Category Archives: forward into the past

pig-tures

apparently ezra has been talking to my father recently.

ezra texted me to say that my father had given him two photo albums that contain mostly pictures of me…

the fact that my father gave them to ezra, and not to me, is one of the reasons i haven’t talked to my father in a very long time, now. 😒

salamandir, age 12-14
salamandir, age 12-14

i believe this picture was taken between 1972 and 1974, and i believe it was taken in new york, before we moved back to seattle… i may be wrong, but the seamless backdrop was something that my father didn’t have room to set up more than a few times, and i don’t remember seeing it after we moved, but that could just be my swiss-cheese brain at work. the closer it was taken to 1972, the more “brand new” the trombone was…

of course, the original photo may have a date on the back, but because of the fact that i have COVID, currently, i can’t rush over to ezra’s place to look. 😒

salamandir, age 62
salamandir, age 62

this was taken on 221024 by someone at the fisher pavilion who wanted a picture of me, and i liked it so much that i asked for a copy of it. this is my current Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band uniform, and i was at the fisher pavilion to play for Festa Italiana, like we do every year… the coat is a new acquisition that i bought at a “purge-o-rama” sale at a costume shop in redmond. i have been looking at that, exact coat, in the display window of the costume shop, ever since i worked in redmond (in 1995 or thereabouts), and i finally went in because i had heard that the shop was closing (it’s not, they’re just moving to a new location… one without display windows), only to discover that they wanted $300 for it, but because of the fact that they were having a “purge-o-rama” sale to prepare for the move, they had reduced the price to $100… so i bought it immediately.

prior to that, i wore a uniform that i got from working for the Floating World Circus, after i graduated from high school. it was also red, but a lot it was also a lot more “normal” for a band uniform…

salamandir parade ?1991
salamandir parade ?1991

this picture, i believe, was taken in 1991, in anacortes, where the band that i was playing in at the time was playing for a parade.

the astute observer will immediately realise that the trombone depicted in all of these photos, is exactly the same. 😉

look, it’s the end of the world!

a VERY long time ago — i would guess somewhere between 1964 and 1967, or thereabouts — i participated in a “market research study” (for which my parents, hopefully, got paid), where, over the course of a week or so, i would try various different dry cereals, and “potential” dry cereals — which they had produced, but hadn’t “hit the market” yet — without knowing anything about them, and rate them according to what i thought dry cereal should look and taste like.

i’m fairly sure i screwed up ALL of their data points, because i was a combination of three things, which severely skewed my personal experience of dry cereal. the first was that, when i was very small, there was a concern that i might be allergic to cows’ milk (which had been proven false, by the time this took place), and so, when i was learning which cereals i liked, i was only given cereals that could be eaten “without milk”… which, for some reason, meant various different kinds of oatmeal and grits… i wasn’t even given “cream of wheat” because it had the word “cream” in it, and, particularly, my mother was CONVINCED that it wouldn’t be good for me. the second was that my parents were “progressive”: not full-blown “hippies” (however, my dad did have long hair and a beard, but it wasn’t until the ’70s) but definitely not the standard fare for the time and place they were from, which was central illinois “corn country” in the mid-to-late ’60s. thus, they were CONVINCED that sugar was “bad”, so, as a result, when it was determined that dry cereal was “a thing”, i was only given ‘bland’ cereals, such as cheerios, kix, chex, puffed wheat, and grape nuts. by the time i was part of the survey, i was eating cows’ milk all the time, but i never liked “sugar frosted flakes”, “sugar smacks”, “chocolate frosted sugar bombs” or anything like that… and the third thing is that, when i was very small, i was forced to eat fruit at a time when i really DID NOT want to eat fruit, and, as a result, i developed a lifelong distaste for fruit, in general, and about 75% of the cereal that i tested was fruit flavoured, in some way or another.

i spent a few days trying, and rejecting about 95% of the “chocolate frosted sugar bombs” they offered me, primarily because they were so sweet that it overpowered any “cereal-like” taste there may have been.

220123 Chocolate Cheerios! 😱
220123 Chocolate Cheerios! 😱
however, there is one thing that i remember clearly, and that was that “they” (the people conducting the survey, who were, according to my interpretation, in a position to know these things) told me that there would NEVER be “chocolate cheerios”. they told me that the makers of cheerios were totally against making their cereal “pre-sweetened”, and if i saw chocolate cheerios on sale, it would mean the end of the world. cheerios was, by definition, NOT a “pre-sweetened” cereal.

over the years, they have come close… the closest they’ve gotten that i know about was “honey-nut cheerios”, which was “pre-sweetened”, but, because of the fact that it was, alledgedly, sweetened with honey, and not sugar, it was, alledgedly, “okay”…

however, when i came across this, yesterday… 😱

kick in the brain

1988 salamandir tract
1988 salamandir tract
1988 salamandir tract
1988 salamandir tract
1988 salamandir tract
1988 salamandir tract

from before the wayback machine… these tracts that i just found, were prototypes for smaller versions, which were originally designed to counter the “occult” graffiti i found in an abandoned house in the woods near bellingham… the same house i found the tail coat, which i still have (although it’s been substantially modified, at this point)… the house was obviously a place where teenage doodlehums gathered to do illegal and/or immoral things, and i wanted to “enlighten” them by leaving bizarre literature in their abandoned hideaway. it was in a section of fairly dense, second growth forest, on the outskirts to the northeast of bellingham… there were some neighbourhoods east of there, along alabama street, but the place where the railroad had been was, basically, second growth forest. not even a driveway to the house. the house was two stories, but when i was there, the second story was not safe (although i did go up there, a couple of times), and there was a well-house with a working well… and about 50 feet beyond that were what used to be a railway. it was a perfect place for teenage doodlehums to gather, mark up the walls with “satanic” graffiti, smoke pot, write graffiti about smoking pot, and dream about having illicit sex with their imaginary girlfriends.

i figured they had probably heard all the standard propaganda from the “christians” (the “satanic” graffiti was all the evidence i needed), and this was back when i was full of fire to enlighten the masses, so i came up with a number of tracts which were left in the abandoned house, in phone booths (remember them?), and traded for chick tracts at the local storefront ministries that bellingham had at the time. the first version of these tracts was originally published in 1987. one of the later versions was published in 1992.

now, the place where the abandoned house was, is a neighbourhood of slightly-more-upper-class tract houses with a trail that, 75 years ago, was a railroad that served the logging community in that area.

ARGH! (A₁R₁G₁H₁)

another casualty of the cloud drive crack:

my “HANDY-DANDY LIST OF WHEN THINGS HAPPENED”

which i have been updating since my injury (2003) to help me keep track of what happened in my life, and when it happened in relation to other things that happened in my life.

my recollection is that it was a fairly complete, if compact, version of an “autobiography”, which i had been updating with new material, or changing around the position of old material when new evidence came to light, for a LOOOOOONG time… it was DEFINITELY a “working document”, and it’s gone. poof. 😩😖

a couple weeks ago, i started to rebuild it, but i’m confounded by the fact that things that appear very vividly in my memory don’t seem to match up in a predictable way with the timeline of my life. i don’t remember when important things happened:

for example, i am reasonably certain that i lived in St. Gordy’s house in 1988, but the job i remember having — working at mellowoods and music in friday harbour, doing musical instrument repair for the friday harbor traditional jazz festival — didn’t happen until 1991… and i actually HAVE a button from the friday harbor traditional jazz festival, and it actually SAYS “1991” on it, so it’s kind of hard for me to argue…

but, the problem is that i lived in St. Gordy’s house for a while, then i moved up the street a couple blocks and lived there for a year or so, then i moved into the dome in 1990, and i lived there until i moved to thillberg road, in mount vernon, with ruth…

or, when i freight hopped to wenatchee… i know i lived in the dorms during 1979 and 1980, and i moved to lummi island for 6 to 8 months, and then i moved to mackenzie street, and lived there until i moved to seattle to start the tech school, in 1984. i also know that i didn’t freight hop to wenatchee until i lived at mackenzie street, but i can’t remember, for sure, whether it happened in 1982 or 1983. at this point, i’m LEANING TOWARDS 1982, because i have calendars and sketchbooks from the early 1980s that may seem to indicate that, but nothing is written in clear enough language that i can be totally certain. 😖

fortunately, Ezra, St. Igon (with whom i freight hopped to wenatchee), and St. Gordy are still in my “contacts” list, but this whole thing started when St. Igon ASKED ME when we went to wenatchee, and that was AFTER i had already started to rebuild my list.

and ezra is in michigan with his sweetie, and won’t be back until mid-december…

FRUSTRATING!! 😖😖

latin

when i was in high school, i took latin, but that’s not the story.

the story is that, when i found out they were going to offer a latin class, i IMMEDIATELY wanted to sign up for it… but my parents said no, that latin was a “dead” language, that nobody spoke any longer, or used for anything (😏), that i would never use it, and it would just waste my time.

i was a junior in high school, and i REALLY wanted to learn latin. i pestered my parents for a few weeks about it, but they stood fast…

so i went to my high school guidance counsellor, and told her. she immediately agreed with me, and gave me a bunch of “hints” that i could use to try to convince my parents, but none of them worked. my parents were the stubborn, pig-headed people that i have come to know them to be since then, and they were adamant that it would be a collosal waste of my time to learn latin.

i went back to my high school guidance counsellor and told her that the hints didn’t work, and that i still REALLY wanted to learn latin… so she CALLED them.

she talked with my mother (who was the louder of the two) for about half an hour, and, somehow, convinced her that my studying latin would NOT be a waste of my time. i was overjoyed.

today, 40 years later, latin is something that i use on a DAILY basis, to help me understand, and better utilise the language i speak… to help other people understand confusing things (of which there are many)… to learn about places, and things, in a way that english, by itself, doesn’t even have a clue about… to have a better grip on romance languages that ARE used in the modern world — i also studied french in high school, and it gave me a better understanding of the french language, as well as giving me a sneak peek at spanish, italian, and portuguese… at this point, it would take me about 3 days of immersion to get functional in any romance language, and probably not more than a week before i was understanding most of what was said to me…

WRITING, on the other hand, would very likely take quite a bit longer, particularly in italian or portuguese, because they spell things strangely, have silly, inconsistent silent letters, “non-standard” pronunciation for other letters, and are, generally, more laid back, which makes learning to write more difficult 😉

and that’s ALL because i studied latin. 😉

and i use approximately ZILCH of the other subjects i studied in high school, with the exception of music, which i also use, on a daily basis… actually, that’s not entirely correct: high school taught me skills, like how to study, how to use the scientific method, logic and reason to figure things out, the proper use of tools like a wood lathe, proportional dividers, engineering scales, and a linotype, all of whose skills can be transferred to the “modern” world in a variety of ways…

in other “forward into the past” news, i finally got around to editing the Wraith Ugly/Bob Larson tapes. i’ve been flogging them on bob larson’s twitter feed, which is somewhat amusing. 😈

🤔

this afternoon, i was doing some yard work, and i found this in the gravel between the house and the trailer…

210819 Alaska Yukon Pacific 100th Anniversary pin, quarter for scale
210819 Alaska Yukon Pacific 100th Anniversary pin, quarter for scale

it’s small enough that i’m 100% certain that, if i didn’t already know what it was, i wouldn’t have even noticed it, but…

AS IT HAPPENS… i know EXACTLY what it is, which is a 1909-2009 Alaska Yukon Pacific 100th Anniversary pin, which was given to performers at the celebration, and (i believe) were also for sale to the people who came to the celebration. i know this because, in 2009, the ballard sedentary sousa band peformed at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exhibition 100th Anniversary… although, for some (now) unknown reason, i was unable to make that gig, so i had liz get me a pin, becuase i have always been interested in the alaska yukon pacific exhibition, and i was really dissapointed that i couldn’t be there… and i THOUGHT that pin was on my red fedora, because that’s the last place i saw it, and it was only last week that i wore that hat…

could i have lost my AYP pin? 😨

so i ran upstairs to check, and… no, my AYP pin is right where it’s supposed to be:

210819 my AYP pin, right where it's supposed to be
210819 my AYP pin, right where it’s supposed to be

so, that raises a new question… was the former owner of my house at the AYP 100th anniversary, and did he/she/they buy a pin? or were they performers? i consider the latter to be EXTREMELY unlikely…

hello, old friend…

i’ve got a lot on my mind… my new car, my old car, monique’s old car, my cloud drive, the data, which still needs A LOT of categorising and sorting. there’s so much of it, and about a third to one half of it is corrupt, but i can’t tell without attempting to read it…

next to my tablet is a cup which contains pens, pencils, permanent markers, a divider, a compass, a bong reamer, several dental tools, a couple of hemostats… miscelaneous things that i need on a regular basis. i was looking for the original gear shift knob for my old car, which involved emptying out a bag of miscelaneous leftovers from when we moved (last year), which i never got around to sorting out. it had a number of things that i had been looking for, like my extra vape battery, an extra container for concentrates, my (ORIGINAL!) fidget-cube, and some extra pens and pencils, which i proceded to put in the cup next to my tablet… but it was full.

so, i decided to get a larger can, from my workshop, into which to transfer the pens, pencils, and miscelaneous tools, which took a while, because i had to find the can that i was looking for. when i’d found the can, i went back into my office, and transferred the stuff into it, in the bottom of the cup, i found this…

miniature citrine ganesha
miniature citrine ganesha

i got this… i don’t know how many years ago… i think it was before my injury… i got it a clear quartz ganesha, and this citrine one, at the same time, but i lost the citrine one almost immediately — like, within the first two weeks — and i have never seen it since.

2 miniature ganesh murtis and 10ยข
2 miniature ganesh murtis and 10ยข

which reminds me…

XKCD - Slide Trombone
XKCD – Slide Trombone

a long time ago — probably mid-1970s or thereabouts — i was at the Marrowstone Music Festival at Fort Flagler State Park (which should give those people who know about such things a much clearer idea of exactly when this occurred) for a two week “intensive”, where we learned, rehearsed, an at the end of the two weeks, performed a concert of orchestral works.

a lot of the trombone parts were mostly rests, with occasional blasts of fanfare, or glissandos, or other suchlike “trombone” things. trombones in a classical orchestra have a reputation for being lazy, and jokers, but that’s only because we have nothing else to do! nobody writes for trombones in a classical orchestra setting!

it’s true! beethoven, the quintessential classical composer, wrote NINE symphonies for “full orchestra”, but he only wrote one piece that had parts for trombones, the Three Equale for Four Trombones, which is one of the most beautiful pieces in existence.

for the most part, the classical period was before what we know as the modern “trombone” existed, and, at best, the “trombone” parts that exist are usually parts for serpent or ophecleide which have been transposed.

after one morning rehearsal — where the trombones had rests and didn’t play at all for the 4½ hours of the morning rehearsal — we were all feeling a little punchy as we went to lunch. for some time, i had been warning the other trombonists that, if they left their instruments out, on the stage, when we weren’t there, something bad could happen to their instruments… i was thinking something along the lines of “someone bumped into your horn and now the horn has a disabling slide injury that will cost several hundred dollars to repair” or something like that, and i always put MY horn away, when i was not actively holding it in my hand, but, despite my almost constant, annoying reminders, the other trombonists left their horns on the stage as we went to lunch.

so, i developed a plan…

while the other trombone players were eating lunch, i attacked their horns.

trombones that have “attachments” (i.e. every trombone that is LOWER THAN a “tenor” trombone) have at least one valve, which lowers the trombone’s pitch. when that valve is not activated (most of the time), the trombone plays in B-flat, but when the valve is activated, it plays in F (or some other key, depending on other things). most trombone players that have a valve, only use it occasionally, to play notes that they would, otherwise, be unable to play reliably. the valve section of tubing is like a separate little bit of the trombone, that is only used occasionally. it has its own tuning slide, and, when the horn is being played without the valve, the extra tubing is sealed off from the main part of the instrument.

what i did was remove the tuning slides for the valve sections of their horns, and filled the valve sections with water. then, turning the horns upside down, i replaced the valve section tuning slide, and placed the horn, right side up, on the stand, so that it looked like it hadn’t been touched.

when they came back from lunch, they picked up their horns, blew a few notes, and then cycled the valve, which released the water into the main part of their horns…

BLLLOOOOP!!!

then they “emptied their spit valves”, thinking that their horns just had water that accumulates when they went to lunch… after about 5 minutes of emptying their spit valves, they gave up, and took the slides off and dumped the rest of the water out of their instruments…

all the while i was busting a gut trying NOT to laugh, which, among other things, would have disturbed the rest of the people in the rehearsal, some of whom were actually rehearsing by this time…

and, you know what?

they never left their horns out on the stage after that… 🤣

databases

my first direct experience with databases was in the late 1980s or early 1990s, when i got a “job”, “working” for this… guy…

i don’t remember his name — possibly “henry” — but i remember his attitudes: he was always right, nothing he thought of had ever been thought of before, he was the richest, smartest, trendiest, most “on-top-of-it” dude that ever hit the face of the planet, and GAWD HELP YOU if you EVER got in his way.

needless to say, the “job” didn’t last long. it started with him demonstrating how generous he was, by buying me a disk caddy, so that i would have somewhere to keep all of the disks i was going to accumulate working for him. then he started asking me about computers. at the time, i was NOT a “computer geek”, nor did i want to be one (my father was one of the original “computer geeks” and i DID NOT want to be like my father), but i knew about computers because i had been working as a typesetter for a few years. he asked me what i didn’t know about computers, and one of the first things out of my mouth was “databases”, so he signed me up for a week of training with “FileMaker”…

what i learned was a bunch of recycled stuff from my already ample knowledge of microslut word and excel, with a bunch of “hypercard-like” stuff which i sort of vaguely understood (but nobody i knew used hypercard for anything, so i never really knew what i had missed until years later), and, at the same time i was doing this training, i was helping this… guy… clean out his house, because he was going through a divorce, or some awful shit like that, and he, basically, had to move EVERYTHING that was “his”, out of one house and into another, that was a few houses down the street…

which is where i learned that his “rich” persona was heavily financed by several HUNDRED overdrawn credit cards — he had been using one credit card to pay off another credit card, and when he ran out of credit cards, he would just start up a new one, and use it to pay off the previous ones… FOR YEARS… — at which point i decided that working for this guy might not be such a good idea, if i wanted to get paid.

quite apart from the fact that working for him was REALLY annoying…

so, ultimately, i spent a week learning really complex software that i never got to use for anything, and that was it, until i got my job at software.com, testing email servers, in 2001.

and, for all of my work with databases at software.com/openwave, i still don’t have a really solid grasp of what they are… where they “live”, what they do, how they work… anything… all i know is that, under the right set of circumstances, you can give “commands” to a database, and it will perform certain functions with a variety of different “objects”, the outcomes of which can be used in a multitude of different ways, depending on what is contained in your database.

i get the impression that databases are a lot like the world wide web, in that they both have a lot of objects (web sites) that are linked together in a somewhat-haphazard, but definitely organised way.

so, you can imagine that it was something of a surprise when, the other morning, i woke up, checked my email, and discovered two somewhat alarming notices. the first was warning me that i had used up 90% of my disk space on my server, and the other was warning me that a “table” on my main database was malfunctioning… or something… and collecting 251 GB worth of data… which, somehow, was NOT showing up in my cPanel, which says “Disk Usage 18.43 GB / 292.97 GB”…

and, of course, it happened on a sunday, when nobody’s in the office, and on mothers day, when even fewer people are in the office, and during a PANDEMIC… 😒

so, first thing this morning, after waking up to a broken heat pump, and a wife who wrenched her back, i wrote to my web designer, who said, oh yeah, we’ve seen this kind of thing before, it’ll cost between $200 and $500 to fix it…

and I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT’S WRONG… 😖

The PHBFH

salamandir, the phbfh, ezra, 1989ish
salamandir, the phbfh, ezra, 1989ish

i don’t know who took this, or when it was taken, but my impression is that it was taken while i was working at evergreen station organic farm (pulling weeds), which would make ezra about 6. i really enjoy the look on ezra’s face. it’s clear that his parents may not realise it yet, but he knows what’s coming down, and it’s not good. 🤣

by the way, here’s a photo of the PHBFH on internet about which she can do nothing… 🤣

समाधि पीठ

sivaite samadhi peetham
sivaite samadhi peetham

i found a whole pile of black and white negatives that are between 25 and 35 years old. possibly older, as i don’t have a great memory for these things, so i keep a list of when things happened. according to that list, the picture above was taken in 1991 or 1992. it was taken to honour the fact that i had just experienced sabikalpasamadhi (सविकल्पसमाधि) for the first (and only) time, on the banks of the skagit river.

jim robertson
jim robertson

i just got back from picking up 182 4″x6″ prints. there are a bunch of pictures of ezra, the PHBFH, randy, and ruth. there are a few pictures of other people, including me, and jim robertson.

there are also a lot of pictures for the legendary “Trash” issue of “Tina Magazine”, which was never published, as well as several pictures of the Tina literature which is now, suspiciously, for sale at Alta-Glamour.

now i gotta get started scanning them. 😉

🍄🕉🍄🕉

i started an experiment a few days ago: i bought a vape-pen and, for the past three days, i have been vaping instead of smoking pot. i noticed a couple of things right off the top, which are that i get SIGNIFICANTLY higher from vaping than i do from smoking — although i knew that already, from vaping using darol’s pipette-and-lighter method. the second is that i haven’t been wheezing as much, particularly at night… which is a good thing. it’s bizarre, though, because i’ve got a few buds and my bong sitting on my desk next to me, and they haven’t been being used, and i don’t know when i am going to be motivated to use them, or do something with them… another thing that is kind of strange is that i bought a gram of “wax” (for under $35) that looks like it’s going to last me at least a week, and possibly two.

i went for a walk today, and, while in jovita park, i encountered a random, ambient smell that was kind of minty, that immediately reminded me of music, trombones, and my 4th grade school music locker. it’s possible that whatever made that smell is used in a cleaning product that was used in the music locker, or on the instruments, i have no clue. also, the smell was quite random: i smelled it, and then it was gone, and i stopped when i smelled it because the recollection was so powerful… and then, on the way back, i smelled it again, and stopped, and the smell was gone in just a couple of seconds. it was a musty, minty, trombone-y smell. 👃

reunion

the fairhaven college 50th anniversary reunion was friday, saturday, and today. i went to perform a ritual vegetable sacrifice, which happened this morning.

i just want to say that i am SO glad i married monique. i spent a couple of days with a lot of old, crazy people, talking about other old, crazy people and the crazy things they did, and continued to do… and i could have an up-close-and-personal part in all those crazy things, except i NO LONGER LIVE IN BELLINGHAM, and the crazy people in monique’s circle of friends do stuff that DOESN’T AFFECT ME! 😁

darol isn’t growing any longer. it was decided that his mental instability(!) made the fact that he was growing a danger to the community at large, so somebody distracted him, and other people went in and cleaned out the entire operation. then pot became legal. now darol is getting old and fat and doesn’t have anything to do any longer.

crazy people i haven’t thought about in 30 years: julie, collette, katharyn, almitra, jim… i heard about the crazy, stoned antics of calvin, the youngest son of alana, who i haven’t seen since 1992…

friday, i went to an undisco in the fairhaven auditorium — the first one that has been held in the auditorium in 25 years… the music was way too loud, and 95% of it hadn’t even been written the last time there was an undisco in the auditorium… it was really weird: i visited the classroom where my first flybottle class was held, but there were computers everywhere… even in the hallways, there were “publically accessible” computers — you still need to be a student to use them, but they were there… and the auditorium is completely different: it’s been turned into two rooms that have a temporary divider between them. the stage and the light booth are still the same, but the sloped floor and the carpeting have been removed… and there are two computers, one in each “room”, that control huge video screens, which had “meditationHD” videos — 😒 — in them for the undisco. kenyth was supposed to be there, but, because of the fact that his care-givers(!) screwed up, he wasn’t there.

saturday, i played my overtone flute in the back stairway at fairhaven. it sounded FANTASTIC! i realised that the reason it’s not in tune with other instruments is because it was specifically made for that stairway. it sounds good by itself, whereas, in most other places (including, significantly, fort worden), it needs electronic help (in the form of an amplifier and a delay box) to sound HALF AS GOOD… i decided that it sounded so good that i had to record some, so i set up my H2 (which, conveniently, was in the suitcase with the amplifier and the delay box), and recorded about half an hour, before i realised that the batteries in the H2 had died shortly after i first started playing, so i had to change the batteries and do it all again. that was interrupted by ken yanik, who i spent a couple of hours after that, talking to, catching up after 36 years…

kenyth showed up for a “special ceremony” in his honour, which was, apparently, people who were, marginally, his students, giving him mementos and other random tchatchkes, for which he has no need, and, for the most part, he doesn’t remember his students anyway. i saw him. he had to be reminded who i was. i gave him an announcement for the vegetable sacrifice. he didn’t show up. when we went to his care-facility(!), later in the evening, for what passes for “the jam” these days, he had to be reminded, again, who i was. the jam was cut short by his care-givers, who were concerned that the music(!) was keeping the other residents awake. he seemed happy to see everyone, and, once he had been reminded who i was, it was okay, but it’s really sad to see him losing his mind, and it’s really sad knowing that the fact that he’s losing his mind is the reason he’s being subjected to this.

the campus has changed a lot. there are a whole bunch of new buildings, new sculputres, and new athletic facilities. there is also a lot of other changes that i only heard about: the cube sculpture that used to be near the library is now in the fairhaven courtyard. rock rings and the steam scupture are now in a forgotten corner, behind a new, huge building, which has a massive new sculpture, “the stairs to nowhere”, in front of it… the old sculptures haven’t moved, the campus has just been built up around them. it’s nice for the campus, i guess, but there’s a lot of brick, glass and concrete where there used to be apple orchards and pine trees.

i made 100 vegetable sacrifice announcements. i handed out a bunch of them at the undisco, and a bunch more to various people at fairhaven, and elsewhere on campus. it was scheduled for 9:00 am, which was RIDICULOUSLY early compared to the “traditional” sacrifice (which is always held at noon), but what else could i do? that was what they offered me. still, i handed out about 75 announcements, and quite a few people said that they were going to come: tarzan said he was going to bring some vegetable sacrifice virgins; sasha and jeff also indicated that they would be there, and i sort of half expected ian to show up as well. i got to the tower(!) at 8:30 in the morning, and prepared. at 9:03, ken and kamalla (with whom i had been staying) showed up, followed shortly thereafter by ken yanik and a guy called “morf” — a former fairhaven student who, apparently, knows a lot more about me than i do about him (which isn’t that surprising). about 15 minutes later, after we had already finished the random circular reading, jamie jedinak and her doggie, pepper, showed up… there were also two innocent bystanders at the top of the tower, and (unbeknownst to me, until i decended, after sacrificing my vegatables) another innocent bystander at the bottom. ken whitley was very concerned that the person at the bottom had “witnessed something illegal” and started cleaning up the sacrifical remains almost immediately, which i found somewhat disappointing.

there’s a really long, 1.5GB video of the vegetable sacrifice ceremony, which was recorded on the holy camera of video by morf. i can’t figure out how to turn it into something that i can post on the COTC web site, but i’ll figure it out eventually. i figured it out. i also reduced the size to a much more realistic size of 113.2MB… now i have to figure out where to stick it.

it was enjoyable, driving through the skagit valley, on my way south, but once i hit stanwood, i hit the freeway. it’s REALLY good to be home.

blast from the past…

Perceptual Motor Rhythm Skills - Teachers' Edition
Perceptual Motor Rhythm Skills – Teachers’ Edition

where do i start?

quite a number of years ago… maybe 35 or 40… i used to entertain myself by calling radio preachers and saying bizarre stuff. after a while, i started recording these conversations arguments, particularly with one specific radio preacher, Bob Larson, and playing them for my friends. i also sent a copy to a friendly person named Matt Jasper, who ran a little company called Tray Full Of Lab Mice Publications, who combined it with other sound sources and released his own tape, which was called “Tina Chopp vs. Bob Larson”… in spite of the fact that “Tina Chopp vs. Bob Larson” was only a small part of that tape, which included other people interacting with bob in a similarly strange way.

at some point, someone at Bananafish Magazine got hold of matt’s tape, and combined it with a bunch of other, nominally musical, sources, and, in 1992, released a 7" EP vinyl album, called “Perceptual Motor Rhythm Skills – Teachers’ Edition” which was released, as a pressing of 1,500, with issue #7.

and i FINALLY had to BUY my copy, a couple of weeks ago, from the River Street Beats Shop, because i didn’t even know the album existed until a couple of weeks ago… 😎

story

a long time ago… after i got married, but before my injury, when ezra was living with the PHBFH on capitol hill, and i was living on beacon hill, somebody (i always suspected that ezra knew who, but he never admitted to it) lobbed a fist-sized rock through the PHBFH’s front window, which struck ezra in the face and broke his nose. shortly after that, the PHBFH moved everything to an even rougher part of town in an attempt to get away from the roughness that she perceived surrounding her, pretty much everywhere.

i retrieved the rock, wrote the words “I BROKE EZRA’S NOSE” on it, put it into storage, and promptly forgot it, because i was up to my eyeballs in other stuff, including dealing with the PHBFH and her erstwhile lawyer.

i found the rock the other day:

151223 rock before
151223 rock before

i texted ezra, to see if he wanted it. he didn’t, but he suggested that i carve the words into the rock and then “let it back out into nature :)” which sounded like an admirable idea to me, so i did:

151223 rock during
151223 rock during

151223 rock during
151223 rock during
151223 rock during
151223 rock during
151223 rock after
151223 rock after

the next step is to paint the letters with some durable, shiny paint in some bright colour, i’m thinking neon green, or yellow or something. i’m also debating whether or not to “enhance” the blood stains that are still on the rock, for dramatic effect.

then, to release it back to nature… possibly at double bluff park, since we have a tradition of going there every year. or at fort worden… i’m seeing ezra on sunday, so i’ll get a chance to talk with him about it, as well…

blaine, 2015

in 2009 i uploaded a picture that was taken in 1981 of me and a bunch of guys juggling on the lawn in front of old main, at western:

jugglers

one of those guys, barry alexander, was a friend of mine who was also a jeweler, and made the silver Ritual Object that has been used in countless Ritual Vegetable Sacrifices by The Church of Tina Chopp throughout the intervening years.

on sunday, the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band played a concert at the Peace Arch in blaine. after the concert, as i was putting my instrument away, i was approached by barry alexander, who i haven’t seen in probably 35 years. this is what he looks like now:

150823 Barry Alexander, Blaine, WA

apparently, he knows a lot more about what’s going on with me than i do about him, because he knows about things like Hybrid Elephant, whereas what i know about him ceased to be updated when i lost contact with him, some time in the early 1980s…

forward into the past!

i believe it was either summer of 1983 or 1984, the PHBFH decided that she had to take her either 6-month old, or her 18-month old baby (depending on what year it was, and i’m not 100% certain which one it was), to see her grandmother, who lived in gilroy, california, and her great aunt, who lived in san bernadino, california. it was important to her to “introduce the generations to each other”, but, as she didn’t know how to drive, i became the default driver for her crazy scheme well-thought-out plan… which was sensible, since her baby was my son, but i didn’t have a regular job, and she didn’t have a job at all, and the whole trip was (supposed to be) without any cannabis whatsoever (because the PHBFH is a paranoid psycho) so it took some figuring out to figure out how we were going to pay for a two week road-trip to california in a borrowed ford pinto station wagon…

never the less, she figured it out, and we packed up the station wagon and headed out to california.

at that time, there was a place just north of kelso, washington (about a two hour drive south of where we lived) where there was a planned nuclear power station, part of the trojan nuclear power plant. it was never an active nuclear power plant, and never housed nuclear material of any kind, but i didn’t know that at the time. all i knew was that it was there, quite visible from southbound I-5. i also knew that the PHBFH was TERRIFIED of nuclear power, and was constantly “muscle testing” for the presence of “elevated levels of background radiation” which made her “sick”.

she actually claimed that she was able, through “muscle testing” to tell the difference between an “irradiated” carrot and an “organic” carrot. naturally, she couldn’t, but that didn’t stop her claiming that she could… ๐Ÿ˜

so, anyway, i pulled off the freeway, before we got within view of the trojan nuclear power plant, and, innocently, asked her to “muscle test” for background radiation. she did, and couldn’t detect any elevation… then we drove around the bend in the freeway, and came into view of the plant, and she IMMEDIATELY started complaining that she was getting sick from the elevated radiation levels, which stayed in the “danger zone” (i.e. the Making-the-PHBFH-sick range) until we were well south of portland, approximately another hour’s drive south from kelso.

i didn’t know at the time that there was no radiation level AT ALL, otherwise i would very likely have turned around in kelso and proceded immediately back to bellingham. at the time, i was only slightly less ignorant than the PHBFH, herself — although i had enough sense to ignore her paranoia and bring some cannabis with me, which probably saved the entire trip.

cape

a long, long time ago… probably 1980 or thereabouts… i had just moved to bellingham and was a student at fairhaven college, on the campus of western washington university. there was a “student market” called the “VU Vendors” on weekdays, where “professional” vendors (somewhat like what Hybrid Elephant was like, at the FSM) and students who wanted to sell stuff congregated. one of the latter vendors was a guy who had made a cape out of army blankets, which he wanted to sell because he needed some “medication” (i never asked what kind of “medication” he wanted), but i didn’t have the amount of money he was looking for, so i memorised the pattern and went on my way. about a year later, after i had gotten a job, i bought a couple of wool army blankets and made my own cape, which have worn, more or less constantly, since then.

i wore it when i went to the rainbow gathering in 1982. i wore it when i was a migrant fruit picker in 1983. i wore it when i freight-hopped to various places, i wore it when i hitch hiked places, i slept under freeway bridges, and in farmers’ fields wrapped in my cape… in 1993 or thereabouts, i wore it when i went out picking mushrooms, got it caught on a barbed-wire fence and tore a hole in it, which i repaired. eventually i modified the design a little, and cut arm-holes, which fastened with velcro, so that i could wear a backpack and still wear the cape, when it was raining. originally it had three buttons that i rescued from a pea-coat, but the buttonholes failed, so i removed them and replaced it with a metal frog that i got at OCF, where i wore it to protect me from mosquitos.

eventually, i learned that it wasn’t really a “cape”. it is actually a garment called a burnous, a traditional garment worn by Berbers… but nobody knows what a burnous is, despite the fact that it is actually a really cool garment…

it was well worn, and well loved, so it wasn’t particularly surprising when i was putting it on a couple months ago, and the frog ripped a big hole in the front, and i decided that it was time to retire it as a garment…

141215 cape in progressbut i still want need a cape… i NEED a cape. it has been a part of my wardrobe for 40 years, and it’s lack has been felt intensely… so i went out and spent $250 on real wool fabric, and real lycra lining material, and made a new one. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

at this point, it’s about 85% finished. i put together the pieces, and sewed the neck, but i’m letting it hang for a couple of days before i finish it, because that way the lining will have a chance to “settle”… the old cape didn’t have a lining, so it wasn’t a problem. i found it rather bizarre, essentially, to have to make two capes, and sew them together inside out, so that the lining came out right.

and i didn’t realise until i hung it up, that, because of the fact that it’s made of brown cloth, it looks suspiciously like a “jedi” cape… which, naturally, means that i’ll be getting a lot of comments from tourists at OCF next year, but… oh well, i’ll deal with it…

God help me resist temptation…

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27: BOB LARSON’S CURSE BREAKING SEMINAR

Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center
17620 International Blvd
Seattle, WA 98188
Starts @ 7pm Free and open to the public

FEBRUARY 27-28: ONE-ON-ONE ENCOUNTERS WITH BOB LARSON
To schedule a one-on-one personal SPIRITUAL ENCOUNTER with Pastor Bob, call 303-980-1511.

the phone number is the same one he used back when i was messing with his head, which, if i recall correctly, is a denver, colorado area code… but my understanding is that his headquarters is now in phoenix, arizona…

bob larson

okay, this is going to be another one of those “forward into the past” posts that contains, among other things a possibly amusing, possibly appalling story from my distant past, and a link to how it all plays into what is happening today. procede at your own risk.

in 1980, or thereabouts, i began listening to religious freaks preachers on AM radio… it was either that, or listen to gawd-awful music or mindless conservative babble on the AM-only radio that was in the taxi that i drove, and religious freaks preachers were the only thing i could stand to listen to. in the afternoons, i listened to one particular preacher — bob larson — with great amusement because of the ridiculous things he would say. eventually i adopted a persona, sort of an alter-ego, named Wraith Ugly (alternately spelled Ralph Ewggleigh), with whom i called him up (remember, this was before cell phones, when you actually had to have a wire connecting the telephone to the wall) and taunted him mercilessly, while recording the conversations. after several years, i got tired of this merciless taunting, and had a friend of mine call bob and tell him that “wraith” had committed suicide. then, about a year later, when bob had all but forgotten me, i called and told him that i had been brought back to life by The Church of Tina Chopp, who had held a secret ceremony where they planted cucumbers, in accordance with the Word of Tina…

all of this is documented, more or less, at The Church of Tina Chopp web site, and on a 2-CD set called “The Wacky Adventures of Bob Larson, Ralph Ewggleigh, Osiris Ranebo, and Other Freaks, Live, On The Air” which is finished, but hasn’t been released on bandcamp yet, because it mostly contains tracks that are larger than i can upload to bandcamp… ๐Ÿ˜

every now and then i think that it might be fun to renew my acquaintance with bob… actually, what i’d really like to do is get somebody else, possibly somebody with whom bob is already familiar, outfit them with a hidden camera and recording device, and have them approach bob and ask him if he has heard anything about wraith ugly recently, just to see what he does… ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

but then i realise that doing so would very likely cause me more stress, and i really don’t need that in my life these days… especially when jon stewart is doing such a fantastic job of harrassing bob without me… ๐Ÿ˜Ž

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nKQUiKgYK0

oh, by the way, “Reverend” bob larson isn’t really a reverend, or, if he is, he was ordained by the Universal Life church, or something like it. when bob and i were “palling around”, he was not only not a reverend, but held the title in disdain, because it was so easily abused… ๐Ÿ˜

nooze

i went to bellingham saturday, and came back today. there are a number of interesting developments that came about as a result:

apparently there is a “bullet shuttle” that runs from downtown bellingham to downtown seattle and back, that only costs $11… which means that there’s a good chance that i will be taking it to bellingham, and/or whitley will be taking it to seattle more regularly, for the purposes of, basically, getting And More back together. along the same lines, whitley and kamalla have offered to house my keyboards in their house, which means that when i go to bellingham, my keyboards will be set up and ready to go, and when i’m not there, other people will be playing them. the piano (which is missing three tines) has been packed up in a box and sitting behind the couch for about 7 years, and before that it was in a box in the hallway… i haven’t actually had it set up since we moved in to this house… so putting it to good use again is most desirable, and this seems like a prime opportunity.

while i was on my way to bellingham, yesterday, i took sort of a detour through mount vernon, so that i could go by the places i used to live. while i was in mount vernon, it started to rain, and then, quite suddenly, it started to rain so hard that, after slowing down, and slowing down, and turning my windshield wipers to their highest settings, i still could not see, and was forced to take refuge in a parking lot for about half an hour, until the rain let up. as i was pulling out of the parking lot, i saw a building across the street that was, literally, pouring water, tens of gallons a minute, from all of the downspouts… and the streets were flooded in several places, to the point where, when i had to drive through a flooded part, i was concerned because it was over the floorboards of my car… i haven’t seen it rain that much in that short a period of time more than once or twice before in my entire life.

the main reason i went to bellingham in the first place was that kenyth’s 80th birthday was last week, and i went to deliver a birthday present (Operation Mindfuck) on monday. while i was there, i heard that there was going to be a music jam (which is what they’re calling the stairway jam these days), and it was suggested that i come up for it, so i did. another thing that we discussed while i was there was the fact (in my opinion) that kenyth really needs a wikipedia page… a fact that is complicated by the fact that kenyth has kept absolutely ZERO archives of the work that he has done, class notes from classes he has taught, personal correspondence, and that sort of thing, and further complicated by the fact that, to be a wikipedia page that isn’t deleted immediately, a lot of the information posted has to be backed up by stuff that is publically available from internet, which, in this case, would be practically impossible in anything like a realistic way. the upshot is that i am going to help the community of people who want to see this happen, by registering a domain (how about http://KenythFreeman.dance/ or http://JosephPFaddlefum.name/ or something like that? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and pointing that domain name towards a blog that i can set up, and then give to the people who actually know what content there is, and can organise it the way it’s supposed to be.

on my way back, today, i mostly took surface streets, and only hit the freeway once or twice. i was north of burlington on what i think was Highway 99, and i found the new location of “The Music Shoppe”, which was a place i worked a couple of times a VERY long time ago: the first time was right after i graduated from the tech school, and ended when i got fired for telling sam, the owner, that the “chemical tank” that he bought, ostensibly to “dip musical instruments”, was full of the chromic acid that he bought and then discovered he couldn’t use because it’s carcinogenic (and, generally, only used as a “bright dip” for brass instruments before they are buffed and refinished), and it was beginning to leak, because it wasn’t really a “chemical tank” but, rather, a stainless steel dairy tank with a bright brass stopper… and the chromic acid was dissolving the bright brass stopper, because, well… chromic acid dissolves brass… ๐Ÿ˜

anyway, the second time, he actually subcontracted my musical instrument repair business to repair musical instruments for “The Music Shoppe”, and that ended when he refused to pay me for an instrument that i had fixed, that his customer had refused to pay for. basically i said that, until i got paid i wasn’t going to fix any more instruments for him. he said that he hadn’t paid me because his customer hadn’t paid him, and i pointed out that his customer was HIS customer, and that MY customer was him, but that didn’t seem to make any difference. they apparently moved from their shop in the fountain district in north bellingham, some time in the past, and they are, as of 1st november, moving in to burlington. i left Operation Mindfuck in the front door for them to find when they open up tomorrow. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

which reminds me…

according to the “universal chart of telling when things actually happened” that i made several years ago, in late 1995 i lived in a rooming house in west seattle with a couple of crazy people, one of whom was Regan Fraser, older brother of Brendan Fraser, actor in such movies as “George Of The Jungle” and the Mummy series. at the time (and, to a certain extent, still), i was more or less ignorant of the exploits of brendan, so i wasn’t as “wowed” by my brush with the sibling of a star as i might have been otherwise, but it was pretty memorable anyway.

at the time, i was working as a micro$lut, doing the evil bidding of the great Gates himself. i had lulled myself into a false sense of security, because, even though i was working at microsoft headquarters (i never actually had an office on campus in redmond, but i had several “off campus” offices), i was working in their mac division, and never actually worked with windoesn’t until several years later.

this was back in the dark ages, when you could actually telnet to different servers, and, for the most part, there was no email spam, in part because it was before the discovery of the Word Concept Virus, which was capable of being sent over email. prior to the word concept virus, you actually had to have physical access to the computer, and install viruses from a disk, for them to be able to propagate… in other words, computer security was light-years away from where we are now.

when regan heard that i was working with networked computers, he came to me with a bold plan to get both of us filthy rich — or something — a prominent part of which involved me gaining access to his “rich brother’s” bank accounts over internet.

fortunately for me, i was just at the beginning of my realisation that i was, deep down, a computer geek, and also i was a rank newbie when it came to internet — i had survived perfectly well up until that time using a sneaker-net when i had to share documents, and i was just beginning to imagine why i would ever want anything more than that…

so i “tactfully” told him that, while what he proposed was likely possible, he was talking to the wrong guy when it came to actually cracking a computer and stealing stuff.

later, after i had moved into my own apartment, i heard, third-hand, that he had actually been arrested when it was discovered that he had broken into his “rich brother’s” house, stolen some credit cards, and had actually gone to a bank with those cards, claiming to be his “rich brother”… i never actually confirmed any of this, but reading through the tale of master foo reminded me of my experience with regan fraser…

blast from the past

i was cleaning out my desk and i found a bit of paper that probably hasn’t changed relative locations in close to 35 years. it was written on the back of a photocopied “description of statues” that was from Sindhu International, which, among other things, was my landlord when i was in the tech school, but the important part was written on the back, several years later, when i was working as a flagger…

GIRDED IN

THE TANGERINE VEST OF VISIBILITY

AND

THE AMBER HELMET OF HARDNESS

I BEAR ON MY STAFF THE POWER OF

THE SCARLET OCTAGON

AND I COMMAND YOU TO

STOP!

coincidence, or… ?

through a series of events so unlikely that the only place it could have happened is the internet, my memories of a long-forgotten friend has surfaced, and i’m only partially sure of what the right direction to head would be in this case.

while browsing my RSS aggregator, i found an article through MetaFilter about "The Truce On Drugs" which mentioned (along with many other things) a guy from humboldt county named Mikal Jakubal.

a long time ago, when i was living at The Madhouse, in bellingham, another person who also lived there for a short period of time, was this guy who was described by one of the founders of Earth First as “a walking action”. to say that this guy was an “environmental activist” is sort of like describing Mickey Mouse as “a cartoon animal”. it was through him that i learned about my love of doing things like destroying logging machinery that i find deep in the woods, driving metal spikes into the old-growth trees that i come across, picking locks and other less specific kinds of general mayhem.

the name of this person was mike jakubal.

whether or not these two people are the same person remains to be seen (actually, if the picture on his web site is anything to go by, my guess is that the probability that they are the same person is no less than 75%)… but, at the same time…

WEIRD!!

halvah!

0011between 1982 and 1984, before i went into the tech school, i had a “job” as a cookie baker. part of that job involved making halvah, a yummy treat made of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cocoa powder and other goodies, stuck together with honey or maple syrup. the reason i called it a “job” was because, as far as i knew, i was the owner of the business, and more-or-less it’s only employee, which may have actually been the case, although i never found out. i got the “job” from the PHBFH when she got pregnant with ezra and couldn’t work any longer, and when the “job” ended – when i went to seattle to start attending the tech school – i “gave” the business, called “Celebration Cookies”, back to the guy who had originally started it as a restaurant called “Celebration Cookery” several years before… but i never worked out of an “approved” kitchen, i never paid B&O taxes, i never had a health-department inspection or any of that “real business” stuff that normally goes on, so i don’t know for sure whether or not it was a “real” business, and thus i don’t know for sure whether or not it was a “real” job…

and, after i gave it back to the guy, i probably shouldn’t have worried about whether it was a “real” job or not, because, while i tried (and mostly succeeded) at making it a profitable use of my time, the guy i “gave it back to” was out of business within two months: he went out and spent the entire bank account on two ingredients that we used only a very little, and when he needed more of an ingredient that we used fairly regularly, there was no money in the bank account for it… so he went out of business… oh well, i’ve never looked back.

after having baked anywhere from 25 to 100 dozen cookies a week for a short period of time, i got to the point where i stopped eating cookies all together, except for the gingerbread cookies, and the halvah, because they were both yummy enough that, despite the fact that i had experienced the raw ingredients up to my elbows (and in my hair, and pretty much everywhere else), i still wanted to experience the finished product. eventually, after giving up the cookie business, i still made halvah, because the grain grinder was the only part of the business that i didn’t give back to the guy… because he didn’t ask for it back, and because i wanted to keep it so that i could continue to make halvah, because it was IS so yummy… ๐Ÿ˜Ž

i even modified the halvah recipe to make it more yummy, because… well, that’s what you do with recipes for yummy treats… ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Halvah!the last time i remember making halvah was before we moved into our current house. the grain grinder “disappeared” around the time that we moved, and i didn’t notice it until several years later. i tore the house apart looking for it, and couldn’t find it anywhere… it was because i wasn’t looking in the correct place, of course, but i didn’t find that out until i had given up looking for it, and had considered it a lost piece of history for several years.

until yesterday, when i looked in the correct place, while i was in the process of looking for something else… i suppose i should have looked for something else in that place before last night, but it was behind a whole pile of other stuff, and the cabinet that it was in was full of a whole bunch of other stuff that is “too cool to throw out, but otherwise useless”, which was put back in the cabinet and had stuff piled up in front of it, so it isn’t too surprising that it was overlooked…

but, the upshot is that i found my grain-grinder. so, i decided to make halvah. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

and it still is as yummy as i remember it. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Halvah!

i only made half a pan, because i wasn’t sure if i remembered the modified recipe correctly, but i did, so now, as soon as that’s finished (likely within the next two or three days, depending on how yummy moe thinks it is), i’m all set to make a full pan. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

eric

eric and i were good friends for a long time. we met back when i was seeing kitty, in the early 1980s. i don’t remember exactly what circumstances brought us together, but eric was living in the house of a friend of kitty’s (alan?) and because of the fact that we were both brass players (eric played french horn) and both enjoyed cannabis, we became friends.

later on, eric was playing french horn with kenyth in the stairway (excellent accoustics), and i started playing along with them on my flute, and we liked it so much that it became the Stairway Jam, which is the miscellaneous and ever-changing group of musicians that met and jammed in the stairway (and, later on, elsewhere) for 25 or 30 years, but only performed in public one time — which was the “Free Money Concert” where each of the audience members was payed 10ยข if they stayed for the entire, 1½ hour performance… we only had to pay one audience member, a fellow named Ken Yanik, who had fallen asleep during the performance. every other audience member (and there were quite a few) left before the concert was finished, and before we revealed how much we were going to pay.

but, eventually, eric met my older-younger sister*, and my sister turned him against me. i don’t know exactly what she said (although i have a pretty good idea), but eric’s behaviour toward me got worse and worse, until there was a major “scene” at the stairway jam one evening, eric left the group for good, and i haven’t seen him since.

that is, until today. i responded to a linkedin request from Amy Denio, a musician whom i have admired for a long time, and while i was responding to that, linkedin suggested that i may also know Eric Barcus… as far as i can tell, this is the same eric as the one to whom i am referring, although i can’t be 100% certain, because the last time i knew for sure, kathryn and eric lived in bellingham, and he wasn’t a computer technician… the problem is that if it is the same eric, any message i send to him is likely to be responded to with the same kind of emotional outburst that i experienced at the stairway jam, these many years previously, and i’m not sure whether i want to experience that or not, regardless of how good a friend eric might have been at one time. UPDATE: nope, it’s not the same guy.

the one thing i do know for sure is that linkedin is getting more and more brash about advertising the fact that they know a lot more about people than the people, themselves, probably realise… ๐Ÿ˜

Continue reading eric

the week in review

i completed the replacement of the lead pipe on the ugly sousaphone. i have yet to replace the water key, and patch the split third-valve upper tubing, but those things shouldn’t take long at all, and then i will be able to deliver the ugly sousaphone to its rightful owner (thaddeus), who will, then, hand over to me the double B-flat tuba seen here… and i will play the HELL out of it! 8)

i was contacted by a person who claims to be my grandfather’s half-sister… but she’s around the same age as me… and for someone who might not be who she says she is, she certainly has an over abundance of trivial information and unimportant, but entirely, independently verified facts about people who would otherwise be completely unknown, so at this point i tend to agree that she’s probably my grandfather’s half-sister… but, because of the fact that my family is all that’s left of a bunch of massively inbred yokels and hillbillies, she hasn’t cleared up any of the “family mysteries”, and, in fact, has come up with several new ones that will, likely, never be completely understood, because they have to do with my family, who, traditionally, ignores, berates, or tries to shout down anybody (like me) who says that the way they live is not the best. rosemary, my great aunt, is also a child of the ’60s, and has a hippy heart, which is probably why she survived this long without doing the traditional family thing and going crazy.

seriously… there’s a family history going back almost 200 years, of family members getting killed or maimed by insane people, some of whom have also been family members… weird… ๐Ÿ˜

the moisture festival has been going well, but i haven’t started playing shows "for real" yet, despite the fact that i have already played 6 shows with two different bands… starting on saturday, i have 12 shows over the course of 8 days, with two different bands, so i’m going to be more than ordinarily busy. until then, i’ve got a rehearsal this evening, and a rehearsal tomorrow evening, and probably a rehearsal either wednesday or thursday.

i got the business cards i made for chris, which look astoundingly good, given the fact that the phone number is deliberately off center… supposedly he’s going to get back to me on a postcard, for which i sent out a preliminary draft on tuesday, and talked with him on wendesday, but haven’t heard anything since. i don’t want to hassle him too much, though, because apart from having a more-or-less full time job, he’s also got a new clinic that he’s in the process of opening up… at the same time, this postcard is “time sensitive” at this point, and i don’t want to wait too long, or i won’t be able to get them printed in time.

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˜

so i went to bellingham yesterday…

so i went to bellingham yesterday. it has been a long time since i’ve been in belligham, and it has been even longer since i have seen the… crazy hippy freaks unique crowd that was there for kenyth’s 77th birthday party last night.

kenyth was my advisor when i first started college, and i started college during the latter part of the last century, but that comes later.

first, i drove through mt. vernon and saw many cow-fields adjacent to the nookachamps river that are going to be ripe for mushrooming in a few weeks, and, basically, i’ve decided that i’m going to take at least one weekend day and do exactly that… because mushrooms are my second favourite drug (the first is hashish, but that’s a separate story).

it took me about an hour longer than i thought it was going to, to get to bellingham, which still puzzles me somewhat. i went to ken & kamalla’s place, but nobody was home, so i then went to the madhouse, which is where i spent the night last night, and talked to darol and the lady who lives in the cabin (which was my space, 25 years ago) for a while, then i went out to wander until it was time for kenyth’s party.

the first place i went was the lake whatcom railroad trail, near where i used to live on valencia street, where i walked east (up hill) on the trail to this spot, where i found this:
old railroad bridge
it was somewhat strange back before everything got developed, but it is somewhat stranger now that it’s the only remaining evidence of a railroad line that used to go right through the middle of what is now a shopping mall and a fairly populated neighbourhood.

i then continued wandering east on the old railroad grade until i found a place that was built about the same time i lived there, which is a dam which funnels all of the water into a creek. a long time ago, shortly after the dam was first built, i used to go there and hide in the tube at the south end of the dam, and grafitti the inside of the tube. at one point, i even took a couple of sheets of plywood down there, so that i didn’t have to worry about getting soaked while i worked. i cleaned debris and gravel out of the tube at least twice, and i had a cozy, invisible little camp/hidey-hole there for a couple of years. now you can still get into the tube, but there’s a sizable pool at the bottom of it at this point, so you’d have to be a spry 20-something to get in there… i imagine that i could probably get in there now, but i imagine that if i wasn’t careful, i would get wet, and i didn’t want to do that yesterday, because it was threatening rain, and i didn’t have a change of clothes handy…

then i went down the tracks a little further, until i got to whatcom falls park, which is another place i used to live eons ago, when ezra was small. this is the place where the PHBFH lived, while i lived in the madhouse (when the PHBFH was living up to her acronym, which was about half of the time), when we went to vancouver BC to see the opera, when ezra was a tiny baby, and there were several old lady opera attenders who looked down their noses at us because we had a “babe-in-arms” at the opera, and everybody knows that babes-in-arms disrupt civilised things like opera… and they didn’t even notice when ezra went to sleep, shortly after the opening chorus, and slept all the way through, without making any noise at all. then, when we got home, very late at night, it was raining, so i parked the car while the PHBFH got out to open the door, so that we could avoid having ezra out in the rain for too long… except that the PHBFH wouldn’t open, or go anywhere close to the door, because it had a teensy little frog, smaller than the diameter of a dime, sitting on the door handle… 8)

then i went back to ken and kamalla’s place, where there was someone home this time, although it wasn’t kamalla, because she was apparently in california visiting her grandkids. i engaged in geek/music and/or music/geek talk with ken until it was time to go to kenyth’s party… which, coincidentally, was in the same dance studio where ezra took lessons from the time that he was 5 until he started at the pacific northwest ballet school, which used to be the nancy whyte studio, but is now called the “Presence Dance Studio”…

kenyth & francieas i said previously, kenyth was my advisor during the time that i was at fairhaven college, which was 1979 through 1984, and again, on and off, from 1986 to 1989. prior to my arrival at fairhaven, kenyth was actually the dean of the college, but by the time i got there, he was “just a professor”. his two “specialty” classes were “Introduction to Personal Philosophy 101” which was informally known as “the fly in the flybottle” or simply “the flybottle class”, and “Awareness Through The Body”. when i first started at fairhaven, you could take body awareness as many times as you wanted, but you could only take the flybottle class once… however, it had such a powerful effect on me that i actually took it twice (with kenyth’s approval) – although i never took body awareness at all (which is kind of a shame, now that i think about it).

before i met kenyth, i was a child from bellevue, a place which is, like it’s new york namesake, an excellent place from which to escape. kenyth introduced me to the person i would eventually become. he did this by allowing me to be me, gently, uncritically and with a great deal of humour (as well as various other things), and by not requiring me to be anything which i was not. it didn’t take long for me to realise that i acutally am another person, one who is 180 degrees different from the person my parents wanted me to be (who was boring and had no life).

and i saw a whole bunch of crazy hippy freaks unique people whom i haven’t seen for quite some time. i saw: douglas drake and joni papp, who i saw at burning man in 2008; karl meyer and stephan freeman, who i see at the moisture festival every year; sally peyou, who i got email from last week, but haven’t actually seen since 2007; yoav and yael yanich, deirdre morgan, kathy veterane, darby freeman, lisa carderelli, dani cutler, jamie jedinak, and a lot of other people whose names i am already forgetting again… all of whom i haven’t seen in at least 20 years… i got email addresses for the people i’ve been thinking about, and wondering what ever happened to them…

i went to sleep, and woke up in the madhouse for the first time since 1989 and it felt so right… if i ever have the opportunity to move back to bellingham at any point in the future, you can bet that i’m going to jump on it in a second. 8)

kenyth's dance

Jaymes Douglass Fyrr

i met this guy when i was in my 3rd semester of college. in 1979, i lived in stack 6 at fairhaven college, with a bunch of crazy people for the first two semesters, and between the second and third semester i moved into stack 4 with another bunch of crazy people, one of whom was jaymes douglass fyrr (not his real name). before i lived there, the suite was inhabited by a bunch of crazy college guys adolescents whose idea of a good time was pouring beer down their gullets until they were so wasted that falling out of the third floor window didn’t faze them (really). after they were kicked out moved elsewhere, the suite became the realm of me, my roommate reuter, st. gordy and his roommate (whose name i don’t remember), st. fred, and jim and his roommate (whose name i don’t remember).

jim and i got along the way suite-mates who were from two totally different worlds would be expected to get along – i.e. we were civil, but he didn’t get to know me very well, and i didn’t get to know him very well – and when the year ended, jim went back to his parent’s home and i did “something else” (i didn’t get along with my parents, even then). when fall semester 1980 came around, i had to choose a new roommate if i wanted to live in the dorms, and jim needed a roommate for his apartment in buchanan towers, so i said what the hell.

during the fall semester, we got to know each other quite well, but then it turned out that he didn’t pass a class he needed to graduate, so he dropped out and went back to his parents’ house and i got another roommate, randy (who is a completely separate story).

fast forward a few years to 1983, after my son was born. i was living in a big apartment on the side of sehome hill with my son and his mother, the PHBFH, and we got…

a phone call from jim, who had planned on going back to school, finishing the class that he needed and getting his degree. what it came down to was that i had an extra room in my apartment, and jim needed a place to stay for spring semester. once again, i said what the hell.

it was considerably different this time, compared to the last time we were roommates. jim didn’t want to do his own laundry or cooking. we had meal tickets and “saga” in the dorms, but that was a long time ago, and it got really tense when he asked the PHBFH to do his laundry. also, at the time, jim was getting really cranky and mean, so when he graduated, we asked him to move out.

i should have known then that he wasn’t the best person to hang around with, but i have had a tendency to “forgive and forget” in the past (now i’m just as willing to forgive, but if you slight me, i’m definitely going to remember it), and it wasn’t too long before i was sharing a house with him again. st. gordy owned a house on state street and jim already lived there when i moved in. at the time, i was transitioning between the print shop and the music shoppe, and jim stepped into my vacant position, thus making the transition somewhat easier. for a while we worked down the street from each other, me at the music shoppe and jim at quik kopy, and we would take our lunch break at the park down the street and get stoned. by 1990, jim was developing, what i considered at the time to be, a very unhealty relationship with the “mom and pop” of the “mom and pop print shop” at which he worked (which was part of the reason why i left originally, as well: they were scary people), which was making his crankiness and meanness even worse, and by 1994, just before i moved away from bellingham, jim and i didn’t spend an awful lot of time with each other, simply because he was so disagreeable to be around.

then, in 1995 i moved to seattle, and i didn’t think about jim that much, because i was going through my own little hell, living at 5 different locations and having 3 or 4 jobs within a year before things started to settle down, and in 1996, i got…

another phone call from jim…

it seemed that his toxic relationship with the “mom and pop” had blown up, and he had been fired from the print shop, at which point he got a job at “the other print shop” in town and promptly gotten fired from that, because he was mean to the customers and kept coming to work drunk. he asked if he could come and stay with me while he got “cleaned up” – which i took to mean that he wanted to get sober and get a job. at the time, i was flush with my first successes in the computer industry and, despite my better judgement, i said he could stay with me for a couple of weeks, until he got his feet under him.

the first night he stayed in my apartment, he asked if i had any beer, which i didn’t… so i went out and bought a 6 pack, which – even now – usually lasts me a couple of weeks. i drank one and the next day, i got up and went to work. when i came home, there were no more beers in the house, and jim was complaining that we didn’t have any beer.

at that point (because my father was an alcoholic) i got straight to the point, and said that there wasn’t going to be any more beer, or anything else alcoholic to drink, in the house, and if he didn’t like it, he was welcome to leave… which, after a few days, he did. he didn’t go far, though… i actually caught him sleeping in the bottom of the main stairway in my apartment building, on the “fire escape” level, below the bottom floor, and told him that he couldn’t stay there – actually watched him pack up his stuff and leave twice before he went somewhere else.

it turned out that he had copied my key before he left, though, and when he left, he went back to bellingham, where he met a lady i had worked for, named almitra, immediately prior to moving to seattle (or, it’s possible that he knew almitra before coming to seattle, and conspired with her to get a copy of my key. i’ll never know for sure…), who convinced him that i had stolen her computer – in reality, she had given it to me in lieu of cash payment, but that, too, is another story. i can just picture them, both soused to the gills, and jim saying “i have a key to his apartment, we can just go in while he is at work and steal it take it back…”

which they did.

it didn’t take much sleuthing to determine who had my computer, and so i went to bellingham with st. gordy (who is a fairly big guy) to find him. the first place we looked for him was at st. gordy’s house, which had been gutted by a fire and had been posted as “unfit for human habitation” by the fire department… and, naturally, we found jim living in his old room, as though nothing had happened. in fact, he was incredulous that we had found him at all, but he didn’t have the computer… it wouldn’t have done him much good anyway, because the electricity (which was the original cause of aforementioned fire) had been shut off.

at first he wouldn’t tell us where it was, but… have i mentioned that st. gordy is a pretty substantial fellow? jim was a predictable drunk, and caved almost immediately, and soon we were on our way to almitra’s apartment. after a tense interaction with almitra, which involved st. gordy and the police, i learned what the phrase “possession is 9/10ths of the law” means, and left without a computer. fortunately (or not, depending on your point of view) i had encrypted the entire disk, so the only thing they could do with it was totally wipe the disk and start over… with no fonts or a typesetting program or anything other than a blank operating system. jim actually called me a couple of weeks after, to try to wheedle the password out of me, but i refused.

i have never seen him since then. about once a year for a while i would get a “i’m sorry, do you still want to be friends” email from him, which i ignored. then i had my brain injury and i stopped hearing from him… i guess maybe he thought i had died, or something, which would have been fine with me.

i got email from him again about this time last year: “remember me?” i wrote back “yeah, i remember you.” and haven’t heard from him since.

this story leaves out A LOT of detail, and merges some of the details together, to save having to go out on long, meaningless tangents in order to explain relatively minor events… but that’s basically my side of the story. if jaymes douglass fyrr finds this via google or something and wants to respond, i probably won’t delete it.

1984

the night of saturday, 31 december, 1983 to sunday, 1 january, 1984 was one in which i had the late night shift at the college radio station, KUGS-FM 89.3. the show was called “The Radio Program That Doesn’t Exist” and, as “The Voice In The Night”, i played a mixture of offbeat album rock and extremely bizarre stuff like the shaggs and the passion and transfiguration of a post apocalyptic eunuch.

but this particular night i had something special in mind: the David Bowie classic, Diamond Dogs. and i timed it precisely so that the song 1984 started the moment the new year happened.

i don’t know if anybody else remembers this, but i was just listening to 1984 and i remembered this…

Someday they won’t let you, so now you must agree
The times they are a-telling, and the changing isn’t free
You’ve read it in the tea leaves, and the tracks are on TV
Beware the savage jaw
Of 1984

They’ll split your pretty cranium, and fill it full of air
And tell that you’re eighty, but brother, you won’t care
You’ll be shooting up on anything, tomorrow’s never there
Beware the savage jaw
Of 1984

Come see, come see, remember me

We played out an all night movie role
You said it would last, but I guess we enrolled
In 1984 (who could ask for more)
1984 (who could ask for mor-or-or-or-ore)
(Mor-or-or-or-ore)

I’m looking for a vehicle, I’m looking for a ride
I’m looking for a party, I’m looking for a side
I’m looking for the treason that I knew in ’65
Beware the savage jaw
Of 1984

Come see, come see, remember me

We played out an all night movie role
You said it would last, but I guess we enrolled
In 1984 (who could ask for more)
1984 (who could ask for mor-or-or-or-ore)
(Mor-or-or-or-ore)

1984, 1984, 1984, 1984, etc.

giant metal chickens

this may be what a “meme” looks like when it is in the early stages of formation…

i have seen references to giant metal chickens in three different places around the web during the past couple of days. while i am pretty sure that two of them aren’t, one of them may have been in reference to a band called Giant Metal Chickens, but i’m not sure, and i can’t find the link now, which, in itself, is enough to raise my suspicions. and one of them was a client and friend of mine, who posted pictures of a giant metal chicken which may or may not have been her own personal giant metal chicken, in high point north carolina…

giant metal chicken - high point, NC

bizarre…

which brings up another story…

my first semester of my first year of college was spent living in the dorm, first with a guy named josh, and then with a guy named joe. around the end of that first semester, i found, not a giant, but certainly much larger than normal chicken, made out of aluminum foil – for all intents and purposes, a “giant metal chicken”.

of course this chicken ended up in my dorm window, where it was the object of much amusement and derision from the other people who lived in the dorm, and at the end of the semester, joe asked me if he could take it home with him. he assured me that he would bring it back at the beginning of the next semester, and, as we were all moving out of that particular dorm anyway, i figured that if he took it, that would mean that i wouldn’t have to explain why i had a giant metal chicken to my parents, who were already under the impression that i was more than a little strange anyway.

naturally, when the next semester started, joe didn’t have my giant metal chicken. apparently his dog ate it.

and they thought i was strange…

um…

Today, while I was sleeping, my girlfriend took my phone and set the ringtone to a bloodcurdling scream. I found this out when I received a call while driving to work and, thinking someone was being murdered in my backseat, I panicked and swerved into a parked car.
     FMyLife

mean… but funny… 8) (as long as it’s not happening to me)

which reminds me of a funny story…

a long time ago, when i was in college, i had come home for the break between spring and summer sessions and discovered that my parents had rented out my room, so i was forced to sleep in the family room. i didn’t spent an awful lot of time at home anyway, so it wasn’t much of a problem, but the problem came when i changed the phone-answering-machine message to a quote from a song by Crème & Godley:

This is The Bad Samaritans, hello loved-one. Sorry there was nobody here to take your call personally, but we understand what you’re going through; how you’ve travelled life’s highways with your smile on upside down. And now you think you’ve found the ultimate answer to all your problems. Don’t be hasty. Why waste a life? Wait ’till there’s a crowd down below. Give a little when you go.
     — Crème & Godley, The Sporting Life

everything would have been fine, except that the woman(!) to whom they had rented my room was a suicide counsellor, who had, among her clients, a couple of parents whose son had just committed suicide…

and, naturally, they called shortly after i changed the message, when nobody was home…

oops… 8)

forwards into the past!

another highlight from the genealogical information that i got yesterday is my great great grandmother Martha Ann (Mattie) Solomon‘s death certificate. according to what i can gather, contrary to “family rumours” that have been creeping around since i was a kid, she was not a native member of the Creek tribe. however she was murdered by an “insane woman” in 1938, shortly after my father was born…

weird! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

busy, busy, busy…

i belong to the Rudraksha Bead Societies Club email group, and this message from Anil Kumar came through in a larger discussion about the Himalayan Academy.design, typesetting and computer wizardry

I have been reading from Himalayan Academy and their various sub websites, almost regularly for the past few years and the information available is simply amazing. The monks keep updating it on a regular basis. You can follow their daily blog which they call TAKA on the below link:

http://himalayanacademy.com/blog/taka/

For Modern day Mystics who want to know the significance of this Giant Crystal Shivalingam ( also known as an Earth keeper Crystal), they can follow the below links,

http://www.thegreatcentralsun.com

http://www.thegreatcentralsun.com/almitra/book.php

Almitra Zion also had visions of this EarthKeeper Crystal apart from Gurdeva Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami who then deputed her to procure the same.

i did quite a bit of typesetting and design work for almitra zion from about 1989 or so until 1995, ending soon after i moved from bellingham to seattle, and posted about my interactions with a lady at the fremont sunday market who was using the "Words Of Power" cards in the past, but here is an independent, third-party recognition that almitra does, in fact, exist, crazy as she is.

i met almitra during the time that i was working for the advertising company in bellingham and doing work “on the side” for an esoteric book store. the owner of this book store put me in contact with someone who, she said, was “opening another ‘esoteric’ book store” in a different part of town. that person was almitra, and i worked with her until i moved to seattle, doing sign painting, making labels for the book shelves, designing and printing flyers and pamphlets and doing advertising design, including a number of advertising magazines, as well as artistic design for these crazy cards that she wanted me to print for her in 1992, which had her “intuitive” meaning for the individual letters of the words. they were actually sort of hillarious, in a sad kind of way, because her “intuition” frequently told her what words meant, but only if they were spelled in her own “intuitive” way, and i had to inform her on a number of occasions that a particular word wouldn’t work, because the dictionary disagreed with her “intuition” and if i spelled the word the way she wanted to spell it, she would end up looking like a pompous, uneducated moron.

she never actually paid me with money. she gave me a fairly large african drum, and a lot of promises, but it was only after i told her that i wasn’t going to do any more work for her that she offered me the computer that she had bought to do the design work that i had been doing for her. it was an acceptible offer to me, since i was in the business of doing typesetting and design work, and, for the time, it was a pretty attractive computer – a Mac LCII. in return, i completed one more magazine for her, and then informed her that i was now living in seattle and couldn’t do work for her any longer.

shortly after i moved to seattle – once i had actually got an apartment of my own – my former-friend jim came to visit for a couple of weeks, ostensibly because he wanted to “get straight” after pretty much losing most of his life to bottles of cheap, fortified wine. i later learned that he was working with almitra, and one of the reasons he came to “visit” me was so that he could get a copy of my key, which, after i realised that staying at my apartment wasn’t going to help jim “straighten out” and threw him out, he proceded to go back to bellingham and give to almitra, who used it to break into my apartment and steal my computer back… and then he had the gall to email me a couple of weeks later because he couldn’t break the password that i had set to restrict access to the computer and he had to ask me if i would give it to him… which, of course, i wouldn’t, and laughed at him for his delusion that i would… ๐Ÿ˜

apparently, she’s got a web site (designed by her son, who was approximately 4 years old when i was working for her), and she’s actually selling the "Words Of Power" cards in an online revival of the original central sun brick and mortar shop in bellingham – she says that it also operated on kauai before that, and it well may have, but if it was, it was very likely a "hippie tarot readings and esoteric doodads at inflated prices" shop run by a post-adolescent psychotic who thought she was a healer, because that’s pretty much what it was when i worked for her in bellingham.

these people must be members of my karass, because as hard as i try to get away from having to associate with them, they keep on showing up, whether i like it or not…

wump

i look unusuali look unusual.

when i was growing up, my parents took offense at the fact that i wanted to look unusual, and they tried very hard to get me to look more like i “fit in”. because of the fact that they were my parents, and i had very little control over the things they were requiring me to do, i complied. also, i am very much aware of how negatively “looking unusual” was portrayed by my parents, in an attempt to dissuade me from looking unusual. they always said that if i looked unusual, people would not want to hang around with me and it would affect the “opportunities” i would be presented.

the way i looked at it then, and the way i continue to look at it (because i still cannot see why there should be any other way of looking at it), is that if the fact that i look unusual means that people will be more hesitant to hang around with me, then i probably wouldn’t be that interested in hanging around with those people to begin with. it’s better that people who wouldn’t hang around with me for superficial reasons be repelled from me to begin with, because if they were not, I would be repelled by them when something superficial came up in which they weren’t interested. if people are going to be repelled by my unusual appearance, then if i looked more like everyone else, i would be forced to associate with people from whom I want to get away. only people who are willing to look beyond appearance get to know who i really am. everyone else just thinks i’m a freak, and that’s the way i like it.

i am especially that way when it comes to “work”. at this point i don’t have a “job” in the traditional sense, but if i had to wear a uniform, or dress a certain way every day in order to “fit in” and make a living among people i didn’t get along with, i would go mad very, very quickly. i’ve barely been able to get by in “corporate” jobs in the past, even under the best of circumstances. i’ve only had one job from which i was not fired, and i’ve only had one job that has lasted longer than two years in my entire life. in a lot of ways i feel like i wasn’t cut out for what “normal” people do every day, and my experience with “jobs” pretty much reflects that.

update

i got an order for 1000 postcards through a recommendation from a long time customer. i’m probably going to get a special order for a kilo of incense from somebody who doesn’t want to pay via paypal, so he’s sending me a checque, which will probably add around a week to the amount of time that it will take until he gets his order.

i got two emails within a comparitively short period of time from a former friend turned raging alcoholic. i’ve gotten three or four emails from him in the past 10 years, and suddenly i get two emails from him within a week. i also have a copy of the last letter i sent to him, almost exactly ten years ago, that starts out with the phrase “you’re delusional, and you’ve been that way for quite some time now.” and goes downhill rapidly from there. i’m glad i’m so obsessive about keeping personal correspondence, otherwise i might not have remembered that this is the same guy who stayed in my apartment for a week right after i had moved to seattle from bellingham, in 1996, and proceded to make a copy of the key to my apartment, so that when i finally threw him out because he was an irresponsible drunken bastard, he came back and cleaned out my apartment while i was at work, and then was surprised when i showed up at his residence in bellingham with the cops… or the fact that he, then, proceded to accuse me of stealing his cheap stereo and rusty scale, which i hadn’t seen in years… the same guy who tried to guilt me into shutting up by asking questions about me finishing my degree, and my relationship with my God and gurudeva…

i wrote a terse email back to him, but i’m not holding my breath.

thanks to xydexx (who falls into the category of people i have known for 25 years or more… scary, isn’t it?)

“You know how sometimes people on your friendslist post about stuff going on in their life, and all of a sudden you think “Wait a minute? Since when were they working THERE? Since when were they dating HIM/HER? Since when???” And then you wonder how you could have missed all that seemingly pretty standard information, but somehow you feel too ashamed to ask for clarification because it seems like info you should already know?”

FIRST NAME: salamandir
AGE: older than dirt
LOCATION: seattle area
OCCUPATION: brain injured, tuba playing freak with a taste for fire
PARTNER: yes.
KIDS: one and done.
BROTHERS/SISTERS: two sisters, one brother, haven’t seen or spoken with any of them for 25 years or more.
PARENTS: mother and father both living in bellevue. haven’t spoken with them in a few years either.
PETS: currently, four dogs, three cats, a parrot and a snake. soon to include a litter of puppies.
THREE TO FIVE THINGS GOING ON IN MY LIFE: 1) [REDACTED] 2) one of the bands i play in is getting more and more frustrating because the only language that all of us speak in common is music, which makes organising things like rehearsals and concerts almost impossible. 3) none of the bands i play in have a gig on new years eve. wanna hire me?
CLOSE FRIENDS: a very few people that i’ve known on and off for 25 years or more, a somewhat larger number of people who i’ve known for 20 years or less, and nobody in between.

also, ROTFLMAOWTIME

forwards into the past – my experiences with goat island

path to fishtownmy finding the articles about fishtown the other day has caused a great deal of uproar in my feeble, damaged brain: very strong, detailed memories that don’t seem contected to any particular event combined with a general uncertainty about the whole period of time in question leaves me wondering what actually happened, and when.

these are things that i know concerning fishtown and goat island:

the first time i went to goat island was between 1982 and 1985, but i think it was around 1982. i’m not sure why i was going to fishtown specifically, but i apparently knew some people who lived there full time, or something like that. there was also talk of starting an “intentional community” (read “hippy commune”) on goat island, since it had a convenient abandoned gun emplacement that could be used as “temporary” (read “permanent”… it was huge, and mostly underground, thus dry and relatively warm) dwelling place. my sister kathryn and her boyfriend (who eventually became her husband) eric were planning on going as well, but due to some conflict with eric (which were quite common at that time), they ended up going to goat island separately, camped on the other side of the island, and i never saw them. i went with randy, and we spent two days trying to get to goat island. the first day we parked along the side of the road, basically in the middle of nowhere, outside of la conner, and hiked in to bald island, which was accessible by a rickety foot bridge. that night we camped on the bluffs on the west end of bald island overlooking shit creek (ship creek? my guess is that they were trying to be polite on the poet’s web site… ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and got a ride with bex into fishtown the next morning. the second night we spent in robert sund’s cabin, which was a lot nicer than sleeping on the rocky ground. there is a drawing inspired by robert sund’s “wind letters” which i had seen there in my sketchbook. also there is a picture of a completed "wind letter" that is in my workshop at this very moment… that’s how profound an impact this place had on my consciousness. in the morning of the second day, singin’ dan and red dan and randy and i set out in one boat and bex set out in another boat, and we rounded goat island (because of the jetty, we couldn’t get to where we wanted to go directly). i was astounded to see a two-story house on the mud-flats. somebody had bought a 40 foot barge, moved his whole house onto it, and then parked it in the mud to the west of the island, where he made all the money he needed for the whole year by shoring up the monsterous pleasure boats belonging to obscenly rich people who figured that they could go anywhere in a boat that was given to impacting the bottom of the bay when the tides went out. we spent at least a week on goat island, with the conflict with eric escalating all the time. i remember singin’ dan impressing me with his knowledge of native plants and their uses. we built a huge fire in one of the abandoned gun emplacements, which burned for three days, and made a huge pot of stew with rabbits and wild cabbage and onions. we were going to return to fishtown through the fish-hole in the jetty, but we didn’t time the tides quite right (it’s difficult to approximate time when you haven’t seen a watch or a clock for a week), so we went into la conner instead, and from there we got a ride back to our car.

i also went to goat island with katharyn and ezra, when ezra was a tiny baby… maybe that was the time with the conflict with eric, i’m not sure… anyway, i remember it was during a break from the tech school, and i rented a canoe from the university boat house. we parked at the end of the road outside of la conner and had a straight shot from sandy beach to the island, along the jetty. because of the fact that i had timed it correctly, we hardly even had to paddle, the tide just carried us out with it – which was a good thing, because of the fact that we had ezra, we had a huge boatload of diapers and stuff, plus three people – well, two people and a baby – in a canoe that wasn’t really intended to hold more than two people, or one person and his camping gear. i remember, on the way there, we had, literally, an inch or less of freeboard. one good wave would have swamped us and abruptly ended the trip. i don’t remember that much about that trip (it is not at all surprising that a camping trip with the PHBFH would not stick in my memory), except for the fact that we made it and didn’t drown or lose anything important, like the baby. there is a list in my sketchbook, dated 850621-23 that appears to match what memories are there, but i seem to recall ezra being much younger, as little as 6 months old, at the time, so there may have been multiple visits with katharyn and ezra.

i went to goat island at least two more times. once with randy and jenny, where we actually canoed around in the area where the people who owned the house made their money. because of the fact that we were in a shallow-draft boat, we were able to go exploring in a lot of areas that are inaccessible otherwise. i remember we came up on this small island, and someone coughed (there was a fair amount of pot smoking going on), and, instantaneously, the sky all around was filled with great blue herons that had a rookery on the island. i got a feather from one of the nests that i still have, on the desk in front of me, at this very moment… ๐Ÿ™‚

the last time i went to goat island must have been around 1985 to 1986 or so, and it was with jim. i don’t remember anything about how we got there, or how long we stayed. i do remember that jim was so afraid of appearing “gay” that he camped on the other side of the gun emplacement from me, in a place where we were not even in visual contact. it rained that night, and we moved further into the abandoned gun emplacement to avoid getting wet, and i remember trying to get warm, and rolling around in my sleeping bag, which i had parked next to a doorway, in the pitch dark of the night, and not being able to find the doorway i had gone to sleep next to… and then, in the morning, i discovered that i had rolled all the way across the underground chamber, diagonally, until i was next to the doorway that went out of the room on the other side, which was about 50 feet away. it didn’t rain the next night, and i slept under the stars, and during the night i found a watch on the ground, under a bunch of pine needles and leaf litter, that was probably lost by a previous camper.

i don’t know what ultimately happened to fishtown, and i probably don’t want to know. i also have no idea what ever happened to the people i knew there, with the exception of robert, who has since become both a noted poet, calligrapher and artist, and dead. after corresponding with frog hospital, i learned that bex and red dan are still in and/or around the mount vernon/edison/sedro-woolley area. he doesn’t know what happened to singin’ dan, though… oh well. it’s a shame that it had to end in whatever way it ended – i seem to recall logging and/or bulldozers and people with huge quantities of money who wanted to “develop” the area in 1988 or thereabouts, which was when i was in the middle of the failed bus project… another person i knew from that place and time was mauldiwarp moongate-climber, the person from whom i bought the failed bus project, but that’s another story… ๐Ÿ™‚

another enjoyable evening at chumleighland

101030 monster mash posterso ¾ of Snake Suspenderz went out to Cholmondleigh-land (his actual site is here, but he’s got some sort of infernal device on his site that keeps crashing my new version of firefox – konqueror does okay, however, which makes me wonder what is really the problem). all in all, a quite enjoyable evening, although the hippie ineptitude factor seemed to be working overtime: we were consistently running late, and it wasn’t until 10:00 or so that we managed to get the live show over and start on the films. i managed to be able to break moe away from her homework and brought her along as well, which made the evening all the more enjoyable. we were joined on stage by the inimitable master payne and, of course, the reverend himself, although he didn’t “ascend a stairway of machetes, barefoot” because somebody ripped off all his machetes, so instead he walked a pathway of broken glass, barefoot. since the last time i was there, he has actually finished the rail-pup (a self-propelled closed-circut railway) which was even more fun in the dark – you’d be barreling along blindly, cranking to beat the band, and the track would suddenly curve and you’d be riding on two wheels trying not to fall over… not like the last time i was there, when the track wasn’t finished yet, and if you didn’t watch where you were going, you’d plunge off the end of the track into the undergrowth…

chumleigh and i have been doing what we do, more or less, for 35 years or so: in 1978 i was playing with a dixieland band, and we were playing for the last official “Fat Tuesday” celebration in seattle. unbeknownst to us (at the time), there had been a major riot in pioneer square the night before, so there were mounted police in riot gear everywhere, and most everyone else was sticking to the edges of pioneer square, and acting very dodgy, and here we were, this small band of incredibly young musicians playing happy music in the square, very surreal. then this guy came up to us and introduced himself as reverend chumleigh, and wondered if we had a job or worked anywhere, and offered us a job playing at the alligator palace in la conner. i was the only person that had graduated from high school at the time, but i didn’t know where la conner was, and ended up in bellingham. i didn’t actually meet him again until much, much later, in 2008. in the mean time, i worked as a fish packer, a migrant farm worker, a typesetter, spent two years in a tech school, and then worked as a musical instrument repair technician, as a typesetter (again) and as a computer geek before i had a brain injury and realised that what i really wanted to be doing all along was music, whereas chumleigh was playing with the flying karamazov brothers, being involved with the beginnings of the oregon country fair, and building a reputation as one of the biggest names in vaudeville…

definitely makes me wonder what would have happened to me if i had known where la conner was, back in ’78…

ETA: in poking around, looking for links to the alligator palace, i found this article from Frog Hospital, about fishtown, a place that i visited in the early 1980s, and another article, about robert sund, whose cabin i stayed in the first time i visited fishtown… which, while it doesn’t have much about chumleigh, brings back a whole bunch of memories…

40 years of inspiration

everybody is jumping on the bandwagon, which is normally something that causes me to examine my preferance towards something a lot more closely, but in this case, i think it is justified: doonesbury’s 40th anniversary.Doonesburythis was one of the first appearances of a character that i haven’t seen in a loooong time, named Bernie. i don’t know what ever happened to him, and as far as i can tell, there isn’t any mention of him at Slate (which is what you get if you type in www dot doonesbury dot com), but Bernie has been an example of what i wanted my life to be like ever since i first encountered him.

mark slackmeyer and i had a rocky relationship at first. when he appeared on the scene, i was around 10 years old, and i was intent on not becoming one of those long-haired drug-taking hippie-radicals that were all the rage in the 70s… but then, a few years later, i went to college and my parents rented out my room, which meant that, when i came home between sessions, i had to sleep in the garage – mark slackmeyer spent at least one summer in his parents’ garage, for similar reasons. and as i got a couple of years into college, and discovered cannabis, LSD, and other “drugs” there came to be even more similarities between me and mark…My name is Mark, I smoke marijuana.i have all of the original doonsebury books around here somewhere… these two were scanned from the second one, called “The President Is A Lot Smarter Than You Think”.

creeping up on the past

the further back you go, the more dramatically my memory fades, but because of my injury, i have a significant gap in specific memories between about 1985 and 2003. because of the fact that i was not taking very many pictures during that period, i don’t remember much, but i recently came across a whole bunch of negatives and slides, the earliest of which were taken in the late 1970s, before i graduated from high school, and the most recent were taken when i lived in mt. vernon, which ended in about 1994.

nataraja music service 1983 this is Nataraja Music Service in 1983, right after i moved back to bellingham after graduating from the tech school.
ezra this is ezra, approximately 1989 or 1990, aged 6 or 7.
dome my dome… <sigh> i lived in this dome for a couple of years before i moved to mount vernon, around 1990. it was this which resulted in my being a dome fanatic to this day.
antique flutes i took a whole bunch of pictures of a bunch of antique flutes that i worked on between 1985 and 1995. i also took pictures of one of the bent flutes that i rescued.

i’ve put a whole bunch of pictures up, but i only linked to a few of ’em.

we’re making an emergency trip to portland tomorrow. whee…

from my sketchbook

the only way we can worship anything other than God is when we worship something that is a result of some occurance outside of our bodies. we are created in the image of God and we are given life by God and God dwells within us. when we worship something that is not within oujr own bodies, we worship the creation and not the creator. when we worship something within our bodies that is a direct result of occurances outside of our bodies, we worship our creation, but not God’s creation. our creation has been called the “ego” – that part of our personality that is a direct result of society. it is that part of our personality that wants us to think that we created ourselves. it is that which is spoken of in Isaiah 47.10 “for thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: Thou hast said none seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.”

the ego is that part of our mind that “thinks” and “knows” from learning, and is ignorant of reality outside of itsself. the God that lives within us is that part of our personality and thinks and knows from intuition or inspiration. its true source is cosmic learning, the accumulated experiences of the creator, which lives in all of us at the same time. this is what is spoken of in Philippians 2.5-6 “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” the “mind” spoken of is the mind of the cosmic creator. Jesus, himself, didn’t have a personality of “Jesus,” because he was totally the Personality of the Divine Creator – so much so that he had the abilities of the Creator as well. John 5.30 “I receive not honor from men.” if we worship Jesus, we worship the body, and not the Mind of the Creator which lives within the body. this is the meaning of the crucifixion: Jesus’ body was just a vehicle for the mind of God, which lives forever, with or without a body. as Jesus said: “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17.21)

weird…

when i lived in new york, probably 1971 or thereabouts, a whole bunch of my music classmates and i were transported to a theatre in downtown buffalo, new york, where we took part in an experimental music recording for some artist. i don’t remember anything about who the artist was, or what the recording was ultimately used for, but what happened is permanently etched on my mind: we were taken to the balcony, directly in front of the stage which had a whole bunch of stripped down pianos, and a bunch of what looked like large metal junk piled on it. there we were each given a small bucket full of tennis balls, and encouraged to be very quiet, and throw the tennis balls at the pianos and metal stuff. specifically, they told us that noise from the tennis balls was encouraged, but noise from our mouths was not. it was an occasion that was enjoyed thoroughly by everyone, and they collected the tennis balls and re-distributed them to us at least three times. then we all got on the school bus and went back to the school, which was in williamsville, a suburb of buffalo.

why do i bring this up, apart from the fact that it’s an interesting bit of trivia about my life?

i was poking around on wikipedia today, and i found this, which is in the first part of the article abut Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno. in the article, he was being encouraged in a project “Piano Tennis”… “after collecting pianos, they stripped and aligned them in a hall, striking them with tennis balls.” (wikipedia).

my family moved to the buffalo area in 1969. according to wikipedia, brian eno graduated from the Winchester School of Art in 1969, and he was in london in 1971 when he joined roxy music, so the probability that the artist that made the “experimental music recordings” that i took part in was not brian eno is pretty high, but i would be willing to bet that it was someone who saw eno’s performances at the winchester school, or someone that had heard about them…

anyway, i was so intrigued by the whole process that when the school i was attending had to “throw out” a piano that was “broken”, i persuaded the music teacher to let me have it, and i took it apart and wrote a piece of music for the “prepared” piano-harp in 1973, not long before we moved back to seattle.

beep

the dogs are really concerned that moe hasn’t come home yet, and i’ve had to close the blinds on the front window to keep zorah, the “watcher”, from barking at EVERY THING that she even THINKS might be someone driving up the driveway, which, of course, causes magick, the “alarm”, to bark uncontrollably, which causes stanley to fly off his perch which causes lucy to try to herd stanley… so it’s been a busy time, so far. i also have to give magick medication and food twice a day because of her dental work. so far i haven’t missed, but it’s been getting later and later each day, because i don’t remember until later and later.

a couple of times in the past two weeks i have had the idea that i had to go somewhere to do something, but by the time i had finished up what i was doing enough to actually go wherever it was, i had not only forgotten where i wanted to go, but what i wanted to do once i got there. today i went out to the post office, to have a picture laminated (which they didn’t do, and actually ruined the picture in the process), to goodwill to drop off two bags of clothing and to the mobile home guys to get the dimensions for the lumber i need to buy for the floor, but i didn’t do whatever it was that was important to do while i was out, because i couldn’t remember what it was… ๐Ÿ˜ i’d start writing stuff down, but i can never tell what’s important enough to write down, and besides, writing stuff down requires finding a pen or pencil and a single place that i can write stuff like that, that won’t get lost or misplaced. i have 3 sketchbook/notebook/”moleskine”-like things that i used to write things in all the time, but now that i’m using the computer for most of my communication and scheduling, finding a place on my desk to put the notebook and write stuff down usually takes clearing off the desk a little bit, and by that time i’ve forgotten whatever it is that i was supposed to write down.

the dangly thing that i’ve had hanging from the rear-view mirror of every vehicle that has ever been in my possession since 1984 – when i thought i had bought a school bus from a woman named Mauldiwarp Moongate-Climber (which wasn’t entirely true in reality, however that is another, long, pointless story that i’ll save for another time) – finally broke. now all i have left of the school bus (which never actually worked reliably enough to travel more than 5 miles or so before it overheated) is a small handfull of glass and wooden beads, a chipped crystal drop from a long-ago chandelier, a fish made out of abalone shell, a small bell, and a broken piece of leather strap. that and the fact that i am currently listening to It’s My Life by The Plasmatics seem somehow related…

Violence takes iconic Tuba Man

i knew tuba man, although i knew him as ed, the guy who talked like john wayne… he and i were in the seattle youth symphony together, and we attended pacific northwest music camp for several years before it became the marrowstone music festival. my favourite recollection of ed was one year at the SYSO auditions, ed had gone to the other end of the building and was warming up in the stairway, and the people giving auditions had to ask him to shut up because he was playing loud enough that you could hear him all over the building. this is a sad, sad day for seattle. 8(

—-

Ed McMichaels aka Tuba ManViolence takes iconic Tuba Man
November 4, 2008
By ROBERT L. JAMIESON JR.

OLD-TIMERS who have seen it all say this is the worst year for Seattle sports.

The Mariners finished in the cellar. The Huskies, winless on the gridiron, exemplify college football futility. The Seahawks are in a tailspin. And the Sonics split, leaving a hole where the heart of Seattle pro basketball once beat.

To this list I pass along another loss, perhaps the saddest: Seattle’s most visible, beloved and melodic sports fan — Tuba Man — is dead.

Seattle knew Edward McMichael by sight or sound, the bespectacled guy with the wispy beard and floppy Uncle Sam and Dr. Seuss hats. For decades he breathed life into his shiny brass instrument, outside city sports venues.

On Oct. 25, police say, McMichael, 53, was near a bus stop in the 500 block of Mercer Street when thugs attacked, beating and robbing him after midnight. He was taken to the hospital for head wounds and was home recovering. But he died sometime Sunday or early Monday.

“We believe his death was directly connected to the assault,” Seattle police spokesman Sean Whitcomb told me Monday night. Gang and homicide detectives were handling the case.

Two juvenile suspects were in custody, and detectives are looking for three other people. “This is tragic,” Whitcomb said. Police are seeking the public’s help.

“Ed passed away overnight,” Ronny Chesvick said Monday. Chesvick works at the Vermont Inn, where McMichael lived. “Ed was a great guy. Funny. Friendly. Easygoing. We all loved him.”

When the Mariners made a storied postseason run in 1995, McMichael played “Happy Days Are Here Again,” outside the Kingdome. After the Sonics collapsed in the NBA playoffs against the Denver Nuggets in ’94, he played a dirge to match the shock that fans — rumpled and morose — felt as they staggered away from Seattle Center.

When the Seahawks surprised the world by rumbling to the 2006 Super Bowl, Tuba Man filled the air outside Qwest Field with musical ecstasy. Sports Illustrated called him a “super fan.”

Hundreds of thousands of Seattleites have walked by McMichael outside sporting events — and local stages. He loved to play outside the opera and theater houses. To play the tuba, he told me, was to be alive.

A native of the Seattle area, McMichael graduated in the early 1970s from King’s Garden High School. He was in the band at North Seattle Community College. He later brought his talents to one local ensemble or another, from Seattle Youth Symphony to Bellevue Philharmonic to Cascade Symphony.

He could have made a living in a band but chose to play for tips outdoors. Even in the rain, he would set a bucket at his feet for tip money, right next to jugs of his favorite drink, either V8 or Sunny Delight. Then he would purse his lips to his contrabass tuba — “My baby,” he called it — and create low, noble sounds.

McMichael appreciated when people would stop and listen, or leave a buck or two. But for him just meeting folks was the biggest reward. “That’s what I value most,” he said when I caught up with him last year. “People.”

In recent days, people wondered where he had gone. They hadn’t seen him outside McCaw Hall — his usual spot on opera nights. He wasn’t outside the Seahawks game Sunday.

Police said the five toughs who set their sights on McMichael also robbed and attacked two teens around the same time, asking for $5 and to use their cell phone. When the teens said the battery was dead, the attackers jumped.

The thugs also seized McMichael, who was “on the ground in a fetal position trying to protect himself as the group was kicking and punching him on the ground,” wrote a police officer who pulled up to the scene and saw the attack.

Two of the lowlifes, both about 15 years old, were caught. Three fled.

A police report said a ring snatched from McMichael’s finger during the sickening, ruthless violence was recovered. I wondered if it was his beloved 1979 Sonics championship ring, which he wore on his left hand.

McMichael was admitted to the hospital for a couple of days. A brother flew in from Florida.

Neighbors last saw him Saturday at his apartment. He had a warm twinkle in his eye but was very groggy from pain medication.

On Monday morning, his brother went to the apartment to take him to a doctor’s appointment, but he wasn’t in the lobby. So a manager went to McMichael’s room. She opened the door and found him lying peacefully on his bed, surrounded by sports clippings and memorabilia.

He was gone.

“Ed touched so many people,” said Meuy Saelee, the manager at the Vermont Inn, who — like sports fans, friends and strangers, young and old — will never forget him.

This quirky artist, talented as he was memorable, brought sweet music to big-city life.

Our Tuba Man.

grumph… 8/

interlake class reunion

i received this in email this morning. my 30th high school reunion means that i am OLD

but, the thing is, i don’t want to go to my high school reunion! when i was in high school, i only had 4 friends (and one of them was my girlfriend, who was in a different class than i was) out of the entire school, which was probably 1,000 students at the time, most of the other people either didn’t know me or actively hated me for one (usually lame) reason or another, i actually spent most of my junior and senior years attending music workshops in a different city, and, to top it all off, they want $100 a person to gain entrance to the reunion…

i can think of several reasons why i should spend $100 on something other than going to my high school reunion… 8/

ip

when i was about in 5th grade or so, my trombone teacher had me work from Remington Warm Up Studies for Trombone, which was a soft-cover book that couldn’t have been more than 24 pages or so, and cost $2.95. i went through two or three of them by the time i graduated from high school, because they were so flimsy.

so i’m wondering why amazon dot com wants $86.50 for the book now… and if i want to buy it from amazon in germany, i could pay as much as $305.95 for it…

why is this so expensive?!? also, why can’t i just download it as a PDF and print my own copy?

… oh, that’s right, stupid copyright laws… 8b

dream

map

i was sick yesterday, and spent all day sleeping and watching teevee because i didn’t have the energy to do anything else. i feel a lot better, although not back to 100% yet, today. my ears and sinuses are still plugged up. nevertheless, i had a very bizarre and very vivid dream last night, which was another one where it was so strange that i actually woke up, thought about how strange it was, and then went back to sleep and continued in the same dream, which is very rare indeed.

front elevation

i was walking in downtown seattle, looking for an apartment. it was as though i was walking downhill, towards northlake, and i ended up at the level of lake union, but as it is in most of my dreams, things weren’t exactly like they are in reality. i saw a building in which i remembered renting an apartment many years ago (1984-1985?) that had a for rent sign in the window, so i decided to check it out. i went into the ground floor office, which had been some sort of office associated with a railroad, years ago, but the railroad, and most of the buildings surrounding it, had gone out of business years ago, and the other buildings had been knocked down, so there was an enormous vacant lot surrounding the buidling. the whole place had been a combination railroad/shipping waystation, or something like that years ago. in the ground floor office of the building, there was a strange machine that had strips of perforated tickets hanging out of it, that was built into the ceiling, an old, worn, wooden desk, and a free standing sink which was incorporated into the stairway to the second floor, which i didn’t remember seeing when i had lived there previously.

bottom floor

the whole dream was permeated with that familiar feeling that i knew exactly where i was, and had known exactly where i was for a long time. i climbed up the staircase, over the sink, and continued over several wooden boxes that had been stacked on top of the sink, to the second floor, where the apartments were. i wondered about how they could get away with making the staircase in such an unstable fashion, which was definitely not “up to code” – the staircase went up to the level of the sink, then there were narrow wooden boxes stacked on top of the sink, which weren’t secured or anything, and i almost sent the whole stack of boxes tumbling down before i got to the top of the staircase.

top floor

when i had lived there previously, there were two other guys that lived in the other apartments, ludwig and olympia. i noticed that ludwig’s name was still on one of the doors. the bulk of the weird machine was on this floor. it was very old and dusty, and had huge wads of different kinds of perforated tickets crammed into it. i went into the apartment that i had lived in previously, which was the one that was for rent, remembered what it had been like to live there previously, and figured it would be a good place to live again. then ludwig (who bore an uncanny resemblance to someone i know from bellingham, reinholdt lockinvar) showed up, and remembered me immediately. he had been a piano player when i knew him previously, and he was currently working as a pianist and organist. he asked me if it would disturb me if he practiced, and i said no, so he left and soon i could hear him practicing some organ piece on the grand piano that i knew he had in his apartment. i was looking around and came across a bunch of artwork that had apparently been left by the previous tenant, who was apparently a graphic designer. looking through the artwork, i discovered that some of it was actually art that i had done – business cards and logos and suchlike – and i also found a toque almost exactly like the one i have now, except that it was darker colours and had different buttons on it, which i remembered from when i had lived there previously.

i was really interested in what had happened to the neighbourhood since i had lived there previously, which i figured was fifteen to twenty years ago, and i talked with ludwig (reinholdt) and olympia for a long time, going downstairs (over the boxes again) and back up several times. it was also a really strange building, because although ludwig’s apartment was in the front, and my apartment was in the back, there were windows in my apartment that looked out on both the front and the back of the building. also i’m not sure if there were two or three doors in the hallway outside the apartments, because it kept changing, although it didn’t seem to affect me that much when it was happening.

word to the word

MSWord for Mac v5.0 & two v5.1

so i was digging through the four boxes of 3½-inch floppy disks that were piled up with the rest of the boxes in the living room yesterday, and i discovered that i have not one, but two original copies of Microsoft Word for Mac version 5.1, that are still in their original, unopened, plastic wrappers, and a copy of Microsoft Word for Mac 5.0 that is in it’s original wrapper, but the wrapper is deteriorated enough that it is no longer sealed. Word 5.0 is the one that had some sort of major bug in it, and they released Word 5.1 shortly afterward. one of the Word 5.1 copies is in two packages (the way that they were sold retail), and one is all in one package (the way they were delivered to you if you had purchased Word 5.0). all three copies have never been used, and were a part of the copies of Word that i bought for the manuals when i worked at microsoft. i only found one copy of Word 5.1 on sale at ebay, and there it is touted as “one of the most efficient, basic, and streamlined word processors ever–still viable even today!” i agree with them, and if i had a computer that would run it, i would probably be using it as my word processor.

i am thinking of selling them. based on what i know, i think i should start at $75 a piece for the v5.1 copies, but i’m not sure whether i should go higher or lower for the v5.0, because of the fact that v5.0 was at exactly the same time as bill gates was saying that there were “no appreciable bugs” in microsoft software…

flash from the distant past

Hybrid Elephant at the Fremont Sunday Market

i went to the fremont sunday market yesterday. i didn’t do as well as i did last week, but i still made $60, which is nothing to sneeze at.

i had this really strange experience, but first, a little back story.

when i was living in bellingham, before i moved to mount vernon (let me see, mental calculations, approximately 15 years ago – gawd, am i really that old?), i was doing graphic design work for almitra, who was trying to pull together a “new-age” business, or commune, or teaching center, or something like that. she was also my introduction to the the himalayan academy, because she had found the 500 pound sphatika lingam that ordains their temple. looking back on it, i don’t see why i worked for her as long as i did, not only because she was one of the truly crazy people that have plagued my life, but also because she didn’t actually pay me in money, but rather in tangible goods, like an african aligator-skin drum, and a Mac LCII computer (which she ended up having a good friends of mine steal back from me), but this all happened before that.

one of the things that i designed for almitra was a deck of cards called “Words of Power”. they were triangular cards with a sri yantra on the back, and various words and their “interpretations” in fancy print on the front. i don’t remember all of the words, but they were all in a very fancy typeface that was very distinctive, and there were enough individual words to make a deck of 50 – 75 cards. all almitra did was come up with a list of words, and this idea, i did all of the design work and had the cards printed at this place in mount vernon, near where i lived several years later. after the cards were printed, i gave them to almitra, keeping a couple decks myself for my portfolio, and quickly forgot about them. i remember finding them when we moved from renton to auburn, but they’re currently buried somewhere in the pile of boxes in our dining room, and have been for at least two years.

Words of Power cards

yesterday, i was at the fremont sunday market, and i had occasion to see one of the people who really appreciates fine quality incense that i have come to know. she was a vendor as well, and someone i first met last year when i went to the FSM (i can’t help but think of the Flying Spaghetti Monster when i use that abbrevation). she had a table where she was giving “readings from a real, live psycho”, and – and this is the really weird part – she was using a deck of “Words of Power” cards as her medium.

Readings with a live psycho

i was passing by, and i saw the cards, and, without saying anything, i picked one up and turned it over to make sure that they really were the same cards i designed, and then i said “i designed these cards.” she immediately responded by grabbing the card back from me and saying “no you didn’t!” she said that she had a mystical relationship with the cards, and when i came back, a little later, with my camera so that i could take a picture of her with the cards, she said “no, no!” and tried to hide them from me – she was in the middle of a reading, though, and i got a shot of her and the cards anyway.

i haven’t even thought about those cards in 15 years! and almitra is one of the many truly crazy people i have dealt with in my life. i couldn’t have possibly imagined that anyone would use something that a crazy woman came up with as a legitimate vehicle for discerning the future before i actually saw it for myself.

dead people

William F. Buckley Jr. 1925 – 2008 – in 1982, while the PHBFH was pregnant with ezra, i went to eastern washington to be a migrant fruit picker for a season. because of the fact that i didn’t have any money, i found a telephone credit card number, that allegedly belonged to William F. Buckley, which i used to call the PHBFH every day. i talked for hours, from the pay-phone up the road about a mile from the orchard i was working at, which was about 50 miles outside of lake chelan, washington. i can only imagine how large “William F. Buckley’s” phone bill must have been, because i figured that if i was using it with no consequences, there had to have been several hundred (at least) other hippies who were also using it. it finally quit working after i returned home, around christmas or so of that year. ezra was born in january of 1983.

1039

it’s the first of july… where has 2007 gone anyway?

next week, at this time, i will be going to “art on the ave” in tacoma, with my art car. i have recently got the brakes and the left front CV axle replaced, with money given to me by moe who was given it by ann a couple weeks ago when she went to portland after her mother had a stroke. it turned out to cost about half of what i was fearing, which means that, potentially, i can get the muffler fixed soon as well. it’s probably not going to get fixed until after oregon country fair, but that’s a lot sooner than i thought a week ago when i first learned how serious it really was. it all started when i got a flat tire, and ended up getting four new tires, but at the same time, learning that i had no brakes in either the front or the back, and that the ominous clicking sound that i was hearing when i went around a corner was the CV axle trying to work it’s way loose. i had about a week of worrying about that when the muffler started making a lot of noise. now the only thing left to fix is the muffler, which (i learned yesterday), is due to a broken weld just before the exhaust pipe enters the muffler, which can be fixed very easily if i knew how to weld…

when i was in fourth grade i took a career aptitude test that said i was most suited to be a welder. at the time, i was absolutely convinced that i was going to be a musician, and completely rejected the idea of becoming a welder. i have had several opportunities to learn how to weld since then, including in high school and in the tech school, and, while i admit that i didn’t completely reject the idea, at the same time, i also didn’t learn how to weld. i have been noticing, more and more frequently, how desirable knowing how to weld would be, and i’ve been wishing that i would have done things differently when i was in fourth grade. i can’t imagine that welding is an awful lot different than soldering, and i know several different techniques for soldering, so i get the impression that welding would not be that great a stretch for me at this time… it’s just a matter of finding someone who wants to teach an old dog new tricks… and then buying a whole bunch of new, expensive tools that i don’t have room for…

and then, two weeks from today will already be the last official day of the oregon country fair, which is what i was talking about when i said “where has 2007 gone” earlier… this is the first year in the (now) 5 years that i have been going to OCF that moe is going with me, although she’s going with me on thursday and coming back on saturday because she has to teach classes on sunday and she took off sunday a couple of weeks ago to go to portland when her mother had a stroke, so she can’t skip another week. it also means that i’ve got to find another way to get home, but considering that we’re going down as part of a large group of performers, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem, and if it is, i’ll be stuck in eugene with my tuba and all the camping gear, so i’ll probably be able to come up with some ideas for ways to get home — after all, i am a hippie… 8) it will be fun to have moe along. she’s not obligated to do anything, so she can hang out and check out the fair, and help out with our theatre stuff if she wants to… and she’ll get to see all kinds of performances, such as the fremont philharmonic at the ritz, and BBWP, which will probably perform at the friday night fire show again this year. also, this year is the first year since i started going to OCF that my physical birthday will not happen while i am at the fair. ready for this? i’m going to be 47 in a couple weeks… even if you were ready for it, i wasn’t… it feels like i haven’t gotten that much older since i was 30, which, if i recall correctly, is very much like what my grandparents said when i asked them when i was in fourth grade…

where has 2007 gone, anyway?