Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Leather Friends

They were not expensive work boots. At the time, they might as well have cost $1000 given how much money was not in my pocket. But because of the kindness of the shoe store owner, I walked out with them for the money I did have in my pocket. I appreciated his gesture not so much for the shoes, but for the fact he allowed me to keep my dignity as I poured out my recent tale of woe. Somehow he knew I had to pay something and he managed to make it happen. Charity without leaving that bad taste in my mouth.

When I found these old leather friends stuffed in a box in the garage, memories came flooding back. Memories of failure and rebirth. Some memories I could have done without. Some memories lifted my heart on this rainy day in April, 2008. It was 13 years ago these boots brought me back from the depression of really failing for the first time.

Failure should come to everyone at some point. I think to really feel alive, falling on hard times can give us a perspective that makes Life that much more precious. To not have any prospects or sure thing in the future certainly tested my intestinal fortitude to the max. It was a month or so after my first bike shop failed that I realized this.

Forty something, my business gone and a family I was still responsible for. My initial reaction was to withdraw. Climb inside myself and build barriers between myself and everyone who mattered. I felt like I was slipping away.

I hated how I felt. I hated how I treated those I loved. I was not mean. I just wasn't there. The longer it dragged on, the angrier I became. At myself. At the World. Life seemed such a waste of time. You pour your soul into something only to watch all that effort and passion disappear into the back of a discounter truck in the parking lot as someone else takes down your sign.

My anger finally peaked and I went to the shoe store. I went there not just because I needed new work boots. But rather the trip represented my first salvo against the crater deep depression I had fallen into. That first step out of the depths and into that bright light Life always emits but is sometimes hard to find.

So I had the boots now. Finding a job was the easy part. As it turned out I was right. I went back to pounding nails and for the next 3 years my boots faithfully carried out their part of the bargain and I carried out mine. Together we managed to avert total personal failure along with the business failure. And because of this bond between me and my worn out boots, I cannot bring myself to throw them away.

They are back in a box I hope my wife will not find. Packed away as another memento of my past that holds more meaning than almost anything else I have secreted away for future reminiscing.

Post is now entered in Scribbit's May "Write Away Contest"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chock Full of Ideas

I was chock full of ideas for the blog yesterday. Yesterday, the day that went by in a blur. Yesterday, a day that was supposed to be a day off. The thoughts of things to write about came and went just like the day unfolded. In a blur.

Think I could remember a single one of them? Come on. Just one. One thought to wrap words around and display it to the World.

Jeez, I even had an interesting twist I came up with for the Shoe contest. That twist has left the station. Leaving but a wisp of itself behind to tease me. It will come back to me. It will reappear again as it has in the past. When both hands are engaged and all I can do is run with it in my mind.

But back to time off and I how I spend it. Seems I need to go back to work to rest up from my weekend. This has been the story of my life as a responsible functioning adult. Does not matter if the days off are filled with chores or fun, I never seem able to ramp myself back under the red line.

It has to be my years as a trucker. When I was single I pounded the super-slabs of North America sometimes several months in a row without a break. When time off came my way, I jammed as much fun, debauchery, and over indulgence into the free time as I could. A land starved sailor had nothing on me. Several months worth of paychecks went down the drains of sleazy bar bathrooms coast to coast and in all the provinces of Canada. (I think I hit all the Provinces. Okay most of them anyway. There's so many, must be 7 or 8 of them, I lost count.)

I married and became a good citizen but was still engrossed in my trucking career. Time off was owned and controlled by the "honey do" list. That list that never seemed to get shorter, only longer. I remember being glad to get back to the exhausting schedule of delivering America's goods so I could get some rest.

So what do I do? Do I look for a career change that will offer me more normal lifestyle type time off? No. I become a small business owner. The Einstein that I am, I figured if I owned a business, I could make the rules. Rules about leisure time being one of the key ones.

Right. I found out quickly that first time, you never own a business, it owns you. It has it's grips on you tighter than any boss at a mill or office. Working for someone else means you have an out. You can quit. Owning your own business offers no such option.

Oh, I guess I could quit. Close the doors. Walk away. But all those people I owe money to would find me. And they do not care if the business is closed or not.

Just like my life on the road, I still have very little time off. 7 days a week the shop is never out of my mind. Personal errands and honey do chores have to be interlaced between the hours spent running, worrying and planning the most efficient way to run my business. And since efficiency is not even close to my middle name, I guess it would be more accurate to say my well made plans settle for just keeping it running.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Morning Basket Case

7:00 AM Sunday morning. Nursing my first cup of coffee. I sit exhausted as if the 7 hours of sleep the clock insists I had last night never happened. Entering my 10th season at the bike shop, maybe I should be used to it by now.

This happens to me every Spring. The idyllic and quiet bike shop of winter and early Spring will always become a monster once we receive a good run of Sun. I know it's coming, but am always surprised at the intensity of that first rush. It seems that once the waiting time for a bike repair exceeds a week because of the backlog, my energy level is red-lining. Combine the need to find fitness and that slimmer me by my own cycling, and I end up waking up, a Sunday Morning Basket Case. The weeks in a row of two ended candle burning finally come home to roost.

I have been awake, no, make that I have had my eyes open now for over an hour. Mostly, I look out the window at yard work started but not completed. My mind races through the 342 jillion untended fires that threaten to burn out of control at the bike shop.

8 years ago I would be exhausted and stressed out. Now I am just exhausted. The stress level from never being caught up has diminished tremendously. It's still there but I guess I have better control of it now. In the perfect world, folks would bring in their trusty steeds for work early instead of using a spike in temperature, or the first crocus popping up as their signal to call about repairs. In the perfect World, backlogs would not exist.

This World is not perfect though. I have accepted this. Considering that I am not perfect either, I seem to fit right in as if I belong here. Now when I hear the complaints of customers who waited too long to bring me their tired wrecks, I nod sympathetically and let their impatience run off my shoulders. I will always put quality of work ahead of expediency. No matter how backed up I am.

And now I sit here early on a Sunday, physically drained and mentally exhausted hoping to find somewhere the energy to put some hours into the yard, head to the shop for some hours, and then meet up with the crew for a in-town trail ride around 3 or so. The way I am feeling right now, all that seems to be a bigger bite than my body is looking forward to.

Oh well, Sunday is for changing your mind. If collapsing and vegging is what I need, then watch out couch here I come. I'll get something done today, just nowhere near what I planned.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Mullet Menu

On my way to work the other day in my pick up, I decided to punch up one of the two classic rock radio stations I can get out here in the western hills of southern Maine. WHEB, 100 something on the FM dial was between blocks of music. I caught them just as the Jock announced that coming up, a solid block of music from "The Mullet Menu" would take us all back to times best forgotten by some and remembered with misted eye by others.

I had to chuckle. Before they played the first song, I knew roughly what line up of groups would probably be represented. The Rock Gods of the 1980s and in some locations still the Rock Gods would wail their way back from the past. AC/DC, Motley Crue, Van Halen, or some other big hair, massive mullet band that came into their fame and glory in the 1980s.

I missed the Mullet age. I came into my rock maturity during the late 60s and early 70s. Weaned on the Doors, Led Zepplin, Cream, Hendrix, and a healthy dose of Blues and Bluegrass. I lived the Hippie life.

Then I got married. Settled down and immediately became a mature adult with no time for these posers popping up. All the good Rock had been done. Def Lepard, Whitesnake, Twisted Sister - all of them just hacks ripping off the true masters. I was sure of it. And what's up with the hair? What do you call a hairdo that looks like they couldn't make up their mind when they sat down for Joe, local barber to perform his magic. "Just some off the sides Joe. Leave the back. Not sure which one looks better."

I made fun of the mullet heads just like the crewcut preppie types in Weejuns and button down collar shirts made fun of me back in the day. Recently I figured out that my braided long hair, tie dyed fashion choice looked as ridiculous as any mullet head out there. I began to identify with these clowns. Afterall, we are all bozos on this bus. We all flirt with and sometimes embrace popular fads that in 20 years we look back and say, "Just what the Hell was I thinking?"

Maybe what I am experiencing is that mellowing many people say comes with having more than a few years under my belt. What it feels like is my perspective seems to be expanding. The stranger the world seems, the reality is it's all just the same ole shit with a different twist.

So wear that mullet dude. Let your freak flag fly. And though the locks are grey now and that sleeveless domestic quarrel shirt fits a tad snugger than it used to, you still cut quite the dashing figure when you stop at DQ for a soft serve sundae.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Shoe Contest

I made the mistake of looking into one of the million jillion blog contests after a blogger I read won an honorable mention for her fine piece on libraries. Bragging rights and some nice small giftee the prize. Rejection is laid on gently. No nasty emails saying "You are a loser. You should take some writing classes, or maybe learn how to spell first, then go to class". There is nothing really on the line. For fun stuff. The only disappointment, not winning or scoring that almost as good, "Honorable Mention".

Scribbit is the name of the blog sponsoring the contest. Every month a new topic is picked. Bloggers wishing to compete send in their entry based on said topic. A guest judge/judges is/are tasked with weeding out the losers from the winners.

In a moment of grandiose madness, I figured I might like to throw my hat into this ring. Yeah, for moment I was feeling cocky and actually contacted Michelle over to Scribbit for all the pertinent info and requirements to compete.

So now I know. So now I have kinda, sorta agreed to fire off an entry the first week of May. The subject is "Shoes". Is that a chill I feel coming on inside those work boots?

I actually wrote a couple or so posts about shoes. I tracked them down. Re-read and found both lacking. Re- wrote one and am almost pleased. But with a subject or jumping off point as promising as "Shoes", I am sure I can come up with new ways to celebrate this most basic, yet stylish piece of attire we humans put on our feet everyday.

Besides the obvious physical, protective aspects of shoes that apply to all of us who wear them, shoes then become different things to different folks. My daughter never met a shoe she did not like. Al least that's the impression I get when I see the inside of her closet. A large quiver of shoes makes her feel warm and fuzzy. My wife looks to the functional mostly. Comfort with nice lines usually makes her day. She will actually throw shoes out once they wear out.

Me, well I find shoes to be a necessary evil. Another one of those must haves whether I want them or not things. As a child I would often conveniently "lose" one shoe on the way to school or on the way home. I lived to run barefoot. This yearning sits deep inside me to this day. I often work down to the bike shop with dogs "au natural". The occasional staple or cable end impalement, a small price to pay for such wonderful personal freedom.

Don't get me wrong. I have learned to appreciate the value of and the pleasure of placing my feet into a well made pair of comfortable shoes or sneaks. Shoes have saved me much pain and saved more than once my 10 piggie herd from potential seperation. I have also paid a stiff price for not wearing them when common sense screamed I should.

In the summer of 1971 I took way too much acid and walked around all night barefoot. Stepped on a coke bottle bottom and drove it through my foot. Spent most of that trip down at the emergency room bleeding on the waiting room floor and watching nurse faces melt or look all rubbery like they had just been molded out of silly putty. I appreciated shoes that night. Just a tad late. The upside was that was my first time getting stiches while high on LSD. I watched with rapt fascination as each stich was laid. No pain, but each time the doc drove the needle in, rushes swept over me.

I wonder if they ever figured out I was high?

Final Notes, then good night

This post written under the influence of Beck on the ear phones and the stench of old works boots wafting up from under the desk.

Another post started with a plan that soon went AWOL. Sometimes I think I know where I want to go, but where I end up is nowhere close to where I figured I would be.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Flip-Flop Post

Yesterday I wrote about women blogging more than men. As soon as I punched the "publish" button, I began to entertain second thoughts. All day long I questioned many assertions I had made in that post.

So call this a correction post. Or a back pedaling post. Maybe I should look at this as the flip flop post. No, flip flop might not be accurate as I still believe more women blog than men and generally they write cleaner. Of course this is just my opinion. Unsubstantiated by fact or fiction.

Hey, I should run for public office. If I only looked better for those Kodak moments, I might just be a perfect politician. Hmmm. No. Answering carefully without going off half cocked is not my style.

The couple of comments I received on that post confirmed my own reservations about "Manly Bloggers". PJ of Rocky Beach was right in my face and clear how he felt. Jen over to Never a Dull Moment nicely let me know her blog would be considered a "mommy blog" and I got the distinct feeling she was not sure I was right.

Now that I have had 24 hours to mull it over, I have concluded that my opinion is based on my attraction to the women. Their take on the World fascinates me. If only because it differs so much from mine usually. I guess it would be natural for me to seek them out rather than keep my focus on the guy blogs. After all, I pretty much know what makes guys tick. But women, well, they are still a mystery to me even after 56 years on this planet.

Then there is the fact that with all the blogs I have screened, I have most likely only seen a very small portion of what is out there. I could probably look at 1000 different blogs a day for the rest of my life and never see them all.

So I humbly ask for your forgiveness as I step back from words I have previously uttered. I put pen into gear before brain was engaged. I think I was seduced by that picture of the Wrestler with the cool shades.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Manly Bloggers

I have been blogging for awhile now. Why and how I came to this wacky venue is another story for another time for dis-interested folks to ignore as usual. Anyway, the one thing I have noticed is that women seem to rule here. Seems there are 10 times more women than men willing to bear their souls or comment publicly.

Where are all the macho guys with their chests puffed up as they flex those pecks when hanging out at the beach or cheer leading practice? I used to do that when I had pecks that did not need a bro bra. But I also used to write and read when no chicks were around to impress. So I was a natural for this venue once my impressing days were over.

I wonder if it is not the fact that in general, women make better writers. First off, they most likely paid attention in school and actually learned how to spell and form coherent sentences. Second, there is that feminine thing. Sensitivity to events and people that guys just do not have. If a guy shows any empathy for another guy, he must be gay. The macho code of ethics and rules are very clear on this. No crying. Suck it up and be a man. No quarter, always go for the kill. And never, never sympathize with another guy over anything other than when they are having women trouble.

This rigid by law of the Macho code book leaves little room for a guy to grow beyond the Neanderthals we are raised to be. I am not excusing us, just trying to explain why I think we do not bear our souls in public. Lord knows, I gave up looking for excuses for my behaviour long ago. I do what I do and well, that's who I am.

Of course there are niche category blogs that seem be male domains. Sports blogs, Car blogs, Tech blogs - any blog that revolves around machines or sweaty stinky guys beating each other to a pulp seem to be mostly run by males. But they are the one trick pony blogs. Blogs, whose focus is so narrow, they only appeal to other guys who lust after the latest gizmo they can put into their car to make it perform better.

And that's my problem I guess. I like blogs that spread their views around a little. Blogs willing to comment on almost anything. Posts that leave me knowing I just got a little closer to this person once I finished their post. In this, women have us beat soundly dudes. More of them are willing to step up and be men than we are.

So this is my salute to all you ladies out there. You rule, we guys drool.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Exercising My Right to be Stupid

A four month layoff was too long. Entirely too much time off my bike. Yeah I had some ham fisted medical excuses and winter kicked our butt leaving not many days at all to ride a bike. That was then. This is now. What I needed was serious saddle time.

Four months is a long time to not be in the saddle. My body had exploded to queen size. My muscles had atrophied to mere toothpicks. My butt, well, it acted as if it had never seen a bike seat before. All of the reasons my customers use to not ride their bikes existed in me and I could relate.

Getting back into cycling after a long layoff is always painful. Yet, having been through it many times before, I know that with some perseverance experienced through gritted teeth, I will come out on the other side and once again know the true joy cycling brings to my life.

My time available to ride is at a minimum during the Spring. The bike shop is going full tilt boogie and my yard needs attention. Every year it seems one or the other suffers during the hours I spend riding. So this year, I figured some bike commuting miles would bring back that base line of fitness and time lost to more industrious endeavors would be cut back.

So this past week I commuted by bike some. Not every day, as my body is weak and I do have to watch myself. But I did get started anyway. My first day, I remembered half way to the shop all those things a bike commuter should not forget and spent the rest of the day selling bikes in my bike duds. Bike duds are fine when riding, but they can get a tad uncomfortable when forced to wear them all day. But I had done it before, so I sucked it up and dealt with it.

My second commute brings up my point of this whole post.

With a lifetime of cycling, the last 25 being crammed with many miles, I consider myself a savvy cyclist. On the road or in the woods. I may not be fast, but I am comfortable with traffic whizzing by at 50 MPH and trails that many will not ride don't faze me. On the road I ride where I am supposed to and follow most rules most of the time. In the woods, I usually have sense enough to walk sections that I know are beyond my skill set.

Then why or what came over me on the straight stretch of Rte 109 just past the S curve is beyond me. Brain skip? Acid flashback? Whatever it was that happened, it caused me to almost kill myself. A close call that was so close, I feel the need to write about it.

In the last mile or so before the bike shop, I had a good head of steam up and was pushing hard. Down the road coming at me on the other side, I spotted a familiar neon green jacket of another rider/friend I have. So I crossed 109 to the other shoulder and began riding towards this rider just to say hi and maybe stop for a chat or whatever. As he got close, I realized it was not my friend but a stranger who was looking at me oddly as I sped towards him head on. I hollered, "Sorry Bud, thought you were someone else." I then veered back toward the road to cross it again and return to the right side and become a sane commuter again.

I looked over my right shoulder to see if the coast was clear. I spotted a car zipping up. So I slanted my crossing to time my entry into that lane just as the car passed. For some reason I did not see the car that was behind the first car. As I began to accelerate, my peripheal vision caught movement and I knew I was in trouble. Sheer momemtum was going to carry me right in front of the car and it's grill.

All I can say is I was lucky yesterday. Very lucky. I did the panic squeeze on my brakes and went into a high speed front wheelie and managed to pivot around so when I came down I was not careening into the other lane and certain pain and agony, but was now riding parallel. The car sped by my elbow with maybe a foot to spare.

I then finished crossing the lane and fell into my bike rythmn in the proper place and space I was supposed to be in. As I finished the commute, I pondered all of the ramifications of my recent brush with death.

First thing that came to mind was my calm after the fact. Other than an elevated heart rate, I kind of felt normal. Yet I knew I had just missed being road kill. And it would have been my fault. Yet, the panic, check my shorts feeling never came over me. Since it happened in such a brief period of time, maybe 3 seconds or so for it all to unfold, I had no time to get scared.

I then began to re-evaluate the high opinion I had of my cycling savvy. I realized that no matter how smart I think I am, I am only one cycling move away from proving how stupid I can quickly become.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

60' Fahrenheit

I don't have much time this morning. But I figured a follow up to "The Perfect Man" was in order. Seems when things go downhill for me, they tend to be on a long run before they stop.

Last night I felt chilled as I bounced back and forth between the basement and the garage working some final touches on my new work bench. So I pushed the thermostat from our normal operating temp of 60'F to the point where I heard the switch in the box click. The click always means heat will soon follow. I didn't pay attention to the setting as it was the click I was listening for.

I head back downstairs and continue my handyman magic. The furnace warms me up in a few minutes. I finished what I had to do, yawned, and decided bed was where I should be. So I went there. Fell asleep in about 2 minutes.

We have been living with 60'F as our normal temperature for 20 years anyway. It has nothing to do with saving fuel or saving the planet, but everything to do with our comfort zone. We like a cold house. Both my wife and I sleep better when it is cooler. We tend to stay more alert when awake in a cool house. A too warm house also tends to be one of the sparks that sets off Bobbi's migraines. 60'F works for us.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up at 6 AM and felt as if I had been transported to some jungle locale overnight. The air was oppressively warm and I was covered in sweat. Immediately, I remembered, "Oops. I forgot to turn the thermostat back down." I looked at the indoor/outdoor thermometer in the bedroom. Shit! A steamin 72'F. Maybe I can fool her if I can just get to the thermostat first. So I hurried down to the living room and .....Damn! She beat me to it. Back to 60'F.

I knew I was going to hear about it. My only hope was that Bobbi was headache free. Her displeasure would be blunted then. Just some comments on how much fuel is costing and pay attention next time.

I found her in her office as I usually do at 6:15 AM everyday. Facing her computer with her back to me, she must have heard me come in.

"Thanks for the headache".

Those are the only words she has spoken to me today. Or at the least, the only ones I heard. She left to visit a client around 7 AM. This evening ought to be quite interesting.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Perfect Man

I would love to tell you that I am one of those perfect men. You know, the guys many of us other guys secretly hate because they always seem to be there for their significant others. They'll do the cooking, cleaning, and shopping. With a smile on their face to boot. They never forget a date held in high esteem by their partners. Bad example setters IMO.

I have my moments when I am like these guys. But for the most part, I pretty much fall way short of the perfect man. I am not proud of this fact. Nor am I ashamed. I am what I am and well, there it is.

So my wife and I went out for Sunday breakfast yesterday. She had 2 appointments with tax clients later. One at 10 AM and one at 11 AM. Last minute tax panic from folks who always wait too long. Drives my wife crazy, but she makes good coinage from these people. Often getting paid twice. Once to extend the deadline and then again when the forms are finally filed later.

Regardless, tax season around my house is a bitch. I am used to it now. I realize that Bobbi Ann's frequent venting is not aimed at me particularly, but just her using me as a whipping boy. Part of the gig when married to an accountant.

As this tale is beginning to spiral out of control, I will get to the point.

Just as we get ready to enter the Sunny Side Diner, her cell phone rings. (Damn, I hate those things.) It is her 10 O'clock cancelling. Cooling her heels for an extra hour in town until her later appointment does not brighten her end of the tax season mood. Breakfast begins with that familiar feeling that I am in trouble again.

Out of the blue, and I do not have clue what came over me, I suggest we go grocery shopping. It was the "we" part that caught her short. Pretty much shut down the tax talk. I hurried along with the thought and said it would be a very productive use of that extra hour. My wife is productive if nothing else. The woman kicks ass in the efficiency arena. Made some serious points with that suggestion.

We hit Hannaford without the list and began shopping. Me pushing the cart and her with a wary eye on me to make sure I don't go juvenile and begin making motor sounds and screeching brakes sounds as I burn rubber turning into another aisle. As we cruise through each aisle I am impressed with how high food prices have gone. Seems that $140 we spent to just get essentials used to cost under $100 not so long ago.

The last aisle we hit is the personal hygiene aisle. Deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste. I remember that I am out of toothpaste. Bobbi tells me where to look for Crest toothpaste. Down at the end on the left.

Well, I was certainly surprised and confused when I found the Crest section. Not remembering just what type of Crest I had used last only made it worse. Facing me on 5 shelves stretching 6 feet or so was a wall of Crest toothpaste. There must have been 30 different kinds. Scope Crest, Super Scope Crest, Spiderman Crest, Barbie Crest, Tartar Crest in 10 varieties, whitening Crest in 10 varieties, 20 different Gels, striped, Baking Soda,.........................Lord help me I cannot make up my mind.

I just wanted some toothpaste. Basic stuff to rid my teeth of that nasty feeling and taste in my mouth from the previous day's activities. Yet here was a wall of choices with each one carefully presented to seduce me into a new direction for my dental care. I must have been there too long. Obviously frustrated by my hesitation, my wife reaches down and snatches one from the bottom row and says, "This is what you use."

Suddenly those wife points I had won over breakfast not an hour previous, melted away as if they had never existed. The perfect man would have remembered what toothpaste he used.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

New Music

Made it home decently early last night. Managed to get the shop buttoned up by 6:15, grabbed a quick dinner out with Bobbi Ann at the Village Slice, and was driving in my driveway by 7:30 PM or so.

And what was waiting for me, but a gift pack from my sweet daughter. A birthday gift to her ole man. A birthday token given with love and thoughtful endeavor.

I had been whining that I had no spiffy CD case to use to transport my growing collection. And what did I find in this bubble pack envelope? An official UNC CD case with the Tar Heel badge proudly emblazoned in hard metal on the front.

Excited that my Lis thought enough to send me a present along with a card, I opened it to check out the storage system and how many CDs it would hold. Tucked into almost every slot was a newly burned CD containing music she knew I did not have. Must be 10-12 hours of music crammed into that officially sanctioned UNC Tar Heel CD case.

I promised to give myself $50 to go crazy down to Bull Moose Music. I wonder if now what with all this new music my daughter mailed my way, I guess I don't have to spend the 50 bucks now.................... Uh, yeah I still have to. I made a promise. I have to keep my promises. Duty and obligations, no matter how unpleasant, should always be commitments met. And as tough as it may be, I will do what I promised I would do. Go buy some new music.

Besides, there is no such thing as having too many CDs, records, or tapes in one's collection. Classical to Heavy Metal, it's all good. The more the merrier. I draw real comfort when I look to my collection and know there is always some tune in that mess that will fit my mood.

And more important, there is no such thing as bad music. Just music played badly. There is music I have no time for. Most Hip Hop for instance doesn't make my panties perk up. But I would be the last one (or close anyway) to say Hip Hop is bad music. I am sure to many folks out there it's the cat's meow. Their hair stands on end - Hip Hop makes them move in sinful ways.

So I sit here typing and sucking up new music. Amy "Rehabbed almost" Whitehouse, Pearl Jam, and an Eddie "The original and first real Gnarly dude" Vedder solo CD so far. Yeah, new music. Music to listen to for the first time hoping to find some singular and exciting tune. The odds are with me considering the sheer number of musical minutes digitized and saved on plastic discs in that officially sanctioned UNC Tar Heel CD case.

As we speak, "I am Mine" on the Riot Act album by Pearl Jam has just been graced with the honor of an immediate re-play. I think I have found a real keeper here. Classic Jam. Excellent! ............Wait a minute, the tune "You Are" needs a repeat too. Might even turn into s Three-peat.

New Music always does this to me. I start out slow and critical and then at some point I get the point, understand the new tunes, get into the groove. And I lose it, forget what I am doing and fall under New Music's spell. Makes my hair stand on end- New Music makes me move in sinful ways.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I had a dream! I had a dream!

Not a poorly contrived rip off of ML King (well maybe a little), just an exciting thing that happened to me. Over the last so many years I lost my ability to dream, or the ability to remember them. I guess this is a tree falling in the forest and did it make a sound if no one heard it conundrum - If I can't remember having a dream, did I actually have one? .................. Uh, this one is way too complex this early in the morning. Besides, it has nothing to do with my point and who the Hell cares anyway?

So I had a dream. And sharing it here is just a nod to how much I miss them in my life. I love dreams. The ones of my youth still pop up in my thoughts from time to time. Some were so vivid I know I must have really been there.

Last night's dream I remember with the clarity of clam chowder. Real clam chowda, not that tomato based crap they pass off as clam chowder under the moniker "Manhattan". That's just tomato soup with clams in it. Anyway, I see the lumpy highlights and can taste the overall plot, but much still remains hidden in the thick milk based liquid and is now just a jumbled up sequence of odd events that sometimes are troubling and sometimes funny.

The overall scenario as I remember it now - I worked for the President of the USA. What he looked like I can't say. He was not either Bush I am pretty sure. Maybe some future Prez or one in my distant past. Or one I just made up. It was a dream fer Chrisakes.

What I did for him now escapes me. But I was a close advisor. Important enough in his life that when he caught me in bed with a woman not my wife, he gave me all kinds of grief. So did my wife, as she came into the bedroom with him and everyone else on the RV we were traveling in. The sudden appearance of 6 or 7 people at the foot of the bed was disturbing to say the least. But the unidentified woman I was embracing just laughed and laughed. I remember thinking this was not that funny. But hey, different strokes.

Oddly, my wife's only appearance in this dream was when she and the Prez caught me being stupid with another woman. The rest of the dream, she was offstage and only mentioned when I told everyone I met, "You know my wife is filing for a divorce".

Our group was traveling to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire so the President could go deep sea fishing. We missed the boat and it left without him. Somehow this was my fault and the rest of the dream I spent defending myself against these unfounded accusations. I had no proof it was not my fault, but I was pretty sure it wasn't.

My memory of this dream now becomes shaky as the rest of the plot broke down into a series of disconnected scenes with nothing close to a real link to the previous scene. One had something to do with a row boat and the rotten keel it had. Another took place in some Gas Station from Hell the RV stopped in for gas. I remember nothing of my experience there. Just that this chapter was the nightmare chapter of the dream. There was a six year old hitch hiking on the super highway and the argument that ensued over picking him up was interesting. I was driving and I repeated the oft heard words of my Mom when I said, I don't pick up hitch hikers. You never know what is really in their mind." The fact that the ride poacher was only six had no effect on me. He could have had a gun or at the least a big knife. Like I said, a mish-mash of unconnected events took over.

It is interesting that of all the scenes that unfolded here, the being caught in bed scene and my wife filing for divorce bothered me the least. Maybe something told me this was just a dream and to go with it. Being staunchly monogamous for the last 27 years might have something to do with it.

I only mention this dream because it actually existed. It has been a long time since I remember one well enough to even, well remember it, let alone write it down. It was not the strangest or most disturbing dream I have ever had, but it definitely unfolded oddly enough to rank some recognition.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Crumpled Pages

I can tell I am not 100% yet. Any physical exertion lasting longer than a 10 or 15 minutes will leave me pretty wasted. And my efforts here to post something even close to worthy today has been a struggle. I am the caricature of the writer who types a few words, then rips the page from the type writer, crumples it, and tosses it onto the pile of crumpled pages building around his feet. I have at least 7 posts started. They have been relegated now to blogging limbo. Patiently waiting to be deleted and cast out as total wastes of time and energy.

I started a political rant. Barack and all the indignation over stupid shit the flag pin wearers are attempting to nurse into some kind of backlash movement against him. Whenever the Patriotism card is played, we can assume it is nothing but garbage, yet we still eat it up. The rant died quickly as I realized the whole process is so damn silly. We think we have an effect on the power struggles inside the Beltway, but we don't. Not anymore. So why bother?

Okay, so then I tried to mount my high horse and get all fired up about Maine's recent fall from grace as they caved to the thugs in Homeland Security. Once defiant in the face of an overwhelming and intimidating US government agency, John Baldacci has blinked and will now meekly fall into line over the Real ID crap the feds are cramming down our throats. Again, I thought, why bother, we have no say in what goes on. We have chosen a leader with no balls. We deserve it.

Not finding the energy to engage the "good fights", I went to my bin of sure thing ideas, memories of exploits past and present. Instead of locating any that might hint at humor, all I could dredge up were the bad ones this day. And being insistent that I will no longer wallow in my own misery, I tossed them as well.

So I will just finish this somewhat aimless and pointless post with - It is a better day than yesterday and yes, I am glad to be here and finally doing something I like to do. No matter how badly I am doing it. Things are looking up.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Happy Birthday

Preface - I was really going to try to be upbeat and find humor somewhere for this, my comeback post. But frankly, I feel like shit and have felt like shit for far too long now to put on a happy face. Skip this post. I would understand. But I do try to bring honesty to my blog and what follows is honest if nothing else.

Making light of, or possibly worse, ignoring unpleasant truths about myself is okay when they are nothing but odd eccentricities that help to support my individuality. But denying or blowing off the truths of my health have definitely been counterproductive. It certainly could be assumed that my denial of medical facts has only exacerbated the problem. Yes, dealing with it by not dealing with it and hoping it will go away is not working. I admit this now for all to see.

I have to face up to the chronic problem that has been building for the last 36 years of my life. I have to admit to myself that the health I took for granted is slowly turning on me. Without active and enthusiastic counter measures the years I have left will number far fewer than I would like to have. The doctors tell me there are measures I can take. But their inability to conclusively pin down just what those measures are only make the ones they mention seem like throwing darts at a dartboard.

My immune system doesn't work well anymore. Small inconvenient illnesses that used to only knock me out for a day or two can now turn ugly and leave me out of action for several weeks at a time. With the added time I need to recuperate, I become depressed. I could handle the medical glitches, but the depression that accompanies them is driving me crazy. Certainly an evil cycle I find myself in.

It seems appropriate, no, make that predictable, that I would mention this on the date of my birth.

Afterword - I generally hate the piss and moan posts of others. I am not fond of this one I came up with either. But not everyday is filled with sunshine and not every day is a new beginning. Often every day is but a continuation of yesterday's bad day. I just felt the need to vent. No apologies, just a note that I will try to refrain from making this a habit.