13 May 2022

Lovely Day, or Friday the 13th, advance edition

Sometime around dawn (0930) my friend Wendy rings me up. Can I give her a hand loading her bikes on a rented trailer to run them over to the shop? Not a problem. She picks me up in her Subaru Outback, and asks if I have any tiedown straps, as she neglected to snag them from the U-Haul place. They were supposed to be included in the rental. I, of course, have no tie-down straps. I don't have a trailer. Or a truck. Or anything with an internal combustion engine for that matter. I suggest a quick run to Harbor Freight, which is reasonably near her house-and-a-pool. So we head in that direction. 'Hang right here on Fondren, over to 59, and then left'. 'Nah, it's up by Gessner'. She's driving, so, WTF. Get to Gessner and 59, she hangs a left onto the SB feeder. 'Pretty damn sure it's the other way', but not driving, not my gas. The trailer is rattling behind us. Yes, the Harbor Freight IS in fact by Fondren. Buddy of mine used to live right there in that block, I know the 'hood. We pull up and I inspect the trailer. 'Is something wrong, JC?' 'Just looking to see if it says 'Radio Flyer'. 20 minutes of misdirection. Back to the house-and-a-pool, and Wendy does a very nice job of backing the trailer up the driveway. And now the fun begins. Harley Davidson motorcycles are lots of things. Iconic. Musical. Elegant. Classic. One thing they are not is light. On reflection, dropping $20 on a come-along at HF would have been a worthwile investment. I thought there was one on the trailer Tried rigging a yoke using the tie-down straps. Fail. Had to give out a shout to a youth down the street to push the fucker with its $2000 custom paint job up on to the trailer, and here's a shout out to that kid. Bravo! 'Um, JC?' Oh. Busted a knuckle there, didn't I. Right hand is covered with red stuff. First blood, motorcycle. Put that fucker into serious bondage. 2 turns and it's on its side. Nothing to do but power on, onward to Pearland. Okay, I know where I am now. 35S, there's an alpaca farm just down the road a ways here. Pull into the Harley shop. Get it upright, off the trailer, and a chorus of 'ouches'. 'You could drop a hydraulic punch inside the tank and just pop that sucker out' ''But the paint...' 'Lookit! It's just a bit shorter than the Harley blazon, just move it down a couple inches...' On the road again, back to the house-and-a-pool, to load up the Honda Rebel 250. Shit. Did I turn off the heat under the meatballs and tomato sauce? Mind making a slight detour? No, I did not remember to turn off the heat. Low heat, so Malliard reaction, but no smoke or anything. Off again. Honda goes onto the trailer like a dream, new tiedown tech leaves it vertical the whole way. Hey, I know this 'hood! Pull into the shop, Wendy goes to back the bike off the trailer. 'Center it! Center it!!!!' Gets her ankle caught between the bike and the trailer rail. I have zero mechanical advantage. Got my shoulder in the bar, and manage to flag down a dude in a pickup. We lift the bike off her leg. Thanks dude. Was about to crush her ankle. Head back. 'Damn. I FORGOT TO LEAVE THE KEYS!' '?' 'Both!' Drop off trailer downtown. 'Dude, you bleedin!' I seem to have split the nail of my right index finger up to the cuticle. No biggie. Out to her place. Looking at a 70 mile loop, but without the rattletrap trailer, thank God. Out to the Harley guy, no sweat. 35 in towards town, turns into Old Telephone Road, up to Wayside, turn here! No, other way! 20 minutes later... drop off the keys And on towards home. I know this 'hood! Grab 90 where it splits off, oh. Missed it. End up in the lemming mass. Pay no attention to your GPS! "Follow Holmes Road 10.3 miles". Holmes Road closed. Dogleg right. "In 700 feet, make a U-turn, then take a right on Holmes Road". Shut up, bitch. 200 yards and slip onto Bellfort, I say. So we do. Houston's a BIG place, but you live anywhere long enough and you get to know it. Dave lived there on Fondren. Couldn't give you directions to his place now. I think it's Tonga Tonga. Seriously. Used to drive past the alpaca farm on my way to gigs down in Angleton. Dropped the Honda off near the TeleWink Cafe, couple blocks from my old friend Linda. Don't trust your GPS when you have a native guide.

10 May 2022

Don't do this to me

I had a friend, Roger, Half-assed drummer, really bad guitar player. We shared a house some 30 years ago. Was fun. It was during the time of the Michiganvasion, and our place backed up on a biker house. We would have band rehearsals, but the bikers took offense. They wanted us to play in their back yard. Hunnerd bucks plus free beer. They were mostly from Michigan, nominally, by way of California, so they were collecting unemployment from Michigan, California, and Texas. Every month a couple pair would set off on their Harleys, one pair to each state, to renew their unemployment checks. Party on! Fun was had. Later, we found this great bass player, Danny Lee. Used a thumbpick and fingerpicks, which is unusual, but he did a thumpin' bass. Ro0ger went and got married and shit, and fell out, but I tried to stay in touch. The local legend Steve Candiman took over on pots and pans. Danny Lee got married again (3rd time?) and started to fade out. Couple of weeks ago I sent Roger a Happy Birthday on Facebook, and was informed he was dead. He died in his house, and the corpse was at least a month old when it was found, 4 months before. Thanks. Ran into a friend at the grocery store. Asked about our mutual friend Danny Lee. 'Oh he's been dead some time now, close on 20 years'. Old buddy of mine from HS, married my OGF (his 4th, her 5th IIRC). 'Oh, he died around '98' Thanks for letting me know. 20 years late. Would have shown at the services, consoled the widow kinda thing. Ihad wondered for years why they didn't answer the phone. I still tried once a month. A dear OGF lives in California. She's undergoing chemo for cancer of the liver, encroaching on the spine. Scares the doo-dog shit out of me. She seems to be holding up well, she's a strong girl, but still. I'm fucking sick and tired of hearing the bad news months, years, decades, after the event.The passing of time does not soften the impact. Sometimes it makes it worse, you bastard. If you're gonna die, let me know.

17 April 2022

A Little Better All The Time

I'm not usually a big fan of Macca, but this gives me hope. Paul MacCartney's father played in dance hall bands, which explains a lot about Macca's bass playing. He's emulating tuba and trombone parts. Listen closely, and it will become obvious. There's a thing, yanno, in vocalists. Jon Hendricks was a drummer, but phrased his vocalese like an alto sax. And fucking well. Mel Torme and Dave Lambert phrased like 'bones. Annie Ross flew with a trumpet. Jeff Beck works to emulate on his guitar the sounds of Lester Young's tenor sax. The point here is that you work in unfamiliar ground. Some of my fave vamps are Nat Cole. Seriously. How could you not play 'Route 66'if you had the chops to do it? It's a 12 bar with a bridge! Easy peasy! Chuck Berry could do it! (My personal headchart is more Mingus, but it overlays perfectly).

15 April 2022

Me again

Home again home again, jiggety jig. Here I come riding on a big fat pig. You may or may not know the old folk song. What is it with piggies anyway? And feet? I just recently realzed that the piggie that went to market wasn't there to shop. Oh no no no. Piggie gonna be a bacon buttie. With brown sauce, if I know my Brits. Yeah, my foot's giving me gyp again. Left foot is a #14, right foot is a #10. I'm an asshole, I freely admit it. I'll go into Walmart and buy a pair of shoes from 2 different boxes in different sizes. I just recently snapped to a...thing. Old Jeff Beck Group recording I have on vinyl. 'Rock My Plimsoll'. Well, I KNOW what a plimsoll is, right? It's that line on the outside of a ship which indicates how heavily laden it is. Rock my plimsoll, baby. Like a ship in the water. Lovely image, innit? BUT NO! It's a SHOE! A canvas shoe, like PF Flyers, Cons, or Vans. Shake my sneakers sugar! I feel, somehow, the less for this bit of insight. But an insight, once inseen, will linger forever in that vast warehouse that pleases itself to call itself my brain. I don't NEED this shit! Behold my Unicorn Fist! Anyway, back to more interesting things, to wit, my left foot (should make a movie. What? IT'S BEEN DONE? See 'Unicorn Fist, supra.) Hurts like the Dickens. And this bothers me no end. The pain? I have a pretty high pain threshold. I go in to Ben Taub Trauma and my foot's half ripped off, and say 'it hurts', they know not to offer a 'Narcos!' (sounds like a breakfast cereal, dunnit?), move directly to a double dilaudid plus 100 ml iced vodka. As the interns are vomiting. Not that. It's the phrase 'like the Dickens'. Ol' Chuck, bless his heart, wrote to make money. There may have been a muse involved, but mostly covering his rent. Penny-a-word, for serials. Every week. So they wandered on and on. And on. And on. So we end up with the Twisted Oliver, or Miss Havisham. That is why I say 'my foot hurts like the Dickens'.

14 April 2022

Been a while boys and girls

Life is good. For a given value of 'good'. 'Up to a point, Lord Copper'. For the 5th time in 4 days I've been excised from FB for a common joke, MeWe. Gab and Parler take ages to load on my browser, and Twitter takes a good 2 minutes. Not sure how long Blogger will allow me to speak my piece. Personal life? Sucks, nothing of interest to anyone who doesn't have my phone number. 5 friends have reported new cancers. Stop it, please. Of course I will pray for you, but my knees are over 60 years old. My brain. well it's a thing. Rocking between The Horndog Years (from, call it 15 to 50) and the incursion of the timor mortis conturbat me. The Covid years have been very bad for me. Lucrative work has vanished. Musical work is no longer. Very big suck. I've got serious COPD, having lost half a lung to TB, and I limp quite horribly.thanks to being run over by a bus. But I do what I can. I climb onto my bicycle (I can't afford to keep a car, it's an early 70s Raleigh, and I love it very much). I smile, and I say howdy, and folks smile back and that's a GOOD THIMG. My smiles and waves are getting a 200% return on investment.

31 January 2022

Home again home again.

So my senior younger brother is in town, camping at our mother's house, estimated 4 months. My older son had been living there to help his grandmother for about 3 years. My brother Dan has done fucked up. His son own declined to be under the same roof. With his woman and their child. My younger son says 'nope', and he's a fucking Marine.

31 October 2021

To keep from being expunged

Evidently. Google wants me to post to keep the blog alive. So I haven't posted for months. Meh The UK seems to want everyone to use heat pumps. Maybe it's a different thing there. (cf 'boot' on a car, not on a foot), I worked a building that used heat pumps. Hour per month maintenance per unit. 10 story building. 30 units per floor Equals 300 heat pumps. 4 x 40 hour week. Doesn't fit. So I come up with a protocol that cuts it to 20 minutes per unit, or with the princely investment of about $12 per unit in parts, obviates the hour's labor. 'NO' Okay. In person, I'm a slob. But an organized slob. The shop at this building had no As Builts, no schematics, no one-lines. Dick. Fuck-all. Sweet Fanny Adams. I mapped that motherfucker. Every outlet, every fixture, labeled with the breaker and panel, the way the Baby Jesus intended. I did this on my weekends, because you have to let the goddamed heat pumps run for a full hour to see if they're actually working, and I have a magic box. (It's a 277vac light switch in a rubberised case, with a plug on a pigtail. Plug it in, flip the switch for a dead short, and you know what's on that circuit.) I had problems with this job. I moved into an apartment half a mile from the place of work. Nice! I'll bicycle! "You must use your assigned parking space!" for my bike? I'll just keep it in the shop. Plenty of space since I've cleaned out literal tons of trash.'You have an assigned parking space!' No bike rack. I got fired for having 2 buttons undone on my shirt. Hotel I worked for was worse. Can't keep your bike in the shop. Can't keeep your bike in the warehouse. You must park on the rooftop area. You can't take a parking space. I ended up dangling it over the edge of the parking area 5 floors up. Made the local news. Got fired for cursing in Russian.