Friday, December 30, 2011

If You Don't Like It You Can Suck My Dick Part 2

Jake and I were sitting in the Labor Hall. I'd brought a dozen stale donuts that were snatched up quicker than ammunition at an Arctic Wolf hunting party, but I didn't care to eat one myself. I think they were chocolate covered raised. Jake drank his coffee and rolled the unlit cigarette around his mouth. He was waiting for the call to come in so he could be assigned a bell to ring for the Salvation Army. Lately it had been at Rite Aid, but Shaws had better bathrooms and fewer sick people.
"It's $52," he said plainly.
I'd ring the bell for free but you couldn't pay me to do it. For one, the Salvation Army is paying $21 an hour for you to stand and ring a bell. $160 a day in costs and I didn't think I could collect that many donations...so they would be losing money by paying me. And even though all the meals at the Sally Ann are preceded by a sermon, they gave you a roof and some cabbage stew and a job if you wanted to sort donated clothes or pick up worn couches off the side of the road. They deserved better than to lose money during the Christmas bell season. Also, it's a shit job that any respectable person would do for free.
"Eight hours of ringing a bell?"
"Yes."
"Rain or shine?"
Jake nodded.
"Some people bring me coffee. They nod, at least. Treat me like a person."
I'd been chased around New England by fresh faced policemen and stalkers for the last three weeks so I nodded vaguely and said, "Ah."
Jake left to smoke his cigarette.

I didn't get a ticket that day but the next evening I swindled my way onto a construction site. That's where I met Bill and Nick and became best friends with red fireproof slime. It all started to blur together into a series of chaotic appointments:
Midnight: start fire in my wood stove,
2am: read the New Testament by candle light (as God intended)
oatmeal at 3am,
Police bang on side of van around 3:30am and keep banging until I answer that I'm sick with the flu and unemployed and harboring no criminals.
4am move van to another dark street and sleep for 40 minutes.
5am fail to start fire in the freezing cold because the crappy big lighter has a kinked butane hose. Find a can of starting fluid. Spray fluid into stove on pieces of cereal cardboard boxes. Ignite by striking cheap Mexican hatchet against Labradorite stone (that is supposed to help me find my destiny). As ball of flame explodes from the stove and sends the two tops spiraling over my electric guitar, I shiver until I can feel my fingers. Then I scrape the bottom of an old yogurt container and chew on a blackened banana peel. Time to get ready for work.
5:10 - Having put on socks - I am ready for work.
6: Arrive at Labor Hall after stalling several times as the van fails to climb slopes near the hospital (where I hid for a few hours in the visitors parking lot)
6-10am- sit around the Labor Hall trading sob stories with the rest of society's rejects. A call comes in for working at a paint factory. Someone else gets assigned and the remaining men moan and drink coffee.
10am-4PM Play inventive and original arrangements of 1940s era jazz songs on my imaginary piano. Read Cosmopolitan and think, "Blake Lively isn't good enough for me." Plan grand essay on the vapid state of today's youth. Lose the piece of scrap paper that the notes for the essay are scrawled on. Use internet and read anonymous comment "EAT SHIT YOU LOSER. DIE FUCK FACE" Laugh at the madness of it all.
4pm-6pm walk around the downtown window shopping at restaurants. "I'd eat that. Oooh, that sounds good. I'd get an appetizer and a drink....blah blah. So HUNGRY!"
6PM-7PM blunder around in the dark as my eyes are failing me and my legs are too weak to walk.
7PM - 10PM Lay in the van and play guitar by looking at the fretboard because my fingers are too cold to feel the strings.
10:02 PM evicted from the library parking lot by someone from the neighboring police station. "If I catch you here one more time.,..blah blah....," says someone in a uniform. I flip him off as the van stalls and rolls into a mailbox as Bob Marley erupts from the radio: "Easy Skanking....skanking it easy...." suddenly burst out laughing and make a mental note to write down exactly what the last few minutes involved. It will make good addition to Homeless manifesto.
10pm-12AM - revisit the events of the day and edit my responses so that I come out as the hero. For instance, when the librarian says that I must leave the library if I want to sleep, instead of mumbling my apology and stumbling to the bathroom to wash my face in hot water, I respond, "Well, you'd fall asleep too if you were reading Moby Dick." Or when I read hate mail from my many admirers I always slay them with my wit and insight. Note: This particular segment of my day sometimes lasts 10-16 months until every single event of my life has been examined multiple times.
Midnight- Light up the stove with the starting fluid method, burn songbooks and Hemingway novels to keep warm until the police arrive.

This routine was viciously disrupted when I landed the ticket to the apartment construction gig. Bill took charge and led us in ever increasing circles of madness and futility that I didn't question because I LOVE WASTING MONEY AND TIME IN ORDER TO APPEAR TO CONTRIBUTE TO A DECAYING SOCIETY.
"This goes where?"
"UP YOUR FUCKING ASS! WHERE DO YOU THINK IT GOES?"
"Well, you're telling me one thing and the code inspector is..."
"FUCK THE FUCKING CODE INSPECTOR! HE DOESN'T IF HE'S WALKING OR ON HORSEBACK!"
"Fine. I'll nail it up here." (I'm thinking of Jake and his bell ringing gig. Laughing in my head as I mash my thumb under the hammer)
"AND COVER THE FUCK OUT OF THAT WITH THE SLIME! I DON'T WANT TO SEE AN INCH OF PLYWOOD.
Four hours after nailing in tiny scraps of plywood coated with fireproof slime we are told to take it all down and use one continuous piece of plywood. Furthermore, says the inspector, "You're using way too much fireproof stuff. Just fill in the cracks."
"I TOLD YOU GUYS TO GO LIGHT ON THE FUCKING SLIME! WHO DID THIS?"

From 7-1 we waste company time and materials, destroying three sheets of plywood, one large chunk of siding that I mistook for plywood, the circular saw blade...and the circular saw itself....along with some other stuff that went mysteriously missing as soon as we were told to put it in storage. We do manage to collect all the paper and foam material from around the work site when the environmental impact is called into question. "MOTHERFUCKING TREE HUGGERS WANNA SAVE THE FUCKING WORLD. LIKE A CHUNK OF FOAM IS GONNA KILL ALL THE TIGERS IN IRAN!"
Then the inspector and the contractor all gang up on us because they are methodically going through the houses after we have worked in them and have declared all our work to be shoddy, worthless, wrong, etc...and we have 20 minutes to correct everything that took 6 hours to fuck up....and we run like roaches through the site throwing fireproof slime at the walls and kicking sheetrock that is in the way, knocking over ladders, fighting with Mexicans for a turn at the saw, using a box of nails to reach up into the rafters to spackle a gap with slime (a negotiation that was later deemed unjustified) screaming, sweating, nearly destroying one building when Bill lights up a cigarette next to a leaking propane tank. I lose my gloves and misplace Bill's carpet knife and spend 10 costly minutes tracking them down behind the porto-potty where I had keeled over from famine.
Finally, the contractor dismisses us for lunch. I can tell our work leaves no doubt they've asked the wrong people to do this job. I'm not proud. I'm shaking my head as my stomach rumbles.
"MOTHERFUCKER!" yells Bill. "Let's GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE AND GO SEE SOME ASS!"

Off we drive into town where every girl on the street gets dressed down and judged.
"KEEP RUNNING YOU FAT FUCKING WHORE! YOUR ASS LOOKS LIKE TWO POSSUMS WRESTLING UNDER A CIRCUS TENT!"
or
"CHECK OUT THE RACK ON THAT SLUT!"
or
"I BLEW MY NUT IN A CHICK WHO LOOKS LIKE HER.
Oggy: You have kids?
Bill: FUCK NO! NO FUCKING WAY.

...To the convenient store that is packed with people hustling for gas and crappy sandwiches. Bill waits impatiently, honking at an old lady backing out of a handicap parking space.
"COME ON YOU OLD CUNT! STEP ON IT. FUCK I HATE THIS!"

And then he swiftly plunges his huge Crown Victoria (salvaged Police cruiser) into the handicapped spot.

"Really?" I say. "We can't just...."
Bill reaches over a coffee maker that is plugged into his cigarette lighter.
"NO FUCKING WAY AM I WAITING."
He pulls out an expired handicapped tag and hangs it from his rear view mirror.
"Found it in a bush outside the DMV," he says proudly and steps out. "I DON'T GIVE A FUCK." I get out and see at least two dozen faces who are waiting to order a sandwich all looking in total disgust as three men wearing yellow Labor Ready Hard hats and work boots covered with red slime get out of this shitty Crown Vic parked in a handicapped spot. Bill flicks his cigarette into the air and it lands in a puddle of oily water. Nick leers at a girl. I trip on a curb and injure my wrist falling on the cement.
"FUCK!"
Our audience decides they want nothing to do with us and look back at the neon menu and their disgusting sandwich choices. I grab the poor man's lunch of one gallon of water (I curse my stupidity in not bringing water) and a pack of overpriced peanut butter crackers. Nick shoplifts $10 worth of power bars and Bill skips ahead in line to get a turkey sandwich while flirting with a girl wearing Ugg boots.
"I like your boots," he says. "They make your legs look sexy."
He makes a good point as her legs are like finely sculpted flesh sticks that I could eat with chipotle salsa. I'm so fucking hungry that I've eaten 5 peanut butter crackers before paying for them. Crumbs are falling over my gray whiskers as I fish through my pockets for change, borrowing liberally from the penny cup.
"You like Ludacris?" Bill asks after her initial silence.
"Can I have some napkins?" asks the girl to the cashier.

I really hope the police tow Bill's car because I don't care at all about going back to the job. It's all damage control from now on. Unfortunately, the car is where we left it and after a few minutes of waiting for Nick to come back from the liquor store we're back in the car with Ludacris blasting from the amplifier that takes up most of the back seat.
"Blah blah blah...COULDA TAPPED THAT ASS!" yells Bill as Nick bounces in the back seat and blows rings of smoke around my head.

Back at the work site, Bill shouts a series of contradictory and vague commands...."I WANT THIS SHIT DONE WHEN I GET BACK!" he yells without providing any details. FOr some reason, we've abandoned all the plywood strips and I'm now cutting 3/4'' sheet rock into 8'' wide strips that are 6' long. I'm using a $1 box cutter for this and the blade brakes every five inches so it takes an hour to cut one strip.
"WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN DOING FOR THE LAST HOUR?"
This goes on for what seems like an eternity. I bring the strips to Nick who is sitting on the floor with his pants so far around his ass that I can tell the size and country of origin of his Boston Red Sox long underwear (XL, Mexico). He fumbles with a spatula of red slime, his hands are covered with it, Bill's unwieldy framing hammer is covered with red slime.
"'PUT THE SHEET ROCK IN THE GAP'," mimics Nick. "No one says how I can do that WITH THESE FUCKING STRAPS IN THE WAY!"
So Nick finds a weak power drill and starts to remove all the metal bands that are holding the sheet rock to the floor and stud. As I've said this is some time saving method used by the sheet rock crew and instead of screwing the rock to the studs, this single band runs up the length of the wall and is attached to the floor and ceiling. It's in the way of the plywood that Nick is putting in the gap (that was left when the strap failed to bind the rock to the wall).
"Maybe you shouldn't take that band off. Let's notch the plywood instead..."
"YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT!" says Nick as he quickly removes the band, losing all three small screws instantly and then we watch as the wall begins to collapse as the tension was removed. The sheets of wall no longer rest on one another and they tear out of their screws and fall into the gap and down into the next floor.
"MOTHERFUCKING MEXICANS!" yells Nick as he slams his hammer into the floor, causing a pulse of pain to radiate through my brain.
"Wait!" I say, "Why are we putting fire proof slime on the first floor? Where's the fire going to come from?"
I point at the concrete foundation.
"There could be a volcano under the building," says Nick.
"A volcano?"
I consider arguing the possibility of this but decide to argue the effectiveness of the fire proof slime.
"If there were a volcano under here, do you think this sliver of plywood covered with red slime will do anything to stop the whole building from going up in flames?"
"It might," says Nick.
I roll my wrist, which has begun to ache ever since I demolished the tile floor at the Library restaurant and trucked it out in 5 gallon buckets. I ain't fixing shit. I wish I knew what time it was so I'd know how long I need to pretend to work. I return to slicing sheetrock with the razor blade and ignore any progress or demolition going on above me. Eventually, the contractor comes and gets us to begin a three hour tour of the property picking up all the wood and stacking it on a front loader and then into neat piles on the outskirts of the site. Tons of wood goes in the dumpster and I need it for my wood stove by I have no way of transporting it. An electrician, one of the few locals on the job, finally takes a truckload of wood "for a bonfire this weekend"
"Good for you," I think with hateful venom in my heart.

Bill and Nick and I sit behind a shell of a building where sheets of sheetrock have been left in the rain to rot and hundreds of roofing nails with plastic rings stick out of the dirt.
"Sue told me that if I cut my finger off and wasn't wearing my gloves then I wouldn't be covered by Labor Ready insurance. I told her that the gloves they give us couldn't wipe my ass let alone stop a circular saw blade." This is true as my gloves are 9 hours old and have holes in the thumb that have allowed my once broken nail to play the part of a shattered plastic poker chip. Nick steps on a nail and dances around in agony.

We begin to walk back to the trailer when it gets dark. I'm indifferent to the work and confident that we caused more problems than we solved. Bill and Nick cross a paved street singing a Ludacris song. I limp along behind them as the crappy steel toe boots that were provided by Labor Ready have worn a bleeding blister in my ankle. They have no foot pad and it's like walking on my knuckles. But as I cross the road with my head sagging low into my sunken chest I notice that Bill and Nick have stepped over several clusters of framing nails. A car is coming and because I always remembered the horse rustler Russ Peach telling me, "Always pick up nails in the road, else a tire'll pick em up for you."
I stoop over and feel the tendons of my hip creak like a rusty wagon leaf spring. My knee buckles but I grab the nails. THe fact my gloves have no thumbs left makes it easier to grip the nails. I look around for more and then shuffle out of the way on my bleeding feet.

That's when I hear it: a whistle that has only one source: The Mexican Roofing Bird, perched on his wooden framework, it's a high whistle made without fingers. A single pulse of a note that pierces the loudest work site and calls attention. I look up and from the darkness of a hooded sweatshirt I see the roofer looking down at me. He nods in appreciation because they were his nails in the middle of the road and he's been up there watching for hours and he knows that every car that passes over them has a chance to hit them just right to turn it up and into the tire. The whistle and the nod are the only positive moments of the entire day. I pause and salute him before limping toward the trailer. I want to leave. I need to eat half a pack of ramen noodles or a can of soup or even toast a piece of bread and put some honey on it. I'm starving. The roofers return to the last of their work for the day as the light fades.

In the trailer we are signed out and, amazingly, asked to return. I was sure we'd be fired. Lawsuits would've been justified, but they want us back. Nick and Bill commit instantly but I say that I've got a job interview. No one tries to talk me out of going to it. The contractor writes my name on a piece of paper and I'm sure it's because he wants to make sure I don't come back.

Still, I'm so happy that the Mexican acknowledged my effort with the nails and Nick and Bill are so engaged with packing and smoking a bong that none of us remember to retrieve our loot stashed behind the Port-o-potty. We swerve home, crossing double yellow lines, screaming at trucks, honking, singing about nasty booty sex, smoking weed and sparing no respect for our fellow man. Bill sees Jake ringing a bell at Rite Aid and yells, "GET A FUCKING JOB DEADBEAT!"
Back at the office we clean the red slime off our boots and hard hats. Then I heard Bill say something about spray foam to another man.
"What?"
"Yeah, everything we did today was for nothing. The code inspector approved the use of a spray foam retardant to fill the gaps right before we left."
"No plywood or sheet rock?"
"Wassahp, mothafuckah!"

"Sometimes they bring me coffee," said Jake. "One woman brought me a muffin. They treat me real nice. They say hello. I've seen some of the customers three times in one day. Walgreens has a place where the wind can't get you. I've gone to Walmart but the wind comes sweeping across the parking lot and there's nowhere to hide. You freeze at Walmart."

I nod and yawn. It's another day at Labor Ready. We're all chasing phantoms in the parking lots, crashing empty shopping carts into mystery bakery grab bags.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Modern Folk Quartet

They aren't so modern anymore but this is Phil Spector (Righteous Brothers, Ronettes, Crystals, etc) swinging for the fences as producer, layering upon layers. It's safe to say Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys was heavily influenced by this sound when he produced his own songs although they were being recorded neck and neck with George Martin of the Beatles. June 1966, as I've said before, is the best month of pop music ever.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Are The Holidays Over Yet?

I recently received a digitally animated Christmas card where a pale child dreamily walks through a winter wonderland pulling his sled. He stops at a spruce tree that lights up magically. Then he proceeds through the calm forest until he reaches a point overlooking a small New England town where the church steeple is the highest point and all is tranquil and peaceful. The boy pulls a violin off his sled and begins to play along with the music that has been accompanying his walk. Merry Christmas!
And the whole time I'm wondering: "People call me idealistic? This might as well show Jesus at the gates of heaven handing out cherry pie and cigars to Nascar fans while Libertarians are cast into a pit of flames."

As I was nearly penniless up until my 80 consecutive hours lobbing lobster crates, I never was affected by the commercial demands of Hannah Montana and her Barbie Doll daughters. So I missed my opportunity to play 1% Scrooge while the 99% Bob Cratchets of the world save pennies for their crippled Tiny Tim son. "God Bless us Every one!" Such bullshit...state sponsored casinos on stolen Indian reservations and kids huffing piss and shit in a bag: that's what reality is right now. Tar sands projects that pollute and decimate; wolf bounties returning to save precious cattle for high priced steak houses on Route 1 for Rye snobs; chipmunk movies where "After surviving the sinking of their cruise ship, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore must survive on a Polynesian island"; drug cartels competing with T-mobile for domination of telcom infrastructure; guys breaking jars with their assholes; bath salt used as cheap crystal meth; pet food companies manufacturing rice and chocolate...on and on.

The status quo is some fucked up shit and I don't need the holiday ideals to sugar coat my concrete cookies.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Un Mundo Sin Drogas

Raise your hand if you are tired of the drug war and want to stop it. The time has come to go on the attack. I read that Mexican drug cartels have started installing their own telcom towers to use for advanced warning. THEIR OWN TELCOM TOWERS! That's like your local crank dealer owning his own warehouse full of servers so he can be an internet service provider and better monitor his customers. The scales are rapidly tipping in Central America in the direction of drugs being the future. Mexican special forces are defecting to the cartels because the money is better and, frankly, the cartels have a better health care plan.
Obviously, I live in a fairy tale world where I become Peter Pan at night and fly around on my green wings planting flowers and healing wounded squirrels...so it should come as no surprise that I think I can do something about this insanity. Sure, you can shake your head in your pathetic fear castle and call me stubborn for not accepting the ascendance of drug cartels but I like to frame the debate in these terms: I'm NOT the crazy person for tying a helium filled happy birthday balloon to the ass end of the Titanic, but YOU ARE the asshole for sitting on your hands while the ship sinks. Either way, it looks like we're in for a wet and wild ride but personally, I'm optimistic and believe humans want to do spiritually rewarding work, and not manufacture and smuggle cheap cocaine and marajuana into America so the 99% can find some relief from their failed.expensive pain relief medication. I'm tired of it all and if the ship is going to sink then I prefer to die with a paddle in my hands rather than watching college football and eating franks and beans until our colons explode.
We choose our allies and I'm recruiting allies for a direct attack on the Mexican drug cartels. I don't mean we will will actually target cartel drug lords because that would be a pawn fighting a king over a spoiled bounty. No, what I want to do is retrain the pawns on the other side so they reject the drug-based lifestyle. That takes manpower and man hours. If I can toss lobster crates around then I can make a difference in the drug war. We need a grassroots movement to show Mexicans that Americans are sober and intelligent and compassionate people. We don't want to exploit them anymore. We want to peacefully coexist!
That's as far as my plan has gone but I think it's honest and it's important and it's time has come. The best way to combat the drug trade is to stop taking drugs and to encourage the people at the source of the drugs to stop making them. Who is with me?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Festivus

Love your neighbor.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lobster Blues

 Next time your lobstah roll is next to your gray whiskers I want you to think of my arthritic toe and chew long and hard on that monster from the deep. I'd like to type out a nice essay on this lobster topic but I have no time and my fingers hurt too much.
They say blues can not be faked because it is the music of the broken man.
Well, nothing like a week in the lobster processing biz will turn you into a broken man. And if your fingers are so swollen that you can't play a single note on the guitar without searing pain then that's even better. Why do the cotton pickers like Howling Wolf play and sing so well? Because they don't give a shit and their fingers hurt and they are beaten and poor and disrespected and you get what they feel. I started playing this song and it was like someone else was singing and playing, not a pretty kid who wants to be Jackson Browne. It's because my fingers are so swollen and bleeding and cracked and my voice is weakened and my neck is still throbbing. That's 62 hours in 5 days, my fucking friends. Give me shit about my lazy ways and I invite you to come down to the pound during holiday rush season and put it 62 hours. Better yet, I want you to go pick up two stacked car tires and throw them across the garage...FOR 19 STRAIGHT HOURS...and I will stand next to you and blast Slayer and Metallica in your ear and call you a motherfucker as I rip two packs of marlboro lights (along with 6 other chain smokers). You do that and then you can write your own message to me on toilet paper and shove it down my throat. Until then, you will need to shut the fuck up and keep your opinions to yourself because you'll be a fraud and a fucking asshole. "Use your big boy voice" is how the lobstermen describe it. That's my big boy voice. shut the fuck up. this is my domain. I'm lord of this castle. Me. Oggy. Not you.

They say, "Lobster processing ain't rocket science." Yeah? Well, I've worked with engineers in their calculator world and I can say that "rocket science ain't lobster processing"

Saturday, December 17, 2011

If You Don't Like It You Can Suck My Dick PART 1

"I love pill whores," shouts Bill, my new coworker. "I love dirty pill popping whores who strip on the side and fuck in the middle!"
We're standing in a cold second story apartment complex under construction. I don't know what I'm doing but I need the money and as long as I don't break a window or lose my temper then I'll probably get paid.
"Do you have carpentry experience?" the temp agent had asked.
"You bet. I wrote the code book for the White House. Frame to finish," I had lied with a straight face, desperate for money, tired of my principles getting in my way. So I ended up here at these apartments, on the clock, wasting money looking for my hammer, living the dream like the roofers from Honduras...
"If you don't like it you can suck my dick," Sings Bill as the Blood for Blood song coming from his phone speaker reaches a guttural climax.

I smile uneasily and motion my hands down.
"Ok," I whisper in my library voice.
I can hear workers downstairs banging nails in blue plastic power outlet boxes. Latino roofing crews put more Americans out of work on ladders outside. Their banging on the roof comes in morse code patterns: bang-bang-bangbangbang.
"I don't give a fuck if people hear. I'm a recovering addict," says Bill. "That means I smoke crack off the clock. Hahaha! Look!" Bill reviews his contact list in spite of my obvious discomfort. "I can get pills from him, meth from him, that skank still owes me money, cocksucker, cocksucker....pot...whatever."
"Ok. So you have contacts. I get it," I say with a fake smile.
"Fuck that. I don't deal no more. I used to pimp pill whores out of my pad. Three fucking years while I was recovering from my bulging disk. Pills and pimpin'. Fucked up, yo! I got pictures..."
Our other coworker, Nick, has been grinning nearby and suddenly pipes up in a clear and loud voice, "When I was serving time, because my public pretender was a jerkoff...I..."
Bill interrupts him as though he wasn't even speaking, "Look at this bitch. Look at that snatch!"
He shows me a self taken duck lips picture (in a mirror (could be fake)) of a twenty something girl. She's got a tattoo "BITCHon the area above her panty line and below her navel.
"Her tattoo says 'Bitch'," says Bill, in case I missed it. He scrolls up her thin (devoid of subcutaneous fat, indicative of meth use) hip-less stripper body.
"What's her name?" I say, to humanize her in my mind.
"Jen. Her stage name was Kitten or Charlene or something...She was a rock hard stripper/prostitute."
"Escort," I clarify. "They like to be called escorts."
"I don't give a fuck," says Bill in what is his trademark phrase, impossible to imitate, almost musical, definitely rhythmic rap based, uttered with emphasize on the fuck and with almost monotone expression and deep loathing for whomever is in his presence, his accent almost southern but not quite innocent of Northern heritage. His routine arguments with the roofers begin not with "Ah-mee-go" but with "A-mee-go" as in "No, a-mee-go, you can't have that fuckin' ladder cause we gotta get this shit done." His phrasing is as beautifully and expertly executed as an Italian aria by Puccini.
"I mean...," I begin before Bill interrupts me with his last and final word on the subject.
"No! The only thing they're escorting is my cock into their vagina."
Then Bill and Nick begin to shuffle/dance around in their big steel toe boots singing, "If you don't like it you can suck my dick..." over and over, the sawdust from a hundred Honduran roofers is stirred from the plywood floors into my delicate nostrils and I begin to sneeze.
"I'm gonna play some baseball after woooork. Hoooo! Mothafuckah!" sings Bill, referring to smoking a pipe loaded with drugs. (He made good on this promise)
"If you don't like it, you can suck my dick..." sing the two of them, stomping around, as I sneeze and wipe my dripping nose with an oil soaked rag.

By the end of the day, a day filled with major and minor mistakes, misunderstandings, malicious attacks, malingering, misery and malaise, I calculate the three of us earned $180 ($60 each) while the foolish contractor paid $370 (total) and I estimate that if they (the contractor) had come down to the temp agent and paid all the employees there $10 each to NOT go to their job site, then they would save at least $100 and whatever they have to pay to fix our blunders, so possibly $500 of savings.

But that's only my opinion and my experience at construction sites has always been burdened by my endless pondering to determine the best plan of action. This irreconcilable clash manifests itself when I am tasked with fitting 2X4 wood coated with fire proof putty into a corner in order to comply with safety codes regarding draft stops and smoke chambers. I cut the 4 pieces of wood to fit but neglect to write the corresponding location on each piece of wood so when I return to the room (the saw being 100 yards away) I must fit each piece of wood into the space to determine where it goes. Then there is sheetrock that is jaggedly preventing the wood from seating all the way into the corner. So, after hunting down my hammer, I chip the sheetrock away and pound the wood into place, planning to remove the wood once I hunt down the fireproof putty. Enter Bill:
"WHAT THE MOTHERFUCKER?? ARE YOU STILL WORKING ON THIS?"
He's screaming, I believe, because he's learned that if you are yelling then you are considered valuable. But if the boss doesn't hear him yell then it would be pointless so he has to really scream for his voice to be heard down below in the boss trailer. It's worked so far because he's had a few weeks on this one job and now he's earning overtime, a gross violation of the agency's frugal methods. However, his insistence that he "Knows every motherfucking thing about construction" has been put in serious doubt by some of his commands and the subsequent outcome.
"I'm almost...." I begin...
"HOLY SHIT! YOU DIDN'T PUT ANY CAULKING ON THESE!"
"Not yet. I..."
"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE IF YOU CAN'T PICK UP A HAMMER?"
"Well, those...."
"WHY AREN'T THESE DONE? DO I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING AROUND HERE?"
Bill screams this last line as loud as possible, slightly turning his head in the direction of the boss's trailer as he yells it.
"I put them up so I'd know they would fit when..."
"No. NO! IF YOU PUT THEM UP THEN HAMMER THEM THE FUCK ON! DON'T DUMMY THEM UP! DO IT ONCE!"
This remark has me laughing inwardly as we spent at least 3 hours running in comical circles as his earlier direction was totally contradicted by a code inspector.

Code Inspector: Don't put caulking on the bottom.
Bill: That's exactly what I told them not to do. GODDAMNIT!

Three hours earlier...
Oggy: So, put caulking on the bottom and the top?
Bill: Yes! DO I HAVE TO SHOW YOU HOW TO DO EVERYTHING?


Flash forward 4 hours:

"Alright." I say and get busy coating the fire proof putty onto the wood and hammering it into place. This works much easier than when I watched Nick attempt the procedure with the fire putty on the wood and the piece not yet fitted into the space. His face was covered with putty from when he had to chisel into the sheetrock to make the wood fit. Then the wood fell. The floor was littered with 3'' nails he had dropped as he tried to nail them through 1/2'' sheetrock using a 2' long framing hammer. Then he hit his thumb with the hammer.
"Motherfucker! They don't give us the right tools! If they only knew how to do it right the first time we wouldn't need to do this! Fucking Mexicans!"


This ongoing prejudice against Latino workers on the job irks me. Standing up for a people (Mexicans) I have grown to love and admire, quitting the job to protest the acute prejudice shown toward them, is precisely what has prevented me from getting a job in the first place. And now that I'm on the clock and making nearly $8 an hour, I would be a fool, a dreamy idealist, to risk that pirate's ransom, to defend the honor and memory of the unnamed Mexican. Furthermore, despite the lazy, shiftless stereotypes dogging the Mexican's legacy, they are all doing their work far more efficiently than us. True, some crew completely messed up their installation of the sheetrock on these walls, leading to a huge gap in the corners and between the studs and the sheet rock (some kind of metal band has been used to brace the sheetrock rather than screws into the studs) and that is a fire code violation because now smoke and air and fire can flow freely between the studs. (I can't pretend to understand any of it but I did glean some shreds of information that I will pass on to you).
However, if the roofing crew is indeed made up of politically allied Mexicans, rather than Mexican-Americans who live in Texas and travel around the country doing fast and economical (charging $33 a square foot opposed to $140) installations then maybe Nick has a valid argument. Maybe there is an injustice I'm ignorant of. Or is globalization good for commerce and real estate in general. Would these cottages be affordable if not for low wage roofers? I try to introduce myself to one of the roofers but am ignored. Another one lifts a 3/4'' sheet of plywood with one arm and drags it through the dirt. I grab the other end and he stops and looks at me with his dark eyes peering through the hood of his sweatshirt. He could be Mexican but I'll never know. "No." he says simply and I let go. He drags the plywood away alone. There is a barrier between these tropical Central Americans and my pale skinned companeros.


In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out when I can jokingly say, "We probably won't be getting to the cabinets today." That moment never arrives because the day begins in chaos and ends in tribulation but for those who want to know what cabinets I'm referring to, they are the cabinets that I was originally dispatched to instal, the cabinets that didn't exist on the job site and won't exist for several weeks. Those are the cabinets I'm talking about, which brings me to the section of this memoir where I bring to task my temp agency, the inept Work a Day hall where bad attitudes are required and every junkie can patiently await a job from a condescending dispatcher. The woman, Kim, who had called me during my Library retreat, had offered me a job "Installing cabinets, simple, if you know how to use a measuring tape...little blocks of wood...etc...you say you have carpentry experience so are you interested?"

to be continued....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Richistan

Robert Frank wrote a book a few years back that may or may not be relevant today. It's the book I wanted Willian T. Vollmann to write about the lives of Rich People. It's not as piercing as Vollmann because Frank is a proper journalist for the Wall Street Journal. In fact, the very title, "Richistan", is a tongue in cheek political delineation of a land where the extremely rich set lives. This is how to get books published. He asks the right questions and pulls few punches but it's a lot different to go to a Palm Beach diamond tiara ball and eat goose butt than to scamper down a flood plain in China to talk to the men living under the bridge. What would I know? I haven't done either. Vollmann's book "Poor People" is more my style, painful, desperate, longer than it has to be, equivocal.Stripper poles are apparently standard equipment on a 200 ft. yacht along with alligator lined toilet seats on private jets. Google owners bought a Boeing jumbo plane. But I'm divided on the unfairness. If you can drive a man off his land to later give him the opportunity to pick your grapes then maybe that's fair. IT happened and is ignored so maybe that's the way it goes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ethics

Question:  20 of  20  -   Ethics


A co-worker makes inappropriate jokes about a female employee during your lunch hour. She is uncomfortable with the remarks but doesn't say anything about it. You should...




My Answer:
?





 A.
...inform your shift supervisor of what occurred.


B.
...hit the co-workers making the jokes and force them to apologize.


C.
...recommend that your co-workers only joke about her when she isn't present.


 D.
...make fun of another co-worker so the unwanted attention moves away from her.


E.
A and D
________________________________________________________
  F.  ...go to Oggy's blog and make anonymous comments about it

Wanted

Resemblance to Author purely coincidental
When it seems like the world is out to get you, remember that the layers of graffiti reflect the cultural maturity we've earned. Children mock what threatens them and burn bridges they are themselves afraid to cross. Do I strive for or profess perfection? When it's amusing to me I will, but mostly the work here is an attempt to communicate those opinions which have no market and are thus not valued, but which may allow me to satisfactorily complete my homeless manifesto. Madmen on the underground subway cars in San Francisco or Chicago announce similar views to commuters who would prefer to not hear them and take no joy in being a captive audience. The blog is a gallery of thoughts that allows me to practice entertaining myself under the guise of research. What I can't make up, I must instigate and usually society will accommodate me. Take it seriously at your peril, deface it as a substitute for a sheet metal fence. It's not low resource. It doesn't save paper. I've tried alternatives and that didn't work either. In the dead of night the universe will erase all moral equivalency test questions until the static ringing from my ears envelopes eternity.

Corporate media brands and owns children's opinions and behavior from the womb and I'm not going to participate in that kind of intellectual genocide. Call me crazy. There are enough glitches in the corporate program to allow for independent thought but it manifests as one form of graffiti or another because then it will be criminalized and labeled. What can't be labeled is what corporations fear the most because they can't classify it into a crime. "Failure to disperse, loitering, noncompliance, corrupting minors," these are efforts to define the independent brain struggling to manifest itself. Those who are content with a corporate bottle feeding their sheep are beyond influence. "Boycott Slave Cotton? Why? Sounds Unpatriotic to me." But mostly we are a discontent nation, discontent with wages, lifestyles, culture, law, justice, prices, environment, resources, medicine. Etc. We are discontent until an alternative is thrust into our park and ride parking lots and then we do an abrupt about face. "No no no no, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm totally content with parking lots being strictly for parking," they sputter. "Ah, so, you are discontent but only as long as nothing changes? Health Care must be reformed but parking lots are untouchable holy ground?"
Right.
Tea Party folks argue for radical changes, Occupy America hipsters argue for radical changes, Democrats and Republicans argue for radical changes, just as long as nothing radically changes and the Walmart prices on big bags of Doritos hangs steady at the same price as a gallon of North Dakota gas. Crates full of $1 round Christmas coke pints await early January shipment to Big Lots. It's the way of America and a puzzle with thousands of pieces missing or hidden by the manufacturers of the puzzle. So Oggy tries to find all the puzzle pieces or speculates what the pieces would look like. Because how else can he begin to reconstruct the puzzle? You reach an interstate off ramp. Signs:
We think those are our options. Waffle House is a little further than Wendy's so lets stop at Wendy's. Ok. They have good fries. But Oggy is the asshole if he lives in the Subway Parking lot for three weeks and cleans up their trash but then refuses to buy anything there because it's all picked by raped muchachas smuggled from Sinaloa to the Imperial Valley to pick onions for turkey subs so they can buy diapers for their orphaned kids. Ah! Oggy is the villain. HE belongs in the police blotter. There must be a piece of the puzzle that got dropped in the wilderness. "Go and find it," says Kipling.


I was addicted to Twilight Zone episodes in 5th grade. I watched them all day and night and when the New Years Eve TZ marathon came on I watched them all. So I got the episode book, a full description of each episode:
Businessman Arthur Curtis finds his phone dead. He is then surprised to hear a voice yell, "Cut!" and see that his office is just a set on a soundstage. Everyone tells him that he is Jerry Raigan, a drunken movie star on the decline, and "Arthur Curtis" is a character Raigan is playing. Curtis drives to where his home should be, but finds no evidence of his life. Raigan's agent, thinking his client is having a nervous breakdown, tells Curtis not to worry about returning to the set, the picture has been cancelled and the sets are being dismantled. Curtis, realizing the last link to his world is about to be destroyed, rushes to the set. Just in time, he arrives on the set and pleads not to be left in this uncaring place. Curtis finds himself back in his office, while the agent arrives on the set and finds Raigan has vanished.


It was escapism, escape from the grind of  Junior High School, involuntary erections, baseball losses, absentee parenting, expectations and hair growth. At least I had the Twilight Zone to distract me. Lately, I've been a character in my own movie length version of one episode. The premise being corporations pretend to give you a choice between Pepsi and Coke and we pretend to make a choice. And the hook is so firmly implanted in our cheeks that even this "choice" is recognized as not a choice but is still a choice we fervently defend. "Don't tell me to think for myself."

The background of the puzzle is missing but the little unimportant details (brands) are all provided and in the paint by numbers key they are labeled "the background". I've figured this out (in my unbroadcast episode of Twilight Zone) so the luster has been taken from everything. Cut through the aisles of Walmart to fill up my three year old glass water bottle? Navigate the staggering Downs Syndrome sweeper locking the doors in my face and the tattooed pallet smacker with crates of red Gummi bears teetering near Hannah Montana birth control pills...to suck water from a trickling fountain that dribbles like a clogged drain so that I must use a nearby broken Batman toy to divert the stream off the fountain platform and down a salvaged Conan sword into the water bottle, thus attracting an audience and the ire of the manager who subsequently kicks me out with a warning into the 20 degree night where brightly lit telephone poles cast their nuclear shine on my flat tires and bald patch...but I have half a glass of water which is not half empty but half full and the Puma shoes I found in a clothing patch full of Mexican immigrants fit comfortably when tied...and that water is enough to wash my cock and balls behind the fragments of my ego driven blizzard. CUT! shouts the director and ignores my Fox News boycott. Go to Detention where tough kids direct insecure hatred toward skinny Oggy through spitballs that turn to angry Lexus horn honks at mopeds in twenty years and anonymous blog comments after that. Fear? I know about fear. I'll etch what I know into a granite memorial to my own shortcomings long before the world trade centers are rebuilt in heaven. Fear to build or fear to destroy? That's the question.

I amuse myself, selfishly, and if my brain could retain the revelations I have in the hunger pangs of evening I could be a radio preacher giving hope to hundreds of rats in the doomed apartments of their shame. There can be no victory in a parking lot nation. We do all live in a Walmart Parking lot, processing fast food to survive long enough to complain about the texture of the mashed potatoes in our future long term care facility. "Dirty Bum, dirty bum, dirty bum!" yelled a woman in a wheel chair as I played Autumn Leaves. That's her salvation and her prayer to the world. I don't take myself seriously but I protect the squashed squirrels in their threatened landscape with my words. The seasons change and so do attitudes and alliances, mentors squash trust with idle facebook hands and build ice walls for comfort, the land hibernates and quasars leap to life, laughing at our urgent betrayals.

I will return to entertaining content following this public service message. This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.This is only a test. This is only a test.................................







Taco Bell Manager Gives Inane Pep Talk to Crew

Darwin Sheffield, night manager at Taco Bell #3288 in Indianapolis, Indiana gave a mid-December Pep talk to his crew on Monday Night, sensing a lapse in critical judgement, enthusiasm and "urgency" among his employees.
"Let's step up to bat," urged Sheffield, wearing a striped gold tie and tan trousers. "We're almost through Christmas," he added.
Crew members shrugged and rolled their eyes at one another as the "employee meeting" continued.
"I like what you've done so far this December, especially Todd at the cashier," said Sheffield with his trademark false grin. "That Santa hat you wore the other night was great."
Todd looked sheepishly around the stock room before his manager said, "Way to go, Todd!" and started to clap. No one joined in and the applause quickly died out.
"Darwin has these emergency staff meetings. I don't know. Maybe he's required to by law," explained Frank "Hot Sauce" Mason, who has worked at the Taco Bell for two months. "Half the time I have no idea what he's talking about."
"But," continued Sheffield with a dramatic pause, "There's room for improvement. Doug! Remember when that customer service incident came up on Sunday?"
Doug "Steak and Bake" Baker nodded himself awake in the corner near the walk in freezer door. "Totally."
"What improvements could you have made?" asked the Manager and when Doug's pause began to get uncomfortable he added, "I don't want to put you on the spot. I think everyone can benefit from this, we can learn from it, grow and improve as a team."
"Yeah, I guess I dropped the ball on that. This customer wanted to exchange something for something and I...I don't know. I made it harder than it had to be," said Doug vaguely.
"Thanks, Doug. Remember, 'Who is always right?'
The rhetorical question hung in the air like the steam over the tortilla heater until Sheffield answered it himself. "The customer is always right."
Does anyone have anything to add?
A man who everyone called John but whose real name is Jack considered asking for a day off next week, but decided against it. Better to call in sick, he figured.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Frost on Eyebrows

The condensation that collects on the roof of my van gathers on the lips of sovereignty until it falls onto the bags of bananas and chicken soup. Order, that tempting utopia our lesser ego strives for is an unattainable destination, not on the map, out of service, not recognized by our spiritual travel agent. So, the temptation to hoard wealth (hidden debt) in the form of expired parking tickets and the phone numbers of broken-hearted women slurring their address and Christmas list to the graying Santa Claus, these temptations are saturated with the tears of my rasping lungs. Kerouac's Ghost stays warm near the fire of bundled wax cardboard. It's Christmas and the bells ring loud at the steps of the grocery stores. I'm proud in my ice castle, building crystal ships to guide me into the holy land.

Swerving around Squirrels
The van mocks my broken pride
robin laughs in garbage nest

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Entertainer

Joplin performed by Oggy

Decriminalize Poverty


Nov. 27

6:57 a.m. - Responded to Walton Alley where doors were found open at a residence.
10:27 a.m. - A Mill Pond Way caller complained about loud construction equipment.
11:15 a.m. - Assisted with a domestic incident.
11:34 a.m. - Report taken about a landlord / tenant dispute which became physical and ended with injury.
1:58 p.m. - Responded to Elwyn Road for a report about a “creepy” man in a van. Responding officer found homeless people in the van and advised them to move along.

Interestingly, the "creepy" man living in a van on Elwyn Road (near the Urban Forestry/Yokens area) IS NOT me. I feel some sympathy for him and his family of homeless creepy people but I've never met him. Let's jump forward a week in time...


Dec. 5
5:17 a.m. - Checked on a suspicious car parked on Andrew Jarvis Drive.
7:55 a.m. - Officer dispatched to a donut shop where someone said a child was heard screaming in a bathroom. The officer determined the child was being disciplined by a parent.
9:42 a.m. - Report taken about a theft at the high school.
10:04 a.m. - Arrested Christina Muder, 34, of 11 Old Rochester Road, Dover, on a warrant.
2:27 p.m. - A Lafayette Road caller reported the theft of $310.
7:36 p.m. - Assisted at Spinney and Middle roads with a two-car crash.
10:23 p.m. - Responded to Greenland Road for a complaint about a man living in a van.

However, this man who had a long conversation ("Do you live in here?" "I don't know you well enough to answer that question.) with Officer Small of the PPD at 10:30 pm on the 5th WAS me. And I knew that this day would come (not that my path would cross with the Police, which happens routinely) that I would be in the Portsmouth Police Log. I feel like the other guy on Elwyn Road stole my thunder and by the time they got to me they didn't have the heart to care. "Oh, another guy living in a van."

This is the event that I have been waiting for, the event to formally declare my departure from this area. Nothing says, "Get Out" like when your lifestyle, chosen for its simplicity and reduced environmental footprint, lands you in the police blotter. I do not belong here. I don't care to judge the character of a culture that would criminalize a lifestyle calculated to reduce needs and resource use (you fucking ignorant snobs), but I can clearly read that Portsmouth is a round hole (filled with ignorant assholes) and I'm a square peg (who will never conform). So, goodbye.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Peace Love Burgers


The old man treated me to some real food at Levi's Joint on Islington. They have 4 oz burgers and some damn good onion rings. I got the bleu Cheese with bacon because my heart isn't congested enough.

Hissing Cockroach





Dharma Bum

Long ago I started reading Kerouac and his enthusiasm really hypnotized me. He may have died young but he lived the whole time he was living. He was troubled, no doubt, but he decided to study his trouble. He also drank quite a bit and although I'm not as sober as a nun, I don't think that's my demon. If you want a good book to read, pick up The Dharma Bums. Japhy Ryder is the real life Gary Snyder who is still a force for good. Pick your allies carefully, is the message here, as they will be your role models and lead you places where all is revealed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Plaid Nightmare

A kid asked me, "Why are you wearing pajamas?" and I foolishly tried to explain that there was an era when these pants were worn commonly. But I really sounded like an asshole.

Darkness on The Edge on Night

When I work on cars I like to listen to The Boss. He puts it all in perspective, that I'm part of a long line of historical nobodies who find quiet contentment in replacing worn rotors and plugs and piston rings and ignition coils and swapping out parts only to find that the parts weren't broken to begin with or else they were the wrong parts to replace. It's paying dues and since I don't trust mechanics to work on my vehicle and not charge me to jerk off or buy premium parts when there is no reason to do so, then I have no alternative as long as I own a car or van. I'm not an overpaid flim flam stock analyst; I value my money. Overcharge someone else!

The 1974 Vespa Ciao moped I ride is a different story because there is hardly anyone else but me who can work on it. I own the only flywheel puller on this side of the Mississippi. And after a long day of starving and racing around like a madman fixing cars and vans in the rain then I like to listen to Bruce sing his highway song to the wrench monkeys of the world, the men who have small dreams and broken egos. We are the mechanics and we are lonely but our sadness lubricates the rusted bolts of our mendacity.

Shoe Soup

Last night was a hard one. Despite the triumphs over the Grand Marquis ignition problems I forgot to eat or gather wood so I was fucked until I remembered the great Labrador shoe soup recipe that I learned. Gather old shoes. Fortunately, I have two pairs that spent 5-7 years on Oggy Feet before succumbing to the wear of Mexican dirt roads. I've been using the leather to repair my wounded ego and seats and guitar case. But, there is a little bit of flesh in the leather and if you boil the leather and  season to taste....

...then you get a delicious soup. I had a nice meal before playing Honeysuckle Rose and then closing all the windows because the storm shook the van like a Labrador Nor'easter.

Ignition Coil

Left one misfired at 1000rpm. Right one saved the day
This is what an ignition coil looks like. It's $20 from rockauto...not $86 from ripoff mechanics. And my spark plug cost $1 and not $9. The labor was tricky because I didn't have the pleasure of a warm garage and good lighting and it was pouring freezing rain on my plaid pants and I'd never seen an ignition coil before this but I still got it done in less time than a mechanic would charge. My feeling is that it costs time and money to learn how to do these things yourself but it costs time and money to get ripped off by mechanics. Old mom's advice applies: "Education is expensive, but ignorance is more expensive."
The hardest part was getting the spark plug out of the hole without letting the acorn bits and mouse nest shavings fall into the cylinder and clog the valves. I used a non-magnetic socket so the plug kept falling out. I didn't have any rubber hose to use so I stuck a piece of packing tape off the box into the socket and it was enough to wedge the plug in there so I could take it out.
Then it was off to Autozone where I cleared the misfire code on their diagnostic machine and the Grand Marquis is now running like a champ. I had three people come up to me to buy crack and they were baffled that I would be driving such a pimped out car and not sell crack.
"Don't you got no whores, neither?" they asked as they scratched their pock-marked faces.
"No."
"What the fuck that shit on the radio?"
"Burt Bacharach. The Look of Love box set. Want me to turn it up?"
"You fucking queer?"
"Naw. You know how long it took me to fix the ignition coil in this car?"
"Get away!"
And I was off into the rainy night to look for wood at Motorbikes plus but their pallets had all been disposed of and I had no wood and ended up under the railroad bridge digging up railroad ties to burn with creosote coating my lungs. So, you can add that to the list of "Only Homeless Person I know who..." wears Ray Ban sunglasses, shops at Philbricks, Drives a Grand Marquis, Quibbles over Steak Sauce brands, idolizes Hermann Hesse and builds semiconductor cable harnesses...and plays Honeysuckle Rose on the piano at the old folks home. I'm raising the bar on homelessness.

Air Compressor

Running low on air in my tires so instead of spending a quarter to pay for air I attempted to rebuild the air compressor that was hanging out in the trunk of the Grand Marquis.

 IT turns out that the motor is burned out. The bearing work and the pison compresses air and the compressor holds air but the motor itself will not activate the drive shaft. Chinese crap wins again and Oggy has no air in his tires still.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Music Soothes the Beast

More keyboard magic by the master of improvisation.

Generic Facebook Post


"Had a nice bottle of wine with my loving husband...yoga at the beach with the kids...scorpion bowls in the breeze of the chinese waitresses, plaid pants on the playground...hangover afternoons. Beautiful sunset over Miami. Chicken Farmer's ode to Pachabel's Kanon in D sang angel voices to the ascending souls of the aged."

Paying Back

It's self imposed community service for the years of taking and taking. I do only have my conscience to clear and my emotional checkbook to balance and then I will reassess my direction. If that means playing old man river for the terminal patients at the clipper home then that's how it will go down. Our bodies will decay and mine has betrayed me more than once already and soon the tires will not fit the rims and then it will be a chaotic chase that has no equivalent in mechanics. We wear out bodies out in some race to the invisible finish line and maybe mankind is better off for our efforts and maybe not. This Woman, Elizabeth, born in 1931 New Orleans and lived in St. Louis around 1939. 80 Years old. Every tenth step is a painful one. Take a good look you frivilous time wasters and take for granted your knees and back. Take a long hard look.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bye Bye Blackbird

This song was featured in the slow ending of the recent Public Enemy movie where John Dillinger is played by Johnny Depp. In retrospect that film was a romantic adventure where Dillinger is a bad guy with a heart. This song is harmonized so the full richness resonates with the broken-hearted like Oggy.
A man came out with his oxygen tank and listened to a few songs I've played before. Then he asked for Honeysuckle Rose and it was in the book but I'd never been interested in playing it. So I stumbled through it and have added it to my repertoire. That's what makes me happy. It's my dream to really be able to nail this song in the uptempo reprise. IT's a simple melody but if I have to read the music for Meet me in St. Louis (1st grade level) then how am I going to hammer out an advanced harmonization of Bye Bye Blackbird? I'll answer that question by saying that I must live in my van to do nothing but play piano, specifically those few songs over and over for the iron lung set.

Meet Me in St. Louis

If I don't find some work soon...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Axle Shaft

We've done so much work on our vehicles lately that we might as well open our own garage. The Grand Marquis continues to disappoint as the code reading indicates the #4 cylinder is misfiring during the first 1000 RPMs. That is a problem with the individual ignition coils which are cheaply made in Mexico and cost more Oggy cookie money. And the drive belt is cracked like my lips after a dry night in the Mexican desert. Other than that it runs pretty good.
Please note the use of the stick to hold the wood. In Labrador I decided a small cut could prove fatal because of lack of any medical facilities. So safety became a priority and I got in the habit of using Hatchet safety procedures.
This 12mm wrench was used to loosen the flange on the 4wd axle where it mates with the front differential.
My thumb is still feeling the effects of the moment when it snapped in my hand and sent vibrations through my hand like I'd been struck by lightning.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Penhallow Cookie

I made a whole $40 in November and I spent at least $60 in cookies at Ceres St. Bakery. This is a Penhallow Cookie named after the street where the bakery is. I feel it's a good store where no employee is forced to watch a sexual harassment video. The food is good and even though this cookie had gluten, they cater to other diets. Incidentally, Ceres Street is the street that Penahallow turns into after it crosses Bow st by the docks. I don't remember the bakery every being on the docks and I don't remember Penhallow ever being called Ceres Street. The discrepancy irritates me but if I can solve the answer then I will include it in my "Bygone history of Portsmouth" tour.

Unschool Bus

 I was at the park the other day, doing my laundry, washing pots and pans on the tennis court, fixing the transmission, etc. when a man walking a pair of dogs asked me if I lived in the van. "Are you a full-timer?" is how he phrased it. Now, since I've recently had The Law on my case and have been evicted/banned from the C&J Parking lot and am still trying to rectify the genocidal conduct of my colonial forefathers, I'm reluctant to talk about my living status with perfect strangers. I've got a lot on my mind! If you want to watch me and judge for yourself how I spend my days then that's up to you. I studied the man and shrugged in a vague way. "Well, it comes and it goes," I said which could mean anything.
Then the man said he lived in his school bus with his family and his dogs. Really? Yes. And I felt better about saying that lately I live in the van full time. I gave him a tour of the van and he admired the stove pipe running from the wood stove.
"My wife really wants a wood stove."
"It was an experiment to see if I could do it," I explained.
"Why did you run the flex pipe all the way back?"
"To get the most radiant heat from the metal and also to give it space to cool down before coming into contact with the fiberglass."
"That's like the Quakers, who have stove pipe run the length of the room."

I imagine that was before the phrase "Waste Not, Want Not" became a joke among Americans. Now, we want waffle irons from China and buy bulk potato chips.
So, Jeff is in town to repair the roof on the health food store in downtown Portsmouth. He's a pioneer in a time when there is no more West to explore. His family has a blog that is interesting. They aren't self righteous, like me, and seem to have more on their plate than concern for blood spilled in 1680. Ron Paul, the Texas Congressman running for President is a cause celebre of the unschool family for reasons you may read about on their site.
 So, I walked downtown since Ron Paul made a visit to Portsmouth the other day in his tour of the state to get his limited government platform some press time. Did anyone see him? I showed up 5 hours too late but saw Jeff and then walked to the bus where it was parked on Hanover and Maplewood in front of the last two remaining coin operated parking meters. Everything else in this town has gone futuristic with kiosks where you pay and then put a piece of paper on your dashboard. This reduces the number of money collection locations. So, I took some pictures of the Ron Paul 2012 a vote for Peace and Freedom message that is chalked on the side of the bus.
I had been there no fewer than a few seconds when the ever present, vulturous meter maid came shambling up with her dragging, plodding, merciless shuffle. She looked at the meter and I looked at the meter. Both expired, I suddenly noticed. I didn't think to record the whole exchange but it was amusing and went basically as follows:
Oggy: Top of the afternoon to ye!
Meter Maid: (unintelligible)
Oggy: I just now noticed that these meters are expired.
Maid: Yep! And I'm gonna write two tickets.
Oggy: Two tickets?!
Maid: Yes. One for each space they taking up. Too big to fit in one space.
Oggy: And here on this beautiful day? [Oggy waves hands at the air]
Maid: Type of day don't have a damn thing to do with this.
Oggy: I stand corrected. It doesn't matter that it's a school bus?
[The maid's tone at this point became unnecessarily blunt and unfriendly.]
Maid: Ain't no school bus! You busy taking pictures of the side, go look on the front!
Oggy: I do see yer point. Hold on. What's this? [Oggy fishes in his pocket and finds 14 cents.]
Maid: You tell me?
Oggy: Why don't I help these folks out?
Maid: Ain't your bus?
Oggy: Ah no. I live in a van down by the river. The one with the wood stove.
Maid: Lawd! Who you supposed to be? A comedian? Families living in busses. Men living in vans.
[Oggy slips a nickle into each of the meters. 3 minutes show on each. There is an uncomfortable pause.]
Oggy: Just a community activist.
Maid: Oh! You some kind of comedian!
Oggy: You know Ron Paul believes in self regulation. We're all rational self interested individuals. And this is in my...
Maid: I don't have no time for this! Pay the meter! That's all.
The Maid shuffles off ranting loudly as a teenage boy pokes his head out of the bus doors.
Boy: What's up?
Oggy: Well, I happened to be taking pictures of your fine living quarters when that lady walked up and was going to give you two tickets. Luckily for you I had broken my piggy bank earlier today and had two nickles in my purse.
Boy: Cool. I guess we forgot.
Oggy: I'll say. The meter maids in this town are like crack addicted stock brokers. They'll ticket a fart if they can find the windshield wiper.
Boy: Uh...
Oggy: Do you need some change? Or is it some kind of protest to not pay the meter?
Boy: We have change.
Oggy: I don't want to tell anyone what to do but a couple quarters here and there will save you some dough down the road.
Boy: Thanks.
Oggy: Good day!



So, feeling like a good samaritan I wandered around downtown and bought a slice of heart attack pizza with bacon and pepperoni. "Everything but the oink," as they say at Oscar Meyer. It came from Joe's NY pizza and it's not much different than the self serve pizza at the gas station on 33 across from Target where Darvid gets his paper. Except this has bacon reheated to a consistency of a dog's chew toy.
After that, my day became a hectic affair of raking leaves and I ended up burning the wood stove and the wind blew all the smoke across Route 33 and I thought, "Ah, Oggy, this can't last. Why don't you find a wide assed lady and settle down in a mobile home park in Epping? Raise some disappointing kids." And the wind whispered through the glow of the neon Target sign.
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.