Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Equilibrium



While riding to the store today I thought about “equilibrium”. It is the usual wake-up ride and every now and then I’m cruising down the street and wondering what I’m doing?

The definition of “equilibrium” is…
1. A condition in which others, resulting in a stable, balanced, cancel all acting influences or unchanging system.
2. Mental or emotional balance; poise.
3. Physics: The state of a body or physical system at rest or in un-accelerated motion in which the resultant of all forces acting on it is zero and the sum of all torques about any axis is zero.
4. Chemistry: The state of a chemical reaction in which its forward and reverse reactions occur at equal rates so that the concentration of the reactants and products does not change with time.

I could get into all the crazy variations, but…

Biology
* Equilibrioception, the sense of a balance present in human beings and animals
* Equilibrium unfolding, the process of unfolding a protein or RNA molecule by gradually changing its environment
* Genetic equilibrium, theoretical state in which a population is not evolving
* Homeostasis, the ability of an open system, especially living organisms, to regulate its internal environment
* Punctuated equilibrium, theory in evolutionary biology
* Sedimentation equilibrium, analytical ultracentrifugation method for measuring protein molecular masses in solution
* Equilibrium Theory (Island biogeography), MacArthur-Wilson theory explaining biodiversity character of ecological islands

Physics
* Equilibrium figures of Earth and planets (physical geodesy)
* Equilibrium mode distribution, the state of fiber optic or waveguide transmission in which the propagation mode does not vary with distance along the fiber or changes in the launch mode
* Hydrostatic equilibrium, the state of a system in which compression due to gravity is balanced by a pressure gradient force
* Hyperbolic equilibrium point, a mathematical concept in physics
* Mechanical equilibrium, the state in which the sum of the forces, and torque, on each particle of the system is zero
* Radiative equilibrium, the state where the energy radiated is balanced by the energy absorbed
* Secular equilibrium, a state of radioactive elements in which the production rate of a daughter nucleus is balanced by its own decay rate
* Thermal equilibrium, a state where an object and its surroundings cease to exchange energy in the form of heat, i.e. they are at the same temperature.

Chemistry
* Chemical equilibrium, the state in which the concentrations of the reactants and products have no net change over time
* Diffusion equilibrium, when the concentrations of the diffusing substance in the two compartments are equal
* Donnan equilibrium, the distribution of ion species between two ionic solutions separated by a semi-permeable membrane or boundary
* Dynamic equilibrium, the state in which two reversible processes occur at the same rate
* Equilibrium constant, a quantity characterizing a chemical equilibrium in a chemical reaction
* Partition equilibrium, a type of chromatography that is typically used in GC
* Quasistatic equilibrium, the quasi-balanced state of a thermodynamic system near to equilibrium in some sense or degree
* Schlenk equilibrium, a chemical equilibrium named after its discoverer Wilhelm Schlenk taking place in solutions of Grignard reagents
* Solubility equilibrium, any chemical equilibrium between solid and dissolved states of a compound at saturation
* Thermodynamic equilibrium, the state of a thermodynamic system, which is in thermal, mechanical, and chemical equilibrium
* Vapor-liquid equilibrium, where the rates of condensation and vaporization of a material are equal

Economics
* Competitive equilibrium, economic equilibrium when all buyers and sellers are small relative to the market
* Economic equilibrium, a condition in economics
* Equilibrium price, the price at which quantity supplied equals quantity demanded
* General equilibrium theory, a branch of theoretical microeconomics
* Intertemporal equilibrium, an equilibrium concept over time
* Lindahl equilibrium, a method proposed by Erik Lindahl for financing public goods
* Partial equilibrium, the equilibrium price and quantity which come from the cross of supply and demand in a competitive market.
* Radner equilibrium, an economic concept defined by economist Roy Radner in the context of general equilibrium
* Recursive competitive equilibrium, an economic equilibrium concept associated with a dynamic program
* Static equilibrium (economics), the intersection of supplies and demand in any market
* Sunspot equilibrium, an economic equilibrium in which non-fundamental factors affect prices or quantities
* Underemployment equilibrium, a situation in Keynesian economics with a persistent shortfall relative to full employment and potential output

Game theory
* Correlated equilibrium, a solution concept in game theory that is more general than the well-known Nash equilibrium
* Nash equilibrium, a solution concept in game theory involving two or more players
* Quasi-perfect equilibrium, a refinement of Nash Equilibrium for extensive form games due to Eric van Damme
* Sequential equilibrium, a refinement of Nash Equilibrium for extensive form games due to David M. Kreps and Robert Wilson
* Symmetric equilibrium, in game theory, an equilibrium where all players use the same strategy
* Trembling hand perfect equilibrium assumes that the players, through a "slip of the hand" or tremble, may choose unintended strategies
* Proper equilibrium due to Roger B. Myerson, where costly trembles are made with smaller probabilities

Other
* Social equilibrium, a system in which there is a dynamic working balance among its interdependent parts
* Equilibrium moisture content, the moisture content at which the wood is neither gaining nor losing moisture
* Equilibrium point, node in mathematics
* Reflective equilibrium, the state of balance or coherence among a set of beliefs arrived at by a process of deliberative mutual adjustment

You can analysis your feelings and wonder about your thoughts but in the long run, when you wake up and crawl into your clothing and brush your teeth and wash your face, you walk into reality. And reality is what it is all about.
As much as we would love to live in a fantasy world of books and television adventures and calming music or whatever we can get lost in, there is that stinking reality that makes us wake up and pay the bills and take out the trash and clean the toilet.
So if equilibrium is the balance of our life, the gyro that keeps us on the straight and narrow, what happens when we doubt it?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Who’s your Pet?



Sure you don’t plan on it but they are all fuzzy and cute or so funny with their rolling and tumbling they have to come home and become part of the family. Pets are the children you never had, or maybe then you did.
My family had a history of weird pets. There was this blue parakeet in the dining room. On one of those hanging cages it would make these horrendous sounds and throw it’s food all over the place. Don’t think it was dad who brought the bird into the house, but it was there when I was small. Don’t have any idea what happened to it or what its name was.
Then there was this dog. He was a brindle boxer who my mother said had pedigree papers, but I just knew him as “Ike”. I think he was dad’s dog, but I don’t know if he was handed down from his dad or brought into the house from a purchase or adoption. My brother remembers him in Charlottesville before we moved here, but as I grew up he was always around. A big sloppier brown with black striped dog that was, to me, the size of a horse. We didn’t have a fenced in yard so when Ike was let out he could just wander through the neighborhood. There were no lease laws back then and the traffic wasn’t as swift as it is today, so he, being as friendly as he was, could just wander. Many a time I remember he would walk out into traffic and sit down between two busy intersections. His head was at the height of a passing car, so they were sure to avoid him. One of my best memories of Ike was he was the nemesis to my personal elementary school bully. The postman and everyone else who saw this huge beast would worry, but Ike was a lamb. My dad said he wandered off somewhere and got lost. I never knew what really happened.
Since kids want pets, I was no different. I got a little turtle from a local drug store with a plastic tray and a plastic palm tree. Bought some turtle food and watched him crawl around on my dresser. Before I noticed it, he was covered in green slime. He succumbed to the disease I didn’t understand and the whole mess went out with the trash.
I got a hamster from a school friend. He gave me a cage and a wheel and everything. What he didn’t tell me was that this hamster was a female and pregnant. The next day, to my amazement, there were all these little hamsters. I filled the water bottle and put out food but didn’t understand what these little rodents did. One by one her babies were devoured and then she died. What a nice lesson for an elementary school age kid.
None of my friends had pets. There is probably a good reason for that.
My next adventure with a pet was in college. Somehow my mother and the mother of the guy who gave me the hamster figured out a way to get us both out of the house and become roommates. I guess it was cheaper than his dorm cost and it got me to become responsible, so we moved to a third floor two room flat and continued in our studies. What I didn’t know was there was a cat. I moved my bed in and then the next day, when I moved in, I had a bedmate. A blue-eyed crossed eyed Siamese cat named “Ming” became my sleeping buddy. Little did I know she was in heat? And she stayed in heat. For an entire year she stayed in heat. Even with a move down the block in the heat of summer, this cat stayed in heat.
Moving back home I was relieved to avoid the animal kingdom, but I started seeing a woman who had a cat. I learned about fleas and all that comes with that, but I was about to marry her.
Upon marriage, I not only got a bride, I got a cat. “Twinkle” was her name. She was a little black and white cute kitty, but always in the way. I accepted her along with the marriage as a package. I learned for eight years that I must tolerate this third member of our family.
Little did I know what would happen next? I accepted a cat for a friend who was moving. It was a temporary agreement but I was with another animal.
Then it happened. The floodgates opened.
I met a girl. She had a chipmunk for a pet. I quickly learned that a rusty wheel and a little brown and black-stripped rodent named “Beau Beau” could keep you awake all night. After changing his steel cage to custom plastic job, he found his way to the outside, where he belonged.
The girl? We became familiar. A little too familiar, but a cat was adopted to replace what could have been. “Pumpkin” an orange and white kitten became the next cuddle buddy. Then came “Rag-A-Muffin” and “Patches” as sisters. “Kiwi” was sweet and quiet. “Maggie” and “Wizzy” were from the South along with “Frank”, old ferret face. “Skunk” you can guess. “Caitlin” and “Cullen” were another pair of sisters. “Bunny” was a soft, black and at my stereo cords. “Dukey” arrived from under an azalea plant. “Cody” heard the food was good her so he stopped by. At one point there were thirteen fish tanks in the house. The list goes on and on.
Some are buried out in the yard and a few were given to others. We watched them escape and we watched them die. We prepared special rooms and places for them to rest and supplied plenty of food.
Why do we invite these aliens into our living spaces? Sure they are cute and fuzzy and make those cuddly noises, but they also pee on our floors, throw up hairballs all over the place, tear up our pillows, and take up the sofa. They need constant grooming, trips to the vet, and lots of toys. They never like the food we buy for them, but really enjoy whatever we are having for dinner. They have to be walked or scooped up after and then there are fleas.
We call them family members, but they are an entirely different species we have purchased as slaves for our entertainment. Like small children, they bring us joy when playing and give us undivided attention for our personal comfort.
After years of having every kind of furry creature roam my abode and after my wife’s heart attack, I brought home a dog. She was invited in to help my wife get out and exercise, but became so much more. This was the first dog in the house since “Ike” and while the other animals, eh, pets accepted this wild puppy, and she became the focus of our attention. A special harness was purchased to carry her when she got tired of walking. Being larger than any other creature in the house, she ruled the roost. She had her own sofa, but would not deny a nap on the bed. While training was out of the question because of being spoiled, she ate my hat, sunglasses, anything else I couldn’t get out of the way in time. But she had a special connection to me. She was the puppy I wanted when I was young, but only got a stuffed toy instead. She was named, as we have to do with all our pets, after the Vampire Slayer series.
Upon a new life adjustment, I had to decide what to do with all these critters living in my house. The cats were pretty easy to hand over to the neighbors for their children, but what to do with “Buffy”? Months went by with both of us following our usual routines, but I knew it had to change. There were too many memories so I had to let her go. I bought a leash at the store to walk her down to the vet to see if she could be adopted, but she chewed that up. I finally found a girl who would take her. I even get choked up now just writing about it.
So would I get another pet? I don’t think I want another breathing body in my house. After all these years, the sound of silence is unique. Besides I have all the outside critters to enjoy. I feed them and they entertain me with their antics without the responsibility of vet visits and grooming or waking up in the middle of the night to some “accident”. I talk to them with that same “baby talk” voice we use on pets acting like they understand what we are saying, but knowing they only recognize our noise and association to food. So be it.
Maybe someday, I can become somebody’s pet. It is not a bad life from what I’ve seen.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

…but,



Sorry, I only used the picture to attract your attention.
Ever notice we all have opinions? With all our different upbringings and experiences and influences, we see a topic and have an opinion on it.
Just look at the comments during the last election. Actually any topic or new feed or even photo or video that social media provides for our amusement, we have an opinion and we make a comment. Some of our comments, in today’s microwave mentality world, are just stupid, or rude, or misinformed, or prejudiced, or just silly.
Love to give your opinion? Sure you do. “That dress looks great.” Or “I’d paint that in a shade of red.” Or “My uncle had a big red lump on his head that looked like that and he died.” We can’t help ourselves. We just chime in whether asked or not. We just think our idea should be heard.
Bring a baby in the room and listen to all the comments. This is all our learning process, but…. There is another side.
Luckily I live in a land where people can post their comments and thoughts and ideas freely without much coincidence to the opinion. Sometimes it is a learning experience and sometimes it is just ridiculous, but it is available. If not, we would all think the same way.
Growing up I learned history of my state from a book. Everyone in the classroom had the same book. Everyone in the city school system had the same book so we all learned the same history. When we asked our friends about a topic we all knew the answer. There was no alternatives or a Google to explore. I did get the World Book encyclopedia but it was out of date by the time it arrived. The dictionary was the same. There was the library but who wanted to dig through all that ancient history in hopes to find something different? Our parents were taught much of the same thing so they figured our latest textbooks were the best information to teach us.
Then someone comes along with a different idea. An opposite solution to the invasion of this continent or the rights of it’s natural inhabitants or maybe, just maybe, some of it’s present residents should have more freedoms. Then you get your dander up over a new idea that is different from what we have taught or told was the truth, we roll up our sleeves and get ready to duke it out to prove our way is the best way. It is the “us” or “them” mentality.
We form supports groups to re-enforce “our” opinions. Whether it is republicans or democrats, Buddhist or Methodist or Lutheran or Episcopalian or Protestant or Baptist or Muslin or Jew or etc., Rotary or Kiwanis, liberal or conservative, pro-life or pro-rights, warrior or pacifist, husband or wife, well you see where I’m going. There is always another side to the story.
Are we analytical enough to listen and learn? Even single cell beings learn to adapt to changing surroundings. Are we intelligent enough to be pliable to new ideas or are we so full of biases we can never bend?
“Yeah, I agree with you, but…”

If there were going to be a movie about your life; what actor would play you?



This subject came up when I talking to some college buddies about our adventures and what an interesting book we could write. It would probably be interesting enough to become a movie. Then one of my amigos sent me a name to an actor he chose to play him in the movie.
Now I’m not current with celebrity so I had to Google the name. It was an interesting choice but then I thought about the concept. Who would you choose from actors’ current or past in screen, stage, television, living or animated to play you?
Of course the first choice would be the latest and greatest hunk or most popular cover model, but would that person best represent you?
Remember all these characters have influenced you through the years. We want to think we can dance like Fred Astaire, sing like Elvis Presley, be as suave as Humphrey Bogart and be as adventurous as Harrison Ford. Reality is a bit duller.
Those parent/teachers meeting, trips to the hospital, eating popcorn in bed while watching some sappy soap opera, long hours in boring meetings, and answering marketing phone calls at dinnertime are among the every day events of our lives. Then again we all have those moments in our lives where we may travel to far off places, participate in unusual events, and maybe some experience that will last with you throughout the years and maybe even define you.
This silly experiment is also a good way to look in the mirror and decide who you really are.
Me? Who would play me? Johnny Depp would be the first course, but I think I’m more of a mix of John Belushi and Jack Nickolson with a hint of Red Buttons thrown in.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Paving the Way



Getting ready to go to the store again, but today I have a plan. I will ride down beyond the beyond where the workmen in their white and orange hardhats and brilliant reflective yellow vest with their long line of trucks picking up and laying down and rows of orange cones and police blocking access to the avenue I grew up on and must cross to receive sustenance will go around the work of the day. Good idea, but it didn’t work.
I set off right with a set course of going down below where I thought the construction project was going, then cross the 4 lane avenue, then back on the other side to the grocery. What I hadn’t planned in my dreamlike state at 5 in the morning was that this was a much bigger project than it first appeared. The orange cones have multiplied to every intersection for miles. The normally quiet side streets are clogged with local neighbors and delivery trucks and construction trucks and every other vehicle who seems to have lost their way in this confusion. Now remember that most of the drivers in this neighborhood are a gazillion years old so they are easily confused. Today they are really, really confused. The look in their eyes is like a confined cat in a cage.
So I weave in and out of this parade of clowns checking every corner to see if there is a way around. There isn’t. I continue my journey to the obvious spot for crossing. The bridge. They can’t pave the street and the bridge at the same time, can they? And as I guessed, this is the stopping (or starting spot).
I can duck up on the sidewalk to get out of the turning vehicles and those allowed to ride past the machinery and observed the operation. Very impressive. Hundreds of guys stretched for miles trying to make a street that I didn’t think was too rough, smooth. Trucks and all sorts of heavy machinery are moving back and forth and the smell of asphalt is in the air. The dust and smoke and chatter and that sound of heavy machinery crowds out the normal bird songs. Some guy on some type of sweeper sees me waiting and offers me passage. I wave him on to his duty for I am too engrossed in the ballet happening before me.
Finally a break in the action and I cross the bridge to the other side and back track to the store. The other side is filled with wandering traffic looking for a way out. I’m in no hurry so I let them pass then push on to my destination.
As the nice ladies pack my bags I comment about the disruption on the construction. They appear unfamiliar to what I reference, but then again maybe they are on the other side.
Crossing a street is like crossing a bridge to get to the other side. When the way is blocked, for whatever reason, life as usual has changed. I could go the other direction to another array of grocery stores or even go further down and around, but this has become an adventure.
In the long run, these is my taxes being spent and jobs created and after some time there will be a beautiful smooth long black ribbon that I can ride on. Luckily I am far enough away to not hear the noise or the smells and the weekend will be here tomorrow with another trip and another exploration of a familiar territory.
Just another adventure in Just Another Day.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Breaking up



Not really having a steady girlfriend other than a couple of marriages, the idea of breaking up is foreign to me. Then again, I never learned how to use those lines or move to make some girl attractive or even pay attention to me. Perhaps a confidence issue, but that is another discussion for another time.
There are a lot of songs and stories and movies and poems about breaking up. It seems “falling in Love” as they state it is a slippery slope and only brings heartbreak. That emotional stuff only makes you crazy.
So is there a form or a method or even a class on how to break up? I mean, suppose someone become interested in you and there am a certain physical attraction if you know what I mean, but then what? Do you make the leap to share your life and all your worldly possessions together? What if your taste in music does not blend? Suppose you don’t like her parents? Suppose she doesn’t have a medical history? Suppose she grows up to look like her mother?
Looking at the leftovers from breaking up, why would anyone want to get hooked up to start with? I know, we are ingrained in being physical animals that must rub each other to propagate. After that, why don’t we just go home and live our lives? I can already see all the emails stating how Love brings us together and all you need is Love and all that stuff, but unless you were some kind of weird virgin who met another virgin and you live happily ever after, you fallen and then realized that wasn’t such a good idea and had to break up.
And if you’ve broken up, you know that crummy feeling of now knowing what went wrong and why he/she didn’t like you or who is that other guy cutting in on my dance partner? You go from my little pony to Goth. You tear up all those wonderful thoughtful love notes that meant so much. And what about those photos? It’s shredder time. Then you mope around for awhile, don’t eat anything, the sun never shines, and suddenly, there SHE is.
Then what?

Don't take your love away from me
Don't you leave my heart in misery
If you go then I'll be blue
'Cause breaking up his hard to do

Remember when you held me tight
And you kissed me all through the night
Think of all that we've been through
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

They say that breaking up is hard to do
Now I know, I know that it's true
Don't say that this is the end
Instead of breaking up I wish that we were making up again

I beg of you, don't say goodbye
Can't we give our love another try
Come on baby, let's start a new
'Cause breaking up is hard to do

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I don’t know



I know it is Sunday because my favorite radio show is on. I don’t even brush my teeth as I throw myself outside because I need to move after having a lazy morning. I don’t know why.
There are no police cars or massive trucks this morning. Only a sign that warns, “Bump”. I avoid the chance it could still be the crater from yesterday and ride around it, thinking about warning signs. What does “Bump” mean? I don’t know. It might mean there is a little mountain to slow drivers or a crevice that would swallow up a bicycle. I wonder they don’t make signs that say “Giant Gorilla” or “Persons Maybe Working” or “Watch Out!” Now those signs would slow you down.
As I wander on thinking about a friend who is on a long path finding a home for his father and another searching for a new childhood while yet another prepares to become a grandfather, I just don’t know. I can give support but I never knew his mother. Having a baby in your 60’s, I just don’t know. And the big man with bad knees about to become an instant babysitter.
Then again I don’t know what paths they have been through and they don’t know mine. So I refer back to the morning show’s topic: Camp. Now that it is hot and summer is supposed to be hot the topic of “camp” arises again. I do know that I’ve written about camp before but there was a phrase in today’s program that caught my attention.
There are those who go to camp and there are those who do not. If camp is a pleasant enough experience in your teen years, it will always be a reference to those who were there that cannot understand. Camp is merely participation by a few, who attend, willingly or not, to experience the outdoors and bond with others. They are put in barracks like army troops or prisoners and assigned bunks with activities monitored by older teens. The show today emphasized the rituals and codes used in camp allowing young men to play Indians or some sort of warrior traditional and girls camp where they can compete and scream. Screaming and hollering and cheering and bizarre chants were all used in this show but I don’t remember campers doing this. I remember the traditional flag pledging and camp songs but what do I remember. I don’t know. It was a long time ago.
I do recognize camp as a way to get me out of the house. I’m sure mom and dad were tired of me just sitting in my room drawing pictures all summer, so they shipped me off to camp. At first it was day camp. It was the first time of being on a school bus and it was not a pleasant ride. Out in the woods somewhere, we were told to run and jump through poison ivy and swim in lakes full of snapping turtles and water moccasins with some glee. We played baseball in overwhelming heat and ate stale lunches then got to nap on the ground while the ‘counsels’ thought up some more torture for us to endure.
If that didn’t cut it, I was driven down to another state and left weeks to another camp. Maybe this was part of the growing up process or maybe my parents were hoping I would get lost in the woods and not come back. I don’t know. That ordeal wasn’t quite so bad when I learned I could shoot a rifle, shoot an arrow, and sail a boat. Did I keep up with any other campers or form bonds? No. I don’t know why.
So as the storms come to hopefully cool down the air, I’ll close for another day. So many mysteries reveled and so many more hidden. I just don’t know.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Being in a Band


It is a strange day so far. The usual start up with an early morning rise, adding more silliness to the social media, and preparing for the daily ride. But today there is something strange going on.
At the end of the block there is a police car with lights flashing. It seems the city in its infinite wisdom has decided to repave the main road between here and there on a weekend. There has been plumbing repairs on this road for the past two years, but suddenly there are trucks and paving machines digging a path in the normally flat road, and not even where they have been digging. I’m sure it is planned from the bigger picture, so I just adjust my path to another route.

Then I see a motorcycle with a sidecar. That is fairly unusual for this neighborhood then I notice that the sidecar is camouflaged and had a heavy-duty machinegun on it. After that everything else seemed normal for a strange day.
But that was not the thought for today. As a reigning member in the society of the absurd my thoughts were focused on the music festivals that will be happening in this ‘burg this summer. I look at the menu of the artist and performers and wonder do I want to wander down to some crowded venue to sit in the heat, drink overpriced watered down beer, and listen to songs I may or may not know with limited enthusiasm but great sound? 
Much like television, festivals present a format of entertainment. Lights, lasers, pyrotechnics, dancers and really, really big screen TVs present the entertainers. But to keep the audiences attention it must be louder and flasher and the real reason to listen to a dedicated musician or a composer is the music.
Great shows to me are full of surprises and unique sound that really presents a challenge to the audience, but so many of these presentations is what the “white bread” audience will pay for. All you have to do is see the Rolling Stones. They made a ton of music and a variety of sounds, but even with their mega over the top stage shows, they play the same songs over and over again. Musicians’ play to the audiences likes and composers will fade away if a following do not form. The more complicated the sound, the more confused the audience. The more danceable the sound, the better the general audience likes it.
With that said, what about the guys and gals who travel from venue to venue to present a sound a promoter thinks will draw a crowd and make a profit? These are people who are trying to make a decent living presenting their passion to a crowd of strangers.
I am trying to compile my thoughts of teenage years working weekends and holidays with a variety of beggars and thieves and a vast array of structure and talent hopefully named “When The Band Broke Up”. From the perspective of knowing I didn’t follow my passion at the time for the security of a steady paycheck I can faithfully appreciate those who did and feel the sorrow for some who still do.
Being on a stage is an exhilarating experience, whether you are a dancer, singer, speaker, actor, musician, and acrobat, whatever. You are presenting yourself blindly to an audience with your talent in hopes of appreciation. As a teen it was easy to follow blindly the dream with innocence and naiveté. Being young and vulnerable gives you the freedom to sleep in cars, carry heavy cases (no roadies or monitors), work for beer with long hours of repairing busted speakers and guitars and having no money; but it was all in hopes of finding that girl in the crowd who would leave her jock boyfriend and follow this ratty band of misfits into an unknown world. Of course that never happened. My dad never told me about that so I had to learn myself.
So watching those guys up on the stage in your local brewery or at the next festival take another look. These are mothers and fathers and drifters and wanderers and followers of dreams or delusional individuals who have to pay their taxes and raise their families while indulging in what the rest of us find an exciting adventure from our mundane lives. As they twirl about and squeal on stage the rest of us dance that little toe tap approval, these people put out whatever they can for as minutes allowed to hopefully boost recording sales and then get back on the bus to go to another town with another crowd to try and capture more attention. The ones who had grown to massive crowds are reduced to playing the Holiday Inn circuit.
As I watch the stars of today, just as emulating the stars of the past, I have all the toys but not the desire to travel from place to place, crammed on tiny stages or overwhelmed by the festival crowds, trying to maintain a fairly tuned instrument while impressing the audience with cool poses and dance moves while sweating like a pig. Sleeping in a bus instead of a car with the same smelly people you spend every day with, confronting managers and promoters and unions that demand every minute attention and leaving family concerns behind for business.
So looking at my possible writing of teenage fantasies I will only remember the best parts and forget getting stuck in the sand on a beach while trying to sleep and feeding mosquitoes or getting threaten with death by annoyed boyfriends or being stranded states away from home and having no cash or any of those other experiences the boys in a band shared and somehow overcame. I’m sure guys have the same bonding adventures who joined teams or clubs or even a junior army society. 









Maybe the band will reform?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Baggage



We all have it. It may be called luggage or storage. It could be a suitcase or a purse or a carpetbag or a trunk or a briefcase or a tote or a carryon. It is the stuff we carry with us. It is the stuff we cannot leave at home with our other stuff.
The most important stuff like a date book, address book, laptop, tablet, keys, personal hygiene stuff, camera, and all that other stuff one must have immediately available in an assortment of bags. We drive for miles in vehicles that were constructed to carry us to far off places with our stuff.
Then there is that “emotional” baggage we all carry around. No matter who we are or where we come from, we carry Affection, Anger, Angst, Anguish, Annoyance, Anxiety, Apathy, Arousal, Awe, Boredom, Confidence, Contempt, Contentment, Courage, Curiosity, Depression, Desire, Despair, Disappointment, Disgust, Distrust, Dread, Ecstasy, Embarrassment, Envy, Euphoria, Excitement, Fear, Frustration, Gratitude, Grief, Guilt, Happiness, Hatred, Hope, Horror, Hostility, Hurt, Hysteria, Indifference, Interest, Jealousy, Joy, Loathing, Loneliness, Love, Lust, Outrage, Panic, Passion, Pity, Pleasure, Pride, Rage, Regret, Relief, Remorse, Sadness, Satisfaction, Self-confidence, Shame, Shock, Shyness, Sorrow, Suffering, Surprise, Terror, Trust, Wonder, Worry, Zeal, and Zest.
This baggage makes us who we are. Some of us carry around more than others. Some of the baggage weighs us down while other baggage inspires. From the time we are born we start loading up this baggage.
Seeing your parents in the audience as you played a teapot on stage, your first kiss, your first rejection, the loss of a pet or a parent or a partner, your first dance, your college friends, and those alone times are all baggage that conform our innerds to present our outerds. Our baggage is who we are. We are nothing but a big sack of skin and bones only differentiated by our personal baggage.
When we meet someone new, a complete stranger, we make social niceties before opening our baggage. Some never share their baggage while others open up immediately. We may enjoy comparing our own baggage with others and sometimes can form strong emotional connections.
Some I’ve met and knew I could not handle their baggage. Some I probably created baggage. Some dropped me into an unknown world of a baggage whirlpool I was not prepared to handle.
So today, with a little more experience and some adventures, I calculate if I want to share my baggage or if I want to delve into another’s. Decisions we all have to make.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wicking




So while preparing for another day of sweating, moving slow, feeding and watering the crew who are also moving slow, mysteriously smelling paint and tasting wine from a couple of nights ago, I was thinking.
I’m glad I’m not one of those guys I saw today on my morning ride installing a roof or paving the streets. I was lucky enough to get an office job and even those hot days we could run fans (yes, just like high school) and somehow get by. Yes, back in the day, the schools were not air conditioned or closed when it got hot.
I see this article of clothing that describes itself as wicking. I had to look it up.
“Layered clothing is a manner of dressing using multiple garments that are worn on top of each other. Some of the layers have different, largely non-overlapping, functions. Using more or fewer layers, or replacing one layer but not others, allows for flexible clothing to match the needs of each situation. Two thin layers can be warmer yet lighter than one thick layer, because the air trapped between layers serves as thermal insulation.
Layered clothing is particularly relevant in cold climates, where clothing must at the same time transfer moisture, provide warmth, and protect from wind and rain. In a hot and dry climate, clothes have very different functional requirements: they must block the radiation from the Sun, and allow for sufficient air circulation. Therefore, layered clothing in the sense used in this article is largely irrelevant to hot and dry climates.
Outdoor and sports wear manufacturers favor layered clothing because, among other reasons, it allows them to offer so-called "technical" or "functional" clothes which are optimized for the particular demands of a specific layer. Such clothes are often made of advanced synthetic materials, and can be expensive.”
What? I understand layering in the winter but what does this have to do with wicking in the heat? Then I found a picture (sometimes a picture will cut to the chase and explain the point) and it makes more sense.
A material that allows water to evaporate away from the skin is wicking. It is sort of like the opposite of Gore-tex®, a material that keeps water out from the skin but lets air to evaporate from the body. I used to have one of these jackets and they really work. While riding a bike in the rain, the idea is to keep the rain off while letting the body breath when pedaling. I’ve tried all kinds of jacket and the Gore-tex®, was the best. The rubber jackets keep the rain off but when you finish riding you are soaked anyway. The nylon jackets let some air out, but the rain soaks you anyway. Don’t know what happened to that jacket. Maybe the dog ate it.
Why all this stuff about wicking? Waking up this morning under a ceiling fan and not thinking it was that hot inside, I sat up and my t-shirt is soaked. Some time during the night or maybe before my body decided it wanted to vaporize. Maybe there was an exciting action dream or some damsel in distress that got me all hot and bothered, but it was probably just the heat. When the body gets so hot, it just sweats.
For those who sleep under covers in the summer blasting your electric bill with a frosty bedroom, you will not understand until the power goes out. Then you can join the majority of the earth who do not have air conditioning. You will soon learn what global warming is all about, but only for a week or two. For that is all it takes to sweat the evil out of your body, plus it gives us something to complain about in the slow news summer months.
I think I’ve got some of the wicking t-shirts so maybe I’ll put this soppy piece of weathered cotton in the dirty clothes pile at the foot of the bed and wait for a new shirt to become soaked with yesterday’s sorrows and tomorrows tears.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Nipples

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Those little red projections we have on our chest. Yes, we all have them, but for some reason our social morals won’t let us show them.
Now us guys can take off our shirt and walk around topless with no trouble, but when the feminine persuasion tends to follow a topless look, they are arrested for indecent exposure. What is up with that?
We have formed a society that indulges in taking a peek at the ladies breast. Yet every magazine or photo shot requires the female to place a hand or arm or a wave of hair over the nipple. Why?
They all look the same. Both guys and girls have the same protruding pink vessel, but only the ladies can feed the young. They also have more profound mammalian protrusions. So what is the problem? It can’t be the soft curvy breast but the nipple itself.
Perhaps the titillation (sorry) increases our desire between sexes? Perhaps when we (and I’m just talking about us guys now) finally get to see the full wonder of the breast, we become consumed with passion that forces us to mate and propagate?
Shoot I don’t know the answer but I just bought a magazine showing the latest guitars and there are these “ladies” in scanty underwear posing suggestively with this wood glued together with wire strings. Even the checker put the magazine in a plastic bag to hide the cover.
Reminders of the old car magazines from the 50’s with ladies in waiting draped across the hoods of shiny metal. Or maybe Wanda White but she is a little more clothed. The same images that hung as calendars in auto repair shops or secretly lived in men’s lockers, the image of young women in their underwear filled this magazine. I’m not sure of the message. Was the girl in lace pulling down her bikini briefs make the guitar more attractive or the other way around?
I appreciate the good lines and craftsmanship (I wonder why it is “manship” and not “personship”?) of a carved piece of wood and the polish of a guitar. I’ve always said “To hold the right guitar is like making love to a woman.” Sexist? Maybe, but there is a certain feel of a fine sculptured machine held close to the body.
So I will pay the $8.00 for this almost Maxim magazine with girls in their underwear and high heels pouting to the camera as if this wooden instrument was a dildo. At a brief glance there is not much of interest between pages and there are no nipples.