Monday, November 29, 2010

Page 83, and uh oh, it may be a chemical swing

Whenever I have this sudden feeling of well being, especially after days or weeks of fighting a feeling of doom, I wonder if it is the result of efforts to chase away the blues or the result of a chemical balance swing. If you ride such highs, the crash is that much worse. I've learned to attempt to separate the lie out of the highs and the lows. Both tend to produce false premises in the mind.

But, in reality, I'd say I have more reason to be enthusiastic about life than not. Doesn't mean I'm able to do that internally much of the time- only intellectually. It's complicated to explain, simple to coach. If I were the coach, I'd say, "Ignore any ups and any downs. Just do what is in front of you without opinions about whether it or you are good enough, whether you are competent; just do it and shut up." You have no idea how hard it is for me to just do that.

That is why good or bad I continue with my book. Up to page 83 now. If I can finish it, I will have won one for life. Besides, if anyone doesn't like this story, then fine. But if they deem it a lousy story, they are wrong. There are things I didn't like which have been hugely popular and influential. What if those people had gone by my reaction? No matter my opinion of their work, it would have been pretty stupid to let my view carry any weight.

In my case, too, it is foolish to let my view carry any weight. If I do, I'll trash everything I've done, on a depressed whim, deciding it is terrible and and an embarrassment to my good name (what a joke). So, that is another of the things I've almost learned after all these years; ignore my own criticism unless it is actually focussed enough to produce a refinement or improvement to the project at hand.

There must have been a few rejections I've internalized, which gained residence in my mind. Rejection does suck, but the odds are those rejecting you probably deserve your rejection. I'd love to believe that, deep in my cells and bones, but I probably don't, even though it is true.

Uncle Me

If I can't be the patriarch everywhere I go, I guess uncle is next best. And don't say, "what about matriarch?". I won't even go there.

It's pretty cool to realize that some attachments defy explanation; just the way it is. That's how it works with some of my SD people. There is a bond and that's that. In the case of this young girl, perhaps we both have something similar in how we process the world of our senses. It's probably easier for me. I learn a lot from the perseverance and guts of this one. It is great to be considered somewhere between surrogate father (not that she doesn't have a great step dad), uncle, and friend. There is just a bit of mutual tolerance and loyalty there which is like an understood, unannounced pact that no matter what, we each have an ally.

This is one of the great things about moving out west to SD county; the chance to play a part in some lives which I won't detail here. Unusual things. More to life than meets the eye.

I'm busted broke so anyone expecting the obligatory gift can forget it. Even so, I like this time of year. I can make it what I choose. I'd never expect someone to produce a gift for me, so when I can't do it, I don't think they should think less of me. Those in the know realize that when I have money, I'll spend most of it on them. There have been some who were impossible to figure; no way to know what to give them, either materially or of myself. I guess you just can't always win in that way, or don't always belong in every association that occurs along the path.

Splendid Day For Football

Miami won. San Diego won. Maybe I'll start paying closer attention.
Oh, and best of all, FSU beat Florida!!! That is always a treat.

With all the scary weather reports and such, you would not believe what beautiful day this was, especially since I had to go do some piddly work for a couple of hours. That cold blue sky contrasted with those dusty off-white boulders all over the scrubby mountains. It just looks good. No wonder there are so many horse people out here. The land just seems like the kind of place people would ride horses. Maybe that is why so many cowboy movies were made in hills just like these, and maybe even these a time or two.

=====Another note of minor victory====
I don't know if this happens to others like it does to me, but sometimes the simplest chore will go undone forever, even years. It will be a thing that seems routine and simple to most people, but I will balk and even lose confidence in my ability to do it. These things are rarely anything major, but they become a symbolic road block; like a representative of the demons that haunt me. Whatever the thing is, it will become the one thing I must do before life can move on, yet I will fail to tackle it day after day. It is kind of absurd.

After buying fancy Bosch spark plugs maybe six months ago, if not more, and being sure I had the right socket, looking up info on this car on the net, I did nothing. All the forums were full of cautions and horror stories. You have to remove a thing or two to get to them, and even then a universal and a couple of extensions are needed.

I also had a new oil catcher; one that is big enough that the oil won't shoot past it, and then when you move it under the stream, and the rush is over it won't miss on the other side. Everything for a swell oil change and spark plug replacement were sitting right here. For a long damned time.

Now, if this had been for some doting girl, I would have tackled the job immediately. For me, no way. That hesitation lasted months, then when oil change time came, it was added to the job that wasn't getting done. I decided I need to do it myself because I am a rather poor boy and I need to do it myself.

Yesterday, I fought all my usual ways and means of sidetracking myself and set out to do the job in the windy and cool, yet sunny day. As far as I know, I did not cross thread the plugs--a big worry on the net. I did not splash oil all over the universe. It was one of those well planned, very neat jobs. The plugs were far easier than advertised, and the switchout probably took less time than the oil change.

I think it needed plugs. The old ones were a dandy color but the post that is supposed to be a cylinder sticking up was a little pointy cone. The new ones are made like that. They don't need gapping. Some kind of platinum things with a prong on each side pointing at one another.

Could be my imagination but I think this car has noticeably more power, and I know the idle is smoother.

How I lose confidence like this is a mystery. I've done considerably more complicated work. I just don't like auto work. You can be good enough at something but not like it. Saying I'm good at it may be an overstatement. I can do what I have to do and not leave things worse for it. I admire those who like it enough that they become fast at it as well as competent. I couldn't do it day after day. That's one direction I can strike off the list.

Good thing people are not all the same--despite what some may say. Otherwise no one would want to work on cars, or else everyone would, depending how the dice roll.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's A Dark and Stormy Night

If I'm not mistaken, much of SD county is experiencing record lows for this time of year. Standard SoCal garb won't cut it. You might even need a jacket, and a warm shirt with a T shirt. Sandals or flipflops would be foolish footwear these days. I think it may be the new ice age, except there is little ice other than way up and out in the boonies. Even boonier than Ballistic Mountain.

Maybe the new chilled air age. The good thing is that we are getting a fair amount of rainfall. Out here, rain is good. Fires do not like wet brush.

Nowhere I'd rather be when it is windy and rainy than here in the Ballistic Cabin, or Kabin to lightweight Kampers like myself. Except this is not camping (or kamping), this is home sweet home, for now. Running water, refrigerator, two burner hot plate stove, the portable euro convection oven and much much more.

It must be Thanksgiving that did this to me. I started realizing what an ingrate I can be. Plenty of resources at hand but I haven't made the most of them. To really be grateful for things like a marginally useful brain, arms, hands legs, etc., you'd think one would make use of those things rather than let them atrophy.

I was having a time not letting myself get morbidly down into bluesville, lately. Knowing that it takes nothing but a switch to throw in the mind for that to go away, I tried not to let it win but to just run its course. The trick is to make no big decisions and avoid confrontation. Generally try not to do anything too stupid, because in that frame of mind, I will.

So, no big thing has changed but the last few days have shown me pure blue sky and the electric way things look on those cool sunny days. Very nice out here. And I saw friends that reminded me I am human without as much as saying it. Good company and good examples.

I'm glad to be here. It is an improvement over much of my life, and I know holds some key for which way to go. I guess I'll work it out so all things serve as a benefit. But I'd never recommend the route I've taken, overall. There are less painful and dangerous ways, I think. Maybe this was the only way I could do things. It's what I did, so like it or not it must have been how I wanted to do it. Probably I just didn't see the side effects at the time.

That's alright as long as I know where someone might have been helped along by what I had to offer. Oh well.

Rain, Baby, rain

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pardon Me, You SOB

I had to slow down to keep from running over a wild turkey crossing the street.

To me the traditional presidential pardon of a turkey or two before Thanksgiving is a sickening piece of PR. They cheerfully perform that photo op while the pleas of people really being held for bad reason sit unattended in the White House legal bureaucracy. Military people who were railroaded for unknown political reasons, like Lt Michael Behenna.

He's doing time as the result of a kangaroo court, not unlike the mock trials prosecuted by Johnny Sutton; withholding evidence, preventing the defense from using facts that are key in the case.

Thousands of petitions are languishing in the executive department maze. I guarantee more than a few deserve full pardon or to be released for time served. Obama has yet to pardon even one person. Bush was not very good on that either. It proves these bastards are disconnected and do not truly wake up thinking how they can make our miserable little people lives better, as they claim. Not George, and not Barack. They couldn't care less about any pain they could legitimately and rightly relieve.

But some over fed, hormone filled mutant excuses for birds get a pardon. Hahahaha, yazz, yaz, big fun. That kind of thing in public funded life makes me want to puke--but that would be a waste of food, and food costs a bundle. The real devious PR behind it is the implication that an elected executive has God-like power. Power over life and death. It is a not so subtle mockery of the electorate, in reality. And, I think, a bit of a warning. A way to scare the weak while smiling and being jovial.

Obviously this junkie died before a pardon could arrive--note syringe still in. So sad.

In The Wilds of Descanso

There are times, all too frequently, when I have to hang out somewhere out in the boonies with the coyotes and turkeys, away from home, and reassess my thinking. Attitude adjustment I suppose. I'm often in need of this lately. I base that on the premise that opportunity is before me and only I impede the embracing of such things in my life. Of course, thoughts tend to stray to more abstract matters and things further outside of my control.

Today, things seemed to me wrong in some way. All the things that make so little sense. And, as always, matters of rights and freedoms came to mind. That is probably because of the puzzling arguments I hear lately regarding airport security, among other odd official phenomena.

"If it makes me safe, I'm all for it" is one of the most common reactions to ever thorough searching. Then there is the corollary suggestion that flying is not a right and you suspend all rights when buying a ticket. I see conducting mutually voluntary commerce, sex, or other interactions as a right, not a privilege. Abuse rights and certainly you have to lose them so you don't deny the rights of the other person.

In fact it is really the job of the airline to decide what constitutes security but with our upside down tort system, this way lessens chance of lawsuit. Were an airline to conduct themselves prior to 9-11, and maybe after, the way TSA now does, they would surely be in court. What those who continually go with the idea that "if it makes the world safer I will offer my various body cavities for official review" do not understand or consider is that it does not make the world a safer place.

It would do absolutely nothing to promote safety to search me, take my pocket knife, or even my slingshot. That is because I am not one to bring down a plane on which I am a passenger. Now had I been flagged by family and security agencies abroad, had I not the proper documents to even travel to the US, and had these facts been ignored, so I was able to board a plane with a peter bomb stuffed in my underwear, then I'd pose a threat.

It would appear that the problem there was ignoring intelligence and reality to the point that one has to contemplate the possibility of a set up. The solution is not to treat all flyers as if they are terrorists or homicidal lunatics, but to act when a known problem arrives at the airport to board a flight. Another aspect of the solution is to accept that life is not safe, and you can never eliminate all of its many threats.

Assume that there was an in-home assault in your city, and you want to be safe. Are you then going to insist that everyone who comes to your door, whether friend family or meter reader, lay down with arms behind their backs so you can frisk them and maybe cuff them before they gain audience with you or you let them in? Just because that neighbor down the street, the little old lady who makes rhubarb pie, is known to you doesn't mean she isn't an aggressive home invader. Best to be safe, don't you think? Considering the number of flights and passengers, your odds of encountering a rhubarb bomb wielding neighbor are very close to those of encountering an exploding passenger.

Now, if there is a gang nearby, you are likely to automatically profile when one of its members bangs on your door. Not because of race but because of known insignia and gang identification. Would you feel guilty pulling out the 12 gauge to have handy as you determine the intent of the gang member? You didn't treat the accountant next door this way when she came by to see if you had plans for Thanksgiving. You really should have frisked her. Twice. ******

The reasoning we have come to accept is the same. But since people put this as in under Obama watch, many make excuses for it while others rebel but often for the wrong reasons. Chertoff put in the mandate to install the new imaging machines before he left his post and went to work for the outfit that sells them. That was during the Bush regime. We no longer have administrations. That died when we quit being a constitutional republic. We now have regimes. The fact that Obama hasn't canned this, and drastically reigned in Homeland security department does fall on him. Allowing that nazi of a nincompoop Janet Napolitano to run anything but away also falls squarely on the big O. But that is not the point.

Just curious why both George and Barack appointed nazi imbeciles to that post.

The point is that more than one writer in early to mid 20th century was absolutely right about how things would go. I believe Huxley was the one who said that people would willingly welcome a slave state, even demand it. Whoever said it was right. We've been undergoing a kind of martial law for some time. It has crept in very incrementally. Since no civilization of any size has ever managed to really secure individual freedom, it hasn't been that difficult to reverse the trend in the most promising of these so that we are running away from liberty rather than toward it. It is nauseatingly laughable to hear all the excuses given to gain public support of their own oppression. Everything from patriotism to equality to security. All bullshit.

Now I have to wonder about this Korea situation. Wars used to be good ways to pull out of economic woes. Considering we've been making pretend wars for years, maybe it doesn't work so well these days. I tend to doubt the idea that most wars are as represented or accidental.

Anyway, the whole setup seemed wrong when I was thinking about it. Something in the way of going about things is off. Can't quite put my finger on it. It is a vague indictment of civilization in general. Not the concept, but some common direction it took worldwide. And I don't mean that as far as inventing, producing and elevating the standard of living. Back to nature is fine, but most enjoyably done from a nice cabin in the woods with running water and a refrigerator, among other things. And getting there, and out, is better done in a car than on foot except as a lark. Having the choice is everything.

*****Just to clear the record, no accountant chick lives next door, nor did any come by my house, so the whole frisking thing was purely for hypothetical discussion. No one comes here. My Welcome mat says "Unwelcome, Get Lost"********
*********another lie. The mat says nothing at all

Monday, November 22, 2010

75 and counting

Slow going is an under statement. However! I'm 3/4 of the way through with page 75. It is rare that I write more than a half page at a sitting, lately,(except blog posts-I go on indefinitely) but I still have the basic idea in mind.

I had to do some research and asking around about a certain topic. Since one of my family members is an expert, and loves to pontificate, I was able to get plenty of what I needed from a phone call. It is just a particular event in the story but not entirely germane to the basic flow of events. Plot seems a rather ambitious description, but I guess that is what it is.

There have been a few things I had to research. I should keep track so I will know how educational this endeavor has been. It certainly is a psychological thriller to me. Sometimes I want to be sure they all get their hearts broken and their spirits smashed, and other times--most of the time--I can't help but wanting things to work well for the protagonists. Maybe I think I have no heart left and a smashed spirit during those angry times, and get mean with my characters. It doesn't last. I'm not a sadist, apparently. The antagonists get off easier than they should for the most part, but it ain't over yet.

At this rate I won't finish until summer. That is just not right.

I think the reason I have a few copies out there to select individuals is so that I don't suddenly decide it is all garbage and trash it. These are people that any one of which could keep me going if I think they are hooked. One person particularly likes certain aspects and has a desire to know what is next. The others probably humor me. But they do it nicely. I just want to finish this. No one is likely to be influenced or inspired so it will mostly be the story I wrote because I had to finish something. It's shocking how important it is to me, because it has become one of those anchors that keeps me on this side of the
thousand foot drop off.

That is what you have to do if you aren't going to get drugs to mellow the mind or smooth the mood, and if you are of a yoyo nature which might qualify you for such. You find excuses, tricks you can play on yourself, etc. Why not? What is being combated is a mind which lies to its host organism. Just trying to fight the lies. They cannot often be hit head on because the lie is usually more convincing than the defense against it. Like the big black crayon blob that resembles an angry circle which you tell your troubled child, "Oh yes!!! That is the best cow I've ever seen" after the kid says, "It's a COW, d'uh'uh!" (May I point out that your kid is not only a terrible artist but a brat)

But that's neither here nor there, Better to raise a psycho with high self esteem than a doormat.

Anyway, this is how the mind does things. I never would have believed it but I was proven wrong about 24 years ago, much to my alarm and surprise. Minds will work to get fed whatever it is that satisfies the chemical craving to which it has become accustomed. That is why some depressed people do all they can to amplify the depression. Not because it is fun, but because it produces the chemical thing the brain is into, even when it is a drag and miserable. Same thing with most addiction, although I can tell you a straight out drug addict is a different animal than an alcoholic. Some say it is all the same, but it isn't really. There may be things in common and the way out may be similar, but it is a different breed, like all the other types of addicts. Similar but different. Lots of people do not agree with me and that is OK.

My book is easier to read, most of the time, than my essays. I'm somewhere between a quarter and a third of the way through I think. A book should be no less than 220 pages I think.

Friday, November 19, 2010

City Abuzz; RAIN predicted!!!

Run out and buy milk and bread. Stock up on canned food, locate the candles. Looks like it might rain in San Diego county and everyone you talk to is excited to warn you of the upcoming weather aberration. BE CAREFUL!!! It is supposed to rain, and there may be WIND!! The whole county is buzzing with the news.

Those who keep up with extended forecasts, especially in East County (the boondock hills where I live) also are announcing that next week we may get snow. It is highly unlikely any would stick for long where I live, but Pine Valley could actually hold the dust for a day.

What this means to point Loma and other coastal areas of town is that they may get some rain and temperatures could drop all the way down to maybe 60 degrees Fahrenheit! I'm sure the Micro-Climate Action Team weather people have already announced possible safe haven shelters for those without an adequate furnace or a roof overhead. They do the same when temps reach 80.

So, if anyone who pays attention doesn't hear from me for awhile, it is probably because I am seeking refuge under the bed until the crisis is over. Or, if I hear neighbors panicking out on the muddy street, I may be braving the rain and cold to bring stability to the region. I'm like that; a compulsive purveyor of stability.

We can only hope the water doesn't fill the 1000 foot or so valley, flooding me out. Flash floods are a real possibility down below as the water tends to find little creeks as it runs downhill and over the road. It doesn't tend to stand. It runs.

And just when I got through bragging on our temperate climate, micro climate to be precise. This can only be attributed to global climate change caused by too many cattle, too much mexican food, and non-hybrid vehicles and airplanes. It was never like this back before the Europeans showed up. Since I am native born American, I feel free to criticize people of other continents.

You wouldn't believe all the English and Australian accents out here. I blame them for this issue (even though I suspect half those accents are fake--the influence of Hollywood on this state). Of course Aussies aren't generally European either. It's those Brits and their neighbors to blame, I tell you. And I bet the Aussies are in cahoots.

Whatever the case, it will probably RAIN, and that presents a crisis. The excitement and dread in the air are so thick you could cut them with a knife. These are frightening times in southern most SoCal.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Springtime Again

It would be hard to believe that anywhere on the planet has a more picture perfect, day in and day out, climate than San Diego. Go a few miles east and mild seasons are thrown in the mix. In my part of the country I prefer fall and winter, since summer days can get a little toastier than I like.

What kind of place has different weather every few miles? It's crazy. That explains why the News calls weather reports Micro Climate forecasts. It took me awhile to get the micro part of their climate jabber. Now I get it. Things are different here than there.

I'm far enough out---over 20 miles--that temperatures can vary 20 degrees or more from San Diego proper, particularly the coast. Point Loma, itself, has permanent 70 something weather and it very rarely rains. Any variance of 5 degrees in temp sends the residents into emergency panic mode.
News fighting for You, or whatever any other stations calls it, doesn't do much detail reporting regarding the Alpine area. Too sparsely populated and might give the city a bad rap with its variances of over Five Degrees in a single day!

It is surprising that I am permitted to live out here without owning a pickup truck with tires taller than most undocumented beer drinkers who hang out at the corner by the 76 station drinking beer and leering at passers by. I would have thought they were day labor waiting for someone to hire them except for the dirty looks they give those who catch their gaze. Perhaps they specialize in hiring out to masochists. It's sunny California, baby, we got it all in abundance.

:had to delete the comment based on double entendre

Those jacked up pickup trucks must cost a fortune to drive. I guess they are tall so that horses and cows won't step on your car. Lots of horses and quite a few cows out here. I'm glad to be among them once again, and out of Rancho Trophy People. Have to go back tomorrow afternoon, but that is how life is. I'll be back home straight away.

***off the wall upside down note***
The same people who justified war on drugs intrusions--"If you got nuthin to hide, ya got nuthin to worry about"---are the same ones who now find TSA to be intrusive, and the ones who opposed the law and order era intrusions now seem to acquiesce to the latest barrage of personal rights violations---"It is necessary to keep us safe". Same idiocy different team of idiots. The next step is for everyone to fly naked, be drugged into a stupor and duct taped to the seat. Why not make the jump to that now? It will be safe.

Big Pretense Continues

I refer to the maze of denial which weaves its way through many aspects of our culture "the Big Pretense". It covers everything from pretending Al Sharpton is not a racist, to pretending that the state pen is a cushy pamper house for inmates, to pretending that it is not only our duty, but realistic, to militarily bring "stability" to regions steeped in backwards brutal and insane culture; spread democracy whether they want it or not. The list goes on and on.

One facet of the big pretense is based on the premise that if it is legal, it is right. Millions of companies and people use that bit of conscience salve to justify accepting public money they know constitutes bilking the tax pool. That avenue of behavior, alone, could fill volumes.

Many pretend that the police force as a whole is a lofty selfless group who only want to serve and protect. The fact that half their activities amount to a subtle war on the public gets written off in the obvious instances as "just doing their job". And you condemn those who were "just doing their jobs" under Stalin, Hitler and other regimes which wiped out and imprisoned great numbers of people?

The latest glaring example is the TSA, and Homeland Security. First I must repeat: Nothing they have done as far as personal search and screening at the airport would have prevented 9/11. We knew who Osama was, as well as a whole cast of other characters--had their pictures, knew their general plans to make trouble long before that attack.

Thinking that ignoring the fourth amendment and basic reality is the way to security and a better country is purely an exercise in fantasy. Believing that profiling is evil and not the best way to discover who is attempting to make trouble is to deny reality. Why would anyone choose to harass everyone, forcing them to prove innocence? Power must be a factor in the motive. Maybe lack of imagination, self hatred or something else figures in.

To put it bluntly: Allowing the TSA to stick their finger up your ass will not make for a better, safer world. Not if you take the statement literally or figuratively.

One interesting upshot of current airport policy is that, once again, ease of personal mobility is the loser. Mobility has been under the gun for some time. Tax the piss out of fuel to limit car travel, or do like Jerry Brown did in California when he was last governor and make sure you don't build up the highways to accommodate demand. But they pretend it is for the planet and to stimulate alternative energy, etc. Never happens.

Politicians who talk a big game on energy policy and alternatives "we" need to embrace are not interested in the natural, new inventions and innovations which would come forth, but in controlling the development and distribution of all energy and transportation. That is quite different. But, in the main, the "we" they refer to pretends.

If I ever decide to fly again, and these invasive procedures are still in place, I hope I can request a female to do the groping. I'm not comfortable with males putting their hands on me. Males are all pervs; everyone knows that.

The indication that they may fine a guy who opted out and left the airport after not being able to resolve his objection to the procedure is a bit scary. But people will go along, just like they did in grade school when goofy harold was being taunted and ridiculed by the cool kids. Same syndrome at work. Why risk losing comfort and the feeling of being part of the crowd based on what is actually right?

And let me state that from my experience working closely with TSA in Memphis, that, if you are lucky, one in four is truly professional and not likely to abuse the nature of these new screening devices and procedures, while maybe one in six has a lick of common sense. Perhaps the quality is slightly higher in many other cities. Then again, maybe not. It is unlikely that the higher ups in TSA anywhere are anything better than good tools of totalitarianism. The pieces of work I knew in those positions were straight out of old WW2 movies---the gleefully oppressive members of the party and willing fascists.

But it is easier to pretend they are all "just doing their jobs". It is a tough choice--do you risk living in the weeds or doing some other work that may be harder, or do you knowingly do a job which is nothing but government mandated harassment of the innocent? Of course that goes for many jobs...

I have my own personal pretenses I guess. I'm not even sure when they are in play. Am I kidding myself when I dream or think I am competent, or when I think things are OK? I don't know. But I do not take your money, then control your movements, and choices.

One last thought; since when is it a "privilege" to board a flight on a privately owned airline? Is it a privilege to be served at a restaurant? I think not. Unless there is good reason to the contrary, it is your right. Nowhere is it granted to the government to decide if they want to grant you the privilege. They can deny you the right, provided they have good reason to believe you may adversely affect the safety of others, and if you don't pay then the airline can decide.

Use of the word "privilege" should be weighed carefully if a totalitarian regime controlling society is not the preferred condition.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cadillac Records; movie review revisted

While at the lovely place where I do most of my work, I caught the movie again on one of the cable stations. In researching this flick on the net, I see it has mixed reviews. One person thought it made "Black people look terrible!". That person is in another world, and definitely knows nothing about blues or musicians.

My main regret was that Eamonn Walker, playing Howlin' Wolf, didn't get more screen time. The little bit he did matched to a tee what I have read about the Wolf. He was great, as was Columbus Short as Little Walter--the standard by which all hard core blues harp players have measured themselves ever since he created his tone and style of play.

Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters did a hell of a job. He's one of those guys who just has a remarkable presence on screen. It is clear the he and the others in this flick took the time to learn about the people they played and they understand the music.

Beyonce Knowles kicks ass, no matter how you slice it. She played Etta James.

Adrien Brody played Leonard Chess of Chess records. I think he gave a great performance. The story is about his studio and the people he recorded and promoted, as well as the culture of that world, the problems encountered due to segregation and the efforts to promote crossover hits---stuff that white stations wouldn't stonewall. Chuck Berry and Etta James were the first to score big there, but Chuck had his troubles, quite possibly unjustly so.

In light of the comment referenced above: I was turned on to this movie by a couple I met who are most likely Black. I met the guy at the 76 station I sometimes frequent when I take route B back from San Diego. He'd missed his bus and had a bunch of groceries. I liked the way he spoke to me so I gave him a ride. I make snap judgements based on the vibe I get from people in those situations. Maybe it is risky, but it sure does broaden horizons. Besides, if I was in need of a lift, I'd appreciate a ride.

On the way I popped in my old band's Sun Studios CD. Of course, I let him know I was the harp player after determining he liked the music OK. He brightened up, calling me Little Walter, but showing skepticism. When we arrived at his apartment building, he asked me to hit a lick since there were a few harmonicas floating around in my car in plain view. So I did.

He then insisted I come upstairs and play some for his wife, which I did. Then they insisted I stay long enough to watch the beginning of Cadillac records. They said it was their favorite movie--couldn't get enough of it. They loved the music and loved Little Walter. I had to promise that I would rent the movie. He was very insistent on this point.

So, at first chance I did see it. And I am glad I did. The movie may have strayed from perfect fact like avoiding mention of Leonard's brother and partner in the studio. I think as far as painting the musicians characters it was not too far away from the truth, or at least the folk legends surrounding these people.

It did my heart good to see how much importance and credit was bestowed on little Walter. He gave Muddy's band the sound.

People may not realize that those early blues guys who eventually made it up to Chicago were hard playing gun toting tough customers. The Wolf definitely did as in the movie, firing a shot in a bar letting Muddy know he didn't take kindly to having his guitar player stolen. So Hubert Sumlin wisely quit Muddy and went back to playing for Howlin Wolf.

I'm enjoying what I've been playing, but I swear, I always have a bit of blues in me. A certain type of blues always grabs me. Not all of it, but a lot. In my view this movie is a real standout. Great flick. Really, these actors had some kind of chemistry. I'll bet they thought it was magic.

****didn't realize that Chuck Berry successfully sued the Beach Boys over Surfin USA. Others probably know that. The melody was lick for lick Chuck Berry.

Is It Really That Hard To Tell When I am Joking?

That's it. Just a question

I get these LOL comments that reflect a 1 dimensional mind or possibly a refusal to pay attention.
People who use LOL, not to indicate to the potentially unsure that they are joking, but to imply a superiority of intellect, and show their ridicule based on a flimsy interpretation of a person's statements or philosophy, are obviously not really laughing out loud, and if they are, it is a sign of psychosis or psychedelics.
I've seen a lot of that going around lately. It is a substitute for reason, and a cover for trolling.

Back to the question. Is it really that difficult to separate the metaphorical from the literal, or hyperbole from flat fact?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


It occurs to me that the reason it is so easy to see the errors of public policy and remain preoccupied with it is because I find it difficult to implement logical, principled solutions in my own life. Not that I am wrong on my view of government and all those things.

But it does get boring, but it is mainly somewhat of a conflict that I do not govern myself with near the same reason I suggest for the larger picture. I think it is some form of transference.

There is a balance between standing by while bullies take over the neighborhood, and avoiding one's own personal responsibilities by focussing only on the bad guy situation. Especially since for the moment, it is more of a threat to those who are ignoring it than it is to me. My threat is from myself.

I let a local friend who is unlikely to BS read the first thirty some pages of the book. Then I let it go, never asking for an opinion. He'd been curious to read it when he heard I was in the midst of writing a story. Today he called to tell me how much he likes it and why he likes the main character etc. It was quite a nice encouragement.

It will be swell if anyone likes it. The big thing is to finish it. I have almost 60 pages now. Quite a few characters have shown up, but not too many main players. It won't be what some consider exquisite literature. I'm not always taken with that stuff myself. Not sure how, in light of some stuff that has a haughty place of reverence how some of the more readable people ever got any acclaim. Maybe because Hemingway or Mark Twain would have kicked their butts if they gave them trouble. I personally like Isabel Allende as well as any, from what I know of her.

Not much in the way of writing two pages about a leaf swirling in a mud puddle though. I hope it gets put out there so people who see themselves in it will sue me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another Lost Contact Bit The Dust

It happened a couple of years ago but I didn't know until today. One of my very favorite people from my Miami, round 3, days died of some sudden thing, like his heart stopped or one of those issues. That surprised me.

I don't feel guilty, exactly, about loss of contact, but I do regret the turns in my life that caused it. he wasn't in contact either. I'm the one who moved away on a semi-ill fated saga so I guess that puts it on me. We went through some times.

Once, when he'd gone back drinking his girlfriend called me to try to reel him in. It seems he was in the parking lot of one of those edge of Coconut grove little markets, standing off a couple of punks with a stick, and too drunk to have prevailed. Sober they'd have been toast. Then again, sober he wouldn't have been in the fray.

Details are a little vague but I recall getting him to get in the car as we peeled out being chased and cursed. Don't know if it stuck for good but he didn't drink for years after that, and married the girlfriend. She was quite a beauty.

This was not your average guy on the street, getting into fights. He had a masters degree in something and had at one time been very successful in advertising and fund raising in NYC. He was in vietnam in the Marines. Not sure if he was some sort of junior officer, but he also was a TI of some kind before he got out. He wasn't in all that long. Long enough, and no fan of that police action.

Terry wasn't what you expect a Marine to look like, if there is such a thing. Quite good humored and over the top intelligent. I wonder what family he had left. It is thought that his wife also died not long after, but circumstances of that are unknown. So young. She was younger than him by five years or more. I hope he was happy when he left. I know he had some good years.

So weird when people I think have it so much more together than I do either die or prove to be ready to explode. The friend who told me the news thinks his job is about to be cut any day now. He's not sure of alternatives. His would be more mainstream than mine, but that doesn't necessarily mean easier to achieve.

It's worth keeping up with the ones I saw as truer than other friends or acquaintances. I would say worth distancing from the riffraff, but I can't say I have any riffraff in my life at the moment. Maybe just me.

I'm hoping the part about his wife is wrong.

For some reason everything lately keeps bringing back to various times and people of the past. I don't know why. Usually I have little tolerance for the past. It's done. And you can't do any of it over, except by repeating the same mistakes. Maybe that is the lesson in all this, but for the life of me I don't know how to see it when I do certain mistakes over again.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Now I See

It is clear to me that, had I not quit drinking long ago, I would be hopelessly drunk these days. It is a good way to ignore and reinforce dysfunction, and lack of ability to be productive in civilization as we know it.

It is still easy to lose in friendship and love, but not as bad as it could be. I'd like to feel at ease using something to alter reality. Unfortunately, in my case it just won't work and I'd be hugging a bottle under a dumpster somewhere before long.

So, other options must be sought. I look back and think, "If only that day had turned a differently. If I'd just not done this or done that. I almost had a handle on the vague plague which follows me." Obviously, that kind of thinking yields no good.

There are people who offer very loyal and nurturing friendship. In some cases I find it hard to accept because I always feel like I should be doing something or have achieved something more before I can be comfortable associating and socializing. This stuff is driving me nuts. I'm pretty sure it is damned stupid and represents a very skewed view of reality.

Not sure what brought this on. I wonder if there is some kind of cycling thing or just a death wish slowly playing out. To be the victor over this garbage would be a major achievement. I like happy endings. That helps me refuse to admit to an outlook of total pessimism, even if that may have taken over my self assessment. It helps a little.

I'll bet a program of running up and down this winding dirt road would help. It is rather steep, and sometimes I'd have to contend with dogs or coyotes, and rarely rattle snakes. Snakes don't bark and chase you, and it is cool enough a lot of the time, that they're unlikely to be very active.

Or a big earth quake or massive tsunami might facilitate conditions in which I have historically been at my best. Those are times when money and status do no good. Just the ability to make things better with bits and pieces at hand. I can do it when others need something after a disaster, but for myself while civilization is running as normally as it ever does, I freeze in place.

Maybe I should not include this information should I ever need to provide a resume.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Some Say The Problem is Too Many People

I'm somewhat neutral on that assertion. I do think the too many people in one place can be an issue. Population density of any species usually makes for trouble. That's why it puzzles me that most public policy generally discourages spreading out, while encouraging density of population. I've noticed that here in San Diego county. East county, where I live is sparsely populated compared to what it is fifteen or twenty miles west and on in toward the coast.

Various issues come up which seem to target these outlying communities as sacrificial lambs. The powerlink project is one of those. With all the alternative routes possible, and even when their own studies show the present plan as among the poorest alternatives for accomplishing the same thing, the plan which has the best chance of gutting some of the communities is the one they choose. Possibly coincidence, probably not.

The back country is not a culture which demands or needs a lot of control. People own guns and build minor structures such as sheds without seeking permits. They are big on organizing charity events and often still have the old fashioned compulsion to look out for their neighbors. They also tend to tailgate and drive foolishly on winding dirt roads, but that is universal throughout the county and beyond, from my experience.

Personally, I think my own world is too sparsely populated. Once upon a time t may have been otherwise. This is a scary period I'm in and the only way out is to be tougher than is comfortable. Do whatever can be done even if I feel like a zombie and doubt my presence of mind to accomplish the specific task.

Wish I had put all the money I had in gold and silver when I first thought I should do that. I'd be cashing out by now probably. I wonder where one is best off stashing any savings they have? Most funds proved to be a black hole in the last few years.

Maybe there are too many people. How do you know if you are one of the troublesome surplus or one of the OK to be here folks?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


In my mind it seems that fear and the will collide. That's my latest theory to explain the lack of forward motion which yields an unpleasant future if not cured. My analysis of present circumstance leads me always to the conclusion that my best course is to follow the few creative enterprises that have been lying dormant before me for some time.

That takes nerve, resolve and perseverance. Qualities I've not honed to any degree in this life. The alternatives are unclear and limited at best. Those of which I am aware also seem slightly unpleasant. Hard labor loses its appeal very quickly at this stage of the game.

Two things do seem to temporarily cheer me up and take the edge off of long lasting heartbreak and panic regarding past foolishness and future condition; playing music with friends, and writing my fictitious story. 43 or 44 pages so far.

I find that when I continue the saga I am writing, and sit out back imagining what comes next, conversations between characters, and logistics involving various topics it involves, that I emerge from that cloud feeling lighter and less full of remorse or sadness.
Those two demons tend to dampen confidence and faith that it will be OK. My alleged book is good therapy, and like I concluded recently, a poor man has to be his own therapist. And that is not always good because it is easier to BS one's self tan it is anyone else.

I believe that. If it weren't so, then why go seek counseling? Exactly. Another human with insight and understanding can spot you fooling yourself better than you can. That realization blew me away when I first experienced it. That was in the early days after I stopped drinking. Well, early years. I sure found it easier to hook up with women when I could lie to myself and not know it, but that's another story altogether.

So, gridlock can be troubling when it exists in one's own mind. However, when it occurs in lawmaking bodies, I salute and encourage it. Anything that slows the creep of authority is a splendid item, in my book.

When I hear the miffed pundits of late decrying the possibility of gridlock among officials who make a profession of wielding power over us little people, the masses to them, I can't help but smile inside. So much of life would have been better had they managed gridlock on many of their past adventures.

Had they been too gridlocked to pass the 16th amendment, no IRS. Had they been too gridlocked to vote themselves cushy pensions and healthcare, maybe they'd behave a bit differently. The list goes on and on. I'll bet no one has a list and count of all the things that can earn one a fine and/or jail time. They create new offenses almost daily, many of which are spin offs of offenses already on the books. Makes me think I am neat and orderly in mind and surroundings by comparison.

But I am not. That doesn't matter so much as learning to picture what I want in my life, then doing the best I can to make it happen without letting fear and doubt create my personal gridlock. Authorities be damned. I'll let them do what they do. It can be a pain when their edicts present obstacles to my plans but I will ignore that as much as possible. Most of my plans sidestep areas which require license, fees, and any other number of permits or whatever.

Beginnings are tough. The most difficult aspect of beginning life over is to not do it the same way you did last time you started over. This involves questioning preconceived notions, long held ideas, and personal phobias and aversions. No small task, but worth it if I can remember to try it. One man's hell is sometimes another's heaven. Compared to where I was ony three years ago, this is heaven.

Opportunity abounds, as do reasons which can be dreamt up to debunk such opportunities.

Damn. I hear rodents. I sure hope they are on the outside of the cabin, pitter pattering around. Maybe I should look into this. The raccoon has had no luck now that the garbage lid is secured with a bungee cord. OK. Just had to write out some thoughts and theories. This lack of confidence and resolve must go. It serves no good purpose, and baby needs new shoes

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Gods Must be Crazy

So, we elect Moonbeam for governor then refuse to legalize pot. Seems contradictory. I guarantee Jerry is not stranger to the magic weed. California is peopled by very contradictory voters.

My buddy Lutz lost. A smart candidate could have taken that race. People are becoming tired of political family dynasties. He was beat by the most recent issue of Duncan Hunters. Lutz was too arrogant as were his workers. They zapped my email off a petition against the powerlink, then sent stuff calling the competition an "idiot", "Useless", etc. That may work when you are already preaching to the choir.

The surly practice of sneering and deriding the opponent without discussing the difference in philosophy fully and realistically may be cool, and make people feel smart and superior, but it does nothing to persuade people, and in some cases alienates the undecided.

When I could figure out the Lutz agenda and his ideas on things, I didn't find the prospect of having him in office a good one.
Negative ads in and of themselves don't bother me much. Quite often they are so transparent as to have the opposite effect on me.

Considering that it could be argued that the DEA has done more to promote drugs than any other entity besides the press, I think not voting to legalize pot is foolish. No big deal to me except that the public is really fooled on this. I bet the mob, gangs, and mexican cartels are breathing a sigh of relief. I better wear a heavy pan on my head--they may be firing guns in the air to celebrate.

ps: the only time I felt any emotion to speak of during this election was when they had candidates talking themselves up before adoring fans here in CA. I never have understood people that place some stranger in such awe above themselves that they cheer with religious zeal just at the sight of their chose master or mistress(?)..[that sounds wrong---who wouldn't cheer his/her mistress--given it is not at an awkward family moment?]. Anyway, that sort of hero worship of anyone playing games on the public dime does not resonate with me at all.

I think people should just grow pot everywhere in CA, all over medians, in city planters, etc. Just for the fun of it. And poppies, too.

Back to having fun with this book. Made some changes, and some progress. Maybe I'll turn it into a hot steamy sex book. We are getting close to that point in the story where it would fit. Doubtful that will happen. Most likely the white collar workers will revolt and join forces with the homeless, launching a revolution.

update: oh boo hoo, San Diego voters rejected a sales tax increase. It was sold as necessary to keep the fire department at 100% because the city has spent more money than it has on BS. They always point at things like fire rescue instead of all the garbage stuff they do. It isn't as if this is low cost of living area as it is. Go figure. They vote that down but seem to support every person who wants to squeeze the turnip a bit more. I can't wait to get rich so I can cover them all in money. It won't shut them up though. But, if they don't control it too much, money can buy a degree of freedom. It can even buy those who control everyone else.

Voting In CA

Until today, I had no idea that on Ballistic Mountain all ballots are mailed to you. They consider us too far out in the sticks to even be on any regular precinct's role. As a result they gave me some kind of ballot that gets put in an envelope.

The outside of the envelope has my name license number address. That seems not so secret to me, but what can you do. The most off the wall thing I did was write in one of our guitar players for school superintendent.

There were few things to vote for, many to vote against. I did not vote for increasing sales tax, or for adding $18.00 to license plate fees.

There were a bunch of things where they asked if some judge should remain on the bench for the rest of the term, or words to that effect. I voted no on al of them. Get some new blood. Maybe I voted against whoever ruled in my favor at the insurance commission. I hope not. There wasn't much about any insurance arbitration board. Must be appointed people.

The line about voting being "your civic duty" is one with which I 100% agree. I think it is your right, and your choice. It makes as much sense to abstain if you don't know or care what is on the ballot. Like me and my no on judges. I had no clue and probably should have abstained.

Having a right to vote, and being forced, like they do in some countries, are two different things. It is like the right to express your views. Having the right in no way requires one to express those views.

There are various reasons for not voting. If you believe the system is too corrupt to represent you, and you go ahead and vote without actually approving of any of the choices, then the spin is that this is what people want because they voted for it.

I think we still have some influence at the polls so it is worth casting a ballot here and there, but I would never push people to vote. That is as much their own business as much as how a person votes is supposed to be a private matter. Forcing it otherwise, requiring people to vote is just a form of tyranny hiding behind the idea that the right to vote is a mark of freedom. It is when it is a choice. And I think the right to not vote is as important as the other side of that coin.

It looked like everything was done on paper in Alpine. Lots of the people who are on the mailed ballot routine just drop in and drop the envelope in a box. The poll workers were nice and helpful. They didn't seem too dense like in some places. Maybe they just go through and throw out the votes they don't like. Isn't that why people become poll workers---to fix the vote? Can't imagine what other motive there would be. Well, maybe to pick up chicks or dudes.

I suspect some of what I voted will go through, and some not. I voted yes on legalizing pot in CA. It is a multi faceted thing; feds have no right to interfere, it is a harmless plant in most respects, not anyone's business to tell you what you can grow, the arguments about gateway drug are bogus, it fuels organized crime and wastes tax money and jail space. Has zero to do with whether I want to smoke it or not. I'd have voted to legalize growing poppies for personal use as well.

Nowhere was there a proposition which suggested spending about a million dollars on me. I thought that was kind of disappointing.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Is This Union Reasoning, Or What?

The place where I do 99.9% of my work is a gated, resort community. It even says, Blablaba Resort and Spa.

There are rooms and villas for rent, privately owned residences, tennis courts all over the place, and I don't know what else. I've never cruised the whole complex. The worker situation in the place is a soap opera, as I'm sure it also is with the lords and ladies of the various manors contained therein.

A snarky bunch, with a few exceptions.

Well, it turns out the people who used to own the place sold all except for a few residences they own there. Their son, and maybe they, too, owns the construction company which built most of the places in the resort. they do the lion's share of remodel work and rebuild work. A lot of stuff is the result of not the best planning and construction work to begin with, but they get paid and swear it is not their fault, ever.

Be that as it may, I get along OK with one of their project managers--think that is what he is.

He was telling me that his subs are pissed because they think I am "taking their work". I'm taking jobs away from them. Geez, I hardly have any work. I know I have been recommended several times by the British oil man and his porno book writing girlfriend, yet no one called.

Reading between the lines of what construction dude said, I figured out one of his subs caught on that there is a teak market and they have told people they have better methods and stuff to treat it with. That may or may not be true. I suspect not. But it would explain why I have received no calls when Brit and his house manager were positive the people who'd asked who did his table would call. Seems more than just a couple of their friends liked my work enough to ask who did it.

Since the matriarch of the resort (and of the construction family) still lives there and is in everyone's business, work may get steered away from me and toward the regular gang.

I don't know. I'm shocked anyone would worry over such small potatoes, except now I know one of his subs got a teak job from someone in the area. Very likely one of the people who was supposed to call me.

Complaining about someone taking your work when they never heard of you and were requested to do the work by a customer, well that is just whiny, wimpy and stupid. That ain't American thinking. Is that union thinking? I'm entitled to this little fiefdom. Wah

Unbelievable. It makes me want to find ways to get more work out there that I may not even want. Of course I can't solicit or post flyers or anything, but there are ways, I'm sure.

I'm impressed with some of the CA customer service people--mostly in Poway. But the trades under companies of any size are almost as sorry as memphis workers. Not quite, but close. memphis has the worst work force I've ever seen. First I thought it was only where I worked but soon found it a matter of city pride in memphis to be the worst.

Anyway. They have more to do than I do, and I am not in a position to obtain whatever licenses and bonding for whatever it is I want to title myself. I suspect one can slide in under the label of artist for a lot of projects, like those crazy santeria garage doors.

Taking my work. I have to admit, those guys have given me work. I have to go in and paint or fix up what they destroy while doing whatever other project it is. Fine with me. I could just follow them around and have work fixing pavers and tile they break, gates they break, paint they screw up, etc.

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


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