Friday, July 25, 2008

Sitting. Thinking. The whole durn mess.

I am in the US Airways lounge at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport. I shall fly home today for the weekend before taking off for Boston and Washington, DC next week. Some points I have had occasion to ponder since last I blogged.

Real Headline - STUDY:VIAGRA MAY BOOST ORGASM IN WOMEN TAKING ANTIDEPRESSANTS.... ok, but why exactly did we think we needed this study in the first place? And wouldn't an eye-rolling, toe curling, sweat dripping orgasm pretty much serve to un-depress most women. I take this kind of stuff as a sign that we are near the end of the world as we know it.

Until...

I read the story from Torrance, Calif. - GOOD SAMARITANS AID MAN AFTER WIND SCATTERS CASH about a 70 year old man who who stumbled coming out of the bank and watched the wind scatter several thousand dollars in cash. People stopped to help him chase it down and he recovered 96% of it. See, a few posts back I told you I have a belief that generally people will go and do the right thing. Made me feel good about California.

Until....

I accidentally ran a flashing red light in El Segundo a while back and got ticketed. It has taken about 3 weeks, but it finally posted on the website. $381 fine for a simple traffic infraction. My Gosh!! That was about the greediest and insane thing I had ever seen.

Until....

I read further. I can come to court on my appear date (not an option) or pay it over the internet. Of couse, rather than fly back to L.A. I will pay over the internet.... and incur some kind 0f $10 fee for doing this online. My gosh!!!!! I am tempted to say things can't get worse, but I'm afraid to.

There is a headline in today's paper about 3 universities facing a "budget irony". I did not realize that "irony" was an accounting term. I am curious as to what they mean, but not curious enough to read the article.

Feds urged to monitor tactics of polygamists, out
Ramblin' Ed

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pictures and Videos

I have a real post in me soon. The ride out here was less than pleasurable, but that is a rant for another time. I am in Phoenix. It is clear that my company is not in the travel business. How else to explain how I find my happy ass in NH in February and now in the desert in mid-July. Suffice to say, it is rather warm here.

Hey, I apologize for the formatting. Blogger weirds out on you when you start doing more than typing.


videoA quick video of what I go through to bring you this stuff. Takes about 50 seconds, the video stopped after 39. Such is my existence.

A rainbow in the neighborhood. Actually, if you look to the right, you'll notice it is a double rainbow.

Street signs are just more entertaining in Los Angeles

This dang sandwhich, which I got in Detroit (OK, OK, it was Romulus, MI) must have weighed 3 pounds! I could barely finish a half in one sitting.




Who can resist a munchkin in a fedora? Even if it is a plastic fedora.

He seemed contented enough.


I figure an artist or sculptor lived here. The glass bambooy things caught my eye, but there was a lot of stuff hanging out in that yard if you just looked.



Tattoo parlor, Venice Beach, CA







Been on the road too long. I forgot that in Florida you gotta check for fire ants before kneeling in the grass to weed a flower bed. Little suckers that did this were tiny, like fleas, but they chomped me up, but good. They tend to get a whole gang together on you first, then commence to biting you in unison. Neighbors all know what is going on when they look up and see you doing the "I'VE GOT FIRE ANTS ON ME!!" dance.


An unconcerned osprey watching us fish.






Most effective way that I have found for virus removal. When I could get on the internet fine but could not connect to my anti-virus update site I got suspicious and wiped the whole disk.

Riding shotgun in the wife's car makes you feel like a sled dog in the middle of the pack. The 3 puppies nod in agreement.











A relaxing drive between Naples and Miami on the Tamiami Trail (US 41).








Heading East from Miami into The Everglades.




The fence you see is invisible, out
Ramblin' Ed

Monday, July 14, 2008

Holloman's Trailer Park, Seffner, FL

Was watching the CBS show SWINGTOWN this morning. I had 4 episodes DVR'd from when I was traveling a lot. I watched 2 yesterday morning and 2 this morning. The story line is pretty standard soap opera type fare, but the music and references are pure '70s, which means, of course, pure nostalgia for me.

So a Bob Dylan song came on (Liz Phair has her hand in the music selection for the show) and I flashed back to 1978, Holloman's Trailer Park, and the steep, steep learning curve that is moving out on your own. Oh baby!, I remember a new surprise every day... and not the pleasant kind. And I know that you know.

I was 18 and moved from home with the intention of never going back. And with the exception of a couple of weeks right before boot camp, I never did. Not a family friction kind of thing but a stubborn streak kind of thing. An Ed thing although I can hardly be alone. I had ended up in Seffner, in a trailer park, in an old trailer that I paid $90 a week for. I was working for $2.85 an hour, and even with huge amounts of overtime, you can do the math and deduce the struggle. As a side note, the same trailer still sits in the same spot and is still renting out.

I came to the realization gradually that I was never gonna get anywhere from where I was. Freedom is a powerful feeling when you are 18 and in charge of your own destiny, no matter how messed up the route you choose. But the hits, they just keep on coming. Take a $140 paycheck and deduct $90.OK, that's cool. Oh, wait. Need to pay electric. OK. Oh yeah, and gas. And for that matter, gasoline. Oh, and some food. And the motorcycle payment. And insurance. And the chain needs to be replaced. And...and...and...OH MY GOSH!! Everybody has their hand in my pocket!! Welcome to the real world. Nothing's free. Or easy.

So I took in a roommate. Yeah, that's the ticket. He was my best friend. My unemployed best friend. That helped matters out - NOT. Well, truthfully, it did kinda help. We kept each other from taking the trip out to Depression City as we figured our way in the world. And, cliched as it may be, that which did not kill us made us stronger.

We had a TV. Physically, we had a TV. It did not work. It was one of those that had 4 legs and was almost a console TV, but not quite. We kept a plant on it. Didn't want anyone to know we were too poor to buy a TV, although I think the trailer and the park probably gave at least a hint of the real situation. And eventually, one year when my income tax check came in, we both skipped school (yes, I was actually still in high school, due to a certian lackidasical attitude on my part in some of the previous school years. And yes, even more surprisingly, I still tried to go every day, at least most of the time I did) to go cash that check and then go get ourselves a functioning television. Used maybe, but functioning. And that we did, two teenage boys on a Kawasaki KH 400 , hauling a pretty good sized TV between us. Me with my crotch all but straddling the handlebar and him with his butt all but off the back, and the TV safely on the padded seat in between us we putted on home to hook our new (to us) TV. This little excursion, although I didn't realize it at the time, served as a test run for later shopping trips on a motorbike to the weekend market in Thailand.

But before we got rich enough to own a new used TV, we had a record player. And records, for those of you who remember records. At the time, albums were going for about $3, which seemed kind of expensive. But as a free spirited, living on his own teenager, what ya gonna do? You have to have tuneage. And we did. John Prine, Marshall Tucker, Dire Straits, Elton John, Grinderswitch, Pink Floyd, Commander Cody (& His Lost Planet Airmen), Elvin Bishop, Rick Wakeman, and certianly, Bob Dylan. And as much as we loved Dylan... as much as we respected his talent... sometimes the lyrics would be just sooo self important and, when sung in that nasally voice and that inconsistent pitch of his, well, we would literally roll on the floor laughing. Couldn't help ourselves. And hearing that clip on Swingtown took me back for a moment to two poor trailer park boys, prone on that trailer's threadbare carpeted floor, holding our sides with tears in our eyes. An instant smile from a not so simpler time.

Early one morning the sun was shining and I was laying in bed, out
Ramblin Ed

Liz Phair - Polyester Bride:

Friday, July 04, 2008

Inner Hippie

It is July 4th. Happy Fourth day.

Everything ultimately exists in a state of flux. A flux acknowledged or a flux denied. It really does not matter our desires. Wellness and contentment visit one day and take the next one off. You are free to do about it the same thing I do...not much of anything. You cannot change karma, only offend it. That is my theory and that is my experience. And, in any past lives I may have moved through, I must have been a decent guy. Or jaybird. Or whatever.

Because, overall I feel so alive these days. You know, just full of my senses. Aware of so much warmth and emotion in my midst. I have a wonderment for that, because after all, I'm a middle aged white guy who works too much. I don't fit the warm fuzzy demographic. But most of you know, I have always had my inner hippie. Somehow I believe that inner hippie is beginning to more and more move to the forefront. Not in the hemp wearing, dreadlock growing, Phish grooving sort of way, but in a peaceful, live and let live sort of way. As REM sang about "Losing My Religion", I would record the follow up "Losing my Aggression". Losing, however, as opposed to completely gone. What can I say?

One thing that I find both amusing and a little unnerving is how easily I will get a lump in my throat. A moving dance, a heartfelt lyric, the evening news for crying out loud. I feel like I am more connected to the world than ever before. Nice. Hopefully not unmasculine. Confusing. When and how did I stumble onto this existential connection? Couldn't it have manifested itself as, say, goosebumps rather than getting choked up and teary eyed? I mean, c'mon. It's not like can just blame it on hormones. Can I?

More than ever before, I find beauty in simple things. Quiet evenings. Oil on canvas. Melodies. Sitting in the shade on a warm afternoon. Staring down a lizard on a flower stem. I want to capture the serenity that I sense around me and yet seldom even try. How could you hold it? It's a permeation, not a projection. It just is. And, I suspect it always is, just you have to slow down enough for it to be sensed. I think serenity cannot even really be glimpsed at a pace much above a meander. Luckily, rambling is very much akin to meandering.

For the record, anger and bitterness have never been a big part of who I am. But if I ever had either from time to time, they are pretty much well behind me now. Sure, I still have a competitiveness about me, though hardly the all consuming kind. And to be even surer, there are people whom I don't like. Heck, I even delight in tweaking them evey chance I get. But anger? Not so much. Bitterness? Don't have a huge capacity for it.

My cynicism minimized. Not when it comes to local, state, and national politics. But otherwise. I've always thought that, given the opportunity, most people will do the right thing. I am an inherent goodness kind of guy. Silver lining. Could have been worse. I am, in most things, quite the optimist. Things work out as long as you keep moving and don't freak out. Not exactly a mantra, but definately a personal belief. A hunch.

All of this just to articulate a realization I came to in Detroit. In a hotel room. Looking out the window at a large, leafy tree, the thoughts started to form. Later, watching someone on television dance so beautifully and gracefully that my throat lumped on me, Mia Michaels' choreography no doubt as she is so emotionally inspiring, I began to come to a full realization of what was right there, on the tip of my brain. Life is good. Live now.

My anthem: Todd Snider's I BELIEVE YOU (<--- Sorry for linking. Embedding is disabled on this one. Damn record companies. Kind of ruins the vibe of the song, when you think about it.)

I Believe You

I believe in Karma
I believe in Soul
I believe in Heaven
I believe in Rock n' Roll

I believe in wrestling
I believe in sleep
I know I ought to quit now
But I believe I'm in too deep

I believe in gangster rap
Gays and geeks and ghosts
I believe that we die
Of all the things that we hate the most

I believe that we all learn
To love before we get through
I believe in letting people
Do what people do

I believe in everything
(I Believe You)
Yes I do
I believe in everything
I believe in everything, everyone, everybody hey, hey, hey
(I Believe You)

I believe that all my friends
Really are my friends
I believe that Jesus Christ
Died for all of my sins

I believe that the devil gets
Exactly what he's due
I believe in the Beatles
I believe in my girlfriend too

Tell me what you want
... I believe you

I believe in people
White and black and blue
I believe in people
Who don't believe the same way I do

Because I know some day
Love is going to shine its own way through
I believe in letting people
Do what people do

I believe in everything
Yes I do
I believe in everything, everyone, everybody hey, hey, hey (I Believe You)

Tell me what you want... I believe you , out
Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

T-shirt, car tag, airplane

On a t-shirt: MY COUNTRY INVADED IRAQ AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS EXPENSIVE GAS

On a license plate: TO DA JOB

I am on a 10:35 PM Boeing headed back to the East Coast. Never been so glad to have a flight in front of me. I am bound for the warm, embracing shade of the mighty cigar tree and some much needed decompression.

Headed out of L.A., out
Ramblin' Ed