Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Bike" and random

Last Saturday I was helping sort things out at my parent's storage unit. There was a ton of crap that was taken to the D.I., our version of Goodwill in this area. Also, a huge load of garbage was hauled away as well. This is when I came across my dad's old bicycle, a 1950 Mohawk. It would make a perfect beach cruiser. The chain guard, fenders, back rim, name plate, and original seat are gone. But, the bike would not take much at all to actually become a nice "about town" cruiser. So, this is going to be my next project and it will be just in time for spring.

I'm going to a funeral in the morning. John was accidentally killed in a fast food restaurant men's restroom by a man who was carrying a loaded gun in his pants. The man just got done going to the toilet, pulled up his pants, when his gun came out of his concealed holster inside his pants. The gun hit the floor and went off, shooting John dead. Before any of you start to lament the senseless loss of life, I need to confess something to you: John is a toilet. The restaurant actually will be holding a funeral for their deceased toilet as a publicity stunt. I live seven minutes away from this place and go there often, so I figure I might as well attend. I mean, how often do I get a chance to hear a eulogy for a toilet?

I watched Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket last night. That is one of my favorite war dramas. I can't help but wonder, though, about Private "Gomer Pyle". I think that they should have just locked him in that bathroom and let him have a bit of a freakout, then ship him off to 'Nam where he could actually kill the enemy. I guess the point was that his Drill Sergeant and his fellow privates became his enemy. The other thing about that movie that I marvel about is how far five dollars went back in those days. Jeepers!

I was told by a higher up today that my hair was becoming "mighty robust". I asked if that meant that she liked it. She just replied something to the effect that I could appreciate it more than others. So, I guess I don't have to get my hair cut yet.

I think you've had enough. Hey, if you haven't checked in on my previous post's roll call, just do it here. Ta!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Uninspired (roll call 2009)

I don't have enough self discipline to not post when I lack inspiration. I still feel like a funny guy but my needs to be funny for people have changed. Mainly, I don't give a shit if you don't find me funny anymore. I can feel that my humor has shifted. I am older. How could I go through what I went through and not come out a bit different? I just find myself musing on different things nowadays. I am fine with this.

I like the fact that a handful of you Gruntonians stick around and leave comments. It shows me that you are in this for real and not because I was the guy that did wacky shit or gay Fridays. Between you and me, the TIGF gig was becoming a drag for me, no pun intended.

Could you all do me a favor and check in for me? I need to see who still rocks it Grunty. Roll call!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The mostest with the postest

I don't have a lot to say. I took this photo at a auto salvage parking lot.

I bought a new laptop. I should be getting it next week sometime. Now I am cool.

I watched First Blood on Blue Ray. It was cool as always. One thing, however: How come, in the Viet Nam flashbacks, Rambo looks like a cousin of Three Dog Night's Chuck Negron? Were all the army barbers being held prisoner by Charlie or something?

My goal this year is to learn how to hambone.

I'm starting to develop crushes on all old fugly trucks. Trucks that look like this:
While I could buy one now and fix it up, I'm waiting to get married, sick of her, and then buying it to piss her off. I am thoughtful.

I don't have much more to say. I'm going to watch my Simpsons' DVDs.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Everything is fine, just fine

I have to tell myself that once in a while. Even if it may not feel true, I repeat it over and over until I believe it. It isn't denial. Its mood management. I am still aware of the challenges that confront me and those who I care for. When I'm calm, however, I am better able to deal with the problems at hand.

In order:
  1. Mother
  2. Brother
  3. Niece
  4. Sister
  5. Father
  6. Myself
The issues (not in order):
  • Jobless without direction and excessive debt.
  • Frail and trying to come to terms with the inevitable.
  • Part of the fat that might get trimmed.
  • Will he pop the question?
  • Passing blood and undergoing extensive tests.
  • Worn out, in pain, and displaced from their position at work.
Sometimes life is a white blur. Sometimes it is as real as obsidian. I wear gray and try to walk that line the best I can.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Going back

I finally got my files backed up from my ancient computer. Since then I have been reading old papers from college and various proto-Grunt writings. I decided to open up a file: a novel that I started in 2001. Boy, it sucks. I went through and edited, changed things here and there. I've decided that with a major re-write that it could be as good as I thought it could be back in the day.

I wanted to be a writer. I've gotten away from that. There's such pretense about saying that you want to be a writer that I eventually could not stomach it when I uttered those words to anyone. Now, I think I'm going to have another go at it. Only this time, I am not going to worry about being a writer. I just want to tell a story. I think being away from school has helped me in that my writing style has become more colloquial. There are no more professors to impress or cohorts to outdo. It's just me now. I like it that way. It's Grunt.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy Human Rights/MLK Day!

videoI decided that I haven't posted a decent "come hike with me" video in a while. I still haven't got a hair cut. I am surprised that it isn't longer than it is.

Anyway, I was thinking about the parable of the Sower and the Seed today. The seed that fell in good soil flourished the most. It got me thinking about what makes good soil: bullshit and lots of it.

I was helping my brother fix his '98 Ford Exploder on Saturday and my disdain for American automakers only deepened. I love the old American iron, but it is such a crap shoot buying anything American made in the past thirty-odd years sometimes. I drove a brand new Toyota Tundra the other day and I about cried when I had to give the keys back. I hope Detroit gets its shit together. It would be nice to have some pride in "Made in America" again.

On the flip side to that, I helped my friend Jason with his '71 Chevy pickup project this weekend. There's something about looking at a vehicle and not having any mysteries about its inner workings, it's so simple. The fascination of putting together a really big go cart is what I think it is, basically. Plus, I can go home and not have to deal with all the clutter and mess that comes with this kind of hobby.

I just want to give a shout out to Megatropolis: Congrats on getting married! I bet you feel like a new kind of woman now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dream #47,372

I had this dream this week, Monday night/Tuesday morning sometime abouts.

My friend Wayne and I were venturing in a strange part of the country. We saw a chapel that had a strange glow about it. People were filing in. We wanted to know what was going on, so we entered in the building. Inside the chapel there was a congregation of about 300 people and several open caskets with fresh corpses, not preserved, in the front near the pulpit.

My friend and I sat down on a pew somewhere in the middle of the meeting hall. The pastor gave his sermon and people began to be filled with some kind of pentecostal-like rapture. A man behind me started to grope and fondle my shoulders and head. I ordered him to stop. He said that everybody was joining in and that it was part of the ceremony. A woman told the man that she would take me instead and she started caressing me. This went on for a while. It wasn't an orgy as it was more like some weird holy roller "love in", without overt sexual contact.

At the height of the group's fascinations with each other, the pastor raised himself atop the pulpit, was delivered a corpse, and reached into the body and pulled out the rib cage. He then said, "Communion for those who believe. Damnation to those who do not. Eat! Eat!". The pastor then threw the rib cage out into the congregation and the feast began.

While this was going on, I could not find my friend. I was scared out of my wits and tried to escape the church. When I broke free from the congregation, some noticed and they sought out to apprehend me. I evaded them through the maze of dark halls and classrooms. I ended outside, via an open window. I hid up in a thicket, waiting to see if my friend would make it out. My dream ends there.


I'll tell you, this is the last damn time I roast my own peanuts and eat them before I go to bed.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Those guitar clips I promised

videoOkay, never mind the fact that I just woke up, put on a baseball cap to hide my scary hair, and took the videos with my crappy cell phone, the guitar speaks for itself. This is the "No-Nocaster" in all its glory. My phone only will do short clips, thus, the concise wanking. Also, not all of the guitar and my playing is in the pictures because I had to prop up the phone on a pillow. I couldn't tell where I was in the shot and got tired of things being perfect. You can hear what's going on well enough. Anyway, the guitar feels and plays great. I'm playing dirty in most of these clips. That's how I like it.
video
This clip shows some twangy rhythm playing with the amp mildly overdriven. This is probably as clean as I like to play in most cases.
video
This is the 1998 Fender Stratocaster "Deluxe" that I bought new in 1999 and is my most modified from original guitar. A Strat is a great "hot rod" in that you can take a whole bunch of parts and swap them out--modify to your taste. It is hard to do that to something more precious, such as a Les Paul. Anyway, 1998 was a great year for the Mexican Strats. I changed the body from a black MIM to a three-tone sunburst 2007 American Standard Strat body. However, the secret to great guitar tone is in the neck. If the neck doesn't have it, it never will. So, already having a great neck, the better body enhanced everything nicely. This is my most comfortable guitar to play and the most versatile. The neck pickup and the two "quack" positions (#2and#4) are this guitar's signature sound. Good for SRV, Mayer, Frusciante, Hendrix, and more funky styles.
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This is my early '70s Les Paul copy, a Japanese made model by the Suzuki instrument company. It isn't the most desirable copy, but it is still a great guitar for what I paid for it. It is the most full bodied and sexy sounding of all my electrics and the most temperamental at the same time--the most woman like, if you will. It doesn't like to stay in tune, loves to shift with the humidity level, and it hurts my back if I play it too long. Love hurts. But when I get it dialed in, I just can't get enough of this guitar. Makes me want to save up for the real thing. Someday, perhaps.

The amp I was playing through is my '57 Gibson Skylark, all of 5 watts with a tiny 8" speaker. This small amp is still plenty loud and you can hit the sweet spots without killing off your sperm and glassware. It's funny that the engineers back then thought that the distortion produced by this amp made it an inferior design. I helped it along with my own modifications when I restored it.

Enjoy!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A great day

I had my quarterly cancer exam and things are looking good for me. The only thing that sucked was looking at my weight, post holidays. You know what is really weird? Having a lady doctor feel your groin and then ask you if you are currently dating someone. Anyway, it wasn't inappropriate of her at all, just that taken out of context it seems rather funny. I celebrated afterward by eating a giant calzone and then finishing my shift at work. I am happy, but I've got a major headache right now. Plus, I keep looking at my body and going, "Wuh, so fat! Ugh, can't eat anything now. Erf. I need to be rolled in flour and served to a small, starving village."

I did some video clips this morning of me playing a few of my guitars. I just woke up and have that scary homeless man look. I used my cell phone to do the video and the only way I could do it was at an upward angle and not all of the shots have the whole guitar in them. I had to set the phone on a pillow and the clips are short. I will post these soon.

If you haven't read my ten commandments yet, please do. They are in the previous post. Remember, I know when you are sleeping. I know when you're awake. I know if you've been bad or good. So be good for goodness sake! There's something so creepy about the concept of someone who can see everything you do and think.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Feeling better

The leg is doing better today. I was able to do a full shift at work. Blah, blah, blah.

I look like a hippie now. It is really starting to piss some people off. I might cut my hair soon just because it gets a bit wild.

I'm eating Special K now for breakfast. I still haven't figured out what makes it special. I thought it would be the strawberries that you see in the bowl on the front of the box, but it doesn't come with them--you have to supply them yourself. Captain Crunch, now there's a pretty freakin' special cereal. Losing weight is a suck. I know I worded that funny, but it sounds more right, or "righter", if you will.

I had a dream once where I could command the eagles--the football team. I commanded them thusly:
  1. I, Grunteweh, am your lord your god and your best friend for realsies.
  2. You shall have no other gods before me, only after two hours and between meals.
  3. You shall not make yourself an idol. That is the public's choice and you will have to put up with that nasty Simon first.
  4. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your god. Do not say, "I would like my eggs over god," or "I cannot go out with you tonight. I am busy washing my god. God, please leave me alone. God, can't you take a hint already?"
  5. Remember the Sabbath and keep it free from dust and fingerprints for long use and enjoyment.
  6. Honor thy mother and thy father by announcing your alternative life choices at family gatherings with company present.
  7. Thou shalt not kill, unless I am super pissed at somebody and tell you to draw up thy sword and slay their ass. "Why?", the jury will say. You say, "Because, god told me to."
  8. You shalt not commit adultery. Because you are only as young as you feel, why hurry the aging process? I don't care that I misused the term "adultery". I'm your god. Deal with it. Okay, thou shalt not lie with thy lawn chair as thou doest with thy wife. To know thy neighbor's goat is to also know that thou art in need of a serious prison raping.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor, but it is all right to bear false witness of the person two houses down from you because they live further away and are less likely to figure out that you were the one who screwed them over.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife. So, technically speaking, you can bang her all you want only if you do not want her specifically. And, playing "Naked bumps in the dark" is all right so long as the furniture is unharmed and the cat is put outside.
I'm tired now.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Grunt just lucky, I guess

Have you ever been removing snow with a snow blower, backed up, fell backwards onto a fire hydrant, then had your leg get pinned? Well, you haven't lived until you've done that, my friends. Thank goodness I still have some high quality prescription painkillers left. I'm as sore as a muhfuhka. On the plus side, the McRib is back.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I'm Finished!

I finally completed the "No-Nocaster" project. This electric guitar was inspired by the lawsuit period, where Fender had to take the name off of their flagship solid body Broadcaster in order to not infringe on Gretsch's name rights of their "Broadkaster" model drum kit. Anyway, what you see in the picture above is the way a real Broadcaster/Nocaster/Telecaster/Esquire guitar's bridge plate and saddles should be like. In my opinion, there hasn't been a better mousetrap made for these guitar's since 1949. There have been nice improvements here and there, but those improvements (compensated brass saddles) have stayed true to the original "flawed" design: a ferrous bridge plate that focuses the bridge pickup's magnetic field; string-thru body; thick, brass bars for string saddles, which share two strings each (sympathetic harmonics); and the ability to mangle your hand if you attempt a Pete Townsend "windmill" power chord.
The other thing that makes this guitar is the philosophy of KISS, and this has nothing to do with Peter Chris or Paul Stanley. My dad taught me the Army's Keep It Simple Stupid philosophy early on in life and I try to KISS everything that I come into contact with. There wasn't much to these guitars and this is evident in how simple the wiring is in them. Believe it or not, this is just a tad more complex than the original three-way switching. I prefer four-ways, myself. That goes as follows: bridge, bridge/neck (parallel), neck, bridge/neck (series). It all adds up to various forms of ballsy, American twang!
I think the grand total of this build was a little over $600. Every component is top grade. The pickups are BG custom winds. The neck is a heel adjusted, beefy, boat-shaped profile with the unforgiving, but comfortable, original vintage 7 1/4" fretboard radius. This thing has serious bite and transmits the percussiveness of your picking attack a great deal, but without picking up Mexican radio stations. My only gripe is with the vintage style tuners that I got for a supposed great deal off of Fleabay. You can buy an entry level American standard Telecaster for about this price, a Mexican made for a bit less, and a Korean Squire for hardly anything at all. The Fender Custom Shop models go for a lot more. I figure that I have a near Custom Shop quality guitar for a standard price. The real value was the knowledge and skill gained through building this project. I've been able to set my other guitars up now in ways that I would have had to pay a tech/luthier a hundred or two dollars to get done.

I guess a low quality video clip on my crappy camera phone is in order. Oh yeah, now I can finally get my room back to looking like less of a Katrina ravaged Guitar Center.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Anniversary

Yesterday, Friday the 2nd of January, marked the year anniversary of my last chemotherapy treatment. I'd like to think that my team in crimson won the Sugar Bowl in my honor. Really, it doesn't seem that long ago. I remember that last infusion session quite well. It was bittersweet in that I was happy to be done with one long therapy and on to my radiation treatments. Also, I think that I barfed my spleen that night. I was given a blanket for my chemo graduation, a blanket in memoriam of a young boy that had passed away that year. His name is sewn into the flannel.

I want you to know, Ben, that I've often thought about your life and how it ended--what dreams that you had that were unrealized due to a life cut short. I wonder what fears you had of death and dying, because my fears were tremendous. That is a reality that all must face, but with diseases like cancer, it holds a unique form of dread. Did you suffer much? What did your family go through? How are they feeling about it now? Is there an afterlife, Ben? Is it worth giving hope to the hopeless? I certainly pondered these things as I went through that special hell and I don't query in spite or bitterness. In all humility, I just want to know.

However the many questions I have, I want you to know that the blanket that bears your name comforted me through the rest of my hardship onto recovery. That was tangible; a real shelter that I could not find in scripture, nor in ecclesiastical leader. I find it odd now that church people wish me to inspire them through my experiences when the time that I was suffering I could not find solace in but a few of them. I will do it. Not because I feel the burning in my bosom. Rather, because I know that I can offer them a blanket of my own instead of hocus pocus. If there is no god, may god exist through us.

Amen.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

What I'd do if I won the lottery

I was near the Idaho border on New Year's Eve, searching out old railroad ghost towns and following the grades in the snow, when the urge to go across the border to buy a lotto ticket hit me. I didn't get up there. Burely, the closest real town in Idaho to where I was, was just too far in the kind of weather that started coming in that evening. So, my bro and I turned back instead. The whole way down I thought of the things I would do or get if I had total financial security--no, complete and utter excess and power. Everything went their usual course of taking care of family and friends, then to my immediate financial concerns. But, the thing that surprises me every time that I fantasize like this is that all roads lead to me becoming an evil genius. This isn't something that concerns me; rather, I find it amusing that I need such an outlet. Indeed, it is actually reassuring to me that I at least acknowledge the evil and insecurities in myself and their desire to be expressed. It means that I am human and that I couldn't be the savior of the universe (Flash, ah--ahhhhhh!) That's a lot of pressure off of my shoulders, to tell you the truth.

I'll confess, part of the fantasy involves an evil genius fortress in the icy mountains of Antartica, where I copulate with sexy female drones and plot to rule the world...which then usually devolves into having powers to force mass orgasms at will. My evil weapon of choice is a blow gun, bow and arrow, and the mini cross bow from the movie The Osterman Weekend, all having extravagent asscesories and high-tech doo dads. It's all very campy and probably a tad too revealing.

I am a small man. Pity me.