Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Night Studio

Back in the day, before Ipods. Philip Guston's daughter wrote a book called Night Studio. I bought a pair of 36" Cerwin Vega speakers. I moved into a warehouse. The warehouse was, well -- It was sweet. Me, a crow, three feral cats, a junkyard next door, a crazy girl, and about a hundred orchids. Juliana Hatfield at volume 11, a screamin prayer from a secret god. The coolest neighbors.
Late night workaholic, seriously loud, no one notices, -- way too cool. One night my friend JT came by and the crow sat on the edge of his cup and drank wine from it. Jim would drink -- and the crow would drink. I told a story about Jim today -- to some aspiring young artists. We talked about making art with our hands and tools like paint brushes, and how much fun that was (it used to be). So I told them a story about Jim and myself.
Jim called me one Friday night late, years ago. He said -- "I need your help. I am painting a 6' tall copy of Norman Rockwell's Home for Christmas".

"You don't need my help for that."

"It's due Monday at 9".

"I'll be right over."

Back to the warehouse.

Grinding sounds, Sculpture. "The Edge of Nowhere". A place where no one notices what you do. Me and a crow. In the warehouse santuary. The Warehouse Sanctuary. "Hello Girls!" Said the crow. The smell of paint. Linseed oil.

I am an expert in turning it up. The shower floods daily. Turn up the music. Neil Young, Prince. No -- really turn it up. Steely Dan. The Doobie Brothers, Marta Sebestyen. Finding a way to an unknown land. A place where hands create a magic that no one explains. Eric Clapton and Cream. Louder, please.

When I was faithful student at Cal State Hayward I met a man with a book that claimed artists were Shamen, and so was I. The book was The Artist as Shamen in the 20th Century, by Mark Levy. Later, as a graduate student, the music was louder. The drum beats grew firmer. My presence grew richer. I became stonger in my way.

"Who will take the only hearts they've got and throw them into the fire,
Who will risk their own self respect, in the name of desire,
Who'll regret everything they've done, and who will get the bill" Bonnie Raitt, Lover's Will.

It's like a switch, the way to making art. The way to knowing more than you thought possible, the way to communicating more than you could before. It's like the Shaman swimming under the ocean to see an underwater demon, to find an answer to some question. The night studio -- you wake in the day and look at what you've done and say, "wow" quietly to yourself so no one will hear you.

My daughter sent me a note today that said, "In the studio again." Good for you. Turn up the music. She knows. I know this. When she could barely talk, she walked into the living room of our old bungalow, and pointed at every painting I had painted and said, "See," as if she had finally put it together. While she was sleeping, I was painting those. In the mist. In the Mystery. She knew. My son never quite knew that. But tonight he played that Gibson in a very accomplished way. He knows something. Maybe he has a secret god. Or simple Voodoo Magic.

"What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away? ...
How do you sleep while the rest of us cry,
How do dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye,
How do you walk with your head held high, Can you even look me in the eye? " Dear Mr President, Pink (with the Indigo Girls)

Turn it up. Crank it up. All the way. There's a paradise. It's a paradise of desire. The band leader looked across at my son tonight and said, "What do you got?" My son hit a note and the man said, "Turn it up" and pointed his thumb at the sky. It's there, where the volume is high.

In the Mystery. There's where it is. Secret God ... Something. I am trying to find my way to paradise. I am trying to find my way into an unknown world where there is a truth I can get to know.

I don't know. But, ohhh, how I do know. Turn it up.

I miss my studio. It's been replaced by an Ipod, which isn't quite the same. The reason I turn it up, is to unleash the angels, and silence the demons.

Green Manalishi -- What Ever That Means


Nina Simone: Wild is the Wind
Elvin Bishop: Stealing Watermelons
Fleetwood Mac: The Green Manalishi
Blind Faith: Can't Find My Way Home
The Cream: Crossroads
Delany and Bonnie Bramlett with Duane Allman: Living on the Open Road
Bonnie Raitt: The Road is My Middle Name
Fleetwood Mac: The Way I Feel
Cowboy Junkies: The Way I feel
Cowboy Junkies: Good Friday
The B52's: Roam
Pink: Dear Mr President
The Cowboy Junkies: Misguided Angel
Patsy Cline: Walking After Midnight
The Indigo Girls: Closer to Fine
Sarah McLachlin: Building a Mystery
Maryann Faithfull: Sister Morphine
Derek and the Dominoes: Got to get Better in a Little While (for mile 85)
Fleetwood Mac: Why (Mile 86)
Blind Faith: Presence of the Lord (mile 87)
Drive By Truckers: Gravity's Gone
Cream: Badge (Mile 88)
Steely Dan: Peg
Steely Dan: Time Out of Mind
The Carnival Steel Drum Band: Under the Sea
Cowboy Junkies: Just want to See
Charlotte Church, Chorus of the Welsh National Opera: Amazing Grace
Fleetwood Mac: Black Magic Woman
Cowboy junkies: A Common Disaster
Fleetwood Mac: Revelation
Cowboy Junkies: Pale Sun
Quiksilver Messenger Service: Mojo
Howlin Wolf: The Red Rooster
Jackson Browne: The Road and the Sky
Niel Young: Cowgirl in the Sand
The Pretenders: Middle of the Road
The Ronettes: Be My Baby
Lou Reed: Sweet Jane
Jane's Addiction: Jane Says
Tori Amos: Winter
The Doobie Brothers: China Grove
The Doobie Brothers: Black Water
Daryl Hall and John Oates: Abandoned Lunchenette
Blind Faith: Sleeping in the Ground
Eric Clapton: Further on up the Road
Duane Allman: Please be with Me
Bonnie Raitt: I Can't Make You Love Me
Indigo Girls: Secure Yourself
The Cowboy Junkies: 200 More Miles

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Riding Home

"Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?"

Pass me the lemon peel. Today's ride home was like a ride in a shaker. "Shake very well till it's ice cold." Add ice pellets and mix with cars, ride until frozen.

The ride started at 6:10 for the 6:33 train -- plenty of time to travel a mile and a half to the station. I stepped out the door to put my purple shower cap on, when a guy standing in the shelter of the door said into his phone, "It's really hailing now." I slipped onto my bike and rode out into it, figuring -- it could never last. It was surreal and strange. Lights and cars and snowpellets in a dark, very windy torrential downpour. A Slushy. The ice pellets, hail, or freezing rain, whatever it needs to be called, added a reflective characteristic to the very air. After the first crossing of railroad tracks it became more difficult to see them as the water on the roads collected to about an inch deep.

As I sorted out the pedestrians and cabs in front of the train station and made my way to the sidewalk, there was easily 2 inches of standing water on the roadway, but the rain was less icy.

Miso Soup

Here is Fritz's contribution to the soup cookbook. Except for adding tofu -- This is his recipe as posted.

Miso soup
By Fritz

Shawn asked for soup recipes from around the world . I'm happy to oblige.Miso is basic, simple to make, and yummy to me. Here's how I do it.

Start water to boil.
Mix in a spoonful or four of miso paste. I like the strong-flavored aka or 'red' miso paste.
Add chopped scallions, mushrooms, soft tofu (added by me) and/or kombu seaweed.
When the miso paste is completely dissolved, remove from heat and dissolve in about a teaspoon of instant dashi powder.

My grandmother would sometimes boil up a big pot of clams and then make miso soup using the clam stock. She also didn't use instant hondashi -- she kept dried, moldy fish hanging on the kitchen wall, and she'd scrape the moldy fish flesh straight into the soup pot. Good stuff before and after a bike ride.Because of the dead-fish flavor, Japanese miso soup typically is not vegetarian. Link to his post.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Trophy Water Bottles and Rain Storms

They are more like trophies of my past accomplishments. In the early days of my life we weren't as sophisticated. Gallon milk jug filled with Tequila Sunrise for three days in a canoe on the Russian River. Vodka to mix with bags of plums on Mount Diablo summit. Gallon jugs of passed around koolaid. Gallon water bottles clipped right onto you belt for fifty mile desert hikes. Waterdog lake and the sand caves, and sawyer camp road when you could drive on it . Freezing cold water blown on the wind for San Bruno Mountain hike.

The stainless "grand canyon discovery" cup that went down the colorado with me, The water bottle I bought for my first century, and the one I forgot. The stainless thermos I bought to drink the coffee on the way to work. The water bottle I carried empty across four mile s of Joshua Tree, and the one I tried to give away to some ill prepared hikers near the oasis of mara. The one that froze solid in Mokulemne, and the ones I carried on the Superstion Ridgeline trail. Then there's the two or three I actually use. I have too many, too.

Did I forget to mention that this drizzle is trying to become a rainstorm.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Another Day in Paradise.

Today was characterized primarily by time spent with my parents. With a 1:30 hair appointment, then an early dinner at Fernando's in San Mateo, it was a great day. If you are one of those people who might want to be jealous of those of us that live in California, today would be a good day to express your emotions. It was incredible out in Pacifica today, at least for a couple of hours. Everyone was out, not just the surfers. Surf's up. This photo is of Linda Mar.

This person is riding his bike backwards while sitting on the handlebars. During the hair appointment, the sun just went away, being changed to fog, leaving a bunch of people in shorts standing out in the cold. It was summer for a split second -- then it was winter again.

Here's a photo of the guitar's headstock veneer being glued into place on the neck blank. This is not the clamping technique mentioned in the book.

Here's the guitar's neck after yet another -- albeit short -- day at the project. The truss rod is now inserted into a routed slot in the neck and a tenon exists to attach to the body of the guitar. I added the Zebrawood veneer for the head and trimmed everything. I think I am about ready to carve the neck.

Nah, silly, that's my mother working a puzzle with her new do.
Date: 17 February 2007
Mileage for the week: 94.67
February total: 176.31
Max: 28.1
On the Ipod: Howlin Wolf, Built for Comfort

Friday, February 16, 2007

Dear Asshole,



Dear Thieving Asshole,

I could understand that you might need my rear light to put on your cool bike, so that you won't get hit riding brakeless through the night. I could understand that you might be able to sell that light for six or eight dollars and get some beer.

Although the light was basically free for the taking, I wonder why it was necessary to destroy my seat bag by ripping it to remove the light. Did you almost get caught? I actually don't mind that much that the light was taken -- I probably would have given it to you if you had convinced me that you needed it for your bike. You could have easily slipped that light off without damging the bag. Please try to be more considerate when stealing my shit. As you can see, I was barely inconvenienced by the loss of the light, Nick helped me to bolt the new one onto the bike, for lack of a better place. Please try not to hurt yourself attempting to steal the new one. I don't want to be subjected to a personal injury suit.


P.S. If you try to sell it back to me on the street tomorrow, I'll do my best to steal it back from you without damaging your hand.

Go Jill

I'll be watching along ... Go Jill.

I look Interesting in Korean

I was looking at the referrals to my blog and I found someone using the Korean version of Google to find my Korean Soup post. The google page offered to translate me into Korean. I of course had to see it. One thing I noticed is that none of the Korean words are translated, which I found quite funny.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My son's in this movie, you might be able to recognize him near the end.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Working from Home

I had this plan to work from home. It was a good plan, every week on Wednesday I work from home. Wednesday is the least busy day in my week -- I have no meetings no over scheduling , no serious crises, because everyone else works from home.

Every week I end up at work on Wednesday. ... I was really jealous of other people who can workout on their bikes over lunch. So I said -- well -- what if I pick my busiest day and spend that at home. The website gets pushed live, busy staff meeting at one lunch with what's his name Thursday and spend that at home. We all work extremely well together, there will be a lot of evidence that I am working. So I floated the idea -- And everyone said "great". So tomorrow is the next effort at working from home.

Up at 7:00, cafe, work at 8. Lunch Ride at 11:30, Tech Meeting at 1:00, work till Webness is complete. Check on parents and shop ... What I'll spend riding is the time I will gain from my lack of commute, so I'll gain the upextra workout I need every week. I should be able to ride out past the bridge and back for 12-20 miles. That could push my weekly base up to 100 miles, which is where I'd like it. The real incentive for working from home will be the extra hour a week I can spend on my bike -- in a focused ride, rather than a spattering of short city commuting.

Then -- if I manage to schedule a long sunday ride every week I can prepare for the next century I ride; the same one I did last year. Not to disrupt the flow or anything -- I am glad to see that Ruby is back, because I think I may be up for another 700km month in March. Are you with me bud?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tearing Myself a New Asshole

My Marin™ road bike came with a Selle™ Italia® saddle, a favorite in it's day, but really an ass ripper unless you wear those gotdamned padded shorts, which I really prefer never to wear. It's quite sleek and light in the roadie correct (RC™) way. At 250g, it's dandy if your about to ride 100km in those padded shorts and orange™ jerseys.

What about those of us in street clothes with a bony™ ass sit bones. An old favorite among the bicycle enjoyment (BE™) set is the Brooks™ Professional Saddle. It has a nice ring to it -- "Professional" -- like I might ride a bike like I have a job. At 538g it is a heavy load, and not at all RC. Once I have loaded 39 lbs (7,662,657g) into my PC carrying, camera toting, rain gear, tennis shoes, xtra socks, lumber carrying messenger bag. I am sure that my legs won't notice the extra weight.

For those of you that are metric dysfunctional, 250g is about eight ounces. That's quite a bit less than my wallet. Possibly less than one of these. Here is the seat in a most un-RC orientation. Other advocates of the Brooks™ saddle have done this, put perfectly good Brooks saddles on there otherwise racing bikes.

I can always change it if I ever have to ride a lot of miles in pink™ padded shorts.

My bony™ ass thanks me.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Guitar Neck Construction -- Take 2

Yesterday went slightly better.

Here's the neck blank I put together yeseterday, with a Martin Style truss rod and showing the fingerboard outline. I'll need to route out the location for the truss rod and drop it into place. Then I suppose I can start to convince it to look a bit more like a guitar neck.
Date: 10 February 2007
Mileage for the week: 56.62
February total: 81.64
On the Ipod: The Carnival Steel Drum Band, Linus and Lucy (Peanut's Theme)

Monday, February 5, 2007

Guitar Neck Fabrication

This is the first attempt at the neck fabrication for the guitar. At this point it is still going very well. This is a piece of Honduran mahogany just before being reduced to scrap cut at 15 degrees with a dozuki and then planed to match. I'll be doing this part again next week though, as I learned an important lesson in paying attention, later in the day.
Date: 4 February 2007
Mileage for the week: 70.45
February total: 25.02
On the Ipod: Jackson Browne, Late for the Sky

Sunday, February 4, 2007

We're Home

We're all back home, including me -- I'll be staying here (with my folks) tonight as well. We all sat around and watched the Bears lose, ate like pigs.

The Remains of the Day

Read the book referenced in the title of this post. It's charming. My mother recommended it.

I saw my mother this morning. They're treating her now for diabetes, developed as a result of steroid use. Atheletes with race induced asthma should pay very close attention. Albuterol is a steroid, so is prednisone,
cortisone and a variety of treatments for emphysema. You'll recognize these. If you're young and you have trouble breathing because you're racing a bike -- tell your MD he's an ass -- and that it's normal to be out of breath after humping your tushy up whatever race. You don't need his steroids to win. Steroid use. WTF? My mother is just a mother.

My mother is good and somewhat happy. I hope they let her come home soon. I may have to insist on it.

I have driven a car recently, I admit it. My first since Christmas. The trials of the last few days have left me needing to move around a bit better. It's hard to haul the elders around on your bike. My father believes he can drive and -- "I'll stop by and take you dad" -- is the absolutely correct response.

I made chili today for tomorrow's game. It is the food of the gods. I went to my folks to make it -- and I worked on the guitar. I was trying to make enough progress to show to my son tomorrow, but no. Not today. I took pictures of the guitar, and tried to mobile blog them from my phone. They haven't shown up. Maybe tomorrow.

It's late. I am old and tired now. I have only the remains of the day to look at. I sure appreciate the folks that have taken the time to let me know they are thinking of me. I am glad to know that you care. I am touched.

Let's hope tomorrow is better. Go Bears.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


I rode around the corner a few blocks from my parent's house and there was bla fire engine in sight down the street. I knew instantly that something was wrong my father. He's been at home alone a bit this week, and it's been a busy week for all of us, and I knew. My father. He's been feeling really good, and talking about playing golf. I pulled up and there were firefighters there in triage. The Chief had fallen down.

It's hard for me to imagine the world I live in today.

When I was young, it was a different place. Jets hurled through the sky a supersonic speeds and the sonic booms rallied the glassware to leap to the floor. My life was dominated by a Naval hero and a military haircut. During the 60's it was the Packers and the Dodgers, and sandlot broken window Sandy Koufax baseball in the driveway with the bat pointed at the neighbor's house. It was stingrays in the mud hole that we called a park and riding out to the swamps in the afternoon. There were fallout shelters and we hid under our desks at the sound of a bell to fend off nuclear war. I actually broke the frame on my ugly bike. My sister was a h i p p y and my brother was always in trouble. I remember once I put out the window of a house well past Home Run distance in a glorious and fright filled batting moment. I had to work for hours to replace that window. I had no idea the bay was polluted, and about ten other things. My father was there, building, making, working, fixing, being. Guiding me.

My neighbor Mrs. Miller used to keep the balls in a box in the backyard and not give them to us -- we used to sneak in and steal them back when she went grocery shopping. Me and Vic the Sushi Man. Tonight, it was as if everyone knew something was wrong with John. The Chief. My father. The neighbor stopped by and the Chief didn't answer the door. Folks called from everywhere and the phone was busy. I heard that and raced across town on my bike. My sister in-law showed up right after I got there. Mrs Miller came over.

The Chief had fallen, he hit his head, and got a bit banged up. My father was a strong man. He was a sailor. He led us in a proud way toward a better life, a life. A good life. Through the valley of the shadow of evil. It was harsh at times, but there were many character building experiences. It wasn't necessarily always right -- but I am sure he thought it was.

The Chief grew up in a different era altogether. He was born in 1923. There were planes, cars, blimps. Buzz bombs, radio, radar, Tommy Dorsey, Amelia Earhardt, Charles Lindbergh and war came later. When my mother was 20, in 1941, she started smoking. She smoked for forty-five years. She will die of emphysema. She doesn't want the doctors to investigate much, she doesn't want to be resuscitated. She's in a different hospital, across town. She's scared now. Me too. We are all going to die in seperate places.

The world I live in today has cell phones, and mobile blogging, and this. And spontaneous world wide communications. As Jean Baudrillard said in 1948 -- it is -- An Ecstasy of Communication. It's a world my father can't fathom, and I can barely keep up with. It's extended the life of America by ten or fifteen years, but it hasn't lessened the pain of watching your parents fade. They were so strong.

I guess I need to be strong now.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Date: 31 January 2007
Mileage for the last bit of the month: 45.25
January total: 371.46
Max 24.2
On the Ipod: Cowboy Junkies, 200 More Miles