team. I was a bit perplexed by that. Even in high school ball I would have been more responsible for a lot more day to day stuff. Here I'd just coach. I'm not sure if that's a positive or a negative.
I think we properly impressed each other. Now its just a matter of waiting a couple days. They start practice in a couple weeks.
My friend sat in on the interview, at my invitation. She didn't volunteer for anything and seemedQuartermass and the Pit mildly irked that I didn't volunteer her! We'll see what happens.
After the interview we stopped at the Animal Shelter. Too many cats and far too many beautiful dogs. Te only good sign was that two of the most special ones were spoken for. There's was one little guy, so thin, they said he was 6 or 7. I wouldn't be surprised if he were 9 or 10. They didn't tell the whole story about how he ended up in the shelter but he was terribly matted and had to be painstakingly shaved down. I liked him but couldn't figure how he'd handle our three maniacs.
When we got home our dogs went typically berserk with pleasure on seeing us. When I went to bed my puppy scrunched close to me, even resting her head on my chest, until some dog outside barked and she had to go defend our honor.
Tomorrow we're meeting my friends parents to celebrate their birthdays. We're going to the Chinese buffet. This pleases the dogs no end. It will be my first attempt at eating real food.
The computer keeps stuttering but I managed to do a full back up. I'm going to try and tweak things and keep it surviving. Its not four years old yet. I replaced the HD once already. This is irksome.

March 30, 2009

You're only late if you get here after I do

Scarf, Girl and New Friend by Leah Felicity
Click images for desktop size: "Scarf, Girl and New Friend" by Leah Felecity
It's snowing . . .

My puppy has always loved her Kong, a red hard rubber conical toy. But she's very specific about itThe Ladies Man being her Kong.
When Jack, our foster dog, got adopted I included a Kong with his going away package. I made a mistake and gave my puppies Kong to Jack and kept his. This was a bigger mistake than I thought. My puppy who spent every minute outside with the Kong in her mouth refused to touch "Jack;s" Kong. She had no interest in it. Instead she Fess Parker
Click images for desktop size: "Fess Parker"
spent a good portion of every day searching for her Kong.
After nearly a year she started to play with "Jack's" Kong. Soon she was as enamored with it as always. By enamored I mean chasing it, teasing me with it and wanting me to chase her to steal it from her.
After our move she lost the Kong in a snow drift. I'd been looking as hard as I can. She'd scuttle along beside me desperate and frustrated.
Her aunt sent her a new Kong for her birthday last year. My puppy studiously ignored it until yesterday.
She finds it vital to have her Kong and to torment me with it. I don't know why but it seems to be some sort of lifeline between us.

I spent the weekend lightly suffering. I wonder if tomorrow's oral surgery, six teeth gone, is preying that heavily on me. I also wonder if the debilitating effect of the pain in my mouth is starting to affect the rest of my health. I'm constantly weary. My right shoulder is hurting em terribly. I can't put on a jacket with out grunting in pain. The exercises seem to keep the worst of the pain away.
My left elbow has stated to throb and weaken. I have a hard time holding the coffee pot. My thumbs continue to ache and stay weak.
A Brito
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by A Brito
My left ankle feels tweaked and burning. My right knee burns and gives out when I try to stand.
My blood sugar levels have been haywire. And every day my blood pressure seems to be rising, particularly the diastolic (the littler number).
Maybe its holistic. Could the pain in my mouth be branching out and affecting the rest of my body? Or could it be a matter of will? Keeping the pain in my mouth in check has permitted the rest of my body's aches and pains to resurface.
It will be interesting to see after tomorrow afternoon when my life will be mainly saliva, blood and a numb tongue.

I did watch three movies this weekend.Sons of the Desert
The first was a surprise in that it didn't totally suck; "Marley and Me". How did this Owen guy get to be a star? Alan Arkin was in it and he was reliably funny.
For a while it seemed almost that the filmmakers had swiped a page from the Japanese. The Japanese style of dog movie making is to realize that the dogs are not merely an object to cutify but a separate character that has a value within the dramatic dynamic.
That wasn't quite so. It turned out that the film was mainly just a biography of this newspaper writer. At least the dog was in it a lot and was used, slightly, as a device to elucidate the character and miasma of the human characters.
I expected it to be terrible. It wasn't.
The Korean film, "The Divine Weapon" was something of a throwback. It was definitely made to cash in on the popularity of "Red Cliff", that monstrously huge John Woo epic detailing how China came to be.
This film details how Jaesong broke free of China to become its own tiny and proud country. Being Korean the epic part is incidental to the drama and relationships of the people.
There's been a trend, lately, in Korean films, to have these period pieces reflect modern times - rapping monks, ancient caps made to resemble backwards baseball caps. That sort of thing. I find it disconcerting and not a little bit stupid.
"The Divine Weapon" doesn't mess with that. Instead it paints a lovely picture of people in the 15th century trying to survive and make a new and better life.
by 3D
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by 3D
The odd thing that keeps this from being incredible is that the film's agenda is to push patriotism and freedom. Freedom can only be accomplished via creating weapons of mass destruction.
The movie details the Korean invention (or perfection) of the Flaming Arrow, or exploding arrows, including rockets, the first weapon capable of killing people over a mile away.
For me its hard to cheer 100 people killing 100,000 by using a weapon no one other than the inventors had even conceived.
The battles are epic and have a rough beauty but what was thrilling was the love story between the female creator of the divine weapon and the former noble, now a merchant, who helps her build the missiles. One scene in particular choked me up. It was intensely beautiful, simple and direct.
Earlier in the film the woman gives herself a pep talk; "Are you sad? No, you cannot afford to be sad! Even if I'm lonely I can't feel lonely. I can't ever admit how scared I am."
Later on she has been betrayed and ordered to be turned over to the Ming government forThe Love Wanga execution. The merchant fights and will surely die or kill his best friend but she stops him and surrenders herself. He yells after her, "Are you sad?"
"No!" she barks back.
"Are you sad?" he yells.
"No!", she exclaims as she walks to the prison cart.
"Are you lonely?"
"No!" and she turns, "I have you!"
He's speechless and watches silently as she is taken away. Its more powerful than anything but a movie could show.
Finally I got to see the long anticipated "Ong Bak 2".
I was nervous about the film ever since its was announced. I think Tony Jaa's "Tom Yum Gum" is one of the 10 greatest movies ever made. Mixing bone breaking martial arts with human feelings, love of creatures not human, gripping your heart and your adrenal gland is no small task.
"Chocolate proved that director Pikanew's talent is deadly real. But for some reason Tony Jaa decided to direct his third movie himself. The announcement made me flinch. I thought of Bruce Willis . . . (Have you seen "The Adventures of Hudson Hawke"?)
I was calmed only slightly when I saw the trailer, on line, for "Ong Bak 2". Then I read a really disparaging review. The review savaged the film. It was clear the writer had little knowledge of international cinema and no knowledge or interest in martial arts movies.
So I was excited and nervous about being disappointed.
the Salute of the Robe Trade by Charles Russell
Click images for desktop size: "The Salute of the Robe Trade" by Charles Russell
Any film with Tony Jaa is going to get 4 stars out of 5 from me. The man moves with a sensuous grace and ease that is totally unworldly. He moves how an angel or an ancient god would move as if gravity and the earth around him were mere incidentals that can't even distract him. The man has two pet elephants! Of course he is quick to correct, the elephants aren't pets. They are family. RAH!
"Ong Bak 2" starts with a simple title, "It was the Buddhist year 1974. In the Christian calendar it was 1491."
This was a surprise. Tony Jaa the ultimate 21st Century hero was doing an ancient?

I need to stop. My concentration is fragmenting. This is already long. I'll continue after my oral surgery tomorrow.
As my friend says, I find it impossible to stay quiet for too long.
How does she put up with me? Normally with good grace and humour.

March 25, 2009

Revenge of the Volkites
Tracey Knight

Pin Up Art by JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up Art" by JW McGinnis
I used to be one of those balanced people. I mean that I hated as many things as I loved and with pretty equal intensity.I Walked with a Zombie
Maybe its just age and fatigue. I still love things with the same intensity, passion but I hate fewer and fewer things. And with less a feeling of rage, more like a feeling of contemptuous realization that these things will always be there: child molesters, rapists, the greedy oppressors who use democracy as a tool to repress and subjugate. No one is going to care enough to destroy them, eradicate them. I know that these vile types are manufactured and survive only because of our ignorance and they thrive because we all have a hard time looking past ourselves.
A scant few get busted and we feel smug for glancing at the headlines and the rest give thanks to the unlucky busted one because it means they can get about their evil for a little while longer, probably forever.
I don't have the rage anymore. Its a lot easier to love than to hate. Hate gets you killed, hate gets your friends killed and your allies killed. Doesn't matter if its killed for the right reasons or the Mary Magdalene by di Cosimo
Click images for desktop size: "Mary Magdalene" by di Cosmio
wrong. Dead is dead.
I'm bored and tired with death. Tired of fighting the hateful.
I'm just tired.

I fell asleep at 9:30 last night. Too exhausted to move.
Maybe it was the extra long walk. The dogs and I just meandered about the neighborhood. My puppy and the giant dog are leery of new things. Our byzantine path only slightly expanded their known world so they were happy about it.
My puppy will suck it up and continue forward in her belligerent straight ahead way but the giant dog will refuse like an open horse refusing a water jump. He trusts me so eventually he'll continue ahead.
Only the gentle dog is too wrapped up in new smells to care where we are or where we're going.
When we got home I gave the gentle dog a bath. He's the easiest of them. He stands quiet even though he insists that his head stay as far out side the tub as possible. He'll allow me to push hisHouse of Frankenstein head over the tub and the water for shampooing and rinsing but immediately stretches his neck as far over the edge as possible.
I spent the rest of the day doing exercises. My right shoulder neuropathic pain is back. It bunches the muscles up and the pain gets electric. I'm glad it responds to the old exercises. Just stretches and flexes. They hurt but not as bad as reaching up reflexively for the dog shampoo.
My hands aren't responding. That's annoying. The weakness in the thumbs frustrates me. When I struggle to hold the pan under the faucet, filling it with water for lunch it feels like a melancholy piano Alice 19th Secret by Panga
Click images for desktop size: "Alice 19th Secret" by Panga
sonata should be playing on my personal soundtrack. Its survivable. Doesn't make me happy. And yet I remain happy. Go figure.
Its a good thing I went to sleep so early. Normally I take the dogs out for the last time each night at 10:30. I go out with them. We patrol the yard in the dark. It involves a lot of running, jumping and attacking me. We have to check certain trees for cats and squirrels,
They didn't want to go out with my friend. The only negative is that at 4:30 they came to me in bed. The giant dog woofed at me. My puppy whined at me. They had to go out badly.
I did the math in my head and decided to stay awake. They're all sleeping in their normal night time spots. They'll be up soon. Breakfast time.

My blood pressure is still high. Not dangerous going to die high but higher than it should be. Warning high.
Grand Central Station by Ian Foster
Click images for desktop size: "Grand Central Station" by Ian Foster
Same with the blood sugars. Funny. I still think the huge amount of ibuprofen I'm taking might be contributing to both things. I've no proof but since when did we need proof to believe things.

I've been getting comments and emails from people about how much they enjoy the art work and the whacky movie posters.
I'm glad that people like them and enjoy them. I still don't find them whacky. For me the words just frame the pictures and the posters and pic's are all the story. I always think that they more perfectly illustrate exactly how I feel.
I look at them and can always see what it is I'm feeling, what I felt.
I've got a few thousand desktop pictures (wallpapers for the Windows crowd) and I have them rotate Hit Man on my desktop every fifteen minutes. I g through them and pick out the one that fits my mood. Sometimes its spot on and sometimes its just an allusion.
I've got over 10,000 movie posters. I do the same with them. I think movie posters are high art. People work hard on them. They want them to sell the movie but that's someone else's job. The guys who made them only wanted to make something beautiful with movie stars. Sometimes they totally succeed.
I'm not above sometimes making the references sort of obscure. Maybe to protect myself and probably sometimes just out of laziness.
When I duplicate a poster its generally because I've gotten a higher quality image. Or I just screwed up. Always one or the other.

I forgot to mention that one of the reasons I'm enjoying "Daredevils of the Red Circle" is that the team has a great dog; an Australian Shepherd called Tuffie. He even gets screen credit!
Tuffie doesn't really do anything heroic. He's the most doggish dog I've yet seen in a movie. He just does dog things and they always turn out to be incredibly heroic! And that, to me, is the way dogs really are.

Its time to feed the dogs. They're good dogs. And they claim to be very heroic too.

March 24, 2009

Bring it to Jerome
Bo Diddley

In Bones We Trust
Click images for desktop size: "In Bones We Trust" by Unknown
When I dream, or at least remember my dreams, they are always very heavily plotted stories. They're seen like movies, complete with retakes and cutaway shoots with insets and over theHalf Human shoulder close-ups. Otherwise my dreams are just fleeting images, like wayward film frames.
Lately I've been dreaming about pain. I feel the pain in my dream. I wake up and sure enough I'm in pain. Prophesy fulfilled.
Since dreams are important, they tell me, I wonder what these strange overly constructed dreams of mine mean. Dreams are the way the subconscious mind helps us deal with the issues of the day, the reconstruction of events filed into memories, trauma and events forgotten. ( At least thats what they taught me in the classes I had to take to deal with victims of child abuse) My dreams often consist of shot after shot of a key being removed from a dresser. Different angles, different lighting, until I get the correct shot and the dream continues.
A lot has happened. Nothing earth shattering or even important to anyone but me.
Gloucester Harbour by Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: "Gloucester Harbor" by Edward Hopper
I went to the Doctor's on Friday, the GP. He gave me some chores. On Saturday my friend and I got the prescriptions filled. We got the Blood Pressure machine and more diabetic testing strips.
My blood pressure is high. Not scary so but high. 150 over 86 one morning! I'm putting it off to the pain and the tension about even using the blood pressure machine.
I haven't been checking my blood sugars as well as I normally should. The strips cost like eighty bucks for a months supply, so I got into the habit of only checking it when I felt weird or wanted to eat something on the "unapproved" list.
There's nothing to justify this. My blood sugars have been a bit on the high side. As the diabetes at this stage could lead to blindness or to losing a limb I'll have to go back to being paranoid checkingHard Rock Zombies them even after I finish the doc's medical stats diary.
Diabetes is a degenerative disease. It only gets worse. Its like a car, as much as you pray a knock in the car isn't going to go away until it breaks down or you get it fixed. I'll have to keep a tighter rein on everything.
Today becomes the first day of my extended walking exercise program. Its hard to figure. I can walk 2 miles in less than a half hour by myself. When I walk the dogs the same walk takes about 90 minutes. Some of that extra time is due to weird little doggie detours and stopping to smell the lamp posts of life.
I also have to figure where we're going to walk to. My puppy and the giant dog don't like going to too many new places so I need to double our walking time while staying relatively close to their comfort zone and working my body a bit.
I think that means walking around in circles.
On Saturday we too of on a mini shopping spree. The main goal was this decent second hand book store.
We also made a run for Gluten Free Ice Cream Cones for my friend. The place where she used to go for them was closed. HAd the sign up: "Under New Ownership Opening Soon".
Every time I see that I wince. The Oriental Theater on Sunset had that sign on their marquee for 4 years until it finally reopened; not as a movie house but as "The Guitar Center".
We went to 4 other health food joints on a vain quest for the elusive ice cream cone.
My friend got three vegan cookbooks she'd been coveting. Not second hand. She's been working like Favorite Poet by Alma Tadema
Click images for desktop size: "Favorite Poet" by Alma Tadema
a lost slave for the past couple months. I was pleased she'd gotten something that mad her eyes light up.
We stopped for lunch at some sea food place. Eating out was hard on me. I could barely chew. I had a "Cajun" Poor boy sandwich that I ate with a knife and fork. I never learn to not order cajun food except in Louisiana. It was okay for all that. It felt alien to be sitting in a restaurant with just my friend. I liked it. I still have this habit of always looking around for someone I might know.
We finally got to the bookstore and they had a sale on cookbooks! 35% off. RAH! My friend got 11! I found three of my Destroyer books, all three of them ghosted by my friend Will.
We drove home. The car did fine and we felt happy.
Sunday was just a lounging around day. Need those periodically. Monday my friend took the day off. We had some light plans but it turned into another lounging around day.Gone With the Wind
I'd enjoyed "King of the Texas Rangers" so much I decided to check out some more serials. I was disappointed, not in the serials themselves but in the discs. The Columbia serials (which tend to have better actors but less excitement and poorer special effects) looked like they'd been mastered from beat to death VHS tapes. There's was tearing at the bottom and occasional rolling!
The Republic serial, "Dick Tracy" looked like it was a CAM but not recorded from a screen but from an old sheet hung in a windy barn!
"Daredevils of the Red Circle" suffered from the same flaws but was, Soa Lee
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Soa Lee
so far, at least watchable. Its pretty cool. The heroes are circus daredevils! The youngest is an escape artist, the middle (Herman Brix) a strong man, and the eldest an Olympic High Diver and Rhodes Scholar, or something similar.
Its been decent so far but its still hard to understand how Brix can stop crooks from fleeing by lifting up the rear end of their car but is lousy in the fights!
I also watched "The Yakuza". An old movie I first became aware of when I was a kid. The whole town was talking it up. Paul Schrader had managed to get the studios into a major bidding contest. Martin Scorsese was begging to make the movie. Sadly Sidney Pollack, he of "Tootsie" fame got the deal. If you'd ask me who would be the least competent director to make a big budget yakuza flic Pollack would have been near the top of the list.
It was cool that they had the brains to get a still fit and exceptional Ken Takura to play the lead. Even cooler they got sleepy eyed Robert Mitchum to play the American in Japan.
It was interesting to see how Pollack destroyed a great story. Takura and Mitchum wiping out a yakuza gang should have been classic but it was just boring. The only other time I saw it was when it first came out. I thought it was boring then. Sad that my kid instincts were justified by the crusty old man reality of today.
I can't help but thinking about how cool it could have been.
Dog baths today. The world quakes.

March 6, 2009

We'll love you just the way you are if you're perfect
Alanis Morissette

Gunfighter by Gerald Brom
Click images for desktop size: "Gunfighter" by Gerald Brom
The dogs were crazy yesterday. I like them crazy when they're crazy happy.
Last night my puppy was sitting in front of me and I was overwhelmed with a feeling of contentment Underworld and love.
I'm reminded everyday that I'm still capable of that sort of depth of feeling. It was just slightly surprising to feel it for my puppy.
I like what she is and what she's become.
In all of the hullaballoo of illness and all I think I forgot to report that the dogs and I are heroes. On the day the gentle dog went to work with my friend Giant dog and my puppy were walking around the park (to avoid the flooding) and a little white dog, sort of a Maltese Yorkie mix kind of thing came up and tried to play with my dogs.
It was having a world of fun bounding at them and wiggling its butt at Japanese Poems by Eisen
Click images for desktop size: "Japanese Poems" by Eisen
them. I took the leash off of my puppy and, after three attempts, managed to snag the little girl. She had a tag on her and she was lucky I knew the address or at least where to look for the address.
I was worried about walking with my puppy without a leash. She seemed to understand and walked in a perfect heel the entire way.
We found the apartment building and a passing woman recognized the dog. She gave us the apartment number as she hustled away.
We knocked. The little white dog was getting agitated. A woman in her late 70's or early 80's answered. She was scared. I forgot that tall men in shades and leather might not be the most comforting thing to see at your door. She was in a walker. I noticed, in retrospect that she had the walker jammed in such a way that I couldn't have pressed in to her home too easily.
When she saw the little white dog she let out a screech. The little dog, clearly with lots of practice Girl and Parrot
Click images for desktop size: "Girl and Parrot" by Unknown
scaled the walker and into her arms. She started to tremble and cry. I was worried she'd have a stroke or something. Between sobs she told me that the little dog had been lost for almost 3 days. He grand daughter took her for a walk on Sunday and she escaped (the dog, not the grand daughter . . . I think). She'd been calling the shelter. I saw a stack of about a hundred fliers with the little dogs picture xeroxed in it. She was going to put them up today. She complained about how her son-in-law wouldn't come help her.
She offered us a reward. I declined. I'm stupid that way. My puppy and the giant dog both pointed out that they were the real heroes and extorted a couple of milk bones from the old lady.
We walked home happy.Tobor the Great
This reminds me of how many things go in the day that I forget, that I don't record and that I'll have no place left to find those memories again.
My friend is still sick. Now she's added vomiting during the night to her cough and general achiness. Without much hassle I convinced her to go to the doctor. He wasn't much help. Gave her prescription for an antibiotic, more as a preventive against a lung infection and some sort of inhaler.
Its no miracle cure but I feel better that something might be getting done to heal her. Her spirits are better.
I wonder how much of this is due to stress and conflict with her new temporary boss. Her old boss, who retired, was a nationally recognized figure in Conservation and Wild Life preservation. The two of them got along very very well.
The new boss is a national VP who has taken on some extra duties and seems committed to rising Alice 19th by AbstractAnime
Click images for desktop size: "Alice 19th" by Abstract Anime
up the corporate ladder (at least whatever ladder there is in a not for profit). Her background is banking.
My friend reports her saying a number of "slogans" that I attribute to MBA's who are out of their depth. The new boss also has few social skills. I've dealt with so many people with poor social skills a lot of her responses are almost text book.
It frustrates me as all I can do is be supportive and try to give some insight. The insight is to never openly defy such a person, no matter how stupid their demands are. They can't handle that. Most people can't cope well with open defiance but for this type its enough to send them into a paroxysm. Stick to your guns (which I don't even need to vocalize to my friend - she's like that) and so long as the MBA isn't threatened and can see your correctness in such a way that she can take credit you'll eventually win. Its a painful process.
It slowly seems to be working. I just hope my friend can survive it.The Young Nurses
I've been all twisted up with sickness too. More of a general malaise then anything. I'm pretty certain its not "empathy" sickness. I'm not that sort of empathetic person.
That reminds me of this kid who came to play for my team. He lived about two hours away by train! He never missed a practice. He just wanted to be a great athlete. He wasn't very good but he had heart and sometimes that's enough.
As a coach your main job is to see the potential. If you can't see it its the coaches fault, not the kids. This kid wanted to be a linebacker. He didn't have the size, speed or strength to play linebacker. I tried him at strong safety, which was a better fit. We were working on his speed and footwork as well as training him in reading formations.
During practice he was off with some kids while I was working a passing tree with the RB's, slot backs, and tight ends. Suddenly I heard a horrible screech. The kid was on his knees crying, holding his left arm. I've got my Red Cross first aid certificate and a St Johns certificate and one of my coaches day job was as a paramedic so I felt confident enough to cut his pads from him. He had the worst dislocated shoulder I have ever seen!
I'm serious when I say that a dislocated shoulder is the worst pain I've ever felt. But when you pop it back in its almost like nothing that bad had ever happened. I've been seeing black from dislocated shoulders and did crazy stuff like wedging my arms between fence posts to pop it back in the socket. It hurts bad.
This kids shoulder was, no exaggeration, sticking about 5 inches above his clavicle. I'm so Japanese Art Print
Click images for desktop size: "Japanese Print" by Unknown
empathetic to the pain of others that I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Jocks have the tendency of being fascinated with the injuries of others. There was no way we were going to attempt to pop this in on our own. It took three kids to carry him to the car. Two making a cradle and one just supporting his arm.
I took him to hospital and the doctors were also horrified. They had a machine they'd never had to use that winched his arm out so they could line it up and pop it into the socket. They were excited about getting to use this piece of shiny gear . . .and my empathy reached so far as to remember to not grin or laugh about the severity of the energy. Of course I was worried andThis Island Earth concerned but underneath those layers was the, "Have you ever seen anything so cool!" I'd have ignored it if the two doctors weren't so excited about getting to use that new piece of gear.
So I don't think that my unwellness has anything to do with empathy with my friends illness. No history to justify that.
I'm just feeling beaten up. Not that big a deal. My teeth are killing me. I can barely wait for the dentist on Tuesday. The pain has gotten to the point where the right side of my face is numb. That always brings up scary memories of the bout with Bells Palsy.
I can still laugh.

March 3, 2009

Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word
Charles de Gaulle

Oasis by Michael Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "Oasis" by Michael Parkes
The gentle dog went to work with my friend. My puppy, surprisingly misses him. I figure they had some adventure penciled into their schedule.The H-Man
It always feels odd, now, having only two dogs. I know I liked it best when I had four. Having only two is like looking at the dregs in the bottle.
I'm going to put the giant dog on the corner. With his new haircut The Beatles
Click images for desktop size: "The Beatles"
and all I'll turn him into a "working dog". Get him to approach cars and people, 10 minutes of pets for a nickel. My puppy will be his "business manager". If we can avoid the vice cops we should make a few dollars.
It works out well though. The two remaining enjoy the extra attention, the extra room. Its easier to walk two dogs than three but three requires almost no effort. Getting pulled down on ice requires no effort at all, at least from me. I can fall down with almost no assistance at all.
Bad pain day. This is still a house filled with love and germs.
My friend coughed badly all night. She was feeling better but relapsed. I'm in what should be the final bad day of the germ. Tomorrow I should be recovering and I should be fine by Thursday night.
Last night I fell asleep watching a movie. It was an interesting one too.
This Hong Kong based company has set itself a lofty goal; they're releasing every Shaw Brothers film ever made on DVD. Remastering them, cleaning up the soundtracks and trying to present them Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Unknown"
as classics. Guys like me appreciate that. (Quentin Tarentino does to. I have to admit it irks me that he's cadged the Shaw Brothers opening logo to open his movies. It seems some how disrespectful . . . if its possible to disrespect a movie studio, a money making operation).
Shaw Brothers always had the rep for making the best, slickest looking movies in Asia. Decent film stock, wonderfully detailed sets and a host of the best directors and a stable of Asian Superstars. They reworked the old Hollywood studio system, keeping their top talent working almost non-stop.
After Shaw Brothers broke the king fu movie at Cannes in the 70's they became an international force. Golden Harvest, who vacillated between making some of the best and the worst movies going - but they had Bruce Lee - benefited greatly from the superior product coming from their rivals.The Incredible Shrinking Man
What's cool is that Celestial has finally gotten into the movies that Shaw Brothers was making before they broke the genre world wide. This is the first time that these films have been able to be seen outside of China or your local China Town movie theater.
(I've always liked the theaters in China town and Little Tokyo. The Japanese theaters were always SOA but the Chinese theaters were always grim affairs with projection bulbs that were somehow always old and close to death. Its like the mystery of how some guys always managed to have 3 days growth of beard, never four and never clean shaven. Chinese Movie Houses (at least in LA) always had a dim bulb that would finally burn out in 10 hours. And of course the snacks for sale in the lobby were . . . interesting. Dried fish, strange crackers and popcorn you'd have to be fool hardy or at least braver than me to try.)
The new/old movies Celestial is bringing out are at least interesting and sometimes exquisite. The level of kung fu in the movies is far below what we've come to expect. For some reason every genre of Shaw Brothers films seems to require at least two kung fu battles. I'm not complaining.
So far I've been able to see "The Impostor" a sort of whacky story about David Chiang being this heavy duty altruist who is also a master of disguise. He's bored, rich and nosey, so he solves crimes . . . Its very amenable.
"The Delightful Forest" (The movie I fell asleep during last night) is a part of "The Water Margin" (The classic ultimate Chinese novel about freedom and brotherhood). Its got Lung Ti, an actor who's St Catherine by Carlo Dolci
Click images for desktop size: "St Catherine" by Carlo Dolci
career has easily spanned five decades! Lung Ti is this incredibly moral guy who also happens to be a devastating fighter. He' thrown in prison, a prison he could easily escape but choses not to as that would be wrong. The Delightful Forest of the title is a town of gambling casinos and brothels . . . what I saw was entertaining.
I've got about four more to see and more promised. These movies all hold enough potential that I keep thinking that there's going to be a mind blasting movie coming up any second. Maybe not but the search and expectations are a lot of fun.
Of the four I have seen none of them were disastrous or boring and that's saying something.
I might have gotten he dishwasher fixed. I tried not to tear it apart but to just fix most of it in place. The water here must be pretty hard. Mainly I had to pick out chunks of lime and calcium! It was hampering the spray of water.
Did a full load last night. I'm afraid to look at the dishes. If they're not clean it means I have to take the whole thing apart again. I usually enjoy that sort of thing. For some reason the dishwasher fallsThe Fiend Who Walked the West outside my list of things I like to take apart.
I only have six episodes of "King of the Rangers". I really hope I can get the last six. Its very enjoyable on its own level. I admit that part of the enjoyment is watching "Slingin'" Sammy Baugh attempt to act. They give him few lines, fortunately. He recites them like a six year old trying to remember a piece for his first assembly.
The only draw back is that Duncan Renaldo is so great its a shame that he keeps being limited to being the side kick, the guy who screws up and gets slugged so the bad guys can escape. Its still a potent good time serial.
I've set a deadline of this weekend to finish up a new little movie for my puppy's blog. The kids are starting to write and bug HER to get something new posted. I wish I had simpler ideas . . .

February 27, 2009

Life is a comedy for those who think and a tragedy for those who feel
Horace Walpole

Pin Up Art by JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Pin Up Art" by JW McGinnis
Just like in books movies have scenes, moments mainly, that stay fresh and alive in our minds forever. Since the genius of the scenes in books are always open to our personal interpretation, (I Spook Warfare always imagine the hero as looking like me . . . sort of thing) and the moments in movies are plastic concrete, universal and indisputable, I prefer movies.
No surprise there.
The dogs woke me at 1:30 this morning. I still have no idea why, although I expect it has something to do with two new dogs who moved into the area, even though they're about 200 yards away at the closest point to our yard, our dogs take great umbrage to their presence.
I woke up in pain. After letting the dogs out I took some ibuprofen and meditated about some of the great moments in movies. It helped get me to sleep in a nice way.
Somehow think about movies almost always starts with John Wayne. I don't know why, it just does. I guess I'm still surprised that he was a lineman at USC.
Wayne had a few great moments; indelible scenes that stay with you forever. Whenever things get hopeless I always have a flash of Wayne as Ringo in "Stagecoach", falling forward into the dust as he takes on three bad guys with only a winchester and 3 bullets. And that moment in "True Grit" when Wayne confronts Robert Duvall and Duvall's gang in the natural arena. After Duvall points out the obvious truth that Wayne is old, fat, one eyed and tired Wayne shouts, "Fill your hands you sonsabitches!" Put his horse's reins in his mouth and rides at the gang firing wildly.
A lot of movies have moments like that, moments that help us survive what our own imaginations Kitchen
Click images for desktop size: "Kitchen" by Unknown
might not let us survive. That's one of the reasons for art.
I wasn't thinking about those moments I was thinking about the moments that codify a movie so well that it burns and illuminates not only our lives but the lives of others, enabling to let us see things we perhaps never even sensed.
Like for me the greatest moment for Wayne came in "The Searchers". Its a movie loaded with great moments, like the crazy teenaged girls who've escaped the Apaches, or the moment when Wayne scoops up Natalie Wood as though she were no more significant than a doll, a wisp an image. But moment that fits my definition is when Wayne returns Natalie Woods to her family. He stands in the doorway a hero, but a hero ignored, Jeff Chandler pushes past him and we know that because of Wayne's efforts all will be better for the world, the people in that house whose life he has touched and Slaughter High improved will leave a version of happily ever after. But Wayne just stands in the doorway, gripping his own right arm with his left hand, while the Sons of the Pioneers acting like some bumpkin Greek chorus exhort him to ride away, ride way.
The house looks so dark, cool and inviting. We know it is filled with celebration and happiness, while the world beyond the doorway is bright, harsh and unrelenting. (The technology required to get that shot are remarkable considering 1957 film stock and lenses.) And Wayne turns away and does that John Wayne walk to his horse while invisible hands slam the door shut, locking him forever outside.
What makes this great is that in 45 seconds without being lectured or told we understand so many things; the nature of heroes, the way some men are meant to only be alone, how single decisions can unhinge and change the trajectory of a life, decisions fueled not with logic but with emotion.
The Monkees
Click images for desktop size: "The Monkees"
I'm glad they never made a sequel to "The Searchers". It would have destroyed that perfect moment.
Who doesn't remember Steve McQueen in "The Great Escape"? When he's sitting on his motorcycle looking at the miles long barbed wired fence that is the only impediment to his freedom. The German army closing in on him, surrounding him. And that moment when he revs the bike up, spins it around and makes that unforgettable leap. A fails.
What propels the scene from cool to the frisson I'm talking about is that while McQueen lies tangled in the wire that this is not a failure, its just a set back. He'll escape and if needed he'll escape again. Freedom is our nature and it doesn't take greatness or even great determination for all of us to be seeking freedom until we finally succeed.
There is a difference between totally cool and the frisson that impacts and makes fact of the swirl of thoughts and emotions that circulate around us everyday. Clint Eastwood's "The Unforgiven" offersSex Kittens Go To College up the best example of this. Everyone remembers the final scene in the bar where Eastwood blows everything apart and there's that great confrontation between Eastwood and Gene Hackman where Eastwood hisses out the line, "I've killed women and children, just about everything that's lived or crawled and now I'm going to kill you."
That scene is just cool entertainment but the scene proceeding, the New Ponies
Click images for desktop size: "New Ponies" by Unknown
bit that sets all this up is the powerful one that cuts to the quick of our humanity.
The whole film has shown Eastwood to be extremely strong, strong enough to change his life for a woman he loves and after she passes away his strength carries him through to continue for the sake of his two children. The biggest change has been for him to avoid liquor at all costs. Eastwood listens to the girl who brings them their money. He listens to the atrocities Little Bill has perpetuated against Eastwood's only friend.
Against a silver streaked black and gray sky he listens and in his shock and pain he gets week. He takes a bottle of whiskey and in between his horrified questions he pours the whiskey down his throat. The camera takes a low angle as if to frame him heroically against dramatic sky. Eastwood's aged face and cracking voice destroy any illusion of heroism, it simply denies us the ease of assuming he's transforming into a mere beast.
And its in that moment that so much is revealed about ourselves. The little kid cheerleader who sees the whiskey as Eastwood's spinach. We know as he drinks he's turing into an indomitable killer. Life Is A Stage by WallColl
Click images for desktop size: "Life Is A Stage" by WallColl
Then there's the profound sadness. We see a man so overcome with grief at losing his friend that he destroys himself the only way he knows will work. Eastwood gives up the sobriety and humanity he has struggled to maintain for nearly a many years as he was a mad outlaw. He gives up what he has fought to become out of rage, loneliness and a love for another that is greater than the love he has for himself.
"A Man Who Was Superman" is a movie I hold in high regard. I seem to be pretty much alone in this. Its okay. I can always wait for the rest of the world to catch up.
"A Man Who Was Superman" has a lot of those cool moments. But it also has an explosive scene that plays so simply and elegantly that it speaks not only of talent but fortuitous happenstance.
The movie is about this guy who is stark raving bonkers. He dresses in bright Hawaiian shirts andTeenage Caveman chinos. This is his "Superman" outfit. Most of the time he is deliriously happy. He spends his days helping people, saving kids, catching purse snatchers, doing what he can to save the planet. He always smiles, remembers people and adores his life.
He has bad moments. He can't always fly because Lex Luthor has exposed him to kryptonite. And he has psychotic breaks. He lives in a condemned building. One morning the wreckers show up. He sees the bulldozers as carnivorous monsters. He fights them.
This fight lands him back in the mental hospital. They treat him. He's heals. The medicate him to at least hold his level of healing. Everyone is certain they are doing the best for him.
"Superman" becomes Mon Suk. Mon Suk shuffles through life. Not happy. Not sad, He simply is. He remembers the trauma that drove him to madness but it is a distant memory that he cannot touch. The drugs see to that.
In his madness Mon Suk was tracking down a beast that lived in the sewers. It turns out the beast was actually a patch of explosive methane gas. It blows.
Mon Suk is a witness to the explosion. Many people are hurt, house and cars catch a fire. The fire engines rushing to the scene get caught up in the explosion. There is no more help coming.
For every person injured there are ten spectators who watch.
Mon Suk watches too and sees that a little five year old girl who was "Superman's" friend is trapped in the fire, trapped on the third floor. And the drugs that keep him calm, that keep him in twilight Monkey by WallColl
Click images for desktop size: "Monkey" by WallColl
allow him to simply watch.
Helpless he turns and walks away, doing that drug induced shuffle, holding his briefcase to his chest. He walks away.
A friend goes to look for him and she finds Mon Suk at a garden hose. He's dousing his head and his clothes. At first she thinks he's gone mad again but then she realizes that he's planning to go into the fire and rescue the girl. I guess you can't kill Superman.
In that moment you realize that sanity does not always mean happiness and that sometimes it takes insanity to save the world. It rushes at you and forces you to identify with Mon Suk. It makes you realize we can all be something more than the rest of the world thinks we can be. Its beautiful and its frightening.

Meditating on movies always brings something out of me. Something I feel is good. Even bad movies can sometimes have that fleeting movement where happenstance has more art than theThe Amazing Collasal Man guys behind or in front of the camera. Moments that encapsulate life and meaning.
I love the movies.

Its been raining for 18 hours now. Hard rain. All the snow has melted and the ground feels like primordial ooze. The dogs all had groomer baths . . . gentle dog and giant dog also got haircuts. My puppy got her nails trimmed. They seem to enjoy ruining the clean look playing in the muck. They make me laugh and it will all wash off eventually.
I'm pretty much over the cold. One odd side effect. I seem to have expended so much energy fighting the cold that I'm irretrievably fatigued. It takes a huge amount of energy just to move.
It's nowhere near the fatigue from leukemia. I just don't like it. I don't like the feeling of wanting to just curl up in a ball and forget the world. The rain and mud makes me not want to take a walk with the dogs. I may have to anyway. Cold rain and mud are better than this feeling.
My friend's cold is still lingering! This worries me more than I'm worried about myself.
She basically had two days off. She had to drive an hour to a meeting (GO GO LITTLE NEW CAR!) and then we had a lot of errands to run but I would have hoped that it would have been a gentle enough time for her to recover more fully.
We picked up our new glasses. Just lenses, used old frames. They help me a lot. Even through the cataract. I have to wear them a couple of weeks to see if my eyes are stable enough to invest in the tinted bifocals I'm supposed to wear outside.

February 19, 2009

Dreams are necessary to life
Anais Nin

Eclipse of Saturn
Click images for desktop size: "Eclipse of Saturn" by Unknown
We were going to get the dogs groomed this weekend but changed plans; we've decided to groom ourselves.A Journey to Mars
I've re-evaluated my stand on the five dollar haircut. I've decided to go as high as SEVEN DOLLARS! You can't put a price on good grooming. Well, I guess you can and that price is seven bucks.
Women's haircuts cost more. I reckon its because they have so much more hair. But I realize its probably not sold by weight or volume. They must charge more because women are notoriously fussy about their looks. I figure my friend's haircut will probably go ten maybe even twelve dollars.
I just hope there's no riot of hair dressers clamouring for our custom when they find out the excessive amount we're willing to spend.
We both went to the eye doctor yesterday. It could have been worse.
The doctor was pretty good. Just looking at the photo's and without reading any medical history could see the effects of chemo and diabetes.
My vision has not degraded as much in the past year as I feared. There's some degradation but not as much as my ailments would normally cause, so I'm doing okay on that score.
There were two hemorrhaged blood vessels in the right eye and four in the left. None of them were major veins or killing hemorrhages.
The cataract in my right eye, the one from a football trauma, is still just there. No real problem. The cataract in my left eye, the one caused and common to chemo is growing. Its gotten so bad thatEl Capitan by Matt Mosher
Click images for desktop size: "El Capitan" by Matt Mosher
the photo of my eye was close to worthless. It blurred the image as badly going in as it did coming out.
I had to get my eyes dilated anyway but now I had to use something "extra" so the doc could get a clear view in my eye for a closer inspection.
Right now the cataract is growing but not yet to the point of surgery. The doc said that these sort of cataracts can change rapidly. I have to keep "an eye" on it . . . Doctors have dog like senses of humour.
She said that I might not ever need the cataract surgery. The implication being that I might not live long enough to need it. The doc got a touch nervous while she tried to rephrase the statement. Explained she's not an oncologist and asked permission to send the info to my regular doctor.The Informer
I appreciate sensitivity, especially when its directed towards me . . . or anyone really.
The only real negative of the whole experience was that my friend had her eye exam first. This gave me the chance to try on every frame they had in the little adjunct optometrist shop.
In those mirrors I was startled at how bad I looked. Homeless, scruffy. I looked haggard, tired but still Fashion And Politics by S4W
Click images: "Fashion And Politics" by S4W
remarkably sexy. It was the main reason I decided to raise my offer for a haircut.
The mirror used to be my best friend.

My friends new car is working out well. She looks cute in it. She looks cute anyway but the new car enhances it better than cosmetic surgery, I think.
Two problems with it. When we got it home from the car lot there was smoke billowing from the left rear wheel! It smelled like terrible. I assumed it was a brake pad burning up, or worse, a wheel bearing. Its hasn't happened since but there's now a bad squeaking coming from the same axle.
The second issue is that the car was advertised as having cruise control. According to the manual cruise control is standard equipment. But there's no cruise control.
I called the car lot. We've got 7 months of warranty. Once again they startled me in a positive way.
I was all armed with my meg adult voice. The one constantly tinged with a hint of disapproval and just three tics left of anger. I meet nothing but pleasantness. They said we could bring it in and they'd even give us a loaner!!
Emily Dolphin
Click images for desktop size: "Emily Dolphin" by Unknown
Since my friends assistant has a 3 month old brand new Hundayi that had a strange freezing issue and they didn't offer a loaner, this was a big surprise. To take it even further they said we could take it to our own mechanic and if it were a smaller repair he could do it and they'd pay for it!
We took it to our mechanic to pick up the cash from junking the old car. That was sad. My friend had the car from the day it was born and had had i for ten years. He went and looked at the new car, tested it and said it was safe enough for now but to pay attention. (Boy, we sure have a lot of stuff to pay attention to.)

The dogs are fine. They don't even seem upset about not getting baths this weekend . . . They alsoIt Conquered The World approve of the new car. More room for lying down they say. Only my puppy is unsure, but she always hates anything new.
My friend had to go the "The Big City" about 100 miles away for a retirement dinner/business meeting. (The car did fine, even coped well with her getting lost and driving the wrong way down a one way street) While I was outside opening the gate for her the dogs started a terrible racket, with my puppy putting up a terrible heart wrenching howl.
When I went in (I was invited to the free food fest!) she clung close to me while the other two ran outside to inspect the gate, certain my friend would realize that my friend had forgotten to take a dog with her. My puppy wouldn't go out with them.
I fell asleep sitting up on the sofa and woke up twenty minutes later with my puppy pressed hard against me, her head resting on my stomach while the giant dog was on the other side with his head on my shoulder. There was no more room on the sofa so gentle dog was wrapped around my feet.
I have no idea why they decided I might abandon them.

February 9, 2009

Always repect anything that runs faster than you do
Anthony Rubino Jr

Vampi by Frank Frazetta
Click images for desktop size: "Vampi" by Frank Frazetta
I need a haircut.
A good five buck haircut. I know they exist.
Bohachi Bushido
When I was a little kid my mother and I would go visit people. Invariably, when it got late, we'd stay the night. This meant I had to sleep on the floor. I liked it. It felt like being someplace special. I never got to sleep on the floor at home so this was an adventure.
The best times were when my uncle would stumble out in the middle of the night and trip over me. My aunt would yell at him and my cousins would all come out to watch the trouble. I craved excitement then the way only a five year old who dreamed of talking helicopters would.
I no longer like sleeping on the floor. Its still exciting. If you find The End of Romance
Click image: "The End of Romance" by Unknown
dogs leaning over you at odd hours of the early morning exciting, anyway.
They like to snuffle me and check on what I'm doing and maybe see if I'm interested in a quick game of catch. Now that my friend is back home they don't insist on sleeping with me, they sort themselves out as usual, but they feel a canine duty to rotate checking up on me. Except my puppy. She comes, looks and then goes to pick out the prime sleeping spot.
My backs getting better, sleeping on the floor does help. My friend, in a simpatico move, tried to sleep on the floor with me one night.
That didn't work out. Especially when I discovered this meant I got about 20% of my pallet and NO covers! It was sweet but I prefer suffering and twisting around in private.
Today the pain is less but more enduring. I figure it was always feeling this way but I didn't notice due to the constant spikes of pain.
I've added two aspirins to my regular meds to, hopefully bring the inflammation down. I don't know if its helping.
The moist heat pad is doing something, I mean more than burning me. It loosens things up enough Eternal Love
Click images for desktop size: "Eternal Love" by Anonymous
to do my exercises. (Mainly squats, lunges, undulating pushups, and crunches.)
I also tried the glucosamine sulfate. I figured it had worked so well on the dogs that it would help, maybe at least reduce the pain in my hands. It seem I should have done more research. In my case that means looking past page 1 on the google searches. You know, after all the adverts.
Seems that people with osteoporosis or people who've gone through chemo-therapy and diabetics should consult with a physician before taking . . .
The only negative side effect I seem to have had was a loosening of my teeth. That doesn't seem to be a normal side effect but was seen in less than 2% of those studied. Sometimes I take being unique too far.The Blob
Today will be spent doing laundry, doing my exercises and taking the dogs for a walk. Won't accomplish much more than that.
Yesterday we took the dogs for a walk. Its coming close to 60! Which mean everything is wet and ugly. There are also great patches of ice in the shade and on packed snow driveways and the like.
There never were any ice storms. I figure ice rain is one of those jokes the locals like to pull on tourists and new comers.
The dogs didn't knock me down at all! My friend was with me. They were behaving so well so that she'll be a witness for them at the trial after they murder me. "I'm sure the dogs weren't responsible. They're so well behaved. Look, they heel so beautifully and never ever pull on the leash!"
Its a sad day when dogs become as devious as cats.
My friend went to work today. Her assistant came and picked her up. I think that was very nice. Her assistant bought her puppy along. He'd just been fixed and had his dew claws removed. Being a puppy he was still cranked and excited. I liked him immensely. When she goes to Aruba we may get to take care of him. I only hope my dogs don't infect him with their murderous intents towards me.

Spam has become a problem again. Blocking the IP's seems to be the only quick solution. The email spam just bugs me. My puppy's email address seems to be the focus of dating sites! I get all the viagra ads and fake watch spam.
Click images for desktop size: "Tracks" by Sarrongbom
The comment spam is effectively blocks by Movable Type.
The junk that comes here is just silly. The stuff that comes to my puppy's site is discouraging and horrifying. Bestiality and one Child Porn spam. The Child Porn one I forwarded to all the cops I could think of. (I used to be a Pete Townshend fan until he got busted with a computer full of child porn. This was about the same time Gary Glitter and Jonathan King were in court for the same thing. Glitter and King went to prison. Townshend's story was that he was doing research on a book . . . never heard another thing about Townshend. Glitter and King; you got to sell more albums, I guess. I don't listen to Townshend anymore.)
One thing I'm considering is a robot.txt file to stop some of the bots that crawl the site. It would stop google , yahoo and the legitimate ones easily enough. It would have to be pretty strict to stopCalendar Pin Up Girls the spam bots, and then would have minimal effect and none at all on the more aggressive ones.
I don't have advertising so search engine visitors are pretty meaningless to me. Most of them I don't know. They just come to "harvest" the graphics. I don't care about that. I'm glad that people appreciate them. I hope as much as I do.
But google still sometimes lets old friends find the site. And like, there was the David Drake book I was agonizing over because I couldn't remember the title. Some nice fellow left a comment telling me the title was most likely "Killer" and he left a link so I could read more about the book. I liked that.
More problematic is my puppies site. I really get sick at the idea of some kid clicking on a link for one of those porn sites. Movable Type has not ever let one through. Small comfort.
90% of the kids who visit her site come from hospitals and about 20% of that from grammar Spider by WallpaperMania
Click images for desktop size: "Spider" by WallpaperMania
schools. But a number of kids still come to the site by doing a search. Popular searches are "Shelby and Blue", "silly dog Shelby", "the great black dog", even, "Shelby and Ben" and my latest favorite, "Shelby the dog who is smarter than David".
Even if they are only 10% or less of the traffic I fret that these kids may be the most in need of looking at pictures of silly dogs.
I guess my internet time today will be spent trying to figure out how to write a proper robot.txt file that might accomplish what I need.

That should leave me enough time to worry about the economy and wonder why Obama thinks the Republicans are interested in bipartisanship. He better get hip.
They and most of the democrats just want to stay rich and get richer. They're all going to take care of their buddies a long time before they worry about us.

February 7, 2009

Start every day with a smile, and get it over with
W.C. Fields

Spirit of the Summit by Charles Leighton
Click images for desktop size: "Spirit of the Summit" by Charles Leighton
I made a dumb mistake Thursday night. My friend got home safely so I was feeling buoyant. I decided to sleep in bed instead of the floor.Blacula
A mistake. Woke up Friday and my back was worse that before. Had to take a 90 minute drive with my friend which aggravated it some. No more rental car after that trip so I enjoyed the ride and enjoyed being with my friend, then paid a small price.
I did discover something interesting. For the first time I felt cold. Like some people can only think about one thing at a time it appears I can only ignore one thing at a time. I could keep my back under control enough to not walk like a freak but to do that I had to let my In the Wake of the Buffalo Hunters by Charles Russell
"In the Wake of the Buffalo Hunters" by Charles Russell
body feel the cold. Interesting, at least to me.
Slept on the floor last night. The giant dog was ecstatic that mr friend had returned home so he stayed with her through the night with only four trips off the bed to snuffle my face. I guess he was worried I might do something interesting and he'd miss it.
My puppy stayed close to me. I think she figured I'd do something stupid. She finally settled on a position where she could keep an eye both on the bedroom and on me. Why this was important when all she did was fall asleep probably has some deep dog logic that I'll never be privy to.
The gentle dog was pretty angry that my friend had gone away and not taken him with her. After his Steve Argyle
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Steve Argyle
initial enthusiastic greeting her spent the rest of the time pointedly ignoring her. Sometimes he would have to go over and nudge her just so that she would see that she was being ignored. No point in ignoring someone you love unless they know they're being ignored.

I spoke to the car lot and explained the situation. I was as honest as you can be with strangers. I was surprised that they had no problem holding the car for the two weeks! Better yet they were going to start doing all the certification the same as if we had the money in hand.
Amazing amount of trust from them, I think. And no word from the bank at all. Bank silence just added somewhat to my tension over this. The Brides of Fu Manchu
Next week my friends assistant is going to give her rides back and forth from work. I worry that the assistant doesn't know what she's gotten into. If she already knows the time and distance then you have to be even more grateful. At least I do.
I'm not considering what ulterior motives any of this could portend. No reason to think like that.

No football this weekend.
The pro bowl hardly counts.

I've stopped using the "Google Search Box" app. The third alpha is a significant improvement but it still doesn't do all I want. Unlike Quicksilver it still doesn't remember the last app you used. Quicksilver was able to remember the weird abbreviations I used to call up apps and functions, like hb calls Handbrake and ps calls Photoshop.
Star Ball
Click images for desktop size: "Star Ball" by Unknown
The "Google Search Box" still requires I type in most of the name, which is time consuming as "photo" calls up a half dozen apps with Photoshop buried in the middle somewhere. The app does learn that "photo" means I want Photoshop but PS only gives me the option to do an on-line search!
Also the "Google" thing doesn't do append and edit calls like Quicksilver. At least not yet. I'm used to editing with Quicksilver so that I could call up an html doc and at the same time open Smultron or Komodo to edit it, while using Quicksilver to append at second document to the first.
Very quick and very easy.
The final thing I dislike about all Google apps is it insistence on installing spyware disguised as Updaters. I'm used to deleting that stuff but its tedious. I'm always nervous when an app insists on a THe Blue Dahlia root password to install itself. That's a Windows thing and its stupid. They should give me the option. I resent an application transmitting info without asking me if I want it to. I also see no sense in an app checking hourly to see if it (or its brother apps) can be updated.
All google apps do this. I use as few of them as I can.
I still plan to keep trying out new build of the search box. Its got potential, for sure.
I watched a great old movie. WC Field's "It's A Gift". Its not the best Field's movie by far but it is funny. I laughed out loud a half dozen times. The movie only lasts 65 minutes so it never gets a chance to flag, nor do any of the scenes ever feel rushed.
Its not as awesome as "The Bank Dick" nor as insane as "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break", but it was memorable and leaves you chuckling hours later.

It is supposed to be 40 today with promises of icey rain . . . whoever heard of such a thing? Ice rain? It promises to make this world a very gross, muddy flooded place. All this snow starting to melt and rain and ice . . . I prefer the cold if this is the way they announce spring around here.
So I'm going to the store. Tempting fate, seeing if I can get there and back before the ice torrents fall.
Its what passes for dare deviltry with me now.
I'm taking my puppy. She needs a thrill too.

January 28, 2009

If we were meant to understand life we'd be born dead

Click images for desktop size: "Legs" by Unknown
Its snowing. The drought is over.
Looking forward to shoveling and scooping and having dogs in my way while I do it.
The Bloodstained Butterly
My friend is going to work at home for the rest of the week. She found out yesterday that she has to go out of town for three days next week. The good part is that the company (a not for profit) will pay for the rental car.
Yesterday I made tuna melts on gluten free rye bread for her lunch, (plain ol' tuna salad for me) and then shrimp taco's with chipolite The Waterhole
Click images for desktop size: "The Waterhole" by Unknown
peppers for dinner. They were too hot but I liked them.
Today I have no idea for meals . . . The extent of my menu's usually runs only to days. My normal lunch is stuff she can't or won't eat; popcorn, cereal, macaroni and cheese . . . Now I'll have to think. Not my strongest suit.
Last night we saw the best American dog movie I've seen in a while: "Hotel for Dogs". There's a lot wrong with it. Mainly the script is pure Sid Fields.
Sid fields was a not very successful screenplay writer who needed money so he wrote a book on how to write a screenplay. I don't remember the exact title. The main part of the book that is still dogging the industry was his breakdown of pages - it's like, 1-2 grabber, 3-4 introduction of characters and plot, 80 low point, 85 resolution etc.
Lenbach by Franz Von Hirtenknabe
Click images for desktop size: "Lenbach" by Franz Von Hirtenknabe
An alarming number of producers in the 80's and 90's kept a copy of that breakdown in their desk or pocket. They'd run through a screenplay and order changes based on Field's breakdown. Their logic was movies A, B and C were the top three grossers that year and they all followed the Field's breakdown slavishly ergo if their movie did the same it would also have a shot.
A lot of people unfairly trash Hollywood movies. Field's breakdown actually gives them some footing for their arguments. When computers eventually begin to write the outlines for movies it will probably be Field's breakdown that forms the infrastructure and then they really will all look the same.
Anyway, "Hotel for Dogs" is a kids movie. A brother and sister are orphans living with Kevin Dillon. They're inept foster parents #10, funny and cruel without meaning to be.
The younger brother is something of a Rube Goldberg genius. They have a dog, "Friday" (as usual IThe Beach Girls and the Monster can't remember any of the characters names, just the dogs' names). He creates an elevator so the dog, who they're hiding from the foster parents, can get out of their 3rd floor apartment and back into it on its own volition. Its a crazy cool device using a power drill and a paw activated button. You can tell the props department had a lot of fun building this and the other gadgets.
Through a series of misadventures the kids end up with 6 stray dogs. Fortunately they have also discovered an abandoned hotel. They stash the dogs there. Eventually they have to figure out how to feed and care for the dogs while they are at school. The kid starts to build some incredible devices that automatically feed, bathe, exercise and amuse the dogs. All the devices are doggie activated and they are cooler than the gizmo's Tim Burton dreamt up for "Pee Wee's Big Adventure". Most of the joy of the movie is in seeing these marvelous constructions work. Its tempting to say, "You gotta see the . . . " I won't. If I did there's not much left towards the joy of discovery.
The brother and sister are next joined by the empathetic cute boy, the pudgy girl and the smart alec fat kid who decide to work together and save every stray dog in the city from the villainous dog catchers. (You need a villain but the dog catchers aren't very upsetting, more or less just city employees doing a job they don't much care about, which is chillingly accurate).
The kids end up with about 60 dogs and the devices get even more astounding. Eventually they are discovered. The dogs are all taken to the pound and the bother and sister are sent to different orphanages. (The low point)
Fashion Sex and Food
Click images for desktop size: "Fashion Sex & Food" by Unknown
On the eve of their execution (odd Chidiock Tichbone reference) Friday escaped from the pound. Using that good common sense that only movie dogs are blessed with he reunites the cute boy and the sister, they rescue the younger brother and get pudgy girl and fat smart alec kid together and form a rather credible plan to rescue the dogs! (resolution).
Its pretty amusing stuff actually.
The conclusion of the film could have been, should have been trite. Don Cheadle plays the Social WOrker who saves the day.
If you've seen "Taken" you know that its just a pretty mediocre action/thriller except they have Liam Neeson as the lead. Neeson takes the part seriously and gives the silly tale a weight that most action stars bring through physicality. As in he can't bring the joy or believability of seeing Donnie Yen fly through a glass liquor cabinet but he can make the grim faced father stalking the killers real. While Clint Eastwood made his avengers compelling blankness that tunneled through to faded memories of hard earned happinessThe Chamber Neeson makes his avenging father a deeply etched creature of despair finding solace in duty.
In a similar vein Cheadle brings gravitas to his final resolution. He gives his enunciation a touching genuiness as real as his scenes in "Hotel Rawanda". It works and end the film on a proud note.
The dogs are all pretty wonderful and, for the most part, act like genuine dogs. They're delightful to watch and joyous in their approach to their new lives.
An odd film for me to warmly recommend.
Morning Enough by Blurburger
Click images for desktop size: "Morning Enough" by Blurburger
After the movie my friend made a comment that she didn't think my puppy much liked her. My puppy's breed characteristics tend towards aloofness mixed with goofiness, a strange reserve. They tend to show love and loyalty to one person and to care fervently for their pack, or their herd or their family.
My puppy loves my friend. She doesn't like many people. She loves kids but even then she has to size them up first.
When she was working as a therapy dog part of her rounds were to go from room to room and see if the occupant could benefit from petting a dog. Some people she simply would ignore. On her own property she dislikes strangers until she decides they are alright. She won't be trifled with.
I watched her viscously get in the face of a handyman on the property because he moved to fast The Fly towards me. She didn't bite but she made it clear she would if he got any closer. And this fellow liked dogs!
Unless you have a treat for her. She'll take treats from anyone.
The glucosamine seems to have had a rather rapid effect on the dogs. Gentle dogs limp is hardly apparent. I have to stare at him intently to notice any hint of it. The giant dog is running like a maniac when he's outside, clearly feeling good all over. I'm amazed that this happened so quickly. My hope is that the injury to gentle dog was so minor it didn't take much to correct.
My puppy shows no effect whatsoever . . . she just keeps on being she.
Oh, I've had to clamp down on the images again due to hot linking. Now they'll only appear directly on this site. Somebody linked to a full sized one not even just a thumbnail, on some bulletin board. It used to allow you to put the url to the image in your browser to see it. They used that technique to get around the normal policy. Band width is flying through the roof. I've had to stop that until the bulleting board page moves on.

January 26, 2009

Time is not measured by the passing of years, but by what one does, what one feels and what one achieves
Jawaharlal Nehru

Click images for desktop size: "Jazz" by Unknown
No football this weekend. None.
Why bother with weekends if there's not a feeling of football.Private Hell 36
It gives me time to think. Who needs time to think? What I think about is life and guilt.
Every time there's a tragedy there's a pretty human response to feel like some how you've failed. Like you could have done or didn't do the one thing that could have made things different. Somehow different always feels better.
Maybe its not a human thing. Maybe its a catholic thing, this guilt.
HK Pepnx II
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by HK Pepnx II
But like when the little blind dog died I spent weeks thinking what I could have done to give him more time. When the car died I still keep rolling through my mind what I could have done differently, what I should have done. Even when I conclude that we did what we could there's another possibility.
This doesn't detract from addressing issues. It doesn't bog you down. Maybe Catholics are trained to feel and deal with guilt.
We have found a place that sells cars at a reasonable cost. With a couple that look pretty possible. Used cars but . . .
When you remember that my first 3 cars each cost less than fifty bucks . . . I even got one car that ran until I sold it for a game ball used cars costing over 10 grand kind of freak me.
Some of these cars still have warranty time left so we'll check it out.
For various reasons that reminds me of stupid errands I did with my second car (the first car, a green 52 Pontiac with the amber indian head for a hood ornament [yes, older even than me] the one where I shoe polished the leather upholstery - the car still ran great, especially with my specially Indians Hunting Buffalo by Charles Russel Marion
Click images for desktop size: "Indians Hunting Buffalo" by Charles Marion
designed coat hanger choke, but the smell of the shoe polish got you super sick after about 10 minutes).
I was writing songs so I thought I should check out some poetry. I was driving back from the beach when I saw this book store I'd heard of on the wrong side of the street. I did a you turn and went into Papa Bach's. It was a weird hippie joint. They burned incense which still makes me queasy. They had all these small press books and this line called new directions.
They had this book by William Borroughs. "Naked Lunch". I thought it was "Naked Came a Stranger" which was like this porno book I'd read about in the LA Times. It was supposed to be an "erotic" novel that was written by a different author in each chapter. Being a kid I was most stunned that women had written some of it. I was still convinced that women hated sex and only endured it with a huge amount of cajoling and pleading. The idea of women writing porn was jaw dropping.Rape Squad
I figured in this hippie shop they'd sell porn even to a grossly underaged kid. So I grabbed "Naked Lunch" (thinking it was "Naked Came a Stranger", how many books could there be with naked in the title anyway) grabbed a mess of small press poetry and New Directions books (to conceal my real intention was the purpose) and stood there, a fifteen year old surfer in baggies ready to make my purchase.
I went to school that day and spent the whole day reading "Naked Lunch" in class. I didn't care if it was the wrong book. It had plenty of porn, but all the wrong sort. It was the fact I found it funny, mystifying and well, at that time my world consisted of the beach, football, clubs, school and avoiding my step father.
"Naked Lunch" was about places I never imagined could be, about people I didn't seriously think existed. I thought it was great.
After reading it through twice in a day I loaned it to my friend Tom. He thought it was crazy but liked some of the funny bits. We began having conversations straight from the book, talking in that weird broken metier of drug addicts and William Burroughs. Our favorite joke became, "I am the Great Slashtubitch and I can tell you fake the orgasm by the way you wiggle your big toe!" I have no idea why we thought it was funny except in some sort of Bevis and Butthead way.
Pretty soon we'd infected the entire football team with the book. About 80 high school kids roaming the halls reciting chunks of "Naked Lunch" to each other was not something I figure the Board of Education would have approved of.
Click images for desktop size: "Anime" by Unknown
There was an Assistant Principal at school. He was in charge of discipline. That meant he was the guy who gave you detention and called your parents if you were absent or parked your car in the wrong spot or if your muffler was too loud. He carried a hunk of celluloid in his pocket so he could measure your hair to make sure it didn't cover more than 1 and 1/2 inches of your collar . . . Catholic School.
Thing is, he dug the job, the power we guessed.
His name was close enough to one of the "Naked Lunch" characters, the Sollibees, that we all took to calling him Mr Sollibee (The sollibees were creatures who lived underneath tavern bars, they poked their heads out through holes in the bar to "service" customers while they drank. The name fit our attitude towards him perfectly. Soon the whole school was calling him Mr Sollibee. I don't think he ever twigged as to why we were all suddenly mispronouncing his name. None of the other teachers did either. At least we never caught any of them laughing.
Because that book was such a hit I checked out the other things I'd picked up that day. I wasRide The Pink Horse amazed. Kenneth Patchen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso. Beat poets.
None of them helped me write any songs but they led me to believe that poets were the next Superman. I read how Corso used to read his poetry to a simple bongo accompaniment, which still sounds totally cool to me. And Kenneth Patchen explained the movies in his head and made them sound cooler than "The Great Escape" and "A Fistful of Dollars" combined.
I rally thought these were the guys who had powers "far beyond those of mortal men". I doubt if they helped me write better lyrics . . . (look for me babe but I ain't there; could hardly stand improvement . . . ) but I felt these guys understood parts of the world that I sensed were out there but had never seen. I thought that they had the map to something important. Something important to me and to the world and that it was a power they had, power louder than my Fender amp. I liked them, adored them and didn't want to be Jeanne D'Arc by Michael Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "Jeanne D'Arc" by Michael Parkes
like them but I wanted to know what they knew even while I thought it was impossible.
Their effect on me was that I lead the conference in yards and touchdowns that season.
For the first time in my life I wanted to go someplace that wasn't in California.

Its been cold here. But we seem to be in the middle of a snow drought. There's enough snow on the ground to keep everything pretty and the constant snow means the dogs and I have got solid paths wending through the yard. Great paths that lead no where but are easy to follow.
The giant dog has suddenly decided he won't go outside without me. I have no idea why. His attitude hasn't changed and when we go out together he gets full on dog play crazy. Bears watching.The Shining
A couple of weeks ago the gentle dog went to work with my friend. He got so excited he leapt in the air and landed, slipping on the ice. Lately we've noticed that he starts to limp every time he first gets up from sleeping or just lying around. Its not a bad limp and it vanished pretty quickly. He has no tenderness in his legs and no change in his attitude. Walking him is still like walking a kite. So I worry. Today started to give each of them 500 mg of Glucosamine to lubricate their joints. Reports as events warrant.
Of course my puppy still loves me and I love her.

January 22, 2009

No one needs your love like I do
Gene Pitney

Five O'Clock in Orksland by Mathias Kollros
Click images for desktop size: "Five O'Clock in Orksland" by Mathias Kollros
I've been so obsessed with the Great Car Trauma of 2009 and my friends difficult time at work (no problems, just excessive work) that I've lost sight of the other things I've been doing.Leave Her to Heaven
I made dog treats.
They finally decided that they love dehydrated sweet potato. My puppy loves dried apple. No surprise there, she love plain apple and will beg fiercely when I'm eating one. The gentle dog and the giant dog are more reserved about the dried apple. They only want it when my puppy is still happily eating hers. That figures. They are dogs as well as being my friends and family.
I like making things for the dogs. Not just out of love but because I am always worried about commercial dog food.
Today the Chinese government announced they had sentenced three Dogss by S4W
Click images for desktop size: "Dogs" by S4W
people to death for the use of melamine in baby formula that led directly to an undisclosed mount of infant deaths.
I just hope that its the right three people. I'm opposed to the death penalty but I guess murdering a few hundred kids justifies it as much as Ted Bundy's death.
I just hope its the right three people and not just 3 schmoes who were following orders from some highly placed party official or some rich businessman. They may have learned that from capitalism, protect the rich who kill for negligent profit.
Because all the American food producers used melamine (a deadly plastic additive that increases the measured protein level of foods when mixed in) to save about 10 cents a bag on their over priced premium food and then suffered no legal penalties for cheating us and killing animals. They made them take the poison food back . . . if it were unopened.
American Flag
Click images for desktop size: "American Flag" by Unknown
Can't feel too badly about that, after all we also cleared Union Carbide for killing nearly 4,000 in India because it Union Carbide was too cheap to install required safety equipment. Poison gas clouds or saving 10,000 bucks. To the corporate guys theirs no value to human lives, but 10,000 bucks that like a good months wage.
Its an old story which is why I'm nervous about prepared foods. I used a small factory to make my puppy's food to spec. Here the pet shop makes their own special blend. I feel slightly more secure.
Making my/their own dog treats makes me feel safer. So, its a selfish thing, because, trust me, the dogs don't much care.
My thumbs have gotten worse. Last night I had to figure out how to open the door with my elbows. Perseverance pays. Took me about 5 minutes. I can't open most jars.Jail Bait
Odd thing is that this morning my right thumb feels much better and the left feels much worse than the right one ever did. This just goes to confirm my self diagnoses of more neuropathic damage. Livable no that I'm certain what it is.
The pain in my thumbs has one benefit. I don't like living on pain killers even if the only ones I'll take are ibuprofen. I usually wait to long to take them only succumbing when the pain gets unendurable. Oddly I can never time it to figure out when to take them to avoid those episodes.
The thumbs start to hurt about half an hour before the big pain comes. So if I take the pills when the thumbs start to ache (and its a very endurable pain) I avoid those blind flashes. It is almost worth it.
The only real problem is in guitar playing. I use my left thumb to mute strings when I play certain chords. This makes that kind of impossible. It just means that I have to execute my right hand with a lot more accuracy. Since I've always been a pretty sloppy player in that sense (Mess and finesse) its energy that exercises new muscles.
My left hand is getting stronger and more precise. I'm pleased by that. I was afraid that the muscles wouldn't respond to exercise and would just atrophy. Its coming along fine. My biggest problems seem to be some of the more extravagant minor chords (which I adore) and some of the crazed 7ths (which I can play around by leaving out a couple of string. Who'd notice?)
I've also been rearranging the living room. Not so much rearranging it as tacking down wires and trying to hide them as well as I can. Its hard hammering.
Joan of Ark (Orleans) By Yasushi Nirasawa
Click images for desktop size: "Joan of Ark (Orleans)" by Yasushi Nirasawa
I do get to move all the furniture and unleash the roomba of dirt war upon it. The roomba still fascinates me. If I'm not careful I end up staring at it while it does its work, which sort of defeats the purpose of a vacuuming robot. I'm glad I'm not the only one who this happens to; a lot people comment on it.
So there's just a light dusty snow this morning. None since I shoveled out the driveway so no forced interaction with jerk neighbors. That's a good thing.
No luck on finding the ideal car. (Affordable) My friend just wants her old car back. Maybe that will be the way to go. She commented on the fact that the rental is causing her some pain in her arms.
The cat has not defecated in the house for a couple of days. This is another good thing.
My friend has decided that the cat is afraid of me. I could only wish. This morning it came and sat on my foot and yelled at me to let her out. Stupid cat.Killer Tongue
Haven't seen any decent movies. The Oscar nominations are boring as hell. Even the foreign flics are dull. Danny Boyle getting nominated makes me want to weep. He stinks and "Slum Dog Millionaire" was dull silliness to me.
I always thought Aronofsky's movies were pretentious tripe. "The Wrestler" came off like a low budget less ambitoius "Raging Bull". Mickey Rourke was pretty outstanding. I thought Marisa Tomei was incredible and pretty nice to look at. . .
I did find a copy of a film I haven't seen since it first came out "Truffaut's" La Nuit Americaine". I'm semi-afraid to watch it. This movie, as much as Cocteau and Steve McQueen probably made me go for the grad degree in Cinema. I mean, I remember watching this movie about making a movie and thinking, "This is what I need to do!" instead of taking a career I could make a living at . . . I'm afraid the movie will rightly stink and I'll stare at it and wonder about my own level of sanity then and now. Like running into an old girlfriend on the street it exposes you Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Luis Royo
to more risk of ridicule than pleasure. I'll probably still watch it.
Also it seems we're in one of those fallow periods where there seems to be no new music to interest me. Bruce Springsteen doesn't interest me at all. Which at least gives me the chance to justifylistening to my old stuff.
I like that fine.
ecto, the app I use to layout this site, has sort of stagnated since the developer guy sold it to the big software company. Its still buggy but does what it does well enough to justify hassling with it. I was having a huge problem with it. It was just like taking forever to load. Figured out it was the attachment.plst file. Because there's so many attachments that file had grown for about 8k to 14 megs. The app insisted on writing and reading that file each time it was loaded and each time I added a picture. I just dumped the file. No ill effects after three days and it runs nice and smoothly again.
A bug I don't expect to see fixed.
Most people who use Mac's know about Quicksilver. A nifty little app for launching apps, docs, Louisiana Hussyediting, its kind of remarkable. And its free!
The guy who developed Quicksilver has dumped the project. He's made it open source but thus far no one seems to have taken it up.
He left Quicksilver for a paying gig with Google. I'm glad he's making money. He's developing a Quicksilver replacement for them called "Google Search Box". It works pretty well and its also free. Well, free only in the sense you don't have to pay for it.
The search box is dead ugly. Disappointing after the several elegant interfaces you could pick and chose with Quicksilver. Here you can only chose the color of the box. Not any color you want but select from 4. And you have to look at the stupid google logo.
One of its "benefits" is that it searches not only your hard drive but checks the internet as well, mostly launching the browser and the google search. It also launches the app associated with the document when you pull one of those up.
Its buggy, although the 2nd alpha fixes the most annoying things. Its got a long way to go. I'm trying to ignore Quicksilver and use it. Its hard as Quicksilver require no thought from me. Its an app that learns from you as you work so it is always snappy. Google Search Box isn't there yet at all, but maybe.
And that is all. Time to take my fit dogs for their fit walk.

January 15, 2009

Even though we have chosen to live at the crossroads of hell we suffer for it everyday
Kazuo Koike

Backyard Fashion
Click images for desktop size: "Backyard Fashions" by Unknown
I've decided that the pain in my thumbs is neuropathic.
The only logic I have for this is that the pain has metamorphosed into some of the past neuropathic pains I've had. It reminds me most of the left shoulder.Creature From The Black Lagoon
The left shoulder started in a similar way, annoying pain that slowly became excruciating and managed to hide its intent.
I remember that I was driving and raised my arm to wave to someone on the sidewalk. I nearly plowed into an over pass buttress because I was suddenly convulsed with black vision pain. Nine Dragons Wall at Datong
Click image: "9 Dragon Wall at Datong" by Unknown
I really don't know how close I came to the buttress. I couldn't see it.
After wards I noticed that if I raised my arm at more than a 90 degree angle from my body the pain was intense and blinding. That was my first discovery of neuropathic pain. Its one of the side effects they don't really explain to some of the chemo-therapies. Weird thing is that the pain is based in the nerve damage but its so pervasive it effects the muscles as well.
I went on a self prescribed physical therapy. Later at a regular doctor's appointment they prescribed the same exercises I was already doing but added a couple of new ones so it didn't feel like a wasted time.
It took about a year for me to get completely rid of the pain, or at least bring it to a low enough level to ignore it.
I think the thumb is worse. For one thing its the first time I've not had the pain on my left side. But even though the pain is localized to a much smaller part of my body it was relatively easy to sort of remember not to suddenly raise my left arm over my shoulder. Its hard to remember not to use my right hand to open doors, answer phones and stuff.
Horror by Poze Horor
Click images for desktop size: "Horror" by Poze Horor
I'm going to try and figure out a series of exercises to bring the pain down.
Oddly, except for occasional stabs of pain, the guitar playing is going well . . . I keep working on new songs. Have even taken some tunes and put new words to them. I like that, even if the only "audience" reaction has been, "I've never heard that one before" and "That's not how it goes, is it?" At least they're listening.
Its been very cold here these past few days. It semi-worries me that I can ignore cold so well. The dogs and I went out for an hour or so yesterday. No ill effects at all.
The only worry about this is that I might ignore something that's doing me damage. I've done it in the past. Just another thing to be careful about.
In the intense cold I'm a little bit concerned that I haven't seen the skanky cat for three days. With the light snow it would have been easy to see its footprints. I hope its okay and hasn't frozen to death or something.Cry of the Banshee
I really hope I never see skanky cat again but I don't want it dead or hurt someplace. I want it to be with someone who thinks its beautiful and not skanky at all, who feeds and strokes it and keeps it warm and save.
Maybe I'll see it run across the street or something and it will be all sleek and fat and will probably ignore me. Cats are like that.
My puppy's aunt has suggested that the stupid cat is defecating in the house because its ill.
I don't think so. It's stool is very healthy. I've certainly had to examine enough of it.
We have to keep the cats food and litter box behind a gate to keep the dogs from rooting around. Now all three dogs really hate the stupid cat. Which is odd because the other cat, who died, they never had a problem with at all, not even when it would come and stand on my shoulder to steal some popcorn. They'd even let the other cat sleep against them with no real Sex and Fashion by S4W
Click images for desktop size: "Sex And Fashion" by S4W
reaction. Nor did they freak out when the other cat would butt in and start eating their food. But they hate the stupid cat.
I've watched enough to see that it provokes them quite a bit, sometimes harmlessly but sometimes pretty maliciously. Which is another justification for calling it the stupid cat.
The giant dog in particular takes offense to the stupid cat. When he sees it he'll follow it. He also likes to lie in front of the gate that protects its food and litter box. I'd suspect that the stupid cat doesn't see the need for using the litter box and just goes where its convenient for it. I've watched it swat the giant dog and leap over it to get to its food. I'd figure it doesn't see any sense to use that sort of effort to use the toilet.
The latest version of Handbrake, the app I use to back-up DVD's, has a new pre-set for AppleTV. Its based on CRF (Constant Quality) instead of being based on bit rate. It works extremely well, Darkest Africa1936Bat-Men of Joba.jpg producing better looking files at up to 60% the size! The only drawback to it is that it takes about 30% longer to do so.
Like a two pass H264 encode at 2500 average bit rate with 5.1 sound and ACC stereo would come in at about 2.5 gigs and take about 3 and a half hours to encode.
With the new preset the same movie comes in at about 1.5 gig but took about 6 hours to encode. The smaller file looked BETTER than the larger file. Highly impressive.
I don't have a video iPod but I'd suspect similar results.
Oh, last night there was a huge crash boom bam. Startled me and got the dogs excited. Seems the neighbor backed his trailer into his house! My friend thought that was pretty funny. Since there was not any real damage, thinking about it, she's right; it was.
For the first time he didn't block us out of our house! Probably serendipity and not courtesy. Still, for whatever reason it made me feel better.
In LA there were always some weird guys who kept three revolving cars: The one they drove, the one they were working on and the one they were trying to sell . . . I have no idea why this guy has 5 vehicles for himself. If he were a regular guy I'd ask. It might be educational. Since they have a total value of about $1,400 bucks maybe its 401k hedge . . .
Which is unfair and nasty to think but the rest of today will be spent figuring out the best approach to bureaucrats who have more in common with stupid cats than they do with human beings and coping with my cold. I woke up with the cold at its worst stages. I've got Vitamin C and throat lozenges. So I'm entitled.

January 14, 2009

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change

Conference At Night by Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: "Conference At Night" by Edward Hopper
Its cold today. Minus 14! In Centigrade that's a scary sounding -26!
Its not that bad.
I was in in minus 17 once. In Chicago. Back there for my grandmothers funeral years ago. Cold might be lucky for me.The Call of Cthulhu
We had a rental car. Some kind of Ford. I was zipping along some side street avoiding traffic on the Dan Ryan. I was wondering why nobody else was using the street. I was zipping along at a nice 50! When suddenly there was no more road. There were no signs or anything just suddenly no street, just air.
I don't know how far I flew but I landed in the middle of an empty construction site. The car kept running so DC Comics
Click image: "DC Comics"
I managed to find an exit. In the rear view mirror I saw that there was about a six foot drop. There should at least been a "DIP" sign, I thought.
Astonishingly the car had no damage, not even a shimmy. I turned the car back to the agency and said nothing. I decided American made cars were alright for some things.
But the bigger bit of unbelievable luck was that we decided to change our flight plans and stay a few more days.
The flight we originally had reservations on was the one the American Airlines plane that crashed at the end of the runway, killing all aboard. It was strange. I never was that close to a tragedy that large.
It hit in a different way. Prior to that the big tragedies were always distant. Like my friend Jake who went to a party and sat with his girlfriend on his lap, took out a gun and shot himself in the head. No one knew why. I wasn't there. It was only a story like on TV.
Or when my friend Terry and I were out at Manhattan Beach Pier. It was 12 foot and started to look makable. He jumped off the pier with his board (a way of avoiding the nasty swim through the breakers and foamy white water) and I never saw him again. I dived in after him but couldn't find a Audrey Hepburn
Click images for desktop size: "Audrey Hepburn" by Unknown
trace of him. Not even his board.
The breakers pushed me to shore and I ran and managed to flag down a lifeguard truck. They found Terry's body three days later. For three days I thought he'd show up at school and laugh at me for chasing after him. I figured he'd only pretended to jump in and had swung under the pier in some way and was enjoying my panic.
I'd rather be the butt of one of his pranks. I was 14.
Watching the news story spaced me in a way I couldn't grasp. Terry was a tragedy that scars. This was monumental. Two hundred people dead and we'd have been there if someone hadn't asked us to stay two more days to see a show. If American had charged a fee for changing flight plans we probably wouldn't have paid it. And we'd have taken that short flight.City After Midnight
The enormity of it made me think only of my own welfare. That's the way those big things go. We have to bring it down to just us our the mind explodes imaging the shattered bodies and the shattered lives of the families.
Which is why I sort of understand why George Bush's greatest disappointment isn't the thousands of young American lives lost in the war but his disappointment was in not landing his plane in New Orleans. How could you live thinking you'd had a hand in killing all those thousands of people. It nearly killed Abraham Lincoln before John Wilkes Booth did it for him.
So I can understand how Bush can block it out of his mind. Its what I would do.
How stupid are we as a country that we allowed a guy who is no better than me to boss us.
How hard is it to say, "My deepest regret of my time in office is the American men and women who died in defense of our country, who died protecting liberty around the world, who sacrificed all they Banana At Rest by Blurburger
Click images for desktop size: "Banana At Rest" by Blurburger
had so that we could live free."
It wouldn't have been hard unless he and all of his dozens of staff really didn't care in the slightest. Don't even care enough about our dead to have the decency to lie and pretend to care.
I think its fine that I don't have the depth to consider things like, "If only I'd turned right instead of left I could have avoided hitting that school bus." Cool for me, but not for any responsible person. Used to be the president was the most responsible guy on earth.
I still like the cold. The dogs are invigorated. We're going to take a walk today and see how long we can stand it.

Still the same issues with the neighbors. I was taking the garbage out and saw him. I said, in my most pleasantly neutral voice, "Hey. How you doing?" And he flat out blanked me.
Maybe he's deaf. Maybe he has aspergers syndrome ( a mild form of autism) or most likely he's a stone jerk.CONFESSIONS OF AN OPIUM EATER.jpg
Its a good thing we're not in LA. As most of you know a guy blanking you like that all these times usually means you have to blank him back and, oh yeah, carry a gun as he surely means you harm.
This isn't LA and I don't like the idea of prison is what I was thinking as I watched him use his snow blower to blow snow over the fence into our yard and driveway. When I watched him park his truck and block our driveway I decided that we'll buy a "DO NOT BLOCK DRIVEWAY" sign. That'll show him I mean business.
I still like their dog. I still miss our old neighbor and her dogs. Ditto for our dogs.
Forgetting the jerky new neighbors I hope the old neighbors are doing well.

The dogs are now eating the dehydrated sweet potatoes and apples and enjoying them. I'm pleased. But now I'll have to make more. Which is better than them eating cat feces. The stupid cat has decided that its litter box is not sufficient and has at 8 years of age decided to use various boxes and corners around the house . . .

A few enquiries asking about the "Lone Wolf and Cub" saga. The story that reads like a legend but started as a comic book. Maybe I'll detail more about it.

January 6, 2009

It was the first female-style revolution: no violence and we all went shopping
Gloria Steinem

Song of the Angels by Bouguereau
Click images for desktop size: "Song of the Angels" by Bouguereau
We have a thermometer that reads in both Fahrenheit and Centigrade. I don't like the metric system much. My fault. Not the systems.Vertigo
With metric I spend all my time calculating and converting distances in my head. Since its my head I often end up with some pretty odd results, like the back yard would be two miles long.
But I think I like centigrade although I think it woefully imprecise. I do like it to explain how cold it is. Minus fifteen is much closer to how cold it feels to me. Five degrees sounds like I'm complaining Sparkle Girl by Evegeny
Click image for desktop size: "Sparkle Girl" by Evegeny
about nothing. But minus fifteen! Well, that makes it sound manly even to dare to venture outside!
Perception is always better than reality.

I am now the official master of dishwasher repair. We've done six loads and while the dishwasher doesn't work any better than it did before it stopped cleaning the dishes it certainly doesn't do them worse. More to the point there's no weird grinding or explosions or leaks.
I feel I deserve the right to call myself the master. This means that I can go to your house and if your having problems with your dishwasher you have to endure hours of pointless elliptical advice. And if you're foolish enough to attempt a repair in my presence that means I have the right to lean over your shoulder and spout instructions that have little to do with the situation and when its all finished I get to take credit for its success and get to say, "well, if you'd done it like I told you it Supergirl
Click images for desktop size: "Supergirl" by DC Comics
would have been fine!"
Just one of the infinite pleasures of being a guy.

The guitar playing is going well. No one seems to appreciate it but me. Its frustrating because I'm not playing with anything like my old style and speed. I did a good version of "Your So Young and Beautiful" for my friends birthday and I was happy with my articulate playing.
What's odd is that my left hand is hurting far less than I anticipated. Its stiff and strength is slow in coming. But its my right hand that's giving me fits. It feels like my right thumb is dislocated. Yesterday I even had a hard time grasping the door knob to get back in the house. Finally had to do it left handed.
It makes keeping the baseline going on some of the fingerpicking numbers excruciating. Double picking is impossible as are glissandos. But the odd thing is I can do a near perfect rondo.This Island Earth
Rondo's are those strums that most people know from flamenco music. Its the strum where you lead with your index finger and then follow with the other fingers. It makes a sweet full sound and gives a sort of malicious arpeggio when used in pop stuff. (Super cool on electric guitars.) What's odd is that my rondos are better now then when I was playing near full time. Some sort of body compensation for having no thumb?

I heard from a good friend in London yesterday. That always pleases me. What makes it worth mentioning is that out of nowhere he is suddenly writing to me in text speak! In Europe text messaging is much more prevalent than it is here. Doctor's confirm appointments via text messages! (Stupid that I know so much about doctor's office). Aside from the kids texting each other non-stop like it was a private twitter account business use them constantly.
The City of a Thousand Minarets by Waelsaad
Click image: "The City of a Thousand Minarets" by Waelsaad
What made this notable was that my friend started his message with "glad to read u are". U? Instead of you? U?
This is the way civilization crumbles.

We got through the day okay. I must have missed my friend more than I admitted to myself. After the dogs finished trying to kill me on our long walk (ninety minutes, would have been longer but the three of them were too excited to behave. The gentle dog spent over an hour biting me and flying around at shoulder height. The giant dog kept bounding at me and trying to fly at my head height. While my puppy spent the entire walk in her military posture: the task is to get there and then go home!) my puppy stared at me for a while and then went to get a toy that she pressed hard against my leg.
We played some. Her entire play mode reminded me of something. I just got an email that The Walking Dead reminded me of what.
There's nothing more tragic to me than the death of a child. One of my puppy's "patients" succumbed to leukemia after Christmas. He was 12 years old.
His mother sent me a pained but charming note thanking my puppy for the brief happiness she bought to her son. She remembered how desolate the kid felt in the hospital and she recalled in vivid detail how my puppy did her therapy dog rounds, how she poked her head into her son's room and doctored him with a lick on the nose.
The kid didn't come out and play with my puppy and the other kids very often but his mom recalls how my puppy would always make it a point to come in with whatever toy she was playing with, often a roll of toilet paper and press it into his hand, poking him until he played with her.
The kid followed her web site. He often got exasperated with her but he always wrote to her explaining his exasperation.
I'm proud of my little puppy. As proud of her that she was able to figure out something was wrong and felt like trying to do something about it.
It saddens me for a kid to die. It makes me wonder why I've been spared when a child was not.

December 30, 2008

The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits
Albert Einstein

Lost in the Fun
Click images for desktop size: "Lost in the Fun" by Unknown
Today is my friends birthday. I think she celebrated it a day early by staying in bed the whole day and reading a mystery suspense thriller book from a series she's interested in. Michael Connelly, I think.Coconuts
She also made Tomato Rice Soup from scratch. Rah.
For her I think that is a perfect day.
Today their are chores. One of them ugly in a nice way. Emissions check on her car then down to the DMV to renew her license plates for 2009. We also have to pick up some odds and ends for the growing list of house repairs.
Yesterday the side fence blew over!
Blue Fountain by Maxfield Parrish
Click image: "Blue Fountain" by Maxfield Parrish
The giant dog, of course for it is he that has the ultimate hold on gooniness in this world, escaped. We called the gentle dog and my puppy in. They came with no problem and calmly went about their business. We wondered where the giant dog was and then heard him crying.
He figured out how to escape and was upset that we hadn't come to rescue him as he had no clue how to return the same way he left.
So he was officially rescued and I had to do an emergency repair on the fence. I used to 4 inch logs as struts, logs from an old busted up "primitive" wood bench and the arms from an another outdoor chair for braces. It held well enough.
When I went to check it last night the struts had sunk about an inch into the ground. Their were 30 mph winds and their constant buffeting was more effective them my manly hammering at setting the things.
I need to add more braces today and set the already installed ones. I'm thinking about adding a metal connector between the two fence posts. (They abut as the damage was done at an By Marek Okon
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Marek Okon
unused and forgotten gate). I need to check the soundness of the wood as I fear the heavy winds, which I guess aren't uncommon here, will just rip out the screws and do more damage instead of securing it. There were a lot of limbs blown down and two roof tiles so the damage wasn't too bad. The giant dog was fine after his trauma. I'm still a little bit concerned as to why the other two didn't make a fuss to let us know that the giant dog was in trouble.
Then there's the start/completion of the dishwasher repair. My instincts say that the repair were doing is necessary but isn't the final solution.
We'll have to see.
I watched two interesting movies last night. One is a semi-guilty pleasure - The final installment ofThe Creeping Unknown the Chambara, "Sleepy Eyes of Death". Sleepy Eyes is a ronin who was conceived during a black mass! His mother was a victim, not a willing participant and she was raped by a Dutch devil worshipper. After giving birth she kills herself, not via seppuku or hari kari but with the scary method of stabbing herself in the throat.
Sleepy Eyes, half caste and bitter is the most cynical ronin in movies. A deadly swordsman he hates everything and almost everyone. Almost because he doesn't really think of anyone but himself. He does not practice bushido he lives by his own moral code.
This final episode is very much worth seeing. Light gory entertainment with some decent samurai sword fights and surprisingly touching denouements.
The other film is a real oddity. A Vietnamese flic called "The Rebel". It stars Johnny Nyguen. He was the lead fighter bad guy in "Tom Yum Gum". In "The Rebel" he stars, wrote , produces and does the Mac Tag Girl by Lumac
Click images for desktop size: "Mac Tag Girl" by Lumac
fight choreography. His brother directs and other family members are all over the place.
I've seen a few Vietnamese films and wasn't very impressed. This one has excellent cinematography, a decent score and good acting. The fights are impressive enough.
Vietnamese fighting techniques are very brutal. They were meant to win and not to impress. They function by whittling your opponent down to size by breaking a finger and then a wrist and then an arm etc. They toned down some of the brutality but still made a nice high flying balletic style of its more cinematic techniques.
The film was intended for international distribution. That seems certain. Viet Nam is a country whose entire history is of it repelling invaders.
The film is set in the late 1920's when France was the conquering force. It seems apparent that Dawn of the Dead France is standing in for the United States. But putting the USA as the villain would cramp sales. Their are parallels between Mai Lai and Lt. Calley etc.
The vision from the view of the conquered is fascinating. The business as usual of the French is scary and sickening. Statements made by the French mine manager while he whips his slave labor about accepting his "white man's burden" are properly revolting.
The movie goes for an epic feel. WIth its nice period work and extensive battle scenes it succeeds. The final battle is very pleasing.
The only drawback is the lead's abrupt shifts in loyalty. Its easy to accept but causes some concern after the fact.
Still this movie gets a good recommendation from me for a different type of fighting and for its fascinating world view from the prospective of the Vietnamese.
I think Johnny Nyguen will make even better films in the future.
So its time to start my day and figure out how a broke guy can give a celiac with too many chores a happy birthday . . .

December 19, 2008

The best way to predict the future is to create it
Peter Drucker

Colorfast by Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: "Colorfast" by Richard Mohler
We got the stickers to label the doggie treat Christmas presents. They're bigger than I expected. If I'd known I'd have written what the treats are on them. Out Of the Past
I have this fear that a) People will think I'm a loon (which they will anyway) and think I mean to harm their dogs or b) in these hard times that I'm giving out free samples of a product I want to sell.
I want them to just see that somebody else cares about their dogs and enjoys them as we walk around the neighborhood. I can't control people's perceptions.
I sealed up three bags using the vacuum sealer thing. It was cool Christmas Card
Click image: "Merry Christmas 2008" by S4W
and easy. Kind of fun too. I liked watching all the air get sucked out and the bags crinkling hard to the shapes of the dried veggies. It was aesthetically pleasing to me.
The big snow is expected today.
I hope its really big. So far this morning there's just a light dusting on the ground.
Yesterday I shoveled the yard in preparation for the big storm. I discovered its easier to do that then to just wait and let it all pile up.
I keep the dogs out there with me while I do the shoveling. They seem to enjoy standing on the ground I just shoveled and then getting in my way as I continue. Its their game and they're laughing.
I saw the gentle dog suddenly bolt past me. I watched him, amused at his speed and intensity while Snowshoeing by Steven Stradhee
Click images for desktop size: "Snowshoeing" by Steven Stradhee
I wondered what he was chasing. There's an abandoned bomb shelter in the back yard! Not an A-Bomb shelter, which would be very cool, but a plywood walled bunker sort of thing. Its collapsed but still has the shape of a room about 8 feet below the caved in roof. The roof has been used for years to toss fallen branches and other yard debris. It looks pretty natural, a part of the terrain.
As I watched the gentle dog scooted over the roof of the bomb shelter and disappeared. I went back to shoveling for a bit then realized the gentle dog hadn't reappeared and my puppy was agitated.
I went over to the shelter and was surprised that the gentle dog had followed whatever he wasNight of the Demon chasing down into the shelter and was now stuck!
It wasn't a big problem to drop down besides him. I lifted him up and pushed him out through the hole in the roof.
In my haste to rescue him I neglected to calculate my own escape.
I thought about it for a second and tried to do an old rock climbing style "mantle". Its where you grab the ledge above your head pull yourself up to where you can rest your forearm on the surface and then lever yourself up.
Pretty simple.
Except my hands would not grasp the wood. Since I've started to play the guitar again I notice that aside from the pain and the cramping finger style playing has left my right thumb feeling jammed and dislocated. My recent falling downs has also left my wrist weak.
Christmas Matrioshka
Click image: "Russian Christmas Matrioshka" by Unknown
I tried a couple more times, trying different techniques. All I managed to do was to break off some chunks of dusty ceiling.
There's still a door on the shelter so I tried that. Most people probably would have thought of trying the door first . . . but I have pride in wanting to exit the same way I entered. Pride is often confused with stupidity. Besides it was dark down there and I really hadn't thought of it.
The door was solidly jammed and throwing my weight against it only made the shelter vibrate in an uncomfortable way and I had a flash of me being buried alive under plywood and yard debris.
More worrisome was that my puppy and the giant dog decided that all my banging around was a sure sign that I was having a world of fun and they were threatening to come down and join me. Planet of the Apes (Czech) They kept poking their noses through the hole. Giant dog was play growling at me trying to make me let him join in the fun.
I yelled at them to sit. I was surprised that they both did.
I remembered I had my cell phone in my pocket, which is more common sensical than usual for me. I've often watched old movies where all the tension from a scene or a chase could have been solved if the hero just had a cell phone in his pocket.
Christmas Cheer
"Christmas Cheer" by Unknown
I thought for a bit about calling 911 but I figured they'd probably have to break down the gate to get into the yard and, that just didn't seem worth it.
I was also wondering what the gentle dog was chasing. I hadn't heard anything rustling down there. I sometimes smell a heavy musk in the backyard. Rather skunky but not quite the skunk smell I know. I'd decided it must be wolverines! It didn't matter that I'd been told that there weren't any wolverines around here, that they're several hundred miles further north, I enjoyed thinking that there's a semi-dangerous animal lurking in my backyard.
At this time I also figured that all my banging around would have seriously hacked off any skulking wolverines who would have gone by my jugular by now. I figured it was most likely that the gentle Dragon Lady
Click images for desktop size: "Dragon Lady" by Unknown
dog was chasing the "stupid cat".
I also found it interesting that it seemed several degrees cooler in the bomb shelter. For some reason my lack of subterranean knowledge made me think it would be warmer, which is stupid and against all my experience but I still fondly cherish the notion that just 10 feet below the surface the earth is filled with pools of magma that house great fire resistant dinosaurs.
I finally figured out that I could hang from the roof and do a sort of chimney move against one slick wall and sort of scramble out that way. It took about 10 minutes for me to get to a position where I could grab something and try and pull myself out.Red Dust
The first time I grabbed a branch which wasn't attached to anything and fell back into the shelter. The next time i just madly flailed at the dirt until I was able to roll myself onto solider ground. Of course the dogs all had to rush over and smell me.
I checked the gentle dog over and decided he had no bumps, contusions or abrasions. He was a bit nervous about the hole but still eager to bite me.
I finished my shoveling, went in and made us a frozen pizza I'd gotten on sale. The dogs and me love our frozen pizza, except they always want more than their share. I think they think the same thing about me.
We watched the Colts Jaguars game on TV. It was better than I anticipated. It was sadly moving seeing Richard Collier come onto the field in his wheel chair.
My friend was working late, in preparation for the two weeks off and anticipating that the big snow Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Luis Royo
would stop her from going into work today. So I went to bed alone.
Not quite alone. Usually my puppy lies on the bed until my presence annoys her. Tonight the gentle dog nudged her aside and lie next to me. Nose to nose. I love dogs but I don't like doggie kisses or them licking me at all. I also don't like doggie breath. He moved further down, turned around and pressed hard against me and stayed there until my friend got home. Then he went to greet here by stepping on my face. So everything is back to normal.

A few people have written to me complaining that the song version the downloaded wasn't the one that I claimed it would be! I realize that when I ftp'd a song with the same name to the server I was overwriting the old version! I'll get that fixed.
Here's Jan and Dean doing a little "Merry Christmas promo". I like these little messages inserted Santa Claus Conquers the Martians into my playlists.
Shonen Knife aren't the only Japanese girl band to celebrate the holidays, this is The 5 6 7 8's doing "Rock N' Roll Santa". Cute stuff with a nice cutting edge.
Soupy Sales has a son named Tony. Tony started out with a band called Tony and the Tigers. Soupy used all of his influence to promote his son's band. Eventually Tony would marry Tyrone Powers' daughter, Taryn, and then form Tin Machine and be David Bowie's band for a lot of years. That's how it goes in Hollywood. None of which has anything to do with this CHristmas track by Soupy himself. "Santa Claus Is Surfin' To Town" has been blamed for everything from causing the cold war to increasing the percentage of American youth experimenting with drugs. The drug part is serious! It's just a gooney Christmas record that I like fine.
It is certainly no crazier than Ray Steven's scary "Santa Claus Is Watching You" especially in this post 9/11 anti-American tyranny.
And we'll end with two tracks designed to ruin forever your memory of Clement Moore's poem. Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns crazed version of "Twas The Night Before Christmas" rolls along in madness that seems absolute until . . .
Now we all know who Henry Rollins is. The founder of Black Flag, the the paramour of Lydia Lunch. Those shows . . .I mean, they were nothing except Lydia screeching on stage while Rollins would jump into the crowd and punch out hecklers! Iceman by Marvel
Click images for desktop size: "Iceman" by Marvel Comics
And a few hundred people would PAY to experience this! While Van Halen and Metallica where down the street PAYING the club owners to get to play Lunch and Rollins were making money doing this poetry reading thing. YOW!
Rollins was cool. I could even accept him taking parts in movies. It wasn't until he hosted that awful TV game show that I realized the beautiful angry young man was dead and all that was left was a guy who wanted to make a living. Once again I bring up the Eskimo tradition of sending their greatest heroes out on ice floes to die lest they live on and destroy the legend. Henry Rollins doing a Christmas tune is insane, that his radical hep cat be bop reading of "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" even exists is a Christmas miracle that is a quiet blessing. Scare the kids with this one while you just groove daddio.
Finally a band called The Priestess and the Fool have released a new Christmas album and left it up for FREE DOWNLOADING. Rah! Merry Christmas. The music is okay. They do an interesting cover of the Pogues "Fairytale of New York". Click the bands name to get it. Classy package 192 kb mp3's, cover art and pdf booklet. I approve.

December 18, 2008

I was just thinking I'd like to get back to before
Adam Faith

Violet Diva
Click images for desktop size: "Violet Diva" by Unknown
The carrot dehydrating scheme seemed to go okay. The dried carrots are not as popular with the dogs as the dried sweet potatoes.
That's okay. They provide a lot of color. They dry a nice fiery orange. They'll look cute in the littleInvasion of the Body Snatchers vacuum sealed pouches.
This has suddenly become important. My new Christmas tradition of passing out treats to the neighborhood dogs has grown from 3 to 10. And probably counting.
I have to have two of them ready for tomorrow. That might be three ready by tomorrow.
I also have to design a tag, a sticker to put on the treats so that when I fling these on the neighbor's porch they won't think I'm defiling their homes with wrinkled up garbage . . .
Christmas by Cole Phillips
Click image: "Christmas" by Cole Phillips
I'm going to try to dehydrate regular Idaho potatoes today. The dogs love french fries so this might work. The sweet potatoes are pricey. I was surprised that the 6 we used cost 12 bucks! Rah!
That's made me scale back on my dreams of fat goodie bags for all the pooches.
I'm glad for the project though. Christmas always seems better with insane projects and looming deadlines. Its part of the fun. Isn't it?
Yesterday was frustrating in small ways. There was some stuff I wanted to do but I had to wait for the Christmas delivery all day. Someone told me that the delivery was scheduled for between 7 AM and 1:00 PM. I called at 1:00 and was told it was between 12:00 and 5:00. Then the delivery guys called about 4:00 and said their truck got caught in the snow. They showed up about 6:00.
It went well enough. I'm happy with the delivery, so far. I was surprised that the two delivery guys were Jamaican. The shock being that they'd leave Kingston for this frigid, snowy winter landscape. They talked to me about Christmas in Jamaica but never Winter Shades by Mizz Fonky
Click images for desktop size: "Winter Shades" by Mizz Fonky
explained what dragged them all the way north.
While waiting for them I ended up talking to the guy who owns the little apartment building next door. It was a harmless small talk. I was surprised because the guy is only a few years older than me but looks much older. I'm used to that, but he talked to me as if he were even older than that, as if he were over 90 and waiting for death to creep in and grab him at any moment.
Maybe he was just having a bad day. He told me had three kids and got them all the same Christmas present, to avoid squabbling. He got them each a turkey deep fryer.
I'd always thought of deep fried turkey as a Southern dish. He said he'd had it once and thought it Battle Vixens was delicious. He wanted to share that delicious memory with his kids. Then he got worried about whether that was enough of a present.
I told him I thought it was. Even if they didn't react on the day sometime later they'd give it a try and be stoked and remember him and what he was trying to do.
Click image: "Xmas" by WallColl
We ended up with him giving me so snow shoveling tips and advice on how to get the two snow blowers, that I avoid, up and running.
Ended the day by watching a Japanese film, "Rockers". It was pretty enjoyable. I got a copy that some guys I know put English subtitles on. Its a comedy about a a band from Hakata looking to make it big and go pro in Tokyo. There were a lot of jokes about communication in Japan. The kids from Hakata having a hard time being understood by the rest of Japan because of the accents and dialects. Something I never expected.
The music is all Japanese post punk. I liked it.
There's about 9 bands showcased in the flic. One of them had a very cool female brass section! The movie itself forces every conceivable rags to riches musician story into its 90 minutes. All amusing and, at times, oddly exciting.
Warmly recommended for Christmas viewing.

Rushing to get caught up, so todays Christmas music is sort of a hodgepodge. All very cool but hastily thrown together.
Merry Christmas 2008 by S4W
Click images for desktop size: "Merry Christmas 2008" by S4W
I don't imagine anyone expected Joe Pesci, yes, that Joe Pesci from "Raging Bull". The guy who asked, "So you think I'm funny? You think I'm here to amuse you?" in "Goodfellows" would record a Christmas song. If you did you're sicker than I am and we should meet for coffee. I cant speak to the quality of the song the mere fact that Joe Pesci recorded "If It Doesn't Snow On Christmas" is enough for me and should be for you too.
Up there in the I don't believe it is The Mighty Mighty BossTones did "This Time Of Year". A Christmas tune from the kings of punk ska? YOW!
One day maybe I'll understand the fascination that the Scandinavians have with the Beatles and with Christmas, to the point that they have to combine the two. Not only is there the Fab Four but there is also this Danish band Rubber Band here doing "Mary's Boy Child" in a poppy Beatles The Mummy's Hand style. Even the album cover is a take off on the Beatle's "Help" here featuring the four in Father Christmas costumes.
Les Paul was so cool they had to make a special guitar for him. Check out the cool country jazz stylings in his chilled out "White Christmas" he really makes the point that everyone else is over reaching.
And we'll wrap it up with The Pete Currey Orchestra doing "Drums for Christmas". One thing I hope we agree on is that you can never have too many drum breaks no matter what time of year!

December 15, 2008

Don't let the fear of striking out hold you back
Babe Ruth

Football Pin up by Al Moore
Click images for desktop size: "Football Pin Up" by Al Moore
The giant dog is feeling better. Much better.
In fact I don't think he recalls a second of how ill he was. This was reinforced after he woke me at The Day the Earth Stood Still 4:30 to go outside. His urgency wasn't related to anything internal. The rain had started and the sound of rain on the ice made him think the house was being stalked by thousands of dangerous kittens.
It was raining so hard the cat that lives here decided to come inside with the dogs.
So he's fine. I will probably collapse sometime today from lack of sleep. Can't afford to do that. Too much to do today.
Spent yesterday watching some pretty poor excuses for football Christmas Tree
Click image: "Christmas Tree" by Unknown
games, seeing Pete Carroll on "Sixty Minutes" (I was impressed with him. Very impressed.) And falling downstairs.
I'd been searching for two movies - the Japanese "Dog Star" DVD, which is very cool movie about a dog who dies. Because he led such a great dog life he's allowed a request. He returns to earth as a human being shape so he can be close again to his female mistress, so he can tell her how much he loved being her dog.
The other movie was "Bobby of Greyfriar", a Disney flic. I don't much care for Disney movies. Not sure why. Perhaps its the consistent stable of directors and cinematographers. For whatever reason I find Disney flics as appealing as McDonalds.
Finally sorted through the stacks and found them. Actually I didn't, my friend did. What I managed to find were some live Stevie Ray Vaughn DVD's which I'd semi-forgotten about.
After sorting through the disks I decided to move them downstairs, to make room under my desk. Since I'm converting everything to H264 they've become more of a back up than a watching media.
I was carrying about 200 of them down the stairs when I slipped on the steps. I was falling and Brocal by Remohi
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Brocal Remohi
trying to catch the movies as I slid down the stairs.
I wasn't hurt much. The disks didn't do well. About 4 of them just split or cracked. Lucky for me these were all movies I had good back up of already. I'm nervous about the others. The basement is not a clean room and concrete skidding plastic is pretty short lived.
There was nothing "vital" in the disks, no last copy extant of the missing footage from "It's A Wonderful Life" where George Bailey throttles Uncle Billy and then sends Zazu out to sell matches on the street corner. But stuff I enjoyed having.
Maybe its all fine. I remember when CD's first game out. One of the approved selling methods was to throw a disk on the floor and then watch the salesman tread on it, pick it up and have it play Destroy All Monsters perfectly. Why did I believe that?
The only other noteworthy event was that the couple that adopted one of my puppy's foster dogs, and whom I'm fond of, STILL HAVE NOT HAD THEIR BABY!
One of my puppy's litter mates is scheduled to have her first litter at almost the exact same time. This is more strain on me than is fair!
My friend wants to start new Christmas traditions. Private traditions . . . Barring a last minute invite from her parents we're going to go to the Chinese buffet for Christmas dinner. I like that for far too many reasons.
The unambiguous ones are that they'll have turkey! With Chinese stuffing? And dog bacon! And neither my friend or I have ever gotten sick there! Has me stoked. I'm working on a better way to line the plastic in my inner jacket pockets to load up on serious dog treats.
The other tradition we should start is to get a dehydrator. While shopping she saw a bag of sweet potato dog treats for $16.00! The plan is to dehydrate a mess of sweet potatoes and then to leave them Christmas eve at the door steps of all of our neighborhood dog friends!
I like that tradition a lot!
The final new tradition is that she should change her birthdate to whenever I arbitrarily decide it should be. I never remember things like that especially when your birthday is after Christmas and Not for Sale
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas is Not for Sale" by Unknown
before the New Years. This year I've decided her birthday is on Boxing Day. Since she won't, or can't, contradict me. It stays and is official.

Doo wop is maybe the purest urban music. Four or five guys hanging around a street corner singing some of the hits off of the radio, learning how to apply church modal harmonies with gospel emotion to a pop ethos.
Doo wop was the streets. There were black bands, white bands and Hispanic doo wop groups, just people raising their voices in song from New York to LA they thrived and made some sounds that are now pure standards. In the pre civil rights days its remarkable that there were several integrated doo wop groups. The odd part is that they recorded and toured with no big fan fare or any particular notice being taken.Dr Jekyll and Mister Hyde
One of the most successful doo wop groups were the Temptations. They got so big that they stopped being thought of a a doo wop vocal band and were seen as the vanguard of the MoTown sound. They recorded what is possibly the definitive doo wop Christmas record with their stellar version of "Silent Night". The only complaint is that it might be too slick and over produced and lack the spontaneous bite that makes vocal music great.
The song builds from the doo wop sound pioneered by that ultra slick and smiling cool of the Platters. The Platters were definitely alright even if they were more geared towards night clubs than flat bed truck stages. Their version of "Silent Night, Holy Night" is worth a listen and carries its own chilly warmth to it.
The Orioles "(It's Gonna Be A) Lonely Christmas" is closer to the roots and has a rough primitive feel that suits the holidays well. While The Cadillacs "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" is nicely ebullient and totally secular reminder of Christmas being fun.
southern group with the awesome moniker The Harmony Grits do a cool version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" that threatens to, but never quite explodes in your face.
The Four Seasons were a 60's hit machine, with pretty good reason. They did a pretty forgettable Christmas album that had a few decent moments, on of them was their pure urban version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".Vaughn Bode
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Vaughn Bode
While the Harmony grits version reeks of the delta and road side diners the Four Season's version smell of Philadelphia and Gimbels Christmas Parades. Good stuff.
One of the great innovators in doo wop was Dion of The Belmonts. Dion DiMucci reinvented himself nearly as often as Madonna. But he followed a musical line not simply fashion. Presently the "King of the New York Streets" is playing acoustic country blues! Its listenable stuff. When Dion was with the Belmonts they never really did any Christmas stuff. I don't think you can talk doo wop without talking about Dion, so here's one his his later tracks, doing that cool Phil Spectre song The Evil Dead "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)". Its more rock than doo wop but it still sounds nice Christmas week.
Doo wop still hasn't died. It continues in a lot of styles and samples. One of the strangest are the large 80's looking acapella groups. Rockapella got famous by doing the title song for some PBS kids show, "Where In the World is Carmen San Diego" . . . they also did a pretty lamentable Christmas album. The track, "Silver Bells" is inoffensive and lilts as nicely as any song ever taken from a Bob Hope movie . . .

December 12, 2008

By laughing at me, the audience really laughs at themselves, and realizing they have done this gives them sort of a spiritual second wind for going back into the battles of life
Emmett Kelley

Virtual Goth Girl
Click images for desktop size: "Virtual Goth Girl" by Unknown
Its snowing now.
The better to camouflage the ice.
Yesterday I only had the giant dog and my puppy to look after. My friend took the gentle dog toAlone In the Dark work with her. Personally I think that being able to take your dog to work is the best perk going and is an opportunity that should be exploited until someone says stop! And then only stopped if the person has sufficient authority to make life difficult.
The giant dog and my puppy both enjoyed the extra attention. We went for an aimless walk. I didn't fall down at all. I had several crazed arm waving, windmilling moments, much to the dogs amusement, but never really fell, much to the dogs disappointment.
I love my dogs. I had a realization that I'm not very concerned about Christmas Cold Winter
Click image: "Cold Christmas Winter" by Unknown
what people think of me but I am worried about what people think of my dogs. I want them to be loved. I think everyone should see the beauty in them that I see.
As you know I'm not very lacking in self confidence or self esteem so I find it odd that I choose to fret over strangers liking the things I love. The only similar feeling is when I was a teenager and it seemed very important that everyone hear and love the new record I'd found. Not my music but a great song I thought was going to save the world.
Another day with not much accomplished. It was fine for all of that. I didn't fall asleep and the biggest trauma was running out of ibuprofen.
I watched the Saints - Bears game. I was disappointed in the result. It really looked like neither team deserves to be in the playoffs. The Saints defense played as stoutly as they are capable but Whale by Vlad Studios
Click images for desktop size: "Whale" by Vlad Design Studios
for a non-stud receiver like Hester to make the secondary look that poor is inexcusable. Even though the Saints are depleted its up to the coach to come up with a scheme to handle that sort of situation.
The Bears defense looked sporadic, occasionally brilliant but usually just bland. Brian Uralcher, Bear's middle linebacker, is one of my favorite players. He's highly entertaining to watch and does some nice unheralded things for kids from his old neighborhood. He was just dull last night. He made a couple of good plays but nothing spectacular. Michael Jordan knew you had to be spectacular every night.
My friend was upset because the Bears designed their field specifically to thwart Reggie Bush. Hard to explain that's one of the rules that defines Home Field Advantage.Christmas Carnival
And I still hate games decided by two last second field goals.
I watched the latest Benny Chan movie, "Connected". Benny Chan is Jackie Chan's son. He's done some promising things but has never really propelled me over the top. "Connected" is just okay. I was surprised to discover its a remake of a turgid American thriller, "Cellular"!
I can understand seeing a bad movie and coming away inspired with the ideas of what you could do with it. A lot of great art has been made that way. But "Cellular" wasn't bad it was just dull.
Adding lots of cool stunts and destruction aren't what's needed to improve the thing.
The Chinese actors are more inspiring than their American counterparts, especially Louis Koo who took a ridiculous part and made it nearly believable. The cinematography was very good. Nice bright primary colors tousled with soft pastels. When you're noticing the cinematography you know the film isn't too gripping.

Back in the 60's surf music discovered Christmas tunes. The coolest part about these records was the album art. Cute girls in Santa Bikinis!
It started with the Ventures. The Ventures have always bugged me. They were proficient musicians but they were never innovators but they were and remain the pre-eminent surf guitar band. I have no idea why. They played Mosrite guitars. Mosrites made some of the most impeccable necks and Sharon Stone
Click images for desktop size: "Sharon Stone"
frets going but their guitar sound was an odd pastiche of Fender twang and Gibson sustain.
Anyway, I guess the big innovation they came up with was to take popular tunes, play a few bars and then segue into an okay version of Christmas tune. Like here, in "Christmas Joy". They make nice muzak which is cool at Christmas.
They made a tradition that continues with stuff like "Jingle Bell Rock" by Surfin' Santa with the Meshugga Beach Party and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" done by Los Straitjackets.
These two versions at least offer some savage playing.
Its no surprise that The Trashmen offer up the best of this weird sub=genre with "Greensleeves" which is as smoking as you can get with "What Child Is This".The Beast From Haunted Cave
A group that's never really done it for me, although they try really hard, is The Untamed. A newish retro punk thrash garage punk outfit. They get into a Jan & Dean thing and try to take the surf into the right place with "Santa's Gonna Shut 'Em Down". It is decidedly okay!
More effective, to me anyway, or at least funnier is the Taildraggers reworking of the classic "Grodes" tune, "Lets Talk About Girls" and transforming it into "Lets Talk About Claus". The joke might be too obscure but that's the way I like them.
Tomorrow we start to decorate the house for Christmas. It excites my puppy. It excites me. Just bringing out our little disco tree gives us a Christmas rush. Unfortunately decorating implies cleaning the house.
I guess I've just outlined the rest of the day . . .
No college football tomorrow. How sad for me.

December 10, 2008

Light is good. It lets us see the world we live in
Tsiu Hark

Tangents by M Prado
Click images for desktop size: "Tangents" by M Prado
Can't sleep.
Some pain and discomfort but mainly just the blackness of the world oozing out of the sewers.
The Brain that Wouldn't Die Everybody's got a right to be happy. Don't they?
It really bugs me that there is so much bad going on, companies closing their doors and stiffing their long time employees out of pay checks while we allow the guys with the padlocks to pay themselves then help them go back into business under another name.
Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Luis Royo
I think it was always this way. I don't think there's a time in modern history where the working man controlled his own fate and destiny. Where you could work hard and be fairly rewarded.
I had friends who parents seemed rich. They had money because they lived in the same house for 30 years, kept the same job and lived on about the same money in 1988 that they lived on in 1958. They saved the rest to send their kids to school and to have enough to take some vacations when it was time to retire.
The Forest
Click images for desktop size: "The Forest" by Unknown
Then Reagan destroyed the unions and Bush destroyed the economy and the environment and here we stand, scared confused and bewildered.
I had a good day yesterday. My friend stayed in to work from home and to take me on a couple of errands. I like having her around.
It made the day pleasant even though the weather was atrocious. After 18 degree days 40 seems balmy. There was about 4 inches of snow during the night then there was a steady rain all day. The ground is mud and slush. It is all going to freeze today. Its going to be low 30's and then hit 16 tonight.
There was some good/bad news at her work place. Her assistant had been MIA on Monday. Worried and concerned there. My friend's assistant finally got in touch with her yesterday. She developed a The Gore Gore Girls severe kidney infection. She sent her assistant home from the office.
Talking about that we got into a small discussion about how she has fears about her boss leaving. She believes that things have never gone well for her when a new boss has come in.
I can think of two fairly recent instances where I can see the root of her fears. I don't buy it as a legitimate fear but you can't ever tell people what they feel or make them feel any differently. I don't like her being afraid of anything.
I guess the good news is her assistant wasn't more seriously hurt . . .
The giant dog and I watched a movie last night. The giant dog is a fan of "Law and Order" repeats. I watched a few episodes of the show originally because it had Michael Moriarity and Paul Sorvino in it, then they got in the great Jerry Orbach.
I don't live a life conducive to watching shows regularly but with all the steady stream of repeats it seems near impossible not to watch "Law and Order" almost anytime.
The giant dog recognizes the theme music to the show and when he hears it he gets into the love seat and waits. He'll stare at the TV for a while until his attention drifts but he gets riveted and excited as soon as he hears San Wannamaker's (Jack McCoy's) voice. He stays glued until he stops talking but waits a bit before drifting away.
Last night I watched the Sam Fuller movie "White Dog".
Christmas Handicrafts
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas Handicrafts" by Unknown
Sam Fuller is very high up in my pantheontology. The man makes manic movies that rule. My favorite quote from him was, "Blood is not the color of ketchup."
Fuller had a crime reporter's eye for nuance and detail and an unflinching eye. He worked in melodramatic frame works to lull the viewer into simple acceptance then upended the world with garish flashes of reality.
Fuller's world was full of tough people, people with goals and obsessions. His movies like "Forty Guns" and "The Naked Kiss" gave us women who were soft and feminine but every bit as tough as a man.
His characters all had a central ambiguity as they struggle to achieve their goals while trying to be the person they see in the mirror. Most of the time this is impossible.Tobor The Great
When "White Dog" was first in production there was a strong buzz about the movie. It was based on an article written by Romain Gary, a Hollywood writer married to waif actress Jean Seberg ("Breathless" is her legend making role.) After the story was published he took a lot of flac and heat. Racists in particular claimed he made the whole thing up.
It was a supposedly true story about his wife's finding a "white dog". A dog that was trained from birth to kill blacks.
The first time I'd heard of this was in Louis Lamour's "Hondo" where Hondo explains to a boy that his constant companion dog has been trained to smell and hate Indians. Hondo trained him by paying Indians with bottles of whisky to come in and beat the pup with a stick every day from the time it was a puppy. Lamour some how portrayed this as a cagey good thing to do . . .
In Gary's story white racists would by black wino's or junkies to do the same thing to raise a dog Don't Fret by Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Don't Fret" by Lawn Elf
that fears and then sees its fear turn to hatred. A dog only sees in black and white so its mental unbalancing is an easy thing to do.
Fuller was always very pro-civil rights and a dog lover. This seemed like a fascinating potentially great film.
Then the studio's refused to release it. After Ralph Bakshi's disastrous "Coon Skin" they feared a major racist back lash.
I can't see it in the movie, but I'm not black. I know a lot of people don't understand why I sometimes flinch at the Frito Bandito or cringe at some of Speedy Gonzaleze's relatives. When your ethnic group only has Alphonso Bedoya, Ricky Ricardo and Freddie Prinze as media role models I can see being touchy.
Thanks to the efforts of a few people in LA the famous and dead Z channel showed the film one time. A lot of people came over to the house and we watched it and we were all pretty disappointed The Maltese Falcon for different reasons.
Last night was the first time I'd seen the movie since 1982. Its been given the Criterion treatment. They're doing a good job of getting Fuller's movies out there.
The DVD looks good. The movie isn't as disappointing as I remembered. There were signs of what could have thrown me into a tail spin.
First the cast Kristy McNicol in the Jean Seberg role. Kristy McNicol was a little actress who got hot for a while because she was on some dufus TV show I watched once and hated. McNicol is no Jean Seberg, who was a fascinating character in her own right. McNicol's performance is bland and stick figure like. There are jarring moments, like when she comes on all 80's disco and Fiorucci and more than a few times she is sitting in scenes looking like a bland hunk of white bread trying to decide if its time to slowly turn moldy, but the performance is bland enough to not distract even though it adds nothing to the story.
Burl Ives does a yeoman's job as the animal training center owner. The surprise was Paul Winfield. He gives a bravura performance as the black genius who is committed in a Dr Frankenstein way to "curing" the "white dog".
Its turns out to be a decent but not great movie.
Five dogs played the central character who is a loving but mentally unbalanced animal. Fuller insisted that the Humane Society be present on the film. The dog actors were the best I've seen in an American film. There was no tail wagging as they killed, they moved with lithe power and it was a grim reminder that the sweet creatures who love us have jaws capable of breaking bones, that they can attack with a cruel punishing power.
I was glad to know about the Humane supervision. I know Fuller to be a dog lover but I always remember that Luis Bunel filmed the beautiful curtsey of a mule by having someone off camera shoot the mule in the head with a rifle! I have problems with art achieved for whatever purpose by using inhuman means.
Giant dog disagrees with me. He thought it was the greatest movie he's ever seen. He sat with me Petlovers by S4W
Click images for desktop size: "Pet Lovers" by S4W
on the love seat and was riveted from beginning to end. He watched intently through out. His expression changed he stood up, he whined and snarled at scenes.
He clearly was not "seeing" the same movie I was. I think his version was better.
He got positively joyous when the "White Dog" escaped from his kennel and ran around the animal compound. Giant dog was ecstatic as the dog ran past elephants and chimpanzees and figured out how to leap over an electric fence.
He whimpered when the dog crashed against the bars of his kennel in an attempt to kill Paul Winfield. And smiled at me when the dog finally calmed down enough to take the cheeseburger from Winfield's outstretched hand.
And he was especially rapt when the "White Dog" chased down Richard Roundtree, chased him through the doors of a church and savaged the man. That made me a little nervous when after theVaran the Unbelievable scene Giant Dog looked at me and smiled, panting slightly. (Maybe I should be nicer to him.)
There was one excellent scene: the "White Dog" has escaped and is prowling the garbage cans for something to eat when a black child comes outside to play. The dog starts to pad towards it and there's real suspense that he'll see the child. The suspense is doubled when the child's mother comes out into the street and scolds the child to come back indoors.
Giant dog raised up during this scene. He was reacting. I think he was watching a different movie than me for sure. I was watching a movie about a good animal transformed and warped by the illogical hatred of men into something that seemed cruel and hurt. He was watching a movie about a dog running around and scaring other animals and getting cheeseburgers for beating up people!
I really have to make a point of being nicer to him. Last night he refused to get off the bed so I Wet Back could lie down!
I think this is a sign that I have to decide just how good of a friends are we?
(That was a joke. We're very good friends and he'd never hurt anyone . . . unless a cheeseburger was in the offing . . . wait, no that's my puppy who'd sell me out for a cheeseburger!!)
I have no idea what, if anything, I'll get accomplished today. That's what bothers me the most about these white nights. What they mean to the day.
I promised some Christmas music. One thing to understand is that when you're in a working band the prime gigs are always New Year's Eve and Christmas week.
A bar or a club Christmas week is a different place. If you're lucky it will be filled with people who just got into town to see their families and are looking to hook up with friends they haven't seen since summer. They're filled with good humor and good will. Then there are the quiet and desperate for whom the holidays only serve to remind them of lonliness and loss. Then there's the hustlers, they are always out and we all know what they're after.
In the band you have to entertain them all and you better have a couple of Christmas songs on the play list or it will become a lost gig.
You need a song that will enchance the good will of the happy, cleanse the mood of the depressed and it better have a rocking beat so the hustlers can dance with their prey.
These are three semi-klazziks.
The Trashmen have always defined teen genius to me. Teen genius is that ability to catch a mood without having a clue as to where it come from. To me its no surprise that they came up with the perfect bar Christmas tune, "Dancin' With Santa" is everything you want in a Christmas song. Its easy t imagine five guys stomping this one out on a poorly lit stage.
Three Aces and A Joker have one of the coolest names in rock and roll history. They're remembered only becasue of one song, a cover, but maybe the greatest cover ever. No one knows much about these guys. Who needs to know. Its all right there in this tough rockabilly punk number "Sleigh Bell Rock". If you don't dig this then I really feel sorry for you. You've probably joined the ranks of the walking dead. This little tune will feed your craving for brains.
Buck Owens wasn't always a bit of a fool on bad TV shows. He was the original Bakersfield Cowboy. Smashing Skating
Click images for desktop size: "Smashing Skating" by Smashing Magazine
He earned the right to wear too many rhinestones by playing clubs that really needed chicken wire strung across the stage. Where a bad set would lead to a bunch of oil workers and construction workers laying for the band in the parking lot. A Friday night is a vauable thing to a working man, to valuable for a cruddy band to mess up. I don't think anybody ever punched out Buck Owens. His Country Western Christmas tune is driving, amusing and oh so cool, from Barstow to Austin "Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy" is the tune to lift you up and make you smile while you wrap your kids presents.
Now this Chris Bailey cover of a Buddy Holly song isn't about Christmas, its still the perfect arrangement for a Christmas gig. Its a slow dnce number so people can get close and its so touching This Island Earth and bittersweet it almost makes you want to get dumped so you have a right to feel this oh so touching pain. When Buddy Holly wrote the song it was a bouncy catchy tune. When Chris Bailey sings "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" it becomes a weapon of pain. Near perfect for the revelers to remember the past year, for the lonely to justify their grief ad for the hustlers to exploit.
And isn't that at least part of what Christmas is all about?

December 2, 2008

Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done
Louis Brandis

Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
I think I over did things yesterday.
Happens. Felt good, felt better getting a lot of things done. Nice not to be cowering under a blanket and hurting.
The Day The Earth Stood Still I did laundry and discovered that the cat (the one who decided to use her teeth like a stapler and my arm as a ream of newsletters) had used three corners of the basement as a washroom. The smell was repugnant.
I cleaned that up. When I went down to put clothes in the dryer the smell had abated so I'm hopeful I got it all cleaned up.
I roombaed a few rooms (love the roomba!) and mopped. While the roomba did its thing I took the dogs for a walk. I managed to stay upright the entire time, much to their evil chagrin. I've discovered another quality of snow on our walk.
I'd always assumed that slush was something made by cars running over the pretty slow transforming it into that half frozen gunk. I was Christmas at Night
Click image: "Christmas At Night" by Unknown
surprised to discover that slush could fall from the sky. It came down as stinging snow with a few big flakes thrown in there and ended up on the ground in growing puddles of gray melange.
Still we got to inspect the neighbors already installed Christmas lights. Kind of dull to look at Christmas lights during the day but we enjoyed it. We have some lights here. I'm inspired to string some of them outside. The house isn't in a place where anyone could see them except us. I don't mind that much.
After mopping the floors I shoveled snow. I don't think my technique has improved much from last year. This slushy stuff was heavy, still slick but had the added bonus of being wet enough to sneak inside my shoe. I got the walks and car home shoveled, cleared the drive way in a sloppy way and kept the gates cleared.
Snow: My Friend, My Enemy.
Marylin Monroe
Click images for desktop size: "Marilyn Monroe"
I got some interesting emails yesterday.
The first was from the animal rescue service I used to foster puppies for. I still feel grateful to them for trusting all those great dogs to me. That I got to meet a couple of great people who adopted my dogs was a sweet fringe benefit (one of them, a couple I'm fond of, is having a baby any day now!!).
Early in November they had to send out a message. They were flat broke. They couldn't rescue any more dogs. I find it odd that the city and county still charges a rescue group money for dogs that the government is planning to cruelly murder.
This was distressing. They're in the midst of doing all those crazy desperate fundraising things, selling coupon books and junk like that.Cinderella
Yesterday I got another email from them. The group won a contest to become "America's Best Animal Shelter". Which is sweet in and of itself. I like a few people in the group quite a lot and was pleased for them. The best part was that the title comes with a $10,000 prize! This pleases me most. My best friend in the group already emailed me that this meant at least 1,200 dogs would be rescued! And she already had 20 picked out.
Seems semi-miraculous. I'm counting it a one of my Christmas presents. Over a thousand dogs I no longer have to worry about!
I heard from one of my kids. He asked me "if I minded all the pain".
If you don't know the kid or understand a coach's relationship to his athletes that might seem like an obtuse and even weird question.
This kid, he's a man now but my issue is that I almost always think of them first as kids, had a Tall Building
Click images for desktop size: "Tall Building" by Unknown
rougher time of it then most. He played right tackle for me. He was excellent. Part of our first National Championship team and was an important part of that team.
He was going to get thrown out of school. Not for conduct but because they'd decided this big kid was mentally retarded. This surprised me quite a bit. I didn't think a mentally retarded kid could learn his assignments for me quite so well.
Fortunately for him one of my coaches was dyslexic. He recognized the symptoms and had a similar experience when he was in school.
With the assistance of my friend we were able to get him tested. The kid was dyslexic. We managed to keep him in school. He did so well he got accepted into a pretty prestigious University. He did pretty well there too. Then he was diagnosed with Crohns Disease.
Being the sort of dummy I am I'd never heard of it. I figured something I'd never heard of couldn't