Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Set Sail

The Evensong, reentering St. Anthony Harbour.
I have been pondering the universe quite a bit lately because there were three hard days of rain and my rule is to never drive in the rain. And when it is sunny I like to hike or read. So that doesn't leave much time to drive. That's what I'll tell the border police when I get there.

Anyway, I've been reading Annals of the Former World by John Mcphee and it has helped me gain some perspective. You see, the earth is 4.5 billion years old. Now, to put that in perspective I tried to develop a ration I could comprehend. I'll leave it to you to check my math.

There are 250 million seconds in the lifespan of an 80 year old person.
So, in the eyes of the earth an 80 year span is 1/16th of a second.

To put it another way, in the eyes of the earth, one second equals 1280 years.

Or another way, expecting the earth to care about what happens during Post Ice Age mankind is like expecting a person born in 731 A.D. (and is alive today) to remember a single time they blinked their eye.

It's not easy to grasp. Mcphee puts it this way, "IF you stretch your arms out on both sides of you and called that distance TIME, the whole of human history would exist at the last 1/4 of an inch of one fingernail.

So, are we to be nihilists and throw up our hands to the whim of the monkey within us? Or are we to be pragmatists and survive as best we can? OR are we to be capitalists and see others as a resource to make our lives more secure?

I was going to say that I want to "put my tools down, to lock the garage, to wash up" in the sense that these questions have worn on me for 20 years like the sea wears down 200 million old limestone. I want to think I am the sea and the questions are being worn down but it is the other way around. My tools (my brain) needs to be replaced because it can not break the question itself. It is my nature to get to the bottom of things. It irks be that one exhaust gasket failed while the other one was fine. Does that mean the plugs were firing less completely on one side? Or is the extra bend in the exhaust change the draw effect? Or is there another hidden cause within the cylinders? I want to get to the bottom of this, "To sand down the rough edges of the world," as my brother once accused me...and he was right. I want to put these tools down and move on to the book I have imagined myself writing about the calamity in Santa Cruz. But the language I've developed to write that book, the process of developing that language, is hard to stop. The experiment is complete, the language is mine alone, but I can't put the tools down and close up the shop. The larches are turning gold in the Humber valley. Maybe that will be my answer to come in from the waves.


I'm sitting there making a leather string guard for the inside of my guitar bag (using the leather of my now defunct boots*) because the string ends keep snagging and tearing the Chinese-made nylon, and this red wolf walks right in front of my van where it is parked way out near Roddickton, near a place where Sir Grenfell had started a vegetable garden to supplement the hospital food (he did everything!). And I fumble with the camera so bad that these are the best pictures I got of it. The lighting was horrible and if I used the flash it made everything too dark because the animal was too far away and if I didn't use the flash then the shutter speed was too slow and it was blurry. If it had been an arctic wolf I'd be so happy.
Roddickton calls itself the Moose Capital of the World and I only saw the remains of a moose way back in the woods.

*I want to say that when I learned $12 million a day is being wasted in Iraq while I reuse the leather from my shoes and recycle cans other people throw on the street and wear 30 year old pants and drive a 42 year old van I feel I have zero (0) obligation to the United States government anymore. We aren't on the same page. Obama, please lose my number.

Exhaust Gaskets

Yeah, they look easy to replace but nothing is easy to replace on a 40 year old beast like my van.

This is what you look like after 6 hours under the van with the radial axle 1mm from your nose and the ball joints jutting into your crotch as you knock teeth out of your face with falling wrenches because the nuts are solidly rusted to the studs so the stud itself turns instead of the nut. Yeah, there are nut crackers and hammer drills and all kinds of things like jacks and jack stands to make this job easier but I like to lay on my back with jagged gravel as big as baseballs puncturing my spine while I chew on my graying ponytail and use three extensions on my 3/8 breaker bar while using the car jack bar as an extension so it hammers my ribs when the nut slips. After working for 3 hours to get two nuts off I found out that the pipe would not move back far enough to fit the new gasket on unless I took off the pipe from the other side of the manifold also. Fair enough, unlike some people, I don't like to deal with one problem at a time when every manual in the world says to replace both gaskets at once, like both brake pads, or both ball joints, or both rusted leaf spring shackles. So, it's back under the van on the driver's side to get those other nuts off.
Then you can write in your maintenance book, "Replaced both exhaust gaskets Sept 3, 2011." Hell, I even put some anti-seize juice on the stud threads so the next Hippy won't have so much trouble.

This is what you look like after you have washed up and are ready to tackle the 5 primary scale patterns on the guitar, which are beginning to make sense to Oggy after 3 years. You learn them and then you forget them but the fingers must know the way around because the trick isn't learning the sound of every single fret on every string. No. The trick is knowing the sound you are making with one note and knowing the sound you WILL GET when you move your fingers in a certain interval above or below or diagonally from that note. Then you are going to smoke like that wood stove which is now in constant use since the weather has turned fit for moose stew...

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.