Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Rattle Crackle Boom Bam Snap!

Today was the first day of school.  This year is going to be an adventure.

You know, teaching is like a driving a jalopy cross-country.  Your ride might look ragged, but it's a trusted machine that's taken you to far off places.  It's never failed you, but it's certainly not fresh off the lot.  You check the tires, top-off the fluids, and pull out of the driveway with your fingers crossed and five quarts of motor oil riding shotgun.  You overheat, your radio stops working, you get a speeding ticket, and you might even forget what side the gas cap is on.  But when you hit the coast, you open your creaky door, shake the sciatica out of your legs, and celebrate another great journey.  Now, you just have to get back home...winter break is over. 

You hit the state line at midnight.  You're exhausted, but you've got another hundred miles to go.  Your clunker is hobbling down the road to the rhythm of its balding tires.  You pull in the garage, cross the finish line, and toast to what might well have been a great success with expired orange juice and a cold slice of pizza that hasn't moved since you left...school's out for summer.  

When you wake up the next day, you're ready to reminisce.  You remember the smell of the sea, not the smell of exhaust.  You remember the sound of the waves, not the engine knocking.  

The thing about a jalopy is this...when you're sure you have one, you can be sure you're the only one who can drive it.  Nobody else knows how to start the engine on a cold day.  Nobody else knows how to get the passenger window to roll down.  Nobody else knows how many miles you really have left when the gas gauge says you're empty.  Now, before you park it in the front yard with a "for sale" sign in the window, remember, it took you an extended warranty, a hundred oil changes, and two decades of model years to truly learn to how to drive.  So, until your junker can resale for as many dollars as miles it has traveled, keep on driving.  There is always more road to ride so long as there is fuel in the tank.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Faster Than History

So, this is a typical Sunday here at home...laundry, Pioneer Woman, coffee, Fixer Upper, email, Brunch at Bobby's, coffee, guitar noodling, Property Brothers, start a new project, wine, abandon project, paint something, dinner, wine, Bob's Burgers.  Every Sunday, I end up watching more television than I'd like to, ultimately obligating myself to some type of home renovation project and hungry for something beyond my culinary capabilities.  

Anyone see the Perseid meteor shower last night?  I spent about an hour in my backyard with a blanket and a slice of apple pie.  It was all I hoped it would be.  Did you know you can identify and track satellites visible to the naked eye?  Evidently, there are around 500 satellites in low-Earth orbit, many of which can be easily spotted on a clear night, depending where you're standing, of course.  We can bounce information off of those little things at a whim with our cell phones, you know?  Ironically, we can't use all of our know-how to stop hating one another for no good reason.  We're still driving our cars into crowds of innocent people, you know?  We're the smartest idiots we can come up with.  

Have you ever really thought about what you're looking at when you stare up into space?  It's pretty ridiculous.  I took a few astronomy classes in school, so maybe I've studied too much about why I should be astounded, but I still can't fathom the vastness of it all.  It's one of those things that only becomes more difficult to understand the more you learn about it.  I've always thought confusion is a good measure of understanding in any subject though...if you're not totally perplexed or at odds with yourself at some point, you're probably not learning anything.  That said, let me establish my cognitive prowess by stating it plainly...I have no idea.  I'm more unsure of everything than I've ever been.  

There are dozens of stars you've looked at on any given night that aren't there anymore.  While we wait for the speed of light to catch up with the history of the universe, we can go ahead and assume most things visible in tonight's sky have already swollen up red, exploded or imploded, and formed things that have already repeated that same chain of events, millions of years before the first humans came to be on our planet, no matter your beliefs or lack thereof.  And if there are a few living specks, capable and willing to study the world we share with them, on a rock revolving around a fiery mass ten million years away from here, they can assume the same about our existence.  We're everything and nothing at every moment.  That's what I think, anyway...but then again, I'm pretty unsure about all of this. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hamburger Midnight Blues

"Another Bovine Committee" 
oil on canvas
22" x 28"

I trade paintings for vintage music equipment.  If you have an original Klon Centuar, a pre-1960 Fender or Gibson, or anything else old and cool with six strings or vacuum tubes, pick out a painting...I'm putty in your hands.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ball Game

I called my satellite television company and complained about how much I was paying.  They offered me a twenty percent discount and movie channels.  I took the deal.  Last night, I watched "Hoop Dreams".  It was one of my favorite movies growing up.  In fact, I would go to the VHS rental store every couple weeks and rent "Hoop Dreams", "Blue Chips", "The Pistol:  Birth of a Legend", and "Hoosiers".  I even had the "Hoop Dreams" movie poster from the VHS rental store.  The owner kindly sold it to me for a couple quarters and I proudly displayed it in my room, right next to my Alonzo Mourning / Larry Johnson poster.  My summer break revolved around swimming at the public pool, watching basketball movies, and practicing my jumpshot on the court at the First Baptist Church.  For those of you who aren't, I'm from Indiana...basketball is a church we all belong to.  Remind me, what's a Hoosier again? 

Last night, after "Hoop Dreams", I went to the town park to work on my jumpshot.  I was challenged to a 1-on-1 game by someone 10 years younger, menacingly barked at by two enormous dogs, and heckled by late night cruisers who are presumably my high school students.  I shot 109 for 150 free throws.  Seventy-three percent isn't bad...it certainly isn't good.  Is Gus Macker still a thing?  My feet hurt.  Last night was awesome. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Just Mow Around It

You did good Earth...keep up the good work.  

Check out my new plein air rig.  It'll be available at next year's plein air convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Included with the solid wood easel and uncollapsible folding table is a genuine curbside find wooden chair and 50' of nylon rope to tie everything on the roof of your car.  What it lacks in portability, it more than makes up for in weight.  


Monday, August 7, 2017


Albums I've been listening to lately...

Tweedy - Sukirae
Joe Cocker - Mad Dogs and Englishmen
Bob Dylan - Self Portrait
Chelsea Walls Sountrack
Lucius - Good Grief
Otis Redding - The Soul Album
Simo - Let Love Show the way
Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Earth6
Son House - Complete 1965 Sessions
Drive-By Truckers - American Band
Nels Cline - Lovers
Courtney Barnett - Sea of Split Peas
T Rex - The Slider
Forest Gump Soundtrack
Ali Farka Toure - The River
John Coltrane - Impressions
Sylvan Esso - What Now
Jason Isbell - Nashville Sound
George Harrison - All Things Must Pass
Paul Westerberg - Come Feel Me Tremble
Highwaymen - Highwayman
Ry Cooder - Chicken Skin Music
Marcus King Band - Marcus King Band
Grateful Dead - Aoxomoxoa

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Clocking In

Vacation happened...it was fun.  I did the math, turns out I've traveled a few hundred miles more than the total circumference of Earth in 2017.  Buenos Aires, here I come. 

Now, it's time to get back to work...I mean, I think I'll paint a picture.