Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012

Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012
Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas at Luche Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, March 2012

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another One That Was Worth The While

The year is coming to an end in just a few short hours. It was a good year, full of great times with great friends, old and new. I can only hope to match it for overall happiness in 2015 - exceeding it, well, that would just be greedy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Pleasant Dinner With The Demons

They were all present, as usual.

Though an invitation had not been sent out, each and every one of them had arrived promptly at the dinner hour, and each and everyone of them behaved as if they should have been expected.

They were seated appropriately around the large oval table. The two most powerful of them were at either side of me - Cowardice to my right, and to my left, Selfishness.

Those two were dressed to the nines, in an obvious attempt to appear as attractive as possible.

The other four in attendance were dressed a bit more or less in appropriate dinner attire, except for Apathy, who looked as if putting on a pair of shorts and an old, worn-out T-shirt was as inconvenient as a root canal.

Desire looked at the large serving platter full of appetizers that Excess was in the process of eliminating and wondered if Abulia could be bothered to fill a small plate with a few of the more decadent looking pastries, but then thought better of it as Excess appeared to have put his fingers over everything on the platter.
  For the first fifteen minutes not much was said by any of the six demons in attendance, and I certainly wasn't about to start a conversation. It was all I could do to keep my seat, truth be told. As individuals, each demon was...tolerable. As a congregation, well, let's just say the flight or fight response was getting an Olympic-class workout in my brain.

Finally, after a loud burp, Excess looked up from his plate and said to me, "I hope you enjoyed shopping for clothes this year buddy boy, especially pants - might want to get a new belt as well, the one you're wearing looks ready to give out."

That elicited a few laughs and snorts from all present, with the exception of Cowardice. After they all quieted down, Selfishness looked around and said, "My, my, my...I think I've done rather well this year...look at all the nice things I've added to the household. The rate at which I'm acquiring...*things* may make it necessary to build another little storage shed out back."

"Heh, fat chance of that happening." Abulia quipped with a snort.

Apathy nodded his head in agreement as he stared out the window that looked into the street in front of the house. The window was hazy with more than a years worth of grime. Turning to face the others at the table, he let out a sigh and looked at his half-empty plate and then over to Excess, saying, "You want the rest of this?"

Desire quickly interjected, "I'll take it - Excess has already eaten all the appetizers, and I'm starved."

Both of them had hands on the plate Apathy had pushed towards the center of the table, but Selfishness pulled it away from them both and set it down in front of himself, saying, "Too slow fellow demons, too slow. I'll savior every bite of this though, in honor of your efforts."

Selfishness dug in and Desire and Excess fumed, while Cowardice shrank back into his chair as Apathy and Abulia simply shrugged and stared into space.

With a quick glance at the clock I reached over to the small hutch where I had placed the notepad I had been writing on before the demons had come over to the house.

I had carefully listed twenty-three items that needed to be attended to, and with the same determination I seem to re-discover every year during the week after Christmas, I cleared my throat and spoke.

"Okay demons, this is it. 2015 is the year I'm finally going to get some things done, and none of you are going to get in my way, or else."

The words had barely left my lips when the room exploded in uproarious laughter, even from Apathy and Abulia. Hell, Cowardice nearly fell out of his chair.

With a pained effort to regain his composure, Excess looked over and, smiling like a drunk hyena said, "Resolutions? Again? Oh jeez man, you are a riot!"

Friday, December 26, 2014

Winter Wonderland, Schmunderland

Snow, and a lot of it, fell throughout the night. by 6:00am we had somewhere between 8 to 10 inches of snow, and while it had let up, there was another inch or so of flurries during the day.

And it was cold. 14 degrees at noon, The reluctant winter not so reluctant anymore. The combination of snow and cold made for a fun drive to (and from) work.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Place In the Cold

These days Christmas Eve isn't such a pain
The friends I have are all reasonably sane
These days Christmas Eve is actually quite enjoyable
Just goes to show, anything is possible

Years ago it was never this way
Years ago Christmas Eve always left me cold and grey
Just another long and uneventful day
All I could see was hypocrisy in the outlandish displays

These days Christmas Eve isn't such a pain
The friends I have are all reasonably sane
These days Christmas Eve is actually quite enjoyable
Just goes to show, anything is possible

Funny thing, how much life can change
Ideas on what is right and wrong get rearranged
The realization you're the only one you've shortchanged
By deciding not to be part of the peace exchange

These days Christmas Eve isn't such a pain
The friends I have are all reasonably sane
These days Christmas Eve is actually quite enjoyable
Just goes to show, anything is possible

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tough Night In Lakewood

What's worse -being one of the residents without water due to a water main break...or being part of the crew who have to be out late on a Saturday night fixing it?

Sucks all around.

Wednesday 12 17 Sketches

                               CRB Sketches with black ball-point pen, Wednesday 12 17

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Spot The Contradictions

Let's see,,,bumper stickers in support of a former Democratic Senator (from a very prominent family of Democrats - literally, the Kennedys of the America southwest). a pro-Palestine bumper sticker, an anti-Bush bumper sticker, an anti-Republicans bumper sticker, and a anti-Israel bumper sticker (none of which are on the actual bumper). A pro-science/anti-religion bumper sticker and a anti-Christian bumper sticker (on the driver's side and passenger side doors), and a Union 76 antenna ball (Union 76 is a chain of gas stations owned by Phillips 66. a petroleum company that ranks number 19 on the Global Fortune 500 list).

The contradictions...are there. You just have to look for them (Hint: What political party do the majority of Jews and Catholics belong to? What political party boasts about being tolerant? What political party rails on and on about big business, specifically the oil companies...Come on, you can figure this out...)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Four Murals On The South Facing Wall Of The Arvada Army/Navy Surplus Store

On the northwest corner of the intersection of Old Wadsworth and 57th in downtown Arvada, Colorado there is a multi-story red brick building that houses the Arvada Army/Navy Surplus store.

Decorating the south facing wall are four murals depicting scenes of the early days of Arvada. The artwork is done well, but the only attribution is to a company named the Western Pacific Art Co. of Idaho Springs, Colorado, dated 2005 - no individual artists name is given.

Though they are about fifteen feet up, the approximately 7' X 7' murals are worth a look-see. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Misery Will Eventually Fade

We will not be Gods
Even if it feels inevitable
Our technology 
Will not give us the power
To create life 
Only take it away

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Lonely Christmas Eve

Christmas eve and the bars close early
Collar up tight and head back to the house
Too warm to snow but we might get sleet
Hope there is something in the fridge to eat
Not enough in the cupboards to feed a mouse
Two pairs of socks on to warm my feet

Okay, not quite Clement Moore...

My Foot

                                                  I should probably get this looked at

Friday, December 12, 2014

Harvesting Cool

                            "Son, let me school you on cool..."

Outlaw bikers never set out to become an iconic image. Neither did alcoholic writers or semi-deranged artists or Surfers or left-handed guitar players.

They became iconic images because someone, somewhere, saw them, became completely enamored of them, and said to themselves, "I want to be like them".

So they adopted the way they walked, talked, dressed, acted, etc., in the hopes that whatever it was that those people had, that undefinable something that made them...cool...would somehow, through some sort of osmosis, transfer itself to them.

Absorb the zeitgeist, as the cultural anthropologist call it.

People always seem to want to be someone or something else, something other than who they are. 

So, of course, smart people learned to make the marketing of cool very profitable.

Those people who find a way to market the attitude, the style...the ones who trade on image, who manufacture an aura...those people have always interested me.

Those that co-opted cultural archetypes or lifted a popular image/personality from the past - think Madonna liberally borrowing the gypsy/hooker/Marilyn/Harlow looks/attitudes, or millionaire rock-stars like Springsteen and Mellencamp dressing like average working men, or rappers doing the whole street/gangsta' thing (I attended High School with a man who won a Grammy for co-writing a gangster rap song - he went to college on scholarship).

Actors, of course, can create iconic characters that become icons of cool because of the way the character is received - Eastwood as the man with no name, Brando as Johnny Strabler in the Wild One, Peter Fonda as Wyatt in Easy Rider - hell, the list is practically endless.

Thing is, most of those actors do not become their characters - they go back to being their regular selves after the filming wraps. However, some actors can get trapped in certain roles, typecast, due to the public not being able to perceive them any other way.

I am sure many a fan of most of those actors has walked away after meeting one thinking to themselves, "Man, he/she sure wasn't anything like I thought he/she would be."

Image and the perception of cool are entangled to an immeasurable degree, and the way entrepreneurs have been able to sell it is truly an accomplishment of the manipulators art. Everyday I see people walking around wearing the clothes that some celebrity has made fashionable, sporting a haircut that some actor or athlete has made almost necessary, or even adopting mannerisms and attitudes of popular figures.

It's quite mind-boggling, this seemingly overwhelming compulsion to eat up whatever it is that is currently being foisted upon the public as essential to having credibility amongst the proletariat.

I gotta find a way to get me a piece of that action - now that'd be cool.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

One More Worry Than Anybody Needs

Got this friend who never stops worrying, and he asked me the other day, "Hey, why the hell are you not more worried about what's going on in this country?" I looked him square in the eyes and replied, "Because worrying is a foolish exercise in negative prognostication - you dwell on a worst possible scenario for a given situation and it cast such a dark shadow on your life that you can't enjoy the simple pleasures. Who needs that.?"

His retort? "Go ahead, live your life with your head in the clouds, it's going to come back to bite you, you'll see."

Which is pretty much what I've been hearing for about thirty years now from every negative nabob of negativism that I've had the pleasure to know. So far, not one bit of their worrying has come to fruition...and yet they persist.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Try As I Might Not

When the smiles fade from your eyes 
And your cheeks redden from laughter no longer
When the words from your lips fail to bring cheer
That is when I will still be there

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Storybook Sculpture Project In Abilene, Texas

This past weekend I was in Abilene, Texas with Brad B. We were visiting our fallen brother JPH's family, and as part of our visit we got a mini-tour of Abilene from Mom. Imagine my surprise when a sculpture park dedicated to three-dimensional representations of illustrations from children's storybooks was a prominent feature of downtown Abilene!

             Childhood's Great Adventure by Rick Jackson, from the book Santa Calls by William Joyce

                              Nicholas St. North by Steve Neves from the William Joyce book
                                   Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King

                            E. Aster Bunnymund by Steve Neves from the William Joyce book
                                               E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs
                          The Man in the Moon by Pedro Rivera from the William Joyce book
                                                                  The Man in the Moon

                           Sanderson Mansnoozie by Steve Neves from the William Joyce book
                                        The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie

                                   Toothiana by Steve Neves from the William Joyce book
                                                  Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The majority of these sculptures are near the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature on North 1st street and Cedar, or a block over on North 2nd street.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the Jack Frost sculpture in front of the Abilene Public Library

West of the former Train Station (which is now a chocolate shop) along North 1st street is Everman Park, and there are six sculptures by Leo Rijn of beloved Dr. Seuss characters. 

                                                        The Cat in the Hat

                                                  Sam I am from Green Eggs and Ham

                                     Horton and the dust speck from Horton Hears a Who

                            Max the dog and the Grinch from How the Grinch Stole Christmas

                                                        The Lorax from The Lorax

                                             The Turtle Tower from Yertle the Turtle

Last but not least is Dinosaur Bob eating a Volkswagen Beetle, on top of a parking garage along Cedar street.

                        Dinosaur Bob by Bob Daddy-O Wade from the William Joyce book
                                          Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo

There is also a Randy Gilman sculpture of Seymour, the character from Walter Wick's Can You See What I See book series, but it has been removed from it's location in order to be repaired.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mickey The Happy Dog

  CRB picture of Mickey, Jack Russell Terrier Of Hines Hill Kennels, Quanah Texas December 2014

Every so often something off the charts occurs - such as this picture I took this morning of a Jack Russell Terrier named Mickey. It was at Hines Hill Kennels in Quanah, Texas. It has to be one of the best photographs I've ever taken.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Da Vinci Said to God

Da Vinci said to God
Yahweh, I don't understand
Why the hell you ever gave
Free will to man

Can't you see all the trouble it's caused
Allowing them to devise their own plans
For what to believe in and how to behave
It's created problems from Rome to the heart of Iran

Uhm, that's all I've got...dang, really thought I had something here...oh dang

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Undistinguished Guests Of Dishonor

Doubt like acid
Raining on his hopes
Like Dick Rowe stating guitar groups are on the way out
Doesn't want to spend the rest of his life trying to live it down
Minutes pass as if hours
Can't seem to hear a word clearly
Everyone moving as if underwater
Out of focus passersby and trees of light
A lost dog in an alley
Looking for a way to get home

Try recklessly
Try without regard
His mind screams at him over and over 
Trying to fan the flames of desire
Shouting down that bully, uncertainty

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Reasons To Be Grateful, Part IV

Some people have everything, some people have nothing. Then there are people like us, We have something, enough something to keep us happy...and help us forget the people who have nothing,

Damn, gotta find a way to help the people who have nothing that helps and doesn't hinder their path to self-sufficiency,

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

These Two Idiots

You know what's awesome? Awesome is having two dogs that never stop wagging their tails when you come home from work. Pisses the cat off, but what the hey.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Few Things I'm Not Going To Do During The Holidays This Year

The holidays are upon us in the U.S., and by holidays, I mean the Christmas holidays (inwhich I include Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, & Festivus). Truly, they have been upon us for six weeks or so now - quite a few stores had Christmas decorations for sale in early October, and now there are houses in the neighborhood that are covered in lights and assorted plastic Santas and inflatable snowglobes.

Dwelling on the blatant commercialization of it all is a pointless exercise - heck, Linus did an excellent job of that in the cartoon A Charlie Brown Christmas which was made in 1965, so yeah, that horse has been beaten enough.

I have though, been thinking about what I can do to lessen the effect of the over-the-top consumerism that rears it's ugly head at this time of year, at least the effect it has on me and my attitude, and I have come up with a few ideas.

For starters, I'm going to try to avoid being judgmental of people who do get caught up in the more commercial aspects of the holiday. If people want to go shopping at midnight on November 27th, if that's what makes them happy, so be it. I will not be critical of them simply because it's not something I would ever do.

Second, I'm going to try to be more aware that for a lot of people, these are very special holidays. There are people who celebrate Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice/Festivus with solemnity and seriousness (okay, maybe not the Festivus crowd), and I will confess to having been judgmental of them, too. When someone greets me or wishes me a "Happy...whatever," I will return the greeting with a warm "And to you and yours as well."

Third, and this is a biggie...I'm going to flat out just enjoy the fact that the majority of people who are out taking advantage of the myriad sales and promotions during the holidays are doing so with the intention of finding something nice for the people in their lives who matter to them, who are important to them, and who they want to make happy.

Because heck, if rampant consumerism can get people to stop and really think of the people in their lives who are important, who matter, and who are the people they want to make happy...even if it's only for a short while...then it's a good thing.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Some Faces, Some Hands, Some Feet

                         Sketches With Fine Tip Sharpie, Ballpoint Pen, CRB 12 23 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Parking Lot Glacier

The problem with the big piles of snow in the parking lot is readily apparent. The temptation to drive up them is immense, especially if you have an SUV or AWD about which you have been curious as to it's true capabilities.

That in itself would not actually be a problem if the temperature had stayed in the high-twenties or low thirties.

Then the snow would have stayed relatively soft...but with the temperatures falling below zero for a few days in a row, the piles of snow became piles of ice, small glaciers if you will.

And all you get when you try to four-wheel over one of those is a lot of slipping and sliding...backwards.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

On Two Separate Occasions, So, Like Twice

After two years of being taken for granted in the home, marginalized at social gatherings, and treated with near-complete indifference in every other setting or situation, PL made the decision to tear asunder what many thought was a very happy home.

"Ah, if only they knew the truth." PL thought as neatly folded clothes were packed into a large red suitcase. "If only everyone could see AL as I do, have to endure the emotional and physical abuse, have to hide the bruises, have to put on a happy face when happiness was as far from what I was feeling as earth is from heaven...then they would all understand."

Tears filled tired brown eyes for the third time in the last twenty minutes. Taking deep breaths, PL counted down from ten and then continued to fill the suitcase. All of the clothes from the dresser and the high chest were now packed. The closet was next. There was only the large duffel bag left to fill. 

PL judiciously scanned the clothes that hung on the left side of the closet. Pushing aside a dark green sweatshirt emblazoned with "Vancouver Canada" in large colorful letters, a souvenir of a honeymoon that ranked as one the worst memories of PL's life, a double handful of clothes on hangers were grabbed and tossed unceremoniously onto the bed.

Most of the clothes had been purchased before the wedding. Not much money had been available to add to a wardrobe after the discovery of AL's huge debts. The expense of the elaborate wedding & reception and then the three-week honeymoon, had been a concern, but PL rationalized it all as a "once in a lifetime" experience and event. The revelation by AL upon their return from Canada of not only a staggering amount of student loan debt along with high-interest credit card debts, but also a vehicle repossession and tax liens from the federal and state governments going back three years, had nearly sent PL running. But the vows were still regarded as sacred then, the whole "...for better or worse, for richer, for poorer..." still carried immense weight.

Now, PL almost mechanically flipped through the clothes sprawled on the bed, selected a few items that still had appeal, then neatly folded them up and placed them in the duffel bag. The process was repeated four more times, until the duffel bag was too full to accommodate anymore clothing.

Turning slowly, as if reacting to a bad joke overheard in a crowded club, PL scanned the room. There was nothing that looked worth taking. None of the pictures hanging on the walls nor any of the stupid little trinkets that AL brought back from any of the supposed business trips had any meaning anymore, if they ever really had in the first place.

The monitor of the computer still lay on the floor where PL had thrown it. The graphic email addressed to AL from a person who had been described as a business associate still burned in PL's mind. What part of that email, and no doubt many others that hadn't been inadvertently left open, respected the mutual vows to love, honor, and cherish? PL again wiped welling tears from the now reddened as well as tired eyes.

Picking up both the red suitcase and the duffel, PL made for the front door. On the small table in the kitchen the note that had been carefully worded lay next to the photo from the wedding, the shattered glass in the broken frame looking like a violent spiderweb.

Suddenly aware that a few things had been forgotten, PL put the suitcase and duffel down and headed back to the bedroom and went into the master bath. Grabbing a small plastic tote that had been given as part of a Spa package, PL dumped the bath salts, the shea butter, the lemongrass aromatherapy soap, the inner peace body oil, and the relaxation shower gel into the sink. From the left side of the small counter PL took the toothbrush, toothpaste, the shaving cream, razor, and underarm deodorant and placed them all in the plastic tote.

Last time he had walked out, PL had left those items behind, a "subconscious reason to return" his therapist had said. He wasn't going to make that same mistake twice.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Cat Refers To Me As...

I have no idea what my cat is thinking, or if it thinks at all for that matter, but I do wonder if he has a name for me as I have for him. 

The cat looks at me while sitting by the front door with an expression that says "Let me out, dumbass." At least that's what that expression on his face looks like to me. Of course, there is always the possibility that the expression is meant to say "Oh great and mighty operator of the portal to the outside world would you be so kind as to open it for me? Please?"

But I doubt it.