Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tasty Piano



This tune is in a Django songbook I have so I tracked down some other recordings of it. Sam Cooke sang a ridiculous version. Nat King Cole recorded it too. Especially with super nasty guitar licks. But Errol Garner blew this away. The octave melody. I think I could listen to 100 different arrangements of this song and not get tired. Mean to Me by Dean Martin is another tune to get you started on infinite recordings. Jazz is common literature performed by the many.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Renovator


The urge to read my own writing ebbs and flows. Lately, I'm a working man so I only have an urge to read a John D. Macdonald story and go to sleep. It's 6 or sometimes 7 day weeks, 10 hours a day, baked beans or chicken pot pies for dinner, wine to wash it down then crash until 5am. No more Costa Rican beaches. No more morning visits to the Nicaraguan beach. I'm desperately trying to save money after my MRI knee debacle. I don't know much about bathroom renovations and I know even less about renovating 100 year old bathrooms, but what I know I learned in the last two weeks because circumstances left me in charge of the entire project. I don't mind being the contractor but I do have a problem balancing my OCD with a time schedule that requires everything be in the ground before the concrete truck arrives.
Tamping dirt for dollars
ADA means Americans with Disabilities Act and that's something many fortunate folks don't have to concern themselves with but a public renovation is very much defined by this act. I'm in favor of this but I also think back to 1933 and the Civilian Conservation Corp who did most of the work in parks, including dry stacking the boulder footing for this bathroom I am working in. The CCC was a work relief program started by FDR in 1933. FDR was disabled by polio and spent his whole presidency in a wheelchair. I reflect on these two details every time I'm at a National Park with CCC provenance. Putting a ramp instead of steps, when dealing with a blank slate, isn't much different. But removing historic steps and replacing them with a wheelchair ramp is a tall order. I often wonder why the original CCC folks were not instructed to design and build lodges and headquarters that would be accessible by the President who created the work relief program that was responsible for their jobs designing and building lodges. This small decision back in 1933 to start with a blank slate and build with the bipedal in mind instead of the wheelchair operating President has led to almost 30 years of renovations with him in mind. These renovations include this specific bathroom that was not remotely accessible to wheelchairs for 90 years and will soon be. Before you applaud my efforts I should point out that the landing that the bathroom is on is barely accessible to wheelchairs. The monument itself is accessible to vehicles but the trails are all too steep, even the paved trails. So, we have a kind of odd paradox that creates an ADA compliant bathroom in a place where no wheelchairs can access. This meant removing one toilet because we needed the room for the larger space of the wheelchair. So instead of 3 urinals and 2 toilets and 2 sinks the bathroom will have 1 toilet and 2 urinals and 1 sink. Everything will be accessible to wheelchairs, if the wheelchair can find a way to the bathroom through the visitor center.

I've been distracted lately, plodding through work like a zombie. I came dangerously close to 100 amps of 220v, actually spent one of my nine lives cutting through live wire that did not beep on my current finder. The Sawzall blade melted but I was unfazed. There were other details but my mind was on the Decay of Man, the multitude of moral failings in my life, the petty trespasses I've committed, the paltry paychecks that I receive. There's never a time when the future should be ignored, everything adds up, especially stone walls. They don't go away until someone demolishes or renovates them and that's a man's work, build, renovate, rebuild, demolish, take the shit to the dump, flush it away where no one can see it. We get a much-needed job from a man in a wheelchair. "Build the country a Park!" and instantly we neglect to make that park accessible to the man who gave us the job. Was it the stress of the depression that dissolved our forsight? Ok. I'll buy that. But what is our excuse today? We have food. The whole country of China is enslaved to feed our technology addiction. Shouldn't that calm us and let us sleep easy, free us to make sound choices with clear minds? no. We're more distracted than starving CCC workers in 1934 digging trenches for foundations upon which a building will be built that only someone who never was afflicted by polio can enter.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Plowing



A year ago around this time I was wandering southern Utah, wishing I could get a job in a national park and be a ranger, romanticizing the life I would live getting paid to commune with nature. Well, the reality is ten hours plowing snow through a deserted Douglas Fir forest. It's hard work and doesn't pay much and it's cold and the same Bob Dylan songs play on the radio.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Philosopher Blues



This came to me last night in a flash and an artist can not question instinct. It's his muse awakening. If it pleases the masses or not is another topic entirely.

The song is in the key of C, but for some reason I was motivated to start the verse on the IV (F) chord. It's not a minor blues, but the structure smells like blues to me and the lyrics appear to be the philosopher who lives inside my brain amusing himself once more. So, it's the Philosopher Blues. If Van Morrison wanted to record this song and put it on his next album I would have no problem with that. None. That's fine with me. Just spell my name right, Van. Oggy Bleacher. Written by Oggy Bleacher. That would solve a lot of problems.


Sperm Think God
Is A Man

Sperm Think God
Is A Man

Sperm Think God
Is A Man

And the Devil
and the Devil
is his right hand.


We look to our right
but that's somebody's left

We look to our right
but that's somebody's left

We look to our right
but that's somebody's left

We look so many times
so many times
that we don't see the mess


These quilted times
are our tapestry

These quilted times
are our tapestry

These quilted times
are our tapestry

And my Schiz-o-phre-ni-a
is a catastrophe


We lives our lives
in a state of denial

We lives our lives
in a state of denial

We lives our lives
in a state of denial

No we don't, no we don't, no we don't.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

What Lead Tells Us About The Modern World

Pb is the symbol for Lead on the periodic table because Plumbing pipes in Rome originally used lead. I can't confirm the accuracy of that statement or most of this essay so don't quote me on it.

I also learned that Kentucky coal miners were stricken by a coal dust disease that caused their throats to turn bluish-purple and that is where the term "blue collar worker' comes from.

I learned these trivial, possibly false, details in a class on lead abatement and containment. I am a certified lead renovator now because my life has not been hazardous enough. I want to delve into poison such as asbestos and lead and toxic waste. The class was taught by an experienced general contractor who had the temperament of a scientist but was raised in a farmhouse with no electricity and became a home builder/renovator. The slow wheels of science finally turned to the point that lead was banned from paint back in 1978...but there was no great rush to address how to contain lead in surfaces panted prior to 1978 simply because all city streets and alleyways, front and rear lawns, sidewalks, parks are contaminated hopelessly with lead residual from the days of leaded gasoline. Standard Oil tried to up-sell vehicles with the promotional advantage of not producing horse shit that stunk on hot days. They knew lead was pure poison but attempted many different variations to remove the lead and failed. All the additive substitutions stunk worse than horse shit, so they kept the lead and poisoned all future generations of Americans. But Rockefeller turned a nifty profit so not everyone lost out!

These tidbits of info are not verified or fact-checked. They may be lies. I will use them only to make a point about due diligence because I think it's amusing.

Let us accept that Standard Oil knowingly violated all the rules of the scientific method and ignored the precautionary principle and The National Lead Company (leading manufacturer of lead-based paint) also knowingly poisoned everyone and then adopted the name of Dutch Boy Paints in an attempt to distance themselves from their villainous past...thus demonstrating fundamental disregard of due diligence.

Due Diligence is something I think too few are aware of. I like to think of it as a process of doing anything in such a way as all the steps can be repeated. Basically, it's the way you would do something if you knew you were going to be sued at the end of the job. Your due diligence would prove your methods and document your efforts so accurately that it would be possible to recreate all the steps. If you erred then your error would be documented along with the reasons for your error and your justification for ignoring the error. Think of it as a global "Show Your Work" reminder like the ones on your 8th grade homework assignment. Your work is your due diligence. The answer is incidental because if your work is correct then your answer will be correct. If your work is wrong then your answer can be ignored since your work is the part that caused the wrong answer. Due Diligence is where the work takes place.

Well, due diligence appears to be a result of lawsuits and I'd like to promote it as an end in itself. You should not need to be sued to embrace due diligence but that seems to be the tradition.

Case in point: lead paint removal and renovation. As a newly certified lead paint renovator I now have an casual understanding of what is required to responsibly and legally renovate dwellings with lead based paint. This involves due diligence, ie. demonstrating and documenting my methods as outlined by the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development and OSHA. I won't go into the details about those methods but I will say that they bear no resemblance to what took place in the labs at national Lead Company and Standard Oil. These companies worked in relative secrecy and it was only the extreme health problems that their employees experienced that caused any changes at all. One of the changes ended up being the Dept. of Labor creating a branch called the Occupational Safety and Health Admin. Lead was a paint additive since 4 B.C. and it still is in some paint. Lead paint was banned in the U.S. but only in household paint. It's still in all kinds of imported products such as Chinawear, Crockpots, Toilets, sinks, Tile, toys, tractors, motorcycles...etc. It's also in any soil near a street. Well, after 2000 years of irresponsible usage it now falls on this generation to expunge lead paint from households and I got a glimpse of what this means.

It basically means containing dust and cleaning the job site, ensuring all the paint is scrapped onto a surface that can be controlled, not onto a hardwood floor with cracks that will capture the lead. I think of the hours this will cost humanity, the lifetimes spent meticulously removing lead paint from surfaces. But it doesn't stop there. Because a renovator removing lead paint from surfaces is probably working on someone else's house they are encouraged to document every step of the process. The first step in removing lead paint is actually informing the client that their home is contaminated and that the process is quite involved to remove the lead paint. The house or work area is then contained and the paint is peeled off in whatever manner is most tedious, whilst documenting the process with photos and client signatures. Again, each step needs to be documented so it can be recreated when you get sued after the client dies of lead poisoning. If you can't demonstrate Due Diligence, then the fact the client died due to unrelated landscaping in the backyard that stirred up lead dust, will be irrelevant. Your renovation, the lawyer will insist, caused the death. No, it was not 2000 years of irresponsible manufacturing, generations of greedy cock-sucking corporate fiends who depleted the Earth to amass huge fortunes in order to buy political favors whilst poisoning the land they rent to wage slaves. No, no, that part is irrelevant and besides, they did no Due Diligence so no one has any idea how lead got in our paint or soil. It was Oggy's 2 week project removing window trim from a house built in 1952. THAT was what caused the untimely lead poisoning of the client. SURE!

It vexes me greatly that this is what it comes to; a blatant engineering blunder that is passed along from one corporation to another until finally the lowest wage earner in the equation is required to DO SOMETHING RESPONSIBLE AND DOCUMENT IT. Is Standard Oil or the Rockefeller Estate or Dutch Boy paint handing out $9000 grants to assist in the removal of paint from some 300 million homes? I ask you? Who will cover the colossal cost of this $2,700,000,000,000 fuck up? The same people who are covering the cost of incarcerating all the developmentally delayed lead poisoned inner city collateral damage victims. Yes, you will pay with dollars and Oggy will spend a lifetime picking apart the mistakes of corporate past. It's worthwhile, right? It's a worthwhile job, dissecting lead poisoned paint. Yes it is.

I shake my head, actually shake my head back and forth like I'm being filmed and the director is shouting "OK, Oggy, shake your head back and forth in deep regret and disappointment!!" That is how I shake my head because of the series of events that led me to today. 

Lead on painted can simply be bagged and thrown away with all the other poisonous trash we toss in a pit that will eventually leech into rivers and oceans. There is no other way to dispose of it since the brilliant chemists at Dow spend all their time trying to poison humanity rather than how to turn lead into harmless elf farts.

Jesus, what a total disaster. Generations of humanity poisoned for brighter colored fences and faster horseless vehicles. So contemptible, so disgusting.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Old Stories



I was rewatching the original recording of this song and decided I could do better now that I'm sober so I'll see how I feel about this take. I was inspired by some Press Room artists who sang average original tunes and I decided to write a tribute to the places I remember growing up with and the nostalgia was unavoidable. I sing this song from time to time for a small audience and wonder what they must think about these places that very few people even remember because they don't exist anymore.

Sometimes I take a moment to tell some details and the detail I like to share is, possibly fake, of Brad throwing a nerf football to me in the dinnerware aisle of JJ Newberry and I missed it and it bounced into a shelf of gaudy crystal globes, knocking them to the ground where they splintered, causing Brad and me to flee out the back door near the pet store section. I'm not sure it really happened.

Another memory is of the now neglected Jerry Lewis Theater in Portsmouth. I didn't see Star Wars there, because I saw that in Boston, but I watched Empire Strikes Back at the Jerry Lewis in '81 or '82. Later, a friend got a job as a ticket taker and I told him to let me in the back door to see Top Gun and I waited there patiently and out popped the manager like a skeleton on a spring. I panicked and said, "I'm waiting for Dan!" and then ran away into the forest. Dan lost that job but did alright in the end.

I'll annotate this song further at the risk of taking some mystery away, J.J. Newberry's had a lunch counter and a pet store where my buddy Christos bought a dog he named after the light hitting Red Sox shortstop Spike Owen, and a toy section where I stole baseball cards and picked up a nerf football and passed to to Brad. He passed it back but overthrew me and it flew into a display of that cheap leaded crystal cracker vases those kinds of stores had. Before the sound of breaking glass even reached the front desk Brad had fled out the backdoor with me in hot pursuit. Laverdier Drug Store was where we stole some gum, Brad got caught because he had velcro cargo pant pockets. I got the gum out of my pocket before they caught me but the event was a red flag in our childhood. They had an arcade at the drug store too. It's a fish restaurant last I checked. Pic 'n' Pay was the name of a grocery store that sponsored a little league team that wore red uniforms. The store is now named Hannafords and it's basically the same. The Little Store was actually called "The Little Store" and it was 2 blocks from my house and sold snacks and bread and had a deli that was probably not licensed by food health department but offered good sandwiches to the winner of the weekly arcade game contest. Venture and Galaga and Pac Man and even Dragon's Lair made their way through that store in the golden era of console video games. Twinkies did cost twenty five cents. It's now a private residence with a cool front porch that was the portal to sugar and games for an entire neighborhood for about 3 years. The 'penny candy' reference is to Strawberry Banke root beer sticks and hard candy that was offered in wood baskets for a penny. Especially the soft cherry balls and multi-colored candy drops and licorice and bit-o-honey. It was across the street from our football field at Prescott Park (which still exists unchanged), so we always could get twenty cents worth of candy on the way home. The hot dog reference is to Gillies hot dog stand between the old J.J. Newberry and the parking garage, which has expanded from the old trolley car unit to almost a modern restaurant. The number of experiences I had at Gillies could fill a book. 'Houses made of logs' refers to the age of the houses, since there are no original log cabins in Portsmouth anymore. But there are graveyards 'old as time', dating back to pre-revolution colonial era. The chorus involves J.J. Newberry a general merchandise store, Peddlers was the local, now gone bicycle shop, Dollifs was the coin and baseball card collectible shop with a quirky, before-its-time blind auction on items like confederate money and old pennies. Sessions was the record store where I bought my first LP album: Billy Joel's Glass Houses. Sometimes I throw in "Daddy's Junky Music" which was an instrument store that closed up after the internet gouged prices beyond what could compete with. Gallaghers was the place I went to have my baseball glove relaced with leather and to buy a BB gun. It was general sporting goods like soccer balls and boxing gloves. The Mall in Newington put them all out of business but the internet got the last laugh.

These places have a personal history but, like the song says, nothing stays the same.  What strikes me about this song now that I've been playing it for several years is that there is a metaphor and longing that I intended for the places, but the final verse is a tribute to my buddy Brad who is also gone and I wonder sometimes if all these places aren't symbolic of him. I think my plan is to sing it as a tribute to the places and if the message is taken as a tribute to Brad then so be it.

The crackling you hear in the background is the old woodstove back in action after a long hot summer. Why did I leave the Costa Rican beach for this climate that is either an inferno or a deep freezer? some guy named Alan Jackson recorded a similar tune. Everyone's got a story.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tough Day



The damn pack rats (bush tailed wood rat) are endemic and I should've murdered this one but it was so pitiful. The rat built its nest inside the wall and all summer long went back and forth through this little entrance. Well, it's been eating too damn much because one day it got completely stuck trying to make the  90 degree bend after the entrance. It couldn't go up and it couldn't go back. I saw this tail wagging from inside the wall and thought one of my coworkers was setting a trap on me. No, it was a living rat stuck half inside its mizzen entrance. Man, what a mess. It had been there for hours if not days, shitting and pissing on the floor. I was hoping it was already dead but when I grabbed its legs with some trash tongs it squirmed and hissed like a horror movie. But it was trapped.

I had the choice to cut it in half with a sawzall or a hoe but I was afraid half of it would rot inside the wall. So I pried the wall off and set the stupid animal free. It was mortally wounded and gets a nomination for the Darwin Awards, but I showed it mercy. Let nature take its course. It hobbled behind an outdoor storage shelf and I hope it returns the favor to some other hapless mammal. I buttoned up the mizzen entrance, probably entombing a dozen rats who will rot over the winter, but at least this animal needs to learn a lesson and chew the entrance a little wider before winter.



Monday, October 2, 2017

Shocking

Insert bolt in a vise
Push then pull hard on the shock until...


the Oil seal comes out.
This is for a 1981 Yamaha sr185 Exciter motorcycle shock. Yamaha made a slide hammer for this procedure but the vise method works good too. Of course, remove the circlip first and drain the old fork oil out because when the oil seal finally comes out it will pour everything onto the floor.. and use a piece of wood or the old oil seal to seat the new seal instead of something like a wrench which can mar the shock and cause one of the low tolerance sleeves to catch on any burrs. Add 6.3 oz 10w fork oil. etc. etc.  reinstall.
I love how everything is easy to work on with the exciter. They made an owner friendly vehicle. If I can find the part then I can do the work. It's the only bike a person would need for a city or town.


Update 9/18: The left side oil seal lasted only 1 year. It started leaking badly so I had no choice but replace it. I did take the fork off once and measured the oil and thought maybe it was overfull because there was around 7+oz but putting in exactly 6.2oz did not change the leaking. The original oil seals (which I saved because I'm a hoarder) were not actually leaking when I replaced them but the removal process had damaged them so I had to buy another oil seal. I found an OEM fork seal. I'm also a year older and the damage has been done to more than just the oil seal so the push and pull method was jarring my arthritic spine and causes too much pain so I pondered how else I could do this and decided to try a chain+come along/chain binder that we have in the shop. It's hard to describe and I didn't get a picture of it. I don't recommend this method but the slide hammer fork tool Yamaha describes is not something most people have, so you clamp the retaining bolt head in a vise, then put the front axle bolt in the fork, then wrap a chain around the axle bolt and use a chain binder affixed to some unmovable source (in my case it was the steel frame of the building) then bind the chain and torque it together. The worst case scenario would have the steel frame fall apart...the second worst scenario would bend the axle bolt...and the third worst scenario would have so much tension build up on the fork part that either the bolt threads strip out or the bolt slips away from the vise projecting it into your knee or else the two parts spring apart and hit you with violence and pain and spraying fork oil everywhere. In my case, the best case scenario happened, the two parts gradually separated and did not spring apart but simply slipped so that I could catch them. Then I took great care in pressing in the new seal with an old seal as a drift and a rubber mallet and curved wrench as another drift. This works to avoid marring any surface and I hammer in a circle until the new seal was below the channel for the Cir-clip. I hope this will solve the leaking and it's not some awful problem with the fork surface itself that prevents the seal from working. The surface does not look worn but one never knows.)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Captain America


What's not to love?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Gold Dreams

Desperate Times

It angers me that 50 hours a week working for the federal government means I have to pan for gold in order to make money for groceries. One of the most painful lessons in this world is that working hard and doing a good job means absolutely jack shit in the quality of life department. It probably means you're being exploited to shit and will be disposed of. The trick is to do absolutely nothing and fool everyone into thinking that you are worth money. Facebook employees spring to mind as their ridiculous salaries inflate property values beyond what a plumber or carpenter can ever afford in Palo Alto. You know, because social media is WAY more important than plumbing and buildings that don't collapse. Our priorities are fucked like Jesus.

A simple operation


So, I staked a claim and got to work. I'm flat broke and staring down the barrel of a knee operation that will either put me in debt or force me to move to Morocco.

Anyone know where I can sell gold?
How long does it take to pan a few flakes of gold? A long time. Hours and hours. It's worth about $8 and my knees are worse than ever.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Craft Day

suede hatchet cover
This kind of craft project is simple. Find a suede jacket in the storage unit/trailer park where you work fishing shit from the nasty swimming pool. Take the suede jacket from the dumpster after you are told to throw everything out of a rent-delinquent storage unit. Save that jacket until you need a cover for your recently sharpened axe. Then cut the pocket from the jacket and put on a snap so the axe head fits in the pocket and snaps closed. The hatchet took a little finesse but I came to my senses before I used shearling fur. I wanted to use Alligator leather so my hatchet cover could eat better than Honduran orphans but I didn't have enough.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Waning Crescent Sun



 
The smoke from multiple forest fires made the eclipse slightly odd to look at. But the sun is so bright that it's clearly visible through the glasses.
Unusual event.
 


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Compromises


File this photo under the category: If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them
I figure how bad can the federal government be if they hire the Man in The Van? And How bad can The Man in The Van be if he gets hired by the Federal Government?

The size of the gvt. is a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because it's too big for any given administration to change and it's a curse because it's too big for any given administration to change. At this point the government is not only too big to fail, it's too big to reform. It's too big to do anything to except either work for them or pay them taxes.

The Federal Government has its hands in every aspect of the 'free American life'. Every aspect. Every pie has a few fingers in it. There is no realm too private for the Government to get involved with. It bears no resemblance to the framework of the revolution of 1776.

Democracy, I decided, is a muzzle that owners put on otherwise good citizens to keep them slaves. Democracy is a "Comments Box" in the DMV that no one ever opens. That's not a pretty definition but it's where my observations lead me. Democracy placates the poor so they do not revolt in the same fashion as those who revolted in 1776, but it still enables abject poverty. If you scratch Democracy then you get Feudalism. This is by design because the rich do not want to be overthrown by their own slaves. Who can blame them? But I still feel that the existence of abject poverty negates any status of democracy. You can't have one and the other at the same time because obviously the poor are not represented equally, thus they don't participate equally. You could argue that's the fault of the poor for not advocating their cause, and that's the point where I'd argue there is no democracy that punishes people for failing to advocate their cause, which is simply an obvious desire to live comfortably. Feudalism punishes the poor...Democracy asks them to wait for 4 or 40 years and maybe they will get lucky. If a democracy can produce people who walk on fresh skulls to get their Mocha Latte Frappe then there is a problem.

It's a great contradiction that I feel I'm a Republican at heart (advocates small government) who must vote liberal because I know other "Republicans" are the biggest threat to unrepresented citizens. Do I vote Republican to reward thieves? Or do I reward Liberals for presumptuously assuming I can not make adult decisions? It's a pickle with no good answer. Liberals insult my intelligence and Conservatives would eat their Young if it could save a buck. I can't win so I joined the big Team and will see how this plays out.


I'm starting to sound like Eric Hoffer.

The poor on the borderline of starvation live purposeful lives. To be engaged in a desperate struggle for food and shelter is to be wholly free from a sense of futility.
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Eric Hoffer, "The True Believer", 1951

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Reality

3 tire levers

 


So, I knew the Exciter needed new tires. I sort of dreaded changing them by hand but the only motorcycle shop in town has a 'pro-'merica' manifesto on their front door. You know, "We love them migrants but y'all need to assimilate to fit in. Y'hear? Don't expect no welcome greeting if y'all can't speak 'Merican." Such a load of bullshit. I was dizzy reading this attempt by some grease monkey to write philosophic stuff. It's good to see the average black collar wage slave defending his poisoned culture with a rant but it puts me in a position of deciding how much I want to pay this idiot's dental bills with my patronage. I decided to buy a longer tire lever and do it myself because if this asshole could point out something 'Merican worth assimilating then I might actually believe the immigrants should abandon their own traditions to replace them with ourn. But there is no way a grease knuckle motherfucker in bumfuck Pacific West Potville between Stonertown and Meth Junction is going to come up with something worth keeping. Is it the weekly homicides or the opioid addiction? The faux Mexican food or the faux Italian food? The diabetes junkie dialysis or the Methadone clinics that the immigrant from Somalia should assimilate? Which is it, you toothless wrenchhead?




friction pad fell off




I don't want to delve too deeply into the details. I do the work on my own vehicles because most people are incompetent idiots with high ideals of pre-packaged ethics. Forget I mentioned it.


I took the tires off, pried the rubber off, sanded down the rust of 30 years...and pried the tires back on with new rim liners and new tubes. Not a big deal once I started to use both knees as two extra hands. The longer lever worked with the two shorter levers.


The big surprise was that the brake shoes had plenty of meat on them, but the rear brake shoe had lost the friction pad. the glue wore out. I'm glad I don't use the rear brakes much because the friction pad could get caught under the one that is attached and lock the whole tire up if I'm not careful. Well, everything else looked good. I don't use the brakes much on these hills since I don't drive fast. I'm not disappointed. It's an old bike and I'm glad I had the excuse to order some more parts to keep this thing running right.


slick new tires


Friday, July 21, 2017

Cowboys and Casinos

These are some fine country songs. Norwood and Supernaw were part of a generation of 'hat acts' in the '90s who really worked that accent and some simple chord structures to their advantage. Hear the fiddle and lap steel guitar and you hear the fading echos of Bob Wills. Both Norwood and Supernaw have richer pipes than the Bob Wills singer Tommy Duncan, but it's evidence that the best pipes don't necessarily make the best songs. Bob Wills was not a very good singer but he fit his tone of voice to the song. Norwood could sing the phone book and make it sound good. These are easy songs to listen to and they both fit into my heart broken/denial/ lonesome cowboy songlist. Or maybe you prefer Tommy Duncan and think I don't know what I'm talking about. Ok. I can live with that.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Commuting


some commutes I am willing to tolerate. This ranks high on the list.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Excited


1981 Yamaha Exciter sr185
I should look happier but the timing on the camera took me by surprise. It's been so damn long since I owned a motorcycle and even this semi toy should make me forget some of my sins. I love to tinker with them and I love to ride them and I don't even mind when things break. The only thing I don't like is not having the time to work on it non-stop for a month. I really wanted to import a 125cc single cylinder motorcycle from Mexico but the next best thing is a vintage Japanese bike that has slightly more HP (16). And that is what the exciter sr185j is...a beginner bike for someone 5 inches shorter than me. It gets me around and will eventually be my main ride while the van goes under the wrench.

It's ridiculous how long I've been longing for a small thumper/one lunger/single cylinder bike and finding/buying this one required an epic journey to places I've never been before, which is saying something. Vintage Japanese bikes are not easy to find in good condition and they are rarely cheap but they are more desirable than rideable. I'm going to ride the shit out of this one as soon as I inspect it. I bought it from a young vet who was discharged after 5 identical vaccines in a month caused Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome and paralyzed him temporarily. For that reason I will forgive the fact the hot wire on the battery was not screwed on with a nut but merely laid against it and the battery was installed backwards in the box and the chain was too tight and a nail was used as a cotter pin. The thing has under 2k original miles because, as I said, most people think it's a cool bike and soon realize it's not big enough for anything useful so it sits around for 36 years in a barn and gets rusty. I can't wait to wear my Python boots and get a pair of bright red, skin tight, lamb leather pants made to rock this vintage Thumper into Methville. The world is going to hell and I'm going to go down like a bat out of hell. I guess since I'm working in a national park bat cave I should call it the Batmobile.

Monday, July 10, 2017

New era

It is a delicate balance of vintage japanese bikes and antique American vans that keeps oggy mobile.
who doesn't love sleeping in a van with a motorcycle between your bed and a wood stove?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Camp Host

Humble Kitchen
I managed to get a government job, which is something I thought my time in Chiapas would prevent me from doing. And I'm the greatest campground host who ever lived, if I don't mind saying so. You basically can't be crazy enough to get me to kick you out.


Overheating again

 I pray this summer and fall go well. I'm a National Park employee, as close to John Muir's footsteps as I can get. I managed to evade Trump's federal hiring freeze and Muslim ban and immigrant ban. And I get paid holiday vacations and health care, such as it is. I guess life could be worse.

emergency surgery

finally, a title I can be proud of



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Meditations


I played some music for a rock star in Topanga and she thought there was something good about my J.J. Newberry's tribute. All the L.A. canyons have high musical standards so if it gets good reviews there then there might be some truth to it. My original music is like my essays, torn from the grief of my everyday life and written on tear-stained paper. Uploaded using Taco Bell free wireless or the library, sitting in the rain with the computer on a newspaper dispenser, waiting for the connection to return, bats catching moths in the streetlight, ocean fog ruining my suede trousers. The usual nonsense.

But I've been working on a project song for many years, longer than any album except Smile to be completed. I decided it must be a song about denial, the hero is 'glad she's gone' and 'better off alone'. I have plenty of personal experiences to support my theme and since I got the compliment in Topanga I tried to spend my nights vacillating between misery and reflection, looking for the few words that capture the idea and the tone can't be misunderstood. The van is my studio.

The song chords, although I tried to be more sophisticated, kept going back to the I, IV, V. There is a pattern but it doesn't fit the normal blues or folk. I'm not even sure if the measures all add up. I thought singing and speaking realize the emotional tone best and pay tribute to Lefty Frizzell, my musical mentor.

I haven't quite decided on the title. I thought "Talking to Myself" was good.

Words and Music by Senor Oggy Bleacher
                  D
I've made mistakes
         G                                       D
And loving you wasn't the only one.
 G                
But it's the one that hurt the most
          D                        G
when all was said and done.
D                       A                        G                        D
I can't help believing, you were wrong to set me free
G             A                          D
I'm no good when it's only me

I'm glad you're gone
cuz loving you was too much for one man
The morning sun in your blue eyes
was more than I could stand
I got no right to ask for one more day
I got no right to stand in your way

(bridge)
G      
I'm better off alone
                 D
watching movies all night long
G
replaying over and over again
A
what went wrong...what went wrong...what the hell went wrong?

So this is goodbye
We've come to the end of the road
I'm ready to let you go
and turn back into a toad
It's been nice to know you
aw, what the hell,
It's been nice to know you...been nice to know you
been nice to know you, fare thee well.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

SEKI PANO

This cost me some blood when a boulder rolled on my leg so I have to post it.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

All Hail John Muir

Muir is the big reason this is not a flooded dam for water to sell to hydrofracturing companies.
This bridge survived the melt but the one upstream did not.
Not pictured are my cut-off shorts and chicken legs

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Yoga?

I said it only counts as Yoga in Topanga if I take a selfie. 
All that is missing is a good morning kiss from Joni Mitchell.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Chat

A tour down the Venice boardwalk was interesting. The best two guerrilla art slogans I saw were "Uninstall Snapshat from Venice" which inspired me not to take a photo of it. And also, "Does Heaven have a Venice?" I don't know how to respond to that one.



The t-shirt slogans are still pretty stupid. Booty shorts and tank tops ("I flexed and the sleeves fell off"). So I decided to do my own t-shirt slogan with the above image that I created from a fake message generator. FYI: Salvia is an evil drug that is sold to everyone on the boardwalk. I've heard it is basically a heavy dose of glue fumes mixed with hallucinogens. "I exploded out of my brain and shot up into space..." was how one person described the effects of smoking Salvia. "Best trip of my life." said another. "It's hard to describe. I cowered in a corner and they had to call the paramedics because I was trying to protect myself from floating demons..." said another user. Some people have good things to say about it but I thought it is an amusing topic and used it for my fake chat image. When I start designing t-shirts again I will include this one. Don't steal it! hahaha. Venice locals will recognize the pizza joint that is tha bomb!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Where it all Began

Time presses on and way turns back to way. I arrived in Venice Beach last night after I waited for holiday traffic to die down. The congestion was still bad enough to cause angina but not so bad I had to stall on the 405 Inner City expressway. I cruised the dusty alleys of my memory, the donut shop was still there, but the tattoo shop had closed it's doors. I recognized some landmarks while others were so different I had to look around to remind myself where I was. The Taco Bell that so loyally satisfied my midnight cravings had been replaced by some fancy sushi joint. More medical marijuana dispensaries than I could count rose above the dirty sidewalks. The machine shop where I had my first motorcycle engine rebuilt was still there. The economy curry cafe still slopped mildly flavorless puree for a couple bucks. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Riding Down the Canyon


This is the only existing footage of this performance. The fiddler ran up on stage with me when I started the Gene Autry tune. I'd never met him before and have no idea who he is. If we'd rehearsed maybe once then this would've been a little better. I forgot the real chord progression and faked most of the chords.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Donuts

My favorite city spot is in a donut cafe...preferably Vietnamese with dirty floors and trashcan overflowing with losing scratch tickets. The lottery options here are a bonus. The language people use is as delicious as a chocolate buttermilk cake donut. These are the common folk near a carwash of
Nicaraguan towel ninjas.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

One Night Only



An odd scenario places me on stage with a strange guitar but I managed to play a clumsy version of Four Strong Winds. In case you were wondering who Nicolete Larson is...she recorded Neil Young's "Lotta Love" back when Oggy was a youngster. Young also recorded Four Strong Winds, which is maybe why that guy in the video thinks I sound like Larson. Otherwise, his comment makes no sense since Larson is a famous female pop singer and I'm a burger flipper.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

L.A. Images

I posted a photo essay on Las Vegas and now I will post a short one on Los Angeles. I've been neck deep in things that are not so narcissistic as a blog and not interesting enough to write about. I'm also stuck in a deep rut of remorse, regret, despair and surrender. I refuse to be another gum flapping Washington pundit in a world of pundit and political spin whores. We're fucked, obviously, headed toward apocalypse but it's beneath me to add my opinion on these trivial matters. Still, fate is forcing me out of my hole and I will soar once more with the eagles and maybe write something worthy of this vain blog. Don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Alligator Coin Purse

Step 1) Use a can of Salmon (tonight's dinner) to make circles on paper. Overlap paper on faux alligator leather that swap meet seller claimed was real. Your response to swap meet seller was, "Real alligators don't have two hornbacks."

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Rock Bottom





The pain of the following event has been replaced by the pain of a different event, which is the signal that it is time to write of the preceding event. This event, this pinche pendejo crisis, set in motion a day of pure grief, travelers’ woes, “Once upon a time in Mexico…” Dios, this was a miserable day coming at the end of so many ups and downs over the span of years wandering Latin America. This was the lowest or nearly the lowest depending on how you look at it and what standards are used. Emotionally, it was not the lowest although it was very low. Physically and financially and legally it was the lowest. In terms of the van, my faithful steed El Conquistador, it was rock bottom, although the time the rear axle bearing disintegrated on a Guatemalan mountain road was awful. Being stranded between the borders of Costa Rica and Nicaragua with Cuban refugees was indeed a strain, but the chaos was manageable because I was basically ignored by all but my own demons. But this event, this chain of evil events in Mexico, was the opposite; the wolves came at me from all sides, the moment I thought I was safely on the other side of the storm another storm hit. It was one assault after another; there was no where to hide, nowhere to run, no safe harbor, survival was my victory. The relentless punishment all started with the horrible screams from hundreds of dying pigs.

Friday, March 31, 2017

PCT

Pacific Crest Trail
The one bright spot in my recent insanity.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Last Dance


There is a story behind this broken performance. I'm slaving like an Egyptian clay farmer in the desert and get paid so little I must tell myself that it's an eco-volunteer retreat because it involves solar panels. The bigger lesson is that solar projects are as chaotic, if not more chaotic, than the chaotic oil field projects. Training is non-existent. But at least in the oil field there were teams and some vague orientation, plus more money. But on this solar project there is no orientation and no teams. It's simply 20 Workers Vs. The Project, which is a sure recipe for disaster and inefficiency. I don't have a problem with manual labor as long as the result is more than swollen knees. But I have no more idea of what our goal is then when I started. I already knew that wires must go from Point A to Point B. Yes. That much is clear. But there are some critical details such as What Wires, what gauge wires, what gauge conduit and finally, exactly where is Point A and Where is Point B in relation to all the other points in this vast world? This is not complicated stuff for a field technician but these answers are apparently state secrets so I have no clue and simply dig and compact with futile effort.

To dull the pain of my sagging ego I turned again to wine and music and invite you to the party.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Trapped in Candyland Game

Don't ask how I ended up in a life sized Candyland board game but please help.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Room With a View

I'm taking a break from writing about my bleak existence. The sheriff finally caught up with me and threw me in the jail for vagrancy.  

I am asserting my right to remain silent except for the following droll truisms:


"South and North Welcome" this is patriotism



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Trying to Survive



I don't have much time to elaborate on the chaos that ensued after the Walmart police kicked me out of the parking lot for hunting rabbit and trying to build a log cabin from scrap pallet wood. They said they had security video footage of me with an open bottle of wine chasing a rabbit with a hatchet and I said, "I can explain that..." I argued that my rights as a sovereign citizen were being infringed and was escorted off. I have voicemail recordings of Jim pleading for help but it's complicated to get them uploaded and also sad, maybe illegal. We both got kicked out...and the first night I spent on the street happened to coincide with a gang of 'air duster' huffing addicts burglarizing a nearby building, which of course led to my being surrounded by local police and targeted for harassment and a polite beat down in the dark. That led to my getting out of town into some ghost villages where silver and Anthracite had been mined...and some complications that I can't elaborate on. There was a PTSD veteran who had work an ISIS patch during his pre-combat heat trauma...or maybe it was his fantasy. Armed to the teeth to prepare to defend earth from alien invasion. dozens of rifles and dying cats. drugs. wax. oils. broken vehicles. stray children. worse than a Serbian slum. this is the step below a Walmart parking lot and the police pushed me in that direction. I resisted and fled.


Another refugee of post-freedom America
 The disease of America has no cure but extinction and that will arrive soon enough. The important thing that I now advocate is having your own agenda and sticking to it. Do not think that opposition is an agenda. No. Opposition is a vacuum that feeds the thing that is opposed. Build an agenda, an army, a better device to huff air duster gases. whatever. It makes no difference. have an agenda and stick to it. That is what makes consumerism so successful: The mission is to condition people to shop and consume and devour and produce. That is a big agenda but it keeps a lot of people busy and it is working.


Classic consumer conditioning targeting helpless children. No attempt to disguise their evil intent. Only a diseased culture would allow this.

I wandered the tortured Apache land. Geronimo tried to fight this invasive species and lost, humiliated, captured and caged like an animal. Cochise cursed this land before he died and was buried near here, he said it would never have peace and many of the locals believe his curse is still working. They say the land is cursed.
Oggy in Apache Land. Yes, the sky is that blue.



I have my own agenda and maybe the spell has been broken by this recent police whipping. Broken lonely hearts scatter the desert and I hope mine has been abandoned to some dark cave. Iraq Vets are homeless and living in vans in parking lots or else eating thrift store canned food and Salvation Army sandwiches. PTSD is no joke. You hang out with some PTSD folks for a few days and you'll think the lunatic asylum is normal. War fucks shit up and the lip service of the V.A. might work for anyone else but a PTSD victim is not anyone else and they have short fuses. We found a 30mm artillery shell in the desert near the base. The guy said it was still live and when fired from a helicopter would arm itself by spinning and that lights a fuse that explodes on impact. He leaped up in bare, bleeding feet and smashed it violently on the rocks nearby as I dove for cover behind the van, cutting my knee on a cactus branch. He smiled with spittle collecting at the corner of his whiskered mouth, vile teeth, halitosis to melt steel. The shell did not explode and the neighbor yelled, "What the fuck, don't destroy shit!" I was shaking. Then he took a long string of rusty nails and lashed his arms with them until they bled. Three people came out to demonstrate how they would use their Russian sniper rifles to defend their houses from zombie attack. stray cats shit in front of the depleted mail boxes. Everyone is smoking (dabbing) pot or hash oil, drinking beers, shooting rifles, laughing as they pretend to play Russian Roulette. Someone says, "Oggy, I want to kill my pet snake and make a leather belt from him. Can you help?" We are watching his snake eat a rat but because power has been turned off to the house for non-payment of bill the snake's stomach is distended because it can not digest the last rat it ate. I am trying to concentrate on killing zombies in an Xbox game called "Deadland" I drive over a zombie's head repeatedly then accidentally kill a human survivor. Someone has dropped a glass bong behind me that shatters on the filthy floor. A rifle falls from the poorly mounted brackets on the wall and breaks a glass aquarium holding poisonous jelly fish. Fresh and dry old Shit from two poodles covers every square inch of the living room where a kid is trying to start a fire using stolen wood and newspaper rolls from the local paper. There is only power for the xbox because he has hacked the outlet of the meth kitchen next door. But instead of putting electricity to the hot water heater he powers the television so he can get stoned and watch animated musicals. If there is a worse situation than a frozen Walmart parking lot then Oggy will surely find it.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Border Blues

FYI: A useless 20 foot wall already exists between U.S. and Mexico. It stretches into the distance and accomplishes nothing at great expense.

The always resourceful Mexicans spent decades developing this incredibly hi-tech anti-wall scaling device that has managed to befuddle American Border Patrol agents. Labs around the country are studying this device for flaws but engineers are baffled by it's application. They thought the wall was impenetrable. For good measure, environmentalists demanded the wall include wildlife migration gates, which turns the 'wall' into an 'open door' for non-human animals. So, the immigrant from Mexico need only wait at one of these gates to follow a deer through it. Or wait for the floodgates to open after a hard rain.
I was hiking around the border area and noticed a huge wall that is the border between Mexico and the United States. I've heard Trump's plan is to upgrade this wall at a cost of $8 Billion...which is good news since the only people who will work on that project will be sending the paychecks to Sonora to their extended families. It's a classic attempt to hack at the branches of a problem and ignore the roots.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

She Thinks I Still Care


Another song in the fun category of 'Songs In Which The Singer Is Deluded'

The sad part is 'she' doesn't think about me at all so the song is doubly deluded.

I was kicked out of the Walmart parking lot, blacklisted, run out with the rest of the riff raff. So, laid off, fired, broken neck and spine, had van brake failures...

and then kicked out of the Walmart parking lot all in the week surrounding new years. 2017 is gonna be pretty fucking awesome!
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.