Friday, May 29, 2009

The Invalid

Bob is not a happy cat. His routine has been interrupted. His life is not his to control at the moment. Bob is very ill. Death's Door ill a couple of weeks ago. Bob is feeling better after a denigrating and humiliating visit to the Vet. Medications have been ingested and continue on a twice daily basis. Kidney function seems to be rebounding and that sunken eye ball has come up for air and looks like the left one again.

I think I liked him better when he was a furry lump that didn't care what happened to him. Now that he is feeling better, he wants out. Now that he is feeling better, his displeasure at being force fed pills has resulted in a daily dose of cat bites and clawed flesh for me. I hope I survive the next ten days.

Bob puts up such a fight over the pills, our encounters take on the feel and look of physical violence. Anyone casually spotting me with Bob brutally pinned down and my fingers down his throat might consider me a vicious monster who enjoys hurting animals. My shredded flesh though indicates any abuse from me is met with equal abuse from Bob. Bob more than holds his own in this battle of wills.

My fear is I will alienate Bob before all the pills have been ingested. Turn him against me. But no. It seems that after a couple of hours of being huffy and keeping his distance, Bob forgives me. We rub heads and he begins that crooked and uneven purr of his. Our relationship is sound again. Bob just cannot hold a grudge. Apparently, neither can I.

Keep it 'Tween the Ditches...............

(281 / )

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wandering Aimlessly

Randal over to Lennui melodieux just posted a brief post about his recent bout of writer's block. Not being able to come up with anything "worthy" as he put it. But he would hang in there and not give up.

I think Randal jinxed me. As soon as I finished reading his post I had something pertinent to write in response. But by the time I settled in to punch it up, it was gone. See ya. Think of something else or hang up. Thanks Randal. You are such an inspiration. Yah Dude.

I know when I hit a wall with this writing thing, I will pull out some tricks and gimmicks to try and yank something of worth from inside the morass that is known as my mind. Put some music on. Down a shot or two of something tasty. Look at some pictures. Or if nothing else works, just start typing the first thing that comes to mind. When the itch to write strikes, I will do what it takes to make it happen. Good, Bad, or indifferent.

So tonight with my lack of burning issues to rant on, no advice worth sharing, and without a topic burning a hole in my mind, I pull out each trick hoping one will spark it up and set what is just below the surface free. Music went on first. Helpful, but only leaves me with a notion of hope anything will gel. Okay, some carefully distilled brown liquid in a three ounce glass - served room temp and sipped slowly. May not help, but it's the effort that counts. Right? The oddest things can come to mind as the whiskey warms it's way down to my stomach.

As the years passed and I noticed my time on the planet had stretched past the half century mark, I took a moment, or more I had a moment when the overall impact of making it past Fifty really sank in. Like I said, it was but a moment. It passed quickly. But I still think of that moment from time to time. I will often expand it to consider the idea of what my life has meant so far. But then as is my tendency, I am soon flitting onto something else that just caught my eye. And another potentially profound and deep moment is lost. Oh Well. That pretty well sums up my Life anyway. A bunch of moments. Some I paid attention to. Some I did not. And more often than not, even when I thought I was paying attention, as it turned out, I was not.


(437 / 4102)

An Update of Sorts

Okay. I have been MIA for awhile now. I knew my new focus on getting the rest of my Life in better order was going to cut deep into the time I had for Blogging, contemplating my naval, and other World changing activities. I had no idea I was going to abandon my efforts here for so long. Each day I did not write, the pangs of guilt or was it pangs of regret of not pursuing a guilty pleasure hit me. As one day led into another, the intensity of the guilt lessened but the regret deepened. Suddenly over two weeks passed without a word written.

So just what the Hell have I been doing? And what do I have to show for this nose to the grindstone mentality I have exhibited these last two months?

Hmm. Good questions. I am not sure I have good answers. The bike shop is still open and yes, it is still in serious trouble. I am at least not accruing new debt on top of old. In the meantime I have been able to take small bites out of the impressive debt load I carried over from previous years. And folks are able to have their bikes fixed locally without driving 20 plus miles to the next closest bike shop. Should the rest of the summer play out this way though, I do not see myself in this business again next Summer. Staying enthusiastic on a sinking ship can be a daunting task.

The yard has not looked this good this early in the warm season in years. I have many hours logged already in my efforts to beat back the jungle and restore the homestead to something resembling.....well, a home someone actually lives in. Squeezing in yard work before and after work has had an impact.

I have been riding my bike. The picture up top is proud proof. Instead of the shapeless flabby stumps I started out on 2 months ago, I finally found the legs that were hiding in them. And once again I have begun my annual collection of dingers, scrapes, and bruises. Odd thing about mountain bikers. We seem to take pride in our scabs and scars. And this is odd because the dingers are usually proof we rode past our skill sets and were caught being stupid. The fresh dinger on the left knee is an example. Too far forward as I rode into a rocky stream crossing and wham! Face plant, knee whacking, total immersion, full body dab into cold running water, the result. Yet, here I am showing off the resulting pain with pride. Definitely a guy thing.

I have also commuted by bike to the shop so much, that now I look forward to it. The time spent in mindless physical effort has been good for me. I am more relaxed when I get to the shop. I am dead dog tired when I get home. What it seems to have done is bring sleep back into my life. I pass out now usually by 9 o'clock and sleep to 4:30 AM with few interruptions.

I would say Life is good now. But that would be inferring Life was bad before. Life is what it is. It changes, it stays the same.

See Ya...................

(549 / 3665)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Someone Else's Blues

Long ago and far away David Bromberg once wrote and then sang many times after, a song called "Someone Else's Blues" . About waking up with no good reason for or in fact any reason to feel blue, yet when he woke up that morning, he woke up with someone else's blues. Everything was going great. All pistons, firing in sequence. He had more dope than he could smoke and it was almost a perfect day. He couldn't enjoy his good fortune, revel in all his grand luck. Cuz, gawdammit, when he cracked his eyes that AM, he had already rolled out on the wrong side.

And as David makes his guitar whine, a sax moans and a piano chimes in with perfection, it's as if the whole band woke up with the blues. Somewhere out there in the real world, some undeserving slob has hijacked poor Dave's good vibes. Some flounder who should be crying is out having himself a fine ole happy time.

I think most of us can relate. At some point in time, a specific moment in the grand walk, we all have felt down when there was no good reason to live under a cloud. We weren't fielding curves, our monthly bills were caught up, and it was not raining. Yet sometimes we act as if we wished we weren't caught up, all Life had was curves and some rain would justify the way we feel. We wouldn't feel so damn guilty about being out of sorts, pissed off, or just having our nose out of joint.

Being contrary "just because" fills a valuable slot in my tool bag of moods I use to get through the shit that flows all around me. I figure some overload switch has been tripped if I wake up a tad off, a tad mean. Small doses of moodiness sure beat the Hell out of the full blown Monty malevolent Mike I can become if small irritants are not purged on a semi regular basis. Being in a funk with no excuse I think is just my subconscious doing some needed maintenance.

I surely learned many years ago to not fight a mood too hard. Nothing sucks worse than trying to keep a stiff upper lip when tripping over that lip is what I really want to do. Being unhappy can be it's own reward. Just can't let myself wallow in it. Get a taste and then perk up.

Looks like this is night to rip some Blues into the Library. A Bromberg Album first, now the Don Brewer Blues Project is twisting my brain and all the while Stevie Ray Vaughan is hanging cool waiting his turn.

Not sure why I left Stevie Ray until last tonight. It could be argued that I saved the best for last. Certainly his version of "The Sky is Crying" is second to no other artists efforts. But calling him the best just doesn't cut it. Too many other great Blues guitarists out there. Each one with their own style, tone, and shtick. Each one "the greatest" in his/her own way.

Well I blew it. I went into You Tube and now it is an hour later and all I have to show for it is an hour of wasting time on one excellent video or another. Caught 4 versions of "Sky is Crying". One had Stevie Ray, Albert King and BB King together all on stage doing their thing. Absolutely cool.

And then I ran into this - David Bromberg doing an acoustic version of "The Sky is Crying". Damn.......... the Internet can be a real hoot some nights.

See Ya ..................

(608 / 3114)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Managementship - Trains of Thought Converging on Different Tracks - Or Just Another Manic Sunday in Paradise

Setting sail in a new direction, the company founders commissioned the "USS Setting Goals Instead of Sails". The management ship left the harbor with a happy crew and Mid manager passengers full of enthusiasm and desires to land at their next safe harbor better managers and able to incite blind allegiance from the minions who slave day in day out under their scrutinous eyes.

Upper Management stayed home. Upper Management had no enthusiastic desires to attain better synchronicity among the the rank and file. As long as the bottom line kept climbing, they would hire circus elephants if it kept them in titanium golf clubs and fifty thousand dollar BMWs. If any of them had once been where the seasick passengers on the company ship were now, those memories had been washed away by thousands of martinis served dry at functions designed to solidify their position in the overall pecking order of Life in the Corporate Jungle. Fat and happy, they await the return of employees fired up and ready to help them put even more jingle in their pockets. They are absolutely sure that Capitalism Rocks.

In the meantime Main Street Everymen pull into Wally Mart parking lots across this great land in their oil burning ten year old used conveyances with baby puke encrusted on the back of the seats. Oblivious to the next great conspiracy to separate them from their hard earned money, they enter the belly of the beast. Old fogies wearing blue smocks smile and welcome them as they eagerly grab carts to fill with meaningless trinkets and doodads that will hopefully add some meaning to their lives. Like drones they wander up and down crowded aisles. With so much to pick from, they are sure they have found Nirvana. They wonder if they should have grabbed a second cart.

Passing plastic cards close to magic machines, they leave the 4 acre super store without even dropping one real dollar in the till. Plastic money is endless they think. It is almost like free. Life is wonderful when they shop. Not so much when they are not. Defining their existence by how many bags they throw in the trunk, they head home to hyper-processed TV dinners and Andy Griffith reruns on the TV Land channel.

Satiated and full, many will fornicate. Some will masturbate. Others will pass out after ingesting the best part of that 30 pack they got at a reduced price just hours earlier. And America falls into a fitful slumber. Only criminals and lost souls wander the landscape over the next few hours.

Day in day out, Americans live the life. Day in day out, Americans think they love this Life. But insidious machinations have been utilized from their conception. Strategies have been brought to bear that ensure America will continue to be born to shop. Once proud of our independent ways, now we puff up our chests when our neighbor notices that new super duper stainless steel grill we brought home last week end.

I would love to lay claim to higher ground. I would just as soon rise above the scrambling masses packed like sardines in aisles piled high with plastic electronic gadgets. Alas, I am but one of the masses. Another brainwashed drone prone to buying what is shoved in my direction. I try to resist. Years of Madison Avenue sticking in my craw, I hack and cough and look for the Visa Card.

It is not even a question of being weak. Years of indoctrination 30 seconds at a time have convinced my subconscious that consuming is what a soul needs. Scoring that Thigh Master will save me from the slug that I have become. With every intention of using it as intended, that Thigh Master ends up as a door stop for the basement door when I needed to bring in the 40 pounds of meat I bought for the new coffin freezer in the basement.

We are helpless my friend. Any resistance, even a token gesture is futile. We are what we buy. Ownership of anything reinforces our existence. Inextricably linked through electronic gadgets into the network of slick talkin worms and snake oil salesmen assures our participation in the grand plan.

We own shit, therefore we exist. Descarte would be so proud.


(718 / 2506)

Friday, May 08, 2009

My Father's Desk

I use the desk my father used. I use it in the same room my father used it. It is a beat ex-US government issue desk some federal bureaucrat slaved over (Ha ha) back in the 1940s and maybe the 1950s. My dad bought it at one of the many auctions he often attended inside the federal triangle when we lived in the DC area in the early 1960s. I think he paid $5 for it.

It started out life a wonderfully cheerful Olive color. You know, that color the the government likes to use to gussy up their equipment. My father painted it a sort of baby shit reddish brown in an attempt I guess to make this steel monstrosity blend in better in the paneled room he called and now I call "the office". This desk has been moved around in this small room, but has not left it in 43 years since it moved in. It is actually too big for the room it sits in. The broad plain of it's massive top takes up roughly 20% of the available floor space in this room. With the wings extended, it makes an even larger dent. Throw in some file cabinets, a couple of book cases, some ancient stereo equipment and an old school wooden desk chair on wheels and the word "clutter" doesn't even begin to cover it. I call it cozy. My wife has other less kind words for it.

I have not bothered removing many of the things my father had stashed inside its guts. In the top drawer, his trusty slide rule, triangular scale rulers, fountain pens and ink sit dustyalongside the many magnifying glasses  he used on a more regular basis once his eyes began to fail.Also inside, his cherished set of US Navy charting compasses he would handle with care and only let me use under the strictest eye he could muster.All kinds of cool old desk stuff sits waiting for me to rediscover it.  The desk is a time capsule.  I will often rifle through it looking for something  And come up with some gizmo I ofen saw my father use when he was in his mad scientist mode.

I could say I have kept it as it was because of some strong sense of honor for my father's memory. That would be Bullshit. I have left them there because I figure to use them once in awhile. Why rock the boat? I know where to go if I need a magnifying glass. When drawing up plans with circles and doing them to scale, I know where the tools are that will help me in this endeavor.

Maybe my use of the tools he left me is the greatest honor I can give him or them. Placing them in some box in the attic or selling them out on the driveway on a sunny Sunday afternoon does nothing to honor their intent or their history. Tools are meant to be used. Somewhere I know the stern eye of my ole man is watching and waiting for me to not use them right. Knowing this makes me fondle them with care.

Keep it 'tween the ditches......................

(532 / 1788)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Bike Wheel

I am beginning to feel like a stranger here at the BoZone. Sad, but there it is. This is my first visit back since my last post. The bike shop and now included. home and garden improvement duties in those spare moments have consumed every waking hour and even most of my dream time also. Last night I dreamt of a wheel truing job lost on the Darkside. No matter which way I tweaked the wheel, the worse it got. Damn dream actually woke me up. At least I woke up chuckling.

I won't be chuckling later today at the shop. That damn dream wheel actually exists and is currently leaning up against my work bench at the shop. I have been walking around it since Sunday when I found it locked to my bike stand outside. Inside a message on the machine from some gnarly dude about making it right man and this time use that locktight penetrate we had talked about the last time it semi-tacoed. Right on Dude. I'll get right on it.

This particular wheel is one of those manifestations of technological wizardry that a certain wheel manufacturer insists will enhance the ride by creating bombproof wheels. To be fair to them, other wheels made by them in this manner have held up well. This specific wheel though is a different matter. It has been an issue since the day the gnarly dude got it in the mail after finding it on some Internet deal site. Paid way less than regular retail and has now gotten what he paid for.

This is at least the 3rd time I have had this wheel in my shop. I hate this wheel. It won't stay fixed. All the negative wheel karma the wheel manufacturer had built up was stored in the wheel and is now my problem. I can straighten it. I can get the spoke tension just right. I can send it out there for future punishment in as good a shape as possible. Yet in a few weeks, it is toast again.

Not sure why I am whining. This wheel is the perfect returning customer. Every time it shows up, I make money. But I would like it to stay fixed longer between visits. This time I will do the loctite routine. Hate to do it though. Somewhere though are threads not meshing cleanly with other threads and the good tension in the spokes is being ridden out of it prematurely. Loctiting the spokes makes future truing a tougher job. And it almost seems like cheating in a bizarre sort of way. Like a cop out on my part. A failure to deliver services promised. The customer wants it. The customer is always right. The customer gets what they want.

The damn wheel has emasculated me. ------- I just love it when my train of thought goes from one end of a spectrum and ends up with the emasculated idea. Seems we guys allow the strangest things challenge our manhood. This makes me chuckle.

The bike wheel image by Dylan Miner I found on this site,JUSTSEEDS. They call themselves a "visual resistance artists' cooperative". Interesting stuff.

I'll Be Around...................

(532 / 1256)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

2:11 AM

Hmm. It's 2:11 AM May 2nd. I just got home from the bike shop about 20 minutes ago. Massive doses of coffee on top of Pizza over the last 6 hours of trying to catch up with backed up - just gotta have em for the weekend bike repairs rewarded me with a tapped and exhausted body, but my eyes and my brain continue to red line at 1500 RPMs. Coherent thoughts, sensible points, majestic statements are all missing in action. All I have is eyes wide open and a vacuous cavity behind them. The lights are indeed on but no one is paying attention.

I am my own worst enemy. I would not be sitting here awake with nothing to say if I had just applied myself a tad better over the course of my previous work week. I'd be sawing wood, catching Z's, maybe even comatose if I had just paced myself better this past week. Oh well. Perfect excuse to pour a couple of shots of Rebel Yell.

Back in the day when I drank hard and played hard, I would often finish off a night of bar hoppin with some serious caffeine intake and some greasy late night food to try to neutralize the alcohol intake from the previous few hours. Coffee on top of booze just creates a wide awake drunk. No matter how much I am sure I am different and special, all coffee seems to do for me is create a new window of opportunity to jam down some more alcohol.

Tonight I am reversing the process and the concept. Now that I am all jacked up on at least a gallon of freshly ground Guatemalan Shade Grown coffee that goes by the name "Speed Max" (I buy it from one of my bike parts suppliers. This stuff lives up to its name.), I will attempt to use a couple two finger shots to blunt the edge of the caffeine buzz and maybe go to sleep by 3:00 AM. Never used Likker this way. Be interested to see if it works.

I know I have been missing in action for more than a few days now. My Internet time has recently been spent wading through bike parts supplier sites or trying to find just the right words to put into a new business plan. I bet I have written 10,000 words but only have 500 or so saved that make sense. Forced creativity, producing words for others to consider seriously - when I have to write not for fun but for profit, this whole writing gig is like pulling teeth with dull pliers. Anything can become work if you let it.

Well I blew it. Apparently a little liquor on top of massive doses of Joe has about the same net effect as massive doses of Joe has on top of many drinks. It makes no difference the sequence. Caffeine first or caffeine last, mix in alcohol and my eyes are still open, sleep is a distant wish that fades with every shot I have nursed over the last hour. 4:00 AM is about to tick in and here I still sit pecking and plodding my way through yet another blog post just for the Hell of it.

All is not hopeless. I do not sit here a total waste of space. I am able to mutli-task to a degree. As I sit an ponder my next word, in between and on the side, I am also ripping CDs. Creating a new library of tunes to replace the library I lost during the great 2009 virus smackdown.

When I reflect on the many ways I have recorded music over the years, every time I rip a CD to the hard drive, I know it just does not get any better than this. In years past I have recorded on 8 tracks, reel to reel, and cassettes. I would often spend hours just planning and then executing the successful recording of an hour long mix tape. Now I can create the same thing in 5 minutes with the click of a mouse. ...............

............ It is 4:30 AM. I have been awake for 24 hours. I have to be back at the bike shop in 4 hours. Gotta go now. Just needed to unwind some. Relieve some pressure..........

See Ya............