Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Busy Days Begin==not so many posts--Yay for you!

Got lots of work ahead so I won't be writing 25417 posts per day after this.

Perhaps I am becoming more serious about improving my playing and versatility. Periodically, I tend to listen to great players, mostly diatonic harmonica players. For the most part I prefer the sound of the diatonic over the chromatic, especially when playing chords. And with the recent breakthroughs in technique and harp customizing, and even many out of box, you can play it close to chromatically. Maybe not you, but it can be done, and I have figured out I am capable of most of the bends it takes.

Not sure how it happened but I found myself on a page with lots of info on John Popper of the band Blues Traveller--which is no longer. Guitar player died and a new band formed and who knows.

It was a shock to me to discover that not everyone likes Popper or Blues T. But then, some people don't like me, so what can you do? Harp nerds (henceforth harp will mean harmonica) tend to rarely mention John Popper, although they do often idolize Jason Ricci. They typically talk about Little Walter and such, and some of the great players who are regulars at harp festivals and teaching workshops. Some players make their living off of harp nerds.

Harp nerds are the people who buy all the right gear, ask for tabs on things real players play, and travel from festival to festival collecting T shirts and attempting to play exactly what their idols play. Most are not that good but they have fun and manage to complicate, dissect, and analyze the simplest technique and riff.

Harp tabs are a form of written music which tells you what hole in the harp is being played and whether you blow or draw--or suck, if you prefer. Like a guitar player recently said of me, in my presence--sometimes he sucks and sometimes he blows. All in good fun.

I like Popper because he is very good, very original, not a copy, and he manages to play such upbeat flurries. He doesn't see limits. He uses effects to their max and experiments. He even makes a song, which I never liked, The Devil Went Down To Georgia, rock. His version is so much better that Charlie Daniels'. I like John Popper's cover of it. I don't care for Charlie's.

Anyway, JP is definitely one of the best and I watched a series of very short videos in which he gives a few basic tips. I did pick up something about the technique called overblows in his fifteen second discussion of them. Just the way he referred to it opened up a path to simplicity. He never actually said how to do it. Yet in a way he did.

I guess the current players I find the most inspiring and worth my serious attention are Lee Oskar, John Popper, Jason Ricci, Tim Gonzales, Mickey Raphael--Willie Nelson Band, and maybe Sugar Blue and Rod Piazza. Not necessarily in that order. There are many other super good players, but I can only pay attention to so many without getting bored. I go for unique and accomplished. Tons of bluesharp players are very good, but not as much in a style of their own. I like the ones who tend to break ground and whose style I can generally pick out of the crowd.

So, Popper deserves more notoriety among the harp nerds than they have wisdom to give. Ricci does give him mention, though, in some of his workshops.

update; just watched a video with Dan Akroyd and John Popper from the nineties. Maybe Dan got better. Judging from the comments, Akroyd is highly overrated as a harp player. So, it was the most overrated harp player sharing a stage with a guy who seems to be underrated, yet he's among the greatest.

What's Done Is Done

***Short story: I ordered the Kelty tent online

Because I have to wait to make another online deposit, because I can only deposit so much through the post at one time and one has to clear before mailing more, I spent the time on this tent obsession.
It is often easier to do deposits that way rather than drive to a full service credit union and do it. I heart my C/U, and have banked many places in many states, so don't think I'm a poor soul who is terribly inconvenienced because my financial institution of choice is in Georgia. But my great experience with them, especially as contrasted with banks, is another story and doesn't relate to sleeping in a small dome made of high tech textiles of unknown composition.

That's why I can post this rather than be doing what I was going to do.

Finally, I just bit the bullet and ordered the Kelty tent. I called it Kelly in the last post. But now I'm an expert. Filtering the reviews, anyone who was using it as I would gave it 5 stars. Those who might be going beyond often gave it 4, and for varying reasons. I tossed a couple of the naysayer reviews because they sounded as if they weren't very knowledgeable.

The big deal is that I found a place which cut REI's sale price by about 70 dollars(US)! And cut recommended retail almost in half. It was about the price of a decent Coleman.

So, later, I'll see if I find the Coleman I like at Walmart or Target. You may think those places are not good for camping stuff, but you may not be correct.

Pictured is the house without the rainfly. That rainfly gives a large vestibule deal which means you can put your baby outside the tent and it will remain relatively free from being deluged with rain or other precipitation. Just a heads up for campy parents.

On Second Thought, or fourth, fifth, etc.

I'm not sure that tent I was considering is not lacking too much in ceiling height. I may need something more commodious like this.

In reviewing and reviewing, I think I'll come out ahead by ordering one Kelly tent that is on sale which has good reviews and usually is among the expensive stuff, and one Coleman which also has good reviews and is plenty big with great headroom. Max Headroom if you get the reference.

Anyway, for the price of one minimum headroom job, I can get two tents which will serve different purposes. I found in my excursions that I was happy to have a small tent and a larger one. It just depended upon what was what which one I would use. And I expect more excursions.

The kayak is on hold. I'd love to have it, but haven't yet achieved that point in fooling myself into thinking I can wisely swing it.

That Kelly tent is wearing the rainfly all zipped. It is actually a very airy unit when not battened down this way

I think a lot of stuff is priced high because it is lighter, and because hipster camp people and hikers will pay it.

Question or 2, irrelevant to my life, but give me a chuckle

All you can do is laugh and shake your head at some of the odd things that go on in the world of humanity. Be careful, though, you can throw your neck out and have one of those kinks if you shake too hard.

What caught my attention was a blurb about how Roger Clemens was found not guilty. The crime of which he was accused was that of LYING TO CONGRESS, from what I understand. WTF? Can an individual put them on trial for lying? No. And if you polled the citizens of this country, I am sure the vast majority would say they believe that lying is standard fare for the members of that body. For the most part I had not kept apprised of this demagogic political adventure.

In keeping with irrelevance, this is the tent I'm considering--sans rainfly

The other WTF moment was when I considered that this revolved around a congressional foray into steroid use among professional athletes. Really, if you were to pass the hat, how many people would kick in money for the purpose of having those clowns stick their noses into how pro sports people conduct their private affairs?

I do not care what athletes take, smoke, snort, inject, or eat. Even if I did, how would I justify using government and tax dollars to conduct inquiries? If you are of the Bloomberg school and believe this is a proper function of government because you are looking out for the long term health of strangers who requested no such help, then I guess we part ways here.

I've never understood the rationale for congress being able to meddle in things like baseball strikes, let alone athletic conduct. I'm relieved that Roger got a pass, and I have no opinion on his culpability regarding the charge. Under such circumstances I almost feel better if he did lie. Those people had no business asking in the first place, and the majority of them do not deserve the respect of satisfying their grandstanding efforts.

I don't get it. Why is it a huge crime not to incriminate yourself when being bullied by officialdom, and why do they pry into matters such as baseball players' steroid use? If it is a bad practice, the punishment is in the act. They are not bothering others---unless, of course, it helps them hit a baseball so far that it endangers the surrounding community.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In Tents-ity

Believe me when I tell you, I am the last person I ever thought would care to own, or even for a moment dwell in, a tent. I've had mucho many tent adventures since leaving Memphis on that red letter day four years ago. It was a matter of economics, and uncertainty about where I'd end up, or when.

I am still afraid of bears and almost every other wild animal that likes to make trouble in the west. That, I freely admit. If it was OK to carry a big gun and use it when threatened, then I might feel differently, and chances are I'd never fire a shot. There is some logic in there, but I won't attempt to prove it.

Anyway, as the big get together in celebration of my splendid nephew and his splendid new wife nears, I'm thinking I may need a new tent. I'll be needing this shelter at the event as I am not springing for a hotel. I also may have a chance to wander a bit and I'd like to be set up for it.

There are a billion choices. The best bet I found on the REI site is out of stock in every store for 200 miles. I may order it. We'll see.

Then there is that desire, which is becoming a slight obsession, for the inflatable Hobie kayak. Does this mean I am materialistic and greedy all of a sudden?

Am I, at last, an evil member of THE ONE PERCENT? Probably not the mis-labeled, less than one percent who control currencies and nations. I'm not positive I know who they are. Possibly, I am indirectly working for one of them tomorrow. The whole teak saga again.

I know I'm not the ninety nine percent of anyone in how I live and think. I forgive that vast majority for this because they may miss the manic enjoyment I experience when the wheels turn just so in my mind. They also get to miss the difficulties when one of those wheels gets bogged down in the sand.

I'm almost positive I'll order this tent. I almost went for a thing called a tent-cot, but even the oversized one is really too skinny to suit me. It is narrower than the typical twin bed mattress, so forget it. Air mattress R us. I like the idea of being elevated, but the designs aren't there for my purpose ---yet.

Hey, that is something I could work on. Just hinge together a couple of saw horses and some plywood and put your tent on that. Bigger tent, more sawhorses, etc. A modular, outdoor elevation system. And it will fold down small enough to fit on the roof of your car without requiring a wide load permit. We'll keep it just under that.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Money Considerations, and The Court

I'm actually holding off on certain purchases and adventures because I wonder how I will handle it if the law goes forth which makes me a criminal if I do not have health insurance. I do keep a little set aside so I could pay a homeless guy to take out my appendix, should the need arise.

These are matters which do affect me.
edited to eliminate a bunch of blablabla

Who's Our Bagdad Bob?

This is the mug I gave a friend long ago, shortly after the Iraq invasion thing. I have to say, I was somewhat torn when that effort began. I've never been a fan of nation building wars or much of our foreign policy since at least the late 1940s. I wondered if maybe I was wrong, but I didn't go to the WhiteHouse and make them clear the thing through me. My bad.

OK. Forget all that because you most likely think I am wrong anyway. The cool thing was that during the invasion the Iraqi Information minister was on the airwaves assuring everyone that the US was being defeated and he had many memorable quotes about how they would roast our stomachs and such. Real name, Mohammed Saïd al-Sahaf, aka Bagdad Bob.
(Not too far from the time when Sean Penn visited what of Saddam's ministers would grant him audience, and seemed to feel that Hussein was a dandy guy. If scrutinizing Sean's efforts there and elsewhere doesn't crystalize the term 'useful idiot' for you, then nothing ever will. It was one thing to oppose the invasion, another to pretend it was a lovely, happy, free, peaceful place run by your kind, benevolent uncle.)

This is one of BB's quotes that applies to much of life and many of my days: "I must inform you that you are too far from reality". I chose the mug with that quote for Chuck because I knew he could relate. Besides, it was a somewhat ironic statement.

***Oh geez, I hope my idea of ironic is correct or the English majors will flog me. Flog away. I'd rather be educated than not. Because he implies that he is the spokesperson for what is reality, I feel justified in using the word ironic in the above context***

There were websites dedicated to his quotes. One site was called "we love the Iraqi Information minister"--all one word.

He became somewhat of a cult icon. People in the West loved him for his blatant disregard for fact and his colorful, confident manner. I think he ended up defecting to UAE or somewhere. My friend still enjoys starting the day with this celebrity.

Clearly he had to spin truth and lie if he wanted to survive, but he was great at it. I wonder if we aren't getting our official info from American versions of this guy. But who is closest to him in delivery, nerve and blatant purveyance of fiction as truth?

This guy could fill the bill were he more in the limelight. David Axelrod's Mr Potatohead eyebrow work when he talks puts him in the running.

The typical choice is always the White House Press Secretary, and Jay does deserve an honorable mention in our search for America's Baghdad Bob. But we have so many others in the media who spin things beyond reason, and have some air of officialdom about them, that they tend to make him seem mild.

Heck we have a congressman who, not so long ago, seriously asked a general in a House hearing whether moving troops to Guam would cause the island to capsize. Hank Johnson of GA. He was re-elected after this demonstration of his intellect was widely publicized. Go Georgia! If he were the press secretary, I'd say he could give Baghdad Bob a run for his money.

If Obama loses the election, more candidates for this prestigious title will surely surface. To be seriously considered, one must have some connection to officialdom, and considerable press time. Right now, since Rahm Emmanuel went back to Chicago, my money is on Jay or Mt Potatohead. When David explains things his eyebrows and mustache dance in an incongruous manner. It is as if they have a life of their own. I wish he was press secretary because then I'd watch more press conferences. As it is I can't really stomach them.

The somewhat peculiar thing is that most people know they are being fed lies from officialdom, even when being told what they want to hear. And they suspend disbelief because it is easier, all things considered. Where it takes us will be an interesting tale. A dark comedy, I suppose.

Deja vu, in an odd if-I-knew-then sort of way

So, now my youngest nephew is married. He and his excellent mate are a bit outside of tradition and mainstream, yet both manage to deal with civilization admirably. She's got a good graphic artist/industrial design gig, and he's an engineer who designs machines that build gigantic airplanes.

They did not want a big wedding with all the trimmings. They are more of the elopement school, so they announced a big party to be held in Oregon in August, informing everyone that they intended to "make it legal" sometime in the spring. And they did. They dressed up, went to the Seattle courthouse and got hitched. There is a photo of them on the courthouse steps leaping into the air. Whoever said white people can't jump was an ignorant, misinformed racist. (God, those people are everywhere, usually ferreting out imagined racism in plant names, the behavior of atoms and who knows what, in order to somehow pad their pockets or make people think they are cool)

We knew of this plan as far back as last Christmas. Now, people from all over the country will show up at a campground they rented for the first week in August. Some will tent camp, others will bed down at nearby hotels, and others will pile into the semi-cabin structures. I'll be prepared to tent it. ny date I may have thought of bringing is going to be far far away. Unless, of course, an unknown entity enters the picture between now and then.

This particular nephew has lived his life, from some point in his early twenties, very close to how I would have lived mine had I the sense at that time. He curbed his habits before he fell off the edge, totally nailed it in his last years of college, and ended up working for a very cutting edge, yet avant garde sort of a firm. The owner has had his differences with Boeing and actually managed to survive very well. Now the big boys secretly use his products, and he gets paid.

I won't belabor the culture and way of this company other than to say, sometimes an engineer decides he can make more in one of the larger outfits, then after a time returns because the bureaucracy of the large outfits drives them nuts. An employee at my nephew's place gains more hands on experience in a year than you would at a place like Boeing in ten years.

So, not only did he make the sane decisions at the same point when I fell off the edge, he held out for the right woman. They are natural together in a way that I've never known, but wished I had. I have always tried to be different or am just too nuts. Little of both, I think.

So, that part is always strange, watching my dear nephews thrive and realizing that I've had little to offer them since they were maybe 16. Perhaps my influence helped them avoid the pitfalls of being blitzed and missing out. I think, though, that things are as they should be. My brother and his wife set the example, and did so much right that their kids, while very independent and self supporting, love having their parents visit and maintain contact. They even seek their advice on issues of import to their lives. I don't think my brother or I ever did that. I avoided family for many years just to stay slightly sane.

It is good to see that the chain of dysfunctionality of the type that takes out the fun out has been broken in my family. Kudos to my brother. I am not sure I'd have managed it, although I originally wanted as many children as my hypothetical wife was willing to crank out. I discovered after divorcing my not so hypothetical wife that she wanted zero kids. Odd, considering I babbled on about that quite a bit, before and after we were united. Oh well. I still question the wisdom of divorce. I always hate to see anyone go that route.

So, here we are. Recently it dawned on me that seeking the fighter pilot thing, for which I'd passed all tests and was slated to go when an opening occurred--Florida Air Guard, may have been a bad move, had I not scrapped that plan. I'm not sure certain physical/neurological syndromes might not have proven troublesome. In my life now, when such things arise, most of the time no one's the wiser.

They are planning to play live music at this event. It will be played by people there. You can bet I'm bringing my amp. My brother is actually planning to perform a song and wants me to play along. That will be cool. He spent decades of playing but never played with anyone, or for anyone, and never sang. His middle of nowhere Montana neighbors fixed that. Now he does everything but dance. Perhaps that is next.

Just contemplating, and making no real point here. So to make a long story longer, that's it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Many Disagree

...but I cannot help thinking this country is being overrun with a misguided neo-Bolshevik mentality. It is so stunning at times that I can hardly articulate what I see as the error of it all.

From unemployed unionizing and asking questions like, "Where is my job, Mr. President?", to officials in NYC taking it upon themselves to regulate the free will purchase of popcorn and beverages containing sugar, to hundreds of issues which involve "the public sector" controlling or regulating things beyond what their authority should be in a free world.

A union of unemployed implies that the state is the default employer. Frustration I get. Statists, I do not get. They don't realize that what is seen as corrupt corporatism mostly exists because we've allowed government to have such power. The companies not in bed with the government are far less likely to be corrupt.

Big unions are only another form of the same thing and all the big ones are heavily enmeshed with the state. Sad, but they are not truly the friend of those they allegedly represent. Not in the long run. Or even the short run in my view.

That's it. Dear America, that Bolshevik routine does not bring happiness. It sucks.

Meaning of Life

I heard on the street that people have pondered the meaning of life for eons. My conclusion is that the meaning of life is life. It just is. So, the point of life is simply to live it.

People like me need to have a little definition to the thing because we are easily sidetracked by the various pressures society of others brings, amplified by our own minds. I can make a huge thing out of nothing, eventually concluding that one good option is to dive off the north rim of the Grand Canyon, without even an umbrella to break the fall. I'm pretty sure that is not the best way to think.

How to live is probably the better question, rather than asking what does it mean to live and all that. Asking for the meaning of life is like looking for hidden meaning in gravity or an apple. This is where what is is comes into play. It is, and that is all to say about it.

Now, there has also been discussion regarding whether what we experience is all illusion, it is only a dream, blablabla. Dream or not, the condition is what we have to work with, and if a deer hits your car, it will wipe out your fender. Whether it is really a dream deer and a dream fender, or not, the result is the same. You are in this dream and your car needs fixing when that crazy animal attacks. Maybe it is a dream that you are thirsty, but if you don't drink some water, sooner or later you are going to be dream dead.

But, on the lighter side, believing that life's meaning is intrinsic unto itself, then you are free to simply live it, and possibly take out some of the guilt for not being a doctor of physics, or for not having lots of kids, or for just being. Whittling down the view of being somehow makes me feel a little easier, and reminds me that I have choices. I can alter my path by applying simple laws of physics and intuitive knowledge; like the trash goes away if I put it in something and take it away.

Now the big internal debate is whether to hock the farm for an inflatable Hobie kayak, with the mirage drive, and maybe even the sail option. Or not. Inflatable is the choice because it can be compacted into a manageable pack that stores inside the car or cabin, rather than on top of the car or out in the yard. It is the best plan for the vagabond. I also think it probably has advantages in rougher water, although some speed may be sacrificed. The mirage drive lets you power it with your legs, and I know from experience that it works well and you can go fast. Seems stupid until you check it out for yourself.

You can also paddle like the traditional kayak, and easily pull the mirage drive system out. This is the way to do it in water only a few inches deep, for sure.

Hobie wouldn't promote that system if it was hokie. Hobie is synonymous with cool. That's why they chose to use the B in their name and not the K.

So, save the trip to the Himalayas looking for the guru meditating on a mountain peak. He'll tell you what I just did. The meaning of life is life.

A philosophy/logic professor once told us a story about someone seeking that answer.

The story is drawn out, but after going to one aesthetic and guru after another, the guy seeking the answer was directed to a guru high on a mountain. It was one of those treacherous journeys to get there. Finally he arrives and the old guru's answer to the question is, "What does a seven pound overcoat weigh?" The guy is perplexed, "But what is the meaning of life?"

Again the mystic replies, "What does a seven pound overcoat weigh?"

I think the point is that the answer is self evident in the question. Perhaps meaning only exists if life exists. And everything is part of life, and alive in one way or another. There is more empty space between known bits of energy and matter than there is anything else. Maybe it isn't as empty as they think. More to life than meets the eye. And sometimes less.

An inflatable 12' Hobie kayak weighs 61.5 pounds.

I thought Hugo Was Always a Hit

It must be untrue that any mention of Hugo Chavez brings a multitude of ideas, comments and passions. You mean to tell me that you don't stay awake nights wondering if he'll be re-elected? Or may die in a Cuban hospital before summer is over?

I'm shocked.

Speaking of shocked, as I was leaving practice, up the mountain at K and L's house, I started down the steep, narrow winding road back home, and noticed some movement by my windshield wipers. Holy smoke, that's a large mouse!!

So, I fumbled for the wiper switch and flung that sucker off into the dark, I think. It was great. That rodent's shock could be seen and felt. Then I see one on the middle of the hood.

You can't go too fast on that road, but I was on a very steep grade and nearing the bottom. I sped up a bit, then slammed on the brakes. The creepy thing couldn't keep its footing and went sliding off the front of the car. I immediately gunned it so it couldn't climb back up.

Since it was dark there was no way I could look in the rear view mirror to see if he was in the road cursing me or gesturing rudely. With luck, there will be no more. I'm not sure where they came from. I know Cliff the guitar player has mouse in car issues. It is a running battel, but he lives in a more wooded area of this neighborhood, and things are more conducive to that problem at his place than at mine. I parked by a pile of wood chips and brush cuttings.

I still don't get what was happening. It was like they dropped there from a drone or outer space.

It was fun to watch that mouse being flung the wipers and the other one go sliding off the hood. I don't think it was the same one, but it is possible the wiper ride did not throw the stupid animal as far as it appeared it would. I could only see him being flung toward the top of the wiper arc.

Bears, mice and rats take far too much advantage of humans inability to hold these critters to even a minimum level of civility and respect for private property. I think they should all be taught a lesson.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Daydreaming 61012

It is a good sign when I find myself, once again, daydreaming, mind wandering and in a place not quite given to normal space and time. Now if only I can find a design for something which I haven't been able to find in the marketplace.

I need a sander, or better yet, an attachment for a normal finish sander which will sand cylindrical things like the round legs of teak furniture. There must be something out there that conforms to varying diameter cylinder shapes. I guess if it just spun around you'd be sanding cross grain. I'm after the tiny orbital vibrations a finish sander relies upon.

It is easier to have the paper on the outside of a drum, from the point of view of the sander. I get that. But I thought a handy device would be on the market. Maybe no one has come up with a good design.

You can get the job done if you are good with a regular flat 1/4 sheet device, but I want better. And I don't like having to resort to doing so much by hand.

I've learned a lot about the world of teak frustration, and I figured out that the high end stuff, if people want it to look like it did new, which is unnatural, you go about it a little differently than I have. What I did was not bad, but the sun and elements take a toll. Plus there are some things which do not work well at all, even if various literature, manufacturer suggestions, etc. lead in those directions.

I'm all for epoxy paint. Choose a color and forget it looking like wood. I'm alone in that so here we go again. It was clever to get a quote from a specialty outfit. The house manager decided that maybe there was more to this stuff than she thought.

Money is money, and unless the Mormons want to pay me big money for playing Johnny B Goode, I'd better take work as it presents itself. I thought maybe I could make some dough in Obama's Venezuela presidency bid, but I'd probably just vote for the upstart guy and get caught. He'll have to deal with that campaign, and this one without much help from me. Maybe I could get paid to remake Mitt. If I could radicalize him in my image, I'd vote for him. Big if. But I am probably not getting paid by any of those people, except in my daydream schemes.

Mitt is Mormon, and I do have the inside line there. And with the Lutherans. Maybe some Jews and Catholics will insist I play for their rituals and festivities. You never know, I may expand into Buddhist or Hindu festivities. I must admit, I like the sound of the music and language in some of the Bollywood productions. Hindi. Very pretty for singing the love song.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Todavía soy un hombre joven.

Wow. Translation software has certainly improved. I put in the sentence, "I am still a young man.", in babelfish, and had it translate into Chinese. I then copied the Chinese translation, and entered it to be translated to Spanish. Then just to check I had it translated back to English.

Expecting a result similar to the instructions for a made in China BB pistol--like the ones I supplied at Christmas one year---I was shocked to see the result: "I'm still a young man." It picked up the contraction along the way and that is it.

"Why that phrase?", one may wonder. Well I was daydreaming about the situation in Venezuela, thinking how Hugo Chavez is going to combat the upstart Henrique Capriles who is running against him in the October election. Young and healthy guy against an unhealthy sociopath (if you ask me).

Hugo is busy giving out apartments and pensions, spending money like there is not tomorrow. Very possibly, for him, there isn't. Besides, it isn't his money.

Then I thought about Obama. It seems a great way to hedge his bets. Hugo could tell people, "Don't worry about my health, about which I lie all the time. If I kick the bucket, and Obama, for some reason doesn't get reelected, he can replace me. You won't notice a thing."

Hugo before he fell apart completely. He looks religious, but that is actually a drug delivery device, and a lollipop. He tries, but not the stuff of T-shirts, like his idol, the late comrade Che.

So, Obama is talking to his advisors, like the guy with the motorized Mr Potato head eyebrows, and he says, hey if we blow it, I can get my chops back by being El Presidente in Venezuela, and since I am still a young man, I can come back in four years, and serve at least 2 more terms. Maybe we can get term limits suspended, or even elections when the only ones running against us are the bad guys. Once I'm in, who needs interference by voters or their representatives. It is the bane of the presidency--people don't always get that you need absolute power, dammit.

So, that is how the whole babelfish experiment came about. I thought it made sense that the big O would be trying to say things in Spanish. I was thinking he might just go down there and run in that election, too. Except it is before ours. His big talking point against Hugo would be that he's still a young man. Everyone thinks Chavez is likely to die at any minute, so it could sway the votes. Policy-wise, no real difference, most likely.

If he wins there, and wins here, then I'm not sure what happens. He could just let Mr Potatohead motorized eyebrows run Venezuela. Or run everything. But O would have to hang here so he can keep Air Force One. If he used it for official Venezuela business, people would be displeased. It's OK for vacations and for campaigning though.

Who knows, Venezuela could become the 58th or 59th state--however many we have plus one.

I'm not too sure where this story goes. It is full of holes as is the way of daydreams, but I think I explained my visit to the world of free translations.

Friday, June 8, 2012

That Reminds Me

Some of my very kind friends tend to believe I am easily prone to heartbreak. How can I explain to them that I am nearly heartless?

It would be hard for them to believe, that while I am a compassionate, sympathetic soul, I am otherwise too heartless for heartbreak. Granted, it is an acquired art, but one which, when mastered, becomes a well entrenched part of the being.

There are those who think that is a sad thing. Believe me, it can save you a lot of money. You coldly calculate the cost of flying to Colorado, for example, against the probable outcome, and then you weigh your sacrifice against that of the potential heartbreaker, and you say, "Screw that!". It is not an angry thing, just the way of one who has learned that one is a fool to gamble on such things.

I used to rush in where angels feared to tread because it was so absurdly unlikely to yield good result, I figured only the smitten, over passionate zealot would undertake such a mission. I signed up because I thought such intense, illogical emotion was cool. Now I see that a bit of calculated prudence is more likely to pay off in the long haul. And now I enjoy being heartless and unassailable.

Besides, even now, there is that part of me which feels too much compassion for others to ever let anyone worthy get too close. I know I'd only bring pain, or experience it. It is a lose-lose until the exact right situation is found, and that may never happen.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Marketplace Reviews From Auto Repair to Teak Products

Now that I have a new bottle of Richard's Delicious Seasoning, my life is again moving forward. There, for awhile, it seemed as if I was frozen in time and space, yet the rest of the world was slowly closing in upon me. Richard's to the rescue. The crisis is over. Thank you Mt. T. Not that big odd looking mohawk head guy.

So, after they fixed my car due to the rude and rowdy deer attack, all was well for several days--a week or so. Then, all of a sudden as I was cruising at 70mph on Thee 8, the check engine light illuminated, the cruise light began blinking, and cruise control was not operating.

A little research revealed the fact that on a Subaru the cruise light flashes and cruise won't operate when the check engine light comes on. Most of the time, when a check engine light is steady, it means something to do with emissions is amiss, and it won't hurt anything (that someone like me cares about) to procrastinate. If that light is flashing, pull over and see who will show up the quickest to drain your wallet.

I disconnected the battery for awhile because doing that will often clear the light and if it was a fluke of some kind, it won't come back on, or it may take it some time to again make itself known. In my case it came back on within less than five seconds.

Then the idle began to be peculiar, dropping so low that the car would die at stop lights. I went to an independent shop that specializes in Subarus to get the code identified. They said it just happened to be one that requires a dealer specific computer to pin down. It is a sneaky thing manufacturers sometimes do.

It turns out that the tubes which surround the plugs and isolate them from the oily hooplah going on under the rocker covers were leaking oil to the outside of one or more plugs. The dealer guy and the mechanic took me back to the service bay to see for myself. Big points for El Cajon Subaru. Obviously not run by the families of the El Cajon branch of the CA Highway Patrol.

The tubes rely on gaskets similar to O-ring seals and I guess these things can happen. The bad news is that it is kind of a pain to get to and labor costs mucho dinero. So, I bit the bullet, silently, reverently thanked what seems to watch out for me that I had the money to pay it, and here I am.

I had to leave it for a day, and since they were being well compensated for my misfortune, a rental car was provided. From the same outfit that supplied the car when the body shop fixed the deer damage. I was rather pleased that that beautiful girl, whatsername, remembered me. "Don't tell me another deer got in your way!", she chided.

This time I ended up with a Toyota Yuris. Y something that ends in s. It is great on fuel, a little squirrelly at highway speed, and not the visibility I'm used to. The ceiling seemed to be almost bumping my head, and the seat did not go any lower. I got used to it. It is an OK car.

I'll bet lots of parents buy those cars for their spoiled kids. I'd seek out something a bit more ergonomic with better visibility, but it is better than getting the kid a Mustang or a Suburban. The former for his sake, the latter for ours.

So far I think all is well with the repair. I'm not positive it isn't leaking slightly from the valve covers though because I smell a bare hint of oil after driving, when I walk past the front of the car. It could be nothing, or it could be as I suspect. I'll keep an eye on it. If it proves not to be anything bad, then I'll give Hung Phu the service writer, and Mr. Clean, the bald mechanic, high marks. I did appreciate the attitude of both, and know that if there is any issue they won't jerk me around.

OK. I wasted too much space for my other reviews: Glenview door and glass or is it screen and door?, Alpine Glass and Door, and San Diego Marine Exchange on Shelter Island.

Shelter Island is right there off Point Loma. Absolutely my favorite part of San Diego.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Money Making Scheme #6-3-12

OK. It is inevitable so why fight it? Sooner or later this obesity thing is going to get personal.

I'm thinking that the thing to do is to be prepared; design mobile scale units which take into account your height, and whatever other factors are there so then Obesity agents can cruise around pulling people over, force them to get on the scale and instantly have a readout of the degree to which they are off of the prescribed mark. The fine would be automatically computed.

I know it is coming, so I figure if I have the cool design for such a vehicle, I'll sell tons of them to the various levels of government who choose to be involved. Of course, NYC may be the first on board, but California hates to be out nannied so they may press ahead in some surprise move.

I don't care, I'll sell to anyone. Of course I expect the agents to be armed and dangerous, so I'll take that into account. I may have the option of installing something akin to a cow catcher on the front so they can scoop people into a sling scale set up as they walk down the sidewalk. Maybe smaller electric versions for malls and park paths. This will be fun and lucrative.

The Show Was OK

Forgive me if I repeat myself. I don't think I ever reported on the show with the Mormon tabernacle choir.

Well, it was a highly abbreviated version, and there were drums, guitars and a keyboard. In any case it was a successful outing. I heard the fundraiser was a success, and that there is talk of wanting this group to play more, and questions about the cost. That means maybe I'll get paid if I do another gig with them.

They were very gracious, the crowd was nice and their little children sparkled. I guess, other than me, it was a Mormon group playing for a mormon church. They must have a lot of them around here. I've seen two, and both have indoor basketball courts that double as auditoriums with a full stage on one side.

The band people made it clear that they'd like me to play in the future. That remains to be seen though. Some things are best kept within your own group in these situations. Although I did have a great time playing the show.

Still, no one has mentioned Mitt Romney or tried to induct me or sacrifice me. Whatever anyone thinks, or whatever the ins and outs of that religion may be, the people I encountered, other than the soundman twit, are very nice and pleasant to work with. Good singers.

So, I guess it was an OK thing to do. I even wore m one pair of regular human being trousers instead of jeans. Since Mitt is always dressed up, I figured they would be. Most of them were in jeans and T shirts. I kept my shades on to add some edge, and because I was encouraged to do that. I guess they think it gives me a harmonica blues appearance.

Life goes on

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


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