The Value of Failure

It’s good to be rejected and lose-out. You learn. You learn a lot, a whole damn lot – about yourself and about other people. That hot cheerleader babe who seemed so sweet but who went and humiliated you at lunch in front of the Football Captain – now you really know she’s not so nice. All that work helping her in American Lit. was for naught. But now the Football Captain (who knew he was a virgin?) will smack her when he gets a strange and unpleasant rash below the waistline. Later when she runs into a bridge-abutment while texting on her iPhone, at least it wasn’t you in the car. You learned.
If your name is not Hercules or Gilgamesh, when things don’t turn out so well your measure as a person isn’t necessarily how much and with mighty effort you bent the force of Heaven to your Iron Will (shades of Nietzsche), so much as how fast you let go of that stupid lever before it sliced-off your arm. Hercules could stitch himself back together – but maybe your poor First-Aid recollection and the fact you left the tourniquet in the truck, fifty-fleeting yards away, your odds otherwise diminish.
Pain is a good teacher, often the only one for many of us, that’s why God gave us fire and hammers. And that’s why thick-headed Alpha Males strut through the underbrush smacking each other with their antlers, or on TV wearing helmets and shoulder pads. We get to watch and learn vicariously. They get the not-so-nice but hot-hot cheerleaders, and brain damage. Meanwhile the other girls, the nice ones with a sense of kindness, the ones who don’t insist on being special, are just glad the flaming bitches went away. They don’t represent. Brute to bruté. And NotClauswitz is also NotHefner, so no worries.
Not everybody is wired-up the same way, and it’s not all about status and hierarchy. History get’s written-down by whoever remembers anything, so a good memory is more important than you might think. Brain-damage doesn’t help, or the biggest pile of skulls. The first President of California during the Bear Flag Republic’s 27-day effort, William B. Ide, was a guy who nobody even remembers and they’re not even sure where he’s actually buried.
Not everybody can go Isosceles with a 1911, or else Glocks and Weaver wouldn’t exist. Some still go tea-cup Weaver, but at least they got a gun. Some want to die on a mountain of brass. I can’t afford a mountain, but I would like a view out over the far-horizon.

Boom and Bust

The history of the Gold Country is replete with tales of boom and bust, of peak-moments of crazy-fabulous riches followed by troughs of fire, depression, failed-crops, and broken dreams. In other words, the prospective house needs a whole new roof, entirely new attic ducting, and an electrical make-over. There’s some witches-brew of mis-wiring; the light/fan in the master-bedroom trips the GFI in the master bath, but then the fan continues to operate. One GFI circuit in a front bedroom trips a circuit on the other-side of the house out on the deck. Another GFI circuit in the kitchen is un-tripped by itself but is tripped by the non-GFI outlet on the other side of the sink. The carpet smells of smoke, and walls need patching – that’s trivial and cosmetic, but/and there’s no vent-stack for the stove/range. Venting into the attic is not a recommended procedure as I understand it. The vent-stack could be fixed at the time of the re-roofing, but the full inspection report and termite-report and will come tomorrow. And no dirtbike riding, too noisy! Pbbth! Other than that the HOA is pretty un-intrusive! I’m gonna go have a beer.

Getting Better

High gray skies with a low-lying layer white cumulus in between the top-cover and the ground. Interesting muddle today. So we went down to the Evil City of Sleazeballs and Gov. Slimsuckers: Sack-O-Tomatos. It’s been a week since our last visit, and about three-weeks since our neighbor went into the Hospital, but she of the double brain aneurysm is visibly better than last time, and less at a loss for words. Therapy is keeping her busy, and last-time she complained saying, “I’m sorry I can’t be more articulate.” – but that right there was a good word-choice and a good sign. Today she was wearing her jogging shoes and it was other stuff to complain about, and we can tell she’s anxious to be out of the smelly facility and back home. I pointed to her shoes and told her she should make a break for it! She laughed.
Wednesday is septic-pumping at the new “other place,” and Thursday is the Inspection (and with that, Termite). I need to have a couple checks ready for the guys. State Farm declined to cover us because the zip-code is “high fire-danger” – but there are plenty of other homes out there, and this-here zip-code is also “high fire danger.” So…we got pointed to a broker who found a couple of mainstream biggies who will cover: both Travelers and Hartford. We’ll probably move our vehicles and all the rest to one of those…so bye-bye Snake Farm after thirty years. Things are looking up! Soon we’ll be measuring walls and painting at The Remote High-Chaparral Chalet, elevation about 3,100 ft.

Dappled Light

Grey and white clouds march across and fill the horizon to the Mt. Hamilton range, flat on the bottom, all at the same height, casting shadows across the valley floor while creating brilliant blues in the skies between them.
Blessed rain is forecast but blessed-little is expected to actually touch-down, and in the meanwhile the sky-scape is brilliant. We planted and watered, Sunday is drip-line day.
UPDATE: And the rain came down! From around midnight to the pre-dawn morning, and the cold came with it. Brrr! Snow at Tahoe, but not enough to save the season for Sierra at Taho resort which is closing today for the year.

Sacred and Profane

I leave it up to you to decide which is which. Two hours up, and two hours back with a brief visit to Chico sandwiched between 220 miles of driving – but the folks up there are awful nice and the so-clean vintage Sansui receiver fits my needs well.
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The speaker boxes are a bit rough and I removed the little foot/stands (one kinda removed itself). The look like somebody left them out on the lawn for a week after a summer party, so we knocked the price back a smidge and I have a little wood-shop project to attend-to. Maybe strip and re-veneer? I left them out in the garage but they sounded soooo good running out an even less powerful (and less well-kept) vintage Kenwood receiver. The speaker-guy was a genuine lust-for-life jolly fellow and nobody can fault that. Then speaker grille fabric had a generous sampling of dog fur, but that’s nothing – they are impossible to break and will last forever.
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The receiver-dude was not a hipster, clean and neatly pressed he drove a Culligan truck – and had a collection of even more vintage amps and receivers, and also a variety-collection of the same Klipsch speakers. Who knew a quiet mid-level College burg could hide such talent? But the town is the world HQ of Sierra Nevada Brewing and its’ founder and owner/operator is a Chico-college dropout who went on to bigger and better things and has an endowed chair in the science of brew-making at the school. They have a lab where they use a mass-spectrometer to analyze the stages and content of the esters in the brewing process. Not too shabby.

Vintage

Going up to Chico tomorrow for a (2-HOUR) drive to see a man about a late 70’s Sansui MONSTER receiver. Lights and wavy-wand meters that go back and forth. I’m really not an Audiophile guy, my ears are tin – but/and like a ’78 Bianchi all-Campy Nuevo Record — blah-blah — it’s something I would have simply been totally unable to afford at the time as a lawnmower pusher-guy and campus food-service pot-washer. And I was a good pot-washer, and a better student than my dormitory-mates who were simply trust-fund babies awaiting their turn at the next elite enterprise job-slot. I had to work. But I was still just a chump.
My affluent College-Contemporaries bitched about the relative ~and~ competitive merits of their exotic turntables. And then here comes me: THE Doofus: scratch-scratch. I was not a very popular,, thumb-fingered guy. But all that techno-electron tail-sniffing left me in awe, because I didn’t even have a circular piece of vinyl for which to spin. I was between worlds and never had records to begin with (Records? Not even my own Immigration and Naturalization papers). People with enviable “collections” – serious the round black damn things weighed a tonne, too much, and took up too much space, but mainly they also cost too much. Stuff I did not have I also did not rally miss, because I knew at any time I could be gone and they would still be butt-sniffing. So I went to Vienna with nothing musical. Maybe I was lucky to be a fool – I was footloose and fancy free in more ways than I even knew.
But now I’m going up to look at a sound-machine of epic proportions, to drive a couple crazy speakers for the now-other house — up in the piney woods, because I have walls to paint and floors to fix, and a whole new project in which to live…….

The Center Cannot Hold

IMGP2105W. B. Yeats in 1919, the atmosphere of post-war Europe.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The middle finger always goes. Between moving rocks and yardwork this must be the fifth pair of leather gloves, nearly as many “Mechanix” type synthetics have also fallen by the wayside.
Also to the gray-goatee’d fake-factory spandex $3000 bicyclists taking up the middle of the narrow country road, yes YOU bastard Yuppie Boomers, I wave with my whole hand because the display of a single finger does not express enough contempt.

Class tonight

UPDATE: Map corrected, click to enlarge:34-StateCCWComboMapx800
Signed up for the 4-hour Utah & Arizona class (and fingerprinting) that gets me 34-State Concealed Weapons Permit. (Green or Blue states) “Colorado reportedly to be added soon.” – whatever that means. Still need to get up to Tahoe and spend a few nights, and go over to take a class in Minden, for Nevada.
UPDATE: The 34-State course material was presented in a friendly, instructive and inviting manner. 2-hours was spent on the Utah LE perspective that drives the acceptance of the AZ permit and produces the overall 34-state blanket of reciprocity. Utah being fairly different from California in attitude, acceptance, and emphasis was a welcome eye-opener. But mainly being able to complete the Utah and Arizona CCW fingerprint cards and application forms correctly is absolutely crucial, and after the step-by-step instructions I felt confidant in the process. Our instructor and company-owner John was there with his dad and elder son, and was well equipped, well informed, and friendly – and presented some of the rote (and mandatory, I’m sure) Gunstruction well. As a former LEO was he insightful on a variety of ancillary topics – but we didn’t get side-tracked and there was no Rambo-Cop in the room. Most importantly he guided us step-by-step through the bureaucratic paperwork/fingerprinting maze in a way that made a daunting task recognizable and easy to complete. I’m looking forward to taking further actual defensive shooting instruction with John at the private range where rapid-fire is not limited, now that this hurdle has been overcome.

Drizzly Day Thoughts

Not all is gloom-and-doom, the small spate of wetness somehow brought full rain-barrels! The damp also brings to mind perfect riding conditions locally, of loamy soil and a tall rooster-tail of dirt flung high on a dark trail through piney woods – and crashing my brains out. Good times! Fun! Looking at the District-36 page of activities and events I see a Family Enduro advertised. Don’t be fooled, they have classes for everyone including the biggest sandbaggers of ‘em all, feisty old former national racers who sign-up as A-Level Super Seniors. Since my last best ride was as a C-Senior – back when I started, I’d now be in the C-Super-Senior class. Since I haven’t even ridden in several years, I’d be a super fool. Oh well, lets play with guns instead!

What Gun for Walkabout?

It’s not really The End Of The World as We Know It – at least not for anybody else anyhow. But just for YOU the skies are on fire and frogs rain-down from heaven as the flood-waters rise. The rental-house burnt-down and the bug-out bag was in it, along with your cash reserves. It happened when you were at work and getting a surprise pink-slip after only a week – there’s no severance. So, laid-off (again), when you came outside your 12-year old truck wouldn’t start. The tow-fee to move the truck home cost more than the value of the rusted-out Chevy, and besides your tools to fix it were in the house, now three-feet deep in wet-ash slurry. It’s just YOU now – you don’t have anybody else to defend. Your now ex-wife got fed-up and took the kids with her back to Singapore about a month ago when the other job-contract ended, and she used the last of your United-Miles. Your credit card got cut-up a the grocery store when the limit was reached, and the un-paid bill was burnt in the fire. You moved to this remote town after a long and nearly fruitless job-search, and it was the last place your dwindling funds could take you… Sucks to be you, Job.
The Red Cross gives you a sleeping bag, socks, a toothbrush, a disposable razor, and a fresh pair of socks. Somebody left a shopping-cart down at the corner. No feeling-sorry, after-all you get to “re-invent yourself,” and you can now “launch a new career!” You get to let You be You. So what you’re carrying is the single piece you take-with when you’re turned-out – what is it? A rifle might look odd and attract attention as you push your cart down the street. Somebody might recognize and want to steal that precious M1 Garand. And where do you go, with no family to go-to? Do you head south where the weather is warm for sleeping-out? Does TSA frisk and wand people on the Greyhound now? You can’t afford much ammo or the weight that it adds – what do you take, Job?