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

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Into The Great Colorfield



This spectacular sunset is what I drove into as I was making my way to Bakersfield this past week. It was about as beautiful a sunset as I've ever seen, and it helped to lighten my heavy heart,

Monday, January 18, 2021

Embrace Wonder

 As if you were still a child...

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Saturday, January 16, 2021

In Memory Of A Good Man

A man I was proud to be able to call my friend passed away earlier this month. He was a good man, a man with strength of character and an unwavering belief in justice and fairness. 

His name was Joaquin Rodriguez jr, though he was known to everyone as JR (not junior, "Jay-R").

   JR and I in an Anchorage fur store in March of 1990. Yes, we are wearing pink noses and bunny ears.

JR and I met in the mid 1980's in San Diego. We worked together for a couple of years and developed a friendship based on mutual interest and some shared roots.

We both were raised in Southeast San Diego, just a few miles from each other. We were the same age, but never attended the same schools - JR attended San Diego H.S., while I attended Morse. 

We had incredibly similar taste in music - he loved bands such as Oingo Boingo, Talking Heads, the B-52's, the Clash - pretty much everything played on 91X at the time - as did I.

He also loved to go on random adventures to places he'd never been, without a guidebook or a tour group, as did I. 

And he loved Halloween. JR probably loved Halloween more than I, which is saying alot.

JR and I on Halloween in 1988. JR made that freakin' monster costume from scratch! I went as a ghoul.

Of course being young men who desired young women, JR & I would go to clubs in SD quite a bit. We spent quite a few Fridays & Saturdays at Diego's, Billy Bones, the Halcyon, the Spirit - heck, we even went to a concert at the Jackie Robinson YMCA in hopes of meeting women who had similar taste in music as we did (nope, can't remember who played that show, some local punk bands, no established bands).

                 JR with his Halloween Snow Pumpkin he created in Anchorage in October 1989

In April of 1989 I decided I needed to get out of San Diego and move to Alaska. The story of why I made that move is told in one of my posts here, but long story short it was all about a relationship with a woman gone askew due to bad behavior on my part.

Flash forward to August of 1989 and I'm living in Anchorage with the woman who was the reason I left SD. One day I receive a letter from JR and in his letter he tells me that he too needs to leave SD for reasons, and he wants to know if he might be able to drive up to Alaska and stay with LLN & I for awhile, just until he can get settled into his own place.

Of course I wrote back immediately and said "get up here, you're going to love it!"

      Nothing says "I'm from San Diego" louder than cleaning snow off your car with a kitchen utensil

JR arrived in Anchorage after a week of driving. He got a job almost immediately after he arrived and got his own apartment a month later. 

Firmly ensconced in Anchorage, him and I, along with LLN, proceeded to spend weekends exploring Alaska

                                                         JR the Christmas tree wrangler

We once drove the enormous lasso that is the Seward, Glenn Allen. the Richardson, and the George Parks highways (LLN had gone back to Boston for the wedding of one of her friends, so we had a week to kill). It was a grand adventure even if it was exhausting.


                                         Shorts and T-shirt on a balmy April day in Alaska

    Die hard Chargers fan JR sporting his loyalty while enjoying a rare cloud-free view of Denali

                                        JR in the bowl, Fur Rondy in Anchorage, 1990

JR also possessed that same goofy, irrepressible sense of fun that I have, without fear of embarrassment or giving a hoot what others might think of him. He was definitely of the belief that life is meant to be a good time.

    John R, Joaquin R., and me at the Mongolian Bar-be-que restaurant for lunch, July 1994

JR eventually decided Alaska was not for him, and went back to SD a little over a year after he arrived. He had always wanted to serve and protect the public, and his intention was to become a law enforcement officer.

But he came back to Alaska a few years later for a short vacation, and it was one heckuva good time for us both. We went golfing (yes, you can golf in Alaska) fishing, hiking, and of course exploring. 

                                                   JR on the links in Palmer, Alaska

                              All geared up and ready to drop a line

                                                        JR at the summit of Flattop

Last year at this time I received a letter from JR. I was expecting it to be our annual catch up letter, but it was not. In this letter JR revealed that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Needless to say, it was devastating to read.

Pancreatic cancer is merciless. JR was a fighter, a man who could meet any challenge. 

Fcuk pancreatic cancer.

My heart goes out to his wife and their son, his step-children, and his mother & siblings. He was one of the good ones, and taken much, much too young.

                                               Joaquin "JR" Rodriquez jr, 1963 - 2021

Rest in peace my friend.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Lopsided World

 Everything was out of balance.

Out of kilter, as it were.

Narcissistic, megalomaniacs had been voted into office

...Oh wait, that's fairly normal.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Things I Do Not Want To Deal With Anymore

Gullible people who feel compelled to share the latest conspiracy theory they're believing with me.

Advertising for formulaic, poorly directed and even more poorly filmed movies about couples who have no business being together but who end up together in the end. I don't have to watch the movies, but it's hard to dodge the ads.

Too much ice and not enough drink.

Extremists getting all the attention because it's what capture's journalists (or their editors) attention.

People using the word "bargain" to describe something of little or no real value being bought at a low price. A bargain is only a bargain if the object procured is of value, and the price was fair.