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, September 26, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Big Ed's In Town

Big Ed's in town, and you know what that means...that's right, a lot of expensive craft brew, a few trips to touristy places I don't ordinarily visit, and a some great times.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Too Many Jennifers, Not Enough Wandas

She was in the habit of downing five, sometimes six energy drinks a day. Said they kept her metabolism revved up and that's how she kept her weight down.

She was never seen outside her apartment until mid-afternoon - between her job slinging drinks keeping her out until three in the morning and the cumulative effects of little food/lots of caffeine, she would crash out from four a.m. until two p.m. When she awoke she would immediately have an energy drink, throw on sweatpants, tennis shoes and whatever shirt was at hand before taking her dog for a quick walk around the park.

If she was not distracted by the lure of the internet when she returned to her apartment, she would tackle whatever small chore she deemed necessary at the time - washing the dishes stacked in the sink, taking out the trash overflowing from the garbage can, or washing some of the dirty clothes strewn all about the bedroom floor.

Someday, she kept telling herself, she was going to go back to school and complete her degree. Then she could get a real job and leave the helter-skelter existence behind. 


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Everything Was Almost Right

Oh yeah, you had that conversation about how you feel 
Talked about how you think there's something unsaid
Something is being hidden, being kept under wraps
You want to know what it is, want to hear it straight
And yet you cringe in fear at what it is you'll hear
Don't want your dark suspicions to be confirmed
Don't want to learn you're not just paranoid
There must be hundreds of reasons why 
People suddenly become distant
But you know deep down
There is really 
Only one

Sunday, September 20, 2015

No Longer Content To Sit In The Corner

She said she had had enough of the quiet life
She was no longer going to fall in line
No longer going to do as she was told
It was time for her to pursue the devine

Sirens On A Saturday Morning

Some days there are events that transpire
To remind you
Just how lucky you are on that particular day

Like not having to call your insurance agent 
To report a minor accident
Between your car and a light pole

Friday, September 18, 2015

We Ain't Fakin', Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On

In Chicago last week I met Lance Lipinsky. I had no idea who he was at the time - he was standing outside a bar late Saturday night with a couple of women, all three of them dressed in '50's Rocker attire. I took a couple of pics with him and the girls as they all looked super-stylish, but it wasn't until much later that I learned that he had spent the past seven years portraying Jerry Lee Lewis in the Chicago production of the Jukebox Musical Million Dollar Quartet.

Pretty cool dude and he now has his own act, Lance Lipinsky & The Lovers. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

He Was Well-Known Locally As A Slacker

Occasionally, reality has to hit some people over the head with a twenty-pound mallet. 

Every so often I meet a person who believes that the world owes them a living, that the government should provide them with everything they need or want, and that they should not be expected to have to contribute themselves to their own support.

These are adults, not children, who still believe in a Shangri La where all is safe, serene, and sacrifice free, and no one has to lift a finger to attain anything. They seem to have no idea that eventually life demands a person stop being a full-time consumer (a child) and become a producer (an adult).

This baffles me. How is possible to stay so dependent on those around you? How is it possible to not want to strike out on your own and do something with your life?

It's probably a good thing I'm not a parent. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Creepy Creepy Crawly Crawly

The Dude Who Was Shot Seventeen Times

Tonight I was in a fairly dodgy dive, just relaxing a bit, when I was approached by an odd little man who introduced himself as Glenn, and who quickly asked me what my name was right after telling me his. 

So I told him my name and he jabbed his hand out to mine and clasped his other hand around both of ours when I took up his offered hand in order to shake it, 

He stared up at me real close and said, "You look like a guy I knew named Dan. Except Dan is dead now. But you look just like him. Kinda freaky. Dan was a friend of mine from way back when I was a kid. He was my friend until he shot me seventeen times and tried to kill my wife, too. My wife is a little black person, a midget who is black. Dan tried to kill both of us, shot me seventeen times and shot my wife too."

He said all of that in a single breath, as if he had to get it all out at once or he wouldn't be able to get a single word out.

I laughed a little to myself when he was rolling with his dialogue, and when he finished said to him, "You were shot seventeen times and you're still alive? You must have quite a few serious scars."

That's when he pulled up his shirt and exposed a pale belly riddled with scars from bullet wounds and surgery. He then said, "You can take a picture if you want."

So I did. It's not everyday you meet a person who has been shot seventeen times and survived,

Saturday, September 12, 2015

In Chicago At The Riot Fest Show

                                          Mariachi el Bronx on the Roots Stage

                                     Early afternoon, before the crowds began to pour in

                                       CRB giving the low down on the Riot Fest scene

                                        Flogging Molly always brings the house down

                                                       Ice Cube, the King of L.A.

                                             Straight Out Of Fullerton - No Doubt

Friday, September 11, 2015

Chicago, My Kind of Town

Strangers On A Plane

                                             How are we not amazed everyday by flowers?

Sitting next to a stranger for a long period of time, say while traveling on public transportation for a considerable distance, can be fairly enjoyable if you get lucky enough to have an interesting, conversational stranger as seatmate.

Yesterday, as I was traveling from Denver to Chicago, just such luck smiled upon me. The passenger in the seat next to me was an agreeable, affable guy who turned out to be a knowledgeable fan of classic Film Noir, especially the work of John Huston and Edward Dmytryk, two of my favorite Directors who excelled in the genre

By chance we had both recently seen The Asphalt Jungle and so spent almost half the flight discussing the influence of that film on modern directors such as Tarantino and Nolan.

The engaging conversation made for a quick flight, which we both remarked on. As we disembarked we thanked each other for the pleasant company and wished each other good luck on our respective journeys (mine being just to Chicago for a few days, his being to Indianapolis for a month on a consulting job).

As I stood waiting at the baggage carousel I thought about all the flights I'd been on over the years and all the people I had sat next to, and it occurred to me that I had met some great people on most of those trips. Thinking about it actually bummed me out a little, as those were people whose company I enjoyed but who I never got to opportunity to see again. Just two to five or so hours of casual friendship and that was it.

Which may have been a good thing - didn't have the chance to get bored with each other or reveal something about ourselves that would have tarnished the whole experience.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Forming An Impression Of Natural Colors Intensified

The other day I watched the sunset
Trickling through a thick strand of trees
Each gap in the branches like a window with a view
Of a Clyfford Still Abstract Color Field painting

The Rock Collective

Monday, September 7, 2015

Friday, September 4, 2015

Can I Get That In A Darker Shade Of Nostalgia?

As he lay back on the cool grass and gazed skyward
At the serene celestial farscape
He recalled the days when he dreamed of spaceships
Taking him to the farthest reaches of the galaxy
On grand and uproarious adventures
It was such a wonderful, exuberant time to be alive
Back then, when he dreamt of things
Other than the things he had failed to do
With his life

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Baseball Has Been Berry, Berry Good To Me

This evening while watching the Rockies vs. Giants game I was asked if I remembered the first Little League baseball game I ever played in. The question was directed towards me by a friend I've known a long while, and who knows me fairly well - though not well enough to know that I never played Little League baseball, which I duly told him.

That took him by surprise, as the two of us have gone to a number of MLB games together, and have watched countless more in bars and restaurants, and even at each other's homes. He had always assumed that, since I am a big baseball fan and know the game inside and out, I must have played Little League and probably high school ball.

In answer to his question as to how baseball was my spectator sport of choice when I had never actually played the game, I had to tell him the story of my USAF career.

See, after I joined the USAF and was given a DDA to Holloman AFB in the wonderful though somewhat empty state that is New Mexico, I discovered that being in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do and nobody to do anything with leads to a lot of television watching. 

The three-story AF dorms all of us unmarried enlisted personnel lived in all had dayrooms on each floor that had televisions with cable, and after work there was always a small contingent of either Cubs or Braves fans watching a baseball game (this was in the day when there were only two superstations that broadcast nationwide via cable, WGN and WTBS, out of Chicago and Atlanta respectively).

As I had the aforementioned nothing else to do, I started to watch whatever game everyone else was watching when I settled into the dayroom most evenings after work. 

Now, not having ever played the game did not mean I didn't know how the game was played, so I was able to follow along readily enough. There were a few things I didn't know of course, but I've always been a quick learn and soon enough I knew not only how the game was played, but also that the game was not only a contest between highly skilled athletes, but also a chess match between the managers of each team.

Early on I took a liking to how Whitey Herzog managed a game. He was at the helm of the St Louis Cardinals the entire time I was in the USAF, and as the Cubs and the Cardinals were both in the National League East at the time, I got to watch a lot of Cubs/Cardinals games on WGN, and while the Braves were inexplicably in the National League West back then (along with my hometown team, the SD Padres, of which I became a loyal fan via Braves games broadcast on WTBS), they still played the Cardinals at least twelve times a year.

Herzog made the best of what he had, winning games with good pitching, great base running, and exceptional defense.
His knack for creating runs with bases on balls and bloop singles - a tactic every single team the Cards played against knew they were going to use but couldn't seem to stop, was a pleasure to watch. His teams were stocked with players who may not have been the best at hitting the ball for extra bases, but they knew how to get on base.

However, watching a field General like Herzog was not what initially hooked me - it was the one-two punch of seeing the Padres play, as it provided a tenuous link to my hometown, and the nearly endless amount of trivia inherent to baseball.

Baseball is full of statistics, and statistics are the fodder of the best trivia games. I not only got hooked on watching baseball on television, I got hooked on reading everything I could get my hands on about the history of the sport and it's players. I subscribed to The Sporting News and purchased the annual Baseball Register. In short, I became obsessed.

The cherry on the sundae was the length of the baseball season. At 162 games stretching from the first week of April until the end of September, plus the October post season, baseball provided a seven month-plus distraction from the daily drudgery of a four-year enlistment being served in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico.

And that was how I became a big baseball fan.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Nature Brooks No Favor

Hot summer wind blowing across the prairie
Fields of tall grass like golden rivers
Running wild
The heat of high noon
Wraps itself around you
Stifling heat
Of a merciless, blazing sun
Until the shade of a large dying oak
Provides welcome relief
Eyes close and soon
Of cool clear water flowing
A small brook, a stream
Thirst quenching savior
Replenishing spirit and body
The delusion
Is cruel