Friday, March 30, 2007

Hi, it's chikken...formerly known as Cindra...and still often referred to as Cheendruh...

I have jacked Gawpo's blog to bring it to your attention that this is the day we celebrate the birth of Gawpo! Could you imagine the world without a Gawpo to grace us with such wit and wonder? I couldn't. So, here's to the world being a "much more funner" place with Gawpo in it.

I love you, bro. Happy Birthday

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Two Landings, A Song, The River

It is a work week. I don't get much time to blog, especially when I sign up for overtime on days off. So I apologize for not getting around to everyone. As I begin to get into the study portion of my Instrument Flight Rules rating, I will have even less time. But I will do what I can. Between work and studying for the Practical Test Standards Knowledge Exam (awkward, but that's what they call it), juggling time for the blog will be interesting. But I shall prevail!

After reading this, please cruise on over to Diesel's page and try to come up with a caption more brilliant than Gawpo's. You'll see what I mean when you get there. Candace, did you ever go back and leave one after going away to think about it? Hmmm? Keeping you honest.

Here are a couple landings and a song. Then some fog. G

Landing Runway Three One (we don't say thirtyone. that's why the short lived television drama, LAX didn't last, i'm just certain. the first time i heard heather locklear say "on runway twenty-two" i knew it's days were mispronouncedly numbered.) About an hour ago someone posted a comment on You Tube regarding this video: "You're a funny guy," he says. Yeah. If he only knew the half of it...

Every time I land---and I hate to say this because I don't doubt my skills---I feel like I have cheated death. I feel like I just walked out of a classroom where I took the year end final exam. I become a bit giddy. A bit up. But without a desire to ride a horse (Joe, Candace and Lisaoceandreamer will get that one).

The aircraft is my 1962 Cessna 182E Skylane. It has a whopping 230hp engine. Much more umpf than the 175 in the following video. Cessna likes to name its various models with a word following the word "sky." Skylane, Skylark, Skyhawk, Skymaster, Skywagon, etc. Then there's the Skynight (twin engine) and the Stationaire (holds six people like a stationwagon. get it?)

This is the approach into Center Island in the San Juans. Seated to my right is Mr. Gawpo, Sr's childhood (and since my own childhood) friend, Dave. Seated in the rear and filming with her own camera is the MRE (most recent ex). At one point on the approach I moved the camera which was resting on the glare shield (not the dash!) and decided to put it back where it was. This is my first airplane, a Cessna 175 Skylark which had, coincidentally, a 175hp Teledyne Continental GO-300-A powerplant. You can hear me say, as we are taxiing, "Thank you, Dear" in response to the MRE's compliment, "Nice landing."

This is nothing more than a huge potential for embarrassment. But what the heck? I didn't do a bunch of takes; left all the mistakes in there; and I can hear the notes I miss. I love this song. But I love and trust my blogger friends enough to "expose" thus. After the IFR rating, it's off to voice lessons. I'm serious.

By the way, Joe. I'm in my underwear.


Finally, here is a less than one half minute video of the view to the south over the Siletz River where the fog forms each and every morning, becoming as I like to think of it, a hovering spirit-river of sorts. I had no idea the crows would be audible. I wish I had let the tape roll longer. I promise more in the future. I am standing on my new roof.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gawpo's Anatomy: Mierda Pasa

When I was nine, and just prior to being uprooted from California so we could move to Salt Lake where Mr. Gawpo, Sr. would attend the Univeristy of Utah School of Law, he sold the two pharmacies and we took a little trip. No, not along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip. But to Seattle. The World's Fair was happening.

We drove up in the white Plymouth Valliant station wagon and had a ball. But not everything went according to plan. My baby sister, on the cusp of becoming a toddler, cried so relentlessly that my parents decided to take the elevator back down to street level after we had waited for hours to get into the Seattle World's Fair's signature attraction, the Space Needle. The decision was made when it became apparent that little Baby Gawpo was drawing enough attention to indicate that she was vying for first place in the department of signature attraction. I remember being up there just long enough to discern that we were indeed rotating, but not long enough to fill the windows with a completely new view of the beautiful city and the lights out on the Puget Sound.

Yeah, I know. Another story of the Gawpos waiting in another line for hours, just like we would find ourselves doing in a couple months when waiting for J.F.K. to go around the corner on two wheels.

On our way back from Seattle, Mr. Gawpo, Sr. decided to dazzle us with an alternate route back home. So we got on some road that took us to Eastern Washington where we visited friends in Ellensberg. These folks used to live in Turlock, but moved a couple years prior to our 1963 visit. When we got there, one of the sons had jumped from the haystack out in the barn and impaled his knee on a deer antler. To be sure, a ruminant's revenge. The kid's name was Chip. His brothers and some friends had pantsed him in the barn to investigate the severity of the wound. So when they brought him into the house, each arm over the shoulder of a concerned helper, I was wincing along with the tune of his pain. Chip was in so much pain that, when his mother reminded him that he was only in his underwear and the neighbor girl was seeing him like that, he said with a very pained look on his face, "I don't care." Wow. Now that is the definition of pain if ever I'd seen it. A 12 or 13 year old boy not caring that a girl see him in his white jockeys. There they were, out in the barn just trying to have some fun when something else decided to happen.

We left our friends and headed home, down Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon on Hwy 97, and then on whatever highway takes you through Susanville before connecting to Hwy 99. Did I-5 exist back then? I don't recall.

Just a few miles outside Susanville it began to snow. Hard. All I remember before kissing chaos is our father yelling, "Hold on!" He raised his arms and braced himself on the headliner of the Valliant. We left the roadway across the right shoulder after spinning a 360 on the now slick highway. We rolled two times. And then one half time more. All I remember after coming to rest is the huge silver camera case that housed Mr. Gawpo, Sr's 4x5 Poloroid camera setup and its accessories. The camera case seemed to freeze as if in still frame just prior to falling on my legs. We were inverted and all was now a matter of discovering what was at the end of the anti-rainbow. It was eerily quiet. No one cried. My father's muffled voice called out a question about whether we were all right.

The baby got a tiny bump on her forehead. My younger-by-two-years sister got a huge knot on her forehead and a swollen nose when she brilliantly used them to knock out a side window so we could escape. My father had a small scratch on his forehead. My mother had a severe whiplash. She would be flying the flag of her injury, the flesh colored neck brace, for months after the crash.

The next single memory I have after exiting the overturned white vehicle in the field of white snow was that single spinning rear tire. Many years later, I would be keenly reminded of that vision in the film, Fargo. I ran to the roadway and immediately flagged down an eighteen wheeler. My father had told me to flag someone down. So, taking the directive to heart, I stood in the middle of the highway, caring not that I could be further inconvenienced by death and flagged that semi down. My father and oldest younger sister rode with the trucker. Mrs. Gawpo, Sr. and I got to ride in the CHP car along with the baby. I remember the sound of the police radio. And the heater. Already having been hooked similarly by Cheerios, I was here hooked on the goodness of cops.

The mural of the story? Mierda Pasa. Things happen to us that we cannot control. Or maybe it's a case of the Universe spinning us into what appears to us an unintelligible control of its own. See Blue for the explanation on that one.

The baby's cries brought an end to our hopes of eating in the Space Needle. I don't know where we went after landing on the streets of Seattle, but whatever it was, it became what was for us, the next meant-to-be.

Chip was just having some fun, and he wound up perforated, pierced, his arms outstretched across two pairs of shoulders, crucified by happenstance and a luck for which he had not bargained. His perizonium exposed and the usual attendant embarrassment temporarily suspended by the greater grip of his pain.

The happy family enjoying the rare spectacle of snow, smacked in the face by the rude logic of physics: lack of traction plus velocity plus momentum plus inertia plus what Newton says of gravity: "That nostalgia in things to become spheres." Rolling twice in a car and surviving can round anyone out. This became the only time in my life that I can remember my father calling my sister and me to his side, tenderly beckoning, "Come'ere." We walked to where he sat in that little chair by the door at the cheap Susanville motel, our mother proned out on the bed and unable to move her neck. Then just looking at us in silence for such an uncomfortably long time, I finally had to ask, "What do you want, Dad?" "I just wanted to look at you," he said. I didn't get it then. But now it's all too clear. We were out of control and alive. We had parents. We were still a family. Lesser events have killed many. I am grateful beyond measure for the deepened appreciation that has come with disappointment.

Mierda pasa. And when it does, sometimes you need to pay attention to what happens next. Life can rip the shirt right off your back just as easily as it gave it to you. I have so many more great memories over what happened after something didn't go according to plan than I will ever begin to have over the things that did.

Sometimes, I guess, you just have to wear your pants a little higher, that's all. Come on, cadets are marching. So, as Linda Ellerbee used to say, "...and so it goes."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Little Blue Riding Hood: Stan Freeberg

For those of you who have never even heard of Stan Freeberg, you might remember him as the guy who did the Chun King commercials in the early 60s. Okay, never mind. But the guy was funny.

When we were little, Mr. Gawpo, Sr. had a 45 (rpm implied; you never said "rpm") of this video you are about to give a listen to. Because we were too young to know, our father explained that there are in this recording lots of references to the McCarthy era, people being investigated for their affiliation to communism: The Reds, they were called. Hence, the color has been changed to prevent an investigation.

My sister, K and I can recite this record verbatim. Including the flip side which I could not find on YouTube: St. George And The Dragon Net.

Both sides are parodies of Jack Webb's then radio only "Dragnet." This predates television, folks.

"You just played a hunch. Is that what you're trying to tell me, Joe?"

Have fun.

Friday, March 16, 2007

National Corndog Day In The Key Of So

So it is once again that time of year: Aircraft Insurance Premium Renewal Time.

So I get the envelope with the form to fill out, letting the company know HOW many hours in type, HOW many hours in this make and model, HOW many hours as Pilot In Command (to date, 473.8), WHEN my last Medical was (if you are over 40---ahem---you have to have an FAA approved physician poke and prod you every two years. Prior to 40 it is every three years. Discrimination!!!), WHEN my last Biennial Flight Review was (in order to maintain a pilot's license you have to fly with a Certified Flight Instructor at least once within a two year period to demonstrate proficiency in whatever ratings you may hold), and a bunch of other impertinent, totally unrelated busybody stuff like have you had any DUIs or had any aircraft crashes, etc.

So I open the envelope and pull out the cover letter. It is signed by my lovely and helpful insurance policy broker person, Kristin. Kristin. Right. You just did it too, didn't you? You parsed the name and then went and looked up the periodic table of elements symbol for tin. Didn't you? You didn't? Well, I did.

So I call Kristin and she is busy with another customer right now and would I like to leave my number and yes I would and so I do and what was your first name, and it's Gawpo, and what is your last name, and I'm like: Puh-shaw, lady---how many Gawpos can there possibly be, so I give it to her. And then I tell her my last name. (rimshot)

So Kristin calls me back and when the area code from THE BIG WILLAMETTE VALLEY flashes on my phone's amber display, I launch out in a sing-songy candence similar to Carey Grant but without the accent from 'Ull: KRIS-tin, KRIS-tin, KRIS-tin, KRISTIN! with a double crescendo on the first syllable of the last Kristin.

So in the course of our conversation I tell Kristin that she could from now on just sign all her correspondence, KrisSn, explaining that Sn is indeed the symbol for tin in the P.T.O.E. She is delighted to have this information, as you can well imagine.

So we chitchat and I ask her what she's planning for her weekend, this being Friday and all. And she goes on to inform me that what she is going to be doing for the weekend is a little thing called "The Triple Double." "The triple double?" "Yeah," she says, "You eat 10 corndogs, drink 10 beers and consume 100 Tater Tots." She went on to explain that tomorrow is not only St. Patrick's Day, but National Corndog Day. I did not know that. I was not aware of that. On a fluke I ask KrisSn what she is going to be doing on her weekend, and she tells me about something that could change my life. The Universe is like that, I have come to learn. You have to ask. Or just look. Or just pay attention. It's all there, people. And in plain view. That, right there, constitutes not only reasonable suspicion, but probable cause.

So this concept is no longer just something that legally permits the cops to kick your door in after seeing the plant in the window. No. It's OUR permission to take hold the horns of the bull that is the Universe.

So all this over the pretext of finding out how much I'm going to have to pay to insure my airplane? Yep. KrisSn makes sure I know that there is NO WAY she can put down a hundred Tater Tots. The beers and the dogs, no problem, but that many Tots? Not gonna do it. Not prudent at this juncture.

So when KrisSn mentions that you have 10 hours in which to accomplish the three feats included in "The Triple Double," I get excited. I rarely get excited. I am normally very mellow and sloth like. You can even ask Cindra. But here I get excited and blurt out: Oh My God! That means that if you consume the 10 beers at a rate of one per hour, you could legally drive home because alcohol metabolizes, on average, and in a healthy liver, at a rate of about .015% BAC per hour. (Tell 'em Brookie!) And I'm really excited here because this is a field of expertise and training and experience and stuff, so I continue: "UNLESS!," I go on to caveat and, just for good measure double up on that last word, "UNLESS! you are a woman. And it gets even worse if you are a premenstrual woman." (Watch it, Rusty Nails! Don't be shouting any 'Ah-Ha's 'I told you so's.) Did I punctuate that correctly?

So she goes, "Really? Unless you're a woman? And premenstrual?" And I'm like "Yeah," and she's all "whoa" and I'm like "totally" and she's all "get out!" and I'm all "true story." And we stopped there because this was a serious business call about insurance.

So I explain to KrisSn that there is an experiment that you can actually perform in the comfort and privacy of your own home. All you need is one average sized man and one average sized, hopefully premenstrual, woman. Then what you do is you hang them up by their wrists, probably over the tub in the bathroom or over plastic in the garage, and you cut a hole (same diameter) in each of their big toes. Doesn't matter which one, you just want to be sure that you make it both left toe or right toe for consistency. Then you drain out all the blood. NOW, and this is important, you pour precisely measured ounces of beer or denatured spirits into the buckets of drained blood. It does NOT matter which beer or denatured spirts you choose, but please people, just be sure you use the same kind for the experiment. Say you pour ten ounces of Grey Goose into the bucket with the man's blood. Okay, well you just pour the same carefully measured amount into the bucket with the woman's blood.

KrisSn quickly sees the logic. She too becomes excited and screams out the answer: "The bucket with the most blood will dissipate the alcohol, thus rendering a lower Blood Alcohol Concentration! Right?" Yes, KrisSn, you are right.

So after giving her the experiment, KrisSn says, "But ew. That was sorta gross because I had the visual." I commiserate, telling her that this one always makes me feel rather sick, too. But people, knowledge does come with a price, now doesn't it?

So does airplane insurance. This year's premium: $1,061. But that is for a full year. Not bad, I think. Not bad at all.

So after we hung up, I addressed the envelope with my information form inside:

Courtesy of Diesel, here is a rotated version of the envelope. Thank you, Diesel!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I Am From (Courtesy of Lime)

I am from the double pane window looking south, from Smoker Craft and ABU Garcia.
I am from the house on a hill in the woods, sequestered, yet visited and warm.

I am from the red alders, Douglas fir, both BLUE and sitka spruce, the cascara sagrada whose bark, if licked, will give you the runs. From the thimbleberry, elderberry, salmonberry and salal, stiff and waxy and as noisy as drums when going on walks where no road ever led. I am from the trillium that appear later this month.

I am from pizza from scratch, cuccidatta and the fig trees that fill them, pignoles, ossi di morti and matzo pancakes. I am from putting up olives and from kissing each other on the lips, yelling and forgiving, laughing and singing, from Carmelo, Carlo, Alfredo, and Gus, from Emanuel, Dora, Sadie, Babba and Jakob.

I am from the family meetings in our one and only bathroom and sitting around listening to The Brothers Four, Louis Prima, Bellafonte and The New Christie Minstrels.

I am from don't play with matches and "Oh, I suppose you can go swimming in the canal."

I am from being Jewish but becoming Catholic. From the ancient solemnities of rubric and rite. From incense and mystery and sharing the cloud. I am from near ordination and anguish over decisions to leave or pursue. From a best friend in Rome who put it like this: You've got 15 reasons for leaving; 14 for staying. And on such shall the greatest decisions be made.

I'm from Salt Lake City and Camporeale, Sicily, Romania and Russia, pesto and homemade pastas, from fruit leather dried in the hot Valley sun.

I am from the time my father responded from his drug store to the bank's clever robbery alarm, then winding up staring down the barrel of a gun, the walking on crutches after spraining his ankle when he turned to escape getting himself dead from a good deed done.

I am from all the times our mother just sat there thinking in silence when we pulled into our driveway after going to the store as we waited for her in our own meditations, wondering what she was thinking now that we were home.

I am from the oversize album still under the bed, from enlargers and cannisters piled in bags. From courtroom antiques and pharmacy jars and the full mahogany bar we yanked from the old Del Puerto Hotel out in Patterson (apricot capital of the world).

I am from the three meter board and meets as far south as Merced and as far north as Lodi. I am from watching my sister hit her head on the board on a reverse somersault in pike. And from a deep thankfulness that sharks are not prevalent in pools. I am from challenging for trumpet first chair. And winning only once, by default.

Since I am LINK restricted on this computer (MAC), I can only refer you to Lime's blog for instructions on how to get to the site where you can follow the formula for this sort of post.

***THIS JUST IN*** Thanks to Lime for posting the link in the comments. You're beautiful, man. Don't ever change!

***THIS JUST IN*** Thanks to Paul, I have changed browsers to Firefox and can now link and load.

Not to disappoint, here are some shots from today's flight with friend Don who was kind enough to fly me over to Newport to get my plane out of hock. Due to a hangar door malfunction, I had to impose upon the good folks at "the big airport" for temporary digs. We are in Don's Piper Tri Pacer. You will notice the undulations in his plane's "skin." It is a 1940s vintage aircraft and back then, they were only covered with fabric. Really, really strong fabric.





Sunday, March 11, 2007

For Somewhere Joe, for Kevin Williams; for Rick Watt: Kenny Rankin

I bought my first guitar in 1974. Yes, I have been playing guitar for thirty-three years. And when I bought my first guitar, I was twenty.

The guitar was, and still is, a Yamaha FG-110. The guy I bought it from was Rick Watt. Sadly, I don't know if he still is. This is a story about unpiad debts. Not only because I owe it to Rick for ordaining me with guitarage, but the price of the guitar was $70 American and I only had forty at the time of the exchange.

We did the deal in the choir loft of St. Bernard's Catholic church, 615 H Street, Eureka, California 95501. If you speak Catholic, you pronounce it BERnerd's. Not berNARD's. Don't know why. But same holds true for St. Bernard of Clairveaux. The only time you get to say it the other way is when you're talking about the dog with the brandy around it's neck and only when on a rescue in the Alps. If it's a rescue, say, in Utah's Uintas, however, I think you have to revert to the Catholic way. Just to piss off the Mormons? Again, dunno for sure. But if I were you, I wouldn't take any chances.

So Rick and I are sitting in the loft of St. BERnerds and he flips the guitar over and shows me the battle scarred one piece back. "It's not pretty," he says. "I've hitchhiked across the country with it; ate my lunch on it many a time. But it sounds good."

And it does sound good. Still.

I handed Rick my forty clams and he said I could pay him later. Some day. Somehow. But I haven't seen him since.

I think of Rick each and every time I pick that guitar up. And because Tom is seranading Cindra on my Martin D-35 right now, I am picking up the Yamaha FG-110, and my debts to Rick, a lot.

When I flew down to Redding in January (see my earlier post), the purpose was to attend Kevin's eldest son's wedding. Kevin, when asked, said he hadn't seen Rick either. He even called around to some of the other folks who had worked at the Catholic Youth Organization camp where I met Kevin and Rick. No word from Rick. No way to pay him his thirty bucks. No way to hear his beautiful Kenny Loggins-like singing voice.

Kevin taught me how to play my very first song: John Denver's "My Sweet Lady." He also taught me the second song I ever played: Kenny Rankin's rendition of the Beatles' "Blackbird." His interpretation of that song is very slow. Very sweet. Right there and then I was introduced to Kenny Rankin.

Kenny Rankin is from New York. Maybe Paul has seen him walking around the streets where Francis the dog remains ever vigilant for Fifi (see Paul's current post). Recently, Rankin was featured on BET and he cut a DVD which yours truly truly had to purchase. As Linda Richman would say, "Like Buttuh!" Johnny Carson fell in love with him so much so that he invited him onto the show 20 times. TWENTY TIMES.

If you have met up with the beauty that is Kenny Rankin, then please welcome into the fold, along with me and Somewhere Joe and Kevin the Godsent stylings of beauty incarnate.

And Rick, if you're listening----Dude, I owe you thirty bucks. Along with more than you will ever possibly know. Thank you, Rick. Thank you so much. You too, Kev.

Kenny will be playing at Jazz Alley on March 27/28. You who live where the bluest skies you've ever seen are, should do your Seattle Asses a big favor and get them to Jazz Alley on at least one of those dates.

This is a closeup of the interior of the sound box. I got this picture off the net. Not my guitar.

THIS is my guitar. The FG-110 that I still owe thirty bucks on...

Zoom in for a look at the sticker. Finding out they were still in existence, I emailed McCabe and Camp. They haven't seen Rick either. And they want to find him even more badly than I do. Seems he still owes them thirty bucks for the guitar. Ain't life strange? (Okay. Just kidding about Rick still owing money. The author apologizes for his character flaws.)

Yes, that is an Alamo amp. And yes, that is my trumpet case.

If she could speak she would be saying, "Gawpo, could you please help me with my zipper?" "Oh yes my love," I would reply, "Especially since after all those girlfriends you have helped woo into my life, you have more than helped Gawpo with HIS..."



One of my top five Kenny Rankin favs....Pardon Me, Haven't We Met

I Have Been Tagged By Ps

3 things you should know about the number 3
1. That first is Peeing
2. That second is Pooping
3. That leaves my favorite. But I really only NEED # 1 and # 2.

3 things that scare me
1. Mr. Fabulous
2. Diesel
3. That last booger (to quote Woody: It was the size of a BUICK)

3 people who make me laugh
1. Mr. Gawpo, Sr.
2. Spike Jones
3. Mr. Fabulous
4. And as Ps said, you can't say it all in three: Diesel

3 things I love (the three Fs)
1. Flying
2. Fishing
3. 'n #3 from above. But again, I only NEED #1 and #2

3 things I hate
1. War
2. Ringworm
3. Urethral discharge

3 things I don’t understand
1. Simple math
2. Mr. Fabulous
3. The ending to Mulholland Drive

3 things on my desk
1. My new iMAC with, as Juniper Rhoades explains it, its 52 inch screen (it's really only 24, but as it is it gives me a sunburn.)
2. Carmela, mi gato nuevo
3. My ham radios

3 things I’m doing right now
1. Respirating
2. Listening to the rumblings of my peristalsis
3. Leaning back in my chair and looking over my shoulder for my mother (that never goes away).

3 things I want to do before I die
1. Become a human being
2. Fly to Friday Harbor in hard IFR
3. Fly to Friday Harbor hard (which I am certain being able to fly in instrument conditions will no doubt bring about) Then, when I get there, maybe some #3.

3 things I can do
1. My trick with the pop cans (and yes, Paul, they are empty)
2. My other trick
3. Make people smile. Especially service people and complete strangers.

3 things you should never listen to
1. Self doubt
2. George W. Bush
3. George W. Bush

3 things I’d like to learn
1. How to drive a car with my eyes closed (longer than 20 miles this time)
2. What a woman means when she says, "No. I'm not mad."
3. How Somewhere Joe does all that music and movie stuff

3 favourite foods
1. Tripe
2. Squid
3. Tendon

3 people I'd like to tag
1. Juniper Rhoades (to get her ass back to blogging!)
2. George W. Bush (so that maybe I could finally listen to him)
3. That hottie at the Dutch Brothers coffee stand over in Corvallis. Suh-MOKIN' HOT!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Stupid Human Tricks or CAN You Do This?

I was visiting my friends, Barbara and Jim down there in, of all places, Eureka when "I found" this new talent. While they were at work, I sat in their home cozied up with the never-before-seen-by-me entire trilogy of Lord Of The Rings. I had just finished a siete sobre (7 Up) and was sort of playing with the feel of the aluminum ring on the bottom of the can, pressing it into the left side of my forehead. All of a sudden, I let go of the can while it was still against my head and...presto: It stuck. The rest is stupid human trick history. I have delighted sheer dozens at parties, mostly of the birthday variety where, now that my fame has spread, my hosts are quick to liven up the lull with, "Hey Gawpo---show these people your trick." But before I can get my pants unzipped, they correct me. "No! Not THAT trick!" (I AM half Sicilian, after all) "No. The CAN trick." "Oh," I dejectedly respond. And before you can say "wouldn't cha like ta be a pepper too," I whip out the trick THEY had in mind. Oh well. Maybe I'll...uh...."post" my other trick some day.

The shirt is an original design by noneother than the utterly creative and Second-In-Command in the House Of Cindra, Tom.

Background color provided by the wide assortment of mostly steelhead and salmon lures: Hot Shots, Blue Foxes, Panther Martins, Rooster Tails, Bang Tails, Steelies and Teaspoons. If you squint, you will also see a few lead headed jigs with rubber worms. These are ling cod jigs. I wish these photos would enlarge as they have in the past with this camera. Perhaps I need some pointers on how to maximize that feature. Diesel? Joe? Quilly? Kat? Anybody???

Two HF radios are depicted on the table to the right. The "big rigs" are a Yaesu FT-101-Z (and yes, Blue, this is pronounced even among American Hams, "ZED") D. The FT-101-ZD utilizes tube finals and produces a sweet, buttery audio for which I have been complemented as far away as The Republic of Nauru, Pitcairn and Norfolk Islands (where reside many of the descendants of The Bounty), Andorra (look THAT one up!), all parts of Asia, Australia, Tazmania, and most of Europe from Spain to the Kamchatka Penninsula. No India. No Africa. I have yet to conquer the world!!! Pinky to corner of mouth: Rrrriiiiggghhhhtttt........

The other rig (smaller) is an Icom-735. Atop the Icom is an MFJ-941D antenna tuner. Both radios put out approximately 80 watts which I run barefoot through a homebrew G5RV fed with 26 feet of 300 ohm flatlead to a center hoisted about 60 feet into the air by line suspended from the two large douglas fir that flank my home. I know what you're going to ask: "Gawpo, do you use an inline balun?" Nice try! Everyone knows a G5RV doesn't USE a balun. Sheesh! You think I'd fall for that old trick?! Creesus Jeist!


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Song To Help Me Thank You Link Helpers

I love this song.

When this song came out, I was in high school.

I love this song.

I know. Those of you who helped me learn to create links now think that you have created a monster.



Friday, March 02, 2007

Tulum: A Tribute To Memory

(March 6, 2007 NOTE: Thanks to Diesel, Blue, Quilldancer, Amy, Ps and Amanda for their help in figuring out how to link! I found out that it is a Mac problem, not a Gawpo problem. For once. Works fine on a PC, though.)

In November I went on a cruise. If I knew how to incorporate hot links, I would just make it so you could put your cursor over the word "cruise" and you would be referred to my November post: "You Cruise, You Lose." I'm not going to go into the downer side of the cruise because it was still a positive experience and I did get to see and do lots of wonderful things. For instance, I realized one of those dreams I had always had. I got my scuba certification. Prior to taking the lessons, I had no idea that there are basically two levels of certification for being licensed to breathe under water: Scuba and Open Water. When we tied up at Cozumel, we were supposed to go ashore for our last two dives that would have given our class our Open Water certification. But the winds were up and since it was going to be a shore dive, we were cancelled. Scuba divers can only dive with an instructor or a dive master. Open Water divers can dive with any like-certified buddy. Dang. But I gri-dess.

So instead of going on the dive, I made a mad dash down to the excursion desk to see if I could join the MRE (most recent ex) for the trip to Tulum that she had booked. I got the ticket, ran to the excursion boat and located the MRE after using my Spanish to request the use of the public address system. Calling her by name, I requested in English that C_____ J_____ U______ report to the ship's courtesy galley located on the lower deck to meet her party. She reported, laughing and rolling her beautiful blue eyes.

Enter Christian Michael Longo.

Christian Longo came to our town a few years ago. He came not alone, but with his whole family: His wife and three young children. When he left our town, it was in the back seat of a special transport vehicle that whisked him summarily away just hours after he was sentened to die in the gas chamber for killing his wife and their three young children. Yeah, I know. "Young children" is sort of redundant, but these kids were helplessly young. And he made them all dead before he tossed each one into two separate estuaries. It was only by chance that a passerby remembered seeing a vehicle matching the description of Longo's ride that the investigation got any teeth in it. Longo was in the process of discarding two of the kids, wrapped in pillow cases and weighted by tethered rocks, into nearby Lint Slough in south county.

But this isn't about Longo. It's about Tulum. It's about ruins. "What's the connection, then, Gawpo?," you ask. Well, readers, it's like this: They found Longo in Tulum. He had skirted all the amber alerts, gotten on a plane (pre passport days) with a stolen ID that no one really looked at, and the car he stole to get to San Francisco was located in the parking lot, accruing charges he will never have to pay for. The murdered family is one thing. But getting away with nonpayment of a parking fee just chaps my hide even further!

Longo's face appeared on America's Most Wanted. That, ladies and gentleman, is the only reason he got caught. A woman he had been partying with down in Tulum, Mexico recognized him from the show. Don't know if she was watching television on her vacation (I sure didn't), or if she made the call after she got back home. At any rate, the FBI and one of the detectives from my office flew down there and scooped him up. He stayed with us for over a year before leaving my county a single, available bachelor, a widower by self appointed mechanisms that curdle your blood.

As I walked along the ruins, I looked at every stone saying to myself, "Did Longo see that one? Did he stand here?"

Fade in. Fade out. So I get back home and go to my mailbox one day and there is the latest issue of my subscription to one of my favorite magazines, "Pilot Getaways." They feature cools places you can fly to and tell you all sorts of neat-o stuff you can do there. But what is on the cover this time? The cover is a shot of a plane flying right over the ruins of Tulum on the Yukatan Penninsula. I can see in the photo quite clearly all those places where the MRE and I stood, where Christian Longo stood. What a coinkydink.

Christian Michael Longo murdered his own family. I don't get that. No one gets that. But he went to Tulum, a place of ruins. Fitting for the meanings his going there may have held for him. As I stood where he stood, admiring a different place FROM a different place, I brought his family with me and I mentioned them to the stones that once were placed for the good.

The Greek word for grave is mnemeion. Like mnemonic, it refers to what we carry away from the meaning of memory. Ruins are about such things as memories and graves. Buried under millenia are the aspirations and ambitions of things human. Have things changed since the dreamers who built Tulum? Not a lick. What we build for a purpose contemporary with our own dream is subject to change without notice. I am careful to reverence my own ruins. They are holy and I behold them in a sacred silence that speaks of a good heart in another time. The phrase, "It left me in ruins" then, is about a beauty I continue to behold.

So Behold:

You can go and Google the ruins and Longo and Pilot Getaways. I just wanted to talk about a place that holds some memories of a tragedy, some memories of some happiness and some memories of some sadness. The day the MRE and I were there was a Thursday. That evening she would tell me that she didn't think she could continue in the relationship. This information could have waited, I thought, at least until after we were back home. But hey, I was the one who thought to ask why I was noticing some distancing. And honest person that she is, she answered my question. I just wish I could Google what was going through her heart. I will never know. She gave no solid reasons. I don't know that she even had any. The last two days of the cruise were less than blissful. All I could do was encourage her happiness.