Category Archives: forward into the past

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…