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May 7, 2016

We're moving along

Natural Man by Evegeny
Click images for desktop size: "Natural Man" by Evgeny

We're moving. New Mexico. Still east of I-5.
Still managed to get the last podcast in, the summer and surf-y one. Everyone wants music to drive to the beach on July BIKINI CARWASH.jpg 4th, the official start of summer. Of course, the surfers never really left the beach so this podcast is for sitting in your car and looking at all the people cluttering up your beach, and for consoling yourself that there aren't any good waves out there anyway.
I'm just up here having heart attacks, signing papers I have to struggle to understand and trusting in Huey that the papers mean what I think they do. Then have to fuss about and worry my wife being happy there and how the five dogs are going to function and survive in an alien world. The sun blasted high desert vs the oppressive heat and humidity of the American south. No contest, in my mind, but that's only in my mind.
So we're moving to New Mexico, home of Billy the Kid and the Atom Bomb, land of white sands and Buddy Holly.
I don't know what that legacy has to do with being happy today. I'd take small town happy: A little job, keeping the house in repair, eating comfortable food and laughing. I like laughing and think it's worth quite a bit. There's not much laughter left in a Donald Trump world.
SO this is supposed to be about the music, about a bunch of songs to drive to the beach or to drive from the south to the south west.
Here they are.

Aloha Oe - Blue Wahini Serenaders
Good Morning, Good Morning - Lolas
Summer's Here - Rob Smith
Summer's Here - Shades
Midnight At Pinks - Hal Blaine
We'll Be Back In A Minute (Take 12) - Monkees
Summertime Radio - Surfin' Lungs
Pipeline - Dick Dale
RPM - Sonic Surf City
Summerscool - Montana
Surfin' Kansas City - Lawrence Lange
Twist And Shout - Eliminators
The La La La Song - Astronauts
Girl All The Bad Guys Want - Bowling For Soup
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - Susan And The SurfTones
Aloha Steve And Danno - Radio Birdman
Hot Rod USA - Rip Chords
Summertime Blues - Alan Jackson
Oh Pretty Woman - Roy Loney
For A Few Dollars More - Los Plantronics
Tribute To The Beach Boys - Tokens
Attention! Accident (Sur L'autoroute De L'ouest) - Les Gams
Little Honda (alt) - Beach Boys
Drums A Go-Go (Edit) - Hollywood Persuaders
SS 396 - Paul Revere And The Raiders
My Love Ain't Free - Boss Martians
Be With Me - Yum Yums
Let's Go To The Beach - Slow Slushy Boys
Surfin' USA - Chris White
Let Her Dance - Surf Trio
Banzai Washout - Bitch Boys
Look Whose Laughing Now - Bruce And Terry
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away - Jan And Dean
On A Summer Night - Crash Kelly
Summer's Almost Gone - Doors
The Last Time - Mr Encrypto
End Of The Summer - Lolas
Time Will Tell - Flash Cadillac And The Continental Kids
Chicago 60616 - Kenny And The Kasuals
I Don't Want To Say Goodbye - Scheme

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Cruddy MP3

March 13, 2016

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ

Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown

I don’t like singer/songwriters much at all. I really dislike that singer/songwriter is now a genre. The trademark of the genre is scratchy thin sounding acoustic guitar and a forlorn vocalist who feels that the world has let them down.
Slightly Dangerous Still I like Jesse Malin and Ryan Adams when they do something that isn’t forlorn at least. I’ve never liked the songs that want somebody to save them, someone to come and take control of their life. I prefer the songs where you dance your way out of danger, songs where you rail against the storm and come out planning to win.
Thing is I like the power of acoustic guitars. I love the Everly Brothers in “Bye Bye Love and “Poor Jenny”. Everyone knows that Elvis started with the Martin Dreadnaught.
Mel Bay man, be the life of the party. Ten Days to entertaining your friends and family. Acoustic guitars; Harmony guitars with 2 inch action.
Girls would ask, after hearing you jam it up on an electric guitar, if you could play acoustic guitar. Like they were two different instruments. They’d tell you how dreamy some singer/songwriter was when he played his acoustic guitar . . . Those girls were all pretty cute too . . . maybe I better rethink this singer/songwriter antipathy thing . . .

The Welcome Summer podcast might be a little late. We're moving; wife, five dogs and a pile of stuff are all moving to the SouthWest, back to the SouthWest.

Cool And Crazy 34
Perfect Day (Acoustic Demo) - Lou Reed
Desert Pete - Kingston Trio
Happy Jack (Acoustic) - Who
Tough, Tough, Tough - Andy Anderson
Make You Mine - Chump Change
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away (Party! sessions mix, take 2, session #3) - Beach Boys
Twelve-Thirty - Autoliner
Peggy Sue Got Married - Buddy Holly
Go Your Own Way - Acoustic Hits
Johnny B. Goode - Dion
Don't Worry Baby - Derrick Harris
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - Cat Stevens
Only When I Dream (mono) - Bobby Fuller
The Torch - Dropkick Murphys
After Midnight - Acoustic Burgoo
Two Perfectly Ordinary People - Or - (!!!!) - Nelson Riddle
Black Mountain Side - Dread Zeppelin
Spanish Kiss - Dick Dale
Missfortune - Bram Tchaikovsky
Under The Bridge - Flying Pickets
That's How It Will Be - Troggs
Chupacabra - Black Label Society
Talent Show - Replacements
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - California Guitar Trio
Feelin' Low - Ernie Chaffin
Dragon Lady - Fantastic Baggys
Monterey Jack - Dr Hook And The Medicine Show
Be My Lover - Mojo Nixon
Ain't That Good News - Sam Cooke
Pipeline - Michael Chapdelaine
Paint It Black - Michael Fix
Hotel California - Kings Of Acoustica
Stay the Night (Acoustic) - Green Day
Sunrise - Willie Wisely
I've Waited As Long As I Can - Tony Rice
Gabriella - Tony Joe White
Red River Stomp - Bluefields
'39 - Ingram Hill
We Can Work It Out - Paul McCartney
Rockin' In The Free World (live) - Neil Young

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Creepy comfortable old mp3

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.

September 16, 2012

A trap is only a trap if you don't know about it. If you know about it, it's a challenge.
China Miéville
USC 14 Stanford 21

1950 by Chiriaka
Click images for desktop size: "1950" by Chiriaka
I've been thinking about odd old times. Breakfasts, meeting people, great and not so great people; old housemates and just stuff.
I think it's just my brain trying to convince me of my own mortality.Steam Heat
We all know how it goes: Even though we're sane enough to know we're going to die someday we still act and think like we're immortal. It's normal and the way of it. It's why many of us need religion.
Of course I just keep hurtling on. Unstoppable. Irresistible. Tall.
My wife lost her mother, not a year ago. Now her step-father entered the hospital last night. No handle on what the problem is. Might just be gall stones. They hurt but don't kill.
My wife is going to have to leave me soon; to see him and to get her house on the market. I'll miss her.
She said something to me that was surprising. She's afraid to get a new dog (not because four dogs is too much) but because after my sojourn to the hospital she's afraid I'll die and leave her all alone with no job and incapable of taking care of the puppies we already have.
I've never died before so I have no real idea of what it might feel like. I only know I'm not finished yet. I made a promise and demanded that I live at least 1 day more than my dogs. Life is cruel but not so cruel as to repay my puppies joy with that much lost harshness.
And now it's a promise I have to keep.
My wife has been through too much this last year. I hope she can find enough strength and love to hold on. The pups can give her all the love any person could ever need. I used to have the strength and stubbornness to loan it out without worrying about getting it back, I probably still do.

My first "podcast" seems to have been accepted well. I making another. It's fun.
You can find it now at the podfeed.net and on the iTunes store. You can even get it on all the iPodcast apps and even on AppleTV. I think that's cool.

August 26, 2012

Only the educated are free
Eleanor Roosevelt

The Collousus Of New York
Click images for desktop size: "The Collousus Of New York"
I was in the hospital for 3 days.
I didn't like it.

I went to the hospital because my feet were so swollen and I was having this freaky chest pain, like The Psychic a heartening dizzy spell. The pain on my chest was heavy then it would vanish with a light fluttering that left me spaced and approaching euphoria. I wasn't too sure that this wan't the way that death would signal its approach.
The heavily swollen feet and legs indicated congestive heart failure but all the tests, and there were plenty of tests, showed that I did not have another heart attack. There were four blood tests to back this up.
They took a lot of effort to explain to me each time that they were only taking about half a cup of blood so I needn't worry. About then they realized that my present EKG looked better than my EKG from about 2 years ago. My heart has been healing but still showed about 17% of it was dead, or in medical euphemisms wasn't beating as efficiently as the rest.
They had me all wired up to do a stress test for a sonogram of my heart when they abruptly decided to switch over to nuclear medicine for a more exact picture of my heart.
In nuclear medicine they inject you intravenously with some radioactive isotopes that cling to your heart so they can do a catscan like picture of the thing. They were going to do it twice; once with my heart rested and then another trip to the treadmill to stress test it and me.
But then came the rub. They took me to the bench to do the layered x-rays. When they strapped me in the trouble started. No one but orthopedists take a frozen shoulder veery seriously. They don't relate or even glimmeringly comprehend the intense pain it brings.
My right shoulder feels as if it's dislocated while the shoulder blade feels exactly like a bad separation. I've done them both often enough to be able to dissect the pain. Because of all the Deadly Theory by Hans Bok
Click images for desktop size: "Deadly Theory" by Han Bok
inflammation in the shoulder important nerves and veins and arteries get squished and shut off so it feel alternately as if the arm is going to explode from too much blood coagulating in the hand and arm, to tingling numbness as it falls asleep starving for blood. The muscles in the hand and arm knot of ferociously trying to protect themselves. They do quite a job at that. When I had the frozen shoulder on my left side it was 3 times a week physical therapy for 7 months to get 80% of the use of my left arm back.
The Nuclear Medicine bench os about 1 foot wide. They strapped me to it with 2 1/2" black nylon straps, which is fine enough but they wanted my left hand strapped over my head with my right arm strapped flat against my right side.
It didn't work.
My body convulsed from the pain like those movies of mental patients getting electroshock therapy. It was beyond my control.Psycho
They conferred and gave me some intravenous tylenol. Sitting there relaxed it took away the pain in the shoulder immediately! When they went to strap me up again the pain bounced back unbearably. So they decided to do morphine. The pain ate through the double dose of morphine like it didn't exist. So after more conferring and me suggesting they just knock me out we had to wait for a special doctor to come down and inject me with about 150 units of demerol.
It was expected that this would knock me out and Nuclear Medicine could get back on schedule. The demerol knocked me for a loop. My shoulder felt like it was non-existent. My wife showed up about then. I remember wishing she'd brought along one of the dogs. Demerol is synthetic heroin. Eichmann of the Nazi's was addicted to it. Five to ten times more powerful then heroin is the hype. It's the crack of the downer world. I don't much like narcotics. The high lasts too long for my tastes and the side effects are creepy. And in my case they didn't work.
Angel by Unknown
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
they expected me to lie dead still for 15 minutes, even with the demerol I could only lie still for about 45 seconds at best, and that 45 seconds was filled with terrifying agony.
After more conferring they decided to try it with me lying on my stomach with both hands over my head. The demerol made this endurable but it still hurt like hell.
But the vengeance was still to come. It was decided since I had enough narcotics in me to knock me out I couldn't so the stress test on the treadmill. I told them I was fine but they ignored me as an idiot. As it is only my body that I know pretty well. They told me I was going to do a chemical stress test. An injection that would fool my body into thinking I had just spent 30 minutes running uphill. I could have done without the reassurance that if the injection caused a heart attack that I was in the best place to have that heart attack.Problem Girls
The chemical stress test was the worst experience of my adult life. The only thing that compares was the time when I was 10 and I got cast in a riptide at Zuma Beach and nearly drowned trying to get back to shore.
Suddenly I could not breathe, all the strength flooded from my arms and legs. My torso felt on fire and burned hollow, the only thing there were my lungs fighting desperately for a tiny wisp of air.
The doctors were satisfied. I could go get the next Nuclear catscan. It was worse than the first one. They screwed it up the first time so I had to do it twice.
My wife spent her time with me. I was grateful. I worried about her as I knew the last time she'd been in a hospital it was to do a death watch on her mother. It was too recent not to be in the front of her thoughts. We managed to find her favorite show ("What Not To Wear") on TV. I wonder if she's serious about going to the hospital every Friday night to see the seasons reruns.
After a couple of sonograms on my legs and liver they released me. I went to work the next day as if I don't work I don't get paid. Work was terrible. The after effect of the narcotics was too reminiscent of the aftereffects of chemotherapy. I was seriously nauseous, my shoulder screaming at me and I was still having the spells that signal the pale rider.
We got through it.
The dogs were thrilled to see me again. My little girls keeps staring at me adoringly which is a bit disconcerting. I'm used to her bullying me.

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 1, 2011

I looked over the battlefield that used to be my home town and I saw God and the Devil shaking hands

Martian Landscape with Geezistines by Hannes Bok
Click images for desktop size: "Martian Landscape with Geezlesteins" by Hannes Bok
They caught the guy who robbed me.
Caught is probably too strong a word. He heard there was a warrant out for him so he went and turned himself in. He came in with a lawyer and claimed he wasn't there and that the crime was Antibodies committed by his evil twin brother . . . I'm not making that up.
His alibi almost made me feel sorry for him.
The cop who came to tell me this seemed awfully expansive for 2 AM so I let him talk. I asked how the guy even knew there was a warrant out for him. It seemed like an odd knowledge to possess. Crime is such a labyrinth but I couldn't figure out how you could know there was a warrant out on you since that usually isn't in the newspaper or such. It seemed like it would have to be a guilty conscious.
Nothing like that. It seems the security guard who works with me has a deep police fantasy and he went to the internet and got his picture and then posted it around to the different places his company works. Kind of seems unfair and sort of illegal and invasive. Anyway the robber's aunt saw the flyer and told the robber about it. Which makes it seem that the cops did even less than I originally imagined.
They're holding the robber for $300,000 bail, which means, I think, that you have to come up with a bondsman and $30,000! It seems high. The cop said the judge set it high because the guy did 8 years for a previous armed robbery with a shooting and because the charge of an ex-felon possessing a firearm was more serious than the robbery! There's also the feeling that since he's been busted twice for armed robbery he has probably done several they can't pin on him.
The cop went on about how "these guys" can't be trusted and ex-felons never changed. He was deep WW II
Click images for desktop size: "WWII" by Unknown
into his list of nasty derogatory comments with the security guard in obnoxious idol worshipping agreement when I finally had to interrupt.
I said, "I disagree with that. People can change. If they can't then what's the sense . . . "
The cop said, "Some can change, but not many, not enough." Before he could get involved in explaining and before I ended up in an argument about responsibility and fair mindedness and cop ineptness I had enough sense to disengage and get back to work.
I've never liked cops.
They turn into the things they hate.

April 24, 2011

You think cause I work for a living that I'm a jerk?
I Kuan

Kabegami by Kumo
Click images for desktop size: "Kuomo 31" by Kabegami
I got robbed this week. No big drama and no excitement. I suppose, considering, that is a good thing.
Work normally quiets down after 6. I was sitting on the stool staring when a guy wearing a hockey Amazons Against Superman mask came through the door. He was kind of fat so he didn't move very quickly.
He came to the window and stuck his arms through the slot. He had a gun I guessed as a .25 automatic, real cheapo nickel plated saturday night special kind of gun, exactly the type that I think should be illegal to purchase or own. In his other hand he had a black gym bag. He said, "Put the money in the bag or you're dead!"
There's video of the whole thing and after he said that I take a long pause. The cops watching it said to me, "Thinking about taking him out, huh?"
That wasn't totally accurate, but close enough for small town cops. What I was thinking was, "I can't believe Antonio is robbing me and waving a gun in my face. Jerk. And shoving his arms through the window. That's insulting. I could stab him with this pen and he'd drop the gun quickly enough. Ah, hell. It's not my money and there's not that much of it anyway. We've had employees steal more than he's going to get and there are other people here and my wife would kill me if I get shot and my puppy needs to go for a walk. I'll just give him the money. I better not ask why he's doing this. He'd shoot me for recognizing him probably or shoot somebody else. That would be worse. Not really but it would feel like it was worse."
So I gave him the money and he left. Idiot strew money from the window all the way to his car.
Problem for him is that even with the hockey mask I recognized him pretty plainly and then there's video of him putting on the mask. Turns out he served 8 years for armed robbery already and he's got a court appearance in May on a drug charge. And he's not yet 30 years old.
Kill My Illusions by ClasixArt
Click images for desktop size: "Kill My Illusions" by ClasixArt
Problem for me is that he's a regular customer. That night he hung out in the store for 4 hours, probably waiting. He wasn't a friend. I'm not friends with any of the customers. But we were friendly. I'm annoyed that someone who I know and who knows me would rob me and threaten me. It shakes what little faith I have in mankind even more.
Of course I still had to deal with the concerns that I was hardly devastated or panicked over the robbery. I have to remember to say things but, for me, other than the way I took it personally, it had little impact on me.
If I'd gotten shot I'd think about it differently I suppose but no one was hurt, the warrants are issued to pick the guy up. What more is there to it?

It looks like I'm going to do a study which is not a trial. I've done trials. Trials are only good when the alternative is sure death.Another Man's Poison
This is a study. A trial is where they think this will work but they're not quite certain of how or what the side effects will be. A study is when the drug has been approved and is on sale. The study is to insure something that's important to the drug company.
This study is for a diabetes drug called Juvenita or something close to that. It's a drug that the doc's wanted to give me but it is too expensive!
The purpose of the study is to avoid getting sued in case the drug causes heart attacks.
It's a five year study, which I take as proof positive that I'll live at least another 5 years. That's scientific logic that is. Unless I get shot, that is.
I get sixty bucks a quarter and a free supply of the drug, unless I hit the study group in which case I get the placebo. Fifty-fifty shot on that. Of course I want the drug. It's supposedly very good and will drive down my daily insulin dosage etc.
Human Frieght Train by NFL FIlms
Click images for desktop size: "Human Freight Train" by NFl Films
I go this Friday for the blood tests. Cool.

I'm going to start to experiment and turn comments on. The spammers might hit it too hard but then, they may have all gone away! Yeah. Like that'll happen. I still average about 150 spam hits an hour but they seem to have different objectives. The spiders that don't obey, or respect, htaccess files worry me. But I miss comments. Like some fellow went through a lot of grief to reach me to tell me that I'd misspelled an artists name. And it was a major misspelling too, like I touch typed with my fingers on the wrong keys sort of thing.

January 18, 2011

Recommend to your children virtue; that alone can make them happy, not gold
Ludwig van Beethoven

Rouge et Noir Japonais by Bylik
Click images for desktop size: "Rouge et Noir Japonoise" by Bylik
My mother in law passed away at 7:30 PM last night.
My main thoughts are concern for my wife and her ability to handle grief. Experience with grief This Gun For Hire doesn't mean you handle it better.
My second thoughts are the same as usual: We need to be nicer to each other. To rejoice in each other.
It bothers me that their are no great works of art about death. Berlioz's Requiem is about the sounds of the survivors and their imaginings of death. Stanley Elkin's "The Living End" is a sardonic denial of death. There's the brutal short movie "Aftermath" and, of course that cruddy old poem "Thanatopsis" which hides behind ancient greek to avoid the heaviness of grief.
For a subject so big that touches everyone it's been pretty much ignored except for those Sundance style movies that bore me to tears and avoid touching the subject with sledgehammers and rockets.
Even when we all know what's out there and know with that final certainty that it's coming, we're never ready. Never prepared. The worst trap is when we think we are ready and able to cope.
There's nothing wrong with breaking down at the unfairness and futility of it all. Nothing wrong so long as you know you can come back and keep moving forward, keep loving and trusting and laughing through the tears.

January 17, 2011

Always speak the truth, think before you speak, and write it down afterwards
Lewis Carroll

Sof by T Hecker
Click images for desktop size: "SOF" by T Hecker
My mother-in-law was taken off of life support at 5:00 PM today.
I worry about my wife having to deal with this alone.

January 16, 2011

Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it
Lou Holtz

Design 1 by Media Milan
Click images for desktop size: "Design 1" by Media Milan
Been thinking a lot about form and content. Even had a conversation with my wife yesterday about the decline of the Technicolor monopoly and how this impacted indy filmmaking while resulting in less lush images.
Santo VS The Vampire Woman
CMy Christmas was great. My wife came down and spent 3 weeks with us and she brought Gentle Dog and Giant Dog.
Gentle Dog was ecstatic to see me and had a wonderful time. Giant Dog had his old problem of being dominant mainly due to size and having to adapt to not being alpha anymore. He likes being boss but he gets himself into trouble that way. He's happier being just one of the pack, a special one. He has to work his head around all that stuff using instinct instead of logic and its hard for him. He still had fun.
My wife and I had fun even though I got ill from just a cold. Then, she was planning to visit friends but she got sick, sicker than me! But that didn't diminish anything.
I got my roomba back. Even now I sit in the midst of clean. And I got some sweatshirts. One I like and two I don't.
My wife got a pedicure (she'd never had one before!!), a TomTom GPS and some personal things for her birthday. Grado headphones, a Kandle for her Kindle, and purple suede fleece lined slippers for Christmas.
The dogs got stuff, Lots and lots of stuff. Lots!
They all gave kisses and allowed themselves to be petted!
For Christmas Eve we went to a fondue restaurant. Now, I'm used to fondue meaning you had to dip forks of bread into cheese or, for really fancy hippie dinners, strawberries into hot melted chocolate. Those were on the menu but it was much more than that and it was interesting and exciting!
It helped as well that it was Christmas Eve. They took our picture and presented it to us gratis and let us take an ornament from their Christmas tree. A memorable evening for sure.
Solitude by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "Solitude" by TitusBoy

Unfortunately when my wife braved a blizzard and finally got her and the two dogs back home she fell even iller, culminating with the devastating news of her mother having a heart attack.
This wasn't like my heart attack where I was running around calling people and complaining, this was serious.
They had to induce a coma as they "lost" her for 15 minutes and they have little idea of the extent of any possible brain damage.
The only good thing about this is that it is in Canada so there's no additional devastation caused by rip off insurance companies and greedy profiteering doctors and hospitals like we endure in America.
It now appears they give her only five days to live.

October 13, 2010

There are many holy things in this world; very few of them are holy men
Korean Proverb

Old Paint
Click images for desktop size: "Old Paint" by Anonymous
I don't have much belief in hell. Mainly because I believe in humanity and, as we all know, nothing can create as much suffering or pain as humans.The Million Eyes od Su Maru
Probably the greatest display of evil in the view of the world was the Nazi German attempted genocide of the Jews and the gypsies. The evil that followed it are the products only humans could devise. To sometimes devise to deny that the atrocity even occured and then to minimize it even further they compare anyone to its massiveness so that through time and or ability to forget it seems not so serious at all. And that's the ultimate in evil to make it banal and trivial.
It always seem that bad is always greater than good.
An evil company kills 30,000 in India is not offset by a woman saving hundreds. An oil company destroying an ocean is not offset by a man saving a pack of wolves.
Evil always seems to be victorious, and even in its ultimate failure it leaves the world a crippled worse place than before.
Philip K Dick wrote a book, called "The Devine Invasion". It's about the second coming of the Messiah. The real conceit is that the Messiah was born in outer space as God had been banished from earth. All the churches and governments were formed at the behest of the Devil and earth is hell. It's not a book to recommend but its that idea that earth works hardest to destroy good and cloacks itself in brutality and fear and hatred.

I'm going into hospital tomorrow. No big deal, really. I'm not happy about it.
Last week they gave me an EKG and an echogram - sonar imaging of the heart. Then added it to a stress test: 30 minutes on a treadmill at 4.5 mph and a 40 degree incline. Had to get my heart rate The Pilgramage by HP Pepnix
Click images for desktop size: "The Pilgramage" by HP Pepnix
up to 131 bpm. Lots harder than I'd have thought. I was exhausted after the run. Disgusted with myself at being so thrashed when I'd only run slightly over 2.5 miles.
It took 3 minutes for my pulse rate to come down, 5 minutes for my blood pressure to get back to normal and they let me go at 6 minutes even though my respiration hadn't climbed completely down. Decent but not great recovery. I walked home from the clinic and showed no other ill effect.
the echo gram and all the rest didn't show anything wrong but they know there has to be something wrong hence tomorrow I get a heart catheterization.

August 7, 2010

The future has a way of arriving unannounced
George Will

Click images for desktop size: "Catronics" by Unknown
So much time has passed and so much life has filled and so much has run out.
I don't want any of it to be lost.The Grapes of Wrath
Nothing earth shattering perhaps. All of it precious. The only way to try and retain it is to start from now and work back.
My wife left yesterday. It was 4 months since we last saw each other. The hellish attitudes of imaginary lines drawn in the sand. Only someone who has never travelled could not question the stupidity that are borders and immigrants. I understand about the stupidity when it benefits a few of the wealthy. For the most part borders help only a few and hurt the rest of us.
It was good her being here. It felt like my life had been in suspension. WIth her being here it seemed like life resumed. It was easy, natural and profound and permanent.
We didn't accomplish much. She brought my two dogs with me. Gentle dog bit me and continued his 4 year quest of trying to kill me.
The giant dog was a bit of a creep. He attacked, not viciously but still, a smaller dog and frightened a child. Giant dog does a lot of things that normally I find unforgivable, but he always seduces me back by being dumb and guileless.
My wife's trip was planned around getting things done. We sort of did that, just not very well. We looked at houses.
The previous favorite was a noxious looking home farmhouse looking thing that was on 2.24 acres. As falling apart and ratty as the house was all the land made it beautiful. I could see fencing off an acre for the trio and then using the final acre to build a kennel and dog runs for all the strays and lost puppies that would find their way to out welcoming door.
The second place was a tiny little thing. I'd discounted it before as thieves were stealing the aluminum siding off of houses in the neighborhood, stealing the siding while people still lived there. Edge of Heaven by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: "Edge of Heaven" by TitusBoy
This house already had the central conditioning unit stolen with plenty of beer cans scattered about so you'd have no doubt about the neighborhood's attractions..
The house looked cute, 10 foot ceilings, interesting floor plan but it was an unmitigated disaster created by the cynical greed only a "developer" could create in their lust. The guy bought the house for 28k and jacked up the fallen floors, ignored the termites, slapped on some paint and before he was finished put it on the market for 130k, expecting the old 1000% return on a little bit of work and investment.
Then the crash happened. When we got into the house the first thing I found was the notice from the sheriff about unpaid property taxes. Then noticed that the floor had bowed, badly. It seems the floor sagged. Instead of repairing it properly the developer just jacked up the sag. Settling in less than a year caused the floor to warp crazy house style.
The killer was the roof. A month ago the roof looked okay. Now it was warped badly too. Badly Hamlet enough to need not just replacing, but rebuilding, from the struts and joists up. In other words in a year the house would need about 70k in repairs. So that some right wing bastard could realize a 500% return on his investment and stick some dreamy eyed couple with a disaster that would leave them homeless.
We did find a house though. A big house with a big yard. One acre yard. We'll know if we can get a mortgage tomorrow; August 2.
Jim McMahon
Click images for desktop size: "Jim McMahon"
I saw a lawyer about bringing my wife down here from that great foreign estate up north. Borders are the stupidest thing man ever created. Property lines to create jobs and unrest. Homeland Security now handles immigration so it is, of course a total mess. But it has to be gone through. We're no longer a free country. We're held waiting for the pogrom by all the cowards and fearful whiners who want to go back to the Monroe Doctrine and rewrite history to suit their fantasy.
I'm getting redundant redundant.

My wife reads. Sometimes literature, most often cook books and more often than that gory thrillers. I worry about her feeding her insatiable appetite for books then there was a deal on woot.com for a Kindle 2 . . . . I got it. It arrived DOA. I was pretty disappointed. Then shocked that Amazon made the thing good sending me a replacement on overnight delivery! And trusting me to return the dead one! It almost made up for the 3 hours on the phone with various tech support people.
I was still pretty skeptical but the end result is that rather rapidly I fell in love with the Kindle. I remembered when things were bad it was communicating with books that kept me sane®. I Untitled
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
remember bad times when I'd pick up a book and let it take me away. The Kindle is not a replacement for books (like the iPod is replacement for a CD payer) but its an enjoyable way to read. In short order I read 4 books. One of my Destroyer series, a Johnny Bogg's western; "Northfield", Chandler's "The Big Sleep" and something I've forgotten.
Point is that it was transparent. It didn't feel like an electronic device. It felt like reading and all that reading entails. I was loathe to give it up when my wife arrived. She got stuck in it right away too reading and finishing that Dacre Stoker sequel to Dracula.
She likes it and that's what's important.
It's lighter than a book, easy to carry around (still buy all the cases like with an iPod) and it carries a library with it. Whispernet is simply cool.
Me, I'm waiting on another special to get either a Nook or a Kindle for myself. I'm leaning towardsA Hard Day's Night the new Kindle 3 but with lawyers and immigration fees its quite a ways off for now.

One of the reasons everything has to wait is that I've been legislated out of a job . . . Its not that bad a thing. My job is horrid and abusive in every way. I'm surrounded by gambling addicts. Personally I don't believe in making laws to protect people from themselves. The legislators used faulty data from the State Police who have just been busted for massive ethics violations to claim these places cause an increase in crime.
The voted, the governor signed the bill. December 1 I'm unemployed. Not that massive a deal. What is the creepiest is that my bosses who were NETTING upwards of 300K per week couldn't comprehend me, grossing about 72 a day didn't share their rabid hatred and concern . . . I kept pointing out that when they were making 300k a week I constantly suggested making $500 donations to youth clubs and local charities, high school sports etc not just because it was the right thing to do but because it would entrench the business in the community and give our neighbors a positive reason to see us survive and succeed.
A Woman
Click images for desktop size: "A Woman" by Unknown
They thought I was nuts. So when the fist came down they fought it but not in any kind of meaningful way. They got meetings with the Governor expecting her to veto the bill, not because they offered bribes or campaign contributions but because it was what they wanted.
Ah, the neaveau riche!
There final desperate ploy is filing a suit in fed court against the State claiming the law is discriminatory . . . They cling to this in there hope to keep extracting money from the poor.

Saw an immigration lawyer. It was worth the $250. We were going about it, not all wrong but with our energies misplaced. The lawyer should speed things up and save us money. He also clarified a lot of stuff that was not explicit in the instructions . . . not explicit means not even mentioned.
It seems we send in the printed forms along with proof we're eligible to be married, two passport pictures, the marriage license and the check for $355. And that's it.
Then you wait for that to be approved. When its approved - in like 90 days or so, they send you anHammer appointment for a personal interview - not together. It was a bit shocking to discover the interview would be standing at a window or a counter. The interview would last less than 15 minutes and maybe as little as 5 minutes . . . The other shocking thing was that my wife's interview would be in Montreal, which is oh guessing 500 miles away from her in Ontario . . . And of course the $500 fee was shocking too. The additional fees. Rah.
Nobody said coming to America would be easy.
I forgot to ask where my interview would be.
After that interview, which you figure would be no problem, she'd get a two year conditional permanent residency. Only a government can make something permanent conditional.
Then that's it. You can relax and be happy.

I've had to keep comments turned off. The spam is unreal. Some one even used my email address to spam!! When I complained this is the response i got from my hosting service:
Unfortunately, that is something spammers and hackers are doing more frequently. They do not need to hack into your account to do this. They do not even need to know your password or username to do this. All they need to do is send out spam email where they change the FROM email address to your email address. There is nothing we can do to stop them from doing this. You can either raise up your Spam protection to attempt to block their evil efforts, or you can stop using your email address that they are spoofing altogether. Those are the only two options that you have to combat the spammers.
This is one of the reasons I've turned my back on Obama. He recently had several websites shut down. These sites linked to unauthorized places to watch TV shows. I have views about that. But Drama Queen by Hoschie
Click images for desktop size: "Drama Queen" by Hoschie
now the point is that they spent thousands of man hours and millions of dollars protecting CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC etc, companies that have billions of their own dollars to pursue this sort of inanity and then these same FBI agents do nothing absolutely nothing to protect people from spammers. I guess because it's been shown that the RIAA and MPPA (the real bad guys) retain the services of several of the larger spammers for nefarious reasons they refuse to discuss.
The spammers hitting this site have figured out how to bypass the fact that I have turned comments off. I still get dozens of spam comments weekly. They don't get posted but they keep coming. What this does for the spammers I don't know. I guess they can show their client that they posted their adverts on 2 million sites even if they never appear. Incredibly annoying, harassing and unfair. The terrorists win with an able assist from our increasingly frustrating and misguided government. Far more unfair then kids Ground Hog Day watching TV shows on-line.

My puppy is a slim trim 67 pounds!! This has barely increased her already arrogant, if dignified pose.

And suddenly time has passed. We did not get the house. Partially our fault in trusting people. Partly ineptness on the part of people you're supposed to trust.
I got a nook off of craigslist for 25 bucks. The whole world is getting stoked over the kindle 3 so nooks are dwindling in value (with the announced sale of Barnes & Noble). I prefer the Kindle 2 to the nook but its okay. I can read on it and that's all that matters to me. In the brief time I've had it I read Paretsky's last VI Warshawski novel; "Hardball". It was okay and had some good scenes. Unfortunately the plot mechanisms are still creaky and woefully repetitive.
I'm almost finished with Larry Niven's sequel to "Inferno" which was his updating of Dante's Inferno. The sequel, "Escape From Hell" makes you glad Dante didn't feel compelled to write "Inferno II: The Devil Busts Loose".

Football season is starting. USC will look different/ Maybe better.
Looks like my puppy and I will need this season.

January 31, 2010

That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write "F*** you" right under your nose.
Click images for desktop size: "Fieroanimals" by Unknown
J.D. Salinger is dead and I'm not.
I think he'd appreciate that. I know I do.Zurich Film Festival
I keep trying to piece together the history of all this grief.
It was winter of 1999 when they told me I had lympho ballistic leukemia. The doc's were worried because I took the news too calmly. Like there's a choice.
The put me on the chemo's that didn't quite work. I mean, they did their thing. I went bald, it burned out my pancreas so I got the predicted diabetes. I dropped about 30 pounds of muscle mass. They just didn't stop the leukemia.
They didn't tell me, or maybe they did, that the second chemo, Lanvil or something close enough to that name, was laced with neuortoxins. I didn't know until they told me a couple of months ago. Same time they told me that another of the chronic symptoms of diabetes was nerve degeneration. Diabetes was one of the contributing factors to the first heart attack.
So a couple of weeks ago I got a fire in my thigh. Started at the middle of my back and ran all the way down to above my knee. Hurt pretty bad. I took massive doses of ibuprofen and that settled it down. The doc gave me this pill Lyrica. At first I liked it. It stopped the painful burning. The pain and ache it dealt with by making the whole thigh feel numb, but not in a bad explosive way. Just sort of dead flesh numb. I could handle it even if I couldn't enjoy it.
I followed the directions carefully. One pill a day for a week then on day 7 double them up, one in the morning and one at night.
Fifty Five Drops
Click images for desktop size: "Fifty Five Drops" by Unknown
I started the doubling up on Friday. On Sunday I noticed my feet and ankles were swollen to about twice their normal size. Real John Merrick style freaky ugly stuff.
I'd been noticing a pain in my chest when I was walking to work. Nothing over powering, but still there. I stopped taking the pill. Didn't take my Sunday night pill before hoofing it in to work. There's a severe hill at the start of the walk. When I got to the top the pain in my chest was pretty bad. It dropped me to one knee and I vomited up about two cups of liquid. Embarrassing stuff.
I called the doc first thing Monday. She was out so I talked to the Medical Student with the same last name as mine. She told me to stop taking the pills. Told her I already had. She said check back in two days.
It was a rough two days. The pain in the thigh came back, at least the burning was pretty subdued. Work was miserable. Its hard suffering in front of people who don't care. I get no sick days. I had to work to get paid.Invasion of the Bee Girls
I walked back and forth to work. It was hard. I still got there.
I took comfort in the fact that my puppy didn't seem too concerned. I was having a harder time breathing though and she slowed down when I started to gasp too hard. She still fought me for the bed. I considered it a win if I got a third of Fred and Ginger
Click images for desktop size: "Fred & Ginger"
it, about a foot.
I called the doc on Wednesday. My doc was in. She told me for me to be in that much distress it was important that I go to the emergency room. I told her I couldn't afford that, which is true.
I went to work as usual. I was getting used to vomiting at the top of the hill. I kept trying to tell myself it was getting better. I put a wedge in the bed so my feet would be higher than my heart. I did all I could.
On Friday I walked home, took care of my puppy and walked over to the Emergency Room. Something of a mistake I think.
Having chest pain rushed me to the front of the queue. Which was cool VIP stuff. They did my EKG, chest X-Ray and BP. I was freaked out. I hate hospitals now. My BP was 194 over 94. I'd never seen it that high. At home, on Thursday, my BP was 112 over 65. At the hospital it never went lower than 155 over 75.
The EMG doc came in and said that my EKG looked fine. I studied the tape with him and asked him about my two heart attacks. The last EKG I had the heart attacks were real easy to see. He looked Regresa A Mi by Titusboy
Click images for desktop size: "Regresa A Mo" by Titusboy
harder and said, "I guess this could be them."
That was when my BP dropped. I felt pretty good. My heart was healing. Even though conventional wisdom said it wouldn't, it was. My program of acerbic self flagellation and puppy playing was working.
The next thing he was saying was that he still wanted me to stay in hospital overnight for observation. That shot my BP up again. I asked a simple question; "How much would that be?"
No body knew. It took 10 minutes to find somebody to tell me the base rate would be $3,200. I told them no thanks.
I had to sign a Discharged Against Medical Advice Form. Then they were in a big rush to get rid of me. I made the doc examine my feet and ankles. He said that he couldn't see any swelling. I'm confident that I wasn't hallucinating so I decided the EMG doc was a bigger idiot than he appeared. (And trust me, most doctors are idiots. A degree confers no wisdom.)Three Stooges
The blood tests came back and my enzymes showed I'd had an "incident" some days ago. They told me stay off my feet and to relax . . .
I had to stumble around to find my way out. I walked home. My puppy was distressed. She even let me lie down unmolested.
I figured that the pain would gradually fade away and that eventually I'd pass the disaster that was Lyrica out of my life.
I got a phone call Saturday morning. The X-Ray doctor was calling. She was alarmed that I wasn't in hospital. She wanted to know if I was mobile. The X-rays showed a large amount of fluid in my chest cavity. I told her I was uncomfortable but not dying. She asked me to monitor things and to return to the hospital if pain got too bad or I were to pass out or collapse. (I avoided asking how I was going to get to the hospital if I was unconscious.) She agreed to fax or messenger my x-rays to my doctor asap.
This phone call really made me angry. I couldn't believe the doc had rushed me out before they even looked at the x-ray. I told you doctors can be idiots.
And all I've gotten out of this is DO NOT EVER TAKE A DRUG THE BASTARDS ADVERTISE ON TV. Especially Lyrica. Congestive heart failure is one of their known possible side effects . . . And I love my puppy. Late at night I only have to whisper her name and she comes running happily to me. And I love my friend who puts up with me.
When I was young I thought I was twice as much man as anyone else. It sounded arrogant even to me. But I think I was right nonetheless. Because now I feel like about half a man but the funny thing is I'm still alive even if J.D. Salinger isn't.

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.

June 5, 2009

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on
Robert Frost

6-12: Still no computer. Looks like a lost cause now.
I lose.
Looney Tunes The iMac is going into the shop. Third hard drive in 4 years. The original Seagate drive lasted 13 months. The Western Digital just over 3 years. I don't think this is very good. I don't know who or what to blame.
Hopefully I'll have the computer back this evening.
Football practice was OK. Foster dogs vet visit went well. Will probably meet some potential adopters this weekend.
My puppy loves me.

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 . . .

March 31, 2009

It is human nature to think wisely and act in an absurd fashion
Anatole France

Summer Time by Lete
Click images for desktop size: "Summer Time" by Lete
My wires arrived today. About 5 minutes before it was time to go to the oral surgeon.
That made certain it would be a good day.Mark of the Vampire
I was up about 3:30 in the morning. Too much pain kicking in. I don't think I was worried but who knows.
My puppy feel asleep with me. She was pressed hard against me, probably trying to push me out of the bed.
When I got up she came in and stood guard around my chair. I always imagine that she's standing guard out of some sort of doggie sense of duty and that all the while she's really praying that no one shows up to bother me, fearful she might have to do something. Still, its comforting.
Click images for desktop size: Unknown
I did little until it was time to feed the dogs. Did my vital sign stuff. It was about the same. Nothing special.
I got sleepy but now it was too late to go back to sleep.
I got my wires and hooked them up pretty easily. Its not very instinctive and very difficult to figure out the right left connection. I did it with trial and error. It requires a lot of force to connect and reconnect the things. They are so light and fragile all the force mad me nervous.
Then it was time to get the six teeth pulled.
It was pretty much a non-event. The worst part was the nine novocaine shots. They hurt like hell. Two under the tongue and two in the roof of my mouth were very memorable. My toes curled in an unpleasant way.
Then the doc came in and pulled all six in about five minutes . . . He did it pretty well, I guess, but his speed just confirmed the feeling that I had that I was product and not human. I got no meds or pain killers. They set up a two week follow-up appointment in 3 weeks.
My mouth was totally numb and stuffed full of bloody gauze and they kept asking me questions. I Strawberry
Click images for desktop size: "Strawberry" by Unknown
kept answering but they couldn't understand me.
The surprise was that the bill was less than the pre-approved amount. It was still too much but there were no complications.
As the novocaine wore off I watched Frank Miller's "The Spirit". It was pretty poor although I thought Gabriel Macht was excellent as The Spirit.
I always loved Will Eisner's comics. The Spirit was a real favorite. As bad as the movie was my heart was seriously warmed when they'd get some of the Will Eisner touches right. Except for Macht the movie lacked Eisner's humanity, what Eisner merely implied they spelled out, like the fact that The Spirit is the world's only Jewish Masked Crime Fighter. They lost the humanity, the understanding of evil and in place of Eisner's sly humour we got tacky slapstick.
The pain was pretty bad but compared to the pain of the 3 erupted teeth it seemed almost liThe Molesterske a relief. Like the torturer had moved on to adifferent set of nerves. There's an occasional bad stab but nothing that I can't handle.
I'm happy the wire for the Ultimate Ears finally arrived. The disgusting part is that it took 2 weeks for the Post Office to deliver a 2 ounce parcel less than 1 thousand miles. Very pathetic.
As much as I like the Entymotic 4's that I borrowed I'm happy to have the UE's back.
The Entymotics are more precise and much clearer in the midrange but the slightly boomy UE's are nearly as precise and have a much more soothing relaxing sound. Its very hard to pick between them. That the UE's were a gift probably gives them a slight edge.
I expect to be pretty laid up tomorrow but if I can I'll finish up telling about Ong Bak 2.

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 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 20, 2009

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall
Nelson Mandela

Click images for desktop size: "Supergirl" by DC Comics
It snowed last night.
Female Prisoner Scorpio
A long time ago I got a phone call from a woman I'd met a couple of times at different parties. I'd only given her my number because she was a PA at Universal and I thought it might be worth a shot to get me some work. That's all parties were to me back then: Employment Networking.
She called me and spoke with some urgency. We met for coffee at Schwabbs. She got right to it. She wanted to borrow $55,000 from me. I was sort of flattered that anybody actually thought I had Reading A Story by Tissot
Click images for desktop size: "Reading a Story" by Tissot
$55,000 in a lump or that I could even raise it. I was also pretty astonished.
I figure she had to be pretty desperate to ask a stranger for a pretty hefty amount of cash. I listened because I thought she was going to tell me about loan sharks or bookies threatening to kill her. Her story was interesting but not that dramatic.
She lived a pretty lavish lifestyle for a PA (production assistant) which is pretty common for Hollywood. She gotten into debt and wrote a bad check. She kept two checking accounts at two different banks and she figured out this, to me, byzantine scheme. Bank A was now overdrawn by (for example) $100. She wrote a check to herself from Bank B for $125 and deposited it in Bank A. Except Bank B was now overdrawn by $100. No problem. She wrote a check on Bank A and deposited it in Bank B the next day.
And she kept paying bills and writing checks for new stuff. Her solution was to just keep increasing the amounts of the bad checks she wrote to herself. Until now she was writing checks of over fifty grand to herself every day and sweating getting to the bank. And terrified of getting caught.
I don't know but I figured this was pretty serious bank fraud. I was surprised that she'd been running Save It by DAB
Click images for desktop size: "Save It" by DAB
this scam for nearly a year. I figured thirty thousand didn't bother her. Not even forty thousand but fifty thousand set off the alarm system in her heart. The wonders of electronic banking.
With two major banks involved I could see her being panicky. I'd have been panicky over the hundred bucks.
She offered up a lot of justifications about expecting to take care of the overdraft with her paycheck but she let it get out of control.
I'm not to concerned with morality or judging. I'm not much good at that stuff, although I did feel a twinge about the fact that she worked in Universal's Black Tower and still needed an extra fifty grand and still drove a Jaguar.
There was no question I wasn't going to loan her money I didn't have. On the wild shot I did have itZiegfeld Follies her story certainly wouldn't have instilled any confidence in me making that sort of loan.
What I did take away from it was her sense of dread. Of having to wake up every day and rush to the bank, knowing that if her timing was off her whole world would crumble into black pea sized hunks of coal. The rush of fear she felt every time someone might call her name or make a sound that sounded like her name every time she went into the bank. How the blood must have rushed anytime the bank teller took an extra second to look at her, the check, the computer screen.
I felt for her but had no answers or help for her.
(Later I heard how some actor who'd gotten to be a regular on a sitcom loaned her the money and was ticked off that she stiffed him.)
I went to the doctor today. Before I went to the doctor I picked up the "estimate" on working on my teeth on the 31st. It was nearly $1,400 . . . There wasn't even a minus for the 60 bucks I got charged for my "consultation" which I about 25% expected/hoped for.
Dental Reminder
Click images for desktop size: "Dental Reminder" by Unknown
The doctor wrote me my scripts but said I was looking totally stressed out. He wants me to get a Blood Pressure machine and take my BP in the morning 3 times a week and then again three times at odd times during the day. RAH!
He also wants a full on diary of my glucose count for the diabetes.
And I have to get a full panel blood working . . . Double Rah!
I probably need a blood panel. My cholesterol has always been excellent but I was having some issues keeping my good cholesterol above 4. I did it by eating lots of olive oil. I'm always concerned about what else they might find. Especially in the blood count bit.
I'm having a lot of stress. The pain. The extra pain in my mouth. Having to think about the dead. The money. It gets in the way and stops me from enjoying what I have to enjoy. I do have a lot toFriday Foster enjoy. A lot of happiness.
Right now I figure I feel as close as I ever could to the grief that woman felt while she ran her scam, except I'm not scamming anything. Not intentionally anyway and not in any way I'm aware of. I'm just being ungracious enough to keep staying alive.
I'm hoping the blood pressure will drop after I've had the dental work done.
Oh well.
I did manage to send out 32 resumes with a cover letter offering up my services as a volunteer football/athletics coach.
I was surprised just impressive my resume is. I've coached so many great kids. It feels tawdry to take any credit for the great things they did.
I sent it to every pee wee team I could find and to every high school in this part of the state. This part meaning some of them are nearly 200 miles away. I figure if they're interested I can leverage someone local.
I love coaching. I'm good at it.
I think my players love me nearly as much as I love them.

I updated to Movable Type 4.25. No big hassles at all. The main point of the upgrade was "vital" security fixes and enabling some features I'll play with. Mainly to see if I can do anything with them. Mainly its about "social networking".

March 13, 2009

Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are
Kurt Cobain

Strong Bow
Click images for desktop size: "Strong Bow" by Unknown
Yesterday I got a call at 9:30. From the dentist. Telling me they'd had a cancellation. At 10:30.
I told them of course I wanted it but it was a 5 mile 90 minute walk (per google.maps). I rushedBeyond the Forest out. It was nasty cold but the sun was shining.
I made it in 40 minutes.
This wasn't speed. It was pain driving me on. Even though they'd told me this wasn't to relieve the pain but it was to extract only 2 teeth to send for a biopsy. Even two teeth missing would relieve some of the pain and maybe even let me chew food.
I was feeling pretty smug when I walked into the office. EARLY. Until I discovered I'd lost my friend's checkbook . . . I dug through my Book and Oranges by Signac
Click images for desktop size: Book and Oranges" by Signac
pack and only avoided panic by being rushed into the dental chair.
The dentist took my blood pressure. I told her my normal BP was 130 over 80 but in doctor's offices it usually ran about 160 over 90. Doctor's make me nervous. It was 180 over 97. We waited 5 minutes and it fell to 160 over 95. Five minutes late it was 140 over 95.
She claimed that was too high to do any tooth extractions. She said I might stroke out on her.
Maybe, but I sort of doubted it. I pointed out that I'd just walked/trotted a pretty fair distance. I was in pain. The pain stressed me and kept me from sleeping well. Doctor's make me nervous and I think I lost my checkbook. And we were checking to see if my leukemia had come back. I thought this was enough. I figured my BP was going to be high until this was sorted.
She said I'd have to take an oral sedative. It would take about an hour to work and she didn't have the extra time today. She was starting a weeks vacation Friday (today).
They ma to set up an appointment with an oral surgeon (next door) (being next door was the only Street Cred
Click images for desktop size: "Street Cred" by Unknown
decent part). I went to the Oral surgery and had to answer the usual shaft of questions re: medical history etc.
A nurse took my BP. It was now 130 over 88. (They couldn't wedge me in at the dentist's next door. I checked.)
An oral surgeon came in and checked the stuff and said this was too complicated for him. I would have to wait for the Doc who'd studied my x-rays to "consult" with me. Magnanimously he wasn't going to charge me for his 2 minutes of time spent with me.
I got an emergency appointment for Wednesday at 8:45. Then they'll decide what to do . . .
In the little town I was in before I had signed all sorts of HIPPA doc's so that my team of oncologists, GP's, dentists could freely consult. They also had all of my medical records on theBasket Case central database so they could see anything they needed with a couple of mouse clicks.
This is quick, easy and far less stressful for me. I wrote to my old Team head and was surprised to discover that this wasn't a state wide program but just a municipal program! Just a small city.
This is what Obama wants to do. While I clearly understand the point of HIPPA and I really get the idea of privacy and not wanting any jerk having access to my medical records this system works easily and well from the doctors all the way to the municipally funded pharmacy. It needs to be done. I think city by city until all the towns and villages are on the database and then bring it nationally. It will save time, money and insure better medical care.
In just this dental thing I've spent about 2 hours just repeating medical history and signing documents to let them show the oral surgeon my x-rays. That's out of about 3 hours I've spent with Regret by LawnElf
Click images for desktop size: "Regret" by LawnElf
them in total.
My old small town doctor pointed out that all my files are marked by the fact that I'm sickly I have a huge amount of stamina, and a huge capacity to deal with pain. He also thought that my abnormal bone deterioration probably has more to do with the various chemo's and he would consider me coming out of remission the least of the possibilities. He sees no reason to not do a biopsy on the teeth, but merely as a precaution.
He confirmed all this with my old records.
So I left the oral surgeons with nothing really accomplished. Except I'd lost the checkbook.
I walked back much slower, kicking over every leaf and piece of garbage.
No joy.
I decided that it probably never made it out of the house and that I'd find it on the floor next to myAtom Age Vampire desk.
No joy.
I had put the leashes on the pups. I was going to use their highly honed hunting instincts to find the checkbook! Or at least have a few laughs at their expense while I looked for it.
My friend called me. She was still in her meeting in the "big city". Her bank had called her. Someone had brought the checkbook in and dropped it off at a bank branch!!
The pleasures of a small town.
I was still obligated to take the dogs for a walk. They insisted on searching for the checkbook even though it had been found. We had fun.
When we got home I started work on my friend;s new MacBook. I could not get the Migration Assistant to work.
I decided to do the one thing that all guys despise. I called Support.
After about 40 minutes the woman on the other end of the line couldn't figure out why it wasn't working. I was doing and had done everything exactly right but it would not work. She transferred me to a guy in Cupertino (Apple's main office). That guy was great. A lot of help. His conclusion was that the old Powerbook's dead DVD drive was the culprit. That it was dead but did not report to the system as dead had to be the problem. We discussed lightly the best way to get the data swapped across. He actually said that it sounded like I knew what I was doing! Then he gave me his direct line to call if I had any grief.
My issues with the New Apple not withstanding the smartest thing they've done is not to outsource Fashion, Sex, Politic and Music by S4W
Click images for desktop size: "Fashion, Sex Politics & Music" by S4W
their customer service centers. I hung up the phone feeling that we'd made a smart purchase.
Moving all the data "by hand" was a long and tedious process but most likely a more accurate way of doing it. Proof being that after I rebooted the new MacBook not only was all the data there but the desktop looked exactly like it did on the old Powerbook. All the little menu items and gooniness that she loves so much were all there and most of them were working flawlessly. There was some very minor tweaking to be done and probably some minot tweaking still to be done but all in all it worked easily enough.
The MacBook is QUICK, lively, responsive all that you could hope. I am jealous.

My little second hand iPod nano seems to be gasping. The little music player is hyper important to me. Music is still the thing that makes some parts of my life bearable. I'm curious about the new Blind Fury shuffle. Not to own. I don't want a crappy pair of 29 buck headphones and third party headphone rushed out with the extra little controls are going to be over priced and no guarantee of sound quality.
I still covet an iPod Touch but they are still too expensive. Time to start saving up for a new Nano I guess.

I ended the day watching another episode of "King of the Texas Rangers". A serial I got more out of curiosity. I wanted to see Hall Of Famer "Slingin'" Sammy Baugh. Oddly its become one of my favorite serials. Its consistent and at its worst its wryly amusing. I still love bits like cowboys dressed in full regalia including six guns SKY DIVING! Duncan Renaldo is great and Sammy Baugh is fascinating in the way he moves. He looks beautiful on horseback but then looks cramped and uncomfortable while driving a car, like a machine is trying to confine and restrict his great sense of full on motion.
I only have two episodes until I've finished it. This makes me sad. I like the world these guys inhabit.

One clarification. Yesterday I mentioned that three girls I tormented as a kid proposed marriage to me. It should be noted that they were also about 7 years old. My repsonse to their show of affection I reciprocated. I would throw smaller stones at them. And I would never try and put dry ice down the backs of their t-shirts.
I always had a way with the babes.

March 9, 2009

Pair up in threes
Joe DiMaggio

Moon Dreams by Yana Foltice
Click images for desktop size: "Moon Dreams" by Yana Foltice
My friend and I were talking this weekend. We were talking about governments and my grief at getting some documents.Theater of Death
She said, "The government is there to make my life easier. That's their job."
I find such optimism charming. Even when I strongly disagree.
I think the governments job is to get paid.
I think that's the absolute grief still left from Bush - he who believes in helping the rich, condemning the poor, who thinks freedom is not a right but a privilege for the select few; that the rich can lead the KC MO Library by gwENvision
Click image: "KC Mo Library" by gwENvision
cattle cows of the poor to the slaughterhouse and have them singing nice pop tunes in praise of the abattoir while filling them with fear of the black helicopters that seek to enslave them. You got to love the Republicans, the Conservatives and any other ruling party.
We're Americans and we do this kind of stuff better than most.
What I mean is that Bush hires guys, who hire guys, who hire guys building a pyramid, a great ponzi scheme to enrich themselves.
And the guys at the bottom, the faces of the government we actually deal with are guys with a sinecure, a job for life.
Funny thing is that government jobs, their raises, their promotions, their job prestige have twisted goals. No government employee gets a push for customer satisfaction.
Mudbugs by Carlos W
Click images for desktop size: "Mudbugs" by Carlos W
You can make a claim that elections are the ultimate expression of customer satisfaction, but elections haven't really been that for a long time. Even the recent election was more about customer dissatisfaction and fear.
Have you ever heard of a cop getting a promotion because he went out and talked to kids and managed to get them to give up gang banging and cut crime? Of course not. Those guys are out there. Normally they get transferred out. Stopping crime cuts into federal allocated funds.
Its like a traffic cop doesn't get kudos for stopping drivers and correcting bad driving habits. He gets his perks by writing tickets, and if he's below his quota maybe he sees somethings that aren't there. Because he's got that guilty conscience or if his entire moral foundation has been eroded by his jobTrouble Man he gets nasty, surly and hate filled and takes it out on you for no reason over than he can.
They don't fire this cop. They don't try and calm him down. As long as he's bringing in the money they give him promotions and praise. He gets to train others to be like him and all the other guys see that and begin to emulate him.
Or the corpulent 350 pound guy from Homeland Security. He can't get another job. He's fat, slovenly, sluggish and not very bright in the bargain but he gets to go through all of your belongings at the airport and he gets to keep whatever he sees or likes because in his limited world he can make a case for it being dangerous. Once one of these clones confiscated a nail clipper so I wouldn't clip a stewardesses jugular or something.
He's got a government job. Its impossible for him to get fired. Ever.
All the way down to the crabby lady at the DMV. She's been there for 20 years. She's mean, Hawkman and Adam Strange
Click image: "Adam Strange and Hawkman" by DC Comics
inaccurate hates her job and hates you, sees you as an inconvenience in the way of her happy life dream. She'll be there until they promote her or she decides to retire at a pension that will pay her 80% of her salary. No one cares, in government, that she's inept and slowing down a flawed system even further. She shows up.
I was in the Immigration office in London. Leave me alone too long and I explore. I saw a chart on the wall, very prominent. It was a list of all the immigration officers and it tracked how many Jamaicans, Africans and Hispanics they'd managed to deport or deny entry. Maybe it was a pool but it looked to white board official not be sanctioned.
There was no chart for how many people they'd allowed in who were leading happy productive lives, contributing to the community. Governments can't afford to expand their vision that far.
You can always remember a good experience with a government official or agency because they are The Tiger Woman rare glowing moments that shock and surprise. It takes a while to recollect all the miserable times with the government because they are the rule. Why remember the routine and ordinary.
It will take a generation to get rid of Bush's deadwood. Obama, shockingly, seems to be making attempts in that direction. I think that will fail.

We tried to watch "The Watchmen" yesterday. We were both falling asleep within fifteen minutes. What a dreary, talky mess.
I read "The Watchmen" comic. I thought it was okay. I even sought out some other Alan Moore stuff. As to thinking it was a "great novel". I'm a bit dumbfounded by that. I didn't even think it was a great comic book.
We watched the super hyped credit sequence set to Dylan's "The Times They Are A'Changing" and thought it was just messy.
We went and watched something else. Enjoyed it.

Dentist tomorrow.
I expect to have three teeth pulled. I'll be aggravated that they won't let me have the teeth. I want to save them up.
In "The Mother and the Whore" there's a character, an artist. He plans to have his left hand amputated and then place it in an ornate jar with a brass inscription that says, "The Artist's Hand 1956-1973". I don't want to got hat far I just want to have a cigar box collection of the things I used to be. Like Seth Brundle in Cronenberg's "The Fly". A display of the proof that I at least used to be human.
New Hat
Click images for desktop size: "New Hat" by Unknown
This morning the ibuprofen nearly masked the mouth pain. I was considering canceling the appointment, not seriously considering but it crossed my mind for sure. I can barely chew food now. When these 3 teeth (if it only becomes 3) are gone it will still be hard to eat, to chew. Of course I'm more worried about how I'll look.
Appointments at ten. I expect the crabbiness to last for about 30 days . . .
On the 20th I have to see the GP doctor . . . so much fun.
On Saturday we have to take the new car in for warranty work. Nothing serious. Squeaky brakes and a blown sounding front speaker.
Its been raining. Warmish and damp. A chilling damp. Plenty of mud so the dogs are very happy.
I've cut back on feeding skanky cat. Yesterday I discovered she was living in or at least keeping outThe Unearthly of the weather in the collapsed bomb shelter.
The idea of trapping a feral cat, taking her/it to the vet fatigues me. I've decided to feed it only every other day. That should keep it comfortable enough to stay alive but hungry enough to look for someplace else to hang out.
At least I hope so. I don't know much about cats. I think they started the bubonic plague and give people cancer. At least that's what I've heard.
There's so much that I think that I've forgotten. Maybe its not important but it seems important to me. At least too important to risk forgetting. Remembering used to be in my blood.

February 3, 2009

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship
Saint Thomas Aquinas

Radiant by Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: "Radiant" by Richard Mohler
Sometimes it seems that when I was a real rude, self centered jerk prone to lashing out randomly and often unprovoked, it seems like I had more friends. Or at least I knew a lot of people who'dZombie Flesh Eaters loan me money without blinking . . .
Did these people value me? I have no idea. How can you know what people think of you? Even when I was a jerk I knew better than to value people by the amount of money they'd loan me.
I guess than the question is; "did I value them?" At least enough to repay all the loans, not out of pride but because it was what you did and I often figured that they needed it as badly as I did.
I wasn't above repaying them conversely to the difficulty they gave Green Lantern
Click images for desktop size: "Green Lantern" by DC Comics
me in borrowing it. Meaning the people who loaned it to me the easiest got repaid first. Usually it seemed they were the people who could least afford to loan me money at all.
I guess I valued them. A handful of them I still consider friends to this day.
I wasn't always borrowing money, just once to scrape of the 20% house down payment - $35,000. There's a number I won't ever forget. Then banks wouldn't even consider a mortgage unless you had at least 20% down.
Then, in LA, I knew people who were excited about getting rear ended. A lot of homes got sold, financed by whiplash, (I often wondered if the lawyers got 33% of the home too. That didn't mean that I wasn't a touch jealous of their mixed fortune. I'd have traded pain for a home and not to be looking at a mountain of debt.)
So I guess I just had more friends back then. When I began to be changed by the world I guess I Red Nude
Click images for desktop size: "Red Nude" by Unknown
stopped seeing people as replaceable commodities. I began to value them, to care.
I'm not smart enough to know if my friends now are "better" than my friends from back then. I don't really know if more people hate me now then hated me then. I just know I'm happy now, then I seemed to only have desperate drive punctuated with moments of happiness that made the mad quest for money and recognition seem almost worth it.
I'm thinking too much about this stuff because the bank turned down the car loan. This is surprising. My friend has had a business relationship with them since she was twenty - car loans, two mortgages, even personal loans, all repaid with no issues, even the current mortgage.
It seems there was a credit card that involved a huge dispute. Then since September nothing from them. The assumption was that it was settled. Now it looks like what they did was write off a REC balance and reported it as bad debt. Seems pretty corporate vindictive. The amount written off was something that would have been paid if they'd given her/us the chance.
I don't know. Maybe its just the current economy and banks looking for excuses to not make loans. Who knows?
Thinking about it I only ever had one banker as a friend. I called him "John the Dork". I liked him. He made me laugh sometimes. He was remarkable awkward in any social situation but frank enough to turn it from being embarrassing.
I've always hated banks. So much that this barely surprises me.
It hurts my friend though and that makes me very angry. Not with her but with banks.
One solution is to refinance the house. I've no idea if there is enough equity in the house to get the money for the car or if its worth all the trouble.
I feel a bit guilty because I don't drive anymore (eyes). I like my friend working from home. I like her being around at least 95% of the time. So I feel guilt because I don't mind her not having a car. Stupid heart of mine.
I feel ready to trek to the grocery store, even get one of those little shopping cats that you see people you feel sorry for trundling home loaded down with their groceries.
I worry about the extreme expense of renting cars. I'm slightly relieved that her company (a non-profit) is paying for the rental car for her trip out of town that started today.
Red Sunset by LawnElf
Click images for desktop size: "Red Sunset" by LawnElf
I'm sad as she was so happy with the car she found. It fir her and seemed as perfect for her as a used car could be. The crazy cool car lot has been remarkably chilled. She called them yesterday and told the salesman that she was having trouble with the bank. The salesman said no problem. He'd hold the car through today and if the problem continued he'd hold it longer. No request for a deposit. No pressure.
The lot had a sign up that said something about them being Christian and how they believed all their transactions were watched over by Christ. Cynically I thought it was just Right Wing propaganda. I guess I was wrong. Some people are sincere in their beliefs.
While we were at the car lot there was a bit of drama. A customer had taken a car out onto an unplowed road and rolled it into a ditch. The oner was out and there was a serious discussion as to what the manager should do: Call the police; give the customer a lecture; just get the car and forgetBride of Frankenstein about it; make them pay for repairs.
I was surprised that they gave each option equal weight. Our salesman said, after I told him I'd been eavesdropping, that the owner always believed in giving people "grace".
I hope we can do business with these guys.
I don't know.
I only know my friend is upset and I'm a bit of a loss as to what I can do to make it all better. Being helpless is not a good way to feel. I think it eats her up more than it does me and that makes it hurt worse for me.

The car situation is so overwhelming that it took the joy out of something I'd normally be pretty happy about. Its small. I managed to trade for the five Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott westerns. They are all nothing less than excellent with two of them "The Tall T" and "Ride Lonesome" being two of the best westerns ever made.
Now they seem more like a distraction than a great find. I've watched them all for years on VHS tapes recorded from TV and lousy rips from those tapes.
Even something like this doesn't cheer me up.
My puppy is sitting close to me. She wants me to be happy.

January 13, 2009

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
Dalai Lama

Amazing Taprohmtom Braid Tree Temple by Whamuel
Click images for desktop size: "Amazing Taprohmtom Braid Tree Temple" by Whamuel
It snowed. Another 2 and one half inches, I'd guess.
I was only partially joking about snow shoveling and martial arts having a similarity. When I shovel snow I get a feeling eerily similar to the feeling I used to get at karate special trainings.Blood Beach
Its the constant repetitive motion perhaps. Or its like the comedy training in "Return to the 36th Chamber" where the monks have the acolyte do what seems to be a dull never ending task. It ends up that the acolyte has been martial arts training. So well he isn't even aware of it. "Karate Kid" stole the well and condensed it to "wax on, wax off". Which is easier to remember but not quite as deep.
What I'm referring to is the meditation part of the exercise. Shoveling snow and throwing 1,000 kicks aren't as different as I'd Dark Days by PicDeskTop
Click images for desktop size: "Dark Days" by PicDeskTop
like to think. The major difference is that at the end of the snow shoveling exercise you can look back and see a clear path that, hopefully, leads somewhere. With martial arts you only have a tired body and the feeling that you've accomplished something great.
I'm not sure which is more zen.
In the "Lone Wolf and Cub" manga and movies there's a story about Ogami Itto being hired to kill a monk. a very holy monk; a Buddha walking the earth.
Ogami confronts the monk as he prays in a temple. In the manga Ogami's sword slashes and cannot touch the immobile monk. In the movie Ogami cannot even draw his sword.
The monk tells Ogami he cannot be killed because he "is one with the void. The universe begins and ends in me. There is no place where you can strike the heart of the universe. You are enlightened Ogami Itto but your enlightenment is only that of the assassin."
In the comic the exchange ends with the monk saying, "to kill a Buddha you must be a Buddha."
Woody Acres by Jon Draperr
Click images for desktop size: "Woody Acres" by Jon Draperr
In the manga Ogami goes to a temple, fast and prays for 3 months before feeling he is ready. He confronts the monk in a procession and attacks. A line of blood drops down his forehead. He raises his hand and says, "A magnificent stroke." Then his body splits in half, sliced down the vertical from skull to hips.
In the movie Ogami uses a scandalous trick to get the monk in his grasp. He pulls the monk from a boat and drags him underwater. There Ogami stabs the monk with a knife. The monk says, underwater, "so this is the path to enlightenment you have chosen."
I don't think I have a preference between the two ways of telling a story.
I do know that I used to do an annual fast. The first week was rough as the body tried to live off the toxins I'd ingested the previous year. After that first week I felt great. Demonstrably stronger, Belle et la Bette faster. Better concentration.
I used to run five miles every day. During those runs my mind thought of nothing. I didn't have a Walkman or an iPod. I only had the white noise in my brain to keep me company. I marked out the distance previously. I'd start the stop watch and run. Very few of those runs produced any memories. I'd look at the stop watch and 32 to 35 minutes had passed. I was at the mark I knew was five miles from the starting point. That was the only evidence that I had done what I set out to do.
I wonder, now not then, if this was the state of meditation that the Shaolin monks strove for when they practiced their martial arts. To simply flow. To live with their minds filled with something like my white noise?
I'm not a good Buddhist or Christian, I'm not much of a good anything, except a good man. I can say Autumn White Birch by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Autumn White Birch" by Maxfield Parrish
that with pretty much a calm self assurance.
Shoveling snow produces some similar meditative ideals in me.
Lewis Carroll, (Charles Dodgson), wrote a book that's been fairly well maligned: "Sylvie and Bruno". Dodgson was a great writer. No contest. Most people would call James Joyce a great writer. He wrote three great books. William Faulkner is a great writer. He wrote three great books and created a lot of great scenes. Even my pet, Raymond Chandler only wrote two great books. Charles Dodgson was a great writer.
His "Sylvie and Bruno" is hard to track down. It has some problems but also some great scenes. One of the Chapters of the book is titled, "Bruno's Revenge". It was based on a short story he'd published years before in some dwee Victorian Kiddie mag.
In the story Bruno is angry with his sister, Sylvie. He feels he's been wronged and seeks revenge by Black Ceasar destroying her carefully tended flower garden.
Before he can begin his odious task the narrator, an ill defined adult who alternates between being omnipotent and hapless, stops Bruno and then helps him expend his rage by lovingly enhancing the garden, finding colored stones to accent and line the paths, removing weeds and whatever other stuff you do for a garden.
At the end of his labours Bruno and the narrator are exhausted. Bruno finds his rage has dissipated. The physical exertion in the spirit of kindness, not forgiveness but kindness has removed his rage and transported him closer to the Victorian God Dodgson fervently believed in.
I think you need to pay attention to Dodgson. He made a deep impression in four different disciplines, Kids Lit, Math, Photography and Religion. I mean, any guy who can mathematically prove that Jesus Christ was the Messiah is a force to contend with not against. And its in nice Western terms and not alien Eastern philosophy.
My shoveling the driveway, I guess that's a difficult task, some consider it ridiculous, was my "Bruno's revenge."
I've been angry about the neighbor's dumping a ton of snow pressed against the gate, angry about shoveling it out at midnight so we can get into the house, angry that I still can't use the man gate, angry that even after shoveling it out he sees fit to block the gate with his trailer and snowmobile.
The physical labour locked me into the white noise in my head. It expelled my rage and accomplished something positive.
An Impossible Dream by Sweibel
Click images for desktop size: "An Impossible Dream" by Sweibel
Last night I went out with the dogs to tour the house, like we do every night. I bought them inside and back out to get the mail. I have to use the car gate to do this now and while the gentle dog and the giant dog are getting better at it they still can't be 100% trusted outside. So I went back out to get the mail and was shocked to see that the snow mobile was parked so close to the gate I had to climb over it to get out.
I came back inside enraged. I know that I have to let the rage out or it turns into dark fury so I complained. I got responses that I didn't anticipate.
I went back, climbed the snow mobile and knocked on his door, filled with undisapated rage justified with ludicrous "facts", like the fire department can't get into the house, an ambulance and how he had no right to dictate what times we were allowed to come and go.
Angrier still that I still don't feel that this is malicious more that this guy is such an ass he doesn'tBorn for Hell think or care about others.
Luckily he didn't answer the door. I think he was asleep and I didn't press it. I wasn't that angry yet. That's the furious parts job, to be irrational.
This morning I dealt partially with the snow. When the snow stops I'll finish the rest of it, if I've time.
When cleaning the car I was surprised that it was coated all over with ice. There'd been no rain and the temperature has not gone above freezing, the car hadn't been moved in 3 and half days, so I'm bewildered. My only guess is that the sun shone yesterday. I guess it heated the glass and metal enough to melt stuff and then it refroze. Its just a guess.
When my brain isn't filled with white noise its filled with thoughts like that. Those thoughts always lead to other thoughts like that.
The noise is better, calmer.
Maybe its because I'm dumb. I'm the kind of dumb who believes people are smarter than me because they say they're smarter than me. It takes a lot to change my mind.

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'tCornered be that bad. (Sometimes I am such an American.)
When I next saw him I was surprised. He'd lost at least 50 pounds of muscle mass. He looked sickly. He was in and out of hospital but he was still managing to keep on top of his studies and with the bare minimum of concessions from his prof's he was not falling behind his class.
He was stoked because Anastasia, the blues pop star, also has Crohns disease. To her credit while she was on tour she visited kids in the hospital with the same disease.
It finally came that the kid was going to graduate university. I was as proud of him as I'd ever been of any kid. All that was left were his finals and he was pure confidence about them.
Then I got the call that he was in hospital. His bowel had ruptured and he had certainly developed peritonitis.
I visited him in hospital while he was having surgery. Most of his old teammates were there. Some of them had taken it on themselves to contact his school and set it up for him to take his two remaining finals after he got out of hospital.
Another kid had driven the kid's mother to the hospital so she wouldn't have to take the tube. All of them were very solicitous of her.
I was proud of them all, proud of the kids who had grown into good young men. A bit dismayed that I'd never noticed it before. I put it off to the beauty and integrity of the game I loved that they had all played to the best of their abilities.
My kid survived the operation. He survived the entire ordeal. He graduated with a BS degree and Mandan
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Mandan
started to work. He's living the life he's dreamed of.
I remember him giving me a lift once from the leukemia hospice, shortly after his operation. We shared hospital stories and he showed me his colostomy bag . . .
When he wants to know "if I mind the pain" I know what he's asking and why. I only want him to be alright.
There's plenty of times you have to be tough in this life. I hope its not too often and not ever now for him.

After reading yet another email about how I could love animals and not be a vegetarian . . . my friend got home from the first day back at work. She was sleepy. She still spent nearly 4 hours making vegetarian shis ka bab. Desperate Hours
I tired to start a fire in the fireplace. It didn't go well. I burned up most of the paper designated for recycling and a couple of those camphor smelling "fire starter" blocks and nada. I managed to burn all of the wood up but never got it to burst into pretty warm flames.
If I were a cave man we'd all be eating cow sushi and grinding beans between our teeth.
I did get a good high quality smolder going on. Lots of good smoke and little heat . . .
To celebrate I had to go out and continue shoveling newly fallen slush.
I think I was a California kid for a reason . . .
The dogs enjoyed the shoveling although they were, as usual, disappointed I didn't slip and fall down.
I didn't watch the cruddy football game. I watched a South American movie called Tres Dias. An odd Sci-Fi thing. A meteor is going to strike the planet earth and its a dead lock that no one will survive.
Rockin' Cadillac
Click images for desktop size: "Rockin' Cadillac" by Unknown
At first it was pretty interesting as it told the apocalypse completely through the eyes of a small Chilean village, with fuzzy TV pictures and suicides. (All the communication satellites are not out, planes are crashing as the earth magnetic poles getting skewed.) It was interesting but then it got silly.
The prison guards abandon their posts and all the prisoners escape. One brutal convict decides that the last 3 days of his life should be used to get revenge against this guy and his mother in this little village. Its sort of dull as a thriller. Especially after it was being so elegant in its depiction of the small and bewildered people trying to grasp the enormity of their mortality.
I went to bed relatively early. Good thing. I was up at 5. The gentle dog was barking at something outside. Turns out it was the cat . . .

December 1, 2008

Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever
Napoleon Bonaparte

Its All Tears by Flisky
Click images for desktop size: "Its All Tears" by Flisky
I really enjoyed this Thanksgiving. More than I have in years and years.
It was everything Thanksgiving is supposed to be, food, football and family.
The Big Clock I'd be wistful about it except that Christmas is coming.
I still get giddy at Christmas. No sensible reason why. Still no money. I've already gotten all my gifts. The only presents I can buy are things for the dogs.
I get to put up our tree. That makes me remember. Remembering is always a good thing. Remembering the good Christmases and the bad ones. Love and hate but always with strangers struggling to recall goodwill and stuff like that. Even now I remember my second grade teacher explaining to the class what "Peace on Earth" meant while we made up the big class bulletin board for Christmas. It seemed big at Christmas Time
Click image: "Christmas Time" by Unknown
the time anyway and with nothing but white paste, rounded scissors and construction paper for tools and seven year olds for workers and designers it was big enough.
Its a safe bet this Christmas will bring enough memories to add to the cornucopia. Why shouldn't it.
The only downside to the whole weekend was the NFL. I think this was one of the worst weekends this year. Almost all the games were dire. The games were almost blow outs and when they weren't the play was so sloppy it was hard to care. Instant replay is making games tedious and the officiating just keeps getting worse. Far more aggravating is the total lack of consistency of the calls. Not just from officiating crew to crew but even within the game itself.
While I appreciate Roger Goodell's concern about off field behavior (the Plaxico Buress incident this weekend smacks of Leon Spinks inanity. The bigger concern, I think, is that Buress is dragging his La Belle Ferroniere by Da Vinci
Click images for desktop size: "La Belle Ferroniere" by Da Vinci
teammates into his self serving party world) the quality of the game is deteriorating.
Its going downhill because of the creepy actions from the commissioners office. Fining a second level linebacker who's making a million a season $5,000 for a flagrant cheap shot on a star player is not going to prevent that sort of nonsense from going on, especially when stars are fined $75,000 for "excessive celebration" for making a game winning play.
Personally I get a kick out of the celebrations. They're entertaining. (I don't think they should be allowed in college or high school but in the pros its just entertainment.)
The idea that not projecting the "image" of the NFL is 15 times more important than protecting the players who we pay to see play at the top of their game is disturbing and seems an inept way to Captain America protect the "product".
Maiming the stars that people are willing to pay to see so they can sell another video of "big hits" . . . I like big NFL style hits too, but I like it when both players pop back up and continue the game. There's enough injuries with clean hits.
The college game is being destroyed by the BCS. The BCS responds too much to politicking and to hype. I think that almost all of the voters see only two or three of the games they're voting on. Its always been that way. But at least then the arguments were entertaining.
The computer systems are an horrific joke. One hundred million stats could not compile the heart of a player let alone the heart of a game. Computers don't spit out objectivity by looking at mere numbers, they merely reflect the prejudices of the guys deciding which numbers are important. All statisticians know how to make the numbers be real and how to make them lie.
I'm pretty ambivalent about a play off system in college football. It works well in Div 1AA, Div II and Div III. It works astonishingly well in College basketball.
The 8 team playoff seems too long to me. Another month of abusing young bodies for entertainment is more than a little creepy. I think that only guys who never played 1A football could embrace that, and of course some schools who could see this adding about 150 million more bucks to the coffers.
A four team playoff seems more doable and more sensible. Two more games is a lot, would Lucy Liu
Click images for desktop size: "Lucy Liu"
generate a lot of money and would keep things on a keel to decide who is the best. It also should not interfere too much with education. Remember that even on a National Championship team only about 10% of the players are going to have a career in professional football, so education should always be the primary goal.
A two game play off would also partially obviate the hot team squeaking into the Championship. College ball has always been about the season, the whole package, not about a wild card team starting to click at just the right time to sweep in.
I could enjoy a two game play off without too much guilt.

I still haven't made up my mind about the hosting site. I've checked around and Blue hosting The Brain that Wouldn't Die remains one of the cheaper services out there. It also has been pretty reliable. The problems I've had with it have all been short lived. I have no complaints with them at all.
The pricing bugs me some. Its like 10 bucks a month for one year, 8 bucks a month for 2 years and 6 bucks a month for 3 years . . . so the deal would be 3 years but who can come up with that much cash? Coming up with one year would be rough enough. Maybe its just being broke that bugs me. And the fact that while I'm in a good mood I still don't know whether I'll be around in 3 years. I'm not a business or a corporation.
There's a big part of me that likes the idea that once I'm gone the site vanishes. No moping around.
I'm inclined to keep the hosting service. My only real reason is my puppy's site, the only reason that seems worth the money anyway. So I'm not sure that keeping it going isn't just laziness and a Europa by Soa Lee
Click images for desktop size: "Europa" by Soa Lee
spoiled luxury.
Free hosts have pretty steadily declined. Mainly because of spammers and scammers, I guess. And now they all seem to be weighted down with obligatory advertising. Huge banners and pop ups that they automatically place on every site each time they serve a page, so that seems out.
Someone suggested a .mac (now .mobileme). Its slightly cheaper and comes with beau coup fringe benefits. As a hosting service .mac doesn't have near enough bandwidth or storage space for even just my puppy's site.
I'm downloading the whole thing now. Just my puppies site is over 10 gig! Lots of pictures and movies!
All toll the whole site is over 22 gig . . .
I am downloading the whole thing and changing the stuff to be prepared for whatever I decide. I'm Blacula nervous waiting for my decision . . .
I'll give it a lot of thought while I'm doing laundry and shoveling snow today.

The antibiotics seem to have done all they can. I still have pain but its not a totally absorbing pain. The worst is from what, I assume, are two abscesses. One in my tooth and one in my hip. They still get electric at times but I can smile now, something I couldn't do for a couple of weeks.
I also note that I am no longer aware of the antibiotics wearing off. Before they gave me about four hours of relief. A drag when you're on a 12 hour rotation.
My ibuprofen intake is down to about 2400 milligrams a day and I'm close enough to comfortable to not argue the point.
In fact I can even spend time considering the career of Johnny Burnette.
Thinking about Johnny Burnette and Christmas, friends and dogs is indeed a sweet life. No time to even consider mortality!
I like it when I can savour being alive and can look forward to this day and the next day.
It seems like a sweet dream.

May 22, 2008

And so

By Frank Melech
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Frank Melech
One of my major fears has been realized.
I've gotten a cold . . .
I'm never sure if its the chemo or the leukemia that thrashed my immune system but colds hit me pretty hard.
I'm only running a 101 temperature. In the past its gotten as high as 104.5. My normal temp, post chemo, is about 97.5. I think I'm keeping it low now thanks to my vitamin C voodoo.
Revolt Of The Slaves I forced myself to do a lot of hard physical work yesterday. Almost finished answering kids emails. I feel worse today, more likely due to only a few hours of sleep than due to a failure of massive dosages of vitamin C or to trying to do too much.
Working gives me a sense of security, that I'm not letting these diseases take over my life. Its stupid but its important to me. I actually pay more attention to details. If I relax a bit the work becomes trash but . . . In the past I was told that doing physical labour wasn't dangerous. I'm going to hold the doc's to that.
I'm going to shower. I'm pretty disgusting. I'm hoping that the steam and getting the layer of vile off of me will give me the boost to commit to my work today.
Yesterday I couldn't even watch any movies! Couldn't concentrate on stupid gory zombie flics.
How sick is that?
Its been confirmed that drinking coffee raises the blood sugars . . . how cruel is nature?

February 22, 2008

I like the sounds of destruction

Rust And Dirt
Click images for desktop size: "Rust & Dirt"
I walked myself to the hospital yesterday. Emergency room.
About a 3.5 mile walk. Funny thing, I felt better the more I was moving. Would have been great if I'd had a dog with me.
Dirty Mary And Crazy Larry I was bleeding and it was embarrassing bleeding. Not blood gushing stuff.
It was from eating a jalapeno pepper for dinner the night before. I remember thinking how odd that I hadn't eaten a pepper in such a long time . . . It wasn't until I was sitting in emergency that I remembered.
I got scoped out. I re-opened my ulcer, which was caused by too many pills that I have to take to stay alive.
Sometimes this life is tedious.
They looked at other stuff. I strained my shoulder. It still hurts. Seems it was a mild separation. I can accept that. I remember having to pop it back into place but I'm surprised that it still causes me pain. I used to heal so well.
And I strained my right hip flexor. That was from shoveling snow and slipping on ice.
I am working on Zen Master status on snow shoveling. I need to hurry that up. Its snowing now.
That was a joke . . . hurrying up Zen . . . they're seldom as funny when you have to explain them . . . especially when they're not that funny to start with.

I've gotten a couple of emails chastising me for my opinions about Tobe Hooper. No one defending him but trying to convince me that Wes Craven was then the new Romero.
Well, I thought "Last House On The Left" had a great ad campaign, "Keep repeating to yourself its only a movie! Its only a movie!" but I thought it was only mildly interesting. Better was the speculation about all the different versions in there that had even better gore and splatter.
Anime by Mota
Click images for desktop size: "Anime Wallpaper" by Mota
I saw it first in downtown LA. One of the other films on the triple bill was, "They Call Her One Eye" (originally "Thriller-A Grim Film"). "One Eye" was definitely more disturbing.
It wasn't until Craven did "The Hills Have Eyes" that I thought he might be a serious talent. But he sold out to Hollywood too quickly for me.
"The Hills Have Eyes" was staggering. While "Last House" was just a more explicit retelling of Bergman's "The Virgin Spring" "Hills" was an Adlerian exploration of a Freudian psychic nightmare. And it had dogs!
But then came the dreck. The Freddie Krueger movies and that almost entertaining piece of B tripe, "Swamp Thing". Craven was never a prophet. He worked for the money until he became bankrupt. (as in bereft of talent and ideas, not short of cash.)
When you start making art for the money instead of wanting to tell a story you become something that I can respect but I can never love.
George Romero has been quirky but he never sold out. He went to Dario Argento for financing and turned his back on Hollywood cash and what he perceived as the compromises he'd be unwilling to make.
The Edge Of Hell Its sad that even Jim Jarmusch finally gave in to Hollywood bucks, so only George, standing out there in Pennsylvania, all alone is the only guy with nothing to be ashamed of in his career. He always stayed true to his vision, even when we didn't know what the heck he was talking about.

My friend sent me a link showing that this web site is slanted towards males . . . I can't figure out what that means.
This site also points out that I have no advertisement. I appreciate that. Further my domain name is worth between 800 and 1200 bucks!
The basis for this seems sketchy to me. I figure the domain name is worth the 10 bucks a year it costs to keep it.
But I have been toying with the idea of trying to do some web site design, maybe to earn a few bucks.
I don't know if that infringes on my no-ad policy. I have to think about that.
Its just that through stubbornness and without any desire to learn anything I've gotten pretty good with media and the basics of web design. I don't know. It sounds desperate to me but maybe I am desperate.
You might not know about this, unless you have kids or work for an uptight company, but there is an entire industry built around filtering the internet. For schools I think this is a decent idea.
I remember when you could do a search for lemon pie and get 2 recipes and 45 porn sites.
My puppies site still gets heavy spam for bestiality sites.
But the nice thing is that more and school systems are opening up their filters so that the kids can see her page and photos and little movies. Becasue her site is powered by Movable Type it is automatically blacklisted as a "BLOG". I wonder why they restrict blogs out of hand. Laziness? Or do they all have "ADULT CONTENT" like this one?
Rhino Bliss By Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Rhino Bliss" by Lawn Elf
That pleases me. I always like it when a hospital or school lets the kids see my puppy. Its pretty humbling and scary.
A ten year old girl wrote me a while ago and explained to me how she had found a way to circumvent her schools filters! It was very detailed and made a great tutorial. Even I could follow it!
Ten years old! That's why I don't worry too much about the future. Although I did vaguely worry about what other sites she was checking out. I liked that she didn't write to me but that she wrote to my puppy.
Although I still have not changed my policy of ever eating an unwrapped, unsealed food given to me by a child, no matter how much love is in their heart.

December 20, 2007

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Santa's Workshop
Click images for desktop size: "Santa's Workshop - Christmas Card 2005"
And suddenly everything is beginning to look alright.
Its not quite "Twas The Night Before Christmas" but its getting there and it feels enough like it to not matter.
Woody Woodpecker And isn't that a part, a small part, of Christmas? That the grief and hatred and rage of the world can be overwhelmed?
My friend got her dream job.
Her pay cut will be more than I grossed last year . . . but its still her dream job. Doing something you believe in, using your skills to achieve a dream you've had, a dream that's just not in her world but in all of ours.
Its the sort of dream that I wanted my kids to strive for. And she got it.

The new host is turning out to be pretty impressive. I'm not sure if that's because the old host was disintegrating so badly that I've lost perspective or if Blue Host is really that good.
At dot5 the mysql server was dying so every time you did something that touched it the database would just corrupt all the more. Trust me; a busted database is something you just do not want.
They helped me fix it. I never expected that.
I still can't run Movable Type 4.1 beta. And you know how it gnaws at me to not be running all the alpha and beta software that I can . . .
It will get fixed and I'll have it sorted out soon enough. Yup.
Its that kind of day.
Everything seems possible.
Its coming up Christmas.
Napping By The Fire - 2004
Click images for desktop size: "Napping By The Fire - Christmas Card 2004"
There are parts of myself I don't like.
I am conceited so that might surprise you.
Parts of me I don't like!
But its so.
During this mini-crisis I was afraid of it.
I'd figure some of you have seen it.
I'm not every in touch with my human side (lets not even waster time talking about feminine side!).
It manifests itself when things get bad. I start to lock down and prepare to do nothing else except endure.
I disconnect from physical and emotional sensations. I go off of pure intellect and rage.
Its my survival mode.
It doesn't make it pleasant to be around me.
Wizard Of OzI'm into the mode so it doesn't impact me much at all except for hating the lack of feelings, while thinking this is the only way to make it through.
Through all of this recent spate I've noticed that I didn't fall into that mode automatically. For me that's a big step; not just waking up and being in that monstrous mode.
And then I never really fell into it. Yeah, I had to fight it some, but not enough to want a cashiers check for.
I think its my puppy. She has demands and some needs. She keeps me sane.
I think its my friends. They need caring for to struggle on too.
Its probably a combination of all of these things and a lot of things I don't even know exist.

The Pittsburgh - St Louis game is on TV. I picked the Steelers although I wouldn't be surprised to see the Rams beat them.

July 13, 2007

Standing on a mountain looking down on a city
Harold Dorman

Wier Vaudeville Theatre Ca 1920 On Heron St. In  Aberdeen, Wa
Click images for desktop size: "Weir Vaudeville Theater, Aberdeen Washington-1920" by Unknown
When I said Alkaline Trio are my favorite group I created some confusion. They are not my all time fave group. They are my faves of the moment.
I've never really given much thought to an all time fave band. I guess it would have to include Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps. Johnny Burnette's Rock & Roll Trio, The Everly Brothers, Jan & Dean (hey, there's more than one of them, so that makes them a band, doesn't it? I mean the inverse way that Dick Dale and The Del-Tones don't count, I mean, other than family does anyone know who the Del-Tones were?) The Ramones, The Small Faces.
These guys shouldn't need any explanation. I mean if you don't understand the beauty and poetry of lines like "I was cruising in my Stingray late one night when an XKE pulled up on my right" or, "I smell the flowers growing through the concrete," and "There's a little juke joint just outside of town where the cats pick 'em and then lay 'em down. You get your gal and I'll get mine. We'll get together and we'll have a good time," then there's little hope for the world, little hope at all.
La Bamba X02 I'd also give consideration to The Kinks. No one has ever written a line like, "While the rich get their kicks with their affluent antics," and actually made it work. That they also made it rock is more than laudable. It's miraculous. The only problem with the Kinks is that their best songs are so incredibly personal, they wheedle into your soul so deeply they become private little treasures. It is almost sinful and cruel that they are also world wide mega hits. Nothing makes something impersonal like universal fame.
And of course Love looms large. You had to mega talents in Arthur Lee and Bryan McLean plus about 5 other musicians who ended up robbing liquor stores or od'ing on drugs. No wonder they could produce a handful of totally classic punk/garage singles including the seminal unforgettable "7 & 7 Is", while also spinning out the unforgettable enduring and endearing album "Forever Changes". That they hated leaving LA, that Jimi Hendrix was considering joining the band, all add up to one powerful force in music.
And any band I spent more than 15 minutes being a member of has to rank pretty high as well.
But the band that I would have to pick as my personal fave would be, The Sonics. I don't know much about them except their music. I've kept it that way.
I know they were from Seattle, wore colorful alpaca sweaters and made a sound that would later be called grunge.
The sound of their records is monstrous. They were a standard combo, guitar, bass, organ and drums but their records were just a pure Phil Spector wet dream wall of sound. Occasionally someone would step forward and solo but like an orchestra there really wasn't a single instrument, the band was the instrument. It was a thick seditious sound that you could excavate and and hold in your hands, a rich throbbing dripping thing. You could slice it with a switchblade knife and watch it pulsate in your hand until, like the Blob, it engulfed you and made your body jerk to its own incestuous beat.
They had hits. The unbelievable "Psycho" that thundered like a mythic dinosaur with Rosalie's leather lunged vocals asking not for pity or understanding. It was rage. (I used to do a great cover of "Psycho" except that after singing it I couldn't talk, let alone sing, for at least an hour and sometimes the rest of the night)
Timmelidio 29Palmsdrivein 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "29 Palms Drive In" by Tim Melidio
In "She's A Witch" and "Strychnine" this rage propelled the dancing rhythm into another ionosphere where all your life's experiences were sucked out of you, reshuffled and re-prioritized. In the mega cool "Hustler" and "Boss Hoss" the voice bragged in pride and dared you to cross the line and question him.
In the awesome cover of the Contours hit, "Do You Love Me" the voice became a defiant dare and the bands sound chased along at a fearsome clip.
The final notable cut was "Night Time Is The Right Time" an old R&B standard that most Gen Xer's know from that horrible episode of the Cosby Show when the family lip synced to a creepy version of it.
For the Sonics the standard was anything but cutsey or ready for prime time.
It was a gut bucket howl wearing a Michael Meyer's boiler suit making it demands known and daring them to not be met.
Yeah. The Sonics. Alpaca sweaters.

I'm doing fine. My puppy loves me and my foster dog loves me.
High School Confidential (1958) The doctors said that my White Blood Cell count has stabilized.
That's good. Now the biggest thing is to stop the irreversible damage done getting things this way.
I hurt my ankle this morning dodging some idiot in a car who went off the shoulder of the road. They didn't stop.
At first I thought I ruptured the achilles tendon. Its got an interesting knot and still burns fiercely.
I put it off to Friday the 13th. What you going to do?
Me? I worked.
They're refinancing the entire company, which seems odd because it is damn peculiar. They're refinancing through a company that made its biggest mark in the world in Boston during the building bust there, picking up multi-million dollar properties for a dime on the dollar and then just waiting out the bust for the boom. They did it with refinancing . . . Just like Lionel Barrymore in "Its A Wonderful Life". I guess my employers figure they're just smarter than these guys.
The guy who "owned" Freckles took off in the middle of his night, apparently running for his life. Had to be drugs, bad drugs.
I made sure he took the dog with him, or at least didn't abandon the dog someplace where I could fetch her.
That's pretty much it. Work, packing, loving. Sunday another adoption event to try and give away my foster puppy, but only to people who will love her.

July 9, 2007

You're something there ain't nothing lower than
Broderick Crawford

Theorphans Thefozz
Click images for desktop size: "The Orphans" by The Fozz
For no real reason I've decided that Alkaline Trio is my favorite group.
Probably because I've listened so much to "Remains", and likely because Tesla's new one "Real To Reel" is covers, they even sink to covering their own stuff - and its faithful covers, not new just the old songs done reverentially.
And The White Stripes have gotten too big. I enjoy Jack White but the passion and expectations of deliverance are gone, replaced with boring confidence and amazing skill.
There's just nothing new out there that socks and amazes me anymore, except Matt Skiba and Alkaline Trio.
Pride Of The Yankees Xlg - 1941
My friend said something I was stunned by. She thinks that all surf music sounds the same!
As a guy who has 16 versions of "Pipeline" and can identify the guitarist and the group from the attack on the first note of the opening glissando I am, needlessly and obviously, shocked!
She claims that because she likes the Duo Tones acoustic surf album that exonerates her from this onerous claim. The Duo Tones don't really count. Back in the day you always could identify a Dick Dale tune by his speed, Link Wray by his hysterical attack, Paul Johnson by his his exuberant precision and Gil Orr by his technical proficiency.
Since Duo Tones are Paul Johnson and Gil Orr and since both of them learned classical guitar first (hey, the lead guitarist in Anthrax studied jazz guitar before he discovered thrash) I contend that, while the Duo Tones are definitely surf liking them doesn't count as appreciating surf music.
I've always figured that all instruments are just a way to approximate the human voice while trying to isolate and purify the tone. (Except percussion which is just approximating the pounding of bones on rocks, which is why I studied drums first).
In surf music the guitar replaced the lead vocalist. The guitarist was the front man of the combo. Surf music was too cool for words. When Dick Dale invented it by using the Fender Reverb unit to make his blazing fast riffs sound like a vaseline machine gun every kid in the South Bay discovered a calling.
Now one thing modern surf bands, like the Aqua Velvets et al forgot was that surf music isn't tiki rooms and ultra lounge,its hard scuff up the floor boards dancing music.
Click images for desktop size: "Zebra" by Unknown
The kids who played it had to be better musicians than most garage band types. Almost all of them had actually had lessons!
This was a rock and roll where they could get all the chicks and get to show off.
Very few of the guys in surf bands could surf. Which was cool. When we parked our vans at a break and turned the tape decks up loud it was more likely the Ramones or reggae we surfed to. Surf music was for the drive along PCH, scoping the waves and starting to feel the pump.
I like surf music. It will never fade away.

The All Star game is tomorrow.
I'm stoked. Baseball is the only sport where an All Star game really works. It reminds me of the pick up games in the park. No pressure, just the fun of the game and a casual interest in victory.
Few things are as beautiful as that.

I've bought boxes home to start packing.
I might be leaving my cruddy job right on time. Today I've had to deal with appraisers and Structural engineers. Why the hell an hourly employee is left to their own devices in handling the brass tacks of a multi-million dollar transaction is totally beyond me.
One thing I'm certain of is that something isn't right. We've been told, and I know they lie to us at will, is that this is for the new investors. . . An environmental report for investors?
This smells of a major refi or, most probably, a sale.
I might be mistaken but I've been here before, although not in the lowly capacity I now have.
This is the oddest place I've ever worked. The fellow who I threatened about dumping his dog has quit, called from 4 states away to say he quit without notice.
What a jerk.
At least he didn't leave the dog tied up to a fence post . . .

July 3, 2007

But the fact of it is, nobody gives anymore
Ray Davies

Flowing Rock
Click images for desktop size: Flowing Rock" by Apple
I think most books about dogs are like porn. No matter how badly they're written, sans drama and effect, sans character and denouement, still read them and still get some hidden thrill from them.
At least I do.
I hate myself for it but I still keep reading. I enjoy pointless stories about dogs. I enjoy the characters that even bad writers convey.
Other people must as well as these terrible books keep hitting the best seller charts, keep making high rated TV shows.
Yet with all this product being sold about and some for dogs how can so many people be so blind to the cruelty inflicted upon them.
They are like pop stars you can throw broken glass at and still feel nothing but love in your heart.

I've been remonstrated for not posting more.
Hear it once I don't think about it. A half dozen times and I guess I have to accept the fault.
I've not been feeling too well, a lot of fatigue. I keep going into work but at the end of the day my legs feeling like burning cores of lead.
Merry Melodies Tonight I congratulated myself for resisting taking pain pills for 4 solid days. Pain just tells you you're still alive. I gave in tonight. Its okay. I don't have to be superman.
No work and no doctors tomorrow.
I don't get paid, which is a rip but I haven't had a day sprung on me where I had no responsibilities for too long. With a national holiday I am exonerated. There is nothing I can do.
I need that.
Just a day with my dog who loves me.
While I wish America hadn't become a country that would tolerate a President who tells us he is better than us, that he is above the law and his zealousness is our protection (similar to Stalin rhetoric in a scary way) it won't be my problem soon.

There is good news.
For some reason I seem to always be blessed with good news. I don't know why. Same way I don't know why there are so many people worth loving in my life. Why I met them and why they care about me. I'm a pretty crabby guy.
One of my old friends had another son on Sunday. In his words, he ran out of good names so he had to give him mine for a middle name.
I can't say how touched and pleased I am.
He's a man who I've always known would be a good father.
His call on Sunday washed all pain out of me. I saw a future.

There was also a reminder of the past.
I got the copy of the "posthumous" bootleg CD.
For the most part the music is confident. The two songs I remember still astonish me. I don't know why they weren't hits. They're good and I can't do any better.
I think most of the problem is that I'm not a front man. My voice is great singing back up but not distinctive or quirky enough for lead.
I'm a born rhythm guitarist. I fill in the holes in the sound and keep the danceability in.
I was still confused as to why anyone could call this punk. I write pop tunes. I like pop tunes. I like pop art. Art that's not intended to last forever, just to make you feel good for a while.
Silence Shiftedreality1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Silence" by Shifted Reality
I was glad to hear it. It reminded me of those times. Building the tape decks and rewiring the mikes. Playing with friends and crazy crowds. The laughing, the jokes, the heat and the sweat.
My wild man act is just gentle nostalgia now.
I saw "American Hardcore", the documentary about the hardcore punk movement. (There should have been more music and less talking - is there anything more boring than old musicians talking about the way it used to be?)
It was the same sort of nostalgia only this one was a touch more personal.
I have to go now. The early fireworks have terrified my foster dog.
My puppy isn't bothered by them at all but the foster dog deserves calmness and reassurance. Right now she's torn between believing I'm either the bravest thing in the world or the stupidest. Stupid because I don't know how dangerous those fireworks are and I should be trying to escape!
Prison Without Bars (1938) I'll try and post more often again.
There's never any need to worry about me. Ever.
Its not my desire to worry anyone.
The words are really just to make pretty frames for the pictures.
I am overwhelmed with fatigue sometimes. Nothing wrong with that.
I have a lot to do to get ready for the relocation in about 2 months.
Its a big move but it should make me and my puppy as happy as we can be.
I hope everyone goes to the beach. That you remember your sun block and have as many reasons as I do to smile.

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June 29, 2007

Driving 90 miles an hour down a dead end street
Hank Snow

Baltimoreturtle Louhamilton
Click images for desktop size: "Baltimore Turtle" by Lou Hamilton
I woke up Monday morning and couldn't see. My right eye looked like it was gazing through a crinkly panel of frosted glass.
Its gotten better. It got worse, then got some more drugs and it got better.
My mood was lifted when I got email from two of my kids (former players).
One of them, my Right Tackle, was nearly thrown out of school when he was 15 for being "uneducable". They wrote him off as an idiot. I knew he wasn't. He handled my insane blocking schemes with ease. I had a coach who was dyslexic. I went to the RT's school and argued. They tested him and the RT wasn't an idiot, he was dyslexic. He wrote that he, today, is starting his new job teaching computer science at a university level.
I also heard from my CB. He made himself a great player. Went to America and played Football and Baseball (which he likes more than cricket) while getting a degree in Poli-sci. He was raised in a North London Housing Estate. In the US we call them the projects. Its not a great place to start off from in life.
Dracdaughpstr When he returned home he started work for the government in army recruiting! And now he's on the Town Council. (UK politics are strange to outsiders, really odd - if you don't get it that's cool and so is the job.)
And another of my kids continues in his quest to make it to the NFL. He's signed on the practice squad of the Buffalo Bills. That's cool.
I'm arrogant enough to want credit for the good things I might have done. There is nothing I did that contributed to these kids' success. They did the work, they always did. Straight-line - anyone succeeds you can always say they did the work.
All I did was to teach them how to play a game. I believe the game taught them most of what they try and give me the credit for.
The kids have their opinions and they are entitled to them. I take some pride in that they both mention a couple of cardinal points in my philosophy. First that every kid has a right to either succeed or fail. And that we each responsible for our own actions and for the actions of our teammates.
It means a lot to me to see people I know accomplish things that they once thought were impossible. When anyone is strong enough and cares enough to take a chance on a dream, on themselves it makes me happy.
I talk a lot of platitudes and they both quote some of them. I just found it interesting that these were the two they had in common.
Now I've had an exhausting weekend. My puppy played therapy dog at a new hospital. This was a lot different then our usual rip and run sessions, replete with tea parties and plays. This was a straight hospital situation.
She was wonderful, waiting for a signal from the patient before approaching, not shying from wheel chairs and keeping her head at a level for easy petting. She talked to them all too.
Saturday was my last pee wee football practice. Their season starts soon and the deal was that I wouldn't be a coach. It was good. The best part being that they're too small, or I'm too large, for them to carry me around the field on their shoulders. (Something every football player with dreams of doing: toting their coach around the field.)
Then there was volleyball practice. I seem to have given an odd picture as to what this is about. The guy running the program is the HC at the 1A school here. The kids aren't college students. He set up the clinic in "economically challenged" areas. The kids are 7 to 14. The plan is to get them involved with sports and pass on some fundamentals in the hope that they will pursue athletics in school.
Benuk Cosmicpetals 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Cosmic Petals" by Benuk
The old "social inclusion via sports" gambit.
I believe in it.
It works.

Last Sunday I felt like giving up, but had to give my foster puppy a bath in order to take her to an "Adoptithon" . . . not my phrase for sure.
Wednesday more doc's and therapy dog playing with my puppy. A woman came over to meet my foster dog. The little foster dog was great but we haven't heard back so this Sunday the drag starts all over again as we go to another "adoptithon." The little girl needs a home.

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June 21, 2007

I made up my mind on the freeway

Click images for desktop size: "Coochy Cooty" by Robert Williams
Poking and prodding.
They tell me I should be in pain. I tell them I am. Then they stare at me blink and say, "A lot of pain."
I say, "Yeah, a lot of pain."
"You seem to be functioning alright."
I say, "yeah."
And they give me a new pain pill. I wouldn't take the other one. It made me too dopey.
I refuse to feel dopey.
They're not dead certain why I feel this much pain. Its the kind of pain that's all over. Even all my teeth are noticeably looser. Bad pain like only a few other times. They've decided its a combination of circulatory stuff and neuropathic junk.
Stuff and junk, got that?
It was frustrating and painful for me. The tests, I mean.
One thing though. Yesterday a nurse was lying in wait for me. She'd heard that I was the guy who owns the therapy dog with the web site. She asked me if I was, really really was.
I said, "Yeah."
Attack Of The Phantoms During a break in my tests she took me to meet the kids in her ward. These kids were different than the kids we normally see,more refined, better mannered maybe. More used to getting things they wanted maybe. Still they're just kids.
They asked me all kinds of questions about my puppy. Mainly they couldn't believe that she lives in their town.
I got summoned abruptly. They needed to make more blood flow out of me.
The nurse wanted me to bring my puppy to meet the kids.
I told her I can't drive. She didn't ask me if my license was suspended for DWI, which is he usual question/assumption around here. She offered to pick my puppy and I up and to bring us home. I'm tough and when I feel bad I get too tough. I'll never be tough enough to turn my back on kids. Its my stupidity and I live with it.
Besides, I figure if I keep busy it won't hurt so bad.
And, its true, I'll do anything for a lift.
And while they were showing me the computer they used one of the kids asked me if I really owned my puppy. A little girl answered, "Nobody owns her!"
Smart kid.

The only real difficulty is that they charged me a lot more than I was prepared for. Not a whole lot but enough to bankrupt me. But its paid for - in full. Put that way - in full - it seems an obscenely small amount of money. More than I've got though. I've got plenty of dog food, but not many treats left. Both the foster nor my puppy are going to like that.
I've got 6 meals left. I'll get by somehow.

My co-worker, the one who had the dog that I took care of Memorial Day weekend, is trying to dump the dog. I'm pretty furious about it. He seemed to me like the worse person in the world to care for a dog. He found it in a box by the side of the road. The box had a sign on it that said, "Free Puppies".
She's a good dog but his lack of training and his unwillingness to teach the dog, play with the dog have resulted in a large 6 month old 55 pound hyper ball of energy. She's scared. He's just trying to evade the responsibility he took on.
Click images for desktop size: "Vampi" by Frank Frazetta
He tried to dump the dog off on another co-worker. He told her if she didn't take the dog he was just going to dump it at the pound.
I told him that if he did that I would be very disappointed in him.
I've done a lot of thinking and there's no way I can take the dog in - time, money, space. I'm trying to find a suitable home but that's too rare for a problem animal.
I'll keep thinking.

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May 8, 2007

Let's forget about the whinin' and the cryin' and the shooting and the dying and the fellow with a switchblade knife. Let's think about living. Let's think about life.
Bob Luman

Click images for desktop size: "Announcing" by Unknown
It is exactly one point four miles from my front door to the bus stop. When I was feeling my worst it took me 20 minutes or 8 tunes on the iPod to walk there.
Normally it takes me 15 minutes or 6 tunes.
Today it took me 12 minutes or only 4 songs! They were good songs so maybe that helped.
One of them was an Everly Brother's track from their 1983 Reunion concert at Albert Hall. I like the Everly's. Like them plenty.
Until the 80's they were the largest selling duo ever. (Hall and Oates beat them out for first, I'm not quite sure what that means. My friend Billy took it personally and said it only proved that more idiots than ever were buying records.)
Lots of people tried to imitate them, cash in. Normal part of business. No one could ever come close to those weird and exciting harmonies. They were part gospel, part blue grass and made whatever they sang, not just interesting but beautiful..
Jailhouse Rock I also loved the sound of their J200 Gibson guitars. It was also an inimitable sound. Somehow they made it sound like a bursting twelve string with none of the jangle.
I met Phil Everly. My friend Richard got called in to consult about a dog problem he had. He invited me along without mentioning it was Phil Everly. He thought I'd want to come because Phil had Belgians! The breed I owe more to than I can ever repay.
Richard may or may not have even known who The Everly Brothers are. But he knows dogs.
Phil had a big mansion out Zuma way and his pair of Belgians had destroyed the place. Belgians are like that. They worked without malice but thy had transformed a mansion by the sea into a perfect home for two dogs, so long as no people wanted to live there. People were welcome but the dogs didn't understand why everyone was aghast at the state of the house. The dogs thought it was the highest in chic and the ultimate in spacious living.
Now Phil was generally portrayed as the "jerk" in the Everly's and the impetus for their famed fist fights on stage and the constant break ups. I was startled when he came in.
He was a nice guy and most telling was he was not overly concerned about the shape of the house but very concerned that the dogs destruction was a sign that they were unhappy.
Me. I got to love a guy like that.
Richard worked with Phil and the dogs for a couple of hours. I got to be the assistant and had a wonderful time with the two dogs who were full of jokes and loved playing dumb.
Went out a month later to follow up and saw the house being restored and Phil and the dogs rough house playing. The dogs were even happier and greeted us warmly. So did Phil.
And that's what I thought about as I walked and set a record for walking to the bus stop.
Coyote 01
Click images for desktop size: "Wile E Coyote" by Chuck Jones
Work is still terrible. Still looking for an escape. Money is still a worrisome burden but I'm not lacking (mainly thanks to my friend.)
I'm going to start the Football Clinic this Saturday afternoon, and the Volleyball Classes next Weds afternoon - after the doctor and before my puppy has to go doctor her patients.
Last Sunday my foster puppy and I went to her first adoption event. It was National Shelter week in the US so I was disappointed in the turn out. I took a lot of pictures, which may have been a mistake. The adoption group heads are driving me mildly crazy with demands for this picture and that.
I try and explain that I'm not very good at this and all I was doing was grabbing snap shots for my puppy's website. I get ignored.
Next Saturday I have to do a 5K walk with my puppy and my foster dog, raising money to rescue pets. I'll enjoy seeing all the dogs but and chilled thinking about walking these two in a crowd.
All in all things are peaceful. I feel better when I'm moving in a direction.

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April 26, 2007

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

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

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

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

February 5, 2007

We got no wheels to race
Joey Ramone

Mando Gomez-Woman-In-Red-1024
Click images for desktop size: "Woman In Red" by Mando Gomez
At least this Super Bowl wasn't as cruddy as last years . . . at least the 1st qtr wasn't . . . Rex Grossman played with Bambi Eyes. Last year the guy went into the playoffs and was chucking the ball all over the place, yesterday he looked determined not to be responsible for losing. That's the best formula for defeat; playing not to lose and forgetting the object is to win.
Brian Urlacher played scared too. It becomes endemic.
The most interesting thing was how the Colts kept the ball for 22 minutes of the first half. If the Bears' O could have gotten just a few first downs the game would have been different. Instead fatigue and battery were all the defenders could whip up on Manning. He got the MVP but did not look marvelous.
In fact parity is a vile thing. Neither of these teams looked good, nor have they for most of the season. This is arguably the worst Colts team this last 5 years. Before they couldn't get through Belichik's New England. Brady nearly whomped them this year and he had no world class receivers and a very ordinary defense.
This may be the new thing in the NFL. Parity. Victory through attrition.
Makes me glad I'm a college football and baseball fanatic.
And I still think the NFL Channel violates a lot of free enterprise and monopoly laws. Its unfair too.
Blake Of Scotland Yard, Ep#00-B (1937-Teaser) Funny, this is a weird thing to miss but I used to like it when they'd rush up to the SuperBowl MVP and in a deep stentorian voice say something like; "He's just lead the Colts to their first Championship in 30 years.
So Peyton was is there left? Where do you go from here?"
And Manning would whip off his helmet and say, "I'm going to Disneyland!"
Odd tradition. They payed an insane amount of money for the MVP to "spontaneously" say that at the end of a game.
I do miss it.

I'm feeling better but not 100% yet. Still freaking out about money, still not so freaked out that I can avoid "outright prolonged laughter" when my puppy tells me her puppy jokes.

Just tired and feeling vague.

I saw "The Last King Of Scotland". It was appallingly bad. Forest Whitaker was good, he almost always is. His Oscar worthy performance was, for me, in the excruciating "Bird".
But Whitaker's Idi Amin Dada isn't even the star! That falls to a totally obnoxious British WHITE wanker. The coolest thing being that you really wanted to see him get tortured to death, but the filmmakers, while going out of there way to show what a worthless piece of drek this fellow is still expect us to feel sympathy and root for him when he falls into the clutches of the black goon squad.
It a bad British movie is all.
If you are interested in Idi Amin Barbet Schroeder did an incredible documentary of Amin, had full access to him. Stunning interviews, remarkably candid. Its revelatory. Amin was some sort of monster, granted but the film can't deny him his base, if ignored, humanity. It also explains something that "Last King" doesn't even attempt: As disgusting as Amin was the people of Uganda still feel in awe of him as a man.

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February 2, 2007

It probably started in poetry, most good things do
Raymond Chandler

Jackp Blacklab 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Black Lab" by Jack P
About 80% recovered from the cold.
Odd to think of it that way. Measuring recovery from something as commonplace as a head cold . . . I can still feel some congestion in my lungs, but lighter each day.
I was perplexed because it appears I've given contradictory information about where I was born. This bothers me some.
Like when they are checking you for being concussed or stark raving mad don't they ask you things like, "What year is this? What day is this? Where were you born?"
The info isn't on my drivers license.
Part of the problem is that I spent a long time having to answer the question with a quick, "USA".
Back in the US, that answer doesn't cut it.
I'm looking for my passport for a definitive answer. I don't care, really, just concerned that the mind is going. Mind follows body. Doesn't it?
Pretty soon I'll only remember the distant past, but I still won't remember where I was born.
Like Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) I have to believe that they eradicated my memory from the age of 2 backwards, probably because I knew too much . . . or not enough.
My puppy is exploiting my memory by constantly insisting that I haven't fed her or given her the treats she's earned.

I can finally say I've seen all the best pictures nominated for the Oscars this year.
4 Sadly I was stunningly unimpressed.
Its much different not being in LA now. Then the Oscar season is totally fun - billboards, massive ads, DVD's floating around. Anyone old enough to remember the Z Channel will also remember all the films being blasted over the cable for Nominations and all the Best Picture nominees being played in time for the voters. And then on the times when a friend got nominated it was excitement of the highest order.
It was better than a game of football.
Still this is a paltry group of films. They seem remarkable unambitious. Remarkable short of the mark.
The way I watch movies is confusing in terms of being eligible for Oscar voting. But I have a neat passion for lists. So the five best films I've seen in 2006 are:

The King And The Clowns - A Korean film that is highly astonishing, funny, brutal and ribaldry real. Its also a movie dealing with gay themes that shows "Brokeback Mountain" up as the pretentious sham it was. In fact it makes "Brokeback Mountain" look like a movie made by the guy who made "The Incredible Hulk".
The film opens with the staid pronouncement that Korea has had a King for over 500 years, the longest run in world history, and then goes on to explain how records of the kings were kept.
This was in the first 90 seconds and had me prepared to squirm and run out, but then the next shot is of a man in costume telling a ribald joke while balancing and bouncing on a tightrope. And then the magic starts. The acting is superb throughout. The ancient characters seem real, concise and cogent. It becomes a great story that anyone can identify with.
The clowns, the traveling troubadours end up deciding they can make money by parodying the king. They do. They also get arrested and face execution. They dare the Cabinet Minister to let the king see their skit. They wager, he will laugh or they will die. And it rolls on gathering constant momentum until it explodes in beauty and catharsis.
I think its the best film of the year and at least one the top 25 films ever made. It is art and it is entertaining. We forget that they are supposed to be the same thing.

Yoshitaka Amano
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Yoshitaka Amano
The Gridiron Gang - Yeah. A movie starring the Rock. I think he's cool but I've seen enough of him to realize he's learned how to act. This is a movie based on a brilliant little documentary. One of the oddest things about it is when they duplicate a shot and dialogue from the original film.
Both films are about one man's determination and the reality that one man cannot change the world alone, but sometimes he has help when he doesn't expect it. Its a movie about the community and young people's and our place in it. It has football, good acting and a premise that uplifts, excites and instructs.
Thats good enough for me.

Sympathy For Lady Vengeance Not as straight ahead and exciting as "Old Boy" the third part of the Vengeance Trilogy focuses on beauty and meditation as well as the cruelty we inflict on each other and the cruelty society inflicts in its quest for revenge.
The heroine confesses to the brutal abduction of murder of a child. She is sent to prison where she is considered a buddha, a person so good and beautiful she glides through prison. Soon its discovered that she is not a buddha, merely patient and cunning. She is also innocent of the crime she confessed to. She is released from prison and begins an existential quest to regain the life she sacrificed and to get revenge against the person who cost her that life.
In seeking that revenge she learns about community, and the cycle and the unrequited lust for vengeance that resides in too many people. Butterflies in the snow.

Atom Man Vs Superman, Ep#00-A (1950-Teaser) V for Vendetta - Yeah, its based on a comic book. It has glitzy special effects, a macguffin of a plot and the most potent political statement made in an American film since King Vidor's "Our Daily Bread". And oh yeah, ITS FUN!

The Guy Was Cool A light little love story about the toughest guy in town accidentally kissing a girl he was planning to beat up. She's not very cute but he is. Being so tough he is also popular with the right and the wrong people. They don't pursue each other but somehow they fall in love, a real love that sees their difference as complimenting each others strengths and weaknesses. This is a movie that proves being true to yourself is the way to be true to others and that love is an inevitability, not a biological recourse.
I've also been reminded that along with all the insightful melodrama this is also one of the sweetest and funniest films ever. Its easy to forget that. There's no real jokes. Just people learning about each other and themselves.

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November 11, 2006

An evil soul means an evil sword

What Makes You Happy
Click images for desktop size: "Whatever Makes You Happy" by Scot Chitwood
Got new drugs yesterday. That use to mean something different. These drugs only have something to do with fun in the most indirect way. They keep me alive to enjoy people; to enjoy my puppy. They're really wearing me out today.
On one of them, I made a mistake and read the information pamphlet. Putting off starting that one until Saturday. They gave me a 30 minute lecture about the drugs. As usual I only half listened - too depressing, reading all the side effects meant, to me, that these pills may not be worth it.
What's the point extending life a few months if the extension is going to be filled with misery.
I don't think that my attitude is suicidal. I think my attitude is common sense.

It's a couple days later. At work I was cutting down tress 8 or 9 of them, misjudged one and it bit me.
That was distracting.
Yesterday was the first round of the State Playoffs. All three teams that legitimately beat on us the field won their first round games pretty easily, all by at least 2 touch downs.
Poster - I Was A Teenage Werewolf One of them invited me to their game, clearly as a recruiting thing. I was flattered when I told them I couldn't come without my puppy that they hastily arranged things.
Because its the Championships there was a bit of scrutiny making sure I wasn't helping . . . I'm not too sure what sort of illicit advice I could give. My puppy would probably tell them to score more touch downs . . . . It was different being just a spectator. I was saddened by the low turnout especially on what was a beautiful evening. This is the other “poor” school in town. It is making me consider things a bit more seriously than I other wise would.

For some reason I've been wrapped up in thought thinking about an old Chinese song . . . yeah. Its a song thats ancient, from the time in the bronze age where iron swords were making an appearance and myths about an indestructible metal called steel were floating in the ionosphere.
I guess the closest thing we have to this sort of song would be “Yankee Doodle” or something like that, and that is not really ancient at all.
It seems there was this bad king. I note that there are seldom any good kings mentioned except in fairy tales, must be something about the job, or something about dispatching all your enemies doesn't really prepare you for a life of public service.
Anyway, there's this bad king. He's very well protected, lives in an impenetrable Chinese castle and is always surrounded by a phalanx of 100 guards, even when he sleeps. All of the guards' families are kept in prison to be executed if one of the guards screws up! Which may have added to his rep of being a bad king. There's a nameless assassin who is given the job of killing this king, a job considered to be impossible. To the outside world it appears that the assassin has lost his nerve. He puts aside his sword and begins to play the qin. The qin is that sort of lute shaped metal instrument played like a lap steel guitar, the strings plucked with a feather.
For 10 years the assassin practices the qin until he is soon recognized as the most virtuoso player in all of China.
Wolf Soul  By Wolf Wind
Click images for desktop size: "Wolf Soul" by Wolf Wind
He is invited to play at the palace.
When he plays for the king, the king is astonished at the beauty of his playing. He descends his throne, walks past his guards and takes a seat on a stool near the qin to better hear and to see the amazing dexterity of the player.
The song ends and as the last note begins to fade the assassin breaks the neck of his qin to expose the steel blade he has cunningly concealed within.
He stabs the bad, but cultured, king in the throat, killing him on the spot. The he impales himself on the blade while plunging his face into a burning brazier.
He burns his face so that he cannot be recognized so that the kings supporters cannot take revenge on him by killing his family.
What a crazy cool Chinese cat.

I also figure that if USC can beat, Oregon today, Cal next week, then Notre Dame and UCLA they should get to play for the National Championship.

I found one of my narcotic pin pills. I've taken it. It makes me groggy and even dopier than usual. I think about a friend today telling me I'm the least relaxed person she ever met. That's funny. I feel relaxed. I don't panic about things. Maybe feeling relaxed is all the difference.

Oh, and I love my puppy.

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November 5, 2006

Most of the time, its hard enough just being ourselves
USC 42 Stanford 0

Luisroyo Theneedlesofjoy
Click images for desktop size: "The Needles Of Joy" by Luis Royo
Its been a chaotic week. On Sunday I avoided getting hit by a car while on my bike and I really torqued my back.
Its been giving me a lot of pain ever since. As in 5 minutes putting on my socks bad.
The good part about that was that it made clear to me that the antibiotics I've been eating have knocked out most of the major pain I was feeling before.
I don't know if that is a fair trade off. I also never imagined how many times I bend down.
I haven't missed any work. I have been glad things have been slow.

High school football season is over. We won on Monday (the postponed game from the Friday) 52-0. It was the final home game. No band. Poor turnout but the kids learned to play for the joy of the game all over again. It was an admirable performance. All the seniors got on the field.
It was also where some more damage was done to my back. I don't blame anyone. For a football player, after the personal fantasies, a couple of their big dreams are to win a game where the fans storm the field and tear down the goal posts. ANother is to carry their coach off the field. Except usually coaches don't have bad lumbars that make it hard to keep themselves erect, nor do they have a puppy who is not so keen on seeing the coach raised out of their reach.
What's a little more damage when it helps some one make a small dream come true.
Poster - Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!(3) On Friday we played the team that won the conference. They whalloped us 31-7.
The score was secondary. They were a much better team. What was important was that the kids kept playing. They never just gave up.
That was more important to me than a story book ending. Story book endings are pleasant dreams that play through your head and bring smiles on cold nights. Playing through at maximum speed when it looks hopeless is something that sticks with you through out life.

My near legendary search for a housemate rolls on.
And on.
Oh, and on.
One looks promising. 3 have been jerks. 2 have left me numb. 1 would have been pleasant but her father had problems with me being male and not Chinese.
And on.

Last week was my worst week ever in picking NFL games!! I was 5-8. This knocked me all the way down to 147th!
With that in mind my picks this week are in bold.

Atlanta at Detroit - I like the Lions. I really do. Michael Vick has been too hot. I don't think it will last all season, but who knows. The Falcons' strengths hit right at the Lions' weaknesses.

Cincinnati at Baltimore - GAME OF THE WEEK! This one has me excited. The Ravens front 7 against the patchwork Bengals' O-Line will be something to witness. And the ball hawking Bengals secondary and punishing D-Line will make some head cracking plays. I hope it all comes down to McNair and Carson Palmer. That would make this a symphony. Chad Johnson makes me laugh and is good for the game. The NFL should be rewarding and not fining him. No Fun League.
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Dallas at Washington - Okay. I was wrong about Tony Romo. I'm not wrong about Parcells and Gibbs being vastly over rated. I still see this as a who cares game with the Cowboys being slightly less awful.

Green Bay at Buffalo - Brett Favre has never been away. I think this will be a close game. The Bills still have not learned how to win, but they are a talented team.

Houston at New York Giants - Last week the Texans proved they have no business in the NFL. They sat David Carr down. No one has even bothered to report whether he will still be a back up this week, so little is the interest. The Giants have to view this as a chance to tune up and work out the kinks before the monster game next week against the Bears.

Kansas City at St Louis - There are a lot of factors in this game, both talent wise, emotionally and in coaching. Its going to be fun seeing what the two first year coaches bring today. I'm taking the Chiefs because Larry Johnson is still one of the finest young men I've ever met and Herm Edwards is a superior coach.
Shadows Of Death-1024 Miami at Chicago - Just like the Giants get a tune up before next weeks “Clash”, so do the Bears. Miami is a better team that Houston but not by much. Nick Saban is not much of a coach and Lovee Smith is getting more and more impressive. Blow Out of the week.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay - Last week the Saints, my team of destiny, got stuffed. I still liked the way they played when it looked hopeless. They played like a college team running on emotion. The Buc's have looked better, hard to look worse, but the Saints will need to win to continue to believe in themselves. That makes them the pick. I still think they are a team of destiny.

Tennessee at Jacksonville - What has happened to the Jaguars? Inconsistent is one thing but erratic is quite another! I never figured that Jack del Rio would come up with a one man team, but with Byron Leftwich as that man it is what he has. Talent-wise the Titans can't stay on the field with the Jags. But . . .

Minnesota at San Francisco - This should be an utter blow out. If it isn't then the Vikings need to rethink their play off aspirations. Goodbyesky
Click images for desktop size: "Goodbye Sky" by Adrianna
Cleveland at San Diego - Even with the Shawn Merriman fiasco the Chargers are still looking too strong and playing well. The Browns aren't ready to take it to the West Coast yet. WIthout Merriman I'd still look for Winslow to have a big day for the Browns.

Denver at Pittsburgh - Both teams got beaten last weekend, both in different but bad ways. Cowher is looking like an idiot by insisting a dinged up Rothlisberger is the man when Charlie Batch has played better and WON! The Bronco's will recover and score enough.

Indianapolis at New England - Runner up game of the week. Manning and Brady are two of the best to ever play this game. Both are on teams where the talent around them is dwindling. The game is on prime time network when both these guys have shined. I'm taking the Pats over the undefeated Colts just for that reason. The Colts keep withering when under the big spotlight.

Oakland at Seattle - The cruddy game of the week is on Monday night . . . Someone already told me that this gave him an excuse to see what has going on in “Rasslin'”.

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October 29, 2006

USC 31 Oregon State 33

Click images for desktop size: "Colorful Variants"
Yesterday was not a very good day.
Aside from the above score my high school game was canceled Friday night because of the storms.

I told the fellow who was really annoying, rude and bullying me that he was doing this and, because of fear of poverty, I left it open as to being my housemate. It was really dead in the water then. I wanted it to be. He called me and said, “You scared me! I don't want to live with you!” I said, “Good idea. Don't change your mind and don't come around me.”
I hope I don't end up regretting my small pride and protection of my puppy and my sanity too much.
A couple of people have come over and a couple more may. We'll see what happens.
Poster - Door To Door Maniac A job I was really keen on, that would have obliterated the need for a house mate emailed me to say that I didn't need to come in for the interview. They'd gone with someone they'd met earlier . . .
And . . . I guess that's it . . . Its not that bad when you line it up like that. Except for USC losing of course and the kids having to play on Monday and then finish the season on Friday.

Before I get my picks up, you know I won an iRobot Roomba: a robot vacuum cleaner. I was just pleased to win something with all my thought about football, made it seem productive instead of mere time filling. I was just going to give it to my friend but things happen. ANyway, the Roomba is no indispensable! It cleans wonderfully, doesn't annoy the pup very much and is fascinating to the geek in me. I want the Pet one now! Since I won this one I've seen them advertised all over the place. It is a very cool practical thing.

Last week I repeated my mediocre 8-5 in guessing. I fell to 47th in the country (Big Screen TV prize). So I'm rushing to get this posted before kick off. My picks are in bold.
Arizona at Green Bay - If not for Matt Linehart and Brett Favre this would be the runaway cruddy game of the week. Denny Green remains the leaden weight on the Cardinals. I'm choosing them over the Packers more on whim. The Packers are playing better, but are banged up.

Atlanta at Cincinnati - With John Abrams out the very good Falcons' D takes a big hit. They'll run more because they really don't have the tools to attack the ball hawking Bengals' secondary. Carson Palmer is still looking derailed since the Steelers game but should be able to handle a softer pass rush and get the needed points.

Baltimore at New Orleans - The Saints remain an team of inspiration and destiny. They are playing more as a team than anyone else in the NFL. I like the Ravens with McNair back and Fassel out but nobody messes with destiny, at least not yet in the new SuperDome.
Ed Allen-Shiver
Click images for desktop size: "Shiver" by Ed Allen

Houston at Tennessee - Cruddy game of the week and contender for cruddy game of the season. Taking the Titans nee' Houston Oilers because well . . .

Jacksonville at Philadelphia - What happened to the Jaguars? This is the time in the season where everyone is beaten up. The Eagles are healthier and desperate for a win. The Jaguars just look desperate.

Seattle at Kansas City - Last week The Chiefs played inspired football while the Seahawks got gutted. Worse, after the game they LOOKED gutted.

San Francisco at Chicago - The Bears will be at their most dangerous. After the bizarre debacle in Arizona they have a lot to prove to themselves. San Francisco isn't as cruddy as last year . . . about all you can say about them.

Tampa Bay at New York Giants - The Bucs get a record field goal and win. Miracles aren't destiny. They are still a cruddy team. The Giants are erratic but settling down and winning.
Creature From The Haunted Sea-1024 St Louis at San Diego - A more interesting game than it seems at first. Both teams have identical records. Taking the Chargers at home. this is my runner up game of the week!

Indianapolis at Denver - My game at the week. When Vegas odds makers figure the point spread on games one of the formulas is that home field is worth 3 points. A team that is dominant at home gets 3 1/2 points. The Broncos routinely get 6 points . . . Mile High is a rough place to play. Many of the Elway's brilliant 4th qtr comebacks happened because defenses were gasping for air and nauseous from the altitude. I expect the first half of this game to be the best then it will disintegrate in the 2nd.

New York Jets at Cleveland - Jets win against an improving Browns team.
Hefengiyi Orchid
Click images for desktop size: "Orchid" by He Fengi Yi
Pittsburgh at Oakland - Cowher will probably go with Rothlisberger but Batch has been the superior QB this season. Oakland has, well they. they may . . . they will wear their black shirts and silver helmets. That is a very cool uniform . . .

Dallas at Carolina - This is my “Who Cares” game of the week. Is anyone else willing to admit that Parcells is not a genius? Tony Romo?

New England at Minnesota - I'm picking the Patriots despite how well the Vikings are playing and improving. I like the Patriots for one reason, Tom Brady is the QB. On the Vikings side Brad Johnson is not Tom Brady.

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October 21, 2006

I need a love to make me happy
Southside Johnny

Explosion By Timelikeit
Click images for desktop size: "Explosion" by Timelikeit
My puppy has a new game. She thinks its funny. When I go to bed she stands at the foot of the bed and presses her head down very hard on my toes. When I look at her she smiles and jumps up next to me, looking down, staring and grinning. Then she lies down next to me and looks adorable and loving. If not for the fact that she thinks it hysterical to spend the next ten minutes trying to push me out of my single bed it would be a sweet daily moment.
It is anyway.
Sometimes she sleeps with her head under my arm and it feels like the world is far away.
It isn't.
I live now in a small town. They don't like to think this is a small town but it is. With cable and satellite TV everybody in the world is hip to the latest trends and fads. Everybody thinks they're cool, with it and small town rich. With the internet they can order anything. I figure that's why baggy clothes have become popular . . .
Poster - After Hours (2) This makes them smug and all knowing. They misuse slang, deny others rights they demand for themselves and generally behave like people everywhere always have. I think the difference is that they don't have a diverse population to expose the fallacies they concoct. they don't have confrontation, and when they do have it they behave like Catholic Priests knowing their Bishop will protect them.
About a mile and a half from my puppy's and my house is a ratty looking bar. They call it a night club.
Maybe to them it is. Any other corner of the world its a grotty neighborhood tavern.
I've noticed that in small towns like this there is always a tiny barrio. In this town it means a restaurant with a salsa bar and good burritos and ceveche.
This club is in the barrio and even has an hispanic sounding name: “La Zona”.
What makes La Zona interesting is that it is owned by a deputy sheriff. Most of the employees are also deputy sheriffs.
Its not a cop bar. Maybe it was opened with that intent but economics take things where they want you to go, not always where you dream.
What makes La Zona with all these Sheriffs working there interesting is that they sold crack . . . out of the bar/club. It also appears they fenced stolen goods and most interesting is that they operated a murder for hire business. At least thats what they were arraigned for.
Cops have to make a living too. Cops also have yuppie dreams of American wealth.
At first I was surprised by the murder for hire business. Then I figured that people in small towns must hate too, maybe even more than their big city counterparts. I wonder if life in this town is cheap or expensive and how much hate you have to have to put a dollar amount to it.
Would you kill some one for five bucks or ten thousand? If it were five hundred would you set up a biannual hit list, work your way up the corporate ladder or expunge the world of those ex-significant others?
Flames   Grey Metal Weave Wide By Jbensch
Click images for desktop size: "Flames" by J Bensch
Is their a premium attached when you have a professional killer, a cop, doing it for you?
They never put the interesting stuff in the newspaper.
What I find odd though is that this wasn't a big front page story. In LA and London and Chicago it would have been all over the papers, TV, radio for weeks. In a small town it was just a blip. Maybe it goes on all the time and doesn't perk anyones interest.
“Did you hear the cops are running crack, stealing and killing people for money?”
“Again? Oh well, but did you hear that the high school team had to forfeit some games?”
“What! We ought to string him up!”
Not making a point here but you can't help but notice that TV and the papers have mentioned the team every day and no mention of all about cops selling their guns to anyone who walked through the door.
All I'm sure of is that my puppy and I take good care of each other, even if there's times when it seems funny to try and push me out of bed.

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October 19, 2006

There's never been a time in the world where you could do so little and get so much done
Arlo Gutherie

Stone Soldier By Dakann
Click images for desktop size: "Stone Soldier" by Dakann
There's a bit of a scandal at the high school where I volunteer. One of the players had conflicting birth dates - one set showed 1988 and another showed 1987.
Its important because if he turned 19 before October he's an ineligible player.
He did and he was.
The HC is the one who caught it. He reaffirmed why I like him. He didn't wait and see if it would be caught. He didn't sit the player out and pretend nothing happened.
He called the league and forfeited all the games. He called the players and coaches together and let us know what had been done. He sent a letter to each of the varsity players explaining the facts.
He took full responsibility. He didn't blame a clerk for making the mistake. He didn't blame the kid. He never let anyone have a clue as to whom the kid might be.
13Tzamet(2006)-05The HC has a family and a teenaged daughter in there too.He has put them at risk. He needs the job, wants a better one. He knows he has a good chance of being fired for this because the local papers who carried the story have all pointed out that this would be the first losing season in 47 years . . . A few parents have already expressed outrage.
We were going to go to the state playoffs, now we would have to win out and hope for a few miracles to make it but we still might play for the championship. The players opportunities for the future haven't been impacted - a college recruiter isn't going to scratch their names off the books over this. Sure, there's some disappointment but I would rather that a kid see a man stand up in the path of fire because it was the right thing to do instead of just winning a championship.
Its what I mean about the game teaching the athlete about life.
I think the HC did something heroic and courageous. I have seen him do nothing but the right thing. He could have kept his mouth shut. He could have slunk around worried that one of the other coaches might catch the technical error. It wasn't that the kid has his grades fixed to be eligible. It wasn't that they were trying to sneak in a bigger kid for a fifth year of eligibility. It just happened and it was wrong. The HC stood up to it in a way I understand and relate to.
He's a fine man who just set a sterling example to the players on his team, and a good example to other coaches and their players. I note that none of our opponents, especially our less economically disadvantaged opponents, have refused to accept the forfeit, claiming they did not deserve the win. (I've done that in the past and believe it is the proper response here. I don't blame them for taking advantage of the technicality, nor do I judge them. They understand the needs of their own teams, I can't claim to know that.)
My feeling is that the HC is a good man who has done the best thing. If he is going to be attacked for it I will support him.
Click images for desktop size: "Streetfighter" by Sega
I'm sick and I'm tired but there are some fights that get thrust in your way and you know that to avoid them would be to your detriment and to the detriment of the community and to society. I am old battered warrior which means I want to win with the least effort possible. That makes me dangerous because I've fought people like this far too many times.
Maybe I'll be wrong and people might actually understand that teaching a few noble sentiments and learning to be proud of the right things is more important than a game. Its a big lesson that the game teaches these young people.
Now, tomorrow, we have to play the highest ranked team we've yet to face. I figured us to win. It will come down to the team and what they want.
I think that's how it should be.

I'm doing okay. I wonder if people realize that I'm pretty happy. The things that bother me don't stop me from being happy.
My puppy is happy. She bugs me all the time and insists I be happy.
Things bother me. Nothing mush is like I want it to be. So what.

I may have found a housemate. My puppy's and my house is cute and with just us here it feels like a home - maybe a bit slap dash but still a home. We'll be okay.

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September 18, 2006

I felt like I'd written a beautiful poem and then lost it and would never remember it again
Raymond Chandler

Stevetruett Feathers 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Feathers" by Steve Truett
So much going on. My housemate is finally moving out. This is good. I was paying half the rent and all the bills but living in one room with my puppy. He filled up the rest of the house with kibble and junk. (See Philip K Dick's “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” to properly understand the properties of kibble.)
I'v been advertising for new housemates. There comments have been on the order of, “You must be pretty calm to have put up with this!”
But as much as that bothers me, its less than his never cleaning or helping with cleaning or even just watching me clean. That's trivial but merely disconcerting at times. It bothers me that when he's alone with my puppy he's created some odd behavior patterns within her. I finally figured out its his odd habit of teasing animals, not viciously mind you, but in a way that blurs his concept of others. Its something I can deal with but don't need to.
Poster - Dr.CyclopsThe other worry is that when he goes, on short notice . . . I'll be stuck for twice the rent, as its clear no one will want to rent the place while it is filled to overflowing with his kibble that means I'll be living extremely thinly for a while. But I'll be living, my puppy will be happy and that's good enough.
The pain has been really bad. The pain killers I take are prescription strength ibuprofen. I realized all they were was double the strength of the stuff you buy at Walgreens, double the strength for 8 times the price! So I just double up on the cheap stuff and save the prescription for real, “O my god, I'm out!” style emergencies. Then I realized I was up to double the prescription dosage so I figured I had better cut down! I tried taking one of the narcotic ones (No more than 2 in a 24 hour period) and they do work but the price is too high.
Mainly I deal with pain by ignoring it as best I can.
I deal with the stress like the house and money by thinking it through until I've come to a conclusion and then not thinking about it again.
Sports do a great job of keeping my mind off of these things, but the Sunday games were terrible! Some stellar performances dotted in but this was just a boring Sunday.
Now that the Dodgers have fallen out of first place (I know I'm not a big pro sports fan but I was raised in the Ocean and at Chavez Ravine {Dodger's home field}) even baseball was not fun to think about. I've already worked out my coaching strategy for the week. We have a big game this Friday night - cross town rival and the winner has the inside track on making the State playoffs - and I had to focus on where best to put our limited practice time.
So I did a LOT of house cleaning . . . odd that I can still feel so sick and so much pain while performing the required drudgery.
What I thought about was a question the kids are always asking me: What was the best championship I ever won?
They wouldn't like the answer.
Un Dia De Relax By Libros
Click images for desktop size: "Un Dia De Relax" by Libros
They look up to me because I've played big time college ball. Its the next step they want to take. I'm blind enough to think that there's no reason any player can't do what I do.
A lot of coaches think I'm foolish to believe this. Its the same coaches who think I was foolish in thinking a British kid could ever make it to the NFL.
They were wrong there too. You can never ever discount the power of a dream.
But my favorite championship?
It was not football but baseball. And not College ball but Little League. It wasn't even the first one my team won. I was 10 years old. My buddy Tom was 11. Tom was 6'2“ then and I was 5'9”. We learned early to always keep our birth certificates in our back pockets on game day.
This was just a neighborhood team, a park league, because back then they made sure there was money for park leagues. I think they used 1/2 of 1% of the money they now earmark for prisons.
We didn't even have a coach. We did, you had to have an adult, but he went to jail for alimony or something. Jail scared us too much to investigate fully. So we would round up whatever adult we could find and get him or her to present our line up card to the umpires.
White Zombie Bela Lugosi -1024 Sometimes our emergency managers would even stay and watch part of the game.
I think we were undefeated that season. I remember the championship game was a pretty lop sided victory. I mean we were all gremmies, super fit kids who loved playing the game.
The only thing I remember about it was Pete making one of his patented catches where he climbed the 5 foot chain link fence and dived off of it to steal a homer from our opponents.
Pete did that stuff all the time but this time was remarked upon because the opposing manager, a real serious guy complained about it bitterly to the umps.
So we won and all got our little trophies and one big trophy.
Pretty soon everyone else had gone and we were there looking at our trophies and not feeling much of anything at all. There were 12 of us so we chose up sides and played six on six. We would play it that odd innings right field was an automatic out - even innings left field was an automatic out. That way we were convinced we'd learn to pull the ball!
We played until it was too dark to see. While we played I realized we were the best, the 12 of us were the best team in the area. My team won that game against ourselves.
Its my favorite and most memorable championship. Still.

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September 11, 2006

I said, yes I'll be here when the morning comes
Jumpin' Gene Simmons (194?-2006)

Tomdarro Womanwhodreamedofthewhitewolf
Click images for desktop size: "Woman Who Dreamed Of The White Wolf" by Tom Darro
We all have those times when we want the phone to ring. We want somebody, anybody, to drop by. We all have times when we need to remember that we are human and we don't always feel like like . . . this. When its hard to recognize the face in the mirror.
There's the other times too. Those moments when you wrap yourself in a black cocoon and relish being not of this earth. Sometimes you think those thoughts filled with hate that come from someplace you don't recognize. Later on those thought repulse you and force you into being more the person you are and want to be.
Some people just sit around scared.
To be human you have to have light and dark inside of you so that it becomes up to you which side to show to the world. So you can be the chilled relaxed person who is comfortable in your own skin.
Then you can face the world knowing what's inside of you.
Poster - The Young, The Evil And The Savage One of the free penny papers did a story about me, my puppy, football and music and about me talking to the city council.
I just wanted to be invisible. To suffer quietly.
I don't like newspapers.
Journalists. I've had them as friends. Been fond of a couple of them so I know that they are people and feel and act just like the rest of us. But they have a job and when it comes down to their job they can't help but use everything they know about you. For a journalist the biggest loving act they can do in your behalf is keep silent. They twist the knife, not with hatred which you can deal with and expect, but con amore, only because it is their job and what feeds their kids.
I don't like even sweet puff pieces fascinated that I'm like a side show freak. I like music, football and puppies and I care that children not be harmed.
That's normal for me but worth a quarter page in a throw away paper?
I want to be invisible all over again.

The pain has been bad. I've been swallowing pain killers pretty steadily. Not the narcotic ones. I hate them and avoid them at all costs. They knock out the pain but then I feel hung over for the next 3 days. the pain is still manageable.

Going into tonight I'm 11-3 in my football picks. One of the losses was picking a major upset, picking Miami. The other was a shock. Who could have figured that John Abrahams and Grady Little could suddenly convert the Atlanta defense into championship caliber, or is it that Carolina is really a one dimensional team and without Steve Smith fall into the ordinary.
Probably both are true.
And then I picked the Giants . . . they played horridly on O and stunningly on D. It doesn't matter, who I picked. It was a highly entertaining game.
Now the two games tonight. I'm so drained I hope I can stay awake for them.
Between football and the Dodgers and the American League Central I can barely keep my mind on the hurting. This is truly a golden time that comes each year and then on Saturday Southern California against the Nebraska Cornhuskers!
I'm shallow. These are reasons to rejoice in life. Then my High School team gets to play an 0-4 team.
Hopefully we can learn sportsmanship while perfecting our performance.
Michaelwhelan Hplovecraftpanel2
Click images for desktop size: "HP Lovecraft Panel 2" by Michael Whelan
And I have a dog I love.
What else matters.

For my birthday I got a couple of really great books. They came from Amazon with a gift note but absolutely NO NAME or even clue as to who might have sent them. I took the tact that, instead of thinking about it, I'd wait until I got a nasty note or phone call.
It came today BUT it came with even more gifts! More MOVIES - King Hu's “The Fate Of Lee Kahn”. This is a Chinese disk. I hope it has subtitles. “The Fate Of Lee Kahn” was the first Chinese film to be noticed outside of the grind houses way back in the 70's. Respected critic Tony Ryans, astounded everyone by writing a pivotal piece, “Threads In The Labyrinth”. The films he wrote about most eloquently were King Hu's. I have never seen the movie so I am stoked.
If that's not enough it also included a box set of 5 spaghetti Westerns!
Hecrules And The Captive Women-1024 This proves my puppies cynical syllogism, “The ruder you are the more they like you.”

This is September 11th. Five years ago. One of my best friends was a Lt. Commander. He was at the Pentagon and died there. The real hell was that it took 3 days for the US government to even acknowledge he was there and 2 more days to find out what happened to him.
I miss him. Even so neither his wife or his mother and certainly not me believe that all Muslims should be killed on sight. We don't believe that this war in Iraq has anything to do with what happened that day.
Even though we have been touched by it we all still feel that this is a phony war designed for the most base political and monetary motives. I don't want to understand them, I want the people who killed my friend to be dead and I despise a President who seeks to justify his self serving acts with the blood of my friends and the young men and women who's lives he throws away.

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September 1, 2006

I'm an easy going guy but I always got to have my way
Eddie Cochran

Click images for desktop size: "Etcher" by Anonymous
Its been a harsh week.
I took the week off to look for work. That didn't go well. At least I left myself the opening to go back to the old job.
It makes me feel like a prisoner, but I'll get around that.
For some reason it brings to mind an event in Texas. I was working at this job I didn't mind but most of the time we'd show up for work and get sent home - no work no pay sort of thing.
I was walking home when these 2 crazy girls from work picked me up - crazy as in crazy and girls as in both under 25 and living with the parents. They wanted to come over to my place. They were pretty explicit.
I said no. I didn't want them in my space, learning that much about me.
I turned them down. Really. I did.
The same way having two girls intrude into my dog's and my life made me feel its that same sense of intrusion, of lack of freedom and choice that my job presses in on us.
Possession If I had to chose between them I'd take the two crazy girls . . .

Football has been going very well, for me and my kids anyway. The other coaches are panicking. I try and remember that their jobs might hinge on this. They take the loss in ways that don't affect me.
My goals always stay the same. To work out problems I've seen in the film and to endure that my kids play better than they did the week before.
I still see their deficiencies as a failure on my part. Not on theirs. I can't drill sergeant and blame them for not listening or not trying hard enough.
My other big fear is that we'll win tonight and the staff will see that as justification for this weeks methods. I expect to win tonight. I always expect to win. I take losses very personally.
Again I remember Eddie Robinson - “No coach ever won a game and no player ever lost one.”
My kids have given me everything I've wanted for them. They walk with pride and now they need to swagger.

It was my birthday this week. I got cool stuff. My friend sent me flowers. I noted that they were her favorites - color and type. I liked being remembered. I like them.
I also got ELEVEN DVD's!
A box set of eight Shaolin Temple films! Including five by Liu Chia Liang! And that subset includes The 36th Chamber films.
They're from a Chinese Company called Celestial which has lavished as much attention on them as Criterion does on it's classics. They are very beautifully restored and fully merit the extra attention. I also got a beautifully restored DVD of Django! Its most noticeable feature (aside from the Italian sound track) was a tiny 2“ DVD of a 10 minute film called ”The Last Pistolero“. It wasn't very good but it starred an aged Franco Nero. His presence gave the little movie weight and power.
Flames   Blue Metal Wide By Jbensch
Click images for desktop size: "Flames - Blue Metal" by J Bensch
A mildly interesting new film called ”Warriors Of Heaven And Earth“ and a remarkable film, ”A Man Called Blade“.
”A Man Called Blade“ is a slightly above average spaghetti western. What makes it memorable is the soundtrack by the Anti-Morricone's - The DeAngilis Brothers. There idea of what makes a music score is so avant garde it would be stunning in experimental cinema. That they carved out a career in main stream exploitation films is heady stuff.
Their music isn't outre, or pretentious. In fact its primitive and relies more on voices and pitch than anything else. Its cool and funny. Not much fun outside of the movie, but in a film it is revelatory stuff.
And finally someone sent me two books! Charles Dodgson's ”Symbolic Logic“ and ”Lewis Carroll Puzzles“. The puzzle book is dull and not even Lewis Carrol puzzles. Just stock stuff that they've illustrated with some pix from the Alice Books and ”Hunting Of the Snark“. It is so dull they even credit the Snark pix to Tenniel.
Poster - Rope Of FleshThe book on logic is satisfying. I had a first and lost it so this is a very welcome thing.
The only sad part is that they were sent from Amazon and Amazon CUT OFF THE NAME OF THE SENDER!
So what I'm hoping for is that in the next few days I get an email or letter calling me an insensitive oaf for not responding with a proper thank you!

No one sent me a birthday present for my dog. She is pretty huffy bout this.

This week I had two doctors appointments. One was for my eyes. No glaucoma and no loose retinal nerves or anything. My vision is getting worse though.
I always imagined going blind as the same as walking around with my eyes clothes - nice inky blackness sort of thing. I didn't think it would be a matter of blurriness and grays.
They dilated my pupils for the picture taking. It took 3 days for the drops to stop screwing up my eyes.
I have to go back in October.
I had a physical. My cholesterol is excellent. My good cholesterol has even looked positive, much improved. I credit that to the flavorless but better than nothing Olive Oil margarine I've started eating lately.
My blood pressure is 120 over 70. That's good but they want me to lower EVERYTHING!
They are even considering putting me on blood pressure medicine!!!
They are trying to stretch me out to the max on that 10 years they promised me, I guess. One interesting thing is that for some unknown reason I developed this odd rash on the back of my left hand. It is all little, smaller than a pinhead, white dots. It hasn't spread and the 50 or so on my left hand are matched with about 4 on the back of my right.
No pain, no itching. They make my skin feel like snake skin!
Maybe people will use it as an excuse to start calling me snake!
I've always wanted a nick name like Snake!

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July 2, 2006

So here you are, forgiving me
The Paupers

Click images for desktop size: "Violin" by Spumante
I got an eBike - an electric bicycle. I think the e might really stand for evil.
I'm in a lot of pain!
Not really the eBikes problem. Its a bike, not a scooter. The electric motor is just to assist on climbing hills and that dreaded dead start at the stop light in traffic.
I'm happy with it but I over did it big time.
I took it to work - about 15 or 16 miles each way and hilly terrain. I need to break into gradually.
I need to realize I'm no longer the stud who can do anything, anytime, anywhere and never have to pay a price.
I've put together a break in scheme for myself that should see me doing 30 miles a day inside 6 weeks and using the electric motor only for convenience in 3 months.
I like the bike plenty even if I am in bad pain right now. Just heavy legs, lower back, coccyx, and bad tension in the traps from bad bike posture.
Blue ChipsI did do the 15 miles in an hour. That's 30 minutes faster than the bus.

I'll need the bike for job interviews.
My job is soon going to be history. Its become abusive. I'm clinging to it out of fear.
Yeah, I'm afraid. Not of going hungry but of seeing my puppy unhappy, of not having treats and toys.
I'm clinging to it as long as I can until the silent explosion happens or until I find another job.
The abuse is in the form of that boiler room tactic that the type of company (that's a limited partnership that prefers to call it self a corporation). Its a tactic of theirs to ignore humanity and get lower management to beat the hell out of, no not the hell, but the money out of tired, underpaid and underpaid staff.
I'm sure we've all been through it. If you have a job where your weekly check is signed by anybody but you, you've heard the song and dance, always from guys with 6 car garages.
You can never tell for some people what is enough. For me its an eBike, for somebody else it is a Bentley, a Rolls, a Ferrari and a Diablo Contach, all next to each other with the pink slips on the wind shield.
I understand that and whether I approve or disapprove its not going to change. Governments have toppled trying to change that part of human nature.
What they're doing is skirting on the edge of legality. I don't much care about that.
I care when they think the solution is to squash people's spirit. They keep the staff down with threats and fears. I've seen it all the time in Nueve America. Pay people enough to keep them poor and never secure.
Keep survival and glimpses of happiness as the ultimate carrot.
Its worked for wife beaters, child abusers and and dictators for eternity. Keep people smaller than they really are and then beat them some more.
Pimps understand the art.
I work for pimps and its about time or it to end.
Despite fear.
Getting old I don't have it in me to fight for everyone else anymore. That's been coming for a while.
Its new, this fighting for myself.

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May 13, 2006

Angst of the 3 AM scholar

Click images for desktop size: "One" by dimage
After near collapsing yesterday I awoke at 3 and watched the silent film “Passion Of Joan Of Arc” by Theodor Dyer.
It's a great film that stretched the tech of the times past its limits - huge beautiful closeups filled with silver nitrate swirling grain. And the saddest, proudest actress (at least in closeup and silence) that ever lived in the lead, Maria Falconetti (even her name is cool).
Antoine Artaud has a role in it, for anyone obsessed with the Theatre Of Cruelty and Baudelaire.
I've always liked that the only existing print of this film was discovered in the 1980's when they cleaned out a basement of a Danish Insane Asylum.
Hidaat(2004)-02 Watching the film reminded me of younger times, going to the Cinematheque in Paris then sitting at a cafe with new found friends who were binded together only through a love of movies (a term which too many of them refused to use). We didn't realize that our dreams were dreams.
We saw them as inevitability.
A few of that crowd distinguished themselves and made movies back at home. Some, like me, worked in movies. A bunch of expatriate kids who were two steps onto the path of making dreams real by the sheer insanity of being teenagers who had gone to Europe seeking beauty and validation of the answers we already knew. And for me to check out some of the waves in Portugal.
I can still remember the softer focus of the Parisian light as we sat with the smell of the city and the people around us, arguing over what we'd just seen and then cutting the argument short as we had to scurry back to the Cinematheque to see the next film we'd all pencilled into our schedules.
Memories of the past must always lead to planning for the future and extolling the present.
And then the other memories - the kind man with a pocket full of cookies for the dogs he might encounter - the beautiful woman who looks you full in the eye and says, “I didn't mean to, but I've fallen in love with you,” then she looks down in a moment of fear after daring such a brave thing - a pretty girl who comes over and tells you that you are the prettiest thing she's ever seen, and then dances away - the woman who hands you a rich burrito because she has an extra and sees that you are hungry - the Chinese man who offers you his last cigarette and asks you if the world is really different in America. So many memories that flood in and take over your waking moments and lead you to avoid thinking of what led you to this.

Click images for desktop size: "Girl" by GRC
Which lead me to why I keep this blog that is turning into a “death watch” kind of thing. A death watch is sure not what I intended . . . sure not what I intended.
It started out as a way to “mass communicate”. Several of you have noticed that I talk to a lot of people everyday and that it means my details get shorter and shorter as I get bored in the retelling. It was/is a good thing to spend an hour or so meditating on the days events. With the puppy it seems I seldom have that spare hour!

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May 6, 2006

What did you expect? I'm a criminal! All we care about is winning!
Iron Robe - "The Kid With The Golden Arms"

Pixelslinger Smooth
Click images for desktop size: "Smooth" by Pixelslinger
Been knocked low by a change in medication. They explained it to me but whenever they start in with the long technical treatise and use phrases like Isle Of langhorn, I tend to go south and start remembering the greatest waves of my life.
You know its that moment when you start to make the drop and the adrenaline freezes in your blood, you make a swooping bottom turn and start carving back up the face of the wave to get that sweet plosh of a lip smack, then you race back down the face and curl into a tiny bit of green room and for those moments you don't hear much and all you feel is a rush and all you know is that you are invincible and you wish this could last like one titanic orgasm that exists forever.
Some skaters on the cutting edge know the feeling and a few sky divers who've cut it to the minimum understand it too.
Usually by the time I've come out of my reverie the docs have finished flapping their gums and I'm no better informed then I was before.
Lastofthemohicans The gist of it that I could absorb was that diabetes is a pretty standard side effect to chemo.
The drug I'm on for diabetes works by increasing the efficiency of the insulin my pancreas still can produce. Its worked well for me for a few years now.
The new oral chemo has hampered but not shut down the production of insulin.
The new drug attempts to get the pancreas to produce more insulin.
It has a lot of side effects.
The annoying ones are the constant bad taste in my mouth, drowsiness as the days wear on, almost to the point of torpidity.
Its my body reforming itself and trying to be something new.
The pain killer is odd. It works. One of its main uses is for depression! That bothered me because I'm not depressed. They say thats one of it uses but it is used as a muscle relaxant in cases of diabetic muscle pain and chemo related stress pains. On my dosage it wouldn't have much effect in mood elevation.
So it seems the main culprit this time around is diabetes. Not pleasing.
I don't want to go on insulin but the side effects aren't abating rapidly enough. It maybe my only alternative. Work is a drag. I'm still searching for something more appropriate.
I like taking my puppy with me everyday. We're good together. Sadly that is the only thing, other than a paycheck that the job offers me. Its a drudge that wears thin.
My puppy doesn't wear thin, She's large now, a year old in a week! But still a puppy for all that. She makes me smile all the time. She's smart and sometimes her intelligence makes her fret, and sometimes it leads her to be angry.
We get along fine for all that.

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April 27, 2006

And then he . . .

Huric4Ne Persiancarpet 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Persian Carpet" by HuRiC4nE
I like movies. I like stories, even abstract stories by Stan Brakhage.
What I like is the way some stories have a small interest and then build to something great and then that spins into another story you weren't expecting which leads to something even greater.
Its what guys like Andrew Sarris see in the films of Charlie Chaplin and Don Seigal, not just the economy of their story telling but the way small things follow on and on to one huge shattering conclusion, a plastic epiphany.
Its the thing, I told you that story so I could tell you this!
For now I'm going to relate the story of Andy Lau, a Hong Kong actor.
Lau made a Korean Film titled “In The Mood For Love”. It was a monster hit, everywhere in the world but North America. Lau was the first Asian actor to win the Best Acting prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
He was so popular he had romantic leading roles in 3 very successful French films. He started to creep into some of those sexiest man in the world lists.
Hollywood was sniffing. It looked like he was on the verge of superstardom.
Interesting story so far. Kid from the streets struggles and gets rich with only some talent and some good looks.
Then Lau pulled the switch that makes your jaw drop.
Personalbest Instead of laying back and reaping the rewards he returned to Hong Kong, this was after the British had left and China was reclaiming its own. he came back and produced a movie he wanted to make.
The film was “Running On Karma”. Lau plays a Bhuddist monk who has left the temple to work as a male stripper . . . I can see guys throwing money at Lau just because of the millions of women who would love to see him naked.
That's not what the movies about. Westerners have a pretty vague concept of Karma. I guess its similar to a Shinto priest trying to grasp the Holy Trinity or the Immaculate Conception.
Now in this film - the male stripper part - this had to horrify the investors: lau does not actually appear nude. He wears a prosthetic body that makes him look like Lou Ferrigno in his prime. Its odd and at first off putting. Its clearly expensive and effective if it were being worn by someone who was not an international star it would deceive the eye and the mind.
Back to the story - Lau, the characters name is Big, is working at this club which is raided just as he exposes himself. He's busted for obscenity by a female cop. He claims entrapment as she was the one screaming loudest for him to show the goods.
While he's being hauled away he touches the lady cop and this is when we discover that he is a priest and we discover that he left the temple because he has a gift: He can see a person's karma.
This is hard to grasp for me. I learned about karma because of the John Lennon song, “Instant Karma”. That makes me far from an expert or anything at all.
When Big touches the cop he sees those moments in her past life, the actions and decisions that have bought her to this moment in her current life and also those moments in her current future and her future lives.
Asian reviewers seemed to have no problem with this but Western reviewers were as perplexed as I was.
Clearly this is not the way to make an international smash hit as Lau had proven himself capable of doing.
There is a set up side bar, a serial killer is terrifying Hong Kong. Big, after seeing this deep into someone's soul has no choice but to help her in her karmic meeting.
This provides some decent action scenes but the killer is caught quickly. When Big touches the killer he senses that the killers karma and the cops are not at all intertwined.
Click images for desktop size: "Machine" by Zipangu

This is the wrong serial killer.
The plot gets complicated, interestingly so, and is still full of lush surprises and attractive photography.
There's another serial killer who has been hiding out in the mountains near Big's old monastery. The ambitious cop sees this as a chance to both get Big to respond to her advances and as a chance to advance her career.
With Big as a guide they set off.
Big is blasted by karmic influences when he enters the mountains to the point of not being able to tell if the murder of the female cop is past present or future.
In these sometimes beautiful sometimes clumsy montages it is soon apparent why he HAD to leave the monastery but not the faith. There are also subtle clues as to his choice of life in the real world where he is trying to change his own karmic fortune.
But the cop is dead. Really, brutally dead.
Big buries her. His sorrow is partially at his own inability to change karma.
He begins to hunt down the killer, only part of his motive being love for the cop. It is a four year pain filled hunt.
1906 Moving Picture Advert-1 When he finally does catch the lunatic he finds that the killer is more lunatic than monster, lost and frightened from his years wandering the mountains alone.
It is a charitable act for Big to take him down the mountain and surrender him to the authorities.
And when they finally do reach the end of their trip - this is where the film says, “I had to tell you all of that so you would understand this.”
After the years wandering and hunting Big has lost his musculature. He is now just thin. His hair has fallen out, so he is as bald as a monk.
When he nears the town he is greeted with a hero's reception for capturing the mad killer. He passes through it and tenderly hands over the lunatic.
He walks through the crowd ignoring everything and they seem to take the hint and ignore him in their quest to get a better view of the notorious murderer.
Big stops and borrows a cigarette, lights it and walks off.

And this is the film he chose to make instead of “Lethal Weapon 6” or whatever other high concept project he was offered.
I thought the ending was one of the most beautiful I had ever seen. So did most of the Asian audience.

Now I put you through all of that so you might understand this:
I've been ill. Bad ill, but not fatally ill.
There's nothing positive to report except I'm still alive. The list keeps growing and I feel threatened by the fact that I have no more freedom. I have to get to a pharmacy at least once a month. Which doesn't sound so bad but feels terrible.
There's more doctors coming up.
I missed a day of work and that bothers me the most.
My little puppy, she makes me smile all the time.

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May 30, 2005

These simple things, these simple times

Bluehoriz 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Blue" by Pumpkin Juice
I've never understood fear, not really. I had coaches who taught me how to use it to intimidate and to psych. I never really got it though.
I see it all around, especially in venal cowards who proliferate recently. I always wonder; "what's so bad out there?" At least, what's so bad out there that it's worse than what's going on "in here"?
We water sealed the deck today. It was fun. I made mp4's of my gift cd. I thought about pretty girls smiling at Farmer's Market. I ate soup with crackers.
It was all nothing but fun.