i have been being deliberately vague about this…

i have been being deliberately vague about this because i was “under contract” not to tell anyone, but now that i’m no longer bound by that contract, i can spill all.

i went to san francisco last weekend for the America’s Got Talent auditions. we passed the audition in seattle, so we (we being the Big Bois With Poise) stopped everything and made arrangements to have ourselves and our gear transported to san francisco, at NBC’s expense.

on friday, i got up at 4:00 in the morning and made it to the airport by 5:00, which i quickly realised was much too early…

the reason it was much too early is that i had prepared for a long, drawn-out and mostly pointless hassle with TSA over the clips, pins and screws in my skull – really, i even brought the letter from the neurologist that i had him write specifically for occasions like this – but after an extremely bored TSA goon scribbled a meaningless doodle on my boarding pass, i walked through the metal detector with no alarms going off at all… and that WAS IT… there was no other TSA activity from that point until i was preparing to get on the plane in san francisco, three days later!

bay bridgeso i waited around in the terminal for about 45 minutes, until the rest of the Bois showed up. we got on the plane and were whisked to the san francisco airport, about an hour and a half later, and from there we were whisked by “private” shuttle – which we had to wait an hour for, because the number that they had given us was the confirmation number for our return trip, two days hence, and once they got that straightened out, they still couldn’t take us because the reservations had been made in the name of the first people on the list (whose name is SIZER) instead of the name of the spokesman for the group (whose name is HUSON)…

hotel lobbybut once that was all straightened out, we were taken to our "luxury, boutique" hotel in the heart of the tenderloin… which was an interesting contrast, i can tell you.

at that point, they had told us that the rest of the day would be filled with interviews and a dress rehearsal, but the producer that we had been dealing with was not available, so we left her a voice message and proceded to walk down to the theatre where we were supposed to be performing, where they wouldn’t let us in, and wouldn’t contact the person who we knew was inside, to confirm that we were, in fact, supposed to be there… so we decided that we should take the opportunity to be tourists in san francisco, and went off without further discussion.

city halli took a couple of pictures of city hall to illustrate the point, but the fact is, i saw buildings EVERYWHERE that were decorated with gold leaf, and where there wasn’t gold leaf, there were bright colours and murals and artwork everywhere… much moreso than seattle, and i was under the impression that seattle had a lot of public artwork (although it is also much more subdued and hidden away, as well).

salamandir, macque, tricky, and adam at haight and ashburyi went with a couple of friends to golden gate park, where we enjoyed the japanese tea garden, and waited for my net-friend adam to show up. when adam showed up, we walked through golden gate park to haight street, which i have always wanted to see, and searched for a tattoo/piercing shop where i could purchase an ear plug to replace the one i realised i was missing in the plane (although, fortunately, i lost it in the bed, prior to leaving)… and we found cold steel piercing, where i bought a pair of really beautiful fluorite plugs for half the price i would have paid in seattle (which, of course, means that if i want to get new jewelry, check online before going to the local shop). we also managed to talk a local into taking our picture at haight and ashbury, where it turned out that one of our party (macque) had actually lived for a while during the late 1960s…

then we wandered back to the hotel, where we met with some other people from our crew, and went to dinner at a very good american restaurant about two blocks away from the hotel, and after that, i walked adam to the bart station and went to bed, because we had to check in at the theatre at 8:00 the next morning.

they had told us that we had to check in at 8:00, but that once we had checked in, we weren’t going to be needed until 1:00 in the afternoon, and that we were free to go somewhere else until then. but when we actually got there, we were informed that we had been moved to a different – earlier – time, and that we were no longer free to leave. also, we were informed that we were, essentially, their prisoners, and we were not to leave the room without an escort… which was slightly alarming, since we still hadn’t seen our gear, which had to be shipped by ground freight, because it contained materials that were flammable, and thus not allowed on airplanes. we eventually found an escort to take us to the other side of the auditorium, where, after a fair amount of “the left hand not knowing that the right even exists” action, we located all 12 boxes of gear, and arranged to have what we couldn’t carry transported back to our holding cell waiting room.

then there was the fire marshall…

the fire marshall was a large, vaguely amused, buddha-like figure who was initially quite alarmed that they had arranged to have us performing inside, but once he found out that macque is a professional OSHA safety inspector, he calmed down and gave us suggestions for how to fix the (relatively minor) issues with our gear, rather than shutting us down… and, after his inspection of all of our gear, and watching as we demonstrated our fueling techniques and our extinguishing techniques, we actually had a “dress” rehearsal, with real, live fire, which the fire marshall was very amused by, and gave his blessing.

a little while later, i was sitting, in costume, in the holding cell waiting room and a guy came up to me and said “hi, i’m with network standards. what’s under your kilt?” and then he and his female “associate” waited, patiently, while we showed them that we are, in fact, wearing underwear (and protective cups, you don’t want to hit yourself in the balls with flaming poi). he also wanted to make sure that we weren’t planning on doing any backflips, or splits, or have camera shots from “below”, or that sort of thing.

the show itself was a lot of “hurry up and wait”. we finally went on stage, and they asked chris a few questions, and then they said “go for it”, so we went for it.

we all bent down so that krissy could light our helmets, and then chris gave the command and we all threw off our capes — and instantaneously the ENTIRE AUDIENCE (which was around 3500 people) started screaming and booing, and showing us the X sign with their arms… it was really shocking… but they told us to expect a very strong reaction from the audience, so we continued. we got most of the way through the chant before the booing of the crowd was so loud that we got off synch with each other… my poi got tangled, and i had to stop swinging and start over (aparently a couple of the other guys had a similar problem). howard stern put his X up almost immediately when the crowd started booing, and sharon osbourne put up her X about ¾ of the way through, but howie mandell actually liked us. sharon said that she was “really confused” (and this coming from the lady who married ozzy osbourne) and that the act was “silly”… which is exactly what it is, only she’s too dumb to see it. howard said that he wanted to like us, because of our costumes, but once the act started, he said it was “nothing”… unless you count the fact that the entire audience was making so much noise that you couldn’t hear the chant (which was what howie said). howard also said that he’s not sure if he would like it if his parents were doing something like that… which just goes to prove that he’s a no-talent philistine.

swastika mosaicafter it was all over (all that work for ninety seconds on stage seems like a lot of work for not very much payoff), we packed up our gear and left the theatre, where we met up with adam and went back to the hotel… where we met up with some other people, and went to dinner at a very good greek restaurant about two blocks away from the hotel.

the next morning we all got up at 4:00 in the morning and schlepped back to the airport, where i had to opt-out of the cancer-scanner, and they actually patted me down (although they still didn’t care about the pins and screws in my skull) at security, which took about half an hour.

there are more pictures for the morbidly curious, but, unfortunately, there are no pictures of the holding cell waiting room or the actual performance, because those pictures belong to NBC television, in perpetuity, throughout the galaxy… ๐Ÿ˜

here’s a bizarre tale…

a long time ago, before cell phones, internet tubes, and the evil koch brothers…

during the mid-1980s, i had been living in a rooming house on capitol hill, whose landlord was a young guy whose father actually owned the house, and he was “gaining job experience” by being the live-in landlord. i really didn’t know him that well, but he was very lax in keeping up the house: he did nothing about the windows which were leaking water when it rained, he did nothing to fix the central heating of the house, which meant that the upper floors (including where i lived) had no heat at all, he wasn’t too concerned about the fact that i regularly bought my own food, but had nowhere separate to store it, and if i left it in the “common areas” it would get eaten by the other housemates (including himself), even if it was clearly marked… when he refused to address any of these issues, i went to the city housing authority, who informed me that he didn’t have a permit to have a rooming house, and it was in a residential area that didn’t allow rooming houses, so the housing authority came in and shut the guy down, which meant that i had to find another place to live, fast.

i looked at an apartment on terry belmont and east union (terry and east union was where i lived in the mid-1990s), where it appeared that they were in the process of completely remodeling the place. as it turned out, the apartment had been inhabited by an old lady, and her cats, who had lived there for 50 years… but nobody knew she had cats, until she was out shopping one day, and had a heart attack (or something like that) and was taken to the hospital, where she died. she apparently didn’t have any relatives, and she had paid her rent in advance, so nobody bothered to access her apartment until several months (like “more than six”) later, at which point they discovered what used to be the cats, which had clawed open the refrigerator and eaten the food that they could before dying of starvation… which resulted in a BIG mess, which they were in the process of cleaning up when i came around to look at the place.

at that point, i really didn’t care who used to live in the apartment, or their cats. i was just interested in getting out of the rooming house before something (or someone) blew up, so i said that i was moving in whether they were done cleaning up or not. it turned out that they did a pretty good job of cleaning up everything except the refrigerator. while it was “clean”, it had a smell like rotten death, and the only thing i could find that would successfully mask the smell was pine-sol, which, of course, made everything that i kept in my refrigerator taste of pine-sol… believe me, it was WAY better than tasting of rotten death.

anyway, about a week or so after i moved in, i had this really weird dream, where this little old lady was ranting and fussing about because there was some unknown person in her apartment, and she couldn’t find any of her cats. i had the same dream for a couple of weeks, with minor variations in the plot and the cast, until i consciously realised that this was the old lady who used to live in my apartment… at which point, the next time i had the dream, i told the old lady that i was the person in her apartment, and she could hang around as long as she left me alone. after that, i started noticing that somebody was calling my name from the kitchen when i was in the living room… or someone was opening latched cupboards or slamming the bathroom door, when i was in the kitchen… friends of mine commented on these bizarre phenomena on a regular basis. even when whe wasn’t making her presence physically known, i could tell she was around, because everything would smell of pine-sol, instead of incense or cannabis…

adopt a ghost

at some point, i found a piece of cardboard with the words “ADOPT A GHOST” on it – i think it was on a pizza box, but i can’t be sure – which i still have.

eventually, after about 2 years, i moved out, and back to bellingham… and the ghost came with me. she would call my name from the kitchen of the new house i lived in, and open the closed cabinets, but it seemed like she was fading away. probably a year later, i didn’t notice these things happening any longer. my guess is that she moved on.

at this point in my life, i would say that, quite apart from my being enlightened, my belief system falls somewhere between athiest and esoteric shivaite (with hints of buddhism, judaism, and unorthodox christianity thrown in for good measure), and i’m not sure i would believe a story like that if it hadn’t happened to me… for that matter, i’m not sure i would believe a story like that in spite of the fact that it happened to me… i guess i may just be waiting for someone to tell me that i’m crazy, so that i can tell them “i know, i know…” ๐Ÿ˜

another week closer to the eschatonโ€ฆ

there isn’t going to be much in the way of outrageous headlines today, as i have been preparing to go to san francisco for the AGT auditions. we weren’t selected (i.e. we didn’t make the cut), but we got an all-expenses-paid three-night vacation in san francisco, so it was a win anyway… and as much as i would have liked my share of a million dollars, there’s so much fake bullshit in these “reality TV” programs that i would have had to compromise my standards way too much.

whatever else may be happening, the world is fucked and we all — every single one of us, without exception — are going to hell (if we’re not already there), so nothing much has changed. hopefully i’ll be back to a more normal routine next week.

How to delete your Google Browsing History before the new policy makes it permanent – this has been a public service announcement, brought to you by the “google is NOT supposed to be evil” association, the advertising council, and this radio station. it’s 9:00. ๐Ÿ˜

Artificial hamburger meat successfully grown in vat of bovine fetal cells; You want some fries with that? – i’m not sure what to think of this… it could be the saviour of the world, but it could also end up as soylent green

the US has been at war for 209 of the 235 years it has been in existance

how secure is my password?

It would take a desktop PC About 408 thousand years to hack your password

i feel a little more secure, despite the fact that it also gave me two warnings about how easy my password was to crack (“Your password looks like it might just be a word and a few digits. This is a very common pattern and would be cracked very quickly.” and “Your password only contains numbers and letters. Adding a symbol can make your password more secure. Don’t forget you can often use spaces in passwords.”) but at 408 thousand years, it would still take a while.

i’m going to have to suggest this site to my elderly, disabled client whose password would take about five minutes to crack (if that)…

arablehblhbolahbelblhlehblahboalhbelolahbelblhalehbl…

(which is a text approximation of the characteristic sound that is made by Boss Rugor Nass in “The Phantom Menace”.)

rehearsals! FIVE DAYS IN A ROW of BBWP rehearsals, and a fremont phil rehearsal last night to top it off…

as much as i’m really excited about this whole san francisco thing, i’ll be REALLY glad when it’s over… which, of course, may not be for several more months, as we might pass this round of auditions, and go to new york for the final round…

they still haven’t completed my shoes. the cobbler says that the straps are on the footbed, but they still haven’t put on the buckles, which is the same thing they told me last week. i said that i would be out of town on friday, and probably wouldn’t be back until sunday, and the guy said that if i called next monday that would give him time to put on the buckles… there are 8 buckles (four per foot) and they are “stapled” in place. the place where i bought the leather said that they also had everything else to make a birkenstock sandal (including, presumably, the tool that is used to make the “staples” on the buckle look exactly right), however they wouldn’t sell any of the necessary equipment or materials (other than leather) directly to me, because i didn’t have my resale permit with me, so it is my guess that he has to buy the tool, but only needs it for one job (i.e. mine), and just hasn’t gone out to buy it yet.

i’m still plugging away at the stack of vinyl, but my impression is that it may take me a while, because i only finished transferring four albums yesterday, which doesn’t make that sizable a dent in the stack.

another week closer to the eschatonโ€ฆ

How to Become a Government Spy in Three Easy Steps – DHS has a training plan for you, too…

Depressed Army reservist attacked by police force after calling for help and NYPD monitored Muslim students all over Northeast and Here’s Why Drivers Get Away With Murder In NYC and Police Officer Caught On Tape Saying He Can "Make Up" Evidence and Some Who Decline an Optional Iris Photo Are Kept Longer in Jail and Fart joke leads to bomb scare as 11 agencies swoop down on Mississippi school – who needs real terrorists? the cops clowns seem to be more interested in making sure everybody stays in line than they are about fighting real terrorism…

Cop or Soldier? – because you really need to be able to tell the difference…

What If Someone Could See Everything You’ve Ever Googled? – too late, it already exists, and it’s probably not what you think.

Study says insecticide used with GM corn highly toxic to bees – yet another reason to be extremely skeptical of this genetically-modified “food” thing…

Oklahoma Democrats want to ban Onanism – much as i would like to say this is a joke… it’s only sort of a joke. ๐Ÿ˜

as may be obvious…

or not…

i have been rather busy over the past week, with rehearsals and preparations for my trip to san francisco. they said not to mention it on social networks or tell anyone why, so it’s still somewhat of a secret (although if you know me personally, you’ll probably have heard me mention it in passing).

the rest of the past week has been filled with transferring vinyl to digital. since i damaged your ears with some early “music” in which i performed earlier in the week, i figured it would be only just to undo the damage with some real, quality music, performed by REAL musicians…

Porgy And Bess: A Symphonic Portrait, by George Gershwin, arranged by Robert Russell Bennett
performed by the 1975 – 1976 Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra

hee hee hee… 8)

salamandir transferring vinyl
photo by Magick’s Mom

i’m not sure whether i should do this or not… not because i don’t want anyone to know about this, but because of what my friends, particularly, will think…

i dug out (literally) a recording of the first time i ever “improvised” a solo with a jazz band. this is from 1973, and it’s pretty obviously a middle-school band (junior-high, for people who live on the west coast), featuring me playing trombone.

Watermelon Man

now this was before i knew what it was to “swing” (and, apparently, the drummer and a few other players were similarly clueless), and i had help writing out an “improvised” solo, because i didn’t know how to improvise, but even taking those things into account, i think i did a pretty acceptible job…

what i’m doing

i got a turntable off of freecycle, and i bought a behringer phono-to-USB pre-amp, and i am currently listening to the National Geographic recording “On Parade – The Music of John Philip Sousa” which has not been played in over 30 years. i am not only listening to music i haven’t heard since i got rid of my turntable (which was built by my father, out of spare parts from several other projects) in 1980 or thereabouts, but i am transforming them into the next generation of music files: ones which you can reproduce on your computer… will wonders never cease… i still have a huge crate of vinyl LPs (most of which are crap) that i’m going to dig out over the next few days and have fun (or not) turning all of them into ogg-vorbis files.

8)

another week closer to the eschatonโ€ฆ

New DHS Report: If You Love “Individual Liberty” Or If You “Believe In Conspiracy Theories” You Are A Potential Terrorist

When they took the fourth amendment,
    I was quiet because I didn’t deal drugs.
When they took the sixth amendment,
    I was quiet because I was innocent.
When they took the second amendment,
    I was quiet because I didn’t own a gun.
Now they’ve taken the first amendment,
    and I can say nothing about it.

… but that will not stop me from saying stuff about it anyway! ๐Ÿ˜›

CCTV police officer ‘chased himself’ after being mistaken for burglar and Muslim sales manager arrested as terrorist for call to ‘blow away’ the competition and Video shows officers beating motorist in diabetic shock – who needs terrorists? ๐Ÿ˜

According To The FBI, Internet Privacy Is Now Considered To Be Suspicious Activity and FBI: Paying Cash For a Cup of Coffee a ‘Potential Indicator of Terrorist Activity’ – ???

Rounding Up U.S. Citizens – ??? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

TSA agents denied female passenger boarding access because of her gender – and this is on a domestic flight… what happens when a woman wants to fly overseas? ๐Ÿ˜

25 Reports That Can Put You on the Terror Watch List – ???

Congress Approves 30,000 Spy Drones Over America As US Police State Tightens – ???

Elections Are For Suckers – !!! ๐Ÿ˜

FDA’s New Claim: “Your Body Is a Drug โ€” and We Have the Authority to Regulate It!” – ???

and while we’re at it, The Disaster at “Christ is Love” – which is what they would like to do with drug users in this country, if we’d let ’em… ๐Ÿ˜

Yeah, Ron Paul Is Racist After All, Sorry – ???

12 current Latin American leaders call for exploration of legal drug regulation – but because they’re brown people from another country, nobody’s going to pay any attention to them and things are going to continue being screwed up as usual. ๐Ÿ˜ก

Google paying users to track 100% of their Web usage via little black box – translation for suckers: “Google is paying ignorant suckers to install and maintain a “rootkit” that does exactly the same thing as the viruses and trojans that they spend so much money trying to avoid”… once again, i feel it is necessary to point out that there are only two industries that refer to their customers as “users”: one of them is the computer software industry, and the other one is DRUG DEALERS… ๐Ÿ˜ก

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… 8)

it looks like i’m flying to san francisco in a little more than a week… first time i will have flown anywhere in a long time, and first time i will have been in california in an even longer time.

i’m “not allowed” to tell you why, yet, though, so if you don’t already know, yer probably outta luck. ๐Ÿ˜‰

recovery

usually, i don’t juggle as much as i did before my injury, because it’s really frustrating not to be able to do something that i used to be able to do so well. i juggle for a few passes, and then drop some or all of the balls, pick them up and do it again, until i am so frustrated i give up.

today, for the first time since december of 2003 (which was when i tried juggling for the first time since my injury) i actually juggled until i was tired, and not because i was frustrated. it was still A LOT of work, but i stopped juggling because i was tired, and not because i was no longer inspired to try

it won’t be long until i can juggle more than just a straight cascade, at this rate… 8)

it’s not an option…

सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् ॥

sarve bhavantu sukhinaH, sarve santu nirAmayAH |
sarve bhadrANi pashyantu, mA kashchid_duHkha-bhAg-bhavet ||

All are ordered to be happy, be healthy, see good;
may no one have a share in sorrow.