Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dirtbag Prologue

A quick break from the reality of living in my car, the roughest of the rough drafts. Give it a read and tear it apart. Don't be shy, feedback is most certainly appreciated!

The Dirt Bagger's Urn
(otherwise known as Yours to Discover)


A lonesome wind stirs up the dust of a thousand years of broken dreams. With it comes the whisperings of a thousand more promises yet to be realized. A thousand more promises yet to be broken and left in the swirling dust. It is a wind that started blowing one night long ago. It grew into maturity over the Pacific, feeding off of exotic islands and desolate stretches of abandoned ocean. As it grew, it licked moisture from the whitecaps cruising towards that distant shore. As with any popular movement, as it made landfall, some of its bluster diminished. But the mass moved on, singular in its intent. Purposefully it bonded with its brothers high in the Sierras. Slowly it grew and grew. As it ever deliberately moved across the water, into the mountains, and across the desert— its character built. It smelt like raw iron and electric energy. It certainly contained both. It is neither dry nor moist. It could tell tales of the hula or the Muir Spruce. It could share the secrets of man's meaning or the riddle of our plain existence. But it is not interested. It is not interested in reliving tales known since its birth. It is not interested in rehashing fairytales of a wayward youth. It is bent on running free. The nascent force is looking to carve its own path in the annals of man. It is focused on breaking the barriers of the mountains ahead. It is determined to reach the valley floor and to flow without impedance. It is focused as a singular entity to destroy or give birth according to its own choosing.

With its wispy fingers it tickles the bones of long dead Indian warriors. Its feathered fingers give breathe to old wives tales of ghosts and warning told around camp fires. The wind starts high above the valley floor, in the mountains toward the sea. Like a wild beast storing energy for the winter, it patiently builds up strength as it passes from the ocean to the desert. When it finally breaks through the surrounding mountains, it swoops down into the valley plateau with a cold pent up fury. Like a woman scorned, it waits for the moment when the world does not expect its wrath to come forth. It rushes down over the alluvial fans, carving as it flows. Many of the unenlightened flee its path. Those who are unknowing shudder as it seeps under closed doors and disrupts their complacency of mediocrity. Despite its ferocity, it is welcomed by the valley. As it rushes across the hot parched floor, it scrubs and cleanses. For those awake to its power, it is a longed for foe.

At the first sign of the coming wind, long-eared jack rabbits scamper for the safety of the burrows. With wide black eyes shining from their burrows, they survey the impending onrush. The sly fox looks about him for the evenings diner. Ears alert and eyes ready, he watches life below him take cover. Hearing the wind beckoning like a forgotten lover, the fox picks up his pace. A round-tail warily eyes the fox as he scurries to his hole. She wonders what the hurry is. Soon she too will know. The sidewinder zig-zags to his burrow with another year's fresh rattle in tow. Its forked member tastes the changing air as it slithers. A spiny chuckwalla grunts between two rocks, still warm from the winter sun. He lazily absorbs what little warmth the rocks provide and waits. The building gusts signal the coming of a buffet for him in only a few short weeks. Banded geckos chase each other over rusty boulders. Too caught up in their play, they ignore the activities around them. Their attention will be grabbed shortly.

Dried frail stalks of Blue Canterbury Bells shiver in anticipation. Infant buds of white Blazing Stars wrap themselves tighter in their cocoons. Desert Five Spots wearily awaken from the summer's slumber. Lupine, Dandelion, and sour Brittlebush push roots into the ground and fight against the hard-flowing wind. Those who find purchase in the 11th hour will reward the world with an incredible shower of color in the months to come. Sharp-edge yuccas grip the earth. Their dull spears barely move in the blowing air. Beneath the surface, their tenacious roots claw against the rock and sand of the desert bowels. The aged Joshua Tree feels its beard tickled by the gale. Its limbs stretch upward to receive the faint moisture carried by the wispy fingers of the wind. To some, it is a dark throated wind indeed. To others an alarm clock of promise.

* * *

On a deserted plateau far from the chem toilets and RVs of Hidden Valley camp ground, a lonely butte rises from the valley floor. Out of earshot from the flying machines of the Marine base, it rises. Separated from the myths and mistakes of the commercial experience, it rises. Worlds away from usage fees and green-stripped ranger trucks it rises. Unexplored by anyone of importance it rises. Unnamed and unfound on any modern map, it rises up from the valley floor. Tucked into the wilderness itself, it has stood undisturbed for eons. It is a lonely butte insignificant from any of the other lonely buttes in this side of the park. It is this insignificance that makes it so remarkable. It is this insignificance that in time will make this barren piece of rock incredibly significant. It was, as a matter of consequence, chosen simply because of its solitude and insignificance. It is its solitude and insignificance that marks its memory.

On that dusty piece of rock, a camp fire smolders. The blackened remains of a weeks worth of dead timber fills the small fire circle. A few small stones, blackened by the weeks smoke, circle the embers. Barely identifiable footprints lead away from the smoky ashes. The shoe prints are small. The stride is most diligent. They, along with the charred rocks surrounding the dying fire, are the only traces of human interference on this desolate mesa. In time, the elements will reclaim the desolation. The wind will scatter the ash and erase the footprints. The desert will reclaim what is hers. By the end of the season, nothing will remain here to signal a human presence. The physical evidence will be scattered and untraceable. The story however of this deserted plateau far from the chem toilets and RVs of the Hidden Valley will live on for quite some time.

* * *

"Ranger 1, Ranger 1, come in. Ranger 1 this is base, come in. You out there Ranger 1? Over."

"Go ahead base, this is Ranger 1. Over."

"Uh yah Tom, what's your six? Over."

"I am heading down the wash road, should be back in Cottonwood in about twenty. You're not getting cold feet about tonight's poker game are you?"

"Cold feet about taking your paycheck home with me, not at all! Listen Tom we need you to swing by the Spring campground before you call it a day. We have a couple hikers just got back from the backcountry talking about a dead body someplace off of Eagle Mountain. Swing down and check it out on your way back to base. Over"

"Seriously Base? I am already an hour past my quitting time. Over"

"Sorry about that Tom but you are the only truck we have coming back to Cottonwood. Its probably nothing though. Just some sun stroked hippies who believe the Gram Parsons story a little too much. Over"

"Roger that Base, on my way. Hey don't drink all the cold beer hunh, and make sure you bring your wallet tonight. Ranger 1 out."

* * *

The light in the old Airstream trailer was still on. It cast an eerie glow in the dust eddies skirting around the desert floor. Sounds of men laughing bounced across the dry air. The old white SUV ground to a halt outside of the trailer. Its dusty tires left deep ruts in the dry driveway. Slowly the weary driver turned off the ignition. The engine sputtered and grunted before turning off. The AM radio slowly faded into the ether before announcing that night's Dodger's score. The voices from inside grew quiet. After a moment the door to the trailer opened and a hatless head poked out.

"Hey Tom, that you? Where'd did you get off to? Its been more then three hours since you headed down to the camp at Cottonwood Spring. We thought you were gonna skip out on the cards tonight."

"Come on out here Sam, we need to talk."

"What is it Tom, those hippies send you on a wild goose chase all over the park for nothing? Just another one of their bad trips hunh? Screw that Parson bastard! Why don't need this headache season after season right?"

"Sam I think we got trouble."

"It wasn't just a rumor, the dead body and all?"

"Don't look like that at all. The hikers brought this back with them."

The light from the trailer bounced and shimmered off an object in the ranger's hand. Slowly he let it drop from his fingers. Two flat pieces of dull aluminum attached to a beaded chain fell into the darkness.

"Whatchya got there Tom?"

"Have a look yourself sir."

"Are those dogtags Tom?"

"Yup sure are," replied Tom a his slow southern drawl, "The hikers took them from the body. It looks like this is for real."

"Well if the dog tags belong to the body, we know for sure its not Gram. Anybody we know?"

"Yup, sure is…"

"Gimme a minute to get my hat. Does Ranger 1 still have gas in her?"

"Un-hunh, she sure does. A little bit anyhow."

"Warm her up, I'll grab the boys and I'll radio 29 Palms. Maybe we can get one of them spare choppers for a retrieval. God it is gonna be a cold night."

"Well at least you get to keep your paycheck this week sir."

--End Prologue

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Day 80

Day 80
Monday May 19th

Swung by the Vixen's pad to pick up the old 'puter and schlep it back to storage and ended up staying put for the night. Jewel & I cooked up some grub for A-dog. We sauteed some bay scallops with black olives, chives, garlic and fresh mint from the lawn. We tossed in some pea pods, some green beans, broccoli and fresh lime into a sesame tomato sauce and called it good. We all sat around later relaxing and watching Weeds followed by the Tudors. Good night, good night indeed.

Night time in the garden of the good luv' shackeroo...!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Day 79

Day 79
Sunday May 18th
48th Annual Topanga Canyon Banjo
Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival (105 degrees in the shade)

While my guitar gently weeps...

It is a fiddle festival after all...

The only three people at the fest that played neither the banjo nor the fiddle!

This is the banjo part of the festival.

Totally disinterested, her mind is on Game 7 of the Celtics- Cavs match-up she is missing. (ps. Celtics win!)

Back at the Ventura Vixens pad.

Let's just say the drive back to Ventuckey was a real pain in the butt. The sun was burning out my optical nerves the whole way with no pause. When we finally pulled in we were just in time to catch up with Jewel and A-Dog coming back from Joshua Tree. We were chit chatting in the driveway when a dude pushing a cart selling boiled corn rolled on by. Talk about hitting the spot. We were stoked! We never did find out what exactly the white stuff was he smothered the ears with, but it was dang tasty! It was the perfect end to a great day! To make it even better, no one died this time which is cool by me.

Fresh corn & ice cold slushies, how can you go wrong?

The mystery white goo, still not sure what it is.

Sparky going to town on a fresh ear, minus the Prius in the background and we could be in Cuba or TJ or Montevideo!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Days 77 & 78

Day 78
Saturday May 17th
VTA River

Sparky came back into town for a few days. It was so hot on Saturday we really had no motivation to do anything. But sitting around the house doing nothing was not an option. I have an idea I thought! Let's hike the Ventura River! "Hunh?," says Sparky, "Yah okay sure..." So off we went. Our goal was to start at the ocean and head up the river about 6ish to 8ish miles to the Brooks campus. I thought it was a brilliant idea for a HOT lazy afternoon. As brilliant as I thought it was, we were cursed from the beginning. We get started picking our way through the mouth of the river through the bamboo without a problem. Under the 101 we went, under Main street we go enjoying the shade and the scenery. Everything was going great. Tucked away in a stand of bamboo I spy a tattered tent. I wander over and see this homeless dude "Stuart", rather a jovial fellow, playing with a snake. I saddle on up and start taking pictures thinking this is super cool. The man starts telling me about how cool the King snake is and how it real bad ass and you want to keep them around because they keep the rattlers away. I am quickly getting in to it and lining up some great shots when all of a sudden homeless "Stuart's" pocket starts ringing. Hold on he says, thats my cell phone! A super friendly homeless dude chatting to his life partner on his cell phone in the middle of the river bank? Thats like Christmas to a photographer! I push the shutter button and nothing happens. The camera was dead in the water (pun intended).

We moved on a little bummed out. Okay actually super frikin bummed out, especially because it was A-bloody-MAZING once we hit the river. Everything was lush and green and the sky was a deep blue. Sparky had on coincidentally a bright red shirt. The colors were frikin fantastic and perfect for photog. But my dinosaur of a camera decided to crap out on us. Cursed I say. It didn't stop there. There is still a goodly amount of water in the river so Sparky insists on wearing $2 flip flops from the bargain bin at Target. We could not have gone more then 200 yards before the first sandal broke. Not good. We tried see reeds, bamboo, vines, anything we could get our hands on for a quick fix. We had no luck. He did his best to limp on but after a few hours it was starting to become pointless. I found some old rope and unwound a few strands and Sparky lashed together a stop-gap, temporary though it was. No camera and flip flops on their last legs, it was time to count our losses and call it a day. We found a sunny sand bar jutting out into the river and plopped down to enjoy the rest of the day. We tossed rocks at ducks and chit chatted.

I started getting really anxious and we packed it up and headed out. We decided to forage through the bamboo and push through the underbrush until we found the bike trail along the 33. In doing so we uncovered this huge complex of ummm "temporary" housing. An entire community of squatters had carved out quite a comfortable camp into the hillside. This explains the bath house, quite the impressive feat considering and growing by the day! We chatted with the folks for a bit. They were pretty cool cats and had quite a bit to say, life advice to offer, etc. They led us out to he dirt bike path. Much to our chagrin, when we got to the bike path we could look down the 33 and see almost where we left the car. We could not believe it! We had fought up through the river, thigh deep for the most part for the better part of 2+ hours. And the car was just 15 minutes around the bend. Boy we felt like idots, especially Sparky in his jury-rigged flip flops flapping around. All in all though a pretty rad day indeed. Every now and again it is the small things like a dead camera of broken sandals that make the trip so much more interesting and enjoyable!

High spirits under the 101 just starting out a stones toss from the surfers of C Street.

Heading inland, our goal only 7ish miles to go bushwacking through the unknown.

Well hello, what have we here sir? A king snake! Righto then, carry on, nothing to see here. And off we went, no snakes for us thank you very much!

After 2+ hours of slogging through waist deep water, fighting off water borne snakes, and battling thick tangles of all sorts we stumble upon a bath house of sorts. How bourgeois!

Ummm what! Yah I didn't bother to wear shoes, so what!

What he did wear (after numerous stops to bind up the broken flip flops with all sorts of vines, reeds, seaweed, and finally a piece of discarded rope).

Day 77
Friday May 16th

I have no idea where the week went. Already it is Friday. The weekend is upon us. The weekend always stresses me out because I am so fixated on relaxation. It is kinda funny really. My free time, time that is suppose to refresh me from the trials and tribulations of the work week, is what causes me the most stress. On one hand I live in my car so technically I can go ANYWHERE and not have to worry about it. Seriously, anywhere I go I am home if I am a few days walking of the car. Man talk about freedom! On the other hand I am paying off bills left and right, I am buying new gear and replacing old gear at an astonishing rate, and then of course with gas prices the way they are and student loans coming due in July I really want to spend as little as possible. So every weekend I am faced with a decision-- should I set forth on yet another adventure or should I hunker down in town and spend as little as possible? It is a decision that is never easy. It is a decision that every five days I am faced with without ever really reaching any sort of peace.

This weekend I kind of found a middle ground. I would do both-- adventure and live like a pauper. I had the amazing opportunity to house sit for the VVV and planned on making it worthwhile. (Remembering of course the whole raging against the night sort of thing of course!) I finished up work kinda late in the day and sprinted to the storage shed. I gathered up enough supplies to last me through the next few days. Most importantly I grabbed my painting gear and headed back to mid town. I spent a few hours blogging and editing photos as you see obviously. Then I built a fire and set up the easel. I brewed up a quick spot ' tea. I laid out my brushes and counted my paints. I lined up my canvas and thought hard about what I wanted to accomplish. Unfortunately by then I was super pooped and decided to call it a night. The painting would have to wait. Tomorrow is another day after all!

On a brighter note, I did a little meddling with the book and now after approximately 9 months of procrastination, excuses, delays, ups and downs, etc., etc., etc., I now have almost 92 pages (unedited of course). As of now we are almost home, well I mean at least a quarter of the way home! At this rate I will finally finish this dang thing around the same time I invest in an AARP membership-- about the same time I finally graduate from college!

In the next day or so I will start to post excerpts from the book for public critique. At least I think I will. Please be honest. Feel free to be brutal. My goal is maybe Monday or Tuesday or when finally get the stones to do so. Be looking...


Days 73, 74, 75, 76

Day 76
Thursday May 15th

I was in a bad bad mood all day. I have no idea why. Sometimes you know you just feel foul and dark for no particular reason. That was me today. Coworkers were annoying me, I was snappy with customers, nothing seemed to be rolling my way, I kept smashing fingers in doors and tripping over the carpet. Nothing seemed to roll my way. It was frustrating. I figured a hike was in order to burn off this pent up aggression and frustration. Off to the hills I headed, stopping first off course to pick up some attitude adjustment enhancement.

The hike was just what I needed. I laced up the new shoes determined to put them through their paces. With about two hours of daylight remaining the temps were still in the low 80s and I was loving it. I pounded through rivers, up and down cliff sides, across streams, over and under huge boulders and did my best to break in the new kicks. Finally I arrived at the cap site for the night and the new shoes didn't look haggard at all. I was impressed! I spent some time cleaning up the site, picking up trash, rebuilding the fire circle, gathering firewood, and getting settled in in general. After the frantic pace of the hike and spending about an hour dragging huge logs of driftwood up the banks of the river I was bloody exhausted and sweating like a stuck pig.

I was nasty, and with the river bank and camp site being covered in a thick cover of dust, I felt pretty much like I had been rolled in batter and deep fried. I went down to the river to clean up just as sun was setting. I quickly gave up on trying to simply wash up in the river. Instead I stripped down and jumped in. It was glorious indeed! I must have soaked for about two hours under this little waterfall. The next morning I woke up with the sunrise. Four mule deer were munching grass along the river about 20 feet from my sleeping bag. What a great way to wake up! I was definately in a much better mood for change.

I was well in need of an attitude adjustment AND an altitude adjustment.

Setting out across the first of many river crossings on my attitude adjustment endeavor.

After a few futile minutes trying to wash up I decided river enjoyment was not a spectator sport. I stripped down and jumped in and spent the rest of the day under the waterfall soaking. Glorious indeed!

Day 75
Wednesday May 14th

So I finally did it, I spent a night under the 101 in the river bottom. Let me tell you it will never happen again! There are some freaky folks down there. A few years back we had done a couple portrait sessions under the bridges taking advantage of the rad graffiti down there. We never had any problems or felt uncomfortable. Then again there was always a group of three or four of us. It is not so easy to be brave when it is pitch black out and you are all alone. The evening started out pleasantly enough. I shared a campfire circle with about a dozen 20-somethings that are homeless and had been camping in the river bottom for a few weeks. Most of the kids were just passing through either going south to LA or San Diego or trying to make their way north to Portland or Seattle. For the most part they were mellow and chill.

When it came to turning in for the night I politely excused myself and found a deserted underpass to crash under. The group had been friendly enough but I didn't really think they trusted me all that much and really didn't want to push my luck. I was a little sketched out to actually close my eyes now that I was by myself in the darkness. I had almost stumbled in to a BIG group of gang bangers earlier and there were all sorts of creepy folks drifting around under the bridges. Finally exhaustion took over and I fell into an uneasy restless sleep. A few hours later, about 2ish or so in the AM, I am wakened by this strange sensation. I heard this deep grunting and a weird raspy voice. The air was cluttered with a horrid stench of stale wine & BO. Something was yanking on my legs and cursing.

As my eyes adjusted to the shadows I realized some crazy wino was trying to steal my sleeping bag while I was inside it! I was not quite sure how to react. I mean seriously I had just been woken up and the cob webs were thick. I had no idea what was going on what to do. Finally I yelled at this shadowy figure. He just peered at me through his hairy face and didn't move. Finally he hisses at me "You're lucky I didn't poke you in your sleep...!" And then he starts yanking at the bag jerking me all over the sand trying to pull it free. I kept yelling at him but I still wasn't sure what was going on. Was he really going to stab me for my sleeping bag? That seems like a really lame way to go. Should I just give him the bag and call it good? As I was wondering what to do next he finally gave up and disappeared into the bamboo shadows. I almost right then and there high-tailed it back tot he car. I didn't though. I was absolutely determined that I would spend at least one night, one whole night, in the river bottom like the real homeless folks here in the Ventuckey. So I stayed. Needless to say I didn't sleep at all for the rest of the night. I didn't even lay back down. I plopped my back against the concrete wall and jumped at every little tiny noise. It was a long long night. As soon as the sun poked its head out I called it good. Sunset to sunrise that was goal, one night and we made due.

Not too friendly to outsiders.

40 winks with my eyes open (yes I was counting).

Day 74
Tuesday May 13th

Being homeless I spend a lot of time reading. I suppose it is a good thing. I mean for real, how many other folks get to burn through a book or two a week and manage to climb the corporate ladder? It works for me. I usually blow out of work as quickly as I can, which honestly can be close to 6ish on some days. Depending on the day I am totally free to blow on up int the hills and read until the sun sets. Sometimes it is incredibly fulfilling. Other times it fails to fill the void and leaves you wanting. Regardless you take each day as it comes and make due as best you can. If I have a bummer of a day, I know it is only a few days later on that it will all be worth while. It is the days that you drive up in to the hills, partake of an AMAZING sunset and splash through a great book that I look forward to. The adventure will continue with or without me, this much is certain. Hopefully when the adventure is in full swing, it will allow me a good book or four to enjoy by a quiet stream between the craziness.

In the hills just before sun down with a quick read by the maestro himself John Le Carre. Bang out a few chapters, cook dinner, and it is time for bed and a new dawn in a few hours. With the new day comes a whole new bag of potential and promise. Man I can't wait!

Day 73
Monday May 12th

It rained this morning. I barely got the sleeping bag and crash pad back to the car before everything was soaked in the downpour. I was miserable, cold, and soggy. I didn't sleep much after that. I shoulda taken a picture. But I was too busy being miserable watching the rain outside of the car windows to do so.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Day 72

Day 72
Sunday May 11th
Mother's Day / Pirate Fest

As I was in Ojai anyhow I decided to swing by Lake Casitas for the Pirate Festival. I had never been before and always wanted to. It sounded trippy-- hundreds of grown-ups playing dress up, waving swords around, and talking like a crusty old sea dog. It was definately fun, bizarre, but fun! I learned the finer points of boarding a merchant vessel in high seas under fire, how best to swing from the yardarm without falling in the drink (or screaming like a 6 year old little girl), which parrots are best suited to ocean life, how to pick out lace cravattes that aren't too feminine, and how best to hack off some scurvied mutineers head. I ate turkey legs the size of a small child and drank grog out of a dented metal stein. It was tres cool.

Queen's court.

From left to right-- Robin (minus his merry men), Mary (yes her eyes are green in case you didn't notice), and some dude w/ a boatload (literally) of rum.

I am scary, I am a pirate, I like wearing me misses silk undies. Arrrrrrgh!

Sitting by the dock of the bay, Elizabethan style.

Its not a gun matey! Narrrrgh, its a cannon boy! Pray you won't see it close up broadside staring yargh down!

These poor sods had never seen a wee lil' box that makes a drawing of their likeness. I call it a camera. They call it a devil box w/ a rummed out leprechaun inside slaving away with a paint brush. Let the wee leprechaun out they say. Bulox I say.

More Pirate theatre.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Days 68- 71

Day 71
Saturday May 10th
Rose Valley

Early in the morn I bid Dana adios and pointed my feets toward the hills. It was time to get out of the constant grind of day-to-day life, the constant grinding of city life that confines you in a box and slowly wears you down. I need fresh air in my hair and cool grasses between me toeses. I needed a me day but not to sit in front of the boob tube, a me day that was quiet yet productive. The grinding of normalcy is much more powerful then the eroding forces that carved out the Grand Canyon and all its splendor. This erosion also takes place over years and years. Instead of crumbing sandstone it is the souls of men it crushes and grinds. Its real danger lies in its subtlety. So slowly does it work that you never realize until literally it is too late. Isabella reminded me of the words of that rapscallion Dylan Thomas last week, to not go gently into the night & to fight against the fading light. As the week winds down and a new one waits in the wings, that has been my goal.

However raging as it were I soon see, does not necessarily mean careening blindly through life frothing at the mouth and moving forward at break-neck speed simply to be moving forward. Raging against the fading light encompasses a life of directed action sprinkled with occasional doses of inward contemplation and taking time to appreciate whatever situation you happen to have the good sense to find yourself in.

So we rage forth. Hopefully the intensity will increase in the days & weeks to come. That is the goal. For today however we hike and relax and think and groove and forget and remember and take it all in stride.

Finally, a bath!

Day 70
Friday May 9th
Caught the Laker's hoops game w/ Martina and the gang over at the old Benchwarmer. It has been a crazy week of ups and downs, wins and loses, mountains and valleys, cosmic elation and kronik depression, vibrant lights and foreboding darkness-- I am talking about the Lakers, not me. But if the shoe fits right...?

No pictures today. Instead a quote.

If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience. ~Robert Fulghum

Day 69

Thursday May 8th

What a crazy night indeed! An old wise man once said, actually he may have not been very old or wise for that matter, that there are only five reasons for wine to be drunk: the arrival or departure of a good friend, present or future thirst, the quality of the wine, and for everything else. Tonight we certainly did that in spades! Ms. Lisa is off shortly to the frigid fjords of Norway. Saddened though we all are, this night was more about celebrating the last few years then being saddened by all the good-byes in our life.

Wine & puppers, puppers & wine.

"You haven't drunk too much wine if you can still lie on the floor without holding on." ~ Dean Martin
Osama holding on...

*Quick note: 05.16.08 received email-- After a long 28 hours of traveling Ms. Lisa and Heather w/ woozy puppers Osama and Jerry touched down in the winter wonderland that is Oslo in May. They are all stoked, Jerry the most so 'cause he scored some legit Panama Red reefer from a Chihuahua in the crate next to him on the flight over. Aye caramba...!

Day 68
Wednesday May 7th
George in Matilija

Sparky swung into the Ventuckey for a quick night on his way down to Dana Point. We found a cozy spot by the river where I had already stashed a goodly portion of firewood. We burned things and caught up on the last few months. It was a lazy hump day relaxing on the banks of the rolling & babbling river. Though I think I swallowed a spider when I was sleeping. Other then that it was a pretty dang good night!

"To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world." ~Charles Dudley Warner

Days 60- 67 (no pics)

Days 64- 67
Shaved my head once again, hung out w/ a hairy-legged hippy in Ojai, read a book-- okay two books but same story (1322 pages in four days), said screw the blog, paid some bills, found a new beer, spent some time smoking & joking by the beach in Encinitas with Kate, had a dinner that lasted until it was breakfast (what a blast!), hung out w/ Isabella & the wife, got crazy just rapping into the wee hours doing our best not to go gently into the night, found out my sister is having S-E-X (!), tossed this damn cell phone in the river/ spent 35 shivering minutes looking for the dang thing thigh deep in icy water/found it on the beach across the way totally dry (figures)/found it when a bill collector called and the ring clued me in to where it was hiding/hung up & was VERY tempted to toss it back.

Hammered out a new chapter for the book, spent a couple cold nights in the car here and there, gave up on photography, sent a couple emails about job aps, dreamed of Iraq & Germany, got stalked on the beach by Avenida wanna-be gangsters, went to work, did my best not to work, hung out w/ gay British underwear models, danced by myself at Paddy's, shouted at the clouds, wrote another letter & burnt it in the river bottom, climbed a mountain and stared at the sea, bought some new shoes/shed a tear for the old ones (lotta memories in those smelly suckers!), bumped my head, got stung by a bee and stubbed my toe, had a steak with Peaches and generally did my best not to go insane from boredom, found time again for photography, thought about picking up painting, said screw the broken hearts club band and went back to work.

Everything else is kinda a hazy mist from the last few weeks, all jumbled up like a wavy gravy bowl of pistachio pudding (pistachio pudding wishing it was butterscotch pudding to be exact) on the Tilt-A-Whirl going round and round until its tickets run up and the man in the greasy moustache & faded bowler hat gives it the boot. Yup that about sums it up...

Days 60- 63
Can someone please stop the world from spinning, I want to get off.

More to come (w/ pics) once I find internet access and a power supply, hopefully sometime this weekend or early next week.