Saturday, May 29, 2010

Time is of the Essence

Or so they say. I was going to write about something but it is too late and I am determined to get out from under looming projects so time is almost up.

The disastrous garage door is well on its way to becoming a work of art, or short of that, at least an acceptable make over. Raul continues to disguise his formulas in containers which are labeled sour cream or kitty litter. Even I know that this sealer is not really kitty litter, but it does look like milk so maybe there is a connection. Reportedly cats like milk. I've been told it is not that good for them, so what's up with that?

My friends who are finally back in their renovated house, which is still in process but mostly done, showed me some of the make-work items they had to do to get through inspection. The insanity of what was required boggles the mind. These are items which neither add to quality, safety or structural integrity. Some are alleged to be for safety but if you were there to see, you'd agree these were irrelevant adjustments.

The real lesson is that San Diego and perhaps California in general punish those who own anything and attempt to better their lives. This is why no one on Ballistic Mountain gets permits to build or add on if they can avoid it. "Permit" is a dirty word up there. I was told just that at one of the fire meeting when I was joking with a guy about getting a permit to dam the seasonal creek that runs through his side yard.

Did you know that at this secret work location, this one where I am at this minute, you can skinny dip in the hot tub spa, or the pool, and no one is any the wiser? You could. The spa is a good thing for aching sanding shoulder syndrome.
And to think high school and even college teachers and counselors pegged me for someone who should have pursued a higher education as far as you can go in that world. Boy, if they could see me now they'd sure realize I didn't need no steenkeeng doctorate dee gree.

Even so, there is probably a reason and purpose to this odd life. I'm hoping I discover it while I'm still capable of remembering it. I figure if I hold good thoughts for others, resist negativity when it does no good, and avoid resentment, then most likely being here will net a positive effect in the grand scheme of things. Possibly I will dish out less pain than pleasure to others. That is pretty much the best I can do.

Forgive me, I am moping about some things. Mostly past rejections and disillusionments. The truth is, considering all things I am quite lucky to be alive and in one piece. A walking miracle.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Not a Virtuoso, Just an Anomaly

The Ballistic mountain band, who doesn't call themselves that, is proving to be a cornucopia of creativity. Is that a proper sentence in my use of such words? OK. I say it is a go, so it is.

It may be primarily an acoustic, vocal and harmony outfit, heavily folk influenced, but don't be too quick to judge. It was extremely challenging at first for me to quit putting too much of a blues spin on everything. After awhile I got more of the hang of the kind of precision and inventiveness needed to play decent country, or else, harmonica with these tunes.

The idea, in my book, is for the back up guys like me to add the icing on the cake. Don't try to overpower or be the cake. The style of play that is evolving here has begun to suit me, and it has definitely made me much better and more versatile. Every time we get together I feel like I am progressing a little more.

On top of that, the original music these guys are bringing out is stellar. I have become the biggest fan of both guitar players, as song writers. It has been a long time since I've played on original tunes I like so well.

They have continued to include the instrumental version of one of mine every practice. It is purely a cut loose how I want to play sort of tune. They act like I am some super skilled guy. I remind them that I am mediocre in most ways, but I have that anomaly thing going. Few if any other players go about it they way I do. I'm not really a harp player's harp player. That is not my goal anyway. I strive to be a guitar player's and a singer's harp player.

But this is the first time ever I am encouraged to do just one number entirely my way. They are good about moving somewhat out of their comfort zone, but then by now I guess it has become more easy. Not many people use a C minor Lee Oskar harmonica to cut loose with. A harp player's harp player would consider it no good because I don't get the minors by using overblows and such on a major key harp. Too bad, I like the minor tuning and I can bend and overblow that if need be.

No way to get the same thing on some other harp. It wouldn't have the same tone and sound. Maybe it would be better depending on who played it, but this lets me get lost and let go as much as I allow myself. It seems to be be getting better.

Who'd expect a couple of folk/country/bluegrass/gospel guys to encourage my acid rock/jazz tinge of latin jam?

The real point is that this group is open enough to encourage such things. Everyone is eager to hear everyone else's tunes, and no one is trying to be the big wahoo. Kevin is the natural for front man and anchor of the bunch, however we all know his wife is the final word. Often the focus is on her singing, then again there is Cliff who's considered the most seasoned and skilled musician.

We've progressed a lot in the last month or so. I think it coincides with the amount of original material we've added. They've been sitting on this material for awhile. Not sure what prompted them to bring it out.

This is one of the fortunate side effects of living out in the sticks high above the madding crowd.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Easy; That Hand Rubbed Look//and CA Highway Robbery

So I decided to use this Penofin Marine Oil Finish stuff. It is reputed to be good, and proclaims itself to be The Best. It also says, right there on the can, "for that hand rubbed look".

That implies that you just put the finish on as normal and that's all there is to the hand rubbed look. Well, on the back of the can there is much information. Included in all that fine print are the instructions on what one must do to achieve "that hand rubbed look".

Surprise! What you do if you want more of the hand rubbed look than normal is to apply however many coats it takes with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper. You hand rub the stuff in. I'd never have guessed that to achieve that hand rubbed look you actually have to hand rub it.

They trust you, so they tell you the inside scoop. You just have to repeat the process until all the fibers are fully --something---penetrated, I think. And all the gaps filled. Wood work is sexy work.

It is like a product that promises that wind blown look, then on the back of the shampoo bottle it tells you to tie yourself to the Card Sound bridge in the Keys during a hurricane.

Even so, the Penofin Marine is good stuff. Oh, but did I mention you have a wait a long time between these 400 grit rub sessions? You do the deed, the rub off all the excess with "clean" cloths" (yea right), which actually leaves it dry to the touch, but it is a trick so you let it dry a few hours, or better yet over night. Rosewwod oil from trees chopped down by virgins is tricky stuff.

I've applied maybe five coats of hand rub to a couple of different pieces, and am just now getting toward that hand rubbed look. Am I patient, persistent, artistic, or just plain nuts?

Holy smoke!! Talk about highway robbery!! I just received my official renew your registration notice from the greedy state of California. I've bought more than one car in the past for what they charge to renew a single license plate. Apparently they decide what your car is worth, then charge you accordingly. Another of those progressive taxes.

It is odd that in a state which doles out more welfare than any other, that they would institute taxes which hurt those with least money most of all. If you were to give a person of meager means a car, you'd be sending him to the poor house if California decided it was worth more than ten grand, or less I guess.

Everywhere else just charged a set renewal fee because they already nailed you when you registered it the first time. This was an unexpected couple of hundred plus. That's what you pay for good weather, seaside and nice country. Maybe since so little else is wrong people decided to bankrupt the place and make things a little more interesting. It's human nature. Just being free in a good place isn't enough. Have to find ways to complicate it and create drama.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Off The Subject, but ...

Until this last year I had not noticed it quite so much. Maybe this trend has been experiencing an upswing. People go berserk either pro or con regarding laws they haven't read.

Even the president makes comments which indicate he either hasn't read legislation, or he lies about it to serve his benefactors. Serve can be considered a broad enough term to include anger, agitate, and turn group against group. It happens a lot. Obama is not the only one guilty of such things.

The banking laws were so complicated most people have no idea exactly who got bailed out and how. Stimulus madness, and all the great "shovel ready" this and that proved not to be much good to most people. Of course in the middle of that, an official, whose name and title I do not recall, wanted to be sure jobs weren't going to skilled white labor. Always the need to create villains and animosity. Blame that guy, not all the other groups.

The politics of condition of birth is devoid of actual universal philosophy. It assumes we are not all equal under the law, not all similarly human, which implies we ought not all have the same basic rights. That's why rights has been redefined.

Maybe underlying all this madness is a shift from the American model to the Continental model. That is what it was called at some point in time, in some circles. The distinction is that under the continental model, you only have the rights granted by the state. They are privileges, and only the state can grant them. Under the American model, you have (had) any rights not explicitly forbidden. The state only had powers explicitly granted. All other power and right was reserved to states, localities and individuals.

It is an important distinction. In one case the government exercises power only through the permission of the people. In the other case people only exercise power under the permission of the government. We've moved toward the latter. But it is a tangled mess and lots of money is made with no regard to damage done to freedom of the individual.

The reason a senator would argue for a bill she hasn't read is because contained in the thousands of pages are provisions which serve interests who keep her in power. It is self serving and deal making.

In the case of the Arizona law, an alarming number of prominent figures have commented on it without looking at the the text of it or the reality of it. I find it much more dangerous for cities and states to more or less declare war on another state based on a law that state passes that displeases them. The worst part is that the arguments do not address the actual law, but wrong summaries of the law. If they want to take some position, they should get the facts straight.

This particular issue is the worst case of demagoguery I've seen in a long time. Groups are being frightened and angered purely to serve the power agenda of organizations which seek nothing but their own power. Now we have little clutches of people, and hate groups who claim to represent all Hispanics. And they try to pit them aginst some imaginary white conspiracy. It simply does not exist as they claim.

La Raza is right there at the forefront. They want to take part of America back because they say we stole it from Mexico. Where did Mexico get it? Let's see, Spain played a part, and France, too. And if they give it to the Azteca then the Azteca will have to give it back to a variety of ancient nations, most of which end in ec; toltec, olmec this ec that ec. And where they got it, I'm not sure. The point is, be consistent in how you want to work this out. And if you do get your raqcist state, will you loosen Mexico's immigration laws? They are far more strict than ours.

It is easier to play on emotion and tell people they will get accosted buying ice cream even though they are citizens whose ancestors have been here for over a hundred years. No, you will get rounded up for looking Mexican. Fortunately, that is simply a lie. Unfortunately when the president or attorney general say it, or a loud mouth la raza racist thug says it, people believe it without double checking. The attorney general admits he has made all his comments based on stories in the paper and such but hasn't bothered to read the actual bill. It may surprise him that it only reinforces the federal law already on the books.

If you take a bus ride from LA to Dallas, somewhere along the way the feds will board the bus and ask to see documentation regarding your legality for being in the US. They go all the way through Arizona and beyond before that happens. Because it is close to the border, and because people sneak in and there are some issues, like dead ranchers and disproportionate amount of crime committed by those who enter illegally. Not all of them, of course. Just a higher percentage than other groups.

Some of my good friends in the ast were here illegally from other countries. Eventually they found ways to work it out. They were not criminals. The law is not as bad as state income tax or a score of other such things.

Since when do states up north have a clue what it is like to run Arizona? In the case of California, it ought not waste time and money grandstanding about other states' affairs. It has its own issues.

The sadest thing is that many of the resolutions condemning what they do over there have been brought forth by people who never read the measure. Those who have and still act in such a way are merely fomenting hate and fear, then pandering to that in order to secure votes. It is nothing short of criminal. No way anyone would arouse such passion if they read the bill. No way, that is, unless they are willing to flat out lie.

Life at the Resort

Or, all the president's men. That's an inside reference. I'm actually an insider of no influence in the grand scheme of things.

Due to the obvious gas consumption and time involved in commuting 60 or 70 miles per day, it was suggested I just stay at the site while on this multi day push. OK. I can handle that, except I am suspect of hidden cameras, so I dance and do unusual things for Their entertainment. Not really. Most f the time. I think I know where the eyes in the walls live.

It would take no time for me to get used to this upscale life. Upscale relative to the usual, although I do like my view on Ballistic mountain. Last night I heard a bat flying around in the pool/spa area. Have to take advantage of the heated spa to cure aching muscles. I need more substantial muscles I think. Too bad I can't sleep here like I do in my secret home away from home.

Perhaps the term "ballistic" as it applies to my life, the Tour, and etc., should be clarified. It is not meant in the sense of going ballistic, as in angry maniacal hooplah. It is meant in the sense of my life being like the travel of one shot out of a giant cannon. There you go, but where you end up, who knows?

Anyway, this is an unusual life. I try like crazy to deserve the breaks I get. It is easy to find a down side to every positive thing. I think that is a mistake. It is not that easy to avoid it. Only seeing the downer thing tends to shut off the solution. It tends to amplify the attention on what you don't want rather than find ways around the obstacle. In my case, recognizing reality can bring about a negative outlook. Things never get all set just right and stay that way. There's maintenance on the car. You'd think it should just stay as it is without help. Then you have to eat more than just once in a lifetime. On and on.

It may be that all the little obstacles and disruptions of the perfect static balance are what makes life life. If that isn't a confusing trickster scheme I don't know what is. It will probably be alright

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Necessity May Be the Mother

There is that old saying that necessity is the mother of invention. Often I have questioned if that isn't a part time mother. A lot of things are needed but still go ignored. For example, people need to mind their own business and stay out of the affairs of others when they aren't being bothered. Nope. Doesn't happen---enter the parade of professional busy bodies that posture on the news every night for the last 40 or 100 years. So, freedom is needed, and once I thought it was invented, however a sure way has yet to happen. Maybe people just don't get that the invention is there, just not fully r properly applied. Inventions should be idiot proof. Too bad that one wasn't. They tried.

Perhaps invention is done when those official creepy people have their heads turned. Positive invention at any rate. Same with innovation.

Invention, innovation, whatever you call it. A contractor once told me the best way to find aq unique way to do something is to assign it to your laziest worker. The assumption being that he did not hire any incompetent or stupid employees. He did large concrete jobs like water treatment plants and such. His guy came up with a very clever quick, cheap way to form and pour a particular part of the structure that normally was all complicated and labor intensive. It worked well. That was a great company.

Anyway, on my job, I'm the laziest employee I have. And, true to form, I finally found a way to make this tedious, labor intensive, Raul garage door, special magic, artistic finish project much less labor intensive and time consuming. At least I think I did. So far so good. Tomorrow will tell the tale.

I'm still in the prepare the trashed doors stage. That is the key part, and the hardest. This things will be right yet. I'd say the inspiration was pure brilliance but it was really pure frustration with working an hour and having so little to show for it. It was a combination of impatience and dislike of doing too much damned work.

So, I tried or thought of everything I could imagine that might save labor---then I sat and drank my coffee. Then I took a break. Then I actually tried the idea and realized I got more done in 30 minutes than I did in an hour and a half of actually work--no breaks.

Then I went around the corner to the teak, round 2, job. This new improved set up, and the fact it can be protected from infidels and weather when needed, now, leave me somewhat encouraged.

Who would have thought a bottle of water and a scrub brush would be my new best friends?
This group I play with has made a song I did with the Memphis band into an instrumental. Actually it is primarily me going as wild as I can while the guitars make a gentle rhythm. C minor. I'm not sure I ever had a band willing to do that. It is more their idea than mine and I like it. I don't go as crazy as I could yet, but this could be a chance to spontaneously combust under the right circumstances. It is kind of a risky thing, but I think it is on the right track. The right people have responded favorably the couple of times we played out. All the stuff we do is better now anyway.

I'm really happy with the original material in this group. No one cares that much about playing out so we do what we do. I'd kind of like to play some different gigs but at the same time, I think the creativity and talent of these guys makes it worthwhile to do whatever it is they have in mind. It took awhile but they have made me much better than I was.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Trying Not To Be An Ingrate

When I get into these projects which seem to never end, and which leave my back aching, I start to internally gripe about not being a sociopathic lawyer with the big bucks, or any number of other things. That is not good. I'm lucky to be where I am and have this work to get me by until I actually make the effort, or take the chance, which will put me in some other vocation.

When it goes my way I like this stuff. Right now it is slow going and not that easy. A normal person would think this kind of thing would be a fun hobby. And it is.

So, I thought I'd better be sure to recognize that this is not the time to be an ingrate. Just because sleep is my favorite hobby is no reason to lose all enthusiasm for more kinetic passtimes. I know what you are thinking. I'm not going there.

The point is, the mind can play tricks. You get what you want then you forget that it is what you wanted. How dumb is that?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pecos Bill Bearing Down on Dallas

My friend, Mr S, whom I will here refer to as Pecos Bill in order to protect anonymity, has already toured the Pecos depot as he closes in on Dallas. Texas is a rather large state, so I hear, which means it may take a while to cover the remaining span.

Rumor has it that to kill boredom he has been riding with his head out the window, pretending he's a dog. If you see him, wave. Do not throw a frisbee his way, as that could cause him to jump from the bus in pursuit. Method acting. Or whatever kind causes you to believe the part, is what he may be employing. The risk is too high.

Any trouble making has been done in such a way that other passengers were framed for the offenses and tossed from the vehicle at high speed. In the middle of nowhere you can do that. It saves money on court costs and all the lawyers and other nitwits who take a cut. Even though innocents sometimes suffer, as in this case, the long term record of this system is actually a tad better than normal court for meting out appropriate sentences and not convicting the wrong person.

So, that's the story. The vicarious thrill of travel found in following the tour of another.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Who Ray! Another Tour to Follow

You'd think I was the one escaping a bad situation, heading off with only a suitcase or two, and having no idea what comes next, but knowing it will be OK. Having friends at the end of the ride is a big deal. It is what saves your life sometimes.

I've had good fortune that way. I am glad my friend will get to experience what it is like when you are surrounded by kind people. When others treat you as if they see some value in your existence it can often bring you back to life if you've struggled to see the value in yourself. The kind of people who will beat you up if you mope too much make great friends.

To me, it is exciting when you are going from a place and life which had become unworkable, stagnant and otherwise not pleasant, and you realize that for now, your only home is right where you are--even if it is a bus seat for a day or two. No looking back, and so little defined ahead that there is no way to plan beyond the very basics. Someone is bound to be willing to pay you to do who knows what. That's the first thing. After that can be dealt with later.

Whether someone noticed this, or I noticed it myself, I am not sure, but I often think I feel more secure with less real security. It is likely just a phobia regarding being responsible; like having a house and major possessions. I guess it is all the rules and regulations for everything I most dislike. I can't keep up. That doesn't make me irresponsible, just born with an inordinate sense of entitlement to be free and autonomous.

Whatever that all means, I was happier than I would have expected to get a call from Mr. (name withheld) as he crossed into Arizona. Finally, he got out of that L.A. area which was so toxic under the circumstances. Unbelievably good people at the other end.

Another case of life turning in unexpected ways, with a little help. Maybe it was only unexpected by some. I wonder at my vicarious thrill as someone else travels cross country with almost nothing, ready to start from scratch. Something about that scenario is so American, or gypsy, not sure.

I'm happy and relieved. No one wants to hear that a friend is out in the global climate change with only a cardboard box. But hearing that a friend is heading toward a sort of rebirth and an adventure into the unknown is kind of cool.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Redemption Themes

At K's the other night, we were musing about the songs he and the other guy write. One writes about leaving the girl, even though nothing is wrong with her, and the other writes more about her leaving because she died too young. Well, some of those were written by others.

The joke was that K is jilt the chick themed, and C is dead chick themed. Then I was asked what theme my songs fall into. I didn't have an answer at the time, but since realized almost everything I have written is about redemption in some way. At least that is what I call it. You are down and out, lost, or full of unrequited passion, then it turns around and you climb back up, find yourself and fly through the sky with the hot chick. All of it has to do with getting your soul back.

That sounds a bit strange. I'm not sure how else to put it. Feeling and being a participant in life after being on the sidelines like a spectator. Years of wishing you could be alive rather than just be here with a pulse but not much else. That's a kind of redemption. Especially if the starting condition felt like life wasted, missed, lost. Hopeless.

That is pretty much it. That is how my life has been. Little deaths and little redemptions. Yes I know the French or some other foreigners use that term in another context. It does, however, tie in I suppose. Multiple meanings are always nice. One might even say that life is actually its own metaphor.

Information is Too Sparse to Know Cause, but Effect is Consistently Clear

I'm reluctant to jump on any of the many bandwagons which seem to be everywhere across this country. There is the one about global warming, or climate change, or whatever, that insists it is all caused by humans and the earth is going to die.

So, green everything is promoted, even though in the grand scheme of things many of these products actually have as much carbon footprint as whatever evil they are replacing. That has to do with all the energy, toxic waste and processes which are required to manufacture the green thing. OK.

The truth is foggy on that front, but it is clear that everything proposed makes life more expensive and mobility much more difficult--especially for the less financially endowed. Ability to cover distances and live outside the urban hub seem threatened.

The oil rig disaster has many reacting by insisting that maybe drilling offshore is wrong and dangerous and ought not be done. We've not had troubles up until now, for the most part. This one is big time.

Without a satisfactory level of information regarding the cause of the explosion that ruined that rig, I am hesitant to indict the process altogether. Many have grown to hate the oil business, almost blindly, like a source to focus free floating anger. Some firms in that industry have definitely been too much in bed with the powers that be, but that does not make the entire concept bad. Refineries have been limited, exploration has bee gorssly retarded and then people bemoan dependence on foreign oil.

Someone is making big bucks off this set up. Maybe the very corporations that those who support all the limits love to hate. Stranger things have happened when it comes to regulations.

OK. Don't know what caused the mess. Don't know if every agency and entity involved did what they were supposed to do to contain it in a timely fashion or not. Maybe they acted as quickly as they could, maybe not.

No use having a strong opinion about that--not enough info, and the sources of information are notoriously full of half truths.

The one thing that stands out is that the reaction is going to limit the supply one way or another, and again what you get is curbing of mobility.

War on terror had that same effect. Ability to move about freely was squeezed. Almost everything going on results in restricted mobility. Or an insistence on being dependent and poorer than you were.

I hate to say it, but I'm not buying the spin on health care, climate, terrorism, drugs, immigration or Wall Street. That is not to say I buy the arguments presented by whatever is supposed to be the opposition in these matters. I'm not on any bandwagon, however I am coming dangerously close to believing what can only be classed as conspiracy theory. I do pick and choose, though.

Noting the Greek melt down and issues for Europe because of the euro, can we now quit citing how they do things in Europe as the glowing role model?

If fuel goes sky high, I guess I'll get the smallest possible bike that can cruise at highway speeds. That road trip is going to happen one way or the other.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ancient Secrets of Rustic Cedar Garage Door Finish

Who would have guessed? To make the wood right at the big buck Brit's home away from home you need a large container of sour cream, one of strawberry spread, and a loofah. That's all there is to it, other than some 220 grit sand paper, and some 120 for the toughest spots. Oh, and a wire brush, used sparingly.

Not sure what's up with that strawberry spread. I think it is a berry cream blend. Just judging from the containers the secret formulas were in when Raul showed me how to apply the stuff. I was hoping he was going to ex foliate my back with the loofah, however that may have been a little too intimate and I would not have been up for anything more.

Actually, he is still holding out on the exact product brands, hence the containers. Just to be sure I tasted the sour cream sealer and the strawberry wax. They tasted different than the labels implied. I think I figured out what the sealer is. The wax, maybe, however what is used to tint the wax, I do not know.

No matter what all that is made of, the doors require a tremendous amount of detailed hand sanding. Tedious is the word for it. Of course, as soon as I'd prepared a couple of the planks, about an 8"by 2 foot area, I had to apply the final wax to see if I could duplicate the little bitty section he'd done to show me how it should look. He picked the one tiny part of the whole 500 square foot project which required nothing special.

At first the pieces I did looked like a nightmare. Way too dark and too much grain darkened. The wax did not wipe off to a lighter hue as it did when Raul demonstrated. Bummer. So, after trying to buff it wipe it, sand it, I called it a day. That was last night at sunset.

Today, I started anew on my quest to undo the bad wax job, before Raul comes back to the area and checks in to see how I'm doing. I've stretched the humility all I care to on this project. Out of the sky came a sudden thought. Why not try a scrub brush? Nothing. It had no impact. How about wetting the bush a little? BINGO!! It buffed down with this technique to a very acceptable finish. Maybe better than that little ringer piece Raul did.

In case you try this at home, I think the problem was that the sealer was not on thick enough. The stuff is very thin and milky so you do best laying more on as the first stuff soaks in but before it is very dry. If it dries, lightly hit it with 220 grit paper then put on some more. Let it fill the grooves a bit as well as just seal the wood. You hit it again with the 220 and then the loofah after it is completely dry. You used the 220 and the loofah before applying it, too. This is secret info.

The loofah is used at particular phases of the preparation. Whether it actually does anything, I can't say. I go through the motions anyway. He may have just thrown that in to see if I'd fall for it. Considering the massive amount of work yet to do, I may as well take no chances. I got myself in enough trouble as it is, and the loofah can't hurt.

What an odd life. I will do a bunch of work around the corner from the Brit's because I need the money and already have a handle on it. Both jobs need to be done within a close time frame. The garage door saga may be a losing proposition money-wise, but it is possible they will understand I was not given good info and went off the edge as a result. Either way, I took the job, messed it up, and am making it right. It is my responsibility no matter what. The around the corner place is a regular gig.
That owner is one of the behind the scenes people who run the world. Spooky. And ironic.

The guy who works for the major contractor, which builds most things around there, was by this afternoon. He's the one who found out who'd done the doors to begin with so he's kept up with this saga. He thought the panel I did looked great, which was a good confidence booster. I'd forgotten how it was really supposed to be, and he hadn't.

Soon I hope to once again be able to boast about what good work I do. Then I want to get big bucks to do things like tell people what I think. It would be sort of like using my mind. There are people who get paid to express their views, and actually thinking is optional much of time. Who would know when you are really using your brain and when you aren't? That's the gig I want; get paid to appear to be thinking whether I am or not.

In time, I hope I will again be able to tout my conscientious craftsmanship. This was a set back which dropped me down a notch or three. I shall again have the swelled head and inflated sense of self appraisal.

Maybe it's only 300 square feet. This is the kind of job where an inch becomes a mile.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Maybe It Is A life That I Need

Back in the old days, people found it interesting to read my drivel. Now, not so much.

I think it is the volume combined with the rants about the state of currents events. We've all been done to death with it and no one figures they have any power over it anyway. Actually the implied point in most of what I had to say is that real life is better than the collective conformity of responding to extortionists and liars who control various matters legal and financial.

Then I realized that my real life is largely uneventful and makes for no good stories, yet. That is merely a temporary issue. I'm working on putting a little more life into life.

K, the guitar player figured out how to record with his computer. He has a decent set up, and it would also work on my computer. Tonight I got a last minute call to lay down a harmonica track on a thing he's working on. He'll be up all night fooling with it. Like a kid at Christmas.

For much of the tune you hardly realize I'm in there, but that is as it should be. Pull it and you could tell the difference, but in the main you don't think, "oh there's a bunch of blues harp". The art of being a tasty side man, if I say so myself. People have often not understood that desire for blend, and just a hint of the instrument in there. Fortunately K got it.

Depends on what you're doing whether that's the ticket or not. What he has so far is pretty good. Once the3 others put their parts in, it is going to be alright.

Found out most of my Memphis friends did not get flooded, however one person's car did get flooded--total loss I think.

I only wrote this to force myself to write something. Write enough and eventually you will produce the Gettysburg Address.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Manana Friend and The Madness Not Believed

Raul made it back from the hooplah. We haven't discussed the views of laws and borders. I doubt we will. However, I have discussed these things with a woman who is from a South American country, a naturalized citizen with friends in Mexico, and illegal friends here.

In the world of Raul, Monday, changed to Tuesday, and Tuesday is now Thursday. I am a bit of a manana guy myself so I can handle it. I just hope all this insanity hasn't given him a case of gringo hate.

The news has done a great job of convincing people of things not based in fact. I also credit various groups for that. Scare people and they are vulnerable to believing any lie you want to spread. This is happening to a degree on more than one side of the question. But how many people look at what is the real problem?

The big danger of not looking at the tax system, the way services are handled and the corruption all up and down the system is that the cure ends up being more painful than people think. Already there are those who want to use national ID to make all better. No thanks. The potential level of control and the potential clamp on legitimate dissent is not good. Not to mention that if one were to get into the databases and corrupt them, it would make the stupidity of using a single number like social security for all things look safe and brilliant.

So, while we freak out because of the fact that people enter the country illegally, then get used by power seeking groups looking for power, those who created the problem are scheming yet more measures which screw citizens. There are better ways, but it would require overhauling the tax system and reserving many services to citizens. At the same time, I think the honest yet desperate workers who cross back and forth every day could have an easier go of it should these things be implemented.

As it is, we have a government which has been strangely complicit in the commerce done by gangs and cartels. They have left border communities out in the cold. The issue is not a racial one. It is an issue of corruption in our government, the Mexican government, and groups, some with non profit and lobby status, which are out for money and power.

Every news blurb I heard described the AZ law as one which required police to demand papers from anyone suspected of being illegally here. That is patently false. The fact that the person had to have been detained for a crime or infraction first, is left out. I still don't think the law is the best way to go, but I'd rather people oppose it based on truth rather than hype.

They should also look at why many in Arizona felt something had to be done. The law mirrors and refers to federal law. The national government has ignored the problems, the violent drug people, and in many cases punished agents who defended themselves against these elements in the course of doing their jobs. That is a huge scandal which has been covered up.

The dumb ass cities that pass resolutions for boycott or other measures regarding Arizona are in no position to tell anyone else how to run their government. Bankrupt California cities can't even get their own insanity under control. Once again they don't appear to have read the law. If even 10% of those demonstrating and boycotting had read and tried to objectively analyze it, I would be surprised.

The same people who are upset about this are fine with treating everyone as guilty and harassing citizens under the excuse of drug war or the war on terror. Or the goddamed environment. It is very difficult to buy the sincerity of either of those in light of how the borders are handled. And in light of how they treated agents who made life less easy for violent smugglers.

In the mean time the people who have been tacitly encouraged to work here without documentation are caught in the middle, convinced the evil white people hate them, and all sorts of things that aren't true. People who have no contact with sincere workers, who just do what their peers do by slipping in and finding day work and that sort of thing, tend to think some of the blanket characterizations are real.

It's a mess, like everything being put in public discussion lately. Nothing but propaganda all around.

Look how disappointed many in the news were that it wasn't a disgruntled white guy who tried to blow up New York? Some went so far as to theorize that the guy was a "right wing militiaman" upset with the healthcare bill. They did it on the air as if they had some inside knowledge. Totally made up. And why is right wing always linked with militia and bigots? Left wing are the ones who see everything first in terms of race and ethnicity, and last or never in terms of principle. Never in terms of real freedom.

In talking to people it becomes clear that they refuse to look at things in terms of reality, right and wrong, true and false. They are for anything that promotes their group, even if that promotion has elements to it that aren't moral, as in at the expense of others who owe them nothing. The trouble is, that kind of thing can turn so that it applies to some other group at your group's expense.

Few bother to examine the immigration policies of other countries in this mess. Mexico will kick your ass if you jump borders or do any number of things; like not have your documentation on hand. They can stop you and demand to see it any time. That goes for local cops and national military alike. Penalties are harsh. You pretty much have to buy your way into a place like new Zealand. They particularly don't want old foreigners trying locate there. Money tends to do a lot there, but even then it has to be just right.

Unbelievable how the totalitarians in this country are so nuts. They use illegals hoping to get them the vote, while smearing citizens who do not want a nanny state or one that bleeds them dry while limiting opportunities. The whole thing is too bad. The rift between black, white and everything else that has been promoted over the last few years is not constructive. People view everyone unlike themselves with more suspicion than they did just a few years ago. This is going the wrong direction. It was supposed to improve, not get worse.

So many tales of victimization and the resulting exploitation of same would lose much if truth were really allowed to surface. So, the charlatans continue to twist and fabricate.

Little note to la raza: if Mexico were to get California, and all the other states you claim were taken from you, then you'd have to give much of it back to the Aztecs, and much to other tribes. Up here would not be part of the Aztec territory. Then, because the Aztecs took much from other groups, they'd have to give that territory back, then those may have to give it back to whomever was there when they showed up. Before long, if the whole world goes by your reasoning toward the USA, not much will be left. I guess we'll all whittle it down to wherever Paradise is.

That's why I hate demonstrations and power seeking groups based upon ethnicity. Mine or anyone else's. They inevitably lose the truth and become run by people whose motives are less than pure, less than reasonable. I noticed that with demonstrations of the late sixties, union-when I was unfortunately a member, and many crowd and mob actions. Sometimes assemblies have good purpose, but I avoid it whenever possible. Doesn't mean I cooperate with the status quo, governmentally or otherwise. I often don't.

I think the illegal immigrant population are pawns and the real threat is found in our government and many of the groups which push class hatred.

I'm of the mind that the oil rig explosion was not accidental or due to bad design and negligence. When they claimed they were sending SWAT teams, I assumed they'd decided it was a case of criminal activity or terrorists or maybe Hugo Chavez.
Now, the stories are different. Nonsensical in most cases.

I used to be all for the kind of people who are in power now getting their way. I figured it would screw up things so bad that people would rise up and demand a free society with minimal oversight. Now I realize that the screw up is as suspected, but the reaction of the majority is not. Even those who object to how it is evolving rarely want real freedom. They compromise far too much and can't resist certain policies that really should not be part of this country.

So, we do the best we can, keep a tent handy in case we have to live as health care fugitives in the wilderness somewhere, and keep an eye out for hot chicks--just because.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Politics Slowing the Raul Saga?

No clear evidence that the world of current events and the skullduggery of The MAN are at play, but I suspect so.

Raul left an early morning message which I didn't receive until later in the day. The reception is so sketchy on ballistic mountain, that I often get messages from the night before or the morning only when I drive down the hill.

So, Raul said he's going to Arizona this weekend. Hmmm. With all the hooplah I wonder if he's going there to join the protest. I also wonder if he, or any of his colleagues, have read the law with an open mind. Have they tried to understand what made people of AZ react in this way? Can they not see the side that feels the negligence of the federal government in enforcing its laws and preventing drug cartel and gang spill over has forced them to find better ways to protect life, limb, property, and tranquility?

It is a real tragedy that people have made something out to be an indictment of Mexicans in general. Anyone who knows me probably knows I am extraordinarily fond of Mexico, Mexicans, their culture, etc. This stuff breaks my heart a little.

I keep hearing the news characterize the law as one which mandates that cops request papers from anyone they think might be here illegally. That is not what the law says. It says they do that only if they have stopped or detained a person for some other offense. Even though I am not for requiring police to ask any more than they currently do, I can see that the law does not give wholesale excuse to harass a certain group.

The problem is that bad elements are running rampant in some places and it is because our government has been complicit in enabling drug cartels and the resultant criminal elements to do business and mischief in the US. They are cloaking that issue in the smokescreen of those who are hard working and desperate to escape the poverty which the Mexican government furthers with its policies and corruption.

Whatever Raul is up to, I hope he has a safe trip and doesn't get too wound up in the racial war aspect which so many are promoting. Believe me, bad cops harass based on perceived power, not race. And cities in which the white devil is in the minority are rampant with discrimination against every group but their own. Open discrimination. It was not remotely hidden in Miami, or even memphis. Except in Miami they did not generally play victim. "Just the way it is" was more their motto.

I experienced some real strange things in Miami due to that sort of tribalism, but did not overly resent it. In the most clear cut case, it was not on racial but based on gender. What shocked me most and somehow pleased me was that the people who came out of the woodwork to back me up openly were black. If anyone thinks white devils will protect their own from such things, he is sadly mistaken. Leave the Klan out of it. They represent no one. The people who started and promoted that were all democrats.

Mostly I wish people in the US would simply be Americans and get over the idea that specific group based on genetics and sexual orientation, or even which sex you are, ought to somehow be a political thing. If you run things on principle and equal status under the law then those things are irrelevant.

I wish both sides of this immigration thing would look at reality, that the Mexican government would shut up since they preach one thing then do another, and that our own national government would quit allowing and creating hate and chaos to further their political power.

Freedom ought to be taught, understood, and worked toward. That is not what is happening.

I wish Raul the best and I am glad he's here. Maybe he's legal, maybe not. I don't care. he is not a burden to society, and I have selfish reasons for wanting him to be here, healthy, happy, and back in town soon.

On Hold and Baseball

Raul did call this morning. He couldn't make it today but thinks he can Monday. He has assured me that once he tests his super secret stuff, he'll let me know everything I have to do. The fact that he called shows he's willing to help me turn this bad situation to good, so the stress of it has dissipated some.

Things that stress people vary in nature. Feeling like I had done something really stupid which left a problem I did not know how to fix stressed me more than injuries I've had and many other things that ought to bother me more. I'm not sure how that works.

Anyway, my guitar player/singer friend called and said he won ball game tickets from a radio station this morning. It turns out he knew that that new merit badge the Boy Scouts can earn is for playing video games. That is bizarre no matter how you slice it.

Padres vs Brewers. The seats were a couple of sections up just left of home plate. Apparently the uppity section. The people were not the type to cheer or even clap more than an occasional golf clap.

The sections to either side and way up high were much more animated. No worry about people spilling beer or getting rowdy where we were. Very good seats, for sure. But it was kind of interesting. The wave was going all around the stands but when it came to our area everyone just sat stone faced. I made a slight gesture with my hands. In this group that was rowdy.

Padres won. Shut them out, but only scored maybe 3? I should know. One home run was hit.

That is the only major league baseball game I've ever attended. At least I think so. There are a few years in the past when anything may have happened but that period is a blur at best.

It was a great time. K, the guitar player is a funny guy. At one point we were doing sort of a Thurston Howell routine discussing the family of certain players and it somehow cracked me up. Then I realized how we were acting like kids, and we are far from that. Way far. I may not have grown up yet.

Maybe this is real life; even stopped and visited my coastal friends before the game. I ate all their snacks then we left. It must be the relief of knowing I;ll learn how to make that job right. Before I found out what was on there I was at a loss because no one knew what was up and I'd run totally out of go-to people and resources. In my relief I think I was bouncing around like a pogo stick, eating snacks laughing and discussing the lineage of the Hedley fellow slumming it with the team.

It was a good enough, long day. I had some work early this morning which at least put a dollar or two in the bank. Nothing which required any substance process or thought.

Plenty of perplexity in certain areas, but what the heck, I often prefer obvious euphemisms rather than going hard core with expletives. It gives a different tone and timbre.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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