Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Daily "Junkie Lean"

Now that it's warm out, my junkie neighbor sits on his front porch in full sweats and a can of malt liquor at 8:00 every morning. He's coming down off his all night heroin binge and does the "junkie lean" which makes him fall asleep while sitting up. He's been addicted to heroin since he fought in the Vietnam War.

You've probably seen the junkie lean even though you didn't know it. Go to the sketchy part of any large city and drive by a bus stop or park bench. You'll see some homeless dude, sitting there, head falling back, mouth agape, eyes half-closed jutting into the sunshine. If you're lucky (or unlucky), you'll see someone in a half-standing position doing the same thing. That's the junkie lean. But seeing it every morning about 10 feet from my front door is pitiful.

This situation is sad. He's such a friendly guy but he's under so much torment, a lot of pain, and very little joy. But man, you should have seen him react when I showed him pictures of my rockfish. He couldn't stop congratulating me. And he's given my wife some very kind compliments on her beauty (at least he's honest).

You ever seen a long-term heroin user's hands? Imagine taking a surgical glove and blowing it full of air. That's how his hands look --- all bloated, no knuckles, fat and massive. Thank god I've never seen his feet, but they obviously can hardly fit into his shoes they're so swollen. His wide-ass Adidas can't hold his feet with the laces in, so the shoes appear like moon boots but with the tongues hanging open.

And he's HIV positive, gets occasional seizures, and has adult-onset diabetes. How the hell is he still alive?

I'll be sad when he's gone, mainly as the final downward exclamation point of my pity for him. But god damn, I hope he's not around when I have kids in a few years. How would I explain him to a child?

Dear all urban white liberals who are uncomfortable with gentrification: visit me at 8AM any day of the week. If I don't change your mind, I'll give you ten bucks.


Update: Having read this post, a woman emailed me to ask if I could link to her drug treatment program.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

On accident, I caught a big ass fish today.

Completely on accident. Me and Mark went out today and when we figured there wasn't going to be any wind, we asked at the bait shop if they were biting. No one knew.

So we bought a $50 fishing license, and after filing down my rusty hooks, threw them out.

Long story short, we caught the above BEAST. A 34 inch, 20 lb rockfish. Fought him to the surface after thinking I'd hooked a carpet. Or a stingray, but no, it's a beautiful Chesapeake rockfish. Then pix-texted 20 friends to let them know.

The best was when I held the dead fish above my head in my neighborhood and everyone gathered 'round to see. Like 8 people! Cooked him up on the grill for all to eat. And eat they did!

And all under sail, people. My advice: when you hook something the size of my above beast, heave to. You know how to heave to?

Anyway, didn't spend a drop of gas today, caught a big fish. Wish you'd been with me. Seriously. More pictures below:

And just caught, taken from the cell phone:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's 2008: Most 1990s Indie Rock Now Sounds Sucky ... Except Sebadoh

Dear Dudes Born in the Early '70s Who're Slightly Musical:

How often have you thought, "You know, I haven't heard enough whiny white guys singing in a breathy voice lately." The same amount of time you've wished to see a male's shoeless feet, probably.

But us guys've got our sensitive side, we've got our sensitive side. For me, that side occasionally belongs to the 90s band, Sebadoh. Hear me out for a sec while I rant in support of them.

First time I heard Sebadoh was when Pete's cover band rocked the song "Homemade" back in college. He did it better than Sebadoh themselves! I've been smitten with them since --- off and on.

Sebadoh doesn't have a ton of skill but when you hear a song like "Homemade" you get a feeling like they thought volume and passion could morph into talent. Remember volume and passion? That used to be what inspired little bands to play in front of other people --- not some subconscious drive to torture the listening public like you see so often nowadays. A glut of crappy little bands.

And their track "Brand New Love". Just beautiful. Makes a manly man feel like it's ok to be faggity. Just kidding, I mean, "sensitive, and in touch with my feelings."

Once, someone gave me a 12" vinyl of their lead singer Lou Barlow's acoustic love songs. For a while, I was afraid to admit I had it. To this day, that album is probably best listened to completely alone. Don't tell anyone.

The tracks:

Sebadoh, "Brand New Love":

Sebadoh, "Homemade":

We don't call Hillary Clinton a bitch because she's a woman; we call her a bitch because she's a BITCH.

That is all.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Whew. That Patriot Act sure is oppressive!

God damn, the fascists never cease, do they? In my first encounter with the sharp teeth of the brutal and oppressive Patriot Act, when I just called my homeowners insurance for updates, before I could proceed on the phone they asked me:
"In regards to the USA Patriot Act, are you a US citizen?"
What's next, concentration camps?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bragging Rights: I Departed & Returned to my Slip WITHOUT Using the Motor

I've always hated boat motors and the feeling is mutual. Most non-sailors don't know that 99.99% of us use the motor to get in and out of the slip, but as I discovered on Friday, it's surprisingly easy to depart and return sans motor under in the right winds. And even though my boat is 27 feet long, it was no problem. Here's how I did it:


I made sure the wind would be hitting the port quarter at the point the boat was angled correctly. Pat and I began by pushing the boat backwacds out of the slip with the headsail furled on deck off to starboard. We used boathooks to make sure the boat wouldn't hit any pilings and to angle it pointed out of the marina. When positioned right, I hauled up the headsail about 12 feet off the deck --- not all the way to the top. The wind caught it, and the boat began to move to leeward, toward the pilings. I had Pat position himself on the bow with the boathook extended to fend off. As we gained momentum, I raised the headsail fully and we started to move forward at about 1.5 knots. We were headed slightly toward the pilings, but Pat and I just fended off with the boathook and soon we were no longer on a angled collision course and were off, well into the main river.


After we sailed for four hours around Thomas Point Light, I decided to keep the motor quiet on the way back in. I dropped the main and lashed it off, while loosening the headsail halyard and sheet --- both in my hands. I played with the speed of the boat by letting loose the sheet until the boat was moving very slowly. As soon as we were needing to turn right into the marina, I dropped the headsail and had Pat gather it on deck so it wouldn't hit the water. We had enough momentum to glide gracefully into the slip and not hit any pilings. We fended off the pilings dead ahead with the boathooks with little effort.

It was all MUCH easier than I thought and I'd recommend that any sailor try it. The wind in the marina should be about 2 knots on your first try. Also, both times I did it there were a few people on the dock working on their boats and they witnessed the whole thing. You can't imagine the feeling when some old salt yells to you how impressed he is. For that alone, it's worth doing.

And the boat is now 100% environmentally friendly! I even use solar power to re-charge my batteries.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What must it be like to truly believe in fairies?

I don't meet many bona fide fruit loops in life, but in Melbourne I spoke at length with a grown man who truly believes in fairies.

Normal people have difficulty understanding that creationists really believe the world was created by a divine creator in six days, that jihadists really believe that the Koran is the perfect word of God, or that moon landing Truthers really believe that Buzz Aldrin never left the earth. (No moral equivalency between all those groups).

Imagine for a second what it's like to really believe something. Imagine how you'd feel if the fire marshal walked in right now and told you that the building you're sitting in will collapse in less than 30 seconds. Imagine the effect that would have on you --- really believing that was about to occur. That's the way real belief can feel.

I was standing at my booth promoting my special fertilizer when a bearded man (always bearded) started talking to me about his tree healing abilities. Every agriculture show seems to attract at least one of these freaks, and I readied myself for the full on fruit-loopery.

After talking to him for 20 minutes about the health of oaks in California, he could see I wasn't going to laugh at him, so he confided that he was actually a dowser of trees. I inquired about his methods with a straight face, and with a straight face, he proceeded to tell me.

He carefully informed me that trees are beings that are standing on their heads with their legs and feet up in the air in the form of branches and top growth. Their health is watched over by fairies and other forest spirits who care for them. His method is to spread his arms wide and walk over the entire root system, blessing it, talking to the fairies, and directing positive energy toward the trunk. Sometimes he'll even give the tree a long hug.

He seemed relieved that he'd gotten his true beliefs off his chest toward someone who seemed normal, didn't crack a disbelieving smirk, and didn't laugh in his face.

I then picked up my laptop to show him some pictures of oaks that received my special fertilizer and he politely asked if he could dowse the trees --- the pictures of trees on my computer.

He extended his left hand index finger and thumb flat out with his pointer finger directed at my computer screen. He took his right hand and tapped his extended left hand, his right thumb rooted on the back of his left hand. For a full 20 seconds I witnessed this man concentrate and make witching motions toward my glowing jpeg images of oaks. I watched in awkward silence.

"That one's got 20% while the other one is much healthier at 60%". Good to know, good to know, I responded.

Really believing in fairies must feel like being a four-year-old trapped in an adult's body. The world's not complicated, no, and probably lacking all the strife and meanness --- just an existence watched over by beautiful, mysterious supernatural creatures with magical powers. Maybe even a pegasus flutters by? What a good life to live.

The moment I realized he wasn't shitting me when he said he believed in fairies I felt something I couldn't have predicted: pure jealousy. Yes, this cold-hearted science-based atheist felt jealous of a fairy-believer. I wish I could live in his world now and again. I really do.

(Image credit)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

New Hobby for When I Get Old

Never been into flowers, but I'm hustling my special fertilizer at the Melbourne flower and garden show and damn, orchids are the king of flowers, aren't they.

Ran across a booth of them here, and all the old Aussie codgers seem to be growing them. Seems like a quality old man's hobby, doesn't it? I gotta get into cultivating these when I hit age 55.

They're so extremely feminine that they sort of come back around to masculine. And wow, some look like human vaginas, don't they?? Heh, heh heh ... [in a Beavis and Butthead laugh].

That last one looks like it's got a bit of the clap or something.

Friday, April 04, 2008

9/11 Kook Interviewed by an Australian. NICE.

I love the Aussies --- so direct and taking no bullcrap. They're really like that in real life, too. Check out this 2-minute interview of a 9/11 kook. The last five seconds are hilarious.

These people need to be dealt with in one of two ways: indifference or ridicule. End of story. I choose the latter.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Every third male in Australia seems to be a sailor who can --- at minimum --- tie a bowline in less than 6 seconds.

Dear American men: how does that above statement make you feel? (Because it's true). Like your penis is curving inward?


World's Largest Surfing Museum in Torquay, Australia

I'm in Melbourne, Australia for a trade show. After we set up our exhibit yesterday, we went for a leisurely drive along the Great Ocean Road and saw some of the best beaches in the world for surfing. In the town of Torquay, they actually have a museum dedicated solely to surfing! Below are my pictures. (Side note: Aussies pay more than $6/gallon of gasoline --- further supporting my insistence that Americans should STFU about gas prices).

It took me a while to figure out that the blue is supposed to be a wave:

Notice this guy's dog in the bottom right:

I guess this guy was some legendary surfing god. This was on the bottom of an old board:

If I surfed, I'd want my board to look like this:

I love these little glimpses into surfing history:

These old wooden longboards are tall as shit:

I guess surfboards got smaller over the years because they were faster?:

This is the famous Bells Beach, where Billabong and others hold surfing competitions. Notice the lack of people. Australia is about the size of the continental US, but with 280 million FEWER people.

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