Saturday, April 30, 2011


I've been laying low lately, and why not?  But there is something worth note.  I'll scribble a few lines about it.  Cats suck.

Clearly, not all cats suck.  And those that do suck suck to a greater or lesser degree than others.  Let's be real though.  When it comes to pets, cats kinda suck.  It's important to bear in mind that last qualifier, "when it comes to pets", because in a general sense, cats are cool.  They have cool eyes.  Big brothers and sisters are the absolute coolest of the animal kingdom, whether Tiger, Liger, or Leopard.  They are athletic and have a cool strut.  In terms of personality and loyalty, however, they get a zero.

Cats just walk around oblivious to any other being's feelings or well being.  The whole of their motivation boils down to two things.  They are "look at me" and "what do I want?".

Whether wanted or unwanted, a cat will crawl on you at any time of their choosing.  This happened literally twenty times the other night.  I'm reading a book and the cat crawls in my lap.  I leave her there and ignore her after a few pets.  She then crawled up onto my chest and neck.  I picked her up and set her down next to me with a light rebuke, "Nope".  She went through the drill again.  Twenty times.  If she's astute enough to react to my disinterest by crawling up my neck when I don't pay attention, then she should be smart enough to get the hint.  That's the thing, though, cats don't get hints because the notion of someone trying to tell them something never crosses their mind.  Just total disinterest.

So, on another occasion, I humored her and let her hang for a while since there was no obvious coercion on her part to my activity.  I petted her.  She kinda purred.  I thought, "well, here is a little interaction".  Ya, well she contorted herself around and bit me.  Little bitch.  So I bit her back.  Only then did she scram, but not without clawing me on her supersonic exit.  Cats are fast.

Apart from the physical abuse, she does everything in her power to mess up the house, just getting into toilet paper, clawing furniture, and otherwise rearranging the things that are within her power to rearrange.  "Oh she's so cute.  Look at her cute little cat like ways.  Hahaha."  Nope.  She's the devil.

I went to brush my teeth.  Hadn't seen or heard from the cat in hours.  Welp, right about the time I grabbed my toothbrush, she materializes out of thin air and plops down in the sink.  Really cat?  You just happened to want to lay in the sink right now?  Coincidentally?  Just now is a good time to curl up in the sink?  Cats in the sink are fair game as far as I'm concerned, so I turned the water on.  She even big leagued that.  Didn't jump, or frantically skedaddle.  Just kinda looked at me and calmly walked away, plotting my death, I'm sure.  And after brushing my teeth, she curled up next to me on the couch and slowly began to climb me, purring the whole time.  I had to extricate her from my face with great care because she's demonstrated a free spirit when it comes to the claws.

It goes on and on.  I know this is pointless and not a very good accounting for the first blog in weeks.  But you know what?  The freaking cat sucks.  And sadly, I still kinda like her and feel somewhat special when she climbs on me and purrs.  She's basically the hot chick that goes on dates with you when she's bored and will use you for your body when it suits her purposes, but will never call or take initiative.  She doesn't do the little things to make you feel special.  It's only during those times when you happen to be in her way and she wants affection that you get a little fix, and your desire for closeness sated.  So whatever cat.  I'll survive with or without you.  I wish she'd call me.  I'm feeling lonely.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Throwing the interpretive dance back 50 years

My sister sent me this and said I should check it out.  I don't know if I'm supposed to find it creative?  Funny?  Motivating in an anti-drug kinda way?  Dude looks like he's pulled the rip chord on an interpretive dance of a meth head on heroin impersonating a sprinkler while in a straight jacket.  I guess after that, I should be impressed.  It's kinda like how Robert Deniro smiles while frowning with a shrug and slight air of exasperation.  It's like an onion.  You know, with layers.

I've never been into Radiohead,  nor did I even know they existed until like '04 when I heard Creep for the first time and thought it was a new song.  I was trying to convince this girl I was diversified in my musical tastes and was like, "Oh ya?  I don't only listen to the O'Jays, I like that new rock song called weirdo by stereoface!"  Uh, ya.  She didn't know what I was talking about until I sang a couple bars, then promptly told me it was Radiohead, and that the song was Creep, and that it came out when she was in middle school.  Whatever.  I just told her I was a weirdo and asked what the hell I was doing there?  That shut her up.

Because I can, here's The video for the big hit I discovered ten years after it came out...

On that note, what's going on with these rock guys and their songs?  It seems like it's always some near emotional breakdown, borderline Chernobyl affair.  I heard this song at work today and the guy was singing "Rape me!"  What kinda program is he working with?  And the list goes on and on.  I'm not knocking it, but people lose their minds listening to this stuff.  And it doesn't really have a beat to get with.  It's not particularly uplifting either.  Just some suicide pact, freaky, masochistic, possible cutter mentality through the airwaves.  No biggie. I'm hip.

After another look, it appears he mixed in some popping corn having a heart attack too.  Cuttin' a rug.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Yeah...I'm just not sure about that right now

I'm in the most mind numbing, groundhog day like, un-satisfying perpetuation of a caricature of life imaginable.  I would be hesitant to say these things, but as Harry Doyle would say, "who gives a shit?  No one is listening anyway."  So, since neither my boss nor anyone else will read this, why not?

Understand, it's not torturous.  Or murderous.  It's mind numbing.  I've always been good at pretending things don't hurt.  I've always been good at continuing on when I don't feel like it.  I can't help but think, however, that I could be doing far more useful things.  I continue to believe that in the long run, this is the useful thing.  Taking that humble pie to the grill and wearing it.  I am wearing it.  I slept for twenty minutes last night and as six am rolled around, I was considering playing hookey.

My pops would have been all for it.  But pops isn't here.  And the voice in the back of my mind said to not back down.  And another one is in the books.  I said that it wasn't misery, and meant it.  What it is is mind numbing.  My favorite place to live is in my mind.  I can go anywhere and do anything upstairs.  Whether it's healthy or not to have so much fun with your own thoughts, I'm not sure.  But that's the lay.  And I can't play it when my mind is numbed by the tasks I've been engaged in.  Sadly, the self reflection I sought is not found.  Only the cycle of putting one foot in front of the other is my existence at this point.  Whatever's clever.  Hopefully something good will happen either in my head or the outside world soon.

Friday, April 8, 2011

On the grind and pretty sure how I feel about it

The title is a reference to my buddy Deej's post about his new job.  In it, he says "I'm back to work blah blah blah and I'm not sure how I feel about it blah blah blah..."  Well, I got myself a job too.  And I'm absolutely certain about my feelings.  They go a little something like this...

Ok, not really because I'm glad to have a job.  And to that end, my job is sweet.  But, in the blogosphere, the job sucks.  On my very first day, and within the very first hour of my employment there, I cut my finger deep enough that it required eight stitches.  I was carrying this unholy and God forsaken light fixture.  My grip slipped or something happened-I'm really not sure what exactly occurred-and I was soon leaking everywhere.  Fortunately, this operation was legit enough that they had insurance, so I could go to the doctor and get treatment at a reputable place.  But I digress.

Basically, I'm hired muscle.  Only, I'm not as strong as I used to be and I have eight stitches in my left pinkie finger.  So, any labor intensive activity is going to, and has sucked.  I'm not in as good of shape as I used to be, so the difficulty involved in any physical task is multiplied by a factor of around 270 pounds.  Or 255, according to the doctor.  But who's counting?  I'm no longer the 220 pound man-child that used to eat fastballs for lunch and crap lasers to second, or first.  Hopefully, after a few weeks of this, I'll be approaching that svelt young stud.  But for now, we're fighting an uphill battle.

Long story short, work is kicking my butt.  Wake up time is roughly six in the am, a time that I'd recently found was about right for my early morning scrabble with Pete.  And that was before bed.  So we get going at seven AM and the day begins.  I fight the urge to look at my watch for what would seem to be the better part of the morning.  After 3-4 hours of disciplined non-watch-looking, I finally sneak a peak.  7.47 AM.  Looks like another long day.  Sigh.

The clock literally crawls throughout my work day.  The kinds of things I've been enjoying are:
-Moving heavy objects from one side of the warehouse to the other,
-Moving the same heavy objects from the other side of the warehouse to the one,
-Moving heavy objects from inside the warehouse to the parking lot (sometimes with the aid of a pallet jack).
-Moving heavy objects from the parking lot to the warehouse, with or without a rolling device,
-Yesterday I branched out to shoveling dirt and raking gravel, which was sadly my most enjoyable experience to date,
-The construction of shelves with the Herculean equivalent of an erector set,
-Scrubbing, mopping, vacuuming, sweeping, and scraping floors,
-And lastly, today I was tasked with clipping the wires off of the electronic ballasts used in florescent lighting.

So, the job description clearly does not contain, philosophy, piano, baseball, or sales.  And even though I blog about the misery that is my work day, I'm actually kinda relishing the opportunity.  With a negative attitude, the job will only get and seem worse.  On the other hand, if it is approached with the humility that we are called to embody, and a sense of pride in simply doing the job well, then it has it's own rewards.  It's time for me to eat the humble pie and I choose to eat it with a smile.  It's no one's fault that I'm in a stage of life that dictates this occupation, so complaining is pointless.

It may feel like the chain gang to me now, since I'm out of shape and 8 hours on my feet is close to murder, but there is much to be learned about the job, life, and myself.  With each mindless task, I'll engage my brain and thoughts.  And with every exertion, I'll embrace the physical hardship as exercise, both physical and mental.  I used to be mentally tough because of my training in baseball.  After becoming soft, I'll be tough again.  And I'll know that only through developing myself in this situation can I develop into a person who continues to make the best of others.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Jenkins and the rockers

(Not actual photos of band members)

Jesse, the drummer

Mike, lead guitar
The bassist, who needs two pictures...
...Waldo, half Native American, half something else-all bassist
Our fearless leader, vocalist, and po flo guitarist, Jc

And last, but not least, also in need of two pictures is the oppressed Jew pianist..., also known in my youth as Bam Bam

I'm so happy to introduce you all to the band.  Apparently, we are keeping things close to the vest.  There will, unfortunately, be no posting of the songs we've recorded.  So, if you want the bootleg version, you're gonna have to contact me directly through email or phone or something not public.  I can say, once again, that I'm very pleasantly surprised by the project.  Jc and I listened to the first recording of one of our rehearsals last night.  He was tickled, or fired up, or whatever term describes a guy who can barely keep his junk in his pants because he's so excited.  It seemed like he was a little taken aback by how good the music sounded.  I wasn't, because I could hear it at rehearsal and it sounded good.  

I will say that I'm pleased with where we are, especially for this stage in the game.  We recorded on our third rehearsal.  Three of the tunes, we'd practiced once before and two we just went through on the spot and rolled tape.  My opinion is that because the natural sound is good, with the mix of different styles and backgrounds of the respective musicians, we can anticipate a good fusion on any of the tunes we do.  Listening to the recording, I need to get a different tone on my piano, but the parts I'm playing are good.  Jc's singing is very good, and as he says, his voice is "unique" and "easily recognizable".  I agree.  The drummer is pretty funky for a cracker rocker guy.  He's actually pretty funky for anyone.  Our bassist is half Native American with a pony tail.  Nuff said.  But if that weren't enough, he's funky too.  Our rocker lead guitarist is sick too.  And he looks like a rock star.

I'm pretty excited about the project.  My taste in music is different from the guys in the band mostly and definitely different from the people we will be playing for.  My suspicion, however, is that this sound is solid and will appeal to different types of music lovers.  And the group is solid.  I'd be crushed if we lost any of the guys who are part of the band now.  It's just a good group who I could see myself spending a lot of time with without getting tired of any of them.  If you can't tell, I'm pretty excited about the potential of this project and think the fusion style could appeal to many different people.  It appeals to me.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A cut above the rest

Sorry for posting the nasty picture, but trust me when I tell you that it was far far worse when it happened.  And perhaps the worse part was the way it happened.  First day on the job.  First hour on the job.  Just walk through the door and hurt myself, costing my employer more in time and insurance premiums than I could have possibly helped in the thirty minutes I was working.

So, as has been the case lately I didn't sleep last night.  I was up all night doing not much of anything.  And after greeting my man Pete who lives on the east coast when he got up, I started to get a little tired and lie down on my air mattress.  At 7.30a my room mate came in and says, "are you ready to go to work?"  Apparently, the guy who owns the company decided he needed help on short notice and I was happy to get some work going, even if I did feel like crap and could tell more crap feeling was coming.

I set about the basic task of moving the old light fixtures from inside the warehouse to the piles, which were segregated by useful or un-useful outside.  After moving a fair amount of these industrial fixtures, which were about eight feet long, I found myself staring at the aftermath of a freakish accident.  I couldn't believe it, but it actually happened.  I cut the hell out of my finger on what was apparently a razor sharp edge, intrinsic to the fixture's design.

I was carrying this thing and it shifted in my hand.  I immediately felt it slice into my pinky finger.  Aggressively.  I looked at it and saw a nickel sized piece of yellowed skin.  In total denial, I continued on with the light fixture.  I then felt the warm liquid on my hand and all pretense was lost.  I was bleeding like a stuck pig.  I asked Nick, the owner, if there was a bathroom.  He said there was a port o potty.  It was clear to me that it wasn't clear to him what was going on.  I held my finger up and his eyes got wide.

He asked if we had a first aid kit.  Nope.  Next best thing though.  Electrical tape.  Ahh, an old staple of field medicine.  No need to clean it or anything.  Just a little bit of tape to bag it up.  Nick said something about stitches, which hadn't even occurred to me.  I lifted the flap and it went all the way to the meat.  Yep, gotta check the doctor out.  He called the office and got coordinates to an urgent care center.  On our way.  So, after bleeding all over everything, we got to the place and he dropped me off.  Workman's comp insurance.  Whew!

Anyway, it's kinda dragging on here, so long story short, the doctor took a look at it after an hour or two of waiting and said, "Oh yeah.  You got yourself a good one.  I bet that hurts".  Uh, ya.  That's a winning bet doc.  Got me dialed in with a tetanus shot, which I hadn't had since the 80's and some reddish cleaning agent.  Then the stitches.  Let's be clear about this.  I'm glad he numbed me up for this, but it hurt pretty bad when he started sticking me with that needle.  Then the novacaine or lidocaine, or whatever it was took effect and we were happy.

So I'm in Fresno, without a car and no cell phone at the doctor's office and loving life.  And I missed a day of work that I had planned.  Fortunately, Nick was cool about it.  He knows a little bit about my situation and basically said, 'what else could happen to you man?'  I just laughed it off.  It could have been a lot worse.  This will heal and for the time being my jaw still functions normally.

It's kinda ironic though, that I came to Fresno to play piano and hurt my finger doing something else that would otherwise help support the piano playing until it gets cooking.  And here we are.  Just ridiculous circumstance meeting ridiculous happenstance meeting ridiculous action and consequence.  gotta love it.  And we had rehearsal tonight, where it was recorded.  Hopefully soon I'll get the copy and post it.   I also have an island jam that I need to figure out how to post.