Friday, July 29, 2011

Easy Way Out

Kids today. . . .some, not all, look to take the easy way out in life.  Education, jobs, wealth, status . . . all things requiring focus and hard work to attain.  It's a bitch to get there.  Sacrifices.  Long hours.  Lots of studying whether in school or on the job.  Don't forget ya gotta brown nose to get somewhere, too. 

Today short-cuts seem to be the name of the game.  Entitlement part of that game.  Cheating yet another. 

I could write a book on the subject having witnessed every Tom, Dick and Harry scheme possible all in the name of not doing the work.  Period.  Not doing the work.  Even our girl Gracie has exhibited a bit of taking the easy way out in her studies.  The other day it was asking to read more books with a lot of pictures.  Damn, if she doesn't get that from her grandfather.  Learning her multiplication tables has been much the same. . . looking for an easy way and not mastering the tables through memorization.  Are they important to know by heart?  Dam right they are.  Ask any middle school math teacher and they'll tell you that students who fail at that level do not know their times tables.  Multiplication mastery is the foundation for the next steps in math, algebra, geometry and so on.

When kids fail or get older they wanna get lazy and look for alternatives. Taking on what seems a high paying job when living at home is logical.  No bills.  No rent.  Apart from out of pocket money for eating out, it's always free with mom and dad. 

In-N-Out advertise starting burger flipper wage as being ten bucks an hour.  That's two bucks over California minimum wage.  Forty hours of flipping grosses $400 a week.  Not bad for a kid living at home.  Lease a BMW and lots left over.  Be livin' high on flipping burgers. 

Add a family that relies on those wages and that creek you just went up a couple of years ago. . . hello?!  You're now up a creek without a paddle and without an education that brings a living wage.

This summer we hired a "kid" for outside landscaping grunt work.  I would have busted my ass doing what he did and probably ended up in traction.    The kid is 26, married with one child.  Did some jail time.  Has more than his share of tats.  One of the best guys you ever want to meet . . . good heart, hard worker, smart. . . .. And a "kid" who woke up one day to realize he had taken the wrong fork in the road. 

So The Kid went back to college this past spring.  And says he won't quit until he has not only an AA degree but a BA or BS, too.  Unlike high school studies, The Kid says that college is fun and he's enjoying learning. 

Apart from the obvious the good news in this story is that The Kid woke up at age 26.  Some "kids" don't wake up until they're middle aged without a pot to piss in. 

Bottom line:  Everyone has an inner switch when it comes to actualizing the "be all you can be" in life.  How to turn the switch from off to on varies from person to person.  Some are born with an on switch while some of us . . . let's just say it takes an "ahhh ha!" experience to wake up and exclaim, "Now I get it!" 

And for those who don't, fuck it, they become strippers.  Somebody has to do that job, don't they?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Swimming Pool

At the last home a swimming pool was a must.  Twenty-five K later it had been excavated, plastered, decked, fenced in and filled with well over 20,000 gallons of Cowtown water.  Did we get 25k worth of fun out of the pool.  Nope.  Mostly, it just sat there, looked pretty and added big bucks to the electric and water bills.

Nine years after leaving that home for this one, the urge to dump more money into building a swimming pool is rearing its ugly head.  This time a 25K pool has translated into more like a 40 or 50 thousand dollar hole in the ground. 

I ask myself if I really want to spend that kind of dough on a pool.  There are alternatives.

A.  Above ground plastic pool.  Ugly.

B.  Redneck pool as seen in the photo.  Right up my alley.  Got the pickup truck.  There's a tarp of two laying around the house.  Cheap!   Neighbors will love me even more than they love me now.

C.  Continue to use the Elks Lodge pool.  They serve lunch:  Five buck burger and fries, 2 buck 16 ounce draft beer.  Freaking deal, people. And the pool is usually populated with only a handful of folks who look like they would never dream of peeing in the pool.

Apart from start-up costs, there's on-going expenses to maintain a pool in Cowtown.  Electricity:  About $130 a month more than what it is.  Chemicals:  Not sure what they would run but it ain't nothing but money, honey.  If the nest egg isn't used to pay for the pool then there will be monthly loan costs....likely to be around 3 or 4 hundred a month. 

All told, an installed pool will take about 500 bucks a month out of the household budget.  An obligation till death do us part.

Worth it?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Symphonic Orgasm

Doesn't get any more musically orgasmic:   Respighi's The Pines of the Appian Way - from the Pines of Rome (movement 4).  There's a story.  Rome.  It's legion.   Picture this:

"The sun is just coming up; the carts and wagons of the farmers are leaving the city and returning to the latifundia; tramping up the road and into the city come the lead cohorts of the legion; behind them, all the way from Rome to Capua, hang the 6000 survivors of Sparticus' slave army, slowly dieing on their crosses as the triumphant legion of Crassus enters the city and ascends the Capitoline. The Servile War is over! Ave Imperator!"

"Dead At 27" Club

Musicians only.

Robert Johnson, widely considered to be the most influential blues musician of all time, died in 1938 at the age of 27 in Greenwood, Miss. According to legend, his death was caused by drinking whiskey laced with strychnine.

Brian Jones (Rolling Stones), found dead in his East Sussex swimming pool in 1969 at age 27. The coroner's explanation was "death by misadventure."

Jimi Hendrix, died in 1970 at age 27 in London. The autopsy stated that Hendrix asphyxiated on his vomit after combining sleeping pills with wine.

Janis Joplin (Big Brother), died in Los Angeles in 1970 at age 27, only a few weeks after Jimi Hendrix. The official cause of death was a heroin overdose.

Jim Morrison (The Doors), died in 1971 at age 27 in Paris. No autopsy was performed, but many attribute his death to alcoholism and a possible heroin overdose.

Ron "Pigpen, McKernan (Grateful Dead) died in 1973 at age 27 in Corte Madera. The cause of death was gastrointestinal hemorrhage, likely caused by alcoholism.

Kurt Cobain (Nirvana), died in 1994 at age 27, in Seattle. The cause was ruled as suicide by shotgun.

Amy Winehouse, died in London on July 23, 2011, at age 27. Investigators have not yet determined the cause of her death.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

At Least I'm Enjoying The Ride

I was going to make a list of all the wrongs in the world and put them here.  But you know as does anyone, things are pretty fucked up here, there and around the world.  Aside from that, each and everyone of us are poisoning Mother Earth.  One day Mother will ask herself, "How much is enough?" and that will be it.

We're all going to hell in a bucket.  At least some of us are.  At least I'm enjoying the ride. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stormy Summer Weather

On a July Sunday (yesterday) when temps on the lake are always triple in digits, we froze our butts off sailing.  It was definitely jacket and glove weather.

There was just enough wind to fill the sails and heel the boat slightly.  Even though there's a serious look here, the boat's sound system was cranked with yours truly jumping and jiving to the music.  Too bad yet another Kodak moment in Bob's life went unrecorded.

Yes, the sweatshirt is inside out.  I've always thought the inside looked better than the outside on each and every sweatshirt I've owned.

Wifey with jacket and gloves out of the wind immersed in the last chapter of a 1,300 page novel.  In between pages Wifey adjusted the jib.  She loves to multi-task.

Wifey snapped a few photos of Sparkle Plenty's interior.  In particular, changes made over the winter.  Carpet was replaced with teak flooring.

A crusty sink was replaced with a new shiny one.

Space once dedicated for holding a large Igloo cooler was made into basket storage.  A much better use of space.

Four hours of sailing yielded lots of smiling.  Isn't that what life is all about?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What I'm Not Tired Of

One thing (and there's a bunch more):  Cleaning the house.  But I need music.  I need the beat.  I need rhythm.  If I'm gonna get it on and get the job done, there's has to be music.

Here I go, cleaning the shitter, mop the floor, dance on the ceiling and other stuff.  Music to get it done!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Get Tired Of It

Seems like every Friday's grocery shopping yields this question from the checker:

"Doing anything special this weekend?"

Always the same question.  Do they real care what I'm doing over the weekend?  Don't think so.  Idle conversation.

My usual response:  Oh, I'll mow the lawn, run errands, maybe sail the boat, have dinner out and take in a movie.  How's that sound to you, Joe Checker?

I'm going to start making shit up.  Here's the first making shit up answer they'll get come tomorrow:

"Ummmm, gonna do a little grilling on the Weber, put on my red Santa Claus costume and watch some porn."
Wifey's 5'9" Tall
With lyrics:

And now you know the rest of the story.........

Live version here, great guitar licks:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Just A Number

Tuesday was yet another birthday.  I don't celebrate.  Instead I celebrate the anniversary of being circumcised.  We usually party.  Lots of people.  Drinks.  And bake corndogs.  On the exact moment I was circumcised every is given a sharp knife and instructed to circumcise the corndog.  Then I countdown:  10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, ONE, and then yell, slice that baby! 

That baby being me.  As I did way back then I start crying and screaming (albeit simulated well after the fact).

There just seems to be more relevance in celebrating (or would that be mourning?) being maimed than being born.  Barbaric. 

Doing a birthday is no big thing.  Everyone has one.  But how many celebrate being circumcised?  Now that's special.

This year I decided to change up.  No circumcision party.   Take a trip.  Have some fun.  Not circumsize corndogs.  Reno is close.  Cheap.  Gambling.  Food.  Drinks.  Why not.  So Wifey and I put the dogs out to a sitter, pack up and leave Cowtown.

We get there.  Check into Harrah's.   Walk the downtown of Reno.  It's like skid row now.  The Indian casinos have taken a toll on Reno.  Lots of what used to be bustling casinos are now shuttered.  Panhandling.  Drug deals going down.  Mentally disordered people shuffling from street to street.  Homeless.  Sad state of affairs. Not going to take a walk down Virginia Street after dark, that's for sure.

During our walk that has Wifey holding firmly onto her purse and me clutching onto my fanny wallet, she asks what I want for this year's Happy Circumcision celebration. 

Me:  You pierced and tattooed.

Her:  Bob, you love rejection so I just have to tell you, NOT IN YOUR DREAMS!

But she did pose for a photo by the sign you see here which to me means that she secretly wants a piercing on a private part and an I Love Bob tat on her left buttocks.

Sigh:  Ain't love grand?

After taking the picture Wifey says:  "Let's go up to our room and go to bed."  We do that and Wifey promptly opens a book and starts reading.

Me:  I just love foreplay.

Wifey:  Just think about it while I finish this book.

Sigh:  Ain't love grand?

I'm a year older.  You'll know my age by the 39 rings around the circumcision scar.  Not that you want to go counting them or anything.......  For the ladies out there, you probably don't know that for every year past the act of circumcision a ring is added around the penis.  

And if you don't believe this, just ask about rings around the penis (used to be ring around the posey) at the next dinner party you're at.  Could stimulate some interesting conversation. 

Ya think?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Living Rural

Less than 20 minutes from the house is this:  Shasta Lake with front row views of Mt. Shasta.

There's a price to pay or trade-offs for living rural.  It's nothing like living in the San Francisco Bay Area.  We miss the live music, the food, the festivals, the lectures . . .. but don't miss the traffic, the crowding, NIMBY thinking, high prices and poor air quality.

Living about as far north as possible in California presents many recreational opportunities just out our back door.  We moor our sailboat in a lake that's just 12 miles from the house.  Traffic?  What's that?!  Air quality . . . suck in fresh mountain air 24/7.  Housing?  Nice ones start at less than 200k . . . with some around 100.  It's safe.  You can walk around town at 2 in the morning and be safe (but still need to be mindful and look over your shoulder to check your 6).  Summers are hot.  It is not uncommon for temperatures to be 100 plus for 30-45 days in a row.  Winters are wet and once in a while it snows below 1,000 feet (we live at an elevation of 860 feet above sea level).

I could go on and on.  You get the idea. 

I miss the Bay Area but I could not go back to living there.  I've been spoiled.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

It's What Happens
Let this be a lesson: Years of sun without sunscreen. On the water, where I've spend a great deal of life from age five until today,  the powers of the sun are magnified.  Skin turns to leather.  You look years older than you really are.  I do a double take when looking at photos of an older Bob, the well weathered model. 
Had I to do over again?  Naw.  Everything would remain the same.  No time taken to apply sun screen.  Just go out and do it.  Bake that skin.  Fry that brain. 

You see me here at table having dinner with an acquaintance, his wife, my wife, the ghosts of our parents (they're always watching) and our two dogs.  I'm lecturing Kiri here.  Kiris is learning about the importance of the application of sun screen before embarking on a day in the yard.  She's just finished expressing her opinion (woof!) that she would rather roll in the mud than apply sun screen.  And she would. 

As for me, I'd rather be sailing and adding to my leathered appearance. . . .the badge of stupidity.

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Monday, July 04, 2011

It's Totaled!

My May 24th blog outlined the purchase of a new 2011 Nissan Versa for our Alaska bound niece.

Last night the niece, driving too fast for conditions on the gravel surface of AlCan Highway, lost control of her car.  It's thought that the car is a total loss.

Twenty years old with not a lot of driving experience (less than 6 months behind the wheel).  The car started to slide on the loose gravel and she over corrected.  One common mistake that's often fatal.

The good news would be that the choice of a Nissan Versa was a good one as it kept our niece from being injured. 

The manager at the Cowtown Nissan dealership is from Alaska.  He remains friends with the general manager of a GM dealership in Fairbanks (where the car was towed).   How many guys in this business would make a call to Alaska to make certain there's someone trustworthy to take care of our niece, whether a rental or a replacement vehicle?

There's one guy in Cowtown who's done just that.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Jim Morrison 40 Years Later

Hard to believe that it's been 40 years since Jim Morrison took the backdoor out of life.  Twenty-four years young of an ingestation he thought was cocaine but what was really heroin.

Jim will be the forever poster boy for rock and roll weirdness at its finest.  Nobody will ever do strange like Jim Morrison.
How Much Is Enough?

It was time to organize the large selection of vinyl LP's that had been sitting in five boxes.  It just didn't seem right to ignore all of my old friends who have been with me through thick and thin, war and peace. 

Last week a large box arrived from Amazon.  Ahhhh, storage shelves for the albums.  Space for 500 LP's.  Filled the shelves with many LP's still needing a home. 

The compact disc collection numbers just under 900.  Five hundred plus LP's.  How much is enough?

I know.  Everyone is doing iTunes and storing music on the hard drive of their computer.  Most of the CD's have been placed on the hard drive.  Next comes the LP collection.

Funny thing.  Gracie and her sister were at the house last week.  I brought out an LP and asked if they knew what that was.  No clue.

I brought out the turntable.  Neither of our young ladies had ever seen such a machine and had no clue of it's function. 

Make your own assumptions or conclusions on this subject.  Simply put, crying shame.  Kids today can text up a storm and can program most any modern electric device.  But can they operate a phonograph or at least appreciate its place in history?

When it comes to raising our children and grandchildren, how much is enough when it comes to exposing them to a depth/breadth of information that is also accompanied with a thorough understanding of history?

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States