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

Friday, December 30, 2016

Was The Room Spinning Or Is It My Head?

Tonight, Tonight

The 2016 reunion tour continues...friends I had not seen in half a decade or more popping up like dandelions in a meadow after a summer shower...beautiful to see, beautiful to experience...

Except for S.A. - That dude is such a reprobate....could'a' gone another ten years without having to deal with him.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Particulary Windy Day

Good fences make good neighbors...bad fences make wind fodder...

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Lure Of The Unknown

The desire to travel, to explore, to bear witness to majestic sights that I'd read about in newspapers and books starting from a very early age, has been a driving passion of mine since I was old enough to get on a bus alone and just go somewhere, whether it was a few miles across town or a thousand miles or more up the coast.

Which is one the reasons I am baffled by people I know who not only do not like to travel, but have actually never traveled. 

And by never traveled, I mean that these are people who have lived in one and only one neighborhood their entire lives, and have rarely left it, ever.

To have never felt the urge to see the sun setting on a different horizon or to have never longed to look across an ocean in the opposite direction from that which you were born are as inconcieveable to me as never wanting to try a different flavor of ice cream, 

Yet, I know quite a few people who are absolutely content with not ever going across town, much less going across the country. Needless to say, most of those people have never even had a passport.

This past year I was fortunate enough to be able to experience a little of the heartland of the United States during two much-too-brief visits to Iowa & Illinois, and those two much-too-brief visits were like sampling a delicious new flavor of ice cream in that now I am literally craving for a chance to go back to Dubuque and Galena, to drive along the small two-lane highways and byways of the tri-state area, admiring the well-cared for lawns and marveling at the endless miles of rolling hills.

I tried to explain that desire to a friend at a Christmas shindig the other day, but I all I got out of her was rolled eyeballs and a disbelieving "You have got to be kidding me, why would you want to ever leave Colorado, especially to go to such dull and boring places?"

To which I replied, "How can you say those are dull and boring places if you've never even been there?" 

Her response? "Because they're not here, and whatever's not here is probably dull and boring."

Which of course lead me to mentally cross her off my list of people I will be mailing "Wish you were here" postcards to when I take my next vacation.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Say "Parmesan!"

Doing my best to embarass the family...

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Second Dragon Of Christmas

Seriously, what are the chances? Driving by one Dragon dressed up for Christmas, sure, that can happen, as the picture I posted of the first Christmas dragon I saw earlier this month will attest...but two?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Professional Interaction

She sat down right next to the stranger without hesitation. After a few seconds of fidgeting with her jacket, purse, & cell phone, she turned to the stranger and said, "So, you got a name?"

The stranger turned to her slowly, purposefully. "Sure," he answered, "it's Leif."

"Leif?" She repeated back to him. "As in, Leif Erickson, the Viking?"

"Nope," he replied, "Leif as in Leif me the hell alone."

She rolled her eyes at his retort, gathered up her things and moved a few seats down the bar, happy to oblige his cranky old ass.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Epitaph In D Minor

Once again I'm walking in to see my Doctor               
                                      With whiskey on my breath
And once again I'm sure he's going to tell me 
                I'm drinking myself to death 
And I'm going to have to remind him of what I said 
                       The last time we went through this little dance                                  "What's a man to do Doc, 
                       When he has already blown his last chance?"
                       Again, again, again
                       For the last time
"I've already blown my last chance."
                               But my Doctor doesn't listen
                               He just looks at me and shakes his head
                       Tells me I'm the keeper of my own prison
                       And that I'm making my own bed
                                     Yeah, I know
                                     I know
                                     I know
                                     I know
                       But I've already blown my last chance

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Mostly Icy, Very Dicey

There is a chance, I suppose, that there are one or two people new to the state who might not suspect that heavy snowfall coupled with below freezing temperatures might add up to ice on the roadways...but fortunately for them the state put up these handy signs to alert them to that very fact.

Wonder how the drivers of yesteryear worked out what the road conditions would be like after a night of heavy snowfall and sub-freezing temps? Probably with some sort of ice divining rod or like primitive tool I suppose.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Interrogation

He asked the question directly, forcefully.

   "Are you now or have you ever been...a         hypocrite?"

His eyes flitted about the small room before he forced himself to stare intently at his questioner and reply just as directly, just as forcefully, as he had been asked.  

   "Yes, yes I am now, yes I have been, and       yes, I probably will be again in the         future."

Eyes locked on eyes for seconds that seemed to stretch into minutes. Then he turned away from the mirror and walked out of the bathroom...back into the living room where the young woman was waiting patiently to continue the "discussion."

Monday, December 12, 2016


A cold wind wailing like a tortured cat
Trapping garbage up against a chain-link fence
Sun blotted out of the sky by dark rolling clouds
No reason to be out, no reason to be about
It's a day unfit for man, for beasts, 
                  For heroes or villains
                                         Cracks of lightning
                                         Booms of thunder
                                         Howls of the dogs
                                         Left out in yards
                      Rain lashing the trees
               Into giving up their leaves
                  Rain overflowing gutters 
       Washing clean the filthy streets
       Of a city desperately
       In need of a bath
                         Hard rain
                         Like a man obsessed
                         Hard rain
                         Like a woman possessed


Sunday, December 11, 2016

I Wanted To Hear Her Voice

Not the voice full of contempt or anger, not the voice full of disappointment

I wanted to hear the voice that said I love you

As I had heard (and ignored)

All those years ago

But it didn't happen 

The voice I heard was full of disappointment

Full of a sadness that defied description

Full of sorrow, regrets and remorse

A lack of innocence

A lack of truth

Somewhat fitting

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Fragments Of A Mystery

He had woken up in an elevator. It was stopped on the garage level of a 36 story office building located in the heart of Chicago.

His wallet was still on his person, as was were his car keys. But he could not locate his cellphone.

The events of the night before were hazy at best. He was sure he had met up with a few co-workers at a bar near west Barry & north Racine, but for the life of him he could not remember who had actually been there, or how long they had all stayed, or where he had gone afterward.

Running his hands through his hair he reflexively checked his head for bumps, but he felt nothing unusual. He also checked out his face in the highly polished steel of the elevator doors, but did not notice anything amiss.

He pushed the open door button and walked out into the parking garage after the doors did just that.

Looking around at all the cars in the the spots near the elevator bank it suddenly occurred to him that he could not recall what kind of car he drove. Wasn't it a sedan? Maybe a Toyota Camry? What color was it? Blue?

He fished his keys out of the pocket he had felt them in when he had patted himself down and found two keys to two different vehicles on a key ring that also held what looked like 3 keys for doors of either a home or a business.

The two keys to vehicles were both the type with remote fobs. He pushed the horn button on both of them and waited. A full thirty seconds of silence passed before he tried again. Still nothing. 

Momentarily he thought he would walk down every row in the garage but then it occurred to him that this might be just one level of many levels of a large parking garage.

Then he thought that there might be something in his wallet that could help - maybe a parking stub or a receipt for payment.

He pulled out his wallet and flipped it open. The familiarity of his wallet in his hands helped to calm a slight panic that had been slowly building.

Then he looked at his Drivers License. The picture was him, he was certain of that, but there was something a little bit off.

The picture was the same face he had gazed at in the polished steel of the elevator doors, but the hair...his hair...looked grayer in the picture, and his hairline appeared to be a little more receded.

Putting his fingers to his face he traced them over his features as if he were looking for a lost needle in a shag carpet. He felt smooth, soft skin on his forehead and around his eyes, and morning stubble on otherwise taught cheeks and chin.

The picture on his Driver's License, however, showed wrinkles and creases on a face - his face. The picture on the Driver's License showed a face that had to be at least twenty years older than the one he was tracing his fingers over.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Oh, The Good Ol' Excesses Of The 1970's

I'd never seen a line of coke in the sky...until today.

Monday, December 5, 2016

On The Wrong Way Down

She's got a big shiny shovel in her hands
Going to dig a hole big and round
Big enough so that she won't mess up her hair 
When she buries her head in the ground

Two good eyes that can't see anything
A beautiful voice that can't sing
Two good ears that can't hear a word
A generous heart living on a shoestring

Sells herself short, may as well 
No one is buying anyway
Sells herself short, everyday
May as well give it away
Sells herself short like an underpaid
Actress in a one-man play

And a band of winos sing:

Live your life respectfully
Live your life with clarity
Try not to be totally blind
Live your life respectfully
Live your life with clarity
Try not to be totally blind
Live your life respectfully
Live your life with clarity

Try not to be totally blind

That's all I've got

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Goodbye Snaggletooth, Hello Smile

New Dentist. She's Awesome!

 Old crown was a snaggletooth, made me hate smiling - especially in flash pics where it showed up like a lighthouse beacon

New crown is far more natural in appearance, and lines up very well with my other teeth

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Long Ago, This Afternoon

This has been a week, or maybe a bit more than a week, of visits and conversations with people, old friends, that I had not heard from in a decade or more.

It happened again this afternoon, while I was ordering lunch at a fast-foodish sandwich shop. A woman I worked with in the late '90's was standing two people ahead of me, placing her order. I did not recognize her appearance as much as I recognized her voice - she had and still has a very nasally voice - she sounds like a female Tom Petty. 

After she had finished placing her order I spoke her name and she turned towards me and nearly shouted my name back. We sort of stepped away from the two people who were between us and said a few of the standard "Oh my god, where have you been, how have you been, you look great," things that people who haven't seen each other in a long while say to each other, until she had to collect her order and I had to place mine.

After I got my sandwich I sat down at her table and we started the whole catching up conversation going again.

She had switched careers after leaving retail sales, taking a job at the AFB in the Springs as a records clerk. She married a career military man back in 2002, and they had two kids before divorcing in 2009. She hadn't remarried but was now living with a guy in the Springs with whom she has a child, and they have 6 kids total in the house between them.

Which was surprising to hear, as I had never thought she was the domestic type - she was quite a partier back when we worked together, and often came in on Saturday mornings looking as if she hadn't slept since Thursday.

As there were no children with her, I asked if she was taking a day off from the kids to recharge her batteries and she laughed, nodding her head and asking me how I knew that was exactly what she was doing - I told her that not only do I have sisters who all have kids, but just about everybody else I know has kids, and as I work with a lot of women, I hear the statement, "Mommy needs a little alone time" a lot. Like, all the time.

She told me she was pretty much spending the day hunting for Christmas gift bargains, and that it was going good. She also asked me if I had any gift ideas for a guy, and I assumed she was referring to her partner, so I suggested a nice date night where she took him to his favorite restaurant, let him pick the movie, etc. - basically, what I would consider a good gift from a partner.

We had a nice twenty minute conversation until I realized I had to get back to work, and then exchanged contact info and the requisite "Look me up when you are in town" goodbyes.

So, welcome surprise reunion at lunch, and a decent sandwich, too. Not a bad break in an otherwise dull afternoon.

Wonder who the next old friend I'll run into will be?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Splinter In My Palm

Finally worked its way out. Damn thing was a painful nuisance for days.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Apology For January Of 1993

We were both too young, too full of ourselves, too impossibly selfish to know that what we were doing, what we were imposing upon one another, was just wrong. 

But it was and now, all these years later, I think I can say I'm sorry to everyone who was around us at the time who had to endure our dysfunctionalism.

It really was a screwed up time.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Paying Dearly

Every so often a mistake is made where the price to pay for correcting it (at best) or apologizing for it (at least) is just too high.

The term used in those situations is usually "dearly." Dearly is the general cost of being wrong about something important.

I have been wrong about some very important things, and I am paying dearly.

But I am not about to apologize. Call it obstinate, call it what you will. But do not call requesting an apologia.

Monday, November 21, 2016

I Packed My Bag

...and when I arrived at my destination it was empty.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Door Of Indecision

Someone once wrote that things happen to a person because of one of two factors - either they did everything in their power to make it happen, or they did nothing to prevent it from happening.

Then again, someone else once wrote that a person can't control what happens to them, they can only control how they react to what happens to them.

And further still there are those who have stated, more or less, that there are laws at work that determine what happens to people - such as the laws of Nature, the laws of Karma, Darwinian laws, the laws of attraction, etc.

As for me, I think it's a combination of things, a witches brew if you will. Things happen, you react, other people react to your reaction, the universe throws in it's two cents, some other things happen due to a ripple effect, the government you happen to be living under gets it's nose into the mess, relatives and friends add a dash a salt...and then you have to either make a decision or one is foist upon you.

'course I could be wrong about that...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Experimenting With Rogaine

A few years ago I decided to try Rogaine to grow my hair out. Didn't think I'd share the results at the time because it smacked of vanity...as if that would be a surprise to anyone...

This is how it went.

                                                                         25 Days in....

                                                                      51 Days in...

                                                                      75 Days in...

                                                                          100 Days in...

            The only pic I could find of my head after about four months of Rogaine...not too shabby

     But also not satisfactory...and for reasons beyond me, my once blonde hair was now brownish red.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sitting Amidst The Rubble Of The Past

Don't condemn, don't condemn, don't condemn
It's hard enough making a go of it in this rough world
Without you judging just 'cause it didn't work out 
Like you wanted

C'mon, you had quite a few nice times
Think hard, remember, there were plenty of good days
It's only now when the tap's turned off
That you want to destroy everything around you

People change their minds, happens everyday
One day they will tell you how much you mean to them
The next they are wiping away 
Their prints from a knife sticking out of your back
It's just how some people are, sometimes

Walk away, walk alone for as long as it takes
To get your head clear, to exorcise the demons
Step back, you'll be able to clearly see
That everybody struggles hard to be free 
Everybody struggles just like you, just like me

Don't condemn, don't condemn, don't condemn
It's hard enough making a go of it in this rough world
Without you judging just 'cause it didn't work out
Like you wanted

Find a place in the sunshine
Find a place where life is moving with grace
No need to wallow or stagnate in the shadows
You've got to get yourself to a better place

Someday, probably sooner than you imagine
You'll be living like life is again a dream
All this disappointment and anger will seem so long ago
You'll struggle to remember why you ever wasted a moment
Of precious time turning friends into opponents

Everything will feel alright once again
You'll stop feeling as if you were made the fool
Everything will balance out, all those knots will be undone
You'll lie awake wondering how you ever doubted
That everything would work out for the best in the long run

Don't condemn, don't condemn, don't condemn
Forgive, forget, move along, move on
Leave all the ugly words and actions behind
Without a word of grief or twinge of guilt

Don't condone, don't condone, don't condone

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thursday, November 10, 2016

My Mother Never Sang The Blues

My Mother was a small-town girl 
A coal miners daughter, raised in the northern Appalachians
Joined the Navy to get out, maybe see the world
Met my father while they both were serving 
During the Korean war

So yeah, both of my parents were Korean war vets
They married in '52
Settled down, bought a tract ranch house in San Diego
Six kids later he left us all for someone new

My Mother just soldiered on 
Kept us fed, kept a roof over our heads
Never spent a day being pampered at a spa
Or a beauty salon

Found strength in the works of the Catholic Church
It took me decades to appreciate
The burden she had to carry
Doing without while providing for us
The sacrifices she had to make 

My Mother used to sing in the kitchen
After she had put all us younger kids to bed
Songs from her childhood, songs from the gospel
With a voice that still resonates sweetly in my head

Sitting at the table, reading the paper
Trusting that her older children
My sisters, my brother
Would be safe that night
Where ever they were

Happy Birthday Mom, much love and endless thanks for all you did for us.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Year I Acquired 144 Bowling Balls

Back in the fall of 2005 Brad & I found ourselves at an auction for a bowling alley that was closing down. 

The lot for the house balls came up and the opening bid was announced as $200.00. No one made a move. The auctioneer then started riffing on lower and lower opening bid amounts until finally he announced, "$5.00, do I have any interest in them at $5.00?"

I shot up my bidder number without thinking and the auctioneer yelled "We have five, do I hear ten? $5.00 is on the table, do I hear ten? Five dollars going once...going twice...sold to bidder (whatever my bidder number was, I've long since forgotten).

Brad stared at me like I had suddenly sprouted horns. Then he asked the obvious question: "What the hell are you going to do with all of those bowling balls?" The only answer I could come up with was, "I have no idea." 

144 bowling balls for $5.00, plus tax. Took two trips to get them all home.

As the smaller of the two dogs I had at the time (Cami, the Brittany Spaniel) was in the habit of digging at various spots along the backyard fence, I decided to use the bowling balls to line it - so I dug a shallow trench the width of the entire north run of the fence (and a bit along the east run of the fence, too) and put the bowling balls in it.

Worked like a charm.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Give Them An Out

If you are ever in a situation where tension has developed between you and a person you were or are extremely close with, due to some conflict real or imaginary that leads to an argument, it is, in my experience, always wise to have a graceful exit strategy that allows for both parties involved to go their separate ways without either party feeling ill will. 

In my fantasy experience that is. In my real-life experience it's always been a massive clusterf*ck of irrational behaviors and flying-off-the-handle assumptions that escalates in seconds from a petty spat to a thermo-nuclear level heated exchange that leaves nothing but remorse and recrimination in its' wake.

So yeah, the first one, pay attention to that one. Learn it, live it.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Last Sip Of The Poisoned Wine

It had a subtle taste, too subtle for even the most learned palate
Deceptive in it's innocuous sweetness and invisible 
To the naked eye
Only at the last minute did the mind register 
That there was anything amiss
And by the then it was much too late
The lips had already been licked 
The last swallow had made it's way down to the vital organs
Already, on a molecular level
The body was beginning to react
In a short few minutes the eyes would begin to dim
Clouds would form in a wavering consciousness
Legs would give way under the weight 
Of a body that had suddenly become a rag doll
A last breath would be drawn
And then 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Eyes Like Ashes

Brian was having one of those nights when he just couldn't remember how good he really had it. One of those nights when he was losing sight of all that was good if not absolutely great in his life.

It had happened to him on a few occasions in the distant past, but that had been so long ago he had almost forgotten what it felt like.

Now it was washing over him like a tsunami, and everything he dreaded about life seemed to be coming down on his shoulders all at once.

It was an odd thing, the witches brew of disconnect and damn near alienation he was feeling. After all, he was in a room full of friendly, jovial people. Words were being spoken to him that were fairly innocent, but for whatever reason they created a laser focus on his problems - trivial, minor problems that really, in the long run (and even in the very short run), didn't amount to a hill of beans.

Stuff normal people could shrug off like a sudden cold breeze.

It came to a head when he looked into the eyes of the woman he had come to the party with and saw not the gorgeous mid-winter morning sky blue he had fallen in love with, but dead gray ash.

That was when he knew he had to go. And so he did, with a few "Goodbye, gotta goes" mumbled through clenched teeth.

When Brian got home he quickly undressed and stood naked in the bedroom staring at what passed for a motivational poster on the wall.

He couldn't read the words on the poster clearly though, the words looked liked a blurred jumble.

So after a few minutes he crawled into bed. Getting to sleep was difficult. Thoughts raced through his mind that made zero sense. Emotions seemed to bounce around his brain like a racquetball being served up by Marty Hogan hitting the side wall at 140+.

They suddenly everything seemed to just shut off. All the activity that was going on, keeping him hyper alert and wide awake, just stopped. 

He drifted off to sleep, but not before a few of the words printed on the motivational poster drifted through his mind; 
"...it is only when you lose everything that you are finally free to do anything..."

Saturday, October 29, 2016