Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I’ve had a lot of musical instruments over the years. I’ve had two electric six string guitars one of which was a Gibson SG Special, a Baldwin Bass, a Yamaha 12 string, a Big Box Guild, Arita Classical nylon string, an Ovation steel string guitar, and a no name acoustic that I did experiments. I also had a banjo, an mandolin, a cornet and two Kalimbas (African thumb pianos aka Mbira). I restored an upright bass, but that was too big to make the move across the country with me so I gave it away. I also have a piano that I can hook up to a computer; at least I could back in the day when computers had more interfaces. The piano can be used without a computer as well, but I don’t know how to play any key board instruments.

I always enjoyed having instruments, even if I had no idea of what to do with them. With limited talent I did find it more enjoyable to record a track and manipulate it. Back when I had an eight track reel to reel and a mixing board I found it easy to produce hours worth of music with minimal instrumental effort. One would have thought that I’d have gotten myself a mini Moog when the price went below $200 and being sold in Radio Shack. Had I done that I could have ruled the world, but at that time I was passing out of my musical phase of life.

All my recording equipment and most of the instruments have found other homes. The tapes have been lost or disposed of. It was all a lot of fun and a fond memory. I bring this up because I’m tempted to get some multi-track recording computer soft ware. Can anyone out there using it suggest their favorites?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Modern Motels

I recall the traveling we did as a child. Every once in a while we would take winter vacation to Florida. My parents planned the trip so we would stay at Howard Johnson Motels. From New Jersey, Florida was a three day trip. Howard Johnson offered good accommodations, and we thought they were better and roomier than Holiday Inns.

Ray Charles always stayed at Holiday Inns because every room was set up the same way throughout the country, which is pretty important to someone that isn’t sighted. Ho Jo’s had everything for a family. They had an on-site restaurant, a pool, air conditioning and a TV. These accommodations were pretty cool in the 50s and 60.

Take a look at signs on old motels and you will see things as they became available depending on their age. I’ve traveled and stayed in places that didn’t offer a lot of things we take for granted. I’ve stayed in places that didn’t have phones in the rooms. I stayed in one place that didn’t have televisions in the rooms, and I stayed in a few places in the 70s that still had only black and white televisions.

If you look at the old signs you will see what was special to travelers, such as: TV, Color TV, Cable TV, Phones, Pool or better yet a heated pool. Some even advertised hot water. Now-a-days these features are standard, and we see motels advertise other things on their reader boards such as: Spa, WiFi, Exercise Room and Free HBO. Eventually these things will be the norm in every motel. I’ve grown used to motels and hotels that not only have all of that, but they also need to have an iron, a hair drier, in-room coffee maker and a fridge. Most important, there should always be fresh baked cookies available in the lobby at 5pm.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

R.I.P. Cannon Beach and Manzanita

Yogi Berra once said, “Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.” I totally get it, and it was part of the sadness I felt when I had the occasion to go to Manzanita and Cannon Beach on Saturday.

I’ve written about how suburban sprawl has taken a toll on my home in the country. Trees have been cut and there are several new homes within eyesight and they leave their light on 24 hours a day and make lots of noise. However, the sprawl that I suffer is nothing compared to what the long term residents of Cannon Beach and Manzanita must endure with the over-commercialization and over-development of their once quiet beach towns.

The old charm is totally gone from both towns. For you old-times, remember having a meatloaf sandwich on the porch at the Log Cabin in Manzanita? Remember the Round Table in Cannon Beach, or the bar at The Whaler? Remember having a burger at Bills by the pot belly stove? It’s sad all those things are gone forever. It’s sad how the house lights in my neighborhood take away from star gazing on clear nights.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dr. Octagon

Sometimes there is a long dry spell between my finding something interesting to listen to. Sometimes things fall into place when they are supposed to. I find something , progress to something else and then onto something else.

My thing with Rap started with the Flobots and then went onto Snoop Dogg and then it went onto Eminem. On this journey I learned it’s all in the production. There is a lot of shitty Rap and Hip Hop out there and there is some stellar stuff. Though I can’t stand Dr. Dre’s recordings, I have to give him credit for his production of the albums of others.

OK, I found someone new (to me) and a producer that is every bit as interesting as Dre. The Rapper is Keith "Kool Keith" Thornton and his character is Dr. Octagon; just like how Marshall Mathers (Eminem) is Slim Shadey. Kieth’s debut album Dr. Octagonecologyst is more than interesting even at first listen.

If you listen to Eminem you will hear a lot of great melodies, some I believe acceptable to be turned into Muzak, but you won’t get this with Dr. Octagon. With Octagon you will get sounds, strange sounds interlaced with rap. It really sounds like B-grade music from B-grade science fiction films.

The difference between the sounds of traditional rap and Octagon is I believe the product of the producer, Dan “The Automator” Makamura, a Japanese American Hip Hop Producer. Makamura seemingly broke the rules for Rap production and it makes every track on this collection dark yet interesting in a Chemical Brothers kind of a way.

If you aren’t already a fan of Rap, this collection will not change your opinion, however if you are, this collection may put a different spin on things for you. Here’s a sample for you.


Friday, June 26, 2009


One would think that all products would be 100% recyclable by now. One would also think that recycling opportunities would be more dominant by now. There still seems to be a lot of resistance by manufacturers to use only recyclable materials any by centers to accept all recyclable materials.

As far as plastics are concerned, Western Oregon Waste only accepts plastic bottles where the neck is smaller than the base, but what about all the other plastics that clearly have recycling numbers printed on them? Why don’t they accept margarine tubs or cream cheese tubs? Why not clam shell containers?

One local recycler will accept those things as long as it is numbered 1-7. I save all my numbered recyclables for an annual trip to CART’M where they have increased the number of things they used to recycle in 1996, which was 5 to what items they now recycle, which is 32.

The real cool thing about CART’M is that they also sell things. You can find used construction material there along with tools, and garden furnishings. They sell beds and all sorts of things in their resale shop. If you are building a shed and you need a window there are several to choose from. Need some doors? They have them, too. There was a fiber glass boat and trailer there for sale for under $1,000. If I remember correctly they were selling for $500. Funny thing was that they had a bread box for sale in there and my wife mentioned how she never sees bread boxes any more.

If you haven’t been to CART’M you really should visit the next time you pass through Manzanita. To get there turn West at the Shell Station on Hwy 101 and follow the signs as though you were going to Nehalem Bay State Park. If you get to the park entrance you went about 100 feet too far.

You can visit their web site at www.cartm.org for hours and more details on their operation. This place is truly worth a visit.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Invasion At Whoreinton

I cringe every time I hear a rumor that Walmart is coming to the area. I cringe when I hear people say that they wish this or that chain store would come to town. The people that desire this sort of invasion usually work for some company which will not be in competition with these out of the area corporate soul suckers.

Of course the town of Warrenton, or as I call it Whoreinton gladly bends over to pick up the soap every time a corporate jet lands at the air field. Don’t they see that to fill their tax coffers they are jeopardizing life-long residents with multi-generational businesses? When will it all stop, Whoreinton?

Oddly, the people I would think that would be most sensitive to this invasion were recently collecting signatures on a petition in an attempt to get Trader Joe’s Corporate Headquarters to notice our area and hopefully dump one of their stores here to further rape and pillage that which is left of our higher end marketing opportunities. These petitions were being pushed by local business owners. Have they lost their minds as well?

Here is a Youtube video about Trader Joe’s. It is pretty funny on the surface, but kind of sickening under the surface. Be careful of what you wish for.

Trader Joe's

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Face Book Games

I’ve invented two new face book games and I invite you all to play along; no wagering please.

The game I call “Six Degrees of Utah.” To play you click on anyone and then click on their friends which will display photos of all their Face Book friends. Now click on the photo of the blondest woman among their friends. You want a blond haired, blue eyed Third Reich idol kind of a gal. Then you open her friends list and click on one of her friends that matches the exact description above. To win this game you should find yourself on some one’s Face Book page that lives in Utah or attends BYU within six clicks.

The other game I call “How Many Brides Long.” This game is a little more difficult, but to play you need to find someone wearing a wedding gown in their Face Book photo. Then you go through their friends and click one of her friends wearing a wedding gown and see how many friends of friends you can click on that are in gowns. My personal best is 8. Extra points if each bride is blond and the sixth one lives in Utah.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I recently hosted an equine dentistry clinic for myself and several other horse owners. This entailed scheduling several people to come from far and wide with their horses each for ninety-minute appointments per horse. The horses are brought into this horse trailer dental clinic and they are sedated, yet remain standing for their procedures.

The place where we gathered was at a friend’s house that had enough room to park several trucks with horse trailers at the same time. Her home is high on a hill top with a beautiful view of distant roads.

The Equine Dentist was late; though I gave him perfect directions. I could see him driving on the wrong road, way in the distance across the valley. Twenty minutes later he showed up from the back road and he apologized for being late blamed his lateness on his Garmin. I said, "Dude, I sent you excellent directions." He said, "Yeah, I'll be sure to use them when I leave tonight."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Proper Places

I try to be orderly, but I often have so many projects that need attention that things don’t get put away in a timely manner. It is always a joy to put tools away that have served their purpose and knowing that this portion of the project is now over hopefully forever.

As I put away my digging implements I am still actively working with my fencing implements, but when I put them away I will have to drag out some carpentry and roofing tools so I can re-roof my shop then I’ll be doing some auto body work on the horse trailer.

I had a real sense of accomplishment with two small items yesterday. I was able to relocate a pocket knife to its proper location where I store my hay. I use the knife for cutting bailing twine. The knife was used by my wife on something in the greenhouse. It ended up on my dresser and sat there for months, but it finally made it back to its real home. I also reunited a roll of electrical tape with my electronics tool box. It was a good day for putting things in their proper places.

While writing this I was able to reflect on just how many tool boxes I have. It is no wonder that things get moved about. I have the following tool boxes:
Agriculture and Teaching Tools
Art Supplies
Clay Sculpting
Mechanical tools I keep in the truck
Horse Emergency Kit
First Aid Kit for Humans

Fortunately each box looks different.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nature Boy, eden ahbez

I’d like to get into a little obscure musical thing today. I’m sure you’ve all heard the song below, but maybe you’ve never pondered just how cool this song is. Better yet, just how weird/cool/strange the composer was.

eden ahbez, yes, all lower case letters (born George Alexander Aberle in 1908) was an inspiration to the modern Hippy movement In the 1940s he had shoulder length hair and a long beard. He always wore sandals and dressed in white robes. He camped out below the first L in the Hollywood sign in the hills above Los Angeles. He studied Oriental mysticism, and claimed to live on three dollars a week, sleeping outdoors with his family, and eating only raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

ahbez continued composing songs for Nat King Cole, Doris Day, The Ink Spots, Ertha Kitt, Frankie Laine and Sam Cooke.

ahbez died at age 87 in 1995 due to injuries from a car accident. Please enjoy Nat King Cole’s version of this song and ponder the beauty of the lyrics.

Nat King Cole-Nature Boy

Nature Boy
There was a boy...
A very strange enchanted boy

They say he wondered very far, very far
Over land and sea

A little shy and sad of eye
But very wise was he

And then one day
One magic day, passed my way

And as we spoke of many things,
Fools and kings,
This he said to me

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn
is just to love and be loved in return"

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn
is just to love and be loved in return"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Good Lyrics

When I listen to music I listen more for texture than lyrics. Sometimes I wish that I didn’t understand English and that would make some songs much more palatable. I do find a lot of humor in inappropriate songs such as a lot of stuff by Zappa, Eminem and Snoop Dogg and I’d love to share some of these tunes with people but choose not to because they will be offended for one reason or another.
With this said; sometimes a particular lyric will strike me as amazingly beautiful and I wish more songs could be as colorfully expressive. The line that got me recently was this passage from The Girl from Ipanema.

When she walks, she’s like a samba
That swings so cool and sways so gentle
That when she passes, each one she passes goes – ooh

Nuff said!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Abandoning Fame

I wonder when we decided to abandon our high school dreams where we were all going to become rich and famous. I guess it was a small town dream. We all grew up together and we were amazed by the talents each of us had developed. It was like we were all lumps of clay and we molded our talents and help mold the talents of one another.

Some of us were writers, musicians and artists. Some were athletes and others were just damn clever. Sure we expected little to come from some. We knew who was going to spend their adult lives in prison. However, for the most part several of us were stellar in our talents and we were going to be rich and famous. We were big frogs in a small pond.

Eventually high school ended and we went to college where we became small frogs in big ponds. We saw there were people there that had big city talent and we were deflated. I don’t know of anyone I grew up with that achieved fame. I’m sure any grotesque wealth came from a trust fund and not from any particular talent.

We moved on and settled into our personal lives of mediocrity and fell out of touch with one another. However I bet that we all think back fondly. I would love to strap on a Gibson SG Special and walk out onto a stage with Russ, Chris, Tom and Tim again. I’d like to plug into that old Ampeg amplifier again and slap the pick on the G string with my left hand way up the fret board bending the string nearly to its breaking point. That is when life is golden and the scent of fame and fortune is in the air.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Heather Kathleen

Every once a new reader will come here to Rust and comment on some of my posts. This opens my curiosity and compulsion to being a nosy bastard. I have to check out a sample of their writing. Such is the case with Heather Kathleen, who writes the Blog “A Mouthy Irish Woman? Ridiculous." Heather checked out Rust one day after I left a comment on Beth’s blog. I’m sure we share a lot of common history since we are both in recovery from attending Catholic school.

Anyway, I barn stormed her blog and her archives and found lots of poetry and most of you know my regard for all things poetic, but I kept searching and I found a lot of openness and honesty and humor within her pros. One piece in particular got me laughing my ass off and those of you that know me personally know that I don’t have an ass. Well, whatever was left of my former ass has now been totally laughed away.

The piece that got me was a dialogue Heather Kathleen was having with her vagina. Please check it out. It’s too funny:

Vagina Dialogues

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Is it bigger than...?

One thing I rarely ever see anymore is a bread box. Some modern kitchens come with a bread drawer or a roll-top bread box on the counter, but no one ever seems to use them for their intended purpose or even know what they are for.

For those of you that may be too young to have ever known a bread box; there were several styles and their purpose was to keep bread fresh and out of the mouths of rodents before the invention of the plastic bag. They are slightly larger than a toaster oven and smaller than a microwave oven. My mother has a bread box that she actually keeps her bread in. It is made of metal and if I recall correctly it is red and white. I’ve been unable to find a photo of one like it on the Internet.

It seems that everyone had a bread box back in the 50s, and I don’t recall ever seeing someone buy one since then, though they are still available for under $50. I’ve never seen a bread box on a wedding registry.

Before plastic bags, bread was purchased and bagged in a paper bag. It would go stale quickly, but I prefer that over what plastic does to bread. Bread needs to breathe and go stale. It doesn’t need to be held hostage in a hostile environment that is the breeding ground for mold spores. Before plastic bags came about commercial bread came in a wax paper wrapper, which was still good.

I’m sure my mother still places her plastic wrapped bread in the bread box. It is more of a storage device to her now than a cool vented device that would allow her bread to live.

I hope there will one day be a resurgence of the bread box where people will once again allow their bread to breathe and live again in a little dark shelter.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Road Corn

Darev commented on an article last week and I quote, “As long as there are no cornfields. Hate cornfields. Nothing good ever happens in a cornfield and scary crap lives in there. brrrr.....”

I find it so odd that I hear that from a lot of people that live in the mid west. After driving across the country I once came to realize that millions of acres of potential farm land is going to waste all over the country. The land I was talking about was the median strip on most divided interstate highways. The lanes are often hundreds of feet apart and usually planted in grass or shrubs. I say plant that land in crops; corn, soy, hemp. The rows go on for miles.

I mentioned this to a fellow from Iowa and he was physically shaken. He shivered and said “No more corn, please.”

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hells Bells

I was in Astoria the other day and I could hear a church bell ringing. It was sort of a majestic/ homey sound and it brought to mind the bells of my past.

My parents home, which is a federalist structure built in 1861 has a mechanical door bell when one pulls the lever on the outside a hammer hits the bell and it is loud enough to wake the dead. Near that house there were trains that would ring their bells as they came into the station about a half mile away.

On the lawn of my home town library was a large bell that was once used by the fire station. It was a joy to the local kids to ring that bell. It was really large so with only one strike the sound would resonate for minutes.

I remember when alarm clocks and telephones had bells. I don’t recall ever having a bell on any of my bicycles. We’ve put bells on our cat collars, but our cats find a way to get out of them the first time we let them out; the collars never to be seen again.

The church that I went to as a lad for some reason had no bell. Instead it had big metal speakers and several times a recording of bells were played. It was pretty hokey. The grade school I attended didn’t have bell either. It had a hand bell, which one of the nuns would ring to the beginning or the end of classes and lunch. It was also the bell used for fire drills.

My favorite bells were at this Russian Orthodox Church that was on the street I lived on before I moved out here. The bells were rung every evening at 6:00pm. The reason I liked them was that I’d go out for my evening bicycle ride at that time and I loved to peddle as fast as I could as I passed the church and the faster I went the better the Doppler Effect was. The sound was crisp and sharp as I approached the ringing and as soon as I passed the church the tones went flat.

Here in Astoria, aside from the church bells the most prominent bell is that of the trolley. I really enjoy the sound of a good hand rung bell. Hand ringing adds character to any bell as opposed to a bell that is sounded electronically. It has the sound of an imperfect individual. The timing isn’t precise and it can be rung loudly or softly. This is when a bell takes on the personality of its ringer.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Loose Face Book Virtues

Yeah, I’m a nosy bastard. I cruise Face Book to see who I know. I’m not a friend collector. I’ve only extended myself to two or three people and I’ve even turned down a few requests because I wasn’t all that fond of some of the people on their friends list. Yeah, I’m a douche that way.

I had some free time this morning so I tallied up the friends list of those that are readers of this blog just to see who is out of control on Face Book. I think I may need to open a treatment center for some of you folks.

The following have this many friends:

15 Me (of which I have personally met and hung out with 7)
25 Jenn
27 Moose
36 Mel in Or
49 Joni
65 CB
77 Jeff
93 Jaggy
103 Mo3
123 Auntie
132 Donna
148 Ann
150 g
151 Hahn at Home
294 Dalia

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Inept Yet Friendly

When should one cut their losses with someone who is inept? It is so sad that most inept people are very nice and you find yourself hoping for the best, but after several attempts to give them the benefit of the doubt there comes a time to cut ties with them.

Sadly they do at times give off a glimmer of hope and I have seen inept people find their way to the correct path within a year. Most times it’s hopeless.

I’ve hired people to do some work with me or for me in the past that didn’t live up to my expectations. This is why I do most of my work myself. Yes, it takes more time, but the result is usually what I had in mind.

I remember the last time I had someone help me with some three tab roofing. I worked to the left of the sky light and they worked to the right. The pattern on the right did not match the rest of the roof. The pattern wasn’t even consistent from row to row. I know he had done this sort of work before. What happened? He is a nice guy, but he is inept.

In scale there are the Excellent, the Competent, those that Squeak By and the Inept. I just hope that those who are inept will someday realize it and step back. You are really nice people for the most part, but it’s time to own up and step back from that which you are unable to do.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Savanna

I find it interesting when people find their environment. There are certain places where we feel comfortable and certain places where we don’t feel at ease at all.

I’ve known swamp people before. Somehow they love swamps. There are people that can live on the ocean. Some prefer warmer or colder climates. Some like arid climates.

I know that some in the woh-woh-circuit will say it has to do with past lives we’ve lived. Some will say it’s our lizard brains at work.

I once met a physical therapist that said she felt that people needed to get back to their savanna life style; meaning that it is totally unnatural to drive in a car for hours or sit in front of a computer for a living. It was an interesting concept though not all people came from the savanna in their ancestry.

I am personally drawn to the forest. I lived in a forest until all my trees blew down. Now I will have to live on the savanna until the trees grow back. I have to say I’m having somewhat a hard time coping with all the open space. I will continue planting trees when the rains return and hopefully get my forest back in my lifetime.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Down Under

A long while ago I posted something about holes and how holes are irresistible to men. If there is a hole, a fellow has to look in it. I don’t know if holes stimulate the cave men in us or if we are more like ferrets that have to check out everything that is out of the ordinary.

With this said, I was thinking about all the caves, mines, tunnels and lava tubes I’ve explored over the years. In each situation I can say that I felt sheltered yet endangered at the same time. Visiting these places you can often see where entire sections have broken and fallen due to earth quakes, expansion and contraction or erosion. Look at the tunnel on Hwy 26 that collapsed on an ODOT worker a few years ago. Remember the concern over the tunnel in Arch Cape a few years back? If you visit the Ape Cave at Mt. St. Helens there are piles of rock that fell from above in this quake prone area.

Even shallow mines such as the abandoned gold mine on the 400 line in Clatsop County gives me the feeling of shelter and gives me the creeps at the same time. The earth can easily swallow people up. I remember visiting the Big Island of Hawaii and seeing bull dozers get swallowed up by unknown underground lava tubes. They were working the surface pushing rocks around and suddenly they were gone.

Maybe with being under the earth it’s the old “from dust to dust” adage where I realized at one day I will return to the elements that surround me. We can embrace the comfort of the ground and our fear of death all at once.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Small Streams and Big Fish

Yesterdays post on sneaking into the steel mill brought to mind another story about my brother. He has always been an angler and his specialty is finding fish where no one else would dare to fish mostly because no one would ever believe that fish would be in some places. One such place was inside the gates of the steel mill.

There was a brook that ran through the mill property. It was a shallow brook, but there was one spot that had been dug out to be a little deeper and wider. They used the dredge spoils to back-fill around a large culvert pipe that they put in slightly up stream. The culvert supported a rail track.

When my brother discovered this dredged out area, the banks had been overgrown and the only access to fish this hole was from sitting atop the culvert pipe. The hole was maybe fifteen feet wide and thirty feet long and maybe six feet deep. The water was muddy and murky.

I remember the first time he took me there; I thought “What the hell is this?” We baited our hooks and I expected nothing, but within minutes the line was pealing from my reel. I worked and worked for nearly a half hour trying to reel the leviathan in. Finally I landed the largest carp I had ever seen. It must have been close to twenty pounds. This little hole was loaded with large carp.

We usually caught and released the fish, however we always brought some home when my father started his tomato garden every year. We would bury a carp under each plant and those tomato plants grew larger and greener than any other plants in town.

After fishing with my brother I look at every pool of water differently. I’ve seen small springs that widen to a small pool where I’ve caught legal size trout. There are so many fishing spots that are overlooked because they are small, but that is where one can find true adventure.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


I was never a malicious or a destructive kid, but I was curious. I liked going places where I wasn’t supposed to go just to see what was there. One place of particular fascination was the local steel mill. This industrial site had an eight-foot fence with a barbed wire top that surrounded its 40 acre setting. The main gate had a guard posted there, 24 hours a day; however there was one gate that nearly always remained open. It was the gate where railroad cars came in with scrap iron.

The scrap iron cars never seemed to be on any particular schedule, but every once in a while a freight train would come in and drop off several cars of scrap and then retrieve the cars that had been emptied earlier in the week.

The mill operated six days a week but only the maintenance crew worked on Sundays. The scrap yard was unguarded so my brother and I would sneak in and wander through the piles. We weren’t there to steal anything, though a couple of cannon balls were liberated for the reason of historic preservation.

Our presence there was more to see objects and try to figure out what they were. Every piece there had a history and a purpose. We would find the most amazing things. We had no idea what they were but their design was simply amazing. It was like going through Brautigan's forgotten works. We could spend hours there.

During the next week the piles would all be moved into the mill and recycled into things that would be recycled again several years in the future. The following week the newly arrived freight cars would be unloaded and we would have a mountain of new objects to find on the next Sunday.

All the years we visited the scrap mountains we were never found or chased from the property. My brother got a job there as a mechanic years later. He ended up working on the electromagnetic cranes that lifted all that scrap metal into the foundry.

Monday, June 08, 2009

I'm Not Proud, Or Shamed

I hear of people that find it necessary to discuss their heritage, religion or sexual preference in terms of pride. I have never had an issue with pride. Like many people, my ancestors came to America from the strange lands of Europe and Asia. I’m sure many of them dressed funny and ate foods that would make a vulture vomit. Though I am composed of all of the family genetics I can’t really say I’m particularly proud of any of them. It’s not that I am ashamed of my roots, I’m just not hyper aware of anything I am or anything that makes me who I am.

It’s like the lenses of your eyes, you see things but while you are seeing things you don’t think of how remarkable your lenses are unless there is a problem that limits your vision and keeps you conscious of the act of seeing.

When I think of pride, I feel like my pride is for others rather than myself or my make-up . I am proud of the accomplishments of others. I become proud of people that courageously step out of their comfort zones and accomplish something, but somehow I don’t have much self pride. I had no control of my roots and I only had control of the person that’s I’ve become, but there again I am who I am and there is no reason to be proud about it. I had to become someone and pride would be a self promotion of something that was happening anyway. I just don’t get the point of self pride unless I was trying to psych myself up.

Something about pride frightens me. It's like all pride has a shadow of shame following it. Unless you have done something to harm someone you really have no reason to feel shamed for anything. Do people bolster pride to cover up shame? I just don't get it.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Just the tip of the iceberg of things that annoy me:

1. The new neighbor kids that I call, “Screaming Girl and Shouting Boy” and I should mention their father, ”I don’t need no stinkin muffler.”
2. Neil Young harmonizing with himself.
3. Anyone that says, “I’d now like to read a poem that I wrote.”
4. Face Book quizzes and “Become a fan of…”
5. Instant messages. That’s right folks, I will forever remain invisible on gmail and face book.
6. Twitter, it’s for people too lazy to blog.
7. Dogs.
8. Speeding donor cycles.
9. Anyone that want to tell me the long details of a dream they had.
10. The little bubbles of asphalt that pop as you drive over them on a hot day.

Saturday, June 06, 2009


I do a lot of work with my hands and I always have. I think back to the first time I developed calluses where the base of my fingers meets my palm. I was very young and impressed with myself.

I remember the pride I had when I played guitar as a kid, and I developed calloused fingertips making them impervious to string pain. I’ve also had calloused feet as well. It’s all a part of building up a protective shell around over-used parts.

I find it interesting that some people don’t have calloused asses. How can that be?

Friday, June 05, 2009


My father was a working class man. He owned his own business and he worked as a foreman from 5pm to 2am in our local steel mill. He was working all the time and he only made time to go fishing for a week or two during the summer. He would take my brother and me to Canada once or twice every summer.

These fishing trips would remind him of his care-free childhood where he would fish in the brook in front of his house. One bait he remembered using as a child was hellgrammites. Hellgrammites are the larval stage of the Dobsonflies.

One year he packed two four-foot two by fours that had three feet of metal window screens between them. We stopped at a river and put on our waders where I stood down stream with the screen and he went upstream and kicked up some of the stones in the river. The current swept crayfish and hellgrammites down into my screen where I collected them and put them into a bait bucket.

I didn’t have a real good look at the hellgrammites until we were fishing later in the boat. My father reached in the bucket and grabbed one and assured me that the fish would be driven crazy by this bait. I reached in the bucket as well and my hellgrammite got me. These larva have nasty mandibles that will clamp on you like a lobster. When science fiction films want to create a really scary space monster I’m sure they use hellgrammites as their inspiration.

One can place a hellgrammite on their hook and it will still be living three days later, which denotes the problem, they didn’t attract any fish in the lake. Maybe only river fish knew about them, but I believe that fish feared them. It was totally unattractive, like that aunt with the hairy mole that insists on a kiss every time you see her.

My father kept the faith and fished with hellgrammites that entire week and caught nothing. I, with a short attention span switched to another bait after an hour and I caught a lot of fish during the rest of the week.

I last saw the hellgrammite screen in the basement of my parent’s home, twenty plus years ago. It was never used again. Anyone cleaning out their basement will have no idea what the device was, or what it was used for, or why it will never be used again.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Welcome Newbees

I’ve notice a whole bunch of new readers here over the last month or so, which kind of makes up for the readers I’ve been losing due to me pissing them off of one reason or another. I’m OK with people dropping out. I’ve dropped out of a lot of blogs I used to read and I’ve picked up a few new ones.

For all you new folks, welcome. Here’s what you may want to know so you’ll know what to expect:

The first Monday of the month is Sick Day where I spew about something I’m sick of, and you can generally expect a picture of someone vomiting to accompany the post. I get complaints about the photos, but I have no intention of changing that format.

I usually don’t ever email a response to a comment on the blog, but I do reply to comments on the comment page the next morning. I may not reply to comments on old posts. I moderate commenting on articles older than 15 days. This is where spammers tend to leave their messages and I figure it is easier to put up that roadblock than it would be to have word check.

I am one person who isn’t afraid to change my mind. I do it often, not usually back and forth, but I have been turned around by a good argument.

One thing I should do is link back to past articles so things won’t be so “inside” to new readers, but I don’t. It’s too much trouble. I have an entire laundry list of faults and quirks that I’ve discussed here at one time or another. I’m sure they will all come up again in the future, if not me then by the readers with memories from Hell.

My articles post automatically at 4:00am every morning. I try to keep a couple days ahead and I always worry that I will run out of things to post. I’ve come down to the wire on several occasions where I thought I had dried up, but somehow I squeak by when something comes to mind.

You are among the 80 or so unique readers here every day. By this I mean unique hits, not people that return here several times every day. About 10% of the readers post comments. I have no idea who the other 90% of the readers are, but that’s OK.

Any questions?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Kim and Courtney

It's kind of cool how this blog has brought so many cool people into my life. People whom I would never have had the chance to meet had it not been for the Internet. It all started as words and continued shared common ideas and opinions. We each seem to have Blog Circles in which we travel and commingle. It would be really cool to draw it as a family tree so one could see which branch certain readers reside. Many of my readers and friends come from Syd's blog.

Bloggers, Kim and Courtney came out for an all to short visit. Kim wasn't feeling well when she got to Portland so she had to abandon the hopes to meet up with the Syd Family Portland and Seattle Bloggers, but she felt well enough on Monday to make the trip to Astoria. They arrived after 3pm so I had to give them the quick Astoria Rust Tour. Since they left their camera in Virginia I figured I'd post shots of what we visited in the short tour.

We went to the South Jetty:

Then we continued into Astoria where they were introduced to Chief Condomhead:

Then we started the movie tour and I showed them the Short Circuit house and then the Kindergarten Cop Astor School and then the Goonies House and the old County Jail that was used in Goonies:

Then we went to the Column:

Then they had to see my favorite sign:

Before going home we ended up at the Wet Dog for Dinner:

We stayed up chatting until 10:30 and we all woke up early and had a breakfast with fresh eggs, pancakes and orange slices.

It's amazing but somehow I knew we were going to hit it off and we did, big time. It is so good to have engaging guests. Kim and Court are delightful. Please come back soon.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


I can always feel it coming. It starts with more and more frequent rest and the consumption of more water. Then my voice goes out and eventually I will stop to rest and I just can’t get going again.

A lot of the work on my house and property eventually leads to exhaustion. There seems to be an unending stream of digging, tree cutting, weed clearing, building and roofing. These are usually all-day projects, or all week commitments where I start early and end late.

One of my problems is that I’m so optimistic. I look at any job that I do taking much less time than it actually does. You would think that I would have learned by now that anything I plan as a one-day project will actually take four days; four “full” days.

You might ask why I tackle all these projects myself and part of it is an effort not to spend money. Had I hired out the two additions to my house I would have been out a couple hundred grand and I may not have been as pleased with the result. I can't understand how regular folks can afford to replace a roof. When I can no longer do my own roofing I will need to sell my home.

I have never had an excavator on the property that has done a good job and add to that, each time big equipment comes something gets destroyed. Fruit trees, collapsed septic tank lid, structure damage and digging in the wrong place or dumping soil in the wrong place.

My fussiness makes a long row for me to hoe. Maybe I’m getting too old for this. My joints ache at the end of a day. But oddly with a night of sleep I get refreshed enough to continue with more on the following day.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sick Day XXVII

This month I am sick of extremely hyphenated names. Two last names should be the limit. OK, most women that change their names when they get married but don’t want to totally lose their previous identity may and should hyphenate their last names, but when you start holding onto the last names that you had with your previous two husbands you are taking things too far.

I saw the name of an eight-year old the other day and this kid already had three hyphens in her name. Every time her mom got married the kid took on the name as well. What happens when she goes through her own series of husbands; her name will look like a small town phone book or like a big law firm.

New rule, you only get one hyphen and if you really want another, the condition will be that the name Asshole be placed in there somewhere.