Saturday, December 31, 2016

Modern Times

My wrists are broken and my armpits stink like an Egyptian Slave's butt crack. My neck creaks with arthritic decay. My back muscles feel like so many weather worn rubber banks cracking in the sun. But I have some things to say so I will suffer and tap each letter with my nose or my flaccid penis and eventually all the letters will create an essay. This is my curse: when I have something to say then I am broken by the heartless world and too physically deformed to type, and when I am healthy and peaceful then I have nothing to say but putrid political vomit. 

I have an essay to type about Jim, the disabled Coast Guard veteran who lives in a van in the Walmart parking lot near me. His grandmother was a Blackfoot Indian squaw purchased in a gambling saloon by a fire and brimstone preacher who was Jim's grandfather. But Jim and his crippled knees are a different essay although he makes an appearance in this one. I also have an essay to write about my longing to be married to the recently passed Debbie Reynolds circa 1953 and to dance with her on the beach as Nat King Cole serenades us, but that is not only redundant, but also hopeless fantasy. I may as well go to Las Vegas and scour the escort service websites for a Debbie Reynolds look-alike and then have her dress up in '50s era clothing or a Singing Nun's habit and fuck her on a vinyl, paisley couch but it would only fill me with shame and self-loathing. Goodbye, Debbie. You were an actress but, damn, you played the part of the talented, lovable, buoyant sprite perfectly, the woman that men shamelessly desired even if it was only an act. 25 years of chasing your modern day equivalent has proved futile. You were one of a kind. George Michael also died recently and I want to reminisce about 1984 and WHAM! and Junior High School woes but there is no time today. And Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynold's daughter died a day before her mother and this is prophetic because Fisher's on-screen persona, Princess Leia, was recently manufactured circa 1977 by computer generated animation...and if anything will kill you it's the realization that you have been cloned. I want to write an essay about Star Wars phenomenon, not so much a review of the recent movie, but a study of the SW phenomenon in general. But that will have to wait for another day.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Coronado

Not much is written about Coronado, the Conquistador who went insane and thought there were 7 cities of Gold in the deserts north of what would become Mexico around the year 1540 and so Coronado hunted for two years with 5000 sheep and 100+ equally crazy men in the hinterlands of the deserted South-west north America looking for gold. Gold exists, but not cities of gold. Mostly he found humble Indians living in cliffs, so naturally he killed everything in his path.

Well, this is his memorial...
Winter is chasing Senor Oggy as far south as the International Border where drones oversee the slave camps building the Great Wall of Trump's Ego.

There is a limestone cave here but I forgot my flashlight so this is as far as I could go.

kind of rare to have a random Conquistador on a billboard next to a van named El Conquistador

I don't cast quite the same shadow as Coronado but we all do our best.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Coal

When Santa bring you coal, instead of an alligator jacket, then dump it in the stove and burn it. Oggy got an extra ration of coal for heat. They closed the walmart as i was going to get some ice cream. "Go home. We're closed." I smiled ruefully and walked back in a downpour to the empty van. Started a fire and played some mandolin. let the ghosts of christmas past knock on my window rather than a sheriff.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Dreaming of the tropics

This is as good as it gets today. people laugh and say "You live in a van down by the river."
Har har har.
I say, dead serious, "I'd kill for a river."

can you guess the meat?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Notes while watching Hannity

Loathsome. A Mouth of shit. Fox is vile beyond repair. Hopelessly bereft of humility, poisonous. foul. Opiod induced constipation. Diabetic nerve damage. Selling blood glucose strips on black market. Repugnant. No cure for this level of evil. No hope.
one of the sleaziest propagandist alive

Fox News sounds like this, "Americansarebeingliedtobydeludedcronydemocratswhostealtheirchildrenandrapetheirdaughterswhileinvestinghugesums-inoverseasdrugoperationsandthecountryisgettingreadyforcollegefootballplayoffsandwon'thatbefuntoeatbbqribsonacolddayinmichigan-
whiletheratsinobama'swashingtonstealandstealfromhardworkingchristianswhohavehadabootontheirnecksince2008-andappleannouncedanewiphonewithmorememoryandwehaveanalystlynnchutotelluswhattechtoystobuyyourkidsthischristmas,Lynn?

.

It's blatant emotional and psychological manipulation of the grossest kind. Bread and Circus. Bleed them with absurd slander and boogeyman theories and then placate them with products and games and cleavage. So disgusting and irresponsible. It's actually a great example of the failure of free speech. As long as emotional and psychological manipulation with genocide rhetoric is considered appropriate programming for a restaurant then we are all fucked. Democracy can only operate when everyone is informed and everyone is sober and everyone votes. So, America strikes out on all three of those points. No one is informed. Politicians dodge every tangible fact or speak in speculative vague language. Most people are not sober. And more eligible voters neglected to vote than those who actually voted this last election. If these eligible-but-deferring voters had voted for Donald Duck for president then we would have a talking animated cartoon as commander. So, we do not have a democracy and Fox News is partly responsible for spewing filth 24 hours a day and making people think there is no point in participating in a foul game. There is simply no point in contributing to a country that ignores the criminal abuse that Fox shovels down their throat all day. It's a nation of maggots feeding of rotting flesh and there is no point in spraying deodorizer. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

In-oggy-vation

shower
Maybe you are wondering how I wash my ass crack in the Walmart parking lot. Well, sometimes I go into the bathrooms and use paper towels, but that's unsatisfying. When I am on the beach I simply hose myself off because it's a thousand degrees and the water is cooler than the air temp. But in the high, cool, winter desert water temp stays around 40 degrees unless it is in the sun. Thus...my radiant solar heat roof top shower solution with a length of hose so I spin the pouch over the edge and the hose reaches to the ground where I...
low tech sponge and bucket method...lame.
...have a privacy screen made from my Viva Mexico curtains...If I waste no time, I can usually take a shower and be dried and dressed when the police or security show up to escort me off the property.

I had plans to run a 20ft length of clear hose in loops on the roof but there is a problem with that because the water must run from high to low. If there are any low spots then gravity will not push it all out since there is no reservoir on top...or I'll need to open an air valve at the end of the hose...it will only run to the low spot and the hose will run dry. I haven't really tried it because I don't want to attach junk to my roof but I forsee some engineering problems. It has to be thought out first. Maybe a sloped rail that the hose attaches to from high to low with a reservoir. I don't know. I will give $5 Oggy Bucks to anyone who can solve this engineering problem .The roof is fiberglass and I'm trying to keep a minimum number of holes in it to avoid leaks. Clear hose lets water heat fast on sunny days but it can also freeze at night. I think the portable radiant shower pouch is the simplest solution because it can be moved inside during the night when the water will freeze. Otherwise the water in the hose will expand and crack the hose and render the whole thing useless. But in the Tropics a shower solution is not really needed because any water in any reservoir will suffice to get me clean. In the high desert in winter I need the water to be exposed to sunlight for a few hours before I can shower and then it will be hot.

It's all very scientific but I can shower with a gallon of water or less depending on if I've let my hair get out of control.

The other solution is to visit a community aquatic park or rec center with a gym and a shower area. The one I visited in Cedar City had a hot tub...so after a invigorating exercise routine I sat with the retired community in the Arthritis Springs.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dear cops, please leave me alone

Please god, let me be able to drive ten miles without being pulled over to the side of a deserted highway and getting pistol whipped and strip searched for no reason.. Incredible. Bullshit. I'm simply driving at my normal 55mph and this hot shot shiny state trooper jumps on my ass, and this of course causes every vehicle in front of me to slow down to 50mph after driving way over the speed limit to pass me. Well, shit, now we're driving at 50mph and I got this cop car behind me and I can't pass or speed up. Obviously he wants to search me for weed that I should be smuggling from Colorado to pay for the ticket he's going to give me. So, what is the point of passing anyone? The two vehicles in front of me are following each other but about 10 feet. I'm about 30 feet behind the last vehicle. Finally, Shinyman turns his shiny fucking lights on and I pull over. Fine, at least let's get the beat down over with, the suspense was killing me.

"I pulled you over for two reasons, "says Mr. hotshot state uniform man. "One, you were following the vehicles in front of you too closely."
Sure, they were obviously following each other about half as close as I was following them, but he pulls me over. What-fucking-ever.
"The second reason is your windshield is obstructed by those items hanging off it."
 "My rosary?" It's about the gauge of dental floss.
Mr. Shiny Badge nods his head. "Yes, sir."
"But it was blessed by Pope Francis."
"It is still a violation. Only an air freshener can hang from that mirror..."

Blah blah blah, step out of the vehicle, where are you headed, blah blah...looking for work. etc. etc. go ahead and put your hands behind your back so I can make sure you aren't carrying weapons. 

My fucking lord. I really look forward to the day I stop driving on U.S. highways. So tired of getting police in my face putting their hands on me. You know how hard it is to keep track of the multiple fake driver's licenses I had to make for my trip through Central America? And I have about 4 different versions of my registration and had to keep a straight face while I searched for one that was authentic.

I almost prefer the Mexican version where we swear at each other until I pay him enough money for him to let me leave. Damn, I was almost feeling patriotic and Mr. Shiny Service Revolver had to go and ruin it with his gestapo attitude. A fucking rosary on my rear view mirror>??? Following the car in front of me too closely???? Anyone with eyes could tell they were far close than I was. Such cowardly bullshit. So fucking sick of it. I didn't even look at the piece of paper he gave me. Maybe it was a court summons, maybe not. Makes no difference in this forsaken land of laws and shiny badges running around with sticks up their ass. Fucking state is as flat as a table top and not one person rides a bicycle.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

God Bless America

I went to a thrift store because I was still reeling from being forced to surrender my Alligator Jacket in Las Vegas. The Thrift Store funds a senior center next door and I heard someone playing piano so I went in to listen. It was guy playing some cool Roaring '20s tunes. Man it was good. Then I noticed that he had a sheet of braille in front of him to remind him of song titles. The guy is blind. Well, he asked for request that included the word "Angel" in the title or lyrics. This guy was doing requests from memory of any song that had the word Angel in it. What? So I requested "Earth Angel" from the '50s and he played it in two octaves. Man. Then I asked for Angel Eyes but he did not know that one so he's more of a showtime and pop tune pianist because Angel Eyes is pure '40s lounge jazz. I asked him if I could play a song from my fake book and he said, "Sure, after the pledge and announcements."

The other senior centers I've been to are long term care facilities but this was a true meals for seniors dining area that was open for lunch only. So, the veterans and retired farmers of Western Arizona come for community and socializing. There were a few announcements about the meal times and someone announced that he was going to visit family for Christmas so he would not be there and everyone wished him safe travels. Then, the host held onto a big American flag and everyone said the standard pledge of allegiance. I even joined in because I was drawn into the solemn honesty of the moment, a room of 70-80 year old men and women  with VA hats saying the pledge of allegiance. I swear if I had recorded it then the video would go viral in this hollow, shallow nation, but I did not get a video because I was saying the pledge of allegiance. But it wasn't over. The blind pianist, Bob, sat back down at the piano and everyone launched into Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" and I sang that one with the crowd too. No mention was made of presidents or of politics. It was non-partisan and I feel that the generation born in 1930 is the last who do not get a video of every fart and song and grinning mockery of themselves to post on the internet. I was proud of that crowd, they did their best with what they were given. These were the independent elderly, not ready to go to a long term care facility but also not able to cook for themselves. One man wearing a WWII veteran cap told me his wife had died 4 years earlier and he'd been coming here to eat lunch since then.
Bob sat down to eat, which involves feeling for his food and then putting it in his mouth and I sat down and played some rough, out of practice, Broadway songs. My Funny Valentine seemed completely out of place but Let it Snow seemed ok. The experience got me thinking about the people I met on this journey and how I should only write about people and experiences rather than punditry of ideas. My ideas should be explored through people, not the other way around. So I dedicate this to some of the people I met, the highlights.

Can Food - This morning I awoke in a Walmart Parking lot and all the parking lot entrances were taken up by people with signs asking for help. Hey, the Salvation Army can ring their bell and this is also the season for giving to homeless people. I bought two biscuit sandwiches and asked if he wanted one. He said, "I'll take anything."

At a truck stop in Utah I watched some basketball with a truck driver who had been in the well service industry until gas prices plunged. He said the hot dogs at Burger King were 'actually, pretty good.' and he thought about buying one and then decided there was no point and went to his truck. A woman in the same dining room was sitting with a bible. Her husband is a truck driver and she was waiting for him because his heater had problems and also his transmission needed service in Las Vegas. So she was waiting patiently for her husband.

A Trump supporter was playing a guitar outside the library in Cedar City. We got to talking about The Beatles and agreed Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band was their peak of originality. He was worried that Veterans were being treated worse than illegal immigrants and that job opportunities were being taken by foreigners. "Trump speaks for me." he said.

Shared a campsite in Canyonlands in Eastern Utah with a photographer from Illinois. We both thought the price of $20 for a patch of dirt was too high so we split it. We shared some premium Colorado weed and marveled at the Milky Way on a night that was so clear and moonless that we could see about 50 commercial planes to the south traveling in and out of Las Vegas. It was an epic night of shooting stars, cold, freezing, but epic universal vistas. I said, "Maybe this is the weed talking, but I love weed." I also spent ten minutes hunting for my gloves which were in my pocket. He was horrified Trump was elected, horrified a lying reality show celebrity had fooled voters into thinking he was qualified to be president without even a PTA chairman position under his belt. We commiserated and tried to rationalize the insanity, while enjoying the scenery and purity of the Canyonlands. He went to Monument Valley and I went to Capitol Reef.

First night in Moab was the supermoon, which I had planned to experience in one of the National Parks. A group of youths from all over the western united states and even Holland were in the hostel and had the same idea so they let me ride with them to The Arches. They were all about 22 years old and I felt like I was from another world. One was a young woman who is a youth intervention specialist who takes amok teenagers into the forest for two weeks to get their heads straight. She'd just returned from Guatemala so we had some things to talk about. A young man was a park ranger/biologist with a plate in his arm and a plate in his knee after skiing and bouldering accidents. He gave me all the advice on where to go in Canyonlands. One guy saving up money to buy land in Nicaragua had recently returned from Gates of The Arctic national park. We'd both gone to University of Fairbanks, Alaska. He asked me when I was there and I said, '1989' and he said, "Shit, I was born in 1992." The woman from Holland was touring The World for a year...and had been in Tahiti a mere two weeks earlier. A couple had driven from Baltimore to see Moab and The Arches. It was odd being around that many people who easily could be children of people I went to school with. Their vocabulary, nonchalance and high energy and diversity were nothing like how hipsters are portrayed. They all were obsessed with any light pollution so we hiked in The Arches with no flashlights or only red, night vision, lighting. They dried their own meat jerky and had dried fruit as snacks, talked about rappelling and climbing casually. Maybe Moab adventure climbers do not represent the generation born in 1992 but I was impressed. They were not slackers. No, they were not industrial welders or tradesmen or veterans, but they were not slackers and they were not going to idly stand by while the environment is destroyed. These kids were far beyond recycling all their wine bottles. They had bicycles hanging off their trucks, one guy was running a marathon across every National Park, another guy was bicycling to Patagonia. Some had kayaks, rock climbing gear, snowboards, skis, everything. It's easy to have a low opinion of hipsters but that's because most people don't visit Moab and see the elite of the Hipster generation. Best of luck to them.

I hung out with some Walmart campers in Cortez, Colorado. One guy said, "I'm a Mormon, but I don't know what that means." I told him I thought it meant he believed Joseph Smith was a prophet. He shrugged and smoked some weed from a small pipe. He'd been working on his truck and I told him that I had tools but after a day he'd finished the brake job. He'd had rear axle seals fail and that soiled the brake shoes with differential fluid so everything had to be replaced. This was a familiar job to me. He had a little dog with him, well behaved, never barked. He asked if I had a stove in my van because he'd seen billows of smoke coming out the chimney. I told him that I'd tried to start the charcoal fire with only paper and regualr charcoal, no lighter fluid and it had turned into a horrible disaster with clouds of thick white smoke pouring from the chimney and the stove top into the van...and wafting across the Walmart Parking lot, causing alarm from anyone watching. So I poured water on the smoldering charcoal and that made everything worse. So I had to reach into the stove and pull out the smoldering, wet charcoal and throw it into the bushes so it would stop smoking. This whole incident took place in 28 degree weather before I went to Moab. I had the windows open, smoke pouring from the windows and me holding my breath to reach into the stove. It was one of the worst stove experiences I had and all because I got too confident with the charcoal and tried to get it going without lighter fluid. I told him I now only use a base of "instant light" charcoal and then when those are glowing and ashed over I add more regular, cheaper charcoal and the red coals will quickly get the new ones burning. And no smoke is needed. It was a learning experience. The man nodded and smoked some more weed. His companion called out sarcastically from a car where he was sitting that, "Sure, the climate ain't getting hotter. No, we got chem-trails in the sky and crops dying on the vine and the only place that ain't an inferno is around 6000 ft up a mountain. But let's keep burning those fossil fuels." I wasn't sure what he was referring to, but I answered, nonsensically, "Yeah, and let's prostitute all our teenage girls out for the jollies of some San Bernadino pornographers, while we're at it." He quickly drove away and I shamefully walked back to my van. I know it's easy to be proud that you don't shop at Walmart but I caution this kind of insulation because it was Walmart shoppers who fell for Trump's Walmart slogan "Make America Great Again." If you don't sleep in a Walmart parking lot and shop there once in a while they you are truly out of touch with modern America. You might as well move to Labrador.

I camped next to some hunters in New Mexico. They drove way out to a national forest parkland and set up camp with two generators blasting Lynyrd Skynyrd music until 10Pm. I didn't talk to them, preferring to give them their space. They had a good time. The Sheriff actually visited me the next day, to check up on the campground, ask if there were any problems. He said there were only three sheriffs in the area. I'd found a live .330 gauge shell on the ground and was going to make some jewelry out of it but decided to throw it into the woods. I left that detail out of our conversation. What the hell do you do when you find live ammunition. I feel like I'd get arrested if I walked into a police station to have it disposed of. but I can't throw it away or leave it on a park bench. Man, I just buried it and hoped it would vanish.

I was at the library and a man's phone rang. He was hard of hearing and put it on speaker so everyone nearby could hear it. It was a collection call from an agency. He hung up on them and said to me, "They'll spend $1000 to collect $100. Makes no sense." I told him I knew all about it but they will eventually stop.

There were a few more and I'll add them later but those are the ones that stand out. That's America.




Song Medley of Broken Hearts


Got inspired to sing a few songs that I've been rehearsing.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Vegas Images

I could not avoid Las Vegas on my grand tour of the south west. The only other option is through Page and the Lake Powell/Glen Canyon Dam and through the north rim of the Grand Canyon, which I have no interest visiting in December and freezing some more, or else south over the Boulder Dam/Hoover Dam. I have had a charcoal fire in the van every night for a month and let there be no illusions about the danger of setting things on fire inside a vehicle. The combustion chamber of the engine is one thing and microbursts of electricity igniting a tiny bit of gasoline and air is dangerous but it does not compare to nightly, with numb fingers and frozen clouds of Oggy breath filling the stove with charcoal and a little paper and sometimes a military issue fire starter or even a squirt of white gasoline and then striking a match or a lighter to lovingly bring the warmth back to Oggy's toes while nervously watching the chimney for leaks and then leaping up to grab a shirt that I had laid on the chimney to dry and realizing it is polyester and has melted to the flex stainless steel! Man, and to coax the flames to red hot heat and then refill the charcoal or run outside in the sub freezing temps and gather wood...etc...etc..police encounters, angry neighbors, fathers at parks calling me a pedophile. Fuck. It's survival but if I could avoid it without a visit to a slum motel then I would. So, I drove south and found myself back in Vegas, Jesus, what a foul city. 

I arrived early on a Sunday and decided to take a walk around the town, which only homeless people do...

Friday, December 2, 2016

Vistas





one day I'll get a fancy camera with panorama assist.

The month long tour is over. I did the best I could on a tight budget from the financial fumes left over from Central America. I did not intend to tour Southern Utah immediately after returning from Mexico but I saw my opportunity while the temp agencies sat on their asses and smoked cigarettes so I seized it. I would recommend touring slightly earlier, skipping Thanksgiving crowds and avoiding the 9 degree storms that had me curled up with my broken ego and some heated stones for company and warmth. 4th graders are given a free pass to national parks for them and their family and that saves an $80 entrance fee annual pass but the campgrounds are an example of how the national parks simply do not pay for themselves because a patch of dirt and a pit toilet costs $20 a night. And that still does not cover the cost to build a solar array in Bryce Canyon or free shuttle services or road maintenance, but at least it covers the cost of the dirt site and pit toilet and some water. The park system is very costly but does not get enough federal funds to stay afloat with the professional biologists and researchers. Most of the staff is actually volunteers, which tells you everything about how much money they have to throw around to staff. There is not enough money to pay workers so they overcharge for the campgrounds and $30 entrance fees at most of the popular ones. An annual pass is $80 and older folks get a lifetime pass for $10 and the campgrounds are half price. This is probably a gift because they figure you lived a life paying ridiculous prices for campgrounds and now they give you a discount.

Naturally

This is our world.
Savage and Mossberg...ah...makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.