Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wolf Quest Part V: Surviving

I recently watched the economic meltdown documentary Inside Job (2010)...and my initial reaction is of course horror and loathing hate for "Financial Engineers", but I can not come to the same conclusions as the filmmakers. The financial institution should not be regulated, in my opinion. Caveat Emptor is Latin for "BUYER BEWARE" and that should be on every dollar. The greatest irony that the filmmakers did not point out is that the Mississippi Public Employees Retirement system who lost their entire investment by betting on the bubble of Collaterized Debt Obligation...well, Mississippi is a Republican dominated state who voted for the king of deregulation Reagan and the bumbling Bush Twins. So, the diseased chickens came home to roost when the Republican led financial institution started to feed on their own. See, how can I have sympathy for someone who didn't recognize Reagan as an utter phony, voted for him, watched as he deregulated Wall Street, RE-ELECTED THE FASCIST SON OF A BITCH, then invested in all the super shady manufactured fantasies that Reagan and Bush constructed to enrich their friends? I can not have sympathy for someone who tried to increase their wealth through the most crooked means, on the advice of wealthy people they elected and re-elected, who then stabbed them in the back. CAVEAT EMPTOR, motherfuckers. Until people are starving in the street, clubbed to death by police batons while national guard eats apple pie in bleachers set up to allow easy viewing of the slaughter of civilians then there will be no change. Mississippi Public Employees want to get clever and invest in solar radiation growing magic mushrooms on Mars? Fuck them. They got what they deserve. The bottom line is: There are no 'healthy options' on a fast food menu.

These stock rating companies remind me of the referee in WWF. Many metaphors are thrown around in this documentary but the one they didn't bring up is the Used Car metaphor. You go to a used car lot, right, we've all done this. You walk around the lot and every single vehicle has a big sticker that says "GREAT CAR> EXCELLENT CONDITION> LOW PRICE" Right? Now, exactly how much do you trust that sticker? Do you think, "These sticker are telling the absolute truth. These are all great cars. I can buy any one of them and they will be perfect." Well, that's the rating system for these 'AAA' C.D.O conglomerates. They are pure fantabulism and the assholes over at Fitch & Fuck and those other cunts rating stocks were merely making money off of their bright yellow stickers on cars with blown head gaskets that said, "PERFECT CONDITION". See, it's not illegal to look at a car and say, "It looks like it's in great condition." As long as no one can prove that you inspected the engine and found that it had a blown head gasket then you can say, "I thought the engine was good. It looked good." Yes, these are the words of a complete cunt and Wall Street is full of them, but honestly, what do you expect if you go to a used car lot? They aren't lying, as much as they are saying that they are utterly ignorant of the vehicle but based on the good tire tread they are going to claim the vehicle motor is in perfect condition. It's deceptive, but it's based on ignorance...they have absolutely no knowledge of the engine because information is their enemy. They must not investigate anything about the vehicle because then they could be truly sued for deception. It's better to remain ignorant and say every vehicle is perfect...because it's sitting there and the engine starts. Apply this to stocks and you will have the scumbags at the ratings institutions. Dirty, mean people who understand that 'debt' is only 'wealth' when it's gigantic. If you owe a mob bookmaker $15,000, he'll break your legs. If you owe him $50,000 then he'll kill you. But if you owe him $500,000,000 then you are definitely safe. He can't kill you. He might kill your wife or son, but you are safe because you are 'worth' too much to kill. Your value is in the size of your debt. This mentality is at the heart of the crooked Financial Engineer. His whole objective is to owe so much money that he has to be kept alive, since otherwise he'd be killed like the offspring of a diseased zombie. People will give him jobs and opportunities because he owes so much money he needs help to earn it back. This happened repeatedly with the dirtbags who caused the collapse of 2008. Obama fell over himself giving them handjobs. All junkies have enablers and back in 2009 America became the codependent mother breast feeding an army of crack babies on Wall Street.

So, I feel that with nearly 400 million people in the United States, there is no excuse for being bullied by some rich men in suits with private jets. None at all. It's cowardly. An organized populace, which is a technical possibility but unlikely to ever happen, will control everything. Organization is the most important development for civilizations because there's no way an army or national guard or homicidal police will control 400 million organized citizens. That's the issue. Currently, there is no organization because we "trust" government regulators and most of us are drunk or stoned. Well, that's the problem since there is no government regulation without blatant conflict of interests where Financial Securities Commissioners bounce back and forth between oversight and application as stock traders.
I'm sure this will end well for the plaintiff

It's blatantly corrupt, yes, but it got this way through 'Democracy'. An idiot only gets elected by bigger idiots. We get the government and the economy we deserve. Mississippi is now crying in their Grits because they realize they got eaten alive by the people they thought were being corrupt on their behalf. Hahhaha. It really sucks when you try to rob a bank and your partners shoot you in the face so you take the blame. So I can't really sympathize with a country that repeatedly elected corrupt corporate scumbags, bumbling senile actors, illiterate oil babies, Arkansas white trash, slippery lawyers to lead. What else do you expect? These people are phony, they pretend to be your friend, and then stab you in the back. And they are smart enough to get away with murder. There have been candidates who are indeed dedicated to citizen-centered reform. But folks like Ralph Nader and Mike Gravel would achieve their means through aggressive regulation, and that will once more start the cycle of keeping citizens totally ignorant of financial matters. The mindset of "The government will protect me" will once again take root. That's the problem. Government is a major obstacle to grassroots organization so it should be abolished if only to hasten people's sense of empowerment. A paradox, but it's my conclusion. No elected government will ever be friendly to citizens and the 2008 financial meltdown is a good example. The meltdown was orchestrated by a handful of men who wanted to get rich, to buy property, to control power...and they had the people in office to help them because they had bought that allegiance with big counterfeit checks. And for their crime they got better jobs, kept all the money they stole, and are the sole reason you can't afford a house right now.

So, they manufactured money from thin air, bought property at high prices because that would help raise the over-all value of property beyond the reach of anyone who was not a crooked cunt. Ah, so they were the only ones who could afford property, and they bought more and more, (since their money had no value) and the property values kept going up until no one could afford a mortgage....UNLESS THE BANKS DRASTICALLY CHANGED THEIR APPROVAL PROCESS FOR LOANS...(even offering a broke asshole like Oggy a loan for a $650,000 house in Los Angeles through 'creative financing') and then the same crooked cunts who were buying property with fabricated currency found a way to make money off the bad loans by consolidating them into C.D.O abominations, a Harvard economist's wet dream...and they went even further by finding a way, legally, to bet against the same type of CDOs that they were selling out the front door and then betting against through the back door. Again, these are dirty, dirty people, college educated cunts, the worst of the Liberal scum, immoral to a high degree, selfish. If Wilfred Grenfell is a 10 on the scale of humanistic integrity, these financial engineers are a 1. I mean, Hannibal Lecter is a 2, and he ate people. Their worldview is so blighted I can't even begin to criticize it. I've met a few of them and they are disgusting, very slimy. They merely want property at any means possible, they want cocaine, prostitutes, jets, ice statues pissing champagne. They want these things for their own pleasure and satisfaction and if the world crumbles they will merely see this as an opportunity to make more money. And they manage to do it without understanding a thing about any trade or craft. It's some kind of personality disorder and based on the number of Ivy League colleges involved I have to conclude it's an acquired disorder that colleges teach. That was my suspicion even in 1985 when I really examined the ethics of college educated people. There was something totally 'off' about their world view though I couldn't define it then. I only had read some writing by Henry David Thoreau and I found him very authentic, very honest, holistic, humanistic, and the personalities of the people who were 'rich' I found to be totally devoid of everything I was attracted to in Thoreau. That's the only way I could define my conclusions in 1985; that these financial wizards were "UN-Thoreau" and not to be trusted nor emulated. Thoreau wasn't anti-progress, but he was very concerned with intentional progress, progress that has been thought out from beginning to end*. Thoreau was wise and the financial engineer is the opposite of wise. It's also true that some poor people are equally inauthentic, but it's been my experience that this is rare. Poverty may make you a criminal, but you'll at least be authentic. It's like the difference between Dwight Evans and Alex Rodriguez. They both played baseball, but I could tell immediately that A-Rod was 'off'. He was unlike Dewey in every way except they played baseball. It's a hard lesson to learn that there is corruption in the world, not all hearts are pure, but this seems to be a lesson people haven't learned yet because, I propose, we want to believe in the goodness of others. This is why scams always one wants to believe the worst about a we trust without any basis to trust...we trust on the hope that this person is not corrupt. But in the case of Mississippi  teacher's union, they actually were trusting these C.D.O investments specifically because they were knowingly corrupt, they hoped they were so corrupt that they could profit from them...and that's nothing to sympathize with. They got fucked because someone told them a horse was guaranteed to win because they had poisoned all the other horses, so they bet on the one horse, who turned out to be the only poisoned horse in the race. See? Fuck that kind of ethics. I hope those Public Employees have to turn tricks in the streets of Jackson until they die because they were betting on scumbag ethics and got burned and then sued the people who had scammed them by not coming through on the deal of their previous dirty scam. Too bad. Caveat Emptor. You buy a used car then you should know it is a piece of crap. It's not worth half of what is being asked. Nothing the salesman says is true. He looked at the tire tread and assumed the head gasket is perfect because of the tires. He's protected because he's an ignorant motherfucker and if you trust him then that makes you even more ignorant than him.

The solution is to deregulate completely, let people know that the dirtiest people in the world are in control of the stock's all totally corrupt and a fantasy. Trust it and invest at your own is not regulated by one will help's all a will likely lose every penny you invest...these brokers are heartless scumbags who snort cocaine off the assholes of teenage hookers every night and then get blowjobs while having manicures because they know you are so stupid that if you see clean fingernails then you will trust him. That's how stupid you are. They are actors, high on cocaine, feeding on your stupidity. When those conditions are clear then we will have true reform because no one will invest a penny with these monsters. Two quotes I liked from this movie were one that said if 97% of your 'profits' are based on fantasy then only a 3% fluctuation in the market will cause insolvency. This is what happened with Lehman Brothers who reported a $4.2 Billion profit in 2007, approximately 4 billion of which was fantasy based on housing derivative gambling. They posted a loss of $2.8 Billion in 2008 and immediately declared bankrupcy. But losing $2.8 Billion means they should have $1.4 Billion in reserve, but that's thinking like a commoner. That $1.4 Billion evaporated into Dick Fuld's pocket as bonuses and private jets and teenage hookers. There was no money left so the bill got picked up by Mississippi Public Employees . The other quote was by a guy who asked why a financial engineer is paid 100X more than a real engineer. "A real engineer builds bridges. A financial engineer builds fantasies."

What does this have to do with the Arctic Wolf? Well, this is important because 2009, the year I decided to dedicate my life to raising awareness about the Wolf, was the worst year to do such a thing since probably 1939...70 years earlier. So, in three generations, I had picked the exact worst year to follow my conscience and invest in the future of the Arctic Wolf. Timing, they say is everything, and I've been blessed in a way that all my major decisions seem to come exactly at the worst possible time. I went to Hollywood to be a writer during a writer's guild strike that caused the explosion of unscripted Reality programs. I went to Mexico during the Swine Flu epidemic. And I went to Hollywood to promote a book I wrote about the failure of the Boston Red Sox to win a world series and what that meant to my life...and after 86 years the Red Sox won the World Series within months of me finishing that book. And I tried to get to Ellesmere Island during the worst economic meltdown in 90 years. CO2 levels weren't on the back burner, no, they weren't even on the stove in 2009, not even in the kitchen. Since the 2006 Inconvenient Truth, public awareness about the Environment had plummeted, and the economic meltdown furthered that trend. This is my curse: good ideas, bad timing. America had been usurped by the lowest white collar criminal scum, who strutted like whores in an ass-parade before the world with impunity. They were rewarded for their deception, their power increased, their wealth ballooned, while elected 'special committee members' all pretended to howl at the moon and gnash their teeth but the insurance and stock leaders all laughed in their face...they were crooked, they had been caught, and they knew it made no difference. They had photos of all of Congress with their pants down in expensive penthouse whore houses...they had the dirt on all the people in power, they knew where all the bodies were buried, they had made these people money, they had kept them in office. 5 financial lobbyists for every 1 congressman in office. They had bought the government and they already knew the ordinary citizen was stupid and powerless and cowardly, so they didn't have to do anything except play dumb. 

Grown men said, "It was only our opinion" when asked how they rated these junk CDO packages as AAA+, as secure and safe as investing in nails or wood. Only an opinion, thus revealing their entire industry as a loathsome shill service. They didn't change anything. They are the elite rich and the failure of the economy, which they caused, actually is seen as job security and will lead to an increase in wealth, more property, more power. Someone who makes $120,000,000 a year really doesn't care if you eat or not. It's a cycle of insanity but because it's done with the parameters of Democracy then Americans have only themselves to blame. The alternatives exist but voters ignore them in favor of manicured nails.

Well, I had decided that the environment was gravely threatened and there is simply no alternative to environmental reform. See? If the house is burning then you must extinguish the fire. There is no rebuilding Earth. It doesn't matter if the family is a diseased and dying band of inbred Harvard Economic professors. No, all that matters is Environmental reform. This is definitely a radical position but I was not so radical that I decided to use the same 'wasted-earth' tactics of dictators and Financial Advisers had used before me. I felt that if reform is only possible by, [REDACTED], then humanity is already beyond hope. It's not in my nature to [REDACTED] or [REDACTED]. I find those things distasteful even if they have success. I want reform to come through intellectual means and I want it to be amusing, theatrical.

It's amusing that I write this because the series of problems I ran into would lead me through perhaps the least intellectual paths imaginable...ending up smoking some kind of freebase cocaine or heroin or some awful drug in a dirty basement in a ghost village, frozen, hungry, contemplating a job hauling roofing tiles. The wolf's plight was my own.

How did this happen? Well, I turned around from Quebec in late 2009 and hunted for refuge in New Hampshire, a state that has a motto "Live Free or Die" yet has state troopers and local police who do not believe that applies to men in vans. Every morning involved a humiliating strip search on the side of the road, a running of warrants, explanations of my intentions and my history, shirtless, dirty boxer shorts clinging to my ass crack, manicured hands grabbing my diseased driver's license, searching for drugs in my box of foot fetish porn. Really, lowly state of existence that was not helped at all when I explained exactly what I was doing, "I'm raising awareness about the Arctic Wolf, see the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are impacting the wolf's habitat on Ellesmere Island, so I'm going to...blah blah..."

This, I repeat, is a grave threat. Grave. The highest threat possible. So I felt it was my duty to not pretend that it didn't exist when I was being interrogated in a parking lot by the police. No, fuck that. I'm going to tell the truth to anyone I meet and if that makes me look like an asshole, me, who has done the homework on the research, who has connected the implications, who has examined NOAA findings, etc...I am going to be the one who looks like an asshole debating atmospheric changes in my underwear with corrupt cops illegally searching my vehicle? Yes, that's all true. Priorities are all upside down. Steal $140,000,000 from teacher's unions and you get rewarded with a job in the Federal Treasury, but if you shoplift some energy drinks or a box of cigars you will get executed in the street. I will always be baffled that a gay couple can try to buy a wedding cake and the bakers refuse on religious beliefs to make them a cake, but someone as loathsome as Lou Pai and Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson can conspire to and successfully defraud America of $20 Trillion but can buy all the wedding cakes they want. Hey, you conscientious bakers!...Jesus Christ himself would advise you to deny service to the names on this list for far more valid reasons than dick sucking. Pay special attention to Dick Fuld, who slithered away with $500,000,000, (Five Hundred Million Dollars) plundered Lehman Brothers, and can eat as many boutique cupcakes as he wants today because to deny service to him 'would be wrong', since, you know, he's at least heterosexual. Really fucked up ethics going on today. Part of my ongoing war with reality is my refusal to submit anything I write to legitimate magazines because they all advertise products people like Dick Fuld might purchase. The NY Times could ask me to write a weekly column and I would ask, 
"Does Dick Fuld read your paper?" 
"Then kiss my ass. I don't want anything to do with Fuld. I boycott him." 

That makes me an extremist and an asshole because I Live in a van and it's assumed I'm a criminal, while Fuld is ignored after he caused a $20 Trillion bailout. Ok. Makes sense. It depresses me that I will not live long enough for this corruption to be finally exposed but I estimate it will be about 150 years from now when it's determined Americans of the early 21st Century were in some kind of disassociation state of hysteria. No other explanation will make sense for how upside down our priorities are. We will be found guilty by reason of insanity. Just once I'd love to read a small article: 

"Dick Fuld Refused Service At Car Wash. Employee Sites Religious Beliefs. Boss Agrees. Fuld Washes Own Car In Street With Soaked Rags While Pedestrians Laugh. Car Immediately Towed For Illegal Parking." 

Just once.

And I looked insane, I admit, although comically quixotic, debating the local police on the fate of the Arctic Wolf while living in a van in a parking lot, shirtless, starving, sleeping at the library, failing to generate any support for the wolf. And the financial problem really started to gnaw at me because I did the math again (ironically, more math than all the Harvard educated economists did in 2007) and I realized I could never pay my credit card debt off, and I had no credit sufficient to fund a trip to Ellesmere Island, and I had no video camera to record the trip and I had to find shelter as every morning involved thawing out my toothpaste by holding it between my ass cheeks.

I thought central New Hampshire would be a change from the seacoast so I found a room in Laconia, innocently renting a room by the week in a creaky old carriage house. This sounds romantic but I soon realized I had moved into a boarding house for about 8 financially destitute and mentally ill New Englanders in the final stages of life. The Laconia Food Bank actually delivered directly to our house but I don't want you to get the impression that I was eating good. They delivered dented boxes of corn flakes, bruised apples, dented cans of Raviolos and ketchup and some stale bread but it was something to go with the 24oz malt liquor I began to drink. The other residents lived on SSI and unemployment checks but since I hadn't lived in New Hampshire long enough I didn't qualify for Unemployment nor for emergency assistance. The boarding house was, I learned, the last place many people live before they die alone. It was like a hospice house except there were no caregivers. People just died when they died. The group home was in the newspaper police log at least twice a week for either a death or a domestic dispute.
A Hub of Depression

I chose Laconia because of all the blighted towns in Central New Hampshire it is the only one with some evidence of manufacturing (and I don't mean wool socks) which is something I have some experience with. And this was true, there are medical supply manufacturers (assembling complicated tubing and dialysis equipment and inspecting scalpels) and some tech companies (aluminum products, semiconductor related equipment) but my lack of commitment was too evident and I quickly exhausted employment opportunities and assembled a series of useless business cards. I mean it took about 2 weeks before I was out of options and by then the snow had started and my van was ill-suited to travel to Concord, where there were some other options. The nearby snow skiing mountains were also no longer hiring as their season had begun. I actually like to snow ski but never had the $20 for a lift ticket or ski rental. But I had a few dollars for vintage arcade games at Funspot Arcade vintage game museum, where it was like going back in time to 1982...and I had a side project that involved trying to break the world record high score on Star Castle and Venture...and that's another story that doesn't involve the wolf.

The reason I went into great detail about the economic meltdown of 2008 is because my arrival into Laconia came when things looked their darkest because instead of reform, Obama's new administration was doubling down on the insanity and letting the wolves guard the butcher shop. Whatever a normal person with common sense would've done after all the disclosures of 2008 were revealed were exactly what was ignored by Obama. Anything that might've punished the crooked cunts for their deception, or gave power to the people, or pursued justice...all that was ignored and the Federal debt almost doubled with an 11 digit dollar bailout of the most crooked criminals in America, a gift for their evil. While the elite's wealth grew, the opportunities for wolf-sympathizers dramatically plummeted.
Wolf/Wealth Ratio Gap

This graph is only an estimate, but it's veracity is nearly equal to the ratings given by the corrupt cunts over at Standard & Poors or Moody's. Remember it's only my opinion so you ought not invest anything without researching it yourself.

This period of time was pretty bleak for old Oggy. If I was doing anything other than raising awareness for the wolf then it might've been different. Here I'll transcribe two conversations, one with the police and one with a resident at my group home to give you some idea of what was happening.

Police: Do you know why I pulled you over?
Oggy: To give me a good citizenship award?
Police: No, your reverse lights are on.
Oggy: Damn it. I thought I fixed that. See, I'm on this quest to raise awareness about the arctic wolf, their habitat is in danger....
Police: My concern right now, Mr. Bleacher, is your reverse lights. It's very alarming to see what looks like two headlights of an oncoming vehicle in your lane. That's what it looks like following you.
Oggy gets out of the vehicle and crawls in the mud underneath the van to wiggle the electrical junction of the neutral safety switch.
Oggy: Hey, hoss, could you check and see if they are on now?
Police: They are still on.
Oggy: I'll bet it's the transmission linkage.
Oggy wiggles the transmission linkage.
Oggy: Is it off now?
Police: Yes.
Oggy: So what's happening is when I put it into Drive, the linkage is slightly touching the contacts for reverse still, because it's ancient and the roller pin is ruined. Speaking of ruined, did you know that it takes 7 Kilograms of grain to raise 1 Kilogram of beef protein, but only half that to raise a Kilogram of pork protein?
Police: Have you been taking medication?
Oggy: No.
Police: Have you been drinking?
Oggy: Not today. I can't afford it.
Police: Where are you coming from?
Oggy: The arcade at Funspot. I'm trying to beat the world record for Venture. I'm about halfway there but the hall monsters get so fast and...
Police: Have you...
Oggy: I'm number 4 in the world in Venture scores. Number 4, that's confirmed. I'm the 4th best in the world. Me. Oggy.
Police: Where are you going?
Oggy: I live at the group home downtown. We're all going to Ellesmere Island in the Spring to save the wolf.
Police: Why don't you go ahead and sit down here while I check your license.
Oggy: No problem. Are you aware the Saudi Arabians has been using oil profits to buy African cropland because they actually have no food in the Middle East, and this is going to lead to a land war...and the arctic wolf is imperiled?

Now I'll give you a conversation with some guys at the group home as we're playing gin rummy and drinking malt liquor in the community room where there is a fireplace with a small fire dying. Imagine the worst 1965 decor, a partly decorated Christmas tree. Askew picture frames with no pictures. Three men at a folding table.

Dave: That's Rummy. No, wait. Not yet.
Steve: Don't you get a penalty for saying that? Oggy, doesn't he get a penalty?
Oggy: My fucking van hasn't started in a month. I got bleeding hemorrhoids, jerking off to old videos of me and my ex-girlfriend fucking. Does that sound like a life?
Dave: NOW I got rummy.
Oggy: I'm constipated ALL THE TIME!
Steve: Anyone got a quarter for another beer run?
Oggy: Steve, you weasel, I should run a steak knife through your neck. Just for something to do. If I... [Spills drink on his lap] OH MOTHERFUCKING CUNT!
Steve: Watch yourself, you dirty drunk. Someone put another fire on the wood, I mean, wood on the fire. Would anyone mind if I threw the Christmas tree in the fireplace? We can always get another one.
Dave: The tree is fake, genius. Can't burn plastic.
Steve: Hahahahaha. Dave, you the man. Told that cunt off.
Oggy: I was trying to get to the wolf. You know the fucking wolf? The arctic wolf? He's up there, waiting.
Dave: Why don't you dry that beer up, Oggy?
Steve: Looks like you pissed your pants. You old drunk. Hey, Oggy.
Oggy: The wolf...
Steve: Oggy, you look like a big bag of shit right now.
Dave: You two love birds stop flirting and get on to sucking some cock, if that's what you want. But get me some more beer before you do.
Dave: (quietly) That old cunt. God, I wish she would just die. She has to be 100 years old, milking social security for every penny. Bitches like her are killing this country.
Oggy: Do you think I could cut a hole in the ice in the river and get in and wait there frozen until Spring and then start my life again, like a frog?
Steve: Sure, Oggy, hibernate like a frog. You're the stupidest drunk I've ever seen. Here, have the last beer, try not to spill this one.
Oggy: Croplands have all been lost due to deforestation and cattle raising. You guys know how much cow it takes to raise a grain? Ehhh, Uhhhh. [drools on face]
Dave: No one cares about you and your wolf. Now shut up, you wino, and go get papa another fine malt liquor beverage. And cut the cards.
Sirens and lights appear outside the window...Oggy stands up and begins to take a piss on the fire in the fireplace as the police walk in the room. Although it is February, the officers pass a one-eyed two foot tall singing Christmas tree on a bench by the door. Because the tree is activated by a motion detector, it begins to bawl an annoyingly goofy version of Jingle Bells as they draw their weapons. The tree 'dances' too.
Oggy: Occifer, I want to report an environmental crime involving the SOON TO BE EXTINCT ARCTIC WOLF!
Oggy is wrestled to the floor, his genitals crushed into the rough wood floor. The larger fake Christmas tree tumbles to the ground and ornaments break.
Someone from Upstairs: I TOLD YOU TO SHUT UP!

It went on and on like this for months, a cross between Shawshank Redemption and Requiem for a Dream. But it actually got worse because I was doing half-assed renovations on the group home to pay my rent and when those opportunities ran out I managed to beg and plead for a job at an aluminum factory. This place turned out to be the lowest and worst of all work environments. When I watch movies that are trying to create the effect of a horrible work environment I always laugh because they do not resemble the awful place I was sent to every day. Even movies about the holocaust work camps do not really resemble my work place in spirit and ambiance because at least the Jewish prisoners had each other. I had no one. This place was worse than prison. There were no alliances, no cliques. It was dog eat dog. This place was a cross between a steel refinery and a vast Chinese slave camp but all the jobs had been shipped overseas so there was only a ghost staff wandering the empty building. The factory was so isolated that even the radio did not come in clearly so we were all forced to listen to the classic rock station with static-filled versions of the same 6 songs by Boston and The Eagles until I was entering a trance state of hypnosis and misery induced depression. My job was so far removed from wolf preservation that I'm embarrassed to talk about it. It involved industrial sized aluminum heat sinks for cell phone towers.

But as much as I want to say this whole extended episode was not related to the Wolf Quest, I maintain that it was actually still part of the quest. I had chosen this path in a time when only the strong survived and wolf quests were not considered an option, so by surviving by hook or crook and keeping the wolf quest alive, by not surrendering or diving into an ice fishing hole, I was demonstrating an important feature of resilience. No allies rose up, only more obstacles. But the quest remained.

I was fired from the aluminum factory job after an argument with an old bitter woman. The argument wasn't about the wolf and I don't really want to get into details, but as I've said, I was very close to trying to walk to Labrador in the middle of winter than staying in that hell hole, and to have that harping cunt nagging me about the amount of heat-activated epoxy I was using on the aluminum fins was too much. I fully understand how someone can snap and [Redacted]. To be bullied by a sour-faced old hag whose whole life had been spent smoking cigarettes in a Central New Hampshire aluminum factory was beyond my tolerance level so I confronted her and all hell broke loose. This was a very low point and the fact the Star Castle thrust button was stuck and I could not break the Venture world record score irked me further. I lost the job, ended up panhandling and fixing plumbing at the group home for rent. I even drove drunk, which, considering my van is my house, is something I never do, so I think it was a cry for help. Someone stole all my hot dogs from the refrigerator. I was eating only food bank bread and generic peanut butter. During a snow storm I trudged on foot for miles to apply for a job at a used car lot cleaning snow off the windshields and there was a line of like 10 people there waiting to apply for the same job, all of us middle aged men with debts no honest man can pay, greying beards, weepy eyes, malnourishment oozing from our faces. My teaching experience in California had no bearing on my qualifications in New Hampshire. There was a broken piano at the group home that taunted me but since I had no sheet music I couldn't play anyway. Every day was spent drinking malt liquor and playing gin rummy with Dave and Steve, bemoaning our job prospects. Dave was on disability for his knees after a career as a concrete sidewalk tradesman. Steve wanted to be a country musician and appropriately his girlfriend cheated on him (by fucking her Ex-husband) so he normally stayed in his room and watched Eddie and The Cruisers (1983) over and over. An old man in Room 5 fell into the empty bathtub and died. A man In Room 9 with advanced diabetes, who had to wrap the lesions on his swollen legs, lost his job as a birthday clown and wasted away in his room. Two Christian zealots in #3 and #2, also recovering meth addicts, would hover by our Gin Rummy games and mock us and quote the bible. But we were forbidden to drink in our rooms so there was no escape. Steve said after the clown took a shit in the bathroom no one could enter it for hours. A kid on mental disability relief (SSI) moved into the room across from mine and would talk to himself all night long so loudly I could hear the demons in his head shuffling tarot cards. All the plumbing was fucked so anything I fixed caused two additional problems. For exercise, I would walk on the railroad tracks and then go take a nap at the library.

You would think that I only had to survive the winter before I could resume the quest but I actually had another Spring, summer, fall, winter and spring to survive before the quest could resume. Whatever could go wrong went wrong so, like many Americans, I did what was necessary to survive in difficult circumstances. I remember the bitter irony of the publication of a book of stories I had been featured in. The book was supposed to be published in 2004 when I was trying to find work in Los Angeles, and it finally got published in 2009 and I had to buy 10 copies myself so I didn't even make money. I lost money on the deal. I still have those copies in some basement corner where they are rotting in mildew. 

All the plot points in this period of time when something would happen like, "FINALLY, I FOUND RELIEF BECAUSE A MIRACLE HAPPENED," didn't happen. Nothing like that happened. It was one problem after another. One obstacle after another. No relief. No breaks. No miracles. No aid. I flirted with the librarian once and she recoiled in horror so I could never return to the library. Steve and Dave and I collected pennies to buy a lottery ticket each week. We never won. If I bought 6 eggs at the store then 5 would break before I got home and someone would steal that one egg before I ate it. It was simply survival in the midst of a widespread economic depression and if eating half a package of Ramen noodles a day was the way to survive then that's what I did. I guarded my bread and peanut butter, went to the food bank for extra food, ate only enough to keep my stomach from grumbling, one egg, one slice of bread with peanut butter a day. Maybe half a banana. I shoveled snow for sandwiches, did some carpentry with nothing by a hand saw and a broken hammer and I'm a horrible carpenter in any circumstance. One can revisit the blog posts I made during this time and they are consistent with my comedic writing approach, but don't really capture the desperation of this time. Maybe there are some people who could be dropped down in a snow-bound wasteland village with no money in the middle of a financial meltdown and no job opportunities who would magically manifest success, but I'm not one of those people.

Eventually, Spring arrived and a room became available on the Seacoast. This was a family room and it might surprise people to know my entire family was in this area. A policeman once asked me if I had any family in the area I could stay with instead of the bus parking lot surrounded by piles of snow...and I told him my whole family was in the area but the van was my only option. And he said that if my van was my only option then I didn't have any family in the area. Not by a long shot. He had a point, but in the spring of 2010 I was given a chance to live rent-free on the seacoast...and this was the first time since 2008 that I could apply myself to planning the wolf quest. I fled Laconia and started working in construction and manufacturing on the Seacoast. These jobs were the lowest of the low, day labor, exploitative, dangerous, low pay, but I've always like the people I meet in these jobs, people with unrealistic dreams, dropouts, weightlifters, aspiring Ninjas. The worst part of corporate/professional jobs are the personalities of the people who work there. So boring and phony. Eat, work, fuck. Produce, consume. Jesus! Across the board I have been repulsed by phony professional people. Even professors in college all seem aloof and elite. The worlds of professionals and day laborers are so different that there are only three or four other examples I can think of when an educated person became immersed in the day labor atmosphere and they all reach the same conclusion that the criminalization of poverty is enabled by the ignorance these economic classes have for one another. The difference between these writers and me is that they can tolerate literary agents long enough to get published while I continue to be repulsed by literary agents, their phony letter head, their pompous resumes. I'm honestly repulsed by that kind of marketing of literature and literary agents, in general, are loathsome people with crooked ethics. But they are the gatekeepers to the publishing world (also filled with loathsome professionals) so it's a real problem that is outside the scope of the wolf quest. For now I am content writing and publishing on my own terms. I accept that the quality of the product is my ultimate priority, not publishing it, and if publishing it affects the quality of the content then I can not pursue that path.

My van requires constant maintenance. Even while writing this simple chapter I have had to perform hours of maintenance on the van, and this is routine. But in 2010 I had to do extensive maintenance. Again, all these plans went sour. I replaced the tires but the idiots at the tire shop did such a bad job on the alignment that the new tires were ruined...and the rear wheel bearings seized...causing a leak of differential fluid on the brakes...the starter relay failed, the starter failed, the batteries failed. I was working at a shoe and hockey equipment distribution warehouse picking orders for 10 hours a day, boxing ice skates and Hockey masks in big crates for shipment to Canada. This job was horrible, involving urine tests and strip searches before and after our was at this time that Deepwater Horizon offshore oil platform exploded causing one of the worst oil spills in history, something that I assure you we have not seen the last of, something that will impact everyone at some point, but which also inspired me to maintain the the job paid slightly above minimum wage and although it was impossible to listen to music and drive these electric carts around a huge warehouse at least no old hag bullied me with advice about taping and shrink wrapping pallets of boxes. I quit that job when they asked me to start working nights. At this point I believe all I had done financially is work my way out of debt, but I still had no actual money in savings. I was almost content with that and would've left for Ellesmere Island except my plan for living in the van in the winter included some renovations to the van such as insulation and a heat source. I briefly had some interaction with a guy writing a solar farm installation manual but that ended when I started working at a microchip cable harness manufacturing factory. That paid substantially more than minimum wage and we worked overtime, 12 hours daily crimping pins and making fiber optic cable harnesses, awful work, mind-numbing, but I could listen to headphones and so I worked through the fall, milking every penny out of that job, while resisting the urge to steal tons of useful electro-mechanical accessories that the van needed. I strongly suspected we'd all be fired at the worst time possible so I decided to quit in the late fall to devote myself completely to equipping the van for travel to the north, including the installation of a wood stove. This was the right idea but I started too late and the work I needed to do on the van was complicated and I'm slightly indecisive when it comes to renovations so I delayed my departure until it actually was snowing sometime in December. I think I left during the first big snow storm of the winter, confirming my curse for timing. But the van had a wood burning stove, insulation, some upgraded accessories. I had money and I should note that the entire time I was also thinking about going to Guatemala, driving to Guatemala...and I had enough money to get started on that trip, but I resisted because I had my true destination and my mantra: The wolf....

Because in addition to my upgrades to the van I had conceived of an original concept for my quest. Yes, I decided that I needed a 'hook' instead of simply talking about the wolf and the climate. I decided I would present myself as having been sent back from the future...around 2060, when the wolf is extinct...and that the wolf was scientifically determined to hold the secret to climate stability. This is a blatant rip off of Star Trek IV (1986) and also 12 Monkeys  (1995) but I didn't mind because I created a new twist. I was going to present myself as a time traveler who needed to find the wolf to learn the secret so I could return to the future and save humanity. I developed this further in my own mind by deciding I was actually not the "official time traveler' but I am actually a janitor at the huge location of the time machine (which really does exist in the 2060 narrative) and at the last second before the mission launch, I clubbed the 'real' time traveler, got into his suit, bluffed my way past the other people and was sent back in time. See? I don't actually know the 'real' purpose of this mission, since I was never briefed or trained, but I expect it was to alert humanity about the catastrophic implications of environmental destruction, but I don't really care because I'm selfishly trying to see the wolf, who doesn't really have anything to do with future climate apocalypse, because the wolf is truly extinct in the future and I've only read about them in books and fallen in love with them and I want to see one before I die and all my stores about being from the future looking for the wolf because it will save humanity is actually a lie; I'm from the future but looking for the wolf for my own selfish reasons. This would also explain my seeming ineptitude, since I'm really an uneducated janitor. I (me, current sane Oggy) decided that this would be more poignant than simply having a real 'officially sponsored time travel trip' to rescue the wolf...because it had more humanity that this simple janitor was willing to go back in time and leave everything, NOT to save humanity, but merely to see a wolf with his own eyes, and possibly condemn humanity to extinction at the same time by sabotaging the mission. See? It was complicated and metaphysical and caused me to question my sanity a few times, but I saw the whole story as adding richness and authenticity to the Quest. It also confirmed me as a lunatic to anyone I spoke about it to because I would say, "My name is Oggy Bleacher. I'm from the future. I've been sent here to find the Arctic Wolf." But I had to say it as though I were really a janitor who was from the future and is now lying. I also want to point out that the movie Borat (2006) was influential because it was also a 'quest' movie. Borat was on a quest to meet Pamela Anderson, whom he eventually tries to kidnap. But his fish out of water persona resonated with me as a way to force down normal barriers by playing a person out of touch with the prevailing culture. What better way to be out of touch than by being from the future? So it was a combination of Borat meets 12 Monkeys. I didn't speak with any weird accent, but I said I was from the future.

The Canadian Border Police were especially not impressed with this explanation, they initially offered me 2 weeks to travel to Ellesmere Island. I said I needed 2 years. They immediately revoked their offer and told me I could not come in for even 2 hours and they didn't care if I had been sent back in time or if I was a reincarnation of H.G. Wells. 

"Maybe you can go back in time and try to explain yourself better," they laughed.

Neither I nor any of my lunatic brethren could come into Canada as the wolf was better off without me. I begged to differ and pleaded the case of the wolf until they prepared to arrest me and confiscate the van. I'd be deported to a mental hospital. So I fled North, looking for another border crossing where I could try it all over again, and during that trip through Northern Maine I ended up trying to drive up a remote hill in search of a place to camp for the night...and the slope got more and more steep, and finally my wheels were spinning in the dark and I could not go further. I hit the brakes...and then noticed all the trees were moving forward. The whole forest was moving and I was not stoned or on LSD or any of that. What the hell....then I realized the forest was not moving, but I was sliding backwards, with the full brakes engaged, the wheels were not spinning, they were simply sliding backwards on the slick snow I had just packed down, and it was pitch black night, no lights except my headlights and I looked in my rearview mirror and I could see nothing except red tinted snow from my brake lights. I couldn't see the road or even the tracks I had made but I knew that on both sides of the road was a steep sharp shoulder that was not possible to navigate. And I was gaining speed going backwards and had to act fast. Well, Oggy's survival instinct took over and I boldly threw the transmission into reverse because that put the reverse lights on so I had some idea where the road was and since the brakes were doing no good and I navigated that steep narrow snowy hill in the dark going backwards with about 5 inches of room to spare on either side of me...until I came to the bottom of the hill and safely turned around. It was a classic close call and I felt that in light of this adventure I could not realistically drive to Nova Scotia, let alone I wandered through December in Northern Maine which makes Laconia seem like a thriving metropolis. There are videos of this time period somewhere on this blog, because now I'm remembering that a cousin had donated an old miniDV video camera to my cause...and I was editing wolf promotion videos in libraries and in truck stop bathrooms. Yes, I had to replace that video camera when it ultimately broke, but I did have a video camera in late 2010 and early 2011. The plan was to have a cameraman video the entire trip as I interviewed people and spread Wolf Consciousness, but I ended up being the cameraman and I mostly have footage of me fixing the van.

One winter in Laconia was enough for old Oggy so I finally parked the van and hitchhiked to St. Louis where a friend had bought a house and wanted some help fine-tuning it. So, you see how quickly 'a few months' turns into a year and a half. I left the van to be covered by snow and I spent the winter working on that house in St. Louis, where the Arctic Wolf was even less of a priority. I considered driving to St. Louis and simply continuing south but I talked myself into trying one more time for Ellesmere Island, in the name of the wolf.

I'll start the next chapter in the Spring of 2011 when I hitchhiked back to the van to really try to get to Labrador. For now, picture me on my hands and knees assembling an 80,000 piece ceramic tile mosaic floor, muttering about the wolf.

* 300-600 tons of radioactive water are being pumped/leaking into the Pacific Ocean every day. To me, this is worst case scenario and we're all going to get cancer and there nothing to be done. Thoreau would've avoided this problem. 

Here are links to the installments of the Wolf Quest


Anonymous said...

Alright Alright Alright! That's what I'm talking about. must be something in the air down there. Nicely done. Life constantly knocks you down just to build Oggy back up. Dickgumshoe

Oggy Bleacher said...

See, Dick. That's all u gotta do. stroke my ego a little and I won't delete your go get your fucking shine box.

Anonymous said...

It was your reward for great writing. I'll continue to keep you on your toes don't worry. The blog needs some shaking from time to time. In the end it just keeps you sharp. Sincerely Billy Batts

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