Monday, November 30, 2009

Tree of Life

I awoke this morning and stared at the tree outside the window. The vision I had was how every event in our lives ends in one little twig. But where are we at any given moment? At the end of which twig? Well, that's how I feel anyway. I see the trunk as early youth and consciousness and then it splits where interests become different and each interest leads to another branch and then the people we meet are at the end of the twigs and each twig keeps growing unless we prune it and we can always direct our attention to that twig but the other twigs keep growing.
So it's my mission to identify every twig. To map out the whole tree. I think this is what the glass bead game is about. The book itself is about the person who learns about life, but the game itself is about the multiple directions life takes. Is it possible to map the whole tree? It would be more useful to map A tree in such a way that it replicates the tree-ness of everyone's life. Mapping the tree is a reminder that life leads to many branches.


Your Erroneous Zones

Raise your hand if you read this book in 1977. Anyone? Well, I found it in the library next to Dick Clark's treatise of adolescent life. Frankly, I'm blown away. With the info packed into these two books I feel empowered. Dick Clark tells me to plan ahead. But Wayne Dyer tells me to live in the moment. And, you better sit down, we can control our emotions. I know, it blew me away too. Why didn't anyone tell me this like twenty years ago when it would have done me some good. Basically, Dyer writes that I can feel any way I want to feel. So today I'm going to feel good. No more regretting the past and dreading the future. My landlady asked, "Where's the rent?" And I just sailed past her with my arms swinging. I was whistling a tune by Frank Sinatra.
"Hey, you!" she wheezed, "You owe a weeks worth of rent. You think we're running an orphanage?"
She mumbled something about changing the locks but I was out the door...and feeling light on my feet.
Then it was down to the local convenient store to eat some food.
"You gonna pay for that?"
I laughed and said of course not.
I haughtily added, "Do you think I'm made of money? I'm hungry. Now stop bothering me while I masticate."
The baffled clerk called the police but I was long gone by the time the mounted police rode up.
I feel good.
Never mind that I am wearing pin stripe pants and a Xanadu shirt that would make anyone feel good.

I control how I feel. I'm in control. So the new plan is to live my life in the present. No more journeys to the Erroneous Zones, AKA Land of the Self Defeating. No! I'm going to actualize myself. Get myself a watch fob and top hat and strut down Main Street Laconia wagging my junk.

Don't stop in those erroneous zones.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I admit, posting on a blog is a little too self aware. What starts as an easy way to keep several people abreast of the trivial details of one's life soon becomes an exercise in metaphysics. Like, "I wonder how that will sound on my blog." Or, "I better not do that because someone on my blog will read it." Or, "Sorry, I wasn't paying attention. I was thinking about how I will describe this on my blog."

It's the act of living through the blog and not apart from the blog. It's like, "That didn't happen because it's not on my blog." There is more than one incident that I consider in limbo because it has not yet been posted here and can "only" benefit me. I mean, what's the point?

Now, it would be fair to say old Oggy Bleacher has a bit too much time on his hands already and the perils of the online world don't affect people as much as they affect him. He might even be accused of inventing them to further his mental decline and to have ammunition to indict the imperfect world with. Point taken. But raise your hand if you haven't thought for a moment, "My parents never had this kind of virtual networking and they managed to survive."

So, to put it as timidly as possible, we are the first lizards who are growing wings. We are that fish who flops on the beach and realizes it can breathe. We are the ape who bangs another ape with a bone and then gets laid. Something had to change and in the case of our generation it is the way we communicate. Yes, it is true that we can go to the moon but can't cross the street to meet our neighbors. Why? Because we have other ways to know them. Communication is still power and the old lady across the street (what's her name?) knows almost nothing that google can't tell me. It's nostalgic to be neighborly. I don't know the neighbors down the hall at the halfway house. But when one of them lost the key to a lock they had no choice but knock on my door and ask me for some bolt cutters. Is there a way to google that? I tried it when I lost my toothbrush. Still looking...

So, Facebook is something. I admit it is something. I am more like the fish with weird proto-lungs who is still dubious about getting out of the water. I like it in the mud. But I'm curious about the sand. Is it true you don't die? If a squirrel can wear a scuba bell in Spongebob then I can post on Facebook. My protection is my alibi. Oggy Bleacher.

See, where Kerouac went wrong was using his own name. He was wounded by criticism because he took it personally. Well, what he wrote was very personal so it is kind of putting yourself in harm's way. He could not only be criticized about his style (rambling, verbose, plotless) but his content (aimless, hedonistic, self-absorbed) is a journal of his life. Dharma Bums is a book about his life. It almost has a plot but only because he was totally adrift and sought solace in solitude and friendship. So to examine Kerouac is to criticize the writer and the man. The same could be true for Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe. Steinbeck, on the other hand, skirted the edges of fiction. His two memoirs, Sea of Cortez and Travels With Charley, are pure unaffected journalism. Wolfe and Kerouac were journalists who couldn't get out of their own they turned it into an advantage by writing EVERY DETAIL.

Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, Oggy Bleacher is not only the character in Memorabilia, but he can give me some distance between my self-absorbed, plotless, existence online, and my self-absorbed plotless existence offline. Well, it hasn't worked yet, but neither am I offended when my posts fail to amuse. I blame Oggy. He's immature. Arrested development. Blah blah.
So look for me on facebook. be my friend. mass wolf awareness events are planned.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dick Clark to the Rescue

One of the books I've been referring to for the next stage of my life.
"Dick Clark: Your Happiest Years."

The other book is "How to Marry a Millionaire"


Monday, November 23, 2009

Fear can hold you prisoner...hope can set you free

That's the tagline for Shawshank redemption. I'm not sure why it applies to the case of a guy wrongly imprisoned and then unlawfully kept in jail who then escapes. He had no hope of getting out but stubbornly kept going. And he wasn't afraid while he was in jail...he was just miserable. Somehow the pep talk that Red gives Andy about living or dying sort of ignores their situation. Did he mean that he should get busy trying to escape? Or should he resign himself to the situation? It sounds to me like Stephen King heard that trite expression in a Maine coffee shop and decided it had to go somewhere. Anyway, The tagline could be on the crest for Riverbank Rooms. It would be a good neighbor to the dusty old christmas decorations and one broken sea shell decoration that says "Go to the beach" or the ragged doll with "Welcome Home" carved in a piece of wood.

Brooks is the old guy played by James Whitmore. He finally gets paroled and bags groceries and lives at a rooming house that reminds me in every way of Riverbank Rooms. He feels he has nothing to contribute to the world so he hangs himself after carving "Brooks Was here" on a beam.
Red, played by Morgan Freeman, also gets paroled and ends up in the same store bagging groceries and sleeps in the same room that Brooks lived in. He writes "So was Red" on the beam. He also feels that his life has no direction but instead of hanging himself he remembers that Andy has buried something for him to find.


I didn't get a job offer yet and I'm not crying any tears. That 6 am - 2:30 shift making medical forceps wearing a white gown in a soundless dust free cavern looked fairly nightmarish. The take home pay is terrible, just enough to let me live in Brooks's old room and eat fried chicken. The future is nonexistent. They expected a 12 week production boost that I will be used for. If I am needed after that then I will be retained and if not then I will be let go. Their loyalty to me is zero and I don't like working for people like that. It's bad for my health. If I want to be treated like a number then I can rob a bank and go to jail like Andy. Then I can escape through the sewer and be everyone's hero.

The real goal for the winter is to turn my homeless stageplay into a musical. Like Little Orphan Annie for adults. Instead of orphans we have pedophiles. How funny is that? I think there are precedents like Avenue Q. Anyone see that? So I've got to keep my eyes on the prize.


Also, there are some courses I'd like to take at the college. It's never too late to learn an industrial trade. That way I can go work at the golf tee manufacturer. Did you know all buttons used to be made in the lakes region? And electric train sets too. There is a ton of pre-china assembly plants up here. Webster Valve is over near Franklin, the home of Daniel Webster. There are others.

There is no internet access at Brook's room. Just a streetlight and a clock radio. I take my laptop to the library and use their wireless connection. I've been reading a book a day since I got here. Naturalist, Ship of Gold. Slaughterhouse Five. Fear of Flying, On Chesile Beach.


I've been clean and sober a week now. I was walking the tracks the other day to see where they went. They cross a river and lead out of town. That's about it. I was reminded of the movie Distant Thunder about a Nam Veteran, played by John Lithgow, living in the woods, picking ferns to sell. He walks the tracks to get in and out of the woods. It's also where the bush folk go to get hit by trains and end their misery. Sounds plausible. His son eventually saves him. It came out in 1988, I think I saw it at the Newington Mall. I didn't feel anything was wrong with living in the woods then and still don't. The villains all drove cars and sold things. They were nasty and petty bullies. The hero is basically a subsistence farmer with a bowie knife. But I remember a few kids at school laughing at the bearded character and saying, "Oggy! That's Oggy. A dirty hobo!"
I also slept in the forest on the weekends. It seemed organic. I didn't think other people were phony by getting drunk or smoking pot but I felt I would be phony if I joined them. The lesson Distant Thunder taught me was that if you are completely out of touch with your society then the only place for you is the woods. Also, once you leave, don't come back. Just stay out there. When you turn your back on society then society will turn its back on you. That's the rule. The movie did not, however, teach me how to gather ferns and sell them to local florists to make money. I tried that in Santa Cruz and was almost arrested.

It's not every day you get to walk the tracks in New England.

Laconia has a small downtown area. Not many tall buildings to speak of. There is a Lowe's and a Shaws on the way in from the east. Many nursing homes and old people playing bingo. There is a Family Dollar nearby. I have started a series like Lake Wobegon called "Where The Lake Meets The River." I want a kind of fake history of Riverbank Rooms. Like, what is that horrible stench in my room? The story behind that must be funny. The series be just about the rooms or about Laconia in general. I don't know. It might be a musical also.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oggy is helping people live better lives

* Thermal Ablation Device
* Polypectomy Forceps
* Bipolar RF Ablation Device
* Implantable Pacing Leads
* High Flow Micro Infusion Catheter
* Esophageal Dilator Development
* Laparoscopic Anti-Adhesive Sprayer
* Laparoscopic Vesico-Urethral Anastomosis Device
* Aortic Cutter Improvement Program
* Colonoscope Guidewire

Accellent has the capacity to execute the most aggressive product cycles, the tightest deadlines and the most ambitious product transfers. From design to manufacturing to final delivery, Accellent's broad offering allows you to focus on what you do best. You innovate, we solve. You create, we execute. You invest, we generate ROI. That's the Accellent Advantage.

There are more buzzwords in that one paragraph than I have ever seen. Execute, aggressive, ambitious, focus, ROI (return on investment). Wow! How do I get a job? There is no guarantee I'll get this job. Yes, they need assemblers but they don't need any loose cannons. Is Oggy a loose cannon? Yes. When his van was built back in 1969 they still called cancer "consumption". There were no endoscopy forceps the size of a knitting needle that fixed valves in your heart. There were no robot surgeries. But Oggy drives the van of the past...not the future. And that would indicate he isn't a team player. When there are so many crappy Japanese cars to buy why would he choose to drive a 40 year old van? They don't need to answer the question since just asking it is enough to disqualify me.
I was asked, "Why do you want to work at Accellent?"
That I managed to stifle a laugh and provide an answer is proof I haven't completely lost the ability to conform. Hell, I even shaved and wore a nice shirt and shook her hand. I was a regular blue collar criminal.

The clean room was something out of Star Trek. This is where those surgical tools are assembled. Some parts are manufactured here. Some are ordered. What comes out of the plant ends up in hospitals around the world. Next time you are whining about how much it costs to get a stent in one of your arteries you should come take a look at how much technology was required to make the tools used to put it there. It's humbling.
You'd think they can pay more than $9 to someone responsible for assembling implantable pacing leads but that's the amount that you get from the temp agency. Accellent actually pays around $30/hr for your services. $10 to you and $20 to the temp agency for dealing with the paperwork. That's the indignity of the temp world. Anyone can look at my check and say I'm a step above McDonalds. But the actual job I'm doing is worth much more, but it's split in so many ways that I don't get more than a third of the money. This reality does no good in the supermarket checkout line. When it comes to the on sale day old chicken and the fresh chicken we all know which one I grab.

In other news a rancid stench has permeated my room at the Riverside halfway house. I don't know if it came from my boxes of old clothes or if I didn't notice it before. The bed is so disgusting that I would be surprised if it didn't stink. Fortunately, one of my housemates works at McDonalds and steals the air freshener cannisters for our bathroom. I used some in my room and now it smells like a McDonalds bathroom...mixed with a rat corpse. If they uncovered dead bodies in the floorboard I would only ask "How many?"
George Carlin once said that there is a phenomenon when you walk into a gross hotel room and it immediately is offensive. But if you sit down on he bed, look out the window and take your shoes off then you can't smell it anymore. You get used to it. That has worked out to be true. I'm only disgusted when I walk in the door. After that I can't smell it. Pretty soon I'm asleep.

I'm glad I'll be helping other people live better lives. That's just fucking great.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Riverbank Rooms


Caveat: I hesitate to write about people someone might recognize later. Just trust me that the only reason I don't crucify everyone I come into contact with is because I am being polite. If you consider yourself above my new housemates then take a good look in the mirror. If you want your nose to stay in the same location you will not peak ill of my friends. With that in mind, enjoy!

Within the first five minutes of signing my rental agreement at Riverside Rooms I was reading a book called “Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul”. Really, I was just looking at it to distract me from the conversation going on in front of me,

Nancy: They called Missy the crack whore of Laconia. She was out on the street swinging a baseball bat.
Missy: I only beat that man because he choked me.
Nancy: Haw!
Missy: In court he accused me of fucking his parole officer, stealing from him, smoking crack. None of that was true.
Nancy: Haw!
Missy: On the way out of court I looked at his parole officer and said ‘I wouldn’t mind fucking you, precious.’
Nancy: Haw!

I couldn’t pay attention to the book I was looking at but the very fact there is a chicken soup edition targeting prison inmates, and that edition was in the give-and-take library at Riverside Rooms, disturbed me. This wasn’t prison but I suspected most of the residents would know the difference. A woman, Alice, walked in. She had a dozen impressive tattoos on her arms and a “Laconia Bike Week” t shirt.

Alice: I don’t mind sharing my shit. Just put it back. And I don’t mind sharing my food.
Oggy: That’s awful considerate of you.
Alice: I work the 3am shift, so don’t party all night.
Oggy: Where? I’m looking for work.
Alice: McDonalds. You get free food but I get sick when I eat there. I like to cook. I can ask my manager if they got an opening.

I said nothing as Alice tossed a flank steak into a bed of onions.

Alice: Who stole my measuring cup? Nancy, did you pawn that off for crack?
Nancy: Haw!
Missy: I got it.
Alice: Oggy, you in 26?
Oggy: Yes.
Alice: That was Doug’s room. He’s in jail now.
Missy: Doug’s an idiot. I told him to stay clean.
Nancy: Haw!
Alice: They got him. That’s it. You like steak, Oggy?
Oggy: Yeah. I eat anything.

When Missy’s back is turned (she’s the house manager) Alice smokes a ghost joint with her fingers to her lips and raises her eyebrows. I shrug and make a non-committal expression. Alice nods and flips the steak. I turn to go. I almost get out the door when Missy says something about her peptic ulcer. I feel obliged to show some sympathy but the truth is that I’m not feeling too good myself. As I nod slowly I examine the door keys Missy has just given me in exchange for $167. The keychain has a blue plastic tag attached. At first I thought it was a bank gift or an airline souvenir. Upon closer examination I read “Clean & Serene For Six Months” The other side says “NA”.
Now, this is the first time I have really been in the house and this is my first introduction to the residents and it seems completely custoMissy to hand out front door keys attached to a Narcotics Anonymous keychain. You don’t get one of those keychains because you smoked a little pot back in high school. No, you’ve got to get married to crack or cocaine or heroin or meth and then petition for a divorce. But crystal meth doesn’t recognize divorce petitions like the Vatican doesn’t recognize gay marriages. So you go to NA, a counselor between you and the meth.
You say to the meth, “I really don’t think this is working out.”
And the meth says, “That’s because you’re trying to break us up. You’re nothing without me.”
And you believe the meth because abstaining is actually causing more problems than using.
The meth continues, “Now go back home and do a line. You’ll feel so much better.” And the meth is telling the truth and is, honestly, an authority on feeling better, so why shouldn’t you do as you’re told? Furthermore, the meth is the only one who seems to care how you feel while everyone else just wants you to do things that are so boring. Although, there is that court ordered drug counseling to consider…
“Fuck the court!” Says the meth. “Where were they when you needed them? They aren’t your friend. I’m your friend.”
Again, the meth is right. The court wasn’t there when you needed them but was like Batman and Robin when you just wanted to be left alone. Why should you listen to them?
That’s where NA comes in and tells you that you are powerless over meth, which is true, and that by surrendering yourself to your higher power you stand a chance of getting the divorce you want. After a six month separation you receive this keychain as a statement of your accomplishment and also as a reminder that meth is waiting for you a few blocks away and would be happy to reunite. Every time you enter Riverside Rooms you see that keychain and remember that the divorce is final.

This keychain speaks volumes about my new home because first, it belonged to someone who lived here and second because they didn’t take it off. There is no room for pleasantries. The world ain’t perfect. We are all in survival mode now and the days of matching sheets are over. Everyone is in agreement: this is the house where you come to terms with your limitations.

As Missy said to me moments earlier,

Missy: My biological mother is dying. Know what I told her?
Oggy: What?
Missy: I hope you get to heaven. That’s it. 18 foster homes in 16 years and she wants me to care? No.

This is the house where you finally write off your estranged son, your ex wife or your biological mother. If you haven’t quit smoking by the time you get here then you ain’t ever going to quit smoking. End of story. You’ll die a smoking fool. Whatever loose ends you drag into this house are going to stay loose ends and it is just better to let them go. You want to get back the figure you had in 1998? You won’t. Fuck it. Smoke some pot. Work at a valve factory. Sleep when you can. The dream is over. Eat a cold tv dinner. Living is for the young and you, my friend, are not young. The only thing you can do is stay warm until your peptic ulcer ruptures. You’ve been miserable, no doubt, for years before you end up here. But opening your crooked door and sitting down on your sagging mattress finally allows you to be ok with your misery. Now it is justified. Look around you; you should be miserable. There will be no prince with your slipper, no high school sweetheart with a promise ring, no returning soldier to take you away. What is gone is lost forever and what you have is right in front of your eyes. There will be no estate sales when you die. Your personal effects will go straight to the Goodwill donation bin in trash bags.

Before you arrived you would look in the mirror and do a dozen things to fix your sad reflection. But you don’t do that at Riverside Rooms. You just look in the mirror to make sure you don’t have any blood on your chin.

Oggy: I gotta get some boxes.
Missy: Ok, babe. You let me know if you need anything.
Alice: And don’t piss on the toilet seat.
Nancy: Haw!

Monday, November 16, 2009

what do you really want to do with your life?

sooner or later we all come to the closed down memorial bridge that represents our fucked up rusty life...
You can walk down lane A, walk down lane B or just jump over the side and see what happens.


I've spent more time in the last month looking at career paths then I ever did in my entire life. and it is just hard to decide one path over another. I think I can do all of them but I suspect that isn't true. I decided to go to HSU for music because I felt my whole life was in front of me and there would be time to do everything and what I felt was missing most was an understanding of music. I played the guitar and had no idea what I was doing but I knew that once I figured it out then I would blaze away. So in 6 years I got a 4 year degree in music. I see now that although that was necessary for me to understand new things fast (ha!) and to demonstrate how serious I was...I think about one semester or two of theory and musicianship would have been ok. I didn't need to analyze Stravinsky or Bartok concertos. And after it was over one thing led to another and one interest led to another and now I'm back to where I started like 10 years ago looking for a career path. I don't feel anything is really missing from my life like I did with music. I've learned a little and think I don't need a two year degree in advanced auto mechanics. I can just take a few classes...or maybe just rescue an old truck or motorcycle and learn everything I want to know. So that's an easy dream to rearrange.
Now the thing that has caught my attention in the last two years is solar electricity. alternative forms of energy. I meant to track down a solar guru living in Niland on the slab city. but it didn't happen. So I wanted to take a class on solar energy. and then there is this program at a NH community services and technology...that includes conservation and solar and electronics and is way more dynamic than fixing brakes and carbuerators...AND has career opportunities (energy conservation manager, Energy Guru) that look to be the way of the future.
I don't want to lose my identity as a gypsy and iconoclast and guitar playing motorcycle mechanic but this energy services program looks like it could be a path that works. I just wonder what people do when they decide on one path over another. And I wonder if you have found that. There is always time to do something, but there isn't time to do everything. It's agony that I can't take a beading class AND an Indian Cooking class. It's so unfair. Who makes the rules about the time we have alloted to us. Isn't there some kind of application I can fill out that will waive the time requirements on my life? It would be so easy. Just stop the clock and let me do all these things. I don't see the problem with that.
what do you think?

Stratham Hill: refuge for the unwanted

The results are in: 100% of Portsmouth disapproves of my lifestyle. I feel like a flagrantly gay man in a catholic church. Maybe if I painted my van green then they would get the idea that it is all about conserving resources. But I feel that when you start painting vans green or putting a bumper sticker that says, "Sleeping in a van doesn't kill arctic wolves. Shopping at Target does." then you have crossed the line. I'm not here to preach. I know the wolves are doomed. But I want to know if it is even possible to live in a way the wolf would approve of. I think it is possible but it won't be in Portsmouth.

After getting run out of Portsmouth by the witch hunt brigade I went to Stratham Hill to cast a homeless hex on the town. I did so by burning a copy of the Homeless Treatise "Waiting for Godot" and chanting "May the homeless of the world come to your door. May the piece worker sewing your Target brand capri pants be buried under your back porch. May your Starbucks latte be too bitter to drink."

We'll see if it works.

I read some graffiti up there on the top platform that said, "John did it with Megan here." and in a different and less weathered marker "I did it here with Megan too." Interesting...Megan sounds like a girl who knows how to have a good time.

there were some other good remarks but that's the only one that stood out.

The memorial bridge

how many times I played around on this gun. It was only slightly less cool than the one at Ft. Stark that is now gone.


The memorial bridge is closed. It's rusting to pieces. I walked across it the other morning to get a slice of pizza at the badger island pizzeria.


The soldiers "participated" in the first world war. I think that is a little euphemistic. Right? participated? But what other word can you use? They fought and died or survived. It wasn't a community bake sale.


Here's to all the vets. Oggy supports the troops.


Fitz John Porter

This statue is over at the North Mill Pond in Portsmouth. Old Fitzy had a long career in the military, from the Mexican to the Civil War. But something happened that had him "cashiered".
It's right there on his plaque. What is being cashiered? I went and checked it out and it is even worse than court marshaled , it is a degradation ceremony. So Fitzy had his sword broken or his medals thrown on the ground. Maybe he got slapped or publicly disrespected. Anyway, it doesn't happen much. But the interesting thing is that Fitzy's cause was taken up by Pres. Hayes and Pres. Grant and finally Pres. Cleveland absolved him of whatever it was he did and erased the cashiering.


I'll save you a trip to wikipedia. Basically, war is hell. Porter had an order to charge Stonewall Jackson's army at the second Bull Run in the summer of 1862. Porter hesitated. Then when he was ordered again he complied and his 5000 union troops ran into 30000 rebels. Because of the hesitation and subsequent defeat he was the scapegoat for the loss of life and so got booted out of the army. They called it cashiering in 1904, the year the plaque was made, because he was insubordinate. Anyway, that's the story of the guy on the horse near the South Mill Pond. I also saw a chipmunk run across the road, an equally heroic deed, but no statues have yet been comissioned.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sleeping With Snakes...revised

In January 2004 I was living in Humbolt County, California substitute teaching at area high schools and finishing work on a book about the Red Sox, Portsmouth, Duran Duran and a 1982 Datsun named Poncho. The Red Sox had just recently lost the 2003 American League Pennant to the New York Yankees in an extra inning game 7 which saw the Sox give up a 3 run lead. Here's the play by play thanks to
RED SOX 8TH: Ramirez grounded out (third to first); WELLS
REPLACED NELSON (PITCHING); Ortiz homered; Millar grounded out
(shortstop to first); Nixon popped to shortstop; 1 R, 1 H, 0 E,
0 LOB.  Red Sox 5, Yankees 2.

YANKEES 8TH: Johnson popped to shortstop; Jeter doubled to
right; Williams singled to center [Jeter scored]; Matsui doubled
[Williams to third]; Posada doubled to center [Williams scored,
BATTED FOR WILSON; Sierra was walked intentionally; BOONE RAN
FOR SIERRA; Garcia walked [Posada to third, Boone to second];
Soriano forced Garcia (second to shortstop); 3 R, 4 H, 0 E, 3
LOB.  Red Sox 5, Yankees 5.

The Yankees went on to win in the bottom of the 11th. The Red Sox had not won a World Series in 85 years. I was devastated but also thought the opportunity to promote my book was at an all time high. The book, Memorabilia, was about the Red Sox and specifically about the Icarus-like 1986 Red Sox team that got one strike from a World Series. Here, history had repeated itself and I thought the interest in a book would be good. I sent the book out to agencies and did not get good results. Mostly I was spending money I didn't have to mail a document around the country. There was no money for heat or food or gas and there definitely was no money for stamps or the substantial copying fees. I decided that any attempt to get published from Northern California was futile. I would need to move to Los Angeles to talk to these people. I can normally talk my way into anything. Hell, it was 2004; I was 33 years old; Facebook had just been founded; The Patriots were on their way to becoming NFL Champions again; John Kerry was certain to defeat that monster G.W. Bush; I could type 100+ words a minute; I had movie ideas coming out of my ass (A talking cat becomes a pilot), and I was completely broke. Basically, I belonged in Hollywood.

So I bussed and trained down to Los Angeles. A man committed suicide by diving beneath my train as I entered the San Fernando Valley. The overheard cell phone conversations went like this, "I'm gonna be late. Start the meeting without me. Huh? Oh, some fucking hobo offed himself on the tracks. Yeah. Whatever. Listen, about those sales projections..."
I should have been chilled to the bone but as it happened I had been eating cannibis peanut butter and playing cribbage with a "hemp activist" all the way from San Francisco so was numb to the world. I was falling down the rabbit hole with every step south of Bakersfield, but, like so many ingenues, dreams distracted me from the obvious perils.

I ended up in Long Beach, drove up to this place called Venice Beach and decided that would work. It turns out everyone in California had the same idea and finding a room was complete hell. Luckily, I met a guy named George who spoke my language and had a cheap room for rent in his decaying house near the beach. So I rented it and bussed back to Humboldt, pack up everything and drive down in a van with my car in tow. (the UHaul leaked and ruined many books but that is another story). There were two conditions that I pinned my hopes on:
1. Being able to substitute teach at $120 a day in L.A.
2. Interest in the historic failure of the Red Sox.

Both fell apart as I learned that 1, L.A. county had recently passed a law requiring all substitute teachers to posess a full teaching credential, not the now worthless "emergency credential" that Humbolt County accepted. And 2, the fucking 2004 Red Sox won the world series, completely redeeming every past failure by winning 4 consecutive "must win" games against the Yankees in the ALCS. I had been writing Memorabilia since 1991. 13 years. And within months of finishing it the whole premise went from vaguely topical to obsolete. When I tried to describe the bitter irony in these developments George asked, "Have you seen my gout medicine?" Even die hard Red Sox fans now saw the 1986 season as a better forgotten memory...a footnote...trivial. Memorabilia was 1400 pages and over half a million words long. It contains the most references to Ray Knight and Kevin Mitchell ever made in a single text.

So I immediately got to work at a place called Labor Ready. It is one of the few places where the only test you have to pass is this:

"True or False: It is OK to steal what you want from the job site."

I'm pretty savvy and was able to think on my feet and come up with the right answer...which may have been a bad thing because the work I ended up doing was the kind of labor prison inmates should do as punishment if the economy wasn't so bad. I dug trenches, moved furniture, counted videos, installed lights and shelves. It was horrible. I'd drag home with $38 dollars after waiting four hours for work, driving an hour to get to the site, working for eight hours and then getting caught in traffic for two or three hours. My day started at 5 am and ended at 8 pm and more often than not I would lose money because I had to buy a $9 sandwich in Santa Monica or one of these towns where they imported labor.

Emails from my family would read, "It sounds like you're having fun in the sun. Say hi to Tom Cruise for me. ha ha. Love."

If I saw Tom Cruise after one of my marathon night shifts pushing a broom or washing cars I would have punched him in the face which is also what I felt like doing to anyone who thought I was having fun.

But George would have tacos or lamb chops and coconut creme pie ready for me and somehow I survived long enough to land a job writing the copy for a web site that sold mini motorcycles. It was in the Valley and it was staring at a computer all day and the bikes were complete garbage but I went with it because they told me they would buy me a car and get me health insurance (never happened) and also because a nearby store sold beef brisket sandwiches. At least it was regular hours and gave me a chance to write cover letters and book outlines for the literary agencies. But the answers were still the, no, no, and no response. I would submit poetry and stories to any contest or agency I saw...including one for stories specific to the Los Angeles Experience. The model writer was Charles Bukowski. That's all I needed to know so I basically described one moment from one work day I had at Loyola Marymount University. I changed the school name to UCLA.

I submitted it and after a revision or two it was accepted. Finally, things were going my way. I was going to get published in a book. Horray! This would open so many doors for me. I celebrated with a can of beer and a $5 slice of gourmet pizza. Then I never heard from the publisher again and what followed after that would fill a volume of books. For example, I was recently talking about that time period and someone had to remind me that my house had been hit, some might say rammed, by a moving truck. Compared to the other things that happened the moving truck incident was commonplace. The story about Loyola Marymount faded into legend. That was 2004.

Just today I clicked on an old bookmark and saw that the book is nearing publication. I thought I would promote it. I don't know what the story is. Maybe it is on my old blog. I can't find it on my computer. Buy the book and read it. Maybe it was good. I'm a guitarist now. Writing was a childish dream.
Here's the info page, printed here without permission. The sub-sub title is "Stories of greed, debauchery, jail, and dead-end jobs." Really, if I had read this book before leaving Arcata I still would have gone. I wanted to taste the same wine Bukowski drank and you can't do that from a leather couch...or even a broken cloth recliner, which is what I had in Humboldt County. Sleeping with Snakes turned out to be an apt title. My bitter story of thankless underpaid labor ended up getting forgotten and then published after I left Los Angeles. At least they spelled my name right.

Note: At this time the book is nearly ready. It probably won't hurt to order it but don't expect it to be delivered like two days later. Remember, it was 2004 when I thought I was the next Samuel Beckett. Just last week I was hauling buckets of concrete at Poco Diablos. Get it? Be Patient. If you really want to be smart then you will wait for me to buy a few copies at my special author's discount and I will autograph them and send one out to you. Really, that makes a bit more sense and you do deserve some kind of compensation for reading my self-absorbed ranting.

Notes from the Los Angeles Underbelly

270 pages
8.5" x 5.5" Trade Paperback

You don’t need to flirt with the waitress because she is the actress you slept with two years ago...

In a town made up of transplants and implants, where devils never sleep and a drug score is like a trip to the ATM, one would assume that everyone has as story to tell. Well, within that thick layer of guilt that LA holds above her – call it smog, call it sin – something ain’t right and good or bad, real or fad, you’ll read about the rotting souls that live among the streets that are paved with gold.

Truth and fiction become a blur in this collection of 32 Los Angeles based authors – including an early 80s commentary by the late Charles Bukowski. All of these authors have placed their own spin onto the culture that is so uniquely LA. From sinfully delicious tales of murder to porn and drugs to love, you'll read everything you ever thought you never wanted to know about this town.

Put your plastic surgeon on hold, fire up the Range Rover and become a part of this capitalist, commercial, celebrity obsessed, self-indulgent community that we all call home.
+ Compiled & Edited by Ron Sievers

Authors in this collection include:
+ Charles Bukowski
+ Brandon Christopher
+ Marc Shapiro
+ Gordon Basichis
+ Michael DiGregorio
+ Sari Domash
+ Brian C. Weed
+ Melissa Rosen
+ Darin Bennett
+ Matt Dukes Jordan
+ Drew Scott
+ Josh Gloer
+ John Dooley
+ Kathleen Fisher
+ Dan Fante
+ Chris Iovenko
+ Marna Bunger
+ Trevor Nathaniel Rager
+ David Villanueva
+ Todd Eliassen
+ GN Harris
+ Alexis Lockman
+ Oggy Bleacher
+ Ray Sikorski
+ Gavin Hignight
+ Carla Garcia
+ Mike Golden
+ Thomas Fuchs
+ Coury Turczyn
+ Rob Neighbors
+ Deidre Woollard
+ Kevin Rogers


Sleeping with Snakes is our “series-brand” [ ]. We compile collections of short stories from new, up and coming authors in the vein of Bukowski, Fante, Hammett, Welsh, Capote, Hemmingway, et al. We choose a city and find authors that are based there - the stories don't really need to be set there, but the authors usually are (or have spent a considerable time there).

The goal is to capitalize on the uniqueness of major cities around the globe and collect a moment in time with its citizens, writers and their stories. Imagine Sleeping with Snakes [Vol. 7]: Notes from the Bangkok Underbelly… New York City, New Orleans, Seattle, Chicago and more! We feel that this style resonates with the inner community as well as interested parties outside of the local area. There are no real guidelines that our books follow - although most of the stories we select are stories of sub-culture interest; greed, drugs, relationships, drinking, true crime, gutters, thievery, cheating, lying, stealing etc. - You may find a selection from an unpublished novel or an excerpt from an old screen play that never saw the light of dya. You might even read a story that was written solely for a certain volume. Nothing is set in stone.

Most recently we published “Sleeping with Snakes [Vol. 1]: Notes from the Los Angeles Underbelly”. We’re now slated for volume two where Seattle will be our focus.

Of all the reasons we created this compilation, these are but a few...

* The short attention span of people today is ideally suited to the short story format.
* There is a fascination with Hollywood and the greater Los Angeles area. Interest follows the people that live there and the stories they live.
* And of course, when we tried looking for collections based on city specific authors, we came up empty handed. This series will fill that void (other cities around the world will see their own volume in the coming years).


Ron Sievers is from Chicago, IL. and now resides in Seattle, WA. His love of literature, music and all things left-of-center helped him to conceive this series. Ron compiled and edited "Sleeping with Snakes [Vol. 1]: Notes from the Los Angeles Underbelly" while living there between 2001 and 2004. He also runs Orange Recordings [ a record label: ]. He is currently working on "Sleeping with Snakes [Vol. 2]", which will be set in Seattle and should be out in 2010.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

David the Flowmaster

I'm sitting in the library just reading about the lakes region state college (there are some jobs in Laconia I like) and taking pictures of Teepe Beane across the street as he does some end of the year garden clean up...and who should appear but my beat box buddy. that's crazy! I'm in the back corner. Turns out his name is David> I didn't get if he has a web site, but he should. He was break dancing downtown which is why he is sweating. or I should say doing this dance style called "popping". and flowing (rapping).
what are the odds?
of course we are both wearing the same clothes we were wearing last night.



Tepee is way in the back there...he made a killing off of San Diego last week.

Police encounters and Moes subs

a taste comparison of Moes and Breadbox subs. the jury is still out. what do you think?

rebuilt the front steps of 134 Lincoln...



I'm not sure why I thought the "great bog" would be dry enough to hike through. it wasn't.
soon after this the police rolled up on my van...



a tree fungus that looked dangerous...

I forget the cop's name who admired my van. Copley, I think. We chatted. I invited him in "to smoke a bong" and he laughed. He was friendly. We probably know some of the same people in town. He was just responding to a neighborhood complaint about my van that had been parked there for about 20 minutes.
"That license plate reminds me of chips," he said.
"It's a beauty. I'm looking for electronic work. Know of any."
"Silicone valley probably has some."
and I wonder if this was a subtle hint to get out of go back where I came from. Maybe. But I'm not leaving. My family is buried here and not in Silicone valley.

the family burial ground...


I decided to just make the pants I want...easier said than done...

Vote for your favorite beard...full...goatee...mustache...none





This was all in anticipation of my meeting with Salient Surgical. I wasn't waiting for them to call me.Fuck it. I was just going to walk in there and get the job. I couldn't find a place to park and ended up directly in front of the main board room. I'd like to say the CEO walked out and asked, "Is that a 1969 econoline?"
"Of course."
"I have a question."
"Ask away."
"Does the transmission have a separate radiator?"
"No sir. The heavy duty radiator that is installed on this one has a separate reservoir at the bottom for the transmission fluid circulation."
"Ah. thanks. what are you here for?"
"To get that assembly job. Now, we can talk about why I'm perfect for it. But that would be a waste of time. The main problem is the wages. I gotta have $15 bones in my pocket every hour."
"No. Just give me the $15. End of story. Don't think about it. This is the easiest decision you have to make today."
"Ok. You're hired."

That's how it was supposed to go. But it went more like this...
I stumble in wearing my Greek sailing hat, beads flailing in the wind. The people in the board room call security when they see my van. My pants have patches. The receptionist says,
"Are you lost?"
"No," I say, "I'm here to apply for..."
"That position has been filled."
"Are you sure, because..."
"It's been filled."
"What about..." (there are 4 jobs open on their website)
"Sir, that has also been filled. Why don't you let these men show you back to your van."
Ten seconds later I am back on the street. I literally drive passed the "clean room" where I should be working. I look inside at men wearing all white suits that cover their whole bodies. white hoods. white masks. they are concentrating on some blue plastic bin full of metal. It looks like a morgue. There are big windows and one of the guys looks out at me and says something to the other guy. They both look at me. I look back at them. Then I hit the CEOs Lexus SUV as he pulls into the parking lot. I don't get the job.

So I go downtown and play jazz guitar by a jewelery store that has a help wanted sign. A guy closes it up as I play some blues.
"You looking for sales or repair."
"The sign is for sales. You do repair?"
"Yes I do. Soldering."
"We can start you on costume jewelery and you work up to gold and diamonds."
"Sounds good. You got a workshop?"
"No. It's all take home."
"well, I'll stop by when I get one of those."

That was Brandon. So I play some miles davis tunes until my neck hurts. It is warm out but it is Monday and the few people pass by without much notice. Then a young black dude comes up behind me and starts to make those beat box sounds with his mouth. But Jazz is all swing and beat box rap is straight 4/4 time so it doesn't work. I stop the backing track and he starts going,

"On the street with the meat my home boy walks with blood on his feet
don't call me nigger my name is bigger than the man in the moon his finger on the trigger
I'm a smooth cat with bag full of rap you can't touch my rhyme with a feather in your cap
I spin my flow and you don't know that the best part of night is when you sniffing up the blow
the bitches all bow my kingdom is now with my crown of thorns a man is reborn..."

in the most unbelievable freestyle flow rap that I have ever witnessed. So I start beating on my guitar and play an easy blues lick to the time he has set. And this goes on for minutes and minutes. He never stops. he never pauses and his rhymes are incredibly good and lyrical and his vocabulary and phrasing is like he had rehearsed this for months but I can tell his is making it up on the spot because he talking about me as "the man with pick strumming his licks a red sox cap and his dick in the street..."
he's literally a word savant. I can't even type the kind of flow he created ON THE SPOT and another guy shows up out of nowhere with a video camera and starts to video tape it. And the beat box is telling me about his day waiting for his friends and trying to get a cigarette, singing and rapping. I'm in awe but play and scratch my pick on the strings like a record. Then we stop and he walks away. He's wearing a bright blue shirt with a walkman on it. The man is a genius.

then I talked to another street musician wth a broken hand. And then I had a slice of pizza a NY as Denver and Pitt started their game. Then I walked back to the van which was parked by the junior high school. Not a great location but close to the library. I fell asleep in my clothes. This is home to me. The little league park. leary field. the JFK. But the police are already on my trail so I'm still looking for a job.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Review of "Outliers"by Malcolm Gladwell

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

I lost my toothbrush

I carried my toothbrush all around with me when Allen and I were painting the other day. someone pointed it out and I was a bit embarrassed. The toothpaste too. so I put them both somewhere and now I can't find them. it's not a big house. I checked all my pockets. did the dog eat them?
anyway, I figured it was worth trying to type"I lost my toothbrush" into google. see what comes up. it seems 225,000 pages have some variation of a lost toothbrush. one of them could lead me to my brush and paste. so i am going to spend all day reading these posts and I hope i can find it again. my teeth need to be brushed.
the last place I saw it was near the spark plugs in my van. I need to go check my van again.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Two job opportunities

See, I think I figured out the problem. I am an assembly guru. If it can be put together then I can put it together. If it can be fixed then I can fix it. Of course I don't like the idea of getting paid to fix someone's brakes because I think it is beneath me to do that as a job. But bring me some brakes that need fixing and I will jump on it like a blue haired old lady at the J.J. Newberry's discount soup bin. But if you pay me for it then I have become a brake whore, and I am no one's brake whore.
So it is just a philosophical problem that keeps me adrift.
Anyway, the goal is to do what I love and what I enjoy and NOT feel like a mercenary. If this sounds crazy it is because you probably assimilated into the culture and I obviously did not. Portsmouth public schools tried very hard for 12 years to create a functioning clone but they failed.

So, I look for work and here are two jobs that I like. One is a parts dismantler...something that allows me the opportunity to NEVER CARE IF I STRIP A BOLT. The other job is assembling medical devices in a clean room. That means free of dust. What I like about the medical assembly job is the number of patents they have pending. If I'm going to have a "career" it will be in an expanding field. Something without limits. They will take one look at me and send me away. It reminds me of another job I applied for in Santa Monica. It was a chemical warfare sensor that detects trace amounts of biological shrapnel. Also a clean room. The guys were all engineers but they didn't have time to do the actual assembly on semi-mass produced products. (Each unit took two months to build) That's where I would come in. I looked it all over and saw that it was my element. Probably a $60,000 a year job with benefits. They wanted me to create an order of operations manual and repair manual. All of this is right up my alley.
"Would you call yourself a perfectionist?"
When it comes to electro-mechanical stuff I get obsessed.
So I meet the inventor, an Indian man, candidate for the nobel prize. He just looks at me. Studies my eyes and I know what he is going to see in them.
"What do you want to be doing in ten years?" he asks.
"Writing screenplays."
"But this is a very hard occupation to make a living."
"I know, but when I work then I don't write. I pretend I will write after work, but I don't. There is always something else to do."
"When I was young," he says, "I wanted to be a painter. Like my hero Van Gogh. I could be poor and paint or I could study engineering like another hero of mine, Leonardo DaVinci. I am happy with my choice."
"All day long I think about writing. But I happen to be an expert assembler and I need money."
"That is not good enough," he said.
And so we parted ways. I expect they will ask me the same thing at Salient Surgical Technologies. Only now I will say that I want to play Jazz guitar in ten years. But really, I do not think ten years in advance. I know that if I do not play guitar TODAY then I'm not going to play guitar ten years from now. And if I take this job then exactly when am I going to play guitar? Or write? Or make music videos for local bands. Or make stained glass? None of that will happen. I will make surgical instruments. And I will get paid.
You can say that at least it is medical technology, and not biological warfare detection, but really does it matter? Both jobs pay the same amount. But one is clean and the other is dirty. I wonder if Van Gogh ever applied for a job as a furniture painter and the master painter asked him what he planned to do in ten years. And Van Gogh, insane, sweating, knew that he would probably be dead in ten years and walked out the door. VG died when he was 37. That is one year younger than me. He shot himself though, so that made it easier for him to predict. He didn't start painting until his twenties and the works that we all know him by are mostly from the last few years of his life. I imagine he passed up quite a few paying gigs when he was 35 years old. He was living in a country that is mostly below sea level. That's gotta unnerve you after a while.
This isn't about comparing me to Van Gogh. I only want to expose and define my self-destructive habits. It's an old story.
When people say, "Oggy, you could do anything you want." they really mean, "Oggy, you could assemble microscopic surgical devices and eventually forget you ever wanted to play guitar or write screenplays."
It's economics. One of them pays $12 an hour and the other, if you are lucky, gets you admired after you die.

Assembler, Clean Room, Medical Devices, Direct Employment (Portsmouth)

Date: 2009-11-02, 10:23AM EST
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

Salient Surgical Technologies, Inc. is a 220+ person rapidly growing medical technology company that develops and markets innovative Advanced Energy surgical products based on our proprietary Transcollation™ technology to improve patient outcomes in a wide range of surgical procedures. Our Transcollation™ technology transforms collagen at the molecular level, which when applied to blood vessels, creates a permanent mechanical seal. This permanent seal 1) improves surgeons’ visualization – a key to MIS surgery; 2) significantly improves patients’ post-operative hemoglobin levels which in turn speeds recovery and reduces the need for blood transfusions.

Over 300,000 patients have been treated with our devices to improve post-op hemoglobin levels and reduce blood loss in surgical oncology, orthopaedic reconstruction (hip and knee replacements) and instrumented spine procedures (fusions).

Salient Surgical has focused on building strong future earnings power by:
Developing advanced energy products that deliver high clinical and economic value, receiving 510(k) clearances with broad indications for use which permit us to quickly move into new market applications without facing additional regulatory hurdles, investing in post marketing studies that document the clinical and economic benefits of our products in a variety of surgical settings (for example, our studies demonstrate a greater than 70% reduction in blood transfusions for patients receiving a primary hip replacement), building a deep intellectual property portfolio (At present we have a total of 80+ patents either issued or filed), building a sales force selling a surgeon preference product and identifying new applications and product opportunities that leverage our core technology.


• Assemble and package intricate mechanical and electromechanical assemblies, using basic hand tools, jigs, fixtures, and test equipment, as well as more complex assembly machinery, such as ultrasonic welders and heat sealing equipment.
• Follow established manufacturing and inspection processes and procedures to produce medical products.
• Identify and segregate defects per procedures.
• Assist in managing materials in an orderly and accurate manner.
• Follow established safety procedures and perform all duties in a safe manner.
• Perform all duties of this position in accordance with applicable cGMP, ISO, FDA, and internal standards.
• Maintain complete and accurate records of work-in-process, component inventories and relative documentation.
• Accept full accountability for product quality.
• Support and take direction from other departments with new product introductions.
• Utilize documented procedures and training materials to accomplish tasks noted above.


• High school diploma or equivalent.
• Technical school or OJT training working with mechanical assemblies desired.
• 1-2 years experience in assembly.
• Experience operating manufacturing equipment according to established specifications, standard operating procedures and work instructions or ability to acquire those skills.
• GMP, FDA, ISO experience preferred, but not essential.
• Ability to work "under a microscope" to assemble small medical devices in a clean room environment
• Willingness to learn all equipment and jobs in the assigned manufacturing area.
• Strong attention to detail and exceptional inter-personal skills are required to work in this fast-paced, diverse environment.
• Availability to work 40 hours per week, plus overtime as needed to support manufacturing or customer requirements.

  • Location: Portsmouth
  • Compensation: $11-$13 per hour plus full benefits
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.


Date: 2009-10-26, 6:41PM EDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]


  • Location: DERRY NH
  • Compensation: 10.00-12.00 /HOUR

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Recent Job Inquires

I'm ashamed to admit I recently clicked on a job offer with the title, "Tee Shirt Folder"
The funny thing is that I would need training.

The other jobs I've looked at have been CAD (Computer Assisted Design) and Guitar Instruction and Assembly Technician and one in Portsmouth for a Entry Level Auto Technician at Ford.

I looked at a job in Spain for "Busty Models" (don't ask why) and one in Greece titled, "Earn Big Money" that scandalously expected me to work for the big money.

One inquiry for a first shift electro-mechanical assembler went unanswered.

I'm not sure what caused me to be looking at the following apartment listing in Bangladesh...

"Want to rent a three bedroom apartment in Dhanmondi from December 2009? Please see the following features:
Three bedroom with closet/built-in cabinet and attached bathroom
Servant's bedroom with attached bath"

I respect his initial question. It's clear and simple. It leaves no room for misunderstanding. Do I want to rent a three bedroom apartment in Dhanamondi?? Maybe I do. And the house comes with an additional bedroom for the untouchable servant.

If this seems chaotic it is because the freedom of being able to go wherever you can physically go is a burden at times. Dhanamondi or Dover. How does one make that decision?

If I could post a dream post that I would immediately click on it would be "Starting new civilization in utopian-like environment. Space Travel Likely." If there was room for my guitar then I'm in.
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.