Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "sothe" journal:
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Greetings! You have found, either on purpose, or by unfortunate chance, the Live Journal of Steve… an Artist, Writer and Provocateur who lives in rural N.H. and drives a forklift as a day job.
Artwise, I work mainly in bone and metal; and tend to find beauty and inspiration in ruins, cemeteries, junkyards and other such places that most folks associate with decay.
Examples of my jewelry and 3d art, and galleries that are currently displaying my flat panel copper patina works are listed here, when I am showing anything, anywhere.
This Journal is now Friends Only. However, since many people seem to find my life a source of humor, curiosity, morbid fascination or; like my father… an excellent example of “how not to live” some select entries are for public consumption.
Long time friends and readers of my LJ will be familiar with these postings. But some of the newer wanderers of the internet who have somehow washed up upon the shores of my Blog may not be. So, if you are curious about my adventures with a Long Hard Bone and a Golden Pussy or perhaps wondering how I Joined a Union and got Stuck to a Bomb Sniffing Dog after Dumpster Diving with a Bag full of Body Parts, or What happened when I brought a drunk Russian stripper home on Valentine's Day, or even just wondering what a somewhat standard day for an artist who works with bones is like, then do please enter and be… if not horrified, at least amused.
Also, for those of a Gothic persuasion, reading the Ramblings of an Elder Goth concerning Valentine’s Day
And/ or Christmas might prove interesting… or perhaps just tedious… who knows.
If you wish to be added as a Friend on my Blog, then do please respond to any of the postings, and tell me what horrendous crime or deed you did in a past life that would warrant such a punishment.
Current Mood: artistic
Oh look! Iv'e discovered yet another new way to light myself on fire!|
So yes it seems as if I have found yet another new and amusing way to light myself on fire... Oh joy, oh rapture! This time it was not spinning fire or breathing fire, but while doing my pyrotechnics.
You see whenever I have a pyrotechnic effect setup I try to make sure there are always 2 ways to set it off. At the First Spring Legends Legacy event, I had an effect that failed to go off. Both the primary and backup ignition systems failed. Once the thing was over and it was safe to examine the components of the effect I found that it was a frayed fuse that had been the cause of the failure of the backup. I cursed myself for being a cheapskate, as I had purchased that roll of fuse from a local fireworks store, rather than buy it from my usual supplier, which means paying large hazmat shipping fees. So, I immediately checked the rest of the roll of fuse for any more frayed spots. Finding none, put it back in my bag of tricks.
I almost always use a 6 inch length of standard green visco fuse as a backup ignition system. visco fuse burns at a standard rate of one inch per second, this gives me 6 seconds to get my hand out of the way. I hate having to do this, because it means the players see a burning fuse, and that kind of spoils the whole “wave your hand and POOF!, a gate opens in a cloud of smoke” kind of effect I am going for. But, seeing a burning fuse for a few seconds, is better than nothing happening at all, and also, I can often block the players view of the fuse, and chanting something powerful and mystic sounding for 6 seconds, is second nature to me at this point. Do you think that is a skill set I should put on a resume?
So, at the Second Legends Legacy event, the effect I had set up was several flash-pots with flash powder in them, connected via visco fuse to each other, and to a pan of black powder. The intended effect was that I drop a burning piece of charcoal into the black-powder pan while chanting mystically about sacrificing the stone... the powder ignites, which ignites the fuse, which then ignites the flash pots at about 2-3 second intervals. Very pretty, very flashy!
But of course,as is usual in my life... things went wrong. When I dropped the burning piece of charcoal into the black powder... it went out. It just sat there, glowing slightly red and NOT igniting the black powder. I mean, what the hell! Black powder is so flammable, it can be ignited by a stray spark of static electricity... yet a red hot piece of charcoal was not igniting it!? The Ghods truly must hate me.
So, I waited a few seconds to make sure the charcoal was indeed NOT going to light the powder, then secreted my lighter in the palm of my hand and went to light the “back up visco fuse” which I had left sticking out of the other end of the pan.
Well, when I lit the fuse, it did not burn at the standard rate of 1 inch per second... it took off and burned at what must have been about 1 foot per second! So, rather than a good six seconds to get myself out of the way of the ignition... I had ½ a second. Needless to say, I was very close to the pan of black powder when it went off, and the connected flash pots also all went off within about ½ to 1 second of each other. It was very dramatic!
Unfortunately, I received 1st and 2nd degree burns over much of my right hand, and managed to singe my eyebrows off and burn a bit of my hair away. I was told that the people who saw me were impressed, because after the smoke cleared, my hair was still smoldering and smoking! So, I finished the plot... thankfully the second effect I had set up went off without a hitch, and then spent the rest of that evening being attended to by one of the staff members who is a nurse, while keeping my hand in my cooler, which was the largest bunch of ice I could find. And of course, once home from the event... I took that whole 50 foot roll of fuse, and soaked it in water for hours! From now on, I will be paying the hazmat fees and buying my fuse from professionals!
Thankfully, my hand is healing well, as burns are something I am very familiar with... one cannot be a fire breather/spinner without getting burned. And actually, singeing ones eyebrows is something of a point of pride amongst some fire breathers. I firmly believe in one of the creeds of Wildfire, which is... Safety Third!
It's a pity it is not near Halloween though, as my hand is now in the phase of healing where the old burned skin is falling away, revealing the bright red/pink new skin beneath. It would make an awesome looking zombie hand, without the need for any make up! But, I can still hold my morning cup of coffee, or a pint of ale in the evening, and still work my Xbox controller, so all will be well.
And so, in other news, my birthday passed by unremarkably and mostly unremarked (not one FB post wishing me a Happy b-day!) and that is the way I like it. I was given some nice cards and such by Marti and some nice clothing by Jaye, and some high quality alcohol by Dave, so that was all good. As usual, I ended up purchasing myself a small birthday present. I bought myself an audiobook copy of one of my all time favorite books, Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey . I must have read the book a dozen times buy now. And my old first edition hard copy is getting a bit dog-eared... and since first editions of this work are now selling for around $1,500 , I figured I should save it the wear and tear of another reading.
Also I figured it would be nice to hear someone read those words to me, I have not been read a bedtime story in many decades. Unfortunately the narrator of the audiobook has a voice speech pattern and cadence that somewhat resembles Zefrank who is the voice behind the famous True Facts about series of videos on YouTube.
For those unfamiliar with this series, this video, is one of his most famous, True facts about the octopus and made the rounds of the internet some months ago.
This is not usually a problem. However sometimes it can turn what is meant to be a deep and philosophical insight about nature and the nature of humans into something... not quite so deep.
But that is OK, because I am used to dealing with burns, and irony, and pain an healing, and doing it all again... because that is how Fire-performers doooo...
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Luc Arbogast
Well, it would seem as if the Universe and I are still at odds. ;( After my last entry, which was mainly a list of unpleasantnesses, I had hoped that things had bottomed out. But, it seems as if the Universe still has a few nasty tricks up it's sleeve. The war between the Universe seems to have entered a new phase... damage control.
So, shortly after my last entry, I noticed that my car was a lot louder than usual, and so looked underneath it, and sure enough... a hole in the exhaust system. Sigh, this was something I could fix by myself, just a simple patch kit from the local hardware store would be needed, or so I thought. Then, on my way home from work that Friday... the entire exhaust system, everything from in front of the catalytic converter to the muffler just fell off! Yup, my cars entire exhaust system hit the road, so to speak, with a loud crash! The only fortunate thing about this was, that when the exhaust system fell out... it did so right in front of my mechanic's shop, not 20 feet from his door.
So, my mechanic strolled out of his shop, and as he and I stood looking at the mass of pipe, muffler, catalytic converter and such laying in the road, he said “Well, never seen one do that before.” Then he put on his welders gloves, picked up the exhaust system and hauled it into his shop saying “I guess I'll be seeing you tomorrow... just bring your car down anytime and I'll see what I can salvage of this for ya.”
Then, on my way into the house after that incident, I noticed, now that much of the spring debris and such has been cleared away from our steps and such... that a small crack in our front concrete steps had become much bigger over the winter; so much so that one whole step was in danger of crumbling and splitting away, and it definitely was a hazard to walk on. Great, just great!
Also, last entry I had mentioned our cat Fuzz, who had broken down the “cat barrier” I had put up around my carnivorous plants that were over-wintering, and eaten a fairly rare plant called a Dewy Pine . Well, it seems that the three female cats that we are “fostering”, had learned the trick as well, and I found that they had almost completely destroyed all of my carnivorous plants! There were only a few bent and chewed up stems and leaves left. So, since they were obviously not safe inside, and it was relatively warm out ( in the 70s and 80s).. I put the plant remnant's outside, hoping they would recover.
The next morning I woke up... to discover that the temp had dropped unexpectedly, and it had snowed. The few remaining plants I had had, were now covered by almost 6 inches of fresh white snow... and were of course, thoroughly dead. So, I poured myself a cup of coffee and went upstairs to check my e-mail, only to discover that one of the cats ( I don't know which one), had either marked or pee'd on my computer's keyboard, and that it too was now well and completely dead.
So, after counting to ten, I decided to try this whole “morning thing” over. I went downstairs and went back to bed. About an hour later, I was still awake, and noticed that our very elderly dog, Maddie, was circling around, which means she is getting ready to pee... and she was getting ready to pee on the bed I was in. So, I jumped up and grabbed her, hoping to get her outside in time. But such was not to be.. just as I grabbed her, she started peeing... and of course, ended up peeing all over me!
So, yeah, that's kind of the way things have been going of late.
It's a good thing that Legends Legacy, the LARP I staff for, is in it's spring season, and so for this last event I had a ton of stuff to do... I had fake blood to mix up, pyrotechnics to mix and test, ancient poetry to read and copy, ancient texts to modify, fake eyeballs to make, costuming to create, as well as dissolving crystals to , sound effects files, and even a commission for an LED prop, so I had lots of projects to keep me busy and my mind off the pranks that the universe was playing on me. And this is a very good thing, for if I had not had all those projects to do, I might have slid even further into depression.
And once again, I am coping. I am listening to Luc Arbogast a LOT these days, as I find his amazing counter-tenor voice to be very soothing and relaxing. His latest album Odyessus, is a thing of true beauty.
Also, I have been reading Tahir Shah's book The Caliph's House , which is about the writers adventures in buying and renovating an old house in Casablanca. It makes me feel so much better about the repairs I need to do to my own house to read this book again! At least I don't have to deal with a toilet that is haunted by Jinns, or servants that, in an effort to appease the Jinns, throw dead chickens down the well where I get my drinking water from. ;)
But, on a positive note, my friend Kim came up the other weekend. Kim is always great to be around, and every time she comes up here, we usually do something epic together, usually involving fire or pyrotechnics. Well, when she arrived, I was pretty down... for all the above mentioned reasons, and Kim was exhausted and hung over from a date she had had the night before.
We thought about doing some fire stuff, but it was far too windy for fire breathing, and even too windy for me to use my fire snakes. ;( Kim had brought her glow-poi with her, and I had a pair as well, but I was not into that.) For me you see, it's all about the fire. Spinning fire snakes or breathing fire is a very meditational, calming and centering experience for me. That's one of the reasons I perform so rarely, the experience is very personal for me. When spinning fire-snakes, there is so much fire, that it blocks out much of your vision... all you can see is the fire. And also, it's so loud, that really all you can hear is the fire. Everything else just kind of vanishes, and you are left with just your self, and the fire. The same with fire breathing; the moment you start the breath, everything else just kind of drops away and there is only you, and the fire... one moment of true peace, beauty and harmony with the Universe.
So, since we were both very Low key, but still wanting to do something ...epic, Kim and I decided to do some epic Couch Potatoing!
Firstly, I caught Kim up on Game of Thrones, as she was a couple of episodes behind. I also discovered that Kim had never heard of the Order of the Good Death, or my favorite mortician, Caitlin Doughty. So, we watched several of Caitlin's Ask A Mortician videos. Kim was particularly amused by her Viking Funeral video... as both Kim and I have attended a Viking Funeral ( and a much better one than Caitlin and her cohort put on in the video!
After that, it was on to Die Antwoord videos, because Kim had heard their music, but not seen any of their videos. Of course, once she saw their Fatty Boom Boom video, after that we had to go searching the interwebs for other videos that dis or parody Lady Gaga ( If you can't tell by the video, Die Antwoord and lady Gaga don't like each other very much, due to Die Antwoord responding rudely to an offer by Lady G to open for one of her tours) But, we could find nothing that topped This... Klassik? by Sherry Vine, that parodies Gaga's Bad Romance. And then I discovered that Kim had not yet seen Iron Sky . So, I quickly corrected that huge lapse in her cultural education. So, while we did not do anything truly epic, except potato the couch, it was great to see Kim again, as it always is.
And last night, Jaye, Marti, Dave and I went out to see the Wailin Jennys , in Northhampton; they were, as usual, awesome. What amazing voices and harmonies they have!
And really, my life may be more than a bit chaotic right now, with lots of bad stuff happening around me, and to many of my friends around me... but all it takes is me walking into a room and seeing a scene like Jaye and Chico curled up and napping in our reading chair. , to make me realize how truly blessed I am. I mean, we have a roof over our heads; sure, its a leaky roof that is badly in need of repair, but it is a roof. Nor are we in danger of losing that roof due to foreclosure or anything like that, as so often happens when someone is diagnosed with a catastrophic illness such as cancer. We do not usually have to decide between buying food or putting gas in the cars. I have some truly amazing and wonderful friends/lovers. I have an outlet for my art, and sometimes enough spare cash to buy art supplies, books, or go out and see a show like the Wailin' Jennys from time to time.
So, the car's exhaust system is repaired, the mechanic was able to salvage most of it, so it was not as expensive as I had feared. The cement front step is repaired, and hopefully the patch I put in place will last for more than a few years. A new wireless keyboard was ordered from Amazon and delivered the next day. The old keyboard is undergoing the "spray with alcohol and let stand on its corner in a dry place" treatment in hope that it may recover. Also, I was able to replace most of the carnivorous plants the cats destroyed, and even found another Dewy Pine.
Now, if the Universe would stop playing these practical jokes on me, perhaps I could stop living in a permanent state of “damage control”, and begin to actually move forward with things, rather than just trying to fix them as fast as they break... that would be nice for a change!
Current Mood: exanimate
Current Music: Luc Arbogast
My Little Ponies of the Apocalypse...|
First, let me apologies to any who are reading this because they thought the title indicated this entry might be humorous, or amusing. It is not. If you want light hearted and or amusing words... look elsewhere this time dear reader.
OK. So, I am depressed. This is nothing new for me, I have suffered from Chronic depression for a very long time... and have been dealing with it, more or less effectively, for many years. But this bout of depression, has been especially bad. It's the deep dark kind of depression that makes you want to put the film koyaanisqatsi on, and watch it again and again and again while drinking Absinthe till your brain runs out of your ears, or just curl up in the fetal position under a comforter and hope that the world somehow ends while your not paying attention. Yup, that's kinda the place I've been for a while now. I also suffer from SAD . So, winters are hard on me. This winter, which did not seem to want to end, has hit me especially hard.
I even saw my doctor about it, and if I see a doctor about it... you know it's serious! I tend to dislike doctors. After the preliminary questions and examination, he asked me what was going on in my life ( he knows me and Marti fairly well; he was the doctor that first diagnosed her with Multiple myeloma .)
So, I gave him the rundown, I.E a girlfriend/partner (Marti) with an incurable cancer, house that is falling apart faster than I can repair it; so much so that I feel that I am at war with my own house! Nor do I have enough money to hire someone to fix things, or enough time to fix things myself. Having to do all the work/stuff around the house that Marti used to do, but no longer can because the fatigue caused by the $10,000 a month drug that keeps her cancer at bay,( not curing it minds you... just keeping it from killing her, this month) makes her incapable of even climbing a flight of stairs without getting badly winded. Only getting 3-4 hours of sleep on a good night. Having lost one beloved dog of 13 years a few months ago, and anticipating losing another beloved, long term dog in the near future... not to mention having to watch her ( Maddie) go downhill all winter... she is now mostly blind, deaf, and as far as we can tell, suffers from Alzheimer's or dementia, or both . The only reason that we have not had Maddie “put down”, as they say, is that she does not seem to be in any pain, and seems to still get enjoyment out of some things, like chasing cats when she knows she shouldn't, or a good ear scratch. But, watching her slow decline, is not easy... I only hope that when she does die, she goes in her sleep without pain.
I also mentioned being very sick with bronchitis for several weeks, and that most of my friends and acquaintances have also been stricken with some sort of medical misfortune, ranging from bad stomach bugs to pneumonia to heart attacks, that while it does not feel like the biblical Four Horsemen of the apocalypse have been unleashed, it certainly does seem like someone may have let the four My Little Ponies of the Apocalypse out of their pen!
After I got done telling him all that, and more... his eyes got kind of wide, and he asked me if I thought I might need to increase the dose of my anti-depressant. I said “no.”
And the reason I said no, was that in spite of all the bad stuff going on, I am managing. Me and depression are old friends, and know each others habits and idiosyncrasies well. I know all the signs... letting social contacts slide, lack of pleasure in things, extreme fatigue, etc. etc. And I also know how to combat depression, and have been doing those things to the best of my abilities. And I told the doctor, that yes, there is a lot of bad stuff going on in my life right now, but there is also a lot of good stuff, and even now, in the midst of this crushing depression, I can see that the good, outweighs the bad.
So, I told the doctor my roller-coaster analogy of depression. Moods, like roller-coasters, go up and down... and when you are going down at high speed, the only things you can be sure of, is that eventually, this ride will go up again. And I told the doctor that I have lots of projects to do, I recently had lunch with my dear friend Peg, and see Jaye most every weekend, and the LARP I staff for, Legends Legacy , is going full steam ahead to what looks to be an exciting and amazing spring season. Plus, with spring seemingly having decided to actually show up, the days are getting warmer, and brighter. So, I think, finally, the roller-coaster may be stopping its downward plunge, and heading, ever so slightly, upwards again. ;) He agreed, reluctantly, that I seemed to be managing.
So then, a couple days after that visit, I come home from work, log onto my computer to check me mail and such, only to find out that a friend of mine Anderson Mar, had died in a fire! .
Now, Anderson and I were not good friends, I had only seen her once or twice since I moved away from Boston and up into rural New Hampshire. But while I lived in Boston, I spent more than a few evenings conversing, drinking, dancing or flirting with her. Our conversations or dances were never long, as Anderson Mar's company was much in demand, and she was a very busy lady! But I always looked forward to running into her at whatever club, event, art opening, concert or party at which our paths happened to cross. An event she used to put on, the New England Darksidewalker's Ball , was where I first started vending my bone art and jewelry... and I even did pretty well at those events, making enough to cover my table fee and, and even my bar tab.
Anderson was one of the hardest working people I have ever met. She had several health issues, which would have many people sitting home collecting disability pay, but not her. She would hold down sometimes 2, or even three jobs in order to keep a roof over her head and wheels under her feet. And yet she always had time and energy for her passion, which was the Boston alt. music scene. She organized benefits, was a teacher at the Boston School of Rock , and her band, Sans Nomenclature, was a fixture in the local underground music scene.
With Anderson Mar's passing, the Boston underground music scene has lost one of it's staunchest and most passionate supporters, and a great many people have lost a very good friend.
Just as when my friend Mutie passed away a few years ago... it is hard to wrap my head around the fact that someone who was younger than me, with This much energy and life , is now gone.
Bon Voyage' Anders... I am sure that if you end up in heaven, you will start teaching the angels to rock!
Jeeves! Cue up koyaanisqatsi again... and bring me my absinthe! Looks like this roller coaster is not headed upwards just yet.”
Current Mood: crushed
Current Music: Phillip Glass
Hell hath no furry like...|
Ok. As you may know... or will after reading this anyway; I raise carnivorous plants. I seem to excel with sundews, and do pretty well with Venus flytraps, pitcher plants and others. So, last year I decided to start trying the really exotic stuff, and found a place that had a Dewy Pine for sale... and of course, purchased one... as it is a somewhat rarer and more delicate carnivorous plant than I have raised before.
Now, all the other carnivorous plants I raise need a period of dormancy during the winter, so I put them in an upstairs room with a grow-light on a timer to match the length of the daylight hours during the winter. Everything was going very well, and the Dewey Pine was getting ready to flower. I had never seen a Dewy Pine in flower before, so was looking forward to that.
Then, a few mornings ago, I went into the “plant room” in the morning before work as I do every day to water them ( those that need it), and in the pot where my Dewy Pine had been, I saw THIS .
And I swear, I heard the words “You bring in da new dog, so I take out your new plant!” in my head!
Fuzz had somehow destroyed the screening I had put up around my plants to protect them from curious cats, and then destroyed my Dewey Pine. I think he ate it, because there is no sign of the plant whatsoever. So, we had a brief stare-down, and then I had to go to work.
OK, this means war! Other than another Dewy Pine, the next plant I'm going to try raising is a Puya Chilensis, which is also commonly known as the Sheep Eating Plant!! Lets see our long-haired Fuzzcat take out a plant that catches sheep and uses them as fertilizer! And yeah, I may have to cut a hole in one of the floors of our house so it can bloom... but hey, I think it might be worth it to see the expression on Fuzz's face!
Current Mood: determined
Current Music: Nightwish
You mean there was supposed to be a calm before this storm!? I've been robbed!|
So, the holidays have come and gone, and are a distant memory... and in general that is a good thing, for with the holidays went a lot of stress! Now I don't really pay a whole lot of attention to traditional holidays, so they are not the source of the stress. However, the working at a very large, international manufacturing company, means that the holidays are also... Inventory time! And that my dear readers... is a huge source of stress.
Yup, it's that time of the year when the Govt. sends people into the warehouses, checks our computer inventory, and then matches it with our actual inventory... and smacks us with multimillion dollar fines if the match between the two is not exact.
Well, the warehouse I work in covers some 5 acres, and we have injection moulders creating new parts and doodads at the rate of several hundred, if not thousand, per hour; we receive in many tractor trailer loads and shipping containers full of parts and material every day, and ship out a dozen or so 18 wheelers filled with stuff every day... so, keeping a running inventory that has to be exact when the feds walk in and say “Ok, stop everything, we will now count all the parts you have.” is, to say the least, difficult.
And to make matters worse, a week or so before the Feds arrive... some of the managers go through the warehouse, look at parts and such that we may not have used in a while and have conversations like...
Manager: “These green doodads here, have we used any of them this year?”
Assistant: after looking at the computer.. “nope.”
Manager: “ok, well then, we probably don't want them in our inventory. So, they look like something Connecticut would use, yes? Or perhaps Georgia... yeah, ship all of these green doodads to the Georgia plant.”
And of course, all the plants and warehouses in Connecticut, San Jose, Rhode Island, Georgia etc. etc are having similar conversations, with the end result that just before the actual inventory, all the plants and warehouses get truckloads of parts and schmutz that the other plants and warehouses don't want in their inventories. And the closer it gets to Inventory Day, the crankier all the managers and bosses become, not to mention the employees, who have been working tons of overtime and such. So, to say it is not pretty, would be an understatement!
The actual holidays themselves ( Christmas, New years etc. etc.) were very small, mellow and nice. Jaye and Dave were over, and we exchanged gifts. There was clothing given and received, so we are all safe from the Yule Cat again this year.
Then, after the holidaze.. came, the Dog!
You see,after Finn's passing we did not want Maddie to be pretty much completely deaf, mostly blind, ( she is a very old dog) and the only dog in a houseful of cats, so we started looking at local shelters and such. Well, we quickly found a dog which looked he would be a good fit with our household. He is a mixed breed, dachshund and pug we think, but there may be some beagle and or chihuahua in there as well. Anyway, he was found as a stray, and turned into the Monadnock Humane Society , who nursed him back to health, tried to find his owners, and when that failed, put him up for adoption. And so, we ended up adopting him! The shelter had named him Chico, and we have not come up with a better name for him, so it looks like Chico will be his name.
Pic of Chico and Maddie... Chico is the black one.
Now, when we brought Chico home, we of course made the introduction slowly, and everything was going swimmingly! That is, until our cat Fuzz entered the picture. You see, Fuzz dislikes dogs, a lot! One of the reasons he gets on so well in our house, is that neither Maddie, or the recently passed Finn are/were very “dog-like”, due to their early upbringings and lack of socialization when they were puppies. ( which is before we got them), and also, Fuzz has bonded with our other very large feral cat, Tux; so much so that I have taken to calling then the Bromance Cats. The Bromance cats
Well, fuzz was very put out by Chico's arrival, because Chico is a very 'dog-like' dog; and so was in a very bad mood, and Maddie got too close to him ( being blind of course, she had no clue). So, Fuzz lashed out at her. And Fuzz does not pull his punches, and he always aims for the eyes. Fortunately, maddie moved her head at the last second, so Fuzz only scored a hit on her ear. But fuzz has all his claws, and made a pretty large cash in Maddie's ear... which bled profusely as she was running around the house howling and shaking her head. When we finally got her under control, and the bleeding stopped, our house looked like it had been the scene of an after-party at a blood-splatter analysts convention! We were wiping blood off the walls, ceiling, and furniture.. and Marti looked like an ax murderer, what with large stripes of blood across her face. It was indeed, an eventful evening. And of course, Chico, being a very smart dog, had by then figured out that Maddie needed to be helped and protected, and had taken it upon himself to be her protector. So, when Fuzz hurt Maddie... well, Fuzz became the Incarnation of All That Was Evil to Chico.
So, it has taken more than a few weeks, but Chico now gets along with all our cats, except of course for Fuzz. But Fuzz and Chico have developed a sort of “understanding” of the “I don't get too close to you, and you don't get too close to me” sort. So now instead of charging across the room to get at each other, they just kind of eye each other with suspicion when they are in the same room. Hopefully, they will mellow out even more with time.
And then of course, it was time to start prepping stuff for my trip to Birka ! So, I spent many of my spare hours working on the lining of my drinking horns, costuming and such-like. I was to be attending Birka with my friends Kim and Darcy, so, there was guaranteed to be fun and hilarity. And indeed their was! Kim and Darcy were competing in the fashion show, and their particular challenge was to combine medieval attire, with a modern sports theme... and so of course, they chose polo.
So, I wandered around Birka, ran into lots and lots of folks I hardly ever see, and compared prices, styles and qualities of drinking horns, in order to get a better of idea of what to charge for my “washable” drinking horns, and when I was not doing that, or talking to various craftsmen and women about bone or horn or copper, I was photographing Kim and Darcy, as they had complained to me that they had a lack of photographs from the 2012 Birka. And so, I got them in various amusing poses like This as they were getting their garb/costumes all in order. Serves them right for asking someone like me to take photos! But in the end, all the late night sewing, drinking and schmoozing was well worth it, as Kim and Darcy gave a stellar performance on the runway as The Wetwang Brothers. Groin-cobblers extraordinaire'! .
And so, after surviving the Holiday season, Surviving the arrival of Chico, in addition to dealing with all the other little stressers that life throws my way, like locking my keys in my car ( BTW, a snake hook is an awesome tool for breaking into a Subaru)... I needed a break!
And so, that's what this weekend was... nice, mellow, relaxing, and nothing special was done at all! Oh, yeah, there is a football game on, but I probably wont watch it... or even the commercials.
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Folkstone
The Battle of the Bulbs|
Yeah, long time no post, and when I do, it's got too many words and too many links... what else is new?
Who knows, all the links may just get a few people to stop trying to read this on their smart phones, and go back to reading it on a real computer. More likely tho, people will just stop reading... ah well, it's my blog and I'll link if I want to!
I know that I am doing what I usually do when I get depressed, which is withdraw and become rather uncommunicative, it's just the way I am. I am still depressed over the passing of my dog Finn, but at least the pain is no longer of the “gut-wrenching and incapacitating” sort, but rather the “there's a part of me missing that I will never get back” sort, which can be dealt with, perhaps not well or gracefully, but it can be dealt with. Life and the universe however, will not wait for me just because I feel like taking a brief wallow in the big, frothy, bubbly jacuzzi of depression and self-pity. As the Stark's used to say... Winter is coming.
And because Winter is coming, there is much that needs doing. After several more attempts to find the leak in the roof, I decided that even if I did find it, I no longer had the time to repair it. So, I got a good industrial strength tarp, and put that over the area I suspect the water is coming in. My “patch” of the roof has already stood up to one windstorm, so there is hope that it will last until Spring, when I can tear the whole side of the roof off and repair it properly.
Also, my plants needed to be brought in. This was accomplished, and my collection of carnivorous plants are now indoors and starting their 'dormant” phase of life. All except my Dewey Pine , which prefers a more Mediterranean climate, and does not do the “winter dormancy” thing. I just hope that hanging out with all the other carnivorous flora in a room that is full of rarely used craft materials, and home to one very shy and aggressive feral cat is “Mediterranean” enough for it.
And then of course, as always, there is the splitting and stacking of wood. But, with Jaye and Dave helping out on the weekends, the stacking of wood is going at a swift enough pace that I am comfortable with it... at least, I no longer have nightmares about freezing to death.
You'd think, that after just having to put the only dog I have ever had to 'sleep', the Universe might see fit to give me a break, but no! The Universe does not seem to be in the business of giving breaks. Instead, the Universe instigated what I am calling the Battle of the Bulbs!
I think it started with the fish. You see, I am a firm believer in the “you get what you pay for” saying, so, when I can afford it, I will always buy high-end products. Well, the light I had on my fish tank was just such a “high-end” purchase, some 15 years ago. Occasionally, one of the high-end ( I.E expensive), bulbs burns out. Well, when one of the bulbs in my fish-tank light unit burned out this time, I of course, went on-line to order a replacement. This was much easier said than done, as fish-tank light technology has changed a bit over 15 years. But, eventually I found a place that sold the bulbs I needed ( a 65 watt, 21 inch 50/50 blue actinic bulb with a four pin mount... for those of you who are into such minutia), and so I ordered a pair of them. Well, several days later, the bulbs arrived, and they were exactly what I had ordered, with one minor difference... the four pin mount on the bulbs I needed were in a straight line... while the four pins on the bulbs I was sent, were in a square configuration. So, return the square pin bulbs, and back to on-line searching...
Just after that, one of the headlights in my car burnt out. So, I went to the auto parts store, looked up my car in their not-so-little book, and found out what kind of bulb I needed, and the friendly person at the counter retrieved a pair of them for me. When I got home and was replacing the bulb however, I discovered that I had been handed the wrong bulb! So, a few days later, it was back to the auto store with the bulbs, and after several checks through the book, I discovered that my car is indeed a “Frankencar”, as it does not have the usual headlights for its make and model. So, I handed over the miscreant bulbs, and some more cash, and got two sets of the right kind of bulbs( my car needs separate bulbs for high beam and low beam) for my Frankencar's headlights, which I installed right then and there to make sure they fit and worked.
I also purchased two new fluorescent plant lights for my carnivorous plant's “winter dormancy” room, as fluorescent plant lights stop producing the wavelengths that plants need after about 6 months, so I replace the bulbs every winter. At the same time, I also purchased a new LED bulb for our back porch motion detector light, which normally uses fluorescent bulbs, and had one that burnt out a year or so ago, and I'd never gotten around to replacing. Well, it turns out that one of the florescent plant lights, had a bent pin, and would not go into the fixture. So, getting more than just a bit aggravated at this, I jury-rigged a solution with some aluminum tape and epoxy putty, and now the bulb fits. So there!
I also installed the LED light bulb in the motion detector on the back porch, and figured it would be a good test to compare it's light to the fluorescent one we had in there already... except of course, when I turned the unit on, the remaining fluorescent bulb picked that moment to blow out.
So, I imagine the cats and dog were more than just a bit concerned about me, as I went thought the house on a rant, yelling at the light bulbs “yes, you! And you! And you! You will all be replaced by LEDs.. all of you!!”
And so, to make good my threat, I started at the source... the fish light. I had heard rumors that there were full spectrum LED lights out there, that actually were “full spectrum”, which is ideal for me, because I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and exposure to full spectrum light has been shown to help with the symptoms of that, plus, it makes my African Rift Lake Chiclids look awesome! LEDs also have the wonderful advantage that they do not turn into toxic waste when they do eventually burn out, so...yay!
Take That Deadly Bulb!
Of course, at about the same time that all this bulb mayhem was going on, one of our cats caught a bad flu-like bug of some sort, and spread it to every single other cat in out house. So, we suddenly had 8 very sick cats to deal with.
One of the cats... one of the little gray females we are currently fostering, became so deathly ill she needed to be quarantined and force fed for several days, as she kept trying to do that 'crawl away to hide and die' thing that very sick or injured cats do. But fortunately, we were able to get some anti-biotics and food into her with a syringe, and after a few days of messy force feeding and such, she began to recover and eat on her own again. Thankfully, all the cats appear to have fought off this virus, whatever it was, although we still do get a chorus of cat sneezes every now and then.
And then, of course, my car decided that it was time to break down again, so it announced to me that it needed new rear struts and brake calipers by making a horrid rumbling noise and vibration, and then shredding it's rear tire. So, off to the garage with it to the tune of some 600+ dollars. Then, the day after that, Marti's car decided to throw out it's front wheel bearings... oh joy!
But really, there have been some very good times mixed in here as well. The past months have not all been depression, bad news from home, chores, plague cats, broken cars and belligerent light bulbs... I mean, mostly it has, but not completely.
One of the good things, was that the LARP I staff and do FX for Legends Legacy ended it's first season on a very high note! The players and staff were all very chuffed about how things had gone, which is awesome... a lot of good energy for the next season! Also, all my pyrotechnics went off without a hitch, so that is great as well. Although, for one effect ( a wizards duel), I think I used a little too much... ok, a lot too much purple smoke powder, as I was told after the fact, that the area looked less like a wizards dueling ground, and more like a helicopter landing zone in during the Vietnam war. So, yay!
Also, a Costume I created for Legends Legacy, on short notice, by just throwing together some stuff I had laying around the house, came out very well indeed and got an appropriate response... I.E People saying “What the hell is that!?” and running away, so I was very pleased by that.
And of course, now that it is getting cold, I celebrated my own personal holiday of First Fire, which occurs on the night that the first fire of the winter is lit in the wood stove. I am not a fan, or follower of many of the “Traditional” holidays like Christmas and such, so, I make my own, more meaningful holidays. It was, for me, a very good and calming thing, and within a few minutes of the wood stove being lit for the winter, our cat Tux and staked his claim to the best spot!
Also on this list of good things... I discovered a couple of really great movies, the first was Lost Skeleton of Cadavra , which is a hoot and one that I recommend everybody see, especially if you are a fan of cheesy 50's films. My face hurt for hours from laughing! And then there is Iron Sky ... it's about Nazi's living on the moon who invade earth, and is a whole lot better than the description would lead one to believe, if you are a fan of films like Dr. Strangelove, then you will most probably like this one as well!
And there have been a lot of good quiet.... and not so quiet ;) times with Jaye, who has been a godsend in helping me deal with all this shyt.
And because I know I am depressed, to a major degree... I have been trying to keep busy, as one of the things I tell people who are very depressed is “Do something, do anything!” and so, as usual, I have several projects in the works. I am getting ready to set up a new batch of mead, and considering getting another carboy ( the big glass jugs you ferment mead in) to increase my production capacity, as I find that when I make a batch of mead, I myself don't get much, as I tend to give most of the bottles away. I am also working on a washable, permanent lining for drinking horns, which I hope to debut at Birka , who I will be attending with my friends Kim and Darcy, and I am very much looking forward to this, as one can always count on a good time when hanging around with them!
And of course, when I get really really depressed ( as I am now), I engage in that most American of pass times... Retail Therapy! Now, when I am depressed enough to engage in this abhorrent behavior, which is vital to the sustaining of our country, I tend to buy expensive books, or expensive art, or expensive weaponry. Well, this time it is books... big, heavy, expensive hardcover books! So, if I am not keeping depression at bay by busying myself with art or projects, I will have a copy of Cabinet of Natural Curiosities by Albertus Seba and a copy of the codex Seraphinianus , amongst others, to keep my mind occupied.
So yeah... a lot of bad, a lot of good, a lot of crazy... this is my life, and even if I would have it any other way, the Universe does not seem to want to allow it, so I might as well go with the torrent!
Current Mood: cynical
Current Music: Die Antwoord
Treading water in the Slough of Despond|
This post will make you sad. If you don't want to be sad, don't read this.
Also, LJ still seems to have trouble parsing my HTML. After several e-mails back and forth, I think I have this problem solved, so the next post should be back to normal... this post however, will probably remain twonky. I have put the words that are supposed to be links in bold, to make reading it a bit easier. Sorry for any eye strain this may cause.
I also express some opinions which may offend some people, but oh well, this is my LJ and if you don't like what you read... ummm, don't read it!
So, I know that The Slough of Despond, besides other things, is the location that G.R.R Martin uses to describe his location in his LJ when his favorite football teams aren't doing so well, and he's a NY Jets fan, so he's been there a lot recently! ;) So really, my using it should have no copyright issues, as many other people have used it, besides George R.R probably got it from John Bunyan, the 16th century Priest. Also, I do not have the mental wherewithal to come up with any better description that more accurately fits my mood at this time.
To say that life has been hitting me pretty hard lately, would be putting it politely. Firstly, there is the house issues. In my last post, I had mentioned that the chimney looked like it needed to be re-pointed, and a bit about the job. Well, when I got up on the roof and actually looked at the chimney, a real horror show greeted my eyes... the thing had probably not been touched in 60 years or so!
So, I realized that if re-pointed it in the traditional way.. I.E, removing all the old mortar and damaged brick, well, the chimney would collapse, as the old mortar and damaged brick was all that was holding it together! So, it was an agonizingly slow process of clearing out the old brick and mortar from the bottom two levels, and re-pointing them, then waiting for them to dry (3 days minimum), and then moving up to the two levels above those, and doing the same to them. It was the three day “waiting to dry” period that was the beeatch, because for a time here, we had rain every other day, for a month or more! So, the project took much longer than originally anticipated. Also,the top seven layers of brick were so badly damaged that re-pointing was not an option, and they had to be re-built. Let me tell ya, I have a hefty new-found respect for the people that make all those perfectly straight and level brick walls I see everywhere! So, it may not look as good as a professional bricklayer's work, but the re-built chimney is strong and solid, and that's what counts.
So, then it was on to the leaking roof issue. Now, I can see where the water is coming into contact with the walls by the stain it makes, but for the life of me, I cannot find where the water is getting in! I have been all over the attic, looking at ancient boards and beams, looking for tell-tale signs of water coming in, and I find none! So, the water has to be getting in through the roof, and then traveling rather a long distance before running down to the wall where the stains are appearing. Gah! This means, that to find it, I will have to strip all the shingles off the entire side of the roof, find the entry point, deal with any rotted wood and such I find, and the re-roof the whole side. And sadly, while I now have the money to afford the materials and such to do this... I don't have the time! Winter is coming, and there is a lot of shyt that needs to be done, such as stacking wood. And <a href="http://www.legendsroleplaying.com">Legends Legacy</a> fall season is in full swing, so there is all the writing, plotting , costuming and prop making that goes along with that.
And one very sad one chore that I had to do, was care for, and eventually dig a grave for our dog Finn, as he was very ill, and after several vet visits, it was determined that there was no hope of him getting better.
We acquired Finn as a rescue from a pet store 13 years ago. He was at the pet store for some 10 months or so, and because he was a pure-bred, he had a huge price tag ( over $2000). After ten months, the owners of the pet store noticed that Finn had developed Juvenile cataracts in his right eye. Now, in spite of the fact that this pet store sold puppies ( a practice which I despise), these owners were pretty ethical about things. They could have sent Finn back to the kennel/breeder and gotten a refund, but they knew that if they did that, he would be put down. So, they took the financial hit and just gave him to Marti and I, knowing we would give him the best care possible.
Of course, because he was puppy-mill then a pet-store puppy, he was never really well socialized with other dogs. I swear, Finn must have done something horrible in a past life, because he instantly bonded to me... who is a cat person. I had never had a dog, never even seriously considered having a dog, but when an animal needs rescuing... well, it does not really matter much to me what kind of animal it is. One-eyed hamster, one-eyed dog, cat with food allergies so bad his fur kept falling out, badly injured Burmese python, aggressive blood python that hadn't eaten in over a year, tarantula who was abandoned when his owner went off to collage, three legged day gecko, sick and parasite ridden Giant Solomon Island Skink, feral cats that did nothing but attack me for 2+ years... I've taken them all in, nursed them back to health if they needed it and given them the best home and care I possibly could. Our house is very much like the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SH1j1luFOw">Island of Misfit Toys</a> , only it's a place for unwanted and misfit pets. We do well with misfits, as we are all pretty much misfits here ourselves. So, I tried my best to be a good dog person to Finn, and really, it worked amazingly well; probably because, due to his lack of socialization, he was not a very “dog-like” dog.
Finn was a <a href="http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/papillon.html">Papillion</a> , of course, because he was a pure-bred, there were lots of other things wrong with him besides the juvenile cataracts. He had badly <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxating_patella">luxated patellas</a>, severe arthritis, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracheal_collapse">Collapsing Trachea</a>, an enlarged and weakened heart, stomach and digestive issues, bad teeth and a tongue that was too long for his mouth... to put it politely, he was a genetic mess.
Dogs like Finn, are one of the reasons I hate the AKC, UKC and all organizations like that... they are nothing but a bunch of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics">eugenicists</a> in my opinion. For every happy, pampered dog you see being led in circles around a show ring, there are dozens, if not hundreds, like Finn, who do not measure up, and so are sent off to puppy brokers, given to shelters, or “culled”. Personally, I think dog and cat shows should be illegal, and I hope someday that the reaction of the general public to a dog show would be similar to their reaction to a KKK rally in front of a Jewish temple. But hey, I can dream, can't I?
But, despite all his issues and problems, Finn was always a very happy dog, alert and interested in the world around him and always ready to see what might be over the next hill, or weather any new person he met might be a source of treats. And just as I helped him with all his special needs and such, he helped me just as much. I suffer from depression, and some days it is a huge struggle just to make myself get out of bed in the morning... but it's really hard to be sad and depressed when you have <a href="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v421/Sothe/FinnforWeb.jpg">This</a> face staring at you every morning, waiting for his food.
We had Finn for 13 years, which is an OK life span for a normal dog of his type, and extraordinary for one with so many issues. He of course, got high quality vet care whenever he needed it, which was fairly frequently, and I have nothing but good things to say about the vets we took him to, who have more often than not, worked miracles with the animals we have brought them.
But eventually, old age and his bad genetics caught up with him. He was going into renal failure ( his kidneys were failing), and then a valve in his overly large and weak heart malfunctioned. So it became a choice of watching him gasp for every breath for days, with each breath a bit shorter than the last one, or have him euthanize d. So, we found a vet that would come to our house and do that, which was a blessing, so Finn was surrounded by familiar faces and smells and on his favorite blanket when he died, not in a vets office, which he associated with needles and pain and such.
It feels like a my heart has been ripped out and torn to shreds, and I haven't really been able to do much for days now. Like I said, I had never had a dog before, therefore, I have never lost a dog before... lemme tell ya, it sucks big time!
But, even though it feels like my heart has been torn out, and there is nothing left there to give anything or anyone, I know that is not the case. I know that in time this pain will fade, getting less week by week... but never going away completely. I used to think that every animal or person you love, takes a piece of your heart with them when they go away, and that eventually, you will have given your whole heart away and have nothing left... and then that's when you too would pass away.
But again, I know that is not the case. One of the secrets about the heart, is that it can heal itself. So I know that I am going to be in pain, and depressed over Finn's passing for a long while. And this is not helped by the fact that our other dog, Maddie, who is also a Papillon, who had been rescued from being a “bait dog” in a pit bull fighting ring, and therefore had “issues” with large, short haired dogs, as well as a lot of other personality quirks.. (we were her 7th home), and most other folks could not deal with her issues. Maddie is also an elderly dog, and has had several small strokes and such, is almost completely deaf, and is going blind...so, I do not think she will be with us at this time next year, which just adds to the heartache and sadness of Finn's passing.
Like I said however, the heart can heal itself, and I know that no matter how sad I am over the passing of Finn, or the situation with Maddie, even though it feels like I have nothing left of my heart to give because it has been rent out and torn to shreds... eventually some other needy, abused, starving, or injured misfit animal will wash up on the shores of our lives, and I will look deep into it's eyes, and there find a little bit of my heart that I didnot know was there, that has this animals name on it...
So, yeah... I have been treading water in this Slough of Despond for some time now, and I ache. My muscles ache from coming home from a hard day of work and still having a lot of chores and such to do, my back aches from crawling around in the attic and twisting into all sorts of awkward positions to try to find a leak, my head aches from holding back tears ( or not, as the case may be), and of course, my heart aches. When treading water in this Slough, one does not really need something reaching up from below and giving a good hard pull on your legs. No, indeed, one does not.
Current Mood: crushed
Current Music: Omnia
Death, Lawn Care... and Poetry|
I apologize for the odd formatting and such of this entry... but LJ is seeming to have trouble parsing my HTML today.
Ok, as usual... I have not posted anything new in a while; much longer than I would have liked. This time I blame it on the heat waves. You see, I am somewhat sensitive to heat, more so than most people. I make up for this short coming by being very well adapted to deal with cold... my hands never get cold, ever; many people who have held my hand can attest to this. Sadly, we are in an age of global warming, not global cooling... so things don't look so bright for my particular “increase blood flow to the extremities when the weather gets cold” genetic mutation sadly.
So, was existing on a diet of primarily Gatorade and Sea Salt&vinegar potato chips those few weeks, and when I got home from work ( which is not air conditioned, nor does it have particularly wonderful ventilation), I tended to collapse in front of the air conditioner until some gawd-awful hour of the morning. This was pretty much my life for the past few weeks. But, now the heat wave is over.... so, time to start getting shyt done again.... SIGH.
My mother did visit, and wonder of wonders, saw that I already had two huge projects to do on the house ( re-doing the roof, and re-pointing the chimney), and so only left me with a relatively small project to do! And even this was through no fault of her own. My mom had wanted to stain our back deck while she was here, and so purchased some heavy duty deck stain; then she waited. You see the deck stain my mom purchased, needs 24 hours to dry, and well... it rained every single day my mom was here!
Sadly, my mom's visit was cut short. My uncle ( the one who I mentioned in a previous post, who was in Vietnam and exposed to Agent Orange), had been doing relatively well, but then took a turn for the worse. When my mother got that news, within 20 minutes she had packed up her stuff and was on the road, headed home for Minnesota. Sadly, my uncle ( my mom's younger brother) died while she was still traveling. However, when he died he was not in much pain, and was home with his wife by his side, so, as far as ways to exit this world go... his was not a bad exit.
This is his obituary, which he wrote himself, for those who are interested
So, eventually the rain stopped, and the heat wave started! But, stuff's gotta get done, so on weekends I wake up real early in the morning and do... stuff. First it was the deck, or at least as as much of the deck as I could before the sun came up. Once the deck was done, it was the same with the chimney; up around 5 am, climb onto the roof and chisel away old mortar till it got to hot. Then the next day, Sunday, up around 5 am, up onto the roof to trowel fresh mortar into the cleaned out joints until it gets too hot. I have done this for 2 weeks in a row now, and anticipate the chimney should take 2 more weekends to finish ( It was in <b> much worse </b> need of repair than I thought, which I discovered when I first went up and started clearing away the old mortar... I couldn't clean away too much old mortar, for if I did the whole chimney would have collapsed! And while I have the skills needed to re-point a chimney, I don't think I could re-build one.) And once I am done with the chimney, I get to start on re-doing the roof! Oh Joy! Oh rapture!
So, my weekends have been pretty exhausting, and my week days have been downright soul-sapping! Marti was not doing all that well with the heat either, and spends much of her time crashed out in front of the air conditioner, and when I drag my arse in from a day of work, I join her! And Jaye is also suffering from the heat and such. When she comes up on the weekends, either she is crashed out with exhaustion, or I am ( If we are lucky, we are crashed out together!), so when she leaves on Sunday... it feels like I haven't really seen her at all really. I wish Autumn would hurry up and get here... except of course, I have not yet even begun to gather and stack wood for the winter. Oh, and of course, this is the <u> perfect </u> time to have a grand new concept for a long story or novel slam into my head, and too start a new art project which wont leave my head till I finish it... yay! Sometimes I am sure my mind hates me.
Of course, every weekend, my neighbors are out in their yards, mowing. I can see them all from my perch on the top of my roof. Even 98 degree weather with 90% humidity... they are out there cutting their grass to make it look nice and flat and featureless, and I wonder why. I mean, I have never understood the need for a large flat lawn... I think it must be some genetic leftover from before the Pilgrims came over to America, an inbred longing for the huge flat lawns/parks of the English nobles or something... I'm not sure. What I am sure of, is that America is a nation of Grass Farmers! http://scienceline.org/2011/07/lawns-vs-crops-in-the-continental-u-s/
Well, right now blooming in our yard, we have---
Wedding Bells http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v421/Sothe/Weddingbells22013_zpsf006fad0.jpg
Bee Balm http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v421/Sothe/DSC_0039_zps409f30b1.jpg
Queen Anne's Lace http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v421/Sothe/QALace_zps6a6d92ce.jpg
Day Lillies http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v421/Sothe/Daylily2013_zpsef8d994d.jpg
Blue Iris http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v421/Sothe/BlueIris2013_zpsf5412b16.jpg
And of course, the Wild Roses http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v421/Sothe/005_zpsc079cab2.jpg
And this is just a part of what is in bloom now, not to mention the things like Blood-root and such that have already gone by. We also have a high bush blueberry that gives us half a cup of blueberry's every other day or so... as long as we beat the birds and chipmunks to them, and raspberry bushes and and wild strawberries. We have never used any fertilizer or weed killer on our lawn, so we can do things like use the wild growing Mustard lettuce and Dandelion greens in our salads, etc. If I actually mowed and took care of our lawn in the “recommended” fashion... we would have none of these.
And so, these days I am fairly nostalgic. Nostalgic because with the death of my uncle... it feels like there is a hole in our family. Ours is not the closest of families, emotionally or distance-wise, but there is a bond there, and a strong one at that... so Chuck's passing is felt strongly by all of us, even tho I had not seen him in years, I miss him.
I am nostalgic for a time... when I had time, especially on the weekends. Time to do things like go out to movies, rather than order the Blu-Ray because then I can watch it at 3 am when I am wide awake for no reason I can discern; nostalgic for when I had time to read more than a chapter of a book at a time, or time to drive several hours to visit a friend.
And so, this post has already gone on too long... and it's going to go on longer! You see, one of the people I used to hang out with, in these times I am all nostalgic for, was a street-poet-beat poet named Peddler We used to be members of the Stone Soup Poets, and have awesome back-yard cookout beer drinking poetry reading parties. I miss those. I also am nostalgic for the time, when I had time to do art and shop it around to galleries.
It was Tom at Out Of The Blue Gallery http://www.outoftheblueartgallery.com/
who gave me a shot, and hung my work in his gallery... and I remember walking in a month or so later, and not seeing my three works, and thinking instantly that they had been stolen! And then Tom gently explaining to me that they had been sold, not stolen, and sold at the asking price, which meant tom was very sorry, but he would have to pay me in installments... :) But, I Digress...
Anyway, Peddler was/is a biker... a big scary kind of biker guy very reminiscent of the character “Bobby” Munson on Suns of Anarchy. And Peddler was angry a lot, at a lot of things. Fortunately, he got his anger out thru poetry.
When Peddler would read his poetry at those back-of-the gallery beef and beer fests, he would bark it at you, loud and aggressive like. So, in closing this overly long, link and picture laden post, I will give to you a poem by Peddler, which touches on the three things this post is about... Nostalgia, Death, and Lawn care... fancy that! And yeah, I am also nostalgic for being yelled at by angry bikers, and not just at poetry readings... what the hell is wrong with me!? So, Imagine having this poem barked at you by a loud angry biker while drinking cheap beer from a plastic cup... and there you will have a tiny bit of my past... enjoy!
Radio Flyer-- By Peddler
Wow... you gotta wonder, just how low can the boys at at Madison Ave's marketing department stoop?
Well now! I got a pretty good idea, 'cause can you imagine a wheel barrow... named, and labeled “Radio”?
Dig it? A red wheel barrow with big white letters “Radio”!
Now, how many folks here wanted a red “Radio” wagon, when they was a kid? Folks never seemed to have the money, or something... “yeah, me too!”
Well, there it is now! Big Black Tires. Big White Letters. Fire engine red.
Every kid's dream come true, except... it's a wheel barrow!
Yup, folks are pushing these wheel-barrows out of stores, and they don't even know they've been had. Guys that don't even have lawns are pushing them out of stores, wives screaming “Harold, we don't have a lawn!”
See! Unrequited--- desire.
Always wanted a red “Radio”. Now you got a red “Radio”, now you are happy!
Now we have a newly required, unrequired desire. Now we got a red “Radio” wheel-barrow!
See the trick? The things we want and can't have... they name something else that, and then sell that to us... and we buy it! Yes, unrequired desire.
Remember... Thunderbirds? They was a sports car, now they are little more than a family sedan.
But now, Uncle Ralph, who now has the bread, can now have a Thunder Bird... with Aunt Ethel's approval!
See! unrequired desire
Mustangs-- another one. Every kid, all through high school and college wanted a Mustang. But, now that he has the bread, he also has a wife and three kids.
See, what he wanted was a little run about, 4 speed/V-8/ hard top Mustang!
So, what he gets is a 4 door sedan/auto-ma tic transmission, with 4 cylinder engine--- it winds up to 35 miles per hour between lights-- but, its a Mustang! We used to call them Falcons.
How many folks wanted a Honda motorcycle when they was a kid?
Yeah, before they beat us into the Harley culture! Even had a song they did “Ain't a big motorcycle, it's just a groovy little motorbike...
First Gear... all-right!
Second Gear... All-right!
Third Gear... All-right!
See... I seen your feet tapping, you know... You wanted a Honda when you were fifteen too, right?
Well, now you can have one! But... it's a lawn mower.
See... unrequired desire.
They know they got us. They know we'll do anything for the image, or to fill... and unrequired desire.
Or to lie... with impunity “Yeah, I got a Bronco...”
It only weighs a quarter of what a real truck used to weigh.
See, they make us want the image, then they change the product! C'mon Ferrari sunglasses, give us a break!
Well, wont we be in some real shit when Harley-Davidson starts manufacturing Lawn Mowers!
Yeah, dig it! Can't you just see all these guys with built up bi-ceps hanging around the bar, wearing black T-shirts with big white letters that shout at you “Buy American!” Trying to pick up women, telling them “Yeah, I got a Harley.” Well, tell her it's a lawnmower asshole!
And see, the boys in OUR marketing department teach us to to pick trouble with folks who 'fall Prey' to the boys from Foreign marketing departments and bought a “Honda” lawn-mower...
“Whats-a-matter, huh? Got no testicles? C'mon... buy a real lawn-mower... get a Harley!”
Yeah, the things they teach us to want when were kids... they chase us right through life.
Now, can't you envision a bereaving family, gathered in a funeral parlor... and all the children asking Ma... “Ma, are you sure dad would want to be sent off for his Heavenly Ascent, in a Fire-Engine-red coffin with big white letters printed on it reading RADIO FLYER?”
And Ma just smiles and nods, 'cause she knew all along that Dad always wanted a Radio Flyer, and that the boys on Madison Ave. just want to bury us and take our money... and were' letting them!
Current Mood: drained
Current Music: Yoshida Brothers
WooHoo... half way there!!!|
Yup! Wherever it is we go when we shuffle off this mortal coil... well, I'm half way there!!
You see, last week was my 50th birthday. It is what I consider the “undeniable half way point” in my life. Now, I may live to see 100, and I may not. But my family does have a tendency to either( die young and tragicallyCollapse )or live for a very long time.
I have one relative who is 98, and his only complaint is that he “just does not have the energy he used to.” Yeah, I feel so bad for him...not! And my mother, in her late 70's, still regularly jumps into an old car and drives 1,500 miles from Minnesota to visit me. And I have memories of meeting my great grandmother my Grandfather and I used to bring her chocolate covered cherries... she loved those. She lived well into her 90s, and never even needed glasses.
So, since I am now to old to die young and tragically, it looks like I may well carry on for a while. And besides, 50 is a nice even number... a very good “half way” point I think.
I did not really do much to celebrate the apogee of my ride on this roller coaster called Life, I am not a huge fan of birthday parties and such... a sure way to piss me off would be to take me out to dinner on my birthday, and then tell the waitstaff that it is my birthday!
Thus, my birthday was blessedly calm, which is good. As a matter of fact, the past few weeks have been relatively calm, oh miracle of miracles!
There was a bit of a kerfuffle with Legends (when is there not?), which involved almost the entire Board of Directors resigning and walking out two weeks before the last event. And then of course, the first named storm of the hurricane season decided to visit the East Coast the weekend of the event. So, there was a lot of anger, despair and general drama surrounding the event. But what the people who walked out or quit seem to fail to realize is that when you sign on to be a major part of a LARP... you are now in the “Entertainment Industry.” And when one is an entertainer, petty squabbles and personal ego issues must be put aside, and the show must go on! And so, the day of the event arrived, and the few of us staff who showed up were determined that neither storm nor petty bickering would stop the show from going on! The feeling very much reminded me of how the English must have felt at Agincourt, which is summed up wonderfully in this St. Crispin's Day Speech in Henry V. And so, we put on the event with a small staff and more players than we had expected... and you know what? Just like the English at Agincourt, we rocked the F'kin house!
So, then that drama was over with, and I had hoped I could use the downtime to relax, re-charge, and repair. You see, the three young female cats we are housing for a while, have managed to cause rather a bit of damage. They have destroyed 3 pieces of my artwork, so those need to be repaired... and some of the doorways that they have decided would make good scratching posts need to be repaired as well. Also my tank of African Chiclids needs to be pretty much completely overhauled, (that is not the cats fault) so... no lack of projects for me to do, as usual. But all these things are manageable, and I was hoping to get to them.
But then of course, the calm ended and the storm arrived! And yes, it was an actual storm... a good soaking thunderstorm that announced to me that my patching of the leak in the roof, was a but a temporary measure... oh joy, oh rapture!
So, after getting up on the roof and looking things over, it is obvious that the house needs a new roof. And well, we simply cannot afford a new roof.
So, I had a brilliant idea! I know my mom is coming to visit sometime in June, so I figured that, rather than just have her show up and announce what project she wanted to do to our house this time... I would give some direction to that “mad house fixing energy” she seems to have. I figured that this would be better than just coming home and finding a bunch of new bathroom fixtures on the front lawn... which I of course had to install, or being told that I would be replacing the siding on the back room of the house. So, when next we talked on the phone, I mentioned our roof situation; there was a long pause on the other end, and then my mom said “oh, well, I was just thinking I'd help Marti straighten out the cabinets in the kitchen.”
It seems as if one of my uncles, who lives alone up in northern Minnesota, has become something of a hoarder. So, my mother's “Mad House Fixing” energy has been, and is going to be, directed at helping this uncle of mine get his life and house under control. Sigh, while that is great, 'cause this uncle of mine needs the help more than I do... my roof is not going to just fix itself!
So, since it needs to be done, and I don't have the money to hire someone else to do it... I guess I will, as usual, have to do it myself. And of course, as long as I am going to be up on the roof a bit... I may as well re-point the chimney while I am up there, as it badly needs it, and oh... as long as I am going to completely strip the roof and lay it's guts bare, I may as well add skylights, yes?
So, sadly. I will not be able to make any of the Wildfires this year, as all my spare money and time will be going to a new roof, which makes me sad, as it will be the first year I have missed a Wildfire in many years. And what's worse, I even had to turn down tickets to Burning Man! I just could not, in all good conscious, take all that time off from work, and spend all that money, and leave Marti to tend our 8 rambunctious cats, and 2 elderly dogs... one of whose health is failing, while the roof was leaking.
So, not doing something fun, because I have to do something responsible... could it be that I am, now, in my middle age, becoming a responsible adult?! Has turning 50 flipped some kind of switch inside me and turned it to “Adult” status?
I doubt that! I mean, my life is now calmer than it was, and I no longer find myself in crazy situations like showing up home at 5 am on Valentine's Day with a drunk Russian stripper, or carousing with drunken Irish poets... for several days, or standing in a tiny airport in Wyoming with 50 cents to my name and no way to get home to Minnesota, or hanging out with all sorts of gorgeous nekkid women in a bathtub at 4 am... when we all had to work that day.
And that whole “Mid-life crisis” thing? Well, I think I did that when I turned 21, which was an age I had never expected to see, and considering some of the stunts I pulled back then, this was not an unreasonable expectation. But yeah, I already had a young girlfriend, who my other girlfriend also became intimate with... and I could not afford a red sports car... all I could afford was my parent's used Ford Escort, which was red. So, my mid-life crisis was pretty much a no-show.
So, being halfway to my Final Destination, whatever that is... has that changed anything? I mean, I still very much look forward to the odd times when someone asks me what I am doing, and I can honestly answer “drinking beer and playing with explosives, obviously.” And yeah, there have been several times when that has been the case, and I hope there are more! I will still continue to breathe fire at every opportunity, even though it is a very dangerous thing to do; but it's a huge adrenalin rush and is also cooler n' shyt. But the real reason I breathe fire, is that one pure moment, when nothing exists in the world except you, the fire and the fuel.... that moments is all the heaven I will ever need.
And while I may not be down in the mosh pit, I will still attend my loud folk-metal concerts, and of course, I will still drive around with my windows down, and my music way up ( these days, usually Die Antwoord or Arkona ),.. 'cause hey, everyone in rural New Hampshire will no doubt love these bands as much as I do the minute they hear them... right?
And during this, the first half of my journey, I have met, and still know, some extraordinary people; from daughters of Iranian Oil ministers, to Ghanian diamond smugglers, prostitutes, gun runners, street poets, and all manner of folks in between. I see no reason why the second half of this trip should be any different.
So, here, at the halfway point.. I ask myself the three questions I ask myself every now and then when I am feeling introspective and contemplating my own mortality; and those are “Have you helped more people than you have hurt?” and “Have you left the world a better place than you found it?” and “Are you happy with who and where you are?”
And happily, the answer to all three, is a most definitive yes! Of course, hindsight being 20/20, there are a few things I wish I had done differently. I wish I had not been such an arrogant, self-centered young arsewhole punk when I was younger. But, the past cannot be changed, so all I can do is sincerely apologize to all the people I hurt, and move on.
And where I am now, is good. I live in a really beautiful place, This is the view outside my car window on my 15 minute commute to work where I wake to birdsong most every day and where people know their neighbors are not afraid to leave their windows open or leave their keys in their cars.
I have two amazing women in my life Marti and Jaye whom I love, and who love me in return, and they even seem to be able to put up with all (well, OK, most) of my quirks and eccentricities! (And for those very few of you who are reading this and don't know I'm in an open relationship... the two of them know about each other, and they get along famously!) And I have a few really good and true friends.
And sure, life has thrown us a few really nasty curve balls, such as Marti's diagnosis of cancer. But you know, we are still solvent, and even have a bit of money for luxuries now and then, such as good Scotch, the occasional concert or outing, and hardcover books; and Marti has lived well beyond what was, at the time of her diagnosis, the life expectancy for someone with Multiple Myloma. So that's all good!
And yeah, I do have a slight limp when the weather is cold, and a knee which acts up every now and then, but considering that I have survived no less than 5 motorcycle accidents, I'm not going to complain about a slightly wonky knee.
And my hearing may not be what it used to be... but my hearing loss is caused by all the loud concerts I have attended, so I'm certainly not going to bitch about that! As the Gothdaughter said “At least you had a good time while losing it!” And even if I go completely deaf, I will still be able to hear the voices in my head, so I wont be lacking for company. :) And no, I never have, and never will, wear earplugs at a concert... that's like wearing sunglasses to a fireworks display! If you're gonna do that... why bother going?
You see, I have not lived my life with the intention of arriving at the Pearly Gates (or Valhalla, or Behind the Mirror, or Paradise... or whatever your specific belief system says comes after this life), in a perfectly preserved and fully functional body. I intend to arrive at that Final Destination, bruised, burned, exhausted, sore, smelling of awesome sex and old Scotch, and be able to say “Wow, what a ride!” Though I must admit if I do actually live to be 100, I may have to settle for just the old Scotch.
But, as many wise people have said... it's not the destination that is important, it's the journey.” And that my friends, is very very true! And so, based on the first half, I'm most definitely looking forward to the second half of the roller-coaster of a journey... so, wherever I'm going... I'm halfway there!!
Now, the only question still plaguing me is... why am I in this hand-basket!?”
Current Mood: contemplative
Current Music: Whatever Pandora wants
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