Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Another pre-written, post-dated entry. How can you pre write something? There are a bunch of those terms in the lexicon. Pre-audit, etc.

Someone on the radio news was discussing tax cuts, or more correctly, the repeal of tax cuts. I was thinking that the term was a bit misleading. What they are saying is that they either think the current rate is fine or that it should be a higher rate. There is no cutting actually involved. Then, of course, it goes into who gets to pay a higher than present rate and who doesn't.

People tend to not know what that really means. So, often they turn to the easy thing which is to resent those who have a good bit of wealth left over. I'll leave them to it.

In related matters, when we hear of debt reduction and such, what is quite often the reality is that the rate of increase has slowed. It is like acceleration in the realm of Newtonian physics---rate of change of velocity. So if we acquire additional debt at the rate of x billion per month, and then manage to acquire it at the rate of x-.1 billion one month, the would be kings will proclaim debt reduction. Not true. We added debt, but not quite as fast as last month.

Maybe that's why Newton and co. developed calculus--to adequately describe rates of change; usually relatively speaking.

There are many times when statistics are quoted, and figures are bounced about, and people discuss things as if they follow a linear path when, in fact, they follow a curve with an increasing or decreasing slope. Rates.

Of course, if we could reduce the increase of debt by 1% every month, then in 100 months, we'd not be adding any new debt. Of course the accumulated debt might be bigger than the galaxy, but if we then began to accelerate the rate of change in the other direction, we'd be actually reducing it every month. A pipe dream, surely, but that is how it works.

So, any politician discussing the debt under current conditions is only telling the truth if he or she deals in rates of increase. They won't very often because it doesn't sound good, and because people don't really get the whole concept of acceleration vs velocity. Lies are often all that maintains spirits, and always what buys the votes of the greedy, the gullible, the lazy guilt ridden, the angry, and the gimme dolla guys.

Rates of increase and decrease cover all sorts of things in life. Then there are little snafus that come into play which involve rotational dynamics and more. Still, there is usually some sort of rate involved. Static is not the way the universe appears to roll. But the totality of the thing may be so different from what we know that it puts all this on its ear. It is pretty cool that here we are, yet existence and life and beginning and end are still beyond our grasp. And we're smart. We can fly and make artificial joints and make air conditioners. Bears can't do that.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fits of Melancholy

I'm still writing and post dating the publish option so it will show up later. I still haven't left home for the road trip. Sometime tomorrow I expect to be out of here. I have to be far away, up the state to pick up the crate for my nephew. Printing plate machine.

If I don't get out, I'll be compelled to write for maybe 24 hours straight. It is m best defense against what idle isolation can do to me. Or even not so idle isolation.

Lately, I've been a little more social in some ways, so these few days of alone time began to show hints of old habits, and morbid thinking.

The people who have been the most hateful toward me in the last few years seem to have been irked mostly because of their unreasonably high opinions which flipped into unreasonably low opinions. The common thread is that they seemed upset because they assumed I had a high opinion of myself, which they had finally concluded was unfounded, then upon my assertion that I was pretty certain of both my worthlessness, and my right to be worthless, their ire flamed up even more intensely.

The other common thread is that the riffs were about me when I did not even want any of the interaction with these people to be about me. They moved the discourse in that direction. Other than being pretty sure I harbor fewer ill feelings and wishes toward others than most people do, I have little true confidence in my assessments of my own worth or lack of it.

For the most part, I have minimal trust in affection; whether it is felt by me or toward me. This is a curse which I may never succeed in breaking. I try from time to time. I also find that the sort of people who fuel that kind of confusion have been drawn into my life at intervals. It rings of the childhood frustration of being punished, beaten, or oppressed "because we love you". Often in response to situations in which I was merely an innocent bystander in the wrong place at the wrong time, or in no way connected.

The sad thing is when confusion of this nature leaves those who come in peaceful affection baffled, hurt and feeling rejected. By "peaceful affection", I mean they seem to enjoy liking me for what they think I am, and don't make big efforts to remake me in their image.

I have concluded I'm pretty screwed up, but have managed to find ways to compensate, and to minimize the troubles I cause. I'd be so much better off if I'd stayed married at a young age. It may not have lasted, but I think it may have helped things. Then again, maybe not. It is just that life is far better with a woman around who is on your side, and who is not overtly insane. believe it or not, that combo is less common than one might think. At least in my case. But I have faith that one day I won't run the potential mate off for no good reason. Who knows? I have to ignore the ticking clock. I'm here now, regardless of how many days prior to this I was here.

So, either I write or I get cracking on all the chores which must be done so I can be on the lovely open road.

I should emphasize that the above mentioned conflicts are very few and far between. It gives me pause, though, because I thought I'd mastered the defect that has brought such strife into my life. It has happened less and less often as the years pass, and I believe that is because I've learned better how to dodge, avoid, and escape such things.

Even so, the couple of situations I do recall from the last five years do cause me some distress. And that in itself is probably an error on my part. Once you see how a pattern works, and you aren't going to change the other person's philosophy or mode of behavior under a certain set of circumstances, it becomes clear that the only way to avoid the unpleasant game is to not participate. Just don't be there.

I don't harangue others about how they battle their personal demons, and I think I am fairly good at not crossing boundaries uninvited. Some people do not get that distinction; when it is polite to knock, and when it is OK to enter.

Maybe I'm not really useless and a waste. I'm not with the IRS, and I'm not the current president of Mexico, or governor of California. Life, time, and so much else are purely relative. Hmmm, how much else is there really?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Living The O Doctrine

What we can usually get from US presidents is a new twist on language and philosophy.
Depends on what is is

And now, "the buck stops there." (yes, it is a twist on the Truman quote, adding a t to one word. That makes all the difference)

Words to live by. It's kind of like the old, "I'm rubber, you're glue, anything you say bounces off of me and sticks to you". Except it's shorter. Buck stops there.

In a world of bolsheviks, stalinists, and oppressive hall monitor syndrome, one must keep up with the lingo. Red doesn't necessarily mean red, go may mean stop. It is tricky business.

Many people have forgotten that freedom was more fun than a soviet or Cuban style state. Probably more dangerous too. Certainly less litigious than modern America.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Good Things People Do

(pics were sent to me from facebook. someone put them up and someone else shared or however FB works. from a local party on someone's back deck)
The Olympics hooplah caused me to think. Dangerous, I know.

At one time, the first thoughts of the games would be who might win what. Now the first thought is, "I hope some terrorist outfit doesn't make an appearance and create havoc.".

I have a feeling that I'm not the only one who kind of holds his breath wishing the opening and closing part would be over with. Since I don't have TV coverage, I am not as inundated with it as most.

But I was thinking how hard we try to keep going in spite of all the madness. The solution has been to subject everyone to search and more. No comment on that, or on what has been done that feeds this stuff. The point is that, one way or another riffraff of the world have managed to make fun a lot more work. At least the large scale event fun.

Then I remembered how cool it was to be at that gathering on a guy's back patio, overlooking a little canyon in Spring Valley. Lots of people, and people playing live music and having a great time. This sort of thing seems to be more common here than most other places I've lived. Either that or I was not paying attention.

I was able to play with my group from up here on Ballistic Mountain, and a group of older, very seasoned, very professional country players. Everyone called them the cowboy band. Their guitar player, Les, sat in with us--CopperCreek aka Ballistic Mountain friends.
There were some very good players there. Very good. I made a few new friends and think I may have more playing opportunities as a result of my showing there. I think being a sort of blues crossover guy helps. Plenty of better blues harps out there, and better all around. Just not many of the crossover people around here. That allows me to be of value.

So, we can still voluntarily gather and associate with our choice of people in situations like that party. A bit of freedom to be had.

They had a gazebo back there with a P.A. and sound board and it was good. I was able to work the mic for best dynamic range. What a treat. Haven't had it that good in awhile. Only screwed up a little bit.

***since I keep posting and will be gone, I am trying the write-now-post-it-later-automatically option

Friday, July 27, 2012

At the Crossroads

(somewhere in the neighborhood. pulled this off a 4x4 site. The road is not quite that bad. Lots of places off the path for these guys. I searched my street name and photos and this is definitely where I live)
At the top of the steep hill which is all unpaved, bumping dirt road, I turn left to reach my place. There is a sign there at the corner and little area for other signs or what have you.

Today there were cars pulled over at that corner and a woman flagged me down. They were gathered to toast a man who died up here recently. He was a big force in the neighborhood fire council, and road maintenance. His illness came fairly quickly and he did not suffer for too long. The condition of the dirt road speaks loudly of how much his influence is missed. I have to reduce speed to about two miles per hour in spots, or else my fillings would be rattled out of my teeth. I don't have many fillings, but I need them.

I thought it was an interesting and touching thing that people stopped and the ones already there handed them ginger ale or a martini to toast Dave. This is a unique neighborhood.

A group of five people on horseback stopped by while I was there. They were just out for a late afternoon ride, in the cool before sundown. They live a little further up the road. There are several horses up here. East county is horse country.

I'm somewhat less social than just about everyone else, but they flagged me down by name. Then the lady said she'd been keeping up with my music exploits on facebook. Cliff's wife and others post video clips and pictures which include me or sometimes feature me. I don't put anything there. It was a nice thing to hear, in any case. I guess the people remember me from the party last year. And maybe from my short lived association with the cute cowgirl up the hill. That was a case in which backing up was the correct solution for me. But I have no regret.

I've never lived anywhere like this. If I moved and didn't have a mile of dirt road and lots of distance from other dwellings, I'd be disappointed. This place could spoil a guy. It has spoiled a guy. Some very nice people. We also have our crazies, but they cause few problems. What a find this place was.

****when you can't cover your corruption otherwise, and your lies are transparent, best thing to do is appeal to a vaguely religious nerve, even if it is nonsense.
Jerry Brown and Arnold recently came to Alpine to dedicate the sunrise power link fiasco, and I guess rub salt in the wound:
Gov. Brown: "Earth’s Future is More Important Than Preserving East County". ????Come again? You've created a fire hazard, destroyed land, etc. etc. Well, good news, Earthlings, the future of your planet is now secure. Dingbat Brown has pronounced it so!
east edge of Alpine (I love these official dedications by corrupt bureaucrats pretending they are doing a favor to the world instead of stealing and lying. Such phony creeps)
The point is: our ex republican governator and our present democratic governor, Moonbeam, are in on the same corruption. Do not believe that republicans are into big money and dems aren't. That is patently false.

Oh, the ex-Governator also had a great quote at this event: "Dis wil bwing Mega Bytes of ewectwicity to da people..." Can't wait for them mega bytes, Ahnold. Watt you say?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our Evolving Language: part 7252012

If you think the previous posts were about my new skid plate, you are wrong wrong wrong.

Obviously, I was referring to autopilot, and the wisdom of hopping in the back seat for a nap while cruising the interstate when you feel a little drowsy. Anyone who suggests I was talking about skid plates and oil recycling at WalMart is clearly a racist.

Speaking of racist, I had to almost stop completely to let a herd of turkeys cross the highway near Descanso. The first couple would have made it had I only slowed a little. Most of the other eight would have been rendered lifeless. They had that look like, "I know this is a bad idea, but we are following them. That is our number one job, even if it kills us."

I didn't realize turkeys were into single file travel. Maybe it is only when they cross the street. That way, if the leader misjudges, some will survive. If they all crossed in a big clump, then if one gets hit, chances are, most will.

In the rear view mirror I noticed three rebels who held back until I passed by. Then they scampered in single file across the road to catch the others. The car about a tenth of a mile back had to slow a bit.

It is odd that he did that. In california, the normal procedure if a car is entering the highway ahead is to speed up drastically. These people are polite to turkeys and rabbits, rude to one another. Are we the only species that treats other species better than our own? I tend to think so.

I did have that urge to test my new skid plate, but A) I don't eat turkey, and B) I don't know if that is grounds for arrest and jail time in CA. Some guy was on trial for picking on an opossum (in speech, I always say "possum") and posting it on youtube. I don't know if he killed it or merely bullied the creature.

Not nice, but is it worth the thousands of dollars court costs? And and the cost of room and board in jail? Not that I think jail is a nice place. I'm looking at relative costs to humanity here. Maybe they gave him community service hours in a rescue home or soup kitchen for rodents and prehistoric marsupials.

Either way, you probably don't know I was just discussing dodge ball, which would mean you are a...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Skids 2; info in case you try this at home

quick heads up: http://autopartsoem.net/ is an outfit that spams with BS in comments and leaves their link. I'd never do business with them. And if it is just a person leaving comments about how I should do my page, then leaving the link--that is one sick cookie

So, I worked Monday evening as the sun was setting, the breeze was picking up, and the heat less oppressive. First, as indicated in the sketchy, yet not illustrated, instructions, I removed the existing plastic under guard. Then I proceeded to change the oil. No need to install the new shiny skid plate, then take it off to perform this task.

That being done, I installed the new item. I forget the designation of that type of aluminum which is aircraft grade, blablabla. 30/60 or something. I made up those numbers. Anyway, it is very strong and hard, for aluminum. I can't imagine anyone needing the optional thicker version of this plate.

It fit a bit close to a piece of the heat shield around the header pipe of the exhaust, but I figured, maybe it is OK. The less than detailed instructions mentioned that "on some models" you could cut the plastic thing to retain the extra bit of splash guard. I had carefully saved all fasteners and did not trash the existing plastic thing in the process of removal. Just in case.

Now I had about a gallon of old oil in need of disposing. Not like the old days when you could just dump it back into the ground from whence it came, or use it to discourage growth of unwanted vegetation. Fortunately Walmart makes a big deal out of "being green" and how they are so nice that you can recycle the oil at their store. Well, not just anywhere, they don't want it in the aisles or all over the toy department, etc.

I know from experience that they have a place next to their oil change facility where they accept your old oil and dump it into a big tank. Unless Latisha is working. She makes you dump it.

They expect you to sign a sheet and include your address. Over the last year or so I have dumped oil there for Greg Rasputin, Eddie Van Halen, Nick Buonicotti, Robert E Lee, F. Lee Bailey. That is all I recall at the moment. I drive a lot, and I keep up with oil changes. All those people live in either Alpine, Pine Valley, Boulevard, or Jacumba. Addresses vary, and I do not recall the street names I give. Usually something festive like Fiesta way, or Los Cajones Fuerte.

What's with the info quiz to dump oil at a place that only takes it because they love you and want "to help the earth"?

It was after oil change hours and the chain link gate which is locked to protect the dirty oil room has a sizable gap, so I slid the gallon oil bottle in and left. I missed the challenge of creating a new donor identity. I was leaning toward Albert Gore, had the opportunity arisen.

The oil episode gave plenty of time and highway driving to see what I thought of the new skid plate, if anything. I thought the car was noisier, and kept being troubled by the thought that the plate was touching the heat shield.

Today, I examined the set up and opted to cut the old plastic under engine guard to retain that extra splash shield the instructions vaguely mentioned. I retained as much of it as possible, then realized I had to trim more and more or the aluminum part wouldn't fit.

Finally, I got 'er done. I also pulled the plate and took it to the back deck where I managed to cut a semi circle out of the edge which had been rubbing exhaust parts. The stuff is tough. I drilled many holes, then used a Dremel tool with those cutting disks to cut the in-betweens. Then I used the little drum sander attachment, and a grinder attachment to smooth it out.

The remaining plastic is a U-shape, with the bottom of the U riding up under the radiator. They should suggest that you do this, and offer a diagram showing where to cut. It is hard to judge it because you can't have both items installed at once, and things don't work exactly as you think they will from setting one on top of the other on the ground.

I'm fairly pleased with the result so far. Instantly quieter. I noticed the skid plate actually gives a bit more ground clearance than the plastic arrangement did. Not much, but possibly an inch. It has a pad which sits up against the oil pan, so I think close is the intention. I've decided this presents no cooling issues, but I'll spare you my analysis of that matter.

Now I believe I'll remain happy with this modification. Last night I was ready to chalk it up as another dumb purchase.

Because it came from an outfit which is involved in racing and modifying Subarus, I suppose the minimalist approach to offering info should be no surprise. I've noticed that many parts and wrench pull types think it is uncool to communicate adequately. Even though their main customers for this item are just regular Joes and Janes. I figured it out, I think. I've got the best of the old part and the new part now.

Still, to change oil, I have to undo four bolts and drop the thing down. Not much more trouble than all those inadequate fasteners for the old access panel, and once it is off the oil and filter work is easier. What happens if I take it in to a quick oil change place? I do not know. Part of the reason I change my own is because the old system seemed too much for them to handle without screwing it up--either no crush washer on the plug, or missing fasteners on the plastic panel. Or both.

If I were Mr. Subaru, I'd design a much easier and more durable system for oil change and under engine protection.

****helpful hint: if you are doing work of this nature in a ground up bark covered lot, it pays to have old drop cloths. Fortunately I have several, two or three of which are reserved specifically for auto maintenance. ****

The Skids

Skid plate before changing oil, removing the plastic stuff and installing it.
It comes off easy enough.
Foggy corner of pic is because I had to tape my phone case together and a bit of the tape was over the lens.

I'll wait until I'm sure before offering a definitive review. It looked cool, as polished aluminum usually does. The little vents help.
It is a tough item.
If a rabbit hits it with his head, no longer will little plastic nonsense fasteners fall out causing something to drag on the highway.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quick Sanding Hint

If one were to be running a power sander for hours at a time, and he had the wherewithal to figure out the advantages of ear plugs early in this project, you'd think he'd have known that it would behoove him to employ the services of the dusk masks, which are easily found in the modern marketplace, before completing 9/10 of the power sanding which the project entails.

However, even if only one hour out of twenty was worked using the dusk mask, one glance at the thing after an hour or two of sanding would confirm its value.

I'm out of breath just typing this. And the sanding is done for now. Two hours out of more than I'm willing to admit. Only two hours of not breathing finely ground teak and who knows what mixed in. I will say the balance of unprotected sanding was less than 100 hours.

I'm an idiot.

--still pleased with the 1/4 sheet sander made by Ridgid

Quick Reminder

It is rarely noted, but none of the TSA bans on toothpaste, nail clippers, etc., and the searches and pat downs initiated as the result of 911 would have prevented 911. Box cutters are not such a big deal. For all the purpose they served, a well honed credit card would have done the same thing.

We knew who Bin Laden and many other players were. It was odd that people were paying to learn to fly, but did not care about learning to land. There was much intelligence which was neither applied, nor shared with flight crews.

Prevention is often more complicated and has something to do with culture, the nature of what people see, read, hear, etc. Rarely is it to be found in politically motivated band aids and power grabs.

Never Let Someone Else's Suffering Go To Waste

Hey, sorry for your loss, mind if I borrow the tragic death of your loved ones to kind of boost my image? Thanks, I knew you'd understand. You can go back to being numb and in shock now. In no time at all, I'll be out of here and you won't have to worry about roads being blocked and such.

But before I leave, I'd like some M&Ms, and none of them had better be blue. Or else! I feel your pain, now get lost while I psyche myself into my cool, calm, yet compassionate leader/and/or celebrity persona. I need that mirror to make sure my concerned face is tuned up. Photo ops await. Another few minutes in the lime light. This is about me. Your job is to be a good prop.

So sorry for whatever it is that has you folks down; but this is an opportunity for my campaign or news story or power grab or another chance to play Papa to New York City or to spin something unfounded against my philosophical rivals, or bolster my entertainment career. Matters not what you may call it, I call it pay day.

Of course many of us have our spots reserved in the VIP tent for whatever vigil. What's this town called?

Oh, look! Michael Moore is here with his crew to make a documentary. He says rich fat white guys are to blame--except not him, of course. Wow, this party is sure to last awhile. I can put on a real performance, get some publicity, and all the while pretend to just be in somber mourning solidarity with the people who are actually suffering.

How many people were killed in Afghanistan and Chicago over the weekend? What's it matter? No percentage in that angle. Nope, Pay Day is right here.

PS: Dear El Presidente del Mejico, Senor Calderon
How about you figure out how to run your own country and quit pretending you know how to run ours. I dislike you more and more every time you express your illogical bizarre itch to play US politics. You suck. other than the guns Eric Holder made sure went down there, I think the notion of US gun stores supplying your gangs which have killed 55000 or so in the last five years has been found to be a somewhat erroneous assertion. You still suck.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ever Wonder if an Online Purchase Was Legit?

My skid plate has not arrived, and it is due. I finally got fed up with the plastic under-guard, that Subaru uses under the engine, because it keeps falling apart, so I ordered a well reviewed skid plate made of aircraft grade aluminum. I am familiar with that stuff; very rigid and tough.

Considering where I live and the occasional rabbit who bumps his head under there, not to mention the once a year, unexpected big rock in the road (oh, I just mentioned it), I think the more durable protection is the way to go.

Gearing up and I have no idea yet for how long or which path I'm going to take. Young nephew needs to get me the specs of that crate I'm probably picking up for him so I know if it is something I can do. Also I need to know exactly where to meet the shady vendor. I have faith the young engineer wouldn't place me askance the law or in harm's way, but in the path of semi-lunatics, he'd not hesitate.

The vultures have landed

Maybe that is what the Adam and Eve and the serpent story is really talking about: evil beings invariably do what they can to screw up Paradise. Spineless nincompoops (the Adam character) do the rest, spurred on by gossip mongers who want to own some of the victimhood (Eve), and often have hidden control issues and motives. Just a spur of the moment theory.

the above references characters of representation but is not meant to imply the Adam equates to men or the Eve equates to women.

I have tried to avoid news for most of the day. Hard to do. I got the story, and many of the facts. Fortunately, I do not rely upon ABC--the same outfit which edited 911 recordings to paint a race crime picture in the Zimmerman case, and the same ones who tried to pin the latest outrage on the T Party.

All that seems to be missing, and it could be that I merely missed it, is Al Sharpton demagogue-ing in, trying to start a riot. All the other demagogues in the nation have been making noise in order to further whatever agenda grabs their fancy. Wonder if Jesse weighed in. Or maybe the neo-nazis or the black panthers. Every one else has had something meaningless to say.

I understand that it is expected of certain officials, although I am not sure why. They are useless, and you know most of them don't give a damn, except to the extent it furthers their ambitions.

I guess it is tough for a news outfit not to play into the fantasies and fame lust of such lunatics. The more you put a name and picture out there, and the more you re-hash the crime, life, motive, early childhood and dietary habits of aberrant murderers, the more likely it is to happen again and again. There are better deterrents which would draw many viewers. Probably not legal though.

If the media is somehow indicative of the culture in which it operates, a good measure of the banality and total idiocy of that society is easily found in print and broadcast immediately after any traumatic incident, whether it be (alleged)man-made, or destructive force of nature.

Thank God I remembered to purchase some dust masks before I went to work today. That stuff was working on me big time. I must have inhaled enough to start a small paper mill on Wednesday.

Played Decent Enough short gig; bad mood and all

It must be the heat. Sometimes I don't like anyone or anything; especially playing music, but not exclusively.

We actually played a little show for an assisted living facility. A billion people, many of whom looked no older than I am. The MC girl got on my nerves. Everyone seems so patronizing in these settings. It wouldn't be a bad place but I think I'd shoot the condescending volunteers, and staff, too, if they have that attitude. Good thing I don't live there.

I hate anonymous comments. Especially from people just smart enough not to know that their point is only semi-valid. Example: being called out for saying I have to go inland somewhere in the Bay area.

The Bay area, up around the San Francisco area defines a large part of the state at that latitude. Inland in that area indicates that you go up to the Bay and take a right, but if you cross over too many mountains or hit Nevada, you've gone too far. I'm not giving directions for others, so who cares?

It is interesting that those who sometimes entice me into conflict always do so over matters which actually do not have to do with them. It is never over me telling another how to live his or her life. Always over another criticizing my choices, how I write, how I speak, what I buy or don't buy.

I do not not like conflict, and I see the quickest way to avoid it is to ignore that sort of discussion. Asking one's opinion is a different sort of conversation altogether. Openly barbed criticism can be masked in many ways, but the reality is that it is a hostile thing. Something I've yet to quit attracting. Those things happen.

Most people who are that adamant about my choices tend to be ignoring their own situations, or else they assume they have no choices, and the fact that I do is in no way the result of my actions or decisions or attitudes prior to this point in time.

Oh well, who can blame them? It is not as easy as it may appear to those who judge, but living my life is not a bad way to go. I can't imagine trading with anyone--even though I do think I have to quit letting the ones that got away get away.

One of those days. Is the whole country turning into small minded, impolite creeps, or is it just that CA is over stocked with rednecks and haughty nincompoops?

Probably my mood, and most likely a result of 90 deg F temperatures and no A/C. (except in the car). When I think about it, it is not all that bad. I'm amazed that a little bit of heat gets to me like that lately. The sensitivity to it comes and goes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Still Gearing Up

With all the other work I have going on lately, paying for my various purchases, and trying to figure out my route to OR, I have worked late, forgetting a practice, forgotten to pay rent, and probably something else.

My landlord always returns the envelope which I use to drop off the rent check. It is almost like a tradition. It has their names on it, and I place it in the basket by their front door. In a few days, it appears in the mailbox by my door. I never think to look inside.

So, it sat there for a month, then today I placed a check with a note apologizing for being 2 days late on rent. Inside the envelope was a fifty dollar bill with a note from them thanking me for looking after certain chores while they were out of town. I couldn't believe it.

I would have done the work for free. It pays to kiss up to the landowner when you have a great rental arrangement. Make them like having you there. Amazing. So, I figured, "yippee, fifty bucks! Let's go shopping for some stuff."

I finally got my haircut, after three months, bought a pair of bargain jeans at walmart--and they are made in Mexico and have no logo on them whatsoever. Nine dollars and something. I can't believe it. And the fit better than most. That fifty paid for some other things too, like batteries for camp fans and mini lanterns.

My theory on things like lanterns is; the last thing I want to do is carry something around that requires liquid fuel. The old Coleman style lanterns were cool, but not temperature wise, and a hassle. LED and battery is for me.

So, I have a couple of mini lanterns which slide down to become flashlights, can be hung up in a tent, and are not afraid of rain. Plus I have two battery powered fans which seem to have received good reviews, and they were cheap.

The girl who cut my hair says that most of the camping up THE ONE is already reserved. Who would have thought you had to make reservations to sleep in a tent outdoors? Not me. Apparently many others already knew the scoop. I'll bet I find places along the way.

I have to go inland somewhere in the Bay area to pick up a crate for my nephew. He bought some device to further his ever burgeoning basement printing shop. He started with one 100 year old press, which he fixed up. Now there are two. And with the new device, he can create the plates himself. Sounds like a possible money making venture--if you get my drift.

Don't ask- don't tell, I always say. His wife is the one who creates the graphics, and up until now they had to send her art elsewhere to be made into printing plates.

Couple of neo-bolsheviks; probably printing money and propaganda for the Obama effort to nail this dictatorship down once and for all.

It will be good to just be out and about. I figure I better do it while it is still semi-legal, and before someone dreams up a tent tax and who knows what. This is California. And the new USA. I hope the change changes in nature and direction. These things scare me. I'm not a good comrade kind of a citizen. I not only do not support my local police, I don't even trust or like them, on the whole. Maybe I'm the sort that is being weeded out of this new 21st century across-the-bridge place. Hopeville. "Utopia for all except those who we think are too not like us."

So, good review on Kelty. Good review for the new air mattress, whose make I don't recall. It was a bargain online--campmor.com. I can use the pumps that came with other airbeds I've had which developed leaks pretty quick. This new one appears to hold air and shape better than the last few I've had. I have one that is still OK, so I have a spare.

Now I need bear spray--for possible carjackers, bug repellent of every kind. Not everywhere is like SoCal, where bugs are so few you can count them on one or two hands.

Who knows, I may yet divert my path over toward vagabond lady land. I don't know. I've been guilty of being too stand offish, and some people say the hell with it and grab another dude and never look back. Who can blame them? Not I.

On the other hand. I may hit the coast--got to save money, and ignore the thoughts of people who aren't even living my life. And definitely not dealing with my budget, history, or else. Everyone knows how to live anyone's life but his own. Not everyone, but enough people to make you wonder. That was a case of the extinct universal "his". Substituting "their" when possessive is singular is not a good answer to this stupid politically correct change in grammar.

Maybe "hiser" or "hizer", and "shehe" will gain traction. As it is when I see she or her used universally, I knee jerk into defensive mode, assuming the female writer is a castrating new woman of the 21st century, or that the male writer is a phony, trying to kiss up, thinking he'll get lucky. Ladies, those guys who play that "I'm a feminist" role are not real. They are doing it solely as a seduction ploy.

The rest of us would shoot them if we could get away with it. But it makes us so sick to watch the dynamic, and how you sucker for it, pretending not to know it is BS, that we'd probably be incapable of good aim anyway.

In Tents-ity2

The Kelty tent was a good choice. I tested it and found it to be roomier and better designed than expected. It is really easy to put up. One person, no problem.

It is called Kelty Buttress 4. Not sure what the buttress part is, except if you actually had four people sleeping in there, you'd pretty much be buttress buddies, like it or not. I could see how it could be done. But why would you want four people in your tent? Never mind. I can imagine many answers which don't apply to me or this discussion.

I was concerned that this thing would be too hot with the rain fly set up. I was wrong. There are many ways to take advantage of the benefits it provides, like the little shaded front foyer, while still allowing for good ventilation. It is pretty versatile. Whether they expected someone to do it how I did, I can't say. I pulled up one of the back corners enough to expose some of the mesh area. It folded neatly and tightly over the upper part of the tent. I opened part of the front to allow good air flow through the littler vestibule thing.

For someone who only camped maybe twice in his life until I left Memphis, this whole thing is bizarre. I'm not a long time committed outdoorsman. I'm still afraid of bears and most other animals. But then I don't generally pitch my tent out in wilderness where no human has ever been. Probably better off if you do. The animals won't associate you with food and eat you. Or rip out your car windows because they know food often resides in cars inside coolers.

The material is easy to deal with--strong, lightweight. For the money this has to be one of the best things going. I also like the metallic poles. I wearied of the fiberglass ones. These also fit together so there is no snagging at all. We'll see how it all goes in more windy conditions, but I think it will work well.

Even though it is hardly a house for four, it is roomier than expected, and all I need. Tall enough that I'm not in that backache inducing stoop if I try to do anything other than crawl around. That reminds me, the door works better than what I'm used to, as well. Something about the shape makes entry and exit quite easy.

I'm satisfied with the campmor.com web site, and how they do business. Quick delivery, good communication, and things arrive as represented. I'd like to be enough of a critic to give them 4 stars, and Kelty 4 stars, but based on my experience so far, I can't deduct anything so they both get my 5 star recommendation.

Really, it is such a piece of cake to put this up and take it down, and it is the size the would usually be far easier with two people. In this case you might save a minute or two if the other person was there. Certainly the time and effort savings would be minimal, because the time and effort for one person is already minimal. Even at double the price the thing might be worth it, relatively speaking. I wasn't going to spend that so it is great that it was on sale for about half price.

Hard Luck 2

I have to differ with the president's comments regarding success. We'll have to assume that we're on the same page in defining the word, although I wonder if we are.

His comments indicated that he believes those who have achieved success in terms of finances and a good standard of living did nothing different than the person who works a job which barely covers rent all his life. They were just lucky and only got there because others put them there.

It is true that such fortune can't be done without others somehow being involved. For one thing, you don't get rich unless others buy what you have to sell, or in someway enter into trade. A hermit can make a fortune trading stocks or futures or whatever on line, but without the others who work at the companies touched by the stock or commodity, he's in a vacuum.

Beyond that the hermit only gets rich because he's smart at trading and puts in the kind of work which yields results. Not everyone can do it, even if they want to. I don't know how or I would do it.

I've known several wealthy people in my life. People who made their money in the private sector, lived stable lives and supported reasonably stable families. I never totally itemized all their common traits, but they did have some that stood out.

For one thing, they did not throw money away on things they couldn't afford. They seemed to have a different attitude from most people. I did not notice them contemplating their bad luck and looking to blame others when things out of their control went wrong. Not that they wouldn't fire employees who proved to be more liability than asset. The "why me?" syndrome was largely absent among those of whom I am speaking.

I know that some people inherit, appear successful because they have money and the other trappings people think marks success. But I do not consider a gangster successful. I'm speaking of people who have done things honestly and methodically.

To diminish the credit they deserve is not even rational. These people provided much for those around them, employed people, contributed something positive in the market. And I do think some of them are smarter than average, and work harder than average. Plus they have an attitude and outlook that serves to direct the work and thought in such a way that the goals are achieved. I have fallen short in those regards most of my life, but I have sense enough not to belittle those who have done better. That would be petty jealousy and small minded envy.

I'm not sure where he's going with this, but he's wrong to encourage idiots to think that successful people somehow stole it all from them. I guess when all you've done is involved with government, you really don't understand where the wealth of a nation is generated, or what life is like in the real world.

I was stunned at this effort to pander to those who refuse to accept that some people will find a way to success under all kinds of roads blocks, and that it is not at the expense of those of us who have more difficulty seeing reality in such a way that we can identify, and capitalize on, our talents and abilities. For one thing, it is rare that you will build much of an empire if you spend all your time at the corner bar, or at home watching TMZ. Unless you know how to turn cheap gossip into gold--like the TMZ people. Or worse, turn the lowest of life forms into gold, like Jerry Springer.

Anyway. That whole bit offended me because it was demeaning to those with special vision and work ethic, and it rang of the rhetoric which preceded many totalitarian, nightmare regimes.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

It's a Hard Luck Life

Not mine. My life is not a hard luck life, but the overall deal these days outside of my bubble is peculiar.

I was listening to people discuss healthcare pros and cons regarding regulation and lack of it. I have to admit, I see the sense on both sides of that concern. What doesn't seem to be within the thought process is a great deal of knowledge about how things became as they are.

All the explanations tend to be missing a lot. I think there are factors which involve government, insurance companies, and health providers (including the world of pharmaceuticals). Then there is also the influence of lawyers and the courts. My belief is that the unholy interaction and partnership of all these entities has corrupted the process to the point where people actually believe more of a collusion of these interests, overseen by the IRS will somehow improve our world.

On one hand, people ask if it is right to deny someone care. On the other, I ask if it is right to force insurance on those who may not want it at this point in time, due to personal circumstances, yet do not expect others to pay the costs they may incur due to medical needs.

Here is where the philosophies diverge. Some believe "we must all sacrifice for the greater good of all". That would be the group who likes the new law controlling healthcare--although I've yet to find anyone who knows exactly what the thing entails, or who has actually tried to skim and look into any of the actual text.

Some believe it is anathema to a free society to force individual sacrifice for what others deem the greater good. I tend to fall into that group.

Still others fall somewhat in between. They don't so much mind the whole thing of forced sacrifice for what they consider the greater benefit, but they don't trust the mechanism for executing this if it means that federal bureaucracy has total administrative autonomy.

Seeing their points and feeling good about them are two different things. I believe that an honest picture of how things became odd even before this law is almost impossible to find. It is like looking through a window on a foggy morning after a hundred disgruntled kids unloaded a hundred eggs on all the transparent surfaces of your abode. How do I know that and on which end of the eggs' flight was I? Maybe neither. I'll never tell.

I've been considering the thoughts of those people who were in the discussion. I've concluded that the only reasonable approach is a very tedious one. All the regulations have to be filtered through and analyzed regarding right and wrong, not who will kick back to your campaign.

Throw out what doesn't belong. I suspect that would involve laws and regulations passed over the last 6 or more decades. Not all of them, but some. This may involve things like requiring a prescription for many medicines and drugs which ought not require it.

Sure people can kill themselves or others through misuse of some of these, but they can do the same thing with clorox and ammonia, for cryin' out loud. And that is but one tiny piece of it.

Why can't insurance be competitive nation-wide?

Anyway, it is not impossible to think of things which do not violate my idea of human rights, individual liberty, and which still allow for a system in which little johnny isn't required to rot away from gangrene because his parents are flat broke. I would turn away most illegals. And probably people I just don't like.

Do people do much checking to see how hard it is to legally move to other countries? Believe me, they do not welcome broke individuals who sneak in with open arms. They don't welcome just average, hand to mouth, willing to work, types with open arms. And they really don't want you if you are over 40. Unless of course you come bearing flowers and a pot of gold which you plan to park on their doorstep.

Regardless of people who sneak over hoping to do the work I now do, does it make sense to accept something that forces sacrifice, even though you don't even know all the sacrifices, and from whom, it requires? I guess if you trust people who make laws, then exempt themselves from its requirements.

Don't trust insurance companies but you are now required to do all your physical upkeep through them? I don't get it. I do get that many people need things they can't now afford. I'm all for ways that would facilitate some of that care. But anything reasonable can only be done by a real purge of the bad deals, corrupt rules and regs which produced this expense and confusion.

What do I know? Just thinking.

Maybe I'll go test my tent at the naked place. Cheapest and best facilities and no one knows me so what the heck. Test it, go to work to finish teak work bloc two, then purge my own house of what is nonsense, then off to the great Northwest.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Just Too Much

Plenty of material in the world, if I wanted to write. The difficulties I have are with the nature of the material, and the fact that many people, friends and family included, are on board with half the futuristic prophesies of Orwell and others unfolding before their eyes.

More than the reality shaking which happens every time I learn a new detail about some law or agency, the general approval and acceptance of it by my fellow citizens/non-citizens/lowlife/comrades/peers/hyenas-masquerading-as-human. I'm not sure what we or they are to be called any more.

The term "citizen" means almost nothing any more, just like gay no longer means happy and festive in a universal sort of way. And the rainbow can't just be a goddam rainbow without visions Barney Frank haunting one's mind.

In this world it does not matter whether you have something to hide, or not, as the typical gung ho cop or cop supporters seem to think. Sooner or later what you felt you had no need to hide will be off limits or require permission. It will come back to bite you. All of it.

And you, too will become a fugitive. Maybe not an insurance fugitive like some of us, but you wait. It will come. Perhaps you'll become an obesity fugitive or, a caffeine outlaw. Any number of possibilities, and you can be sure you wouldn't even guess some of what's to come.

What is easily guessable is the look on the faces of those who achieve success in the imposition of whatever new and fantastic bit of tyranny people will tolerate. Many will wildly embrace it, as they do now. You think people will not enslave themselves? Geez, just look around. All it takes is to lay down a trail of cookie crumbs and whole segments of our society willingly remain ignorant, violent, bitter, yet compliant when it comes to supporting the ruling class who keeps them stupid and miserable. Part of the great pretense.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hot Days and Product reviews

where to get a haircut in Misenheimer, NC. 4 stars out of 5.

Even after a few years here I marvel at the significant variance in temperature and general conditions from day to night and from one location to another less than ten miles apart. Yesterday I left my house where it was 90 deg. F. and went to work in Rancho Santa Fe where it was 75. Today it was up to about 95, and now it is hovering between 68 and 70. It will cool down more as the night progresses.

When I left work last evening, it had already dropped to 66 in a matter of a couple of hours. The cool nights save me because it tends to warm up in the Ballistic cabin after awhile. Insulation can save you for only so long when the sun is beating down unimpeded by cloud or tree.

That brings me to the most poorly designed aspect of the Subaru Forester. Underneath the engine is a rubbery plastic splash guard. You can't really call it a skid plate. It has a panel held with very unreliable plastic fasteners which, when unfastened, allow one to rotate it out of the way to provide access to the oil filter and oil plug.

I've battled to keep it fastened for a long time now. The fasteners tend to fall out when you aren't looking. One time a rabbit bumped it's head or hind end on it as I was driving a night. I noticed a scraping sound when I was on the interstate so I stopped to see what was what.

The panel was hanging down scraping the road. I had a coat hanger and my trusty Leatherman tool so I made clips and put it back. They held better than the plastic things. I was going to some event which required me to be somewhat dressed up. The whole operation was tricky.

Anyway, when I had some things done at the dealer they installed new plastic clips. Some shook loose. This time I did not hear the scraping. But I did notice something was awry.

The thing rubbed half itself into oblivion. I fastened what was left of it but don't like the big gap exposing the pan. I'm considering getting an aftermarket skid plate made of aluminum. Or whatever. One outfit makes these and it is talked up on forums of Subaru owners.

One place sells the panel I need but won't ship to a PO Box. When an item is not that large I think refusing PO shipment is stupid. I'll just go to the dealer and see what's what if I don't hear back from the skid plate people soon.

None of this would be under discussion if A) Subaru used decent fasteners for this item, or B) they put a decent skid plate on the cars from the start. The problem with this item and with their clips is almost universal among Subaru owners, at least through 2008, yet they did not change it by the time my car was made. If they aren't careful I'll buy a Kia or a Hundai next time. Maybe even a Toyota, although now matter how much I like them, they never feel quite right on me. But you give me an FJ and I'll adapt.

I'm optimistically assuming I'll have the money to do such a thing. Unfounded optimism is one thing I do like about myself. I may dislike plenty but it makes life easier believing all will be OK, and I will be able to make marketplace statements by tailoring my purchases to reward or punish in some small way.

But, to be honest, if I had lots of money, I'd probably just buy another Subaru, and if it had a flimsy underneath splash guard, I'd get the best skid plate available to fix that flaw. Their cars just feel right and I like them.

Norton sandpaper is still the best. A 3M company, but not made in Minnesota. Made in Canada by mounties and hockey pros.

The Ridgid 1/4 sheet sanders have done well under hours of rough continuous use.
Also the pressure washer made by Green Works, sold at Lowes, is a very good item for medium duty stuff, and for cases in which finesse is required to avoid over doing it so the object under the wash won't be damaged. That is the name of the game in the teak cleaning business.

There are several things I like about that item for the jobs on which I employ it.
A little tip--do not attempt to rinse off your rubber gloves, even under the 45 deg nozzle while wearing them. It will slice them quickly. Most of you wouldn't have to be told, but I had to try it, thinking I could be quick and cheat destruction.

Gettin' While The Gettin' Is Good

Oh forget it. There is nothing you can do. You're whizzing in the wind. You can't change it. What makes you think you know better than the brilliant people who have been at this for decades? Really, it is not that simple. Would you have old people dying in ditches, and children go hungry? And what about...blablabla.

All the usual reasons why expressing my views, theories, and thoughts on issues which might involve government in some way is asinine and ought not be done. The problem is, from the time the speed-trap mentality, and random road blocks became an accepted part of our daily lives, I've suspected that this could lead to variations of tyranny which could affect the lives of the innocent. Namely, my life.

Obviously, the health care thing puts me in a bit of a crunch. Considering that insurance for one my age would easily cost $500 or more per month, and that it is unlikely I would spend even half that in the average year, and considering that I do not want to seek medicaid, nor do I expect others to pay for my care, I do not benefit from this.

I would much rather pay as I need to, directly, for whatever medical things I need. If I can't pay, then I may have to simply die. My choice. Or it once was.

I have a friend who works for a large retail outfit. He says that due to the intricacies of the new laws, and expense to his employer that they simply do not hire replacements when someone leaves. In his case, three are now doing the work that six could barely handle, and they are adding more responsibility on those three.

He's a hard worker, but not a kid, and it is wiping out his morale, and his health. He is going to quit. There are other incentives because of his age, and the punitive laws against collecting social security if you earn money somehow.

All that is confusing because he doesn't qualify for some things and does for others. The rules changed. He has some IRA money to carry him awhile.

Since I do not know the specifics of his company's situation regarding what they have to do under this un-affordable healthcare act, understand I'm just relaying what he said. We were discussing other matters so cross examination would have been inappropriate.

I do know my circumstances, and think I am better to do things I might have put off, rather than wait until all of this is in full swing and the heavy boot of the law prevents me from living as freely as I now can. That leads me to think that the plan for now ought to be a carpe diem sort of deal.

It is funny, and sick, how people who are neither poor nor without something like health insurance pretend to know how those in other circumstances think, and what they need. Have you ever attempted to avail yourself of any government program? Do you know how powerless and demeaned it can make you feel?

That is why I would rather opt out. I do not find it morally acceptable to place clerks and bureaucrats in the position of judging me worthy, and I find it tough to give them the power of permission over my personal decisions.

Does it still not cause people to question the motives for all this when those who pushed it through excepted themselves from its requirements, as well as exempting certain special interest big campaign donor organizations as well?

I think that the more powerless people feel, the more willing they are to see things enacted which impact others, or even themselves sometimes. Knowing there are people opposed to such authority gives them the thrill of being on the side that won and was able to overpower the dissenters.
Sort of a vicarious path to possessing muscle.

Talk about crony capitalism; buy or die insurance, yet I can't seek the better deal in Tennessee or wherever because they don't allow competition across state lines. People have been duped for a long time.

The first step was to convince you that insurance was the only way to handle medical care. For it to work, everyone has to pay more than what the average cost of care for an individual would be. It is like the casinos, they aren't in business because people win more than they lose.

I'd be happy to see everyone get all the medical stuff they want, all the drugs they can handle, operations like crazy. The reality is that this set up is designed so that the executive branch of the federal government gains power over your life and your decisions in ways which were once unthinkable. The pure weight of this new bureaucracy will be staggering.

And isn't it comforting that the always respectful, fair, and true to your liberties IRS is the arm of enforcement?

In the mean time, reportedly more US casualties have occurred in Afghanistan is the last four years than in all the years of the Iraq whatchamacallit; can't really call it a war, and the goals there were not much clearer than they are in Afghanistan. If anyone is claiming to "liberate" the place, or stabilize it so that they can enjoy some kind of democracy, that is purely nuts. That goes for all those countries.

So..It's one two three, what're we fighting for
don't know, don't give a damn
next stop is whatever-stan

I have little faith in Romney or republicans, but they are the only ones at this point who at least pretend not to be Bolsheviks and Castro clones.

Maybe I'll end up checking out the free state project and moving to New Hampshire. If it weren't for the constant fire worries, and knowing there are always legal roadblocks thrown up to plans which would mitigate this threat, I'd find it unthinkable to leave the West. It is just a hint of an idea, not a resolve by any means. The trouble is, CA is as over reaching and authoritarian, and broke, and money grubbing as the federal, alleged, government.

If only I could be on board with the cool people, like the babes in Hollywood, then it would be so much easier. But I can't unless my mind is rendered ultra numb by drug or scalpel. So, I remain uncool. When will the Leave Me Alone party ever gain traction? REpublicans sometimes talk a good game economically and 2nd amendment, then they get all legal about whether you stay pregnant or be gay.

These days they tend to be a little better on first amendment as well, but after Bush firing up the unneeded Homeland Security dump, I wouldn't think that assertion would stand much scrutiny.

Just get government out of pregnancy and who people diddle, and let it go whether you like it or not. Otherwise you'll never know freedom. Besides, if you look around, you must agree that the world would be better had many of its inhabitants been snuffed before having a chance to take a breath. Cruel reality.

I may have a personal code that precludes something, but often I would vote against making my code law because it leads to tyranny. Plus I think you should have a few years to decide if you really want that kid. Animals and human cultures throughout history have rejected the young they don't want, often in quite cold and heartless ways. Or maybe it is actually kind. Leave it to the parents, painful as that may be.

So, repubs, if those of you who claim to champion freedom actually do, choose the essential battles and realize you just can't have it both ways. There are battles which are best left to the dynamic of the culture. Like using a fork as well as a knife to eat. No law against using your fingers for all of it, as far as I know.

I gave up on the dems because I've heard too many who openly praise Castro, the Chinese system, and who think the little people need their parentage. They also pretend not to be tied to big money and that is one whopper of a lie. The very biggest money, the kind that can tip the stock market, almost at will, is firmly pulling many of their strings.

Of course, there is that one democrat representative who tried to save Guam from capsizing. He certainly deserves to be in office.

They said I'd change with age, but the longer I live, the more Libertarian my sentiments.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm Thinking Coastal--incredible to have choices

It is still difficult for me to recognize choices in my life, and not fall prey to the inner voice that tends to imprison me. Leaving Memphis was a huge exercise in stepping back and realizing that it was possible for me to take off into the unknown if I so chose. And so I did.

There is a purpose for this trip as I know my destination is to make it to the family celebration in Oregon, of all places. None of us live there, but that is how we roll these days.

It seems too complicated, expensive, and too much long haul driving with time constraints for it to make sense to hook up with vagabond lady. Things don't always time out for my convenience.

The low pressure plan is to ride the coast north of LA all the way up to Oregon. I've never done it and it seems a shame to be here and not give it a shot, now that I am in the mood. And because it is possible. Breaking away from the usual always feels odd, like I need to go to confession, or like I've stolen something, SHOULD BE doing other unknown things.

Truth is, I could be smashed by errant space objects and never have lived that bit of adventure and beauty which is here to enjoy. As time goes on, many things are best done sooner than later.

Guess I'll finally have to get a new windshield, that long standing S shaped crack is crawling again. These are expenses which cut into the kayak fund. Besides I haven't decided what is ultimately the best craft for my use. I'm not planning to shoot rapids, I don't think. Maybe I'll just wait for Lotto to call my name and settle for a ChrisCraft. I doubt it, though.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Countdown to a Road Trip

All I know is that I need to be north of CA by the first part of August for the big hooplah. Both my nephews are now married, and one has a child. It is a miracle. I spent most of my youth with the tacit conviction that my sibling and I could not possibly be real humans and produce more such creatures.

He clearly proved me wrong. Not only that but he did a great job of it. I'm not so sure I would have. Besides, no one who was ever in that kitchen wanted to pull any of my offspring out of the oven. Is that a metaphor of some sort? Not sure if it is just mixed or mixed up. My tale of woe when it comes to such things is a sad saga best suited for another day. Or never.

Anyway, my nephews are my heroes. They both have done things much like I think I might have, had I any sense for the first half of my life. At least everyone pretends that my influence on them was significant and positive. Probably true.

They were too young to know of my most desperate moments, but I avoided family during those years anyway. They were well schooled by their parents, and smart enough to realize that they possess the genes which could easily render them hopeless alcoholics or hop heads should they get too careless. Then again, I suppose by some twist of fate one could be a hopeful hop head/alcoholic. Not that it would do any good.

That is just another way of saying that I am determined to be there to celebrate young L's betrothal. Young; he was cautious and didn't get hitched until he was almost 33. Same age I was when I got divorced. Boy oh boy. Then later I find out, "Oh no, I never intended to have kids". I know I wasn't that drunk. Maybe you could have said so one of those times I was fantasizing out loud about the value of having 5 or 7 or 9 babies. I thought an odd number would be good at that time.

Now I think one or two children provide about all the abuse anyone needs in one life.

So, it will either be a slow trek up the coast, or a zigzag over to Yellowstone for a few day fling, then back to OR. I'm leaning toward the coastal route. I'm not sure the flingee is really making enough of a good faith effort. There may be reasons, but it still leaves me to be the one jumping through hoops. That is the only thing about this age--good looking women who are reasonable candidates for whatever are far and few between. Throw in my intrinsic difficulties and eccentricities, and we have odds approaching those of winning the lottery.

Hey Obama, screw spreading the wealth, let's spread the love, dammit. I see plenty of trophies with wealthy guys who can't possibly be any fun. I should have been a pool boy. In SoCal I think that is a very satisfying occupation. Tennis instructor is right there, too, but a little more complicated.

(although my hat's off to George Hamilton. He's always been a funny guy, and made shameless vanity work well for himself)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

America, The Beautiful

w/Jonathan Stone doing something in Aminor. The guy is killer on 12 string
Happy Independence Day

Independence. Free of tyranny. Almost.

The seed of the thought is here. To me the true culture of being American is to neither be a tyrant nor tolerate tyranny. That is the real American dream. The rest follows.

I know that has been lost in the maze somewhere and that the culture is one which is largely unaware of how that works. But thoughts can catch on, just like fads do. I'd think the idea that everyone has the right to be a fool or genius or in between, providing he doesn't force his folly and will upon others, should be easier for people to embrace than the idea that it is cool to wear your trousers so that your ass is hanging out. Just people exercising the right to be fools, I guess. Just like those who keep defining "the American Dream" as some sort of win in the big bingo game of material acquisition.

I know of no modern state which is clearly overbearing and tyrannical which does not enact its oppression in the name of the greater good, and claim it is for the benefit of "the people". In America the protection of the freedom of the individual should be the highest priority. The seed was planted, and discussions of the personal flaws of those who sowed that seed are irrelevant to the idea. We should be becoming a freer state, not the opposite.

The authority of the state exists by our permission. If the balance is lost and we find that we exist by its permission, then we need to abridge or cast off that authority.

I won't give up. I'm glad I live here. It is one beautiful place which was formed in a way which pointed to even greater beauty.
When abuse of power of any kind is less the stuff that feeds ego, and is not taken for granted as business as usual, we'll be on our way. So don't speed up to prevent that person from changing lanes just because you can. These things start with common courtesy and decency.

This is the day to remember the decision to no longer be subjects of authority, but the kings of our own lives. It is not about big military displays, per se. We can be proud, but not just of brute force for its own sake. Independence yields pride on every level.

Who Do You Love? I Heart Colorado

It is always thrilling and ever so reassuring when a political figure flies into a disaster site, often inconveniencing the locals due to security, special precautions and general royal treatment and demands, then pretends that gazing at the destruction of the area with just the perfect serious "Dad look" is somehow productive. These are expensive bits of stage play.

. I certainly felt better when Obama stopped in for the obligatory disaster photo op, as I always do when heads of government "tour" a disaster scene. It is somehow overly transparent that they don't really gain any knowledge they couldn't otherwise learn through modern communication means. But it is supposed to reassure those who see themselves as subjects and children of a benevolent and parental power such as the Federal government.

Probably just me, but it makes me a little queazy. Photos get taken, then it is off to raise money for re-election, or find a disaster free zone for some golf or general scheming. It is the whole theatrical thing that annoys me. No one ought to think the president is going to fly in and extinguish a wildfire, fix the aftermath of a hurricane or earthquake. They can direct agencies and other bureaucrats to help in some ways. And they can do it all without the "Tour". I've seen this routine from senators, governors, presidents and any others who can get away with wasting tax money on their self aggrandizement.

But what I was really thinking was how people in this country tend to rally to help those in dire straits. Often they are more motivated if it is a place far away, where people of a different culture dwell. With all the serious trouble here, I can never quite fathom why so much missionary work is always overseas somewhere.

So, I pondered the phenomenon. My conclusion is that, although Americans tend to rush to aid when the worst happens to our own. They rush a bit more if the worst hits people who are already living worse than animals like bears and chipmunks. Why is that? Not everyone of us is of that ilk, but there is that trend in many circles.

I think it is because they like to go places where they feel superior to the locals. Be the big genius and savior. You go cruising in somewhere in which the wheel is barely understood, and the concept of using a pipe and gravity to move water is looked on as God-like magic, you are suddenly SOMEBODY instead of just a regular American fish swimming in the vast American pond. You are now a big fish in a small pond.

When I see such destruction in a place as beautiful and special as Colorado I hope for the resources being spent to build things for other countries to be redirected to help our own people. We build schools and all kinds of things for people who hate us. Yet we still have gangs in cities and people being chased out of their homes by fires while bears and looters wreak havoc in their absence.

I really think any looter caught in the act in such circumstances should be executed and tossed somewhere where vultures, coyotes and other creatures can dispose of the remains. No trial, no nothing.

Bears have been taking advantage as well. I won't say I told you so, but now their true character comes out. Looters, bears, they all suck. Maybe there is hope if bears could be trained to loot from looters and bully them a bit. I guess a bear can't help it if it has such a keen sense of smell, and such an appetite that it seeks out the food left out in a house where people had to evacuate in a hurry. I still don't think they have more right to exist than we do.

There are those who claim we are encroaching on the bears' territory and all that. I wonder exactly what is our habitat? It seems humans, like mice, pretty much make anyplace home. Most of the earth works out for us. Like bears being bears, it is what we are, so why the guilt?

I wonder what is going on this summer--fires in the west, storms and no power to the east. (Has that be toured and recorded, replete with the Dad Look?) Easy going, so far, in San Diego county, except in lies in an ever encroaching nanny state. Pretty much they only mess with the conspicuous, those who own land and things, have children, and hire people. I own little, no kids, and I'm not presently hiring. That keeps me from being destroyed out here. If you go into business, best to find some sort of intangible, don't manufacture or make things. Software is probably as safe as anything.

Well I hope the missionaries go fix the forest in Colorado rather than get served for dinner by some far away cannibal community. Speaking of hostile environments, sounds like DC is experiencing hard times. Poor Virginia. What a bummer to have DC bumped up against your state.

Then again, I may move to CO one day, and I may like it better if the missionaries aren't there.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Product Reviews; part 722012

After a little checking online, I decided to purchase another Dewalt sander. The one I have has done fairly well. The Makita I used for awhile was great in many ways, but the clips which hold the paper fell apart because the metal spring clips are poorly attached into the molded plastic sides, and when that plastic bit breaks off, it is not good.

The Dewalt has OK clips to hold the sandpaper, but it is kind of a pain. They didn't fall off after much extended use, so that is a plus.

We are talking 1/4 sheet finish sanders here. I do, however, use them for pre-finish work a lot. Sometimes you can't go the random orbital route.

OK. So it seemed that Home Depot was as good a place as any to get the sander. I checked various places online and prices were about the same.

Before I forget, the Makita did not come with any sort of carrying case. A big minus--but it was fairly cheap.

Alright. I went to the power tool section of my favorite Home Depot--the one in Poway, CA. They had the display model, but were out of stock of the Dewalt sander I wanted. Then I noticed the Ridgid sander--whoever named that brand was a master of subliminal messaging--which was priced the same as the Dewalt. Both are at the upper end of HD's selection.

The various specs were about the same; amps, rate of vibration or orbit, etc. But I noticed the Ridgid unit had a different setup for holding the sandpaper. It looked as if it was less likely to pinch or annoy fingertips, and it seemed an easier and possibly more durable design.

So, I said forget bothering with waiting for the truck and all the things the helpful store rep suggested so I could get the Dewalt. I took the risk and bought the subliminal tribute to my masculine virility. For me, the Ridgid is most suitable, I decided.

This unit has seen hours of constant use--earplugs are worth their weight in gold. Some practice is required, but the system for attaching the paper is far quicker and easier than other sanders I've used, and it seems to be hanging together. The thing functions very well.

I ended up buying another one* so that my helper and I could both be sanding simultaneously. They have worked out well, and believe me, they have endured a little bit of abuse.

They come in a soft case made of heavy fabric of some kind, which I prefer to the hard shell case which houses my Dewalt. The case is no larger than it needs to be, the zipper which closes the top works well, and the pouch is useful.

I'm very pleased with this device and would recommend the Ridgid 1/4 sheet sander without reservation unless you are one who goes for the stuff that costs hundreds of dollars. In that case, you are on your own.

Oh, I like the Ridgid sander's on-off switch setup much better than either Dewalt or Makita.

*part of the deal for me doing this job is that THEY would pay for the sanders.

Another Pic someone sent me

sent to me with the caption, "Harmonica Whore" because I play with a variety of people--almost all who ask--local joke and nickname. shades due to sun shining through storefront as it was setting, causing unpleasant glare. Not sure who took this or others. They make the facebook circuit then a friend clues me in

For once, I really hope to get the video of something I played last Sat. and the big open mic gala/fundraise. Actually, I was part of a contingent of people who were specifically asked to come play and do more than the usual ten minute set. That was nice.

Anyway, I wonder how that one thing turned out. It can feel one way when you run a solo for a few minutes, but you can't know how it projects. Especially because half the sound when playing diatonic harmonica is rumbling around in your head because that crazy thing is in your mouth. Sounds obscene. Could be wherein lies the appeal.

Finally, a day without a big work push. Plenty else to do.

I am lucky for at least two reasons, maybe more. One is that the powers that be tend to smile upon me at unpredictable times for unknown reasons. Another reason is that I realize my good fortune and don't blame you or Bush or Obama for my shortcomings. That doesn't mean I agree with what I see as the slow erosion and increasingly rapid progress of our nation toward a thing of little liberty and personal breathing space. Be that as it may. I still know the important aspects of what gets in my way aside from that, and it is I.

Lately, though, I've been finding the little victories approach working so that I'm surprised I am less bogged down and unproductive. Anything I do becomes a small accomplishment in my mind--laundry, maintenance, work today instead of putting it off until tomorrow, etc. Even tiny things, like washing a dish.

I was very bogged down for awhile. Most of my life, on and off. I'm enjoying the unusual feeling of being alive enough not to crave escape every waking minute. It doesn't feel like a manic swing this time, but who knows if it is or not. It has lasted for about two weeks. Two weeks in which taking that first step toward anything wasn't a huge obstacle and an unpleasant chore.

I don't remember that happening since one time when I was 28 visiting my brother with my then wife. He had some minor projects around the yard that had been put off. I immediately started moving rocks and such rather than analyze the amount of work, the dread which my father instilled in me, etc. I gave that up a year later and got drunk for several years.

Comparing this pic with the one in prev post, it is clear I was working the mic according to what was appropriate at the time. A friend played Orange Blossom Special, his way but kind of like C. McCoy, and sounded really good. Very good guitar player and harp player--much more the bluegrass/country player than I am. You can bet, as much as I do not even care for the tune, I will learn OB Special and be able to do it fast one of these days soon. I hope to play it once and then forever put requests for it to bed. It is like asking me to hit my head with a hammer for your enjoyment. But after hearing Les play, I just have to do it. Once.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Phase 1 of Project Teakagain Goes As Planned

Today was the last day of the big work push. I have no finger prints. Hours of detail sanding will do that. Fortunately I had help part of the time.

In addition to doing the normal routine I do when someone is coming into town at the house in trophy-wife-big-bucks village (nothing against trophy wives--I'd have one but the purchase price is too steep), I had to finish some of the project, deal with plumbing issues and cabinetry drama, and some other things I forgot.

I ran full speed from 8 AM until 3PM today, then headed over to Valley Music for an event that started at 1pm. Copper Creek played at around 6. We did well.

I also played with a guy called Jonathan. This time I passed on two invitations play. It turned out my instincts were right. Both performances were outstanding and due to circumstances of the moment, I'd have only been in the way. There are times when jumping up on stage is more awkward than it ought to be.

I've never seen so many good players at this place. Really goo people showed up. It definitely put a nice finish to a lucrative day.

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


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