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

Monday, March 27, 2017

Release The Poodles Of Purgatory*

The dogs of war have been given the slip 
By the Rottweilers of regret
The hounds of hell are nudging the devil's legs
Jealous of the attention given to the Labradors of lament

The Chihuahuas of chaos have been nipping at the ankles
              of angels and demons alike
While the Shar Pei's of serenity busy themselves with books
              on floral arrangement and the first reich
To avoid the Mastiffs of melancholy, who always seem to be
               about to go on yet another hunger strike

The Beagles of bewilderment have once again gotten lost
You'd think at least one of them could read a map
The always frisky Pomeranians of peril bide their time
Waiting for the watchdog on duty to take a nap

The Border Collies of compassion have given up on 
                 every lost cause they had been cherishing
As the Whippets of woe practice for hours on end
                 the lost art of being subtly discouraging
Which doesn't bother the Curs of confusion as much
                 as wearing a little doggie sweater is embarrassing

*this bit has its' roots in a night of riffing J.R. and I had on the hounds of hell cliche while at work in Anchorage one very slow night.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

COHIBA Espléndidos

                                             There may not be a finer cigar on the planet.

                                                    25 of 'em. Twenty-five damn fine cigars

Friday, March 24, 2017

One Man's Destitution Is Another Man's Prosperity

He was dressed fairly well for a man sitting in a dumpy dive

His drink turning a lighter shade of cola as the ice melted

"Once, a long, long time ago," he started

"I was successful, had a chain of small print shops."

He took a long look at his drink after he said that

"Then small office printers got cheap, and business died." 

A quick sip of his drink and he continued

"Yeah, I had it made for awhile, a good long while."

Pause (for recollection or ?)

"Yep...a good run, for a good long time"

Again, a pause

"After I closed up the last of the shops 
                                                I thought I could retire."

Pause, with a listless stare into the distance 

"I had money put away, had made a few investments 
                                                I thought were solid."

Another sip of the diluted, now ice-less drink

"But then my wife, my now ex-wife, demanded a divorce...                                                      ...after 18 years, almost 19."

Pause, bites upper lip, drums his fingers on the bar

"Had to liquidate everything - she got half, lawyers cost                                                            a fortune...hell, I got...nothing."

Pause, and a full minute of listless staring into the distance

"Now I'm practically destitute. Had to take a job
                                                 as a mid-level manager."

Drains the last of his drink from the warm tumbler

"Live in a lower middle class neighborhood in an old
                                                 3 bedroom fixer upper"

Motions for the barkeep to come over

"Sure, I drive what people call a luxury SUV but it's
                                                 9 years old and worn out"

Barkeep brings another tumbler of scotch on the rocks

"Have to buy all my clothes off the rack, had to learn how
                                                 to iron 'em myself."

A swig off the fresh drink, a deep breath, then another swig

Stays silent for a long while, then inhales the last of the drink

Gets up off the barstool, pulls a twenty out of his wallet

Slaps it on the bar and says, "Hey, thanks for listening to me 
                                                  Just had to let loose."

As he walks out of the bar it occurs to me

That everything he listed that marks him as                                                                               "practically destitute"

Is everything I've worked my whole life to achieve

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Saturday, March 11, 2017

La Jolla Shores March 11th 2017

Bash & Pop Can Help You Make It Through The Night

Thursday night Rickster & I went on down to the Casbah to see a good old fashioned Rock & Roll show.

The headliner was the latest (and greatest, IMHO) incarnation of Bash & Pop, Tommy Stinson's initial post-'mats band, and the opener was The Yawpers, a band out of Denver that I'm fairly sure I saw play their first live show as the third act on a bill that featured the Hollyfelds and the Hickman-Dalton Gang at the Soiled Dove in Denver some five or so years ago.

                                                  The Yawpers going full out

The Yawpers have matured into a solid power trio. Frontman Nate Cook, seen on the far right, has cut his hair since I first saw them perform, and is a whole lot more active on the stage.

Joined by Noah Shomberg sitting behind the kit and Jesse Parmet on the far left strumming away at an acoustic guitar, they belt out a wide variety of tunes with the energy and confidence of a band that has spent a few years on the road honing their skills.

They released an album in 2015 which I picked up at the show - American Man. I've had it in the CD player of the rental since, and it is one fine slice of American rock pie.

Bash & Pop took the stage around 10:30, geting things started with a defcon level 4 rendition of Fast & Hard, a tune from the 1993 release, Friday Night Is Killing Me.

Tommy Stinson, Bash & Pop's lead vocalist, songwriter, guitarist, chief mechanic, etc., has been immersed in the music scene since his pre-adolescent years, and was the cock and balls of the greatest American band of the '80's, the Replacements...and oh, yeah, also played bass for Guns & Roses from 1998 until 2015.

That's Tommy right there. The first time I ever saw him perform he wasn't old enough to drink and I just barely was, though both of us had been drinkin' for years.

   Former Lucero/Hold Steady guitarist Steve Selvidge on the far left of the stage, Tommy Stinson front and center, former Mighty, Mighty Bosstones drummer John Sirois in the back holding the sticks, and sound & mix master/bassist Justin Perkins bashing & popping the night away at the Casbah

Bash & Pop are one of those fun, high-energy bands that can get you out of the deepest of funks. Not only do they bang out songs of their own, but Thursday they performed hip-shaking & head rattling covers that ranged from Marshall Crenshaw's b-side classic You're My Favorite Waste Of Time, to the Who's The Kids Are Alright (as well as a little taste of the Stones classic, Midnight Rambler).

The band played one helluva long set for a very appreciative crowd, giving much more than anyone in the Casbah payed for. Tommy's voice was a bit strained at times, which may have been due to this being the end of a long tour (I think they have a couple more stops before a end-of tour perfomance at SXSW in Austin this week).

There were a few missteps, of course, and a couple of restarts, but for the most part this was a great, high-octane show. This edition of Bash & Pop is a non stop post-punk monster seemingly hell bent on devouring the unborn young of it's audience.

The performance featured a number of tunes off the new realease, Anything Could Happen, including Unf*uck You, a personal fav of mine - side note: the new release is great.

Tommy jumped up on the bar at one point and belted out a tune solo and seemed to be having more fun than a poor kid on a creaky swingset. 

Bash & Pop's crunchy-twangy-punk-country-blues-infused rock was just what this man needed to hear. Combined with the good company of the Rickster, it made for a great night out, and I learned an interesting factoid about Tommy tonight - he was born in San Diego.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Feelin' Like Early Summer In San Diego

Least anyone think I am hiding from or avoiding the world these days, let me assure you I am not. Every morning I am here I make my way down to the beach and take a walk, and everyday that I've been here I've spent time with old friends.

Just yesterday I had lunch with RT and his lovely wife C., and Thibs. We met up in Old Town and enjoyed great Mexican food at Cafe Coyote. We ate and drank and talked for nearly three hours.

Afterward, Thibs & I drove over to Mission Beach - it was 80 degress out, and a perfect day to be in MB.

There were quite a few people out enjoying the sun,surf, and sand. Remarkable number of people for a late Thursday afternoon in March, actually. 

I love being at the beach - everything about it makes me happy - the sound and smell of the ocean, the low roar of crashing waves and that slight salty aroma mixed with occassional hints of tanning lotion that envelopes you as you walk along the shore, watching people of all ages enjoying themselves, groups of friends playing volleyball or tossing around a football, or just hanging out together having a great time that someday will be a shared great memory.

And of course, there are always gorgeous young women in bikinis - this old unabashed flaming heterosexual still unapologetically appreciates gorgeous young women in bikinis.

The King Of Oversharing

Received an email this morning asking if I thought that maybe some of what I was writing regarding my Mom's situation was venturing into oversharing. 

After considering what I have written in the past few weeks, and what I have been experiencing, I have come to the conclusion that no, I am not oversharing.

I am simply being open and honest about what I am feeling.

It's what I do. It helps me keep thngs together - therapeutic or cathartic if you need an academic term for it.

The same emailer also asked if my depression was becoming too much for me to deal with, to which I replied that I am not enduring depression - I am simply feeling sad as there is the distinct possibility I will be losing my Mom soon.

I also reiterated the point I made about what I have written here being therapeutic/cathartic for that specific situation.

It is tough, yes, it is emotionally trying, yes

But I have received a tremendous amount of support from friends & family. 

My childhood friend Mike M, whom I met when I was four and who was as close to a brother to me as someone who was not my actual brother could be, endured almost the exact same thing I'm going through now just a few months ago. He has shared with me his experience and has given me great words of advice and comfort.

Jeff L., whom I have known for thirty years, also endured almost the exact same thing I'm going through now just a little over a year ago and has also shared with me his experience and has also given me great words of advice and comfort.

The words from both of these men, these brothers of mine, were almost exactly the same. 

"Be there with her as much as I can, hold her hand, speak to her even when she appears to not be able to hear me. Hold her hand. Hold her hand and let her know you are there."

Someday you may have to edure this situation too, anonymous reader, and those words in the last paragraph are what you need to remember,

That, and not to be afraid to overshare. 

Being stoic, holding it inside? That's bullshit.

A Tough, Good Day

Visiting my Mom in the hospital is difficult. My Mom is the strongest person I have ever known, and to see her confined to a hospital bed, unable to sit up on her own, having to be assisted with even the simplest tasks, is almost more than I can bear.

This morning's visit was good though, in spite of my apprehensions. Mom and I talked for almost a full hour and a half before she grew tired and needed to take a nap. 

My Mom is still very keen of mind, and as cognizant of the world as she ever was. Her body is betraying her though, and that right there, that combination of her mind being sharp and her body being decimated by decades of cancer-fighting via chemotherapy, is what makes visiting her in the hospital so incredibly difficult. 

Being able to spend and hour and a half engaged in conversation with my Mom this morning, listening to her talk about current events or reminiscing about life thirty or forty years ago, was simply fantastic and made for a good day.

But knowing that mornings like this are not the norm, and will get rarer and rarer in the weeks or months ahead...that made it a pretty tough day too.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Getting The Band Back Together...Sorta

Yeah, that's me, and RLT, with MJM (doing his best Old Man & The Sea era Hemingway) and EA. 

Probably the first picture of us together in about three decades.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Happy Birthday To The Late, Great Cosmic Cowboy

   On the JPH Memorial Pub Crawl with BB, SL, and TD. JPH would have been forty today. He will live on in our hearts as long as they're beating.

Boat drinks, Johnny!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Transcendental Tree

I once knew a lunatic

Now, it is fairly common for people to claim
That they have known a lunatic 
                                       Or two 

Or at least someone who is fairly looney

But I'm not talking about a run-of-the-mill oddball here
No, this...*ahem*...gentleman was much more than simply                                           Weird
Far beyond what must folks would say quailified as 
                                      Out of his gourd

This man was a genuine, court-certified, as-seen-on-TV

He was considered a "low-risk" lunatic, however
Not much of a danger to himself, or others

He lived under a bridge in the warmer months
In abandoned buildings when it got cold
                                      Or the Brother Francis shelter

He did not like to be around people

Said he could see people for what they really were
Said he could see past the disguises 
                                      Everyone wore
Most people were not-so-clevery disguised, he said,  
                                      As Saints

But there were very few Saints, he said. There were millions
                                     Of demons

And all of them, every last one of them, had but one purpose:
To trick you into betraying someone, or worse, betraying

You may be wondering how I got to know this lunatic

Well enough to get to know so much about a man
Who did not like people, thinking they were all demons
                                      Out to trick him
It would be great if I could claim that he saw I clearly wasn't a

But that wasn't the case

I met him one sunny Saturday evening in August 
When I was fishing down at Ship Creek
He came up to me and introduced himself
"Hello, my name is Steven. May I ask you a question?"

I replied, "Sure, what can I help you with?"

And he said, matter of a factly and in all seriousness, 
"Why are you disguised as a tree?"

Which caught me a bit off guard.

Then he said "Do you mind if I talk with you for awhile? I haven't had a real conversation in a long, long time"
                                       Then he paused for a minute

Before continuing with, "...and I really enjoy talking to trees."