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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Irony Is Lost On Me

The DJ started playing Barry Manilow
I wanted to punch him in the nuggets
Irony is lost on me
I'm really quite a simpleton
Here to enjoy the company of friends
Your high-water pants and bright pink and green plaid shirt
May be fashionably anti-fashion
But I have not clue number one
Irony is lost on me
Do you really find it necessary to make a statement
With everything you wear, do or say?
Is it that important that everyone knows 
You're clever?
Irony is lost on me

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Return Of The Generic Bald-Headed White Guy With Facial Hair

In the past week it has happened three times. Three separate occurrences. One of those occasions, it was actually in reverse, but being as how it was done by someone I know relatively well, someone who sees me on quite a regular basis, makes it all the more telling.

What it is, of course, is me being mistaken for someone else, or in the case of TB, someone else being mistaken for me.

The template for the big bald white guy with facial hair. That's my lot in life. For years I sported a goatee, but I've tried a few variations - small and large mustache, full beard, van dyke, chin-strap, etc., in an effort to have a more readily distinguishable appearance, but no matter what I try, inevitably someone comes up and proclaims me to be someone else.

It's not annoying - in fact, it can be fairly humorous, especially when people insist I'm the guy they think I am - "Really? You're not Bill Woodard? But you look just like him!"

Okay, sometimes it can be annoying, like when a woman comes up to me and swears I look like a man who was the biggest jerk she'd ever encountered. I keep thinking the opposite has to occur eventually, that a woman is going to walk up to me and say I look just like the most wonderful man she's ever known, but THAT has not happened.

Oddly, the two people who thought I was someone else this past week both thought I was a Pop Warner football coach - but for teams on nearly opposite sides of the metro area. 

Heck, I've never even played football, much less coached it. But I certainly must look the part.

What would be great is if I looked the part of someone somebody owed a lot of money to, and that somebody just walks up to me all sheepish like one day, forces a large bankroll of twenties into my hand, and says, "Hey man, sorry this took so long, but it's all there, all $20,000." And then they run off quickly out of embarrassment for being late with the repayment, before I can tell them I'm not who they think I am.

Yeah, that's a case of mistaken identity I'd be up for.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Silently Poised To Shout

Sometimes, it's all you can do
To keep your mouth shut
Have to sit on your hands and watch
As the young ones around you learn
The hard way

Just like you did

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Climbing The Mountain

There were probably a few days
That can be remembered clearly
When you didn't really want to be alive
                Days when the world felt oppressive
                To the point of suffocation
And yet you persisted
Stayed the course
Just gritted your teeth and held on
                Your reward for that effort
                Was the joy felt when you realized
That you were not just a survivor
You were victorious
You were a champion

And still are

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Double Dare House At The End of The Block

The house was a restorers dream, or challenge, depending on the restorer. It had sat vacant and unclaimed for over a decade though, even after the city offered the house for $1.00 to anyone willing to restore it to it's original state.

The house wasn't a hopeless case, and most people who drove past it wondered why it had not been snapped up by one of those flipper types.

The simple answer was, the house scared people. The reason it had been abandoned for over a decade was well-known. The death of the last resident of the home, Seamus Cassidy, by his own hand had cemented in the minds of every single resident in the small town of Perry, Massachusetts, that the house was haunted and would destroy the very soul of anyone foolish enough to attempt to inhabit it again.

The neighborhood children had taken to calling the weathered old Victorian the double dare house, as it had become the standard for which a person's bravery would be measured. If a kid became too boastful, too much of a braggart, he or she would be double dared to enter the house.

Not one kid had excepted the double dare, not even Tom McKinney, and he had been the first and so far only kid in the entire county who had accepted the Devil's Thumb challenge and successfully scaled the towering rock formation down by the quarry.

The town council had the police board up all the doors and windows a year after the death of Seamus in order to keep vermin and small animals, as well as people out. The town's police force consisted of a police chief and two officers, and all three of them, along with four members of the volunteer fire department, spent a bright sunny July afternoon hammering large sheets of plywood in place.

All of the men who had participated in the detail remarked that the house had been completely free of any signs of animal habitation - no indications of mice or other small vermin were evident in the rooms, not even in the basement or the attic.

All of the men who had participated in the detail also remarked that the house felt remarkably cold and damp, no matter if you were in the basement or on the sunlit porch.

Of course, over the years a number of legends and myths had sprung up regarding the house, and if a child, or even an adult, went missing for more than an hour the house would invariably pop up in every concerned person's conversation.

So it was with not a little surprise that the town tax assessor, Leo Allen, was met at the door to the county courthouse one morning by a young couple who claimed to be the rightful heirs to the home, with the legal documents to prove it.

And when they stated their intention to move into the decrepit building and restore it to its former glory...Mr. Allen's hair stood up on the nape of his neck.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pictures Taken In The 1950's By Robt. A. Long

                                       Customers at an Ice Cream Bar, location unknown

                            Naval personnel out on hike with a few civilians, location unknown

                                                   Tokyo Japan, 2-23-1956

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Easy-Breezy Guide To Success In Modern Art

Step 1) Decide on an ordinary, everyday object (say,           a mannequin head)

Step 2) Increase its size by a factor of 100

Step 3) Call it art

Step 4) Rake in the cash

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Go East Young Man

There are people who have never been to Manhattan, and have no intention of ever going. 

Which is a shame, because Manhattan is one of the most exciting cities on the planet, and well worth the effort to visit.

The most common reason I hear for not wanting to visit Manhattan is that the people are rude, and everybody is trying to rip you off.

That reason is usually given to me by people whose only exposure to New York has been via television shows like NYPD Blue or Law & Order.

Which, of course, were shows that played up the worst possible light that New York could possibly be shown in for the sake of drama.

Seinfeld offered a far more accurate picture, except not everybody is as oddball as Kramer or as quirky as George - they're all somewhere in-between, just like in every major city.

The stereotypes about the denizens of New York are a few decades out of date. Manhattan is a vibrant city full of great people and thousands of things to see and do.

It is a bit more expensive than say, Columbus, Ohio, I'll grant you that, but then again, so are most world capitals.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Extra Damn Skippy

I have been trying to gather my thoughts for going on 35 years now, just about since I hit my mid teens. My thoughts, however, are proving to be harder to capture than the elusive North American snipe. Just when I think I have a few thoughts cornered they somehow slip away. Frustrating, that's what it is.

No doubt the reason I continue to prattle on here is an attempt to gather my thoughts, to bring 'em together and make sense of things. Occasionally I get a few thoughts together and am able to get them out, but not often. Must of the time I'm just prattling on.

But I imagine you've already figured that out.

Monday, August 18, 2014

There Are No Philosopher Trees, Nor Contemplating Bears

Some people believe the world is an old and worn-out place
It's lands and oceans dying if not already dead
The forests of steel towers stealing the resources
Without a thought for the wounds caused
The wounds that will surely 
Be the death of the once majestic planet
Unless there is sudden and drastic change
In how the upright apes behave

Then again, some people believe the world is laughing
At the vanity of those who believe mere flesh
Can bring about the end of the lands and oceans
Mere flesh will only bring about the end of mere flesh
The flowers and fish will thrive with or without 
The silly little upright apes, like so many bothersome gnats
Will not be missed by any of the earths creatures
That never once pondered mortality or fate

Sunday, August 17, 2014

People Get Addicted To People

Is it possible for one human being to get addicted to another human being? I believe it is obviously so. It would be safe to bet that everyone has been addicted to some other person at sometime in their lives - everyone.

Who hasn't known of at least one person who has been addicted to another? Most people, if they honestly inventory their relationship history, will acknowledge they themselves have been addicted to someone.

Allow me to clarify what I mean by "addiction". I am not talking about meeting someone with an engaging personality who possesses a compatible intellect and meets your personal ideals of physical attractiveness - and they in turn find you meet their ideals of the same criteria. That right there is normal, mutually beneficial relationship stuff.

What I'm talking about is...the other side of the coin.

The toxic relationships. The obsessions, the attractions that somehow morph into a need to be with another person in a manner that is neither practical, healthy, or mutually beneficial, and for years afterwards remains unexplainable.

They are relationships we are all familiar with, one way or the other. Hell, they're the fodder of countless novels, both serious and pulp, Academy-award winning and straight-to-DVD films, hit television series that lasted decades and television shows canceled after a month.

Some of us have even watched people addicted to other people play out their sorry stories right in front of us - maybe our parents, partners of siblings or friends, maybe even...ourselves.

From this more mature vantage point (I know, I know, it's hilarious that I actually consider myself "mature"), it is easy for me to realize that on several occasions during the course of my life, I became addicted to a human being.

It wasn't anything I intended to do, of course. It was something that just happened - blindside tackle, so to speak. One minute I'm somewhat interested in a woman, and the next I can't seem to live without her.

It's truly an odd thing. I've literally spent years trying to figure out what it was that compelled me against all reason to pursue relationships with women that were in no way going to benefit me in the short or long term, and what it was that compelled me to screw up or abandon relationships with women that were healthy and mutually beneficial.

I still have no answers, for myself, or for the many, many people I have observed in similar relationships over the years. 

The only thing I have been able to come up with is; "These things just happen. Move on, don't rake yourself over the coals about it."

Yeah, yeah, that career as a relationship counselor is never going to happen...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tapping A Knee Effusion (Draining Water On The Knee) Warning! Sorta Kinda Graphic

A few weeks back I posted a pick of my swollen right knee and wrote about having incurred a knee effusion, more commonly known as water on the knee. Like the idiot I am, I thought I would be able to ride out this slightly uncomfortable condition until it went away...like, by magic.

I was wrong.

The condition became quite a bit more uncomfortable as the swelling increased, until my knee was so stiff it felt as if an extremely strong gnome had its arms wrapped around my knee and was constricting it in a bear hug meant to kill.

So I went to my Doctor, whose hands are pictured above along with a very large syringe.

In the next photograph we see that Dr. O. has jabbed the turkey baster into my knee just above my knee cap. This is known as tapping the knee, or joint aspiration, or draining the knee to those in the medical field.

It is known as the Uma Thurman Pulp Fiction experience to those of us undergoing the procedure.

Here we see a second tube of fluid being slowly extracted from my knee into a 20cm disposable plastic syringe (invented in 1956 by New Zealander Colin Murdoch, replacing the re-usable all-glass syringe that was invented ten years earlier by the Englishman Chance Brothers).

Dr. O. told me he usually withdraws 10cm to 30cm of fluid on average, but I have big knees...

At the end of the procedure Dr. O. had removed five and a half 20cm tubes of fluid from my knee (the half full tube is being sent out for analysis). That's 110cms of fluid...yikers.

The procedure was amazingly quick and painless and immediately afterward my knee felt 90% better. There is still a little stiffness as of this morning, but I can now at least walk without doing a Festus impression.

The great news is the fluid was clear, without any signs of blood or those pesky crystals that are indications of gout. However, Dr. O. wants to get an X-ray done, along with the fluid analysis, to see if there is an underlying factor in the knee effusion other than overuse.

Oh, and he wants me to lose weight... a lot of weight.

Yay that. Just yay.

Friday, August 15, 2014


                                 More sketches of hands, August 15th 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Greatly Increased Interest In Woody Perennials

The roses are coming back nicely from the damage inflicted by the July storms. Hail has a tendency to beat roses to flowerless and leafless stems.

However, just like Randall "Tex" Cobb, you can beat a rose but you can't knock it out - at least not the roses I've planted.

I now have eleven rose bushes growing in the flower beds in front of the house. They are all a hardy bunch of modern garden roses, such as the ever-popular hybrid teas Mr. Lincoln and Chrysler Imperial, as well as a few hybrid rugosas, which do well with little care - just prune the deadheads and stand back.

To date the roses I've planted have all been of the short and shrubbery type, as I have yet to find a climbing rose that is known to be able to withstand the cold of the Colorado winter - though I have read about some interesting Canadian hybrids that hold up in cold weather extremely well.

If I can find a good climber, I will plant it in the backyard, along the fence. It would be so much more appealing to look at than that old weather-beaten fence.

I planted roses simply because they are fairly easy to grow and care for, and they make great subjects for paintings - they don't move much, and they can be arranged however I want them.

Also, there is nothing quite like seeing the beauty of a rose bush in full bloom. Walking out to the car in the morning when I'm going to work and seeing the vibrant colors and smelling the fragrant aromas (especially of the hybrid musks), it is impossible not the drive off without a smile on my face. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Self Deluded Romance

Watching him try to justify that relationship
Was like watching him write a suicide note
He may as well have been window shopping
For a comfortable oven or a gentle rope

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Just Ambivertin' On

Like the majority of people who have a circle of friends they engage with socially but who also enjoy some alone time, I am an ambivert.

Gotta be a label for everyone, eh?

Most people are familiar with the labels extrovert and introvert - labels that are slapped on either the overly gregarious or the decidedly isolationist. 

Psychologist have long held that every person manifests aspects of both extroversion and introversion, but that usually one or the other will be the overriding factor in how a person lives their life, what career fields they enter, and even how successful they will be in their endeavors.

Me, I excel at sales, I absolutely love the madness of crowds, have no problem getting into Karaoke night, and approach strangers nearly every day - which pegs me as an extrovert. However, I also love to spend hours reading, writing, drawing, and painting in complete isolation, which is pretty much introversion defined.

According to a Psychologist I once consulted's interpretation of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, I am spot on the classic ambivert, which is, to be honest, somewhat of a disappointment. 

I have always wanted to be a louder, more aggressive personality, one that commands attention and gets paid for it. I've always wanted to shade much more toward extroversion.

But I don't. I'm just a somewhat average dude living a somewhat average life. Right smack dab in the middle.

Oh well, just have to live with that. Being somewhat average is far better than a lot of the alternatives - and really, all of the extremes.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ground Control To Major Geek

Tonight I took a relatively clear photograph of Earth's moon using my cellphone (a Samsung Galaxy IIS) married up to the eyepiece of a cheap Radio Shack telescope.  The picture is a mirror image, which means all the recognizable features such as the Tycho crater and Mare Tranquillitatis are opposite of where you would see them looking directly at the moon. 

That was caused by all the mirrors involved, and me not knowing how to correct for all the reflecting going on.

Which is not much of an issue because...I took a freakin' picture of the moon with my cellphone through a cheap telescope and it looks like I took if from a spacecraft!

We, my friends, are living in wonderful times. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Everybody, essentially

Everybody is essentially...different. 

Unfortunately, there is a lot of contrived Kumbaya-level, touchy-feely hokum bandied about these days by pop psychologists that claims we are all the same under the skin. 

We may be all the same under the skin physically, but that's where the similarity ends.

We are not all the same when it comes to emotional, spiritual, cultural or even social expressions, not even close.

We are seven billion disparate humans, and for whatever reason there are people trying to convince us (and one another ) that we are all the same so we should be able to get along just peachy keen if we would only just take a minute to pause and reflect on that little fact, and then, you know, group hug.

That's what's killing us right there, the effort being made to convince us all we are the same.

A better effort needs to be made in quite the other direction. People need to be made aware that everybody has a different perspective, different attitude towards what does and what does not constitute a fulfilling life.

Because it's rather obvious that not too many of us agree on that differentiation. 

Everybody is different...and I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Consequently, All Hell Broke Loose

                                                         The Bee that waved goodbye

Usually responsible and traditionally reliable
Like a German cruiser patrolling the Baltic sea in 1942
Considered very dangerous
And not to be taken lightly
Especially when backed into a corner
                         And then it was discovered
                         The security vulnerability
                         Unnoticed in the initial brief
An error on a small scale, but still an error
A weakness
Under the influence of a French pastry
All control was lost

                          And he swore it was worth it

Monday, August 4, 2014

But I Need That Knee!

                                                       Water, water...on the knee...

I was emailed a question the other day asking if I had discovered any new adventuresome hiking trails in or around the Denver area this summer, and it was disappointing for me to have to reply, no, I haven't.

Primarily because I have incurred a knee effusion, which is water on the knee to you and I. It is a condition that has a number of causes - gout, arthritis (osteo or rheumatoid), cysts, tumors, bursitis, infections, or, as in my case, overuse.

It is somewhat inconvenient to have a knee effusion. It's my right knee, and even though I'm a goofy foot, it still affects how readily I can move around. I wear a compression sleeve on it during the day, which helps a lot. 

There is not much pain associated with my particular case of water on the knee, just a little discomfort. I have to treat it with RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. It is most uncomfortable in the morning because, even though I sleep with my knee elevated, fluid still tends to accumulate and it makes the knee a bit stiff when I first get out of bed.

Six to twelve weeks is the prognosis for recovery. It's been over six weeks at this point, and while the swelling has subsided, it is still uncomfortable, especially at the end of the day. 

Other than the discomfort, the real nuisance is the limitation on my activities. Having to rest and ice my knee means I'm sitting in front of the TV a lot...and I've already re-watched the first six seasons of Mad Men three times already...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Saturday, August 2, 2014

How Dare You

How dare you succeed
When so many failures litter the street
How dare you reap the benefits of your hard labor
When so many cannot find a warm place to sleep
Were you not paying attention
When your teachers, priests & politicians
Told you about your obligation
To alleviate the suffering
Of those so much less fortunate than you

How dare you enjoy good health
When so many suffer from disease
How dare you enjoy the privilege of breathing 
When so many repentant smokers gasp & wheeze
Can you not sense the desperation
In the words of the martyrs, beggars, & rhetoricians
Hungering to save the world from starvation
Did you dismiss it as loud blustering
From the hypocritical mouths of the parasitic few