Crazy Days

Sort of a long ramble here; gathered over a number of days of sporadic writing. I do write every day, but don’t always take the time to post.

In a personal journal, you can just jot down some nonsense and rambles and close the book. But in a public blog, it seems we must give at least a cursory glance at the words before posting, lest someone think we are lazy with grammar and structure and spelling and punctuation. But it’s often the case that I don’t feel like editing at the same time I feel like writing. So the words sit and marinate until I muster the energy to fetch them, reorganize a bit, spit polish, throw in a few photos, and post. I sort of enjoy the outcome, but the process can be a bit messy.

The irony I guess is that blogs are best when there are interesting stories to tell. But when you are busy gathering interesting stories, there is rarely time to write about them.

I get into work frenzies at times and am riding that wave at the moment. Hence the lackluster blog activity. But plenty going on behind the scenes.

Started the new job, which for the moment is pretty casual 8:00 – 5:00’ish. Nice people. Stuff I know how to do; but of course the anxiety of wanting to be appreciated and acknowledged as competent is always there at beginning.

I get up early to walk and get some work done on camper design. Also at lunch and in evenings, when not working on the boat. Researching trims, wall panels, laminates, adhesives, trailers, canopies, and aluminum fabrication. House is starting to fill up with sample materials. I am going to do a mock-up of a small wall panel and a compartment.

If I had 20 grand lying around I would hire a consultant and an engineer to translate my vision to CAD and 3D models, but alas, I do not. So bootstrapping it. But I’ve done it before.

I did hire a freelance architect in Barcelona to work on some very basic 3D renderings, and a local engineer on the cheap for some super basic infrastructure design drawings. Brian and I have a call with the engineer tomorrow to talk through a few things on the interior design.

Gotta see this through. It’s keeping me up too much to not get attention.

The energy ebbs and flows and so I need to be as productive as I can while it’s peaking.

I’m still finding a few minutes for Rick Bass every night. If you can’t be in the wilderness, the next best thing is to read about it. Read someone who is passionate enough to devote their life to studying, documenting, and gently encouraging, the preservation of our few remaining wild places.

In ’The Lost Grizzlies’ the wildlife biologists, Doug Peacock, said that Grizzlies, when they know they are being hunted, will deliberately take drastic measures to not leave tracks. They will step from rock to rock and avoid dirt and mud. He also said raccoons, when people are around, are known to cover their eyes with their paws so their eyes will not reflect light. If that’s true, that is some serious shit. Some higher level learning.

I successfully relocated a spider today. He appeared to be chilling; maybe asleep, when I was at the sink making coffee in the morning. He was between the cabinet and window frame. But a few hours later he appeared to not have moved and so I attempted a burial at sea, by flushing him down the sink drain. About 10 minutes later I was back at the sink and there he was. Shaking himself and drying his legs and generally looking pissed off. He tried to crawl out but the water on the sides of the sink were slick. So I lowered a lifeline in the form of a paper towel where his legs found purchase. He came charging up like he was going to kick my ass, but I managed to get him outside and deposited in the garden before a confrontation. I don’t like to kill any beings, but I definitely will if it’s him or me.

Last Saturday was a real bear of a long day. I knew it would be. 15-hour day on the canoe. I had to get on the fiberglass and 3 coats of epoxy. And the epoxy needed 3 – 4 hours of rest between coats. The book assertively recommends to not take this step alone. It’s a big job and super important to get right; lots of shit going on. I disregarded that advice since I don’t like to ask for help even though it would have been the right thing to do. Once you start, there’s really no looking back. You can space the coatings out, but once the coat cures, it would need to be sanded before the next coat went on. And, by getting the next coat on before the one before dries, you get a stronger chemical bond.

A few issues, but overall not too bad. Just a long ass day. I finally ate dinner at 11:00.

Between the resin and the hardener and mineral spirits, the garage was a volatile chemical hell. First issue is that I ran out of latex gloves. I thought I had another box but I was out. The first set lasted about 30 minutes, so I had to go bare-handed the rest of the first coat. Also not recommended.

Sunday and Monday my hands were still swollen and itchy as hell, but they are finally back to normal now. My mailman came by while I was between first and second coat. Great guy. He’s been following the progress as I have the garage door open when I can. I told him what was going on and he floated me a few pairs of nice rubber gloves from his truck. Problem solved.

I still got epoxy everywhere. About 11:00, the wind picked up so I had to close the garage door to keep leaves and dust from settling on the epoxy. So ventilation became suspect, but I set up an exhaust fan out the back door and it wasn’t too bad. After I finished I took time for a cigar and a scotch and was half-afraid of catching on fire from the chemicals on my body and in the air.

Anyway, an average job, but I accept the results considering it’s my first boat build.

Weather last weekend was amazing; but then back to cold and grey. I got my first long hike in shorts, first night sleeping with the deck doors open, and first bike ride where I didn’t have to bundle up in cold weather gear.

I went for take out on Sunday at The Standard and had a drink with Dani and Said. Good to see them.

People are getting a bit of cabin. Not me, of course, but most everyone else it seems. The danger for me is not becoming uncomfortable with quarantine, but getting too comfortable with it. Twice in my life I’ve gotten so deeply immersed in solitude, so comfortable with not being out and about, that I had to jolt myself out of the rut for fear of becoming a complete isolationist. Sort of hard to explain, but I definitely find that the more I am home, the more I want to be home. But I also know life is richer when balanced and so I do move when not living in pandemic times.

NPR actually had a very good segment on NPR on the weekend about this topic—the difference between willful solitude and loneliness. It made me realize there are more of us out there than I had thought.

The boss released a long-coveted concert from July 09, 1981 in NJ. I had never heard it, but had heard about it from those few crazies who are more zealous than me. It’s good. It’s great. I listened to it last night. This is a period of the band’s time when they were musically super tight. The concerts though were a little less scripted than later shows. Once Bruce started doing stadiums, he moved to a whole new level of structure and control. He is fanatically focused on every fan having a great experience at his concerts and of course as the audiences grew, that required an altered approach.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s concerts, the band seemed to have a little more latitude to take things off on a tangent. But there’s never an issue understanding who the band leader is at a Springsteen concert. He is a force of gravity. When he’s on any stage, unless he deliberately concedes, which he often does in tributes and non-Springsteen stages, the band will automatically gravitate to his leadership. He’s a consummate professional. Always.

I turned the lights off in my office, leaned back in my chair with my feet on the desk and listened to song after song. Sipping a little Redbreast and the door open with a nice breeze. Amongst all this confusion and angst, it was a nice moment.

The version of ‘Trapped’ in this tour is the best I’ve ever heard. As heartfelt as they come. No idea what his life was like when he wrote it, but it’s some hard core shit. I’ve seen him play it live so I went to YouTube to remember how great he does this on stage.

Well it seems like I’m caught up in your trap again
And it seems like I’ll be wearing the same old chains
Good will conquer evil and the truth will set you free
And I know someday I’ll find the key
And I know somewhere I will find the key

Well it seems like I’ve been playing the game way too long
And it seems the game I played has made you strong
Well when the game is over, I won’t walk out the loser
And I know that I’ll walk out of here again
And I know someday I’ll walk out of here again

Because I’m trapped.

And of course Badlands live is also always amazing energy

Talk about a dream
Try to make it real
You wake up in the night
With a fear so real
You spend your life waiting
For a moment that just don’t come
Well, don’t waste your time waiting

An excellent article appeared in The Guardian, which I’ve included below. I’ve been annoyed as hell as people, good people, are starting to forget what a disaster George Bush was as president. Was really pretty damn sad when Michell Obama tweeted that she considered him a friend. She’s just a better person than me—by a long way, I know. I still fucking hate Bush for all the destruction and agony he caused in his 8 years.

We don’t have to rewrite the former president’s record just because the incumbent is unleashing his own campaign of shock and awfulness
Arwa Mahdawi

Wed 6 May 2020 02.00 EDT

It is 2040. Coronavirus is a distant memory. Boris Johnson has fathered his 19th child. Toy Story 12 and Fast & Furious 32 are playing in cinemas. Donald Trump is a cuddly nonagenarian who is cooed over by liberals. “Remember the good old days when Donny joked about injecting bleach?” people will reminisce fondly. “What a legend!”

Does that last prediction sound improbable? It shouldn’t: just look at the ongoing rehabilitation of George W Bush. It is only 11 years since Bush left office, but widespread amnesia regarding his regressive record appears to have set in. People have already giggled over his adorable struggle to put on a poncho during Trump’s inauguration and praised his unlikely friendship with Ellen DeGeneres. Now many liberals are fawning over Bush for the incredible achievement of being an iota more sane than Trump.

On Saturday, Bush put out a video calling for compassion and national unity during the coronavirus crisis. In it, he declared: “We are not partisan combatants; we are human beings.” This is a lovely message; really, it is. It is just a shame he wasn’t so invested in our shared humanity when he used the fabricated threat of weapons of mass destruction to bomb Iraq into oblivion. It is a pity he didn’t think about “how small our differences are” when he fought LGBTQ+ rights. It is unfortunate he wasn’t so concerned about compassion during his botched and heartless response to Hurricane Katrina.

If there were an Oscar for best use of cinematography to whitewash a bloody legacy, then Dubya has certainly earned it. His three-minute message – which was part of The Call to Unite, a project featuring videos from celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Julia Roberts – has been viewed more than 6m times and generated widespread praise. With Trump in office, suddenly Bush doesn’t seem so bad to many observers. At least Bush could reach across the political aisle now and again. “Bush handled post-Katrina by asking his father and Bill Clinton to help,” tweeted Maggie Haberman, the New York Times’ White House correspondent. “The current president has been uninterested in asking his predecessors to get involved as the country deals with Covid.”

We don’t have to do this. We don’t have to normalise Bush or rewrite his record just because Trump is unleashing his own campaign of shock and awfulness. We don’t have to minimise the enormous damage Bush did just because he didn’t tweet misspelled abuse at his political enemies. We don’t have to do any of this – but a lot of Americans seem desperately to want to. This is partly because the US has a deep-seated reverence for its heads of state, as illustrated by the fact they retain the honorific of president after they have left office.

Perhaps because Britain is a monarchy with a longer history than the US, we don’t see our head of government as a national mother or father figure in quite the same way. However, the bigger motivation behind the apparent desire to rehabilitate Bush is probably a desperation among liberals to see Trump as an anomaly who doesn’t reflect the “real” US. But Trump is not an aberration. He didn’t emerge from a vacuum. The lies, jingoism and anti-intellectualism of the Bush era helped pave the way for him – and the steady rehabilitation of Bush is paving the way for Trump to evade accountability in the future.

You don’t move forward by forgetting and forgiving the past; you move forward by learning from it. It seems we haven’t learned anything. Nevertheless, my greatest respect goes out to Bush’s PR people for their incredible work transforming him into a national treasure. Mission accomplished.

Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist

I need to order a set of demitasse cups for evening espresso. Been on my list for about 7 years or so now. I keep thinking I will see the right set somewhere and buy it, but never do. So will just give the money to

Bezos I guess. Or, maybe just wait until I can get back to Europe. Onah will take me. She will know where to go.

2 thoughts on “Crazy Days

  1. Lynn Milliner May 7, 2020 — 10:39 pm

    Loved the blog


  2. Thanks Lynn — took a while to get something out. Be well.


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