March 26th, 2005


Veg less! That's my motto!

WJ was seven last Saturday, so it was our duty, as the alleged adults in his life, to embarrass the crap out of him with stories of the day he was born and what a keeeeeyoooooot!!! baby he was. He might as well get used to it; my mom still does it to me.

We went to an old-timey car museum that was really pretty cool. I had no idea it was even in town. There is a guy who owns a construction company and restores antique cars on the side. He has them all on display in a big, clean, well-lit warehouse place with a gift shop in the front. There are seventy or eighty on display at any given time. I like the forgotten brands like Marmon, Packard, Rickenbaker and LaSalle. They have several REOs and at least one of them is an actual REO Speed Wagon. Yes, before it was a band, REO Speed Wagon was a delivery truck, like in the 1920s, or so. Of course WJ doesn't even remember the band. Everything's old compared to him; the whole world is an old-timey museum.

Had do-it-yourself pizza for dinner. T&P smoosh their homemade pizza dough into a pan for each person and ladle on the goop, but then you get to finish it yer own se'f. Cheese on the top? Cheese on the bottom? Both? T made homemade Italian sausage that was really good. WJ does not appreciate his parent's cooking. He likes cereal and crackers and carrot sticks mostly. We should have got him some Papa John's bread sticks. He loves those things.

Anyway, he's been seven for a week now and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Farnkle chwarnk, muhoaney! (is all I've got to say)

Current Events:

Just got back from running errands in The Land Time Forgot. Grocery store checkers on the goddam telephone. All God's chil'en's on the goddam telephone all the goddam time anymore. You don't have to stop talking and staring at the ceiling, just hand me my change, mid-sentence if you want, and this particular pesky customer will be out of your life for good. Promise.

. . .

I've been toying with the idea - just toying, mind you - of taking a year off and finishing school at a breakneck pace. Classes four nights a week at College of Santa Fe, picking up whatever is not offered in a timely fashion at TVI or UNM during the day. With my days free, I think it's possible. It's the probability that's going to take some study. It's too late to do it this term, but that gives me about eight weeks to investigate the feasibility. I'm pretty sure the biggest hang-up is going to be: "will all the classes you need be available and not overlapping each other?" It's worth looking into. With three schools to choose from, it might could happen. CSF is good about accepting credits from the other two. Hell, half their professors teach at the other two and moonlight evenings at CSF. They'd have a hard time not accepting the other's credits.

The other potential show-stopper is that all-time mother of all show-stoppers (you guessed it): MONEY. Most of my savings is in highly penalizable 401K funds. They tell me I could get a student loan. In fact they say apply first, then quit your job, it'll be easier. I have some information and I will look into that. Need about $9K just to cover the mortgage for a year, assuming this adventure doesn't involve selling the house. It would probably be foolish to sell the house; the rent on an apartment around here is going to be barely less than the mortgage payments.

So, my mission, whether or not I should decide to accept it, is to set up the Mother of All Excel Spreadsheets and do a major "what if" research project. Hell, maybe I could wright it up as a project for a class somewhere down the line.

It's scary, but I've been scared before. Quitting my job and moving up north for four years was pretty scary. I managed to skate through that pretty much unscathed. I am ten years older now, but I'm also still relatively unencumbered, socially anyhow.

Maybe now's the time to get Ol' T to indoctrinate me into the fine art of Selling All Your Shit On eBay. He doesn't have much to do for the time being.

. . .

Saw ZZ Top on some PBS beg-a-thon the other night. I get a kick out of those guys. The whole concept is tongue-in-cheek nowadays. As Billy Gibbons puts it, "Three guys.  Three chords.  Thirty years."

Compelling Chronicle:

First saw ZZ Top by sneaking, woefully underage, into the back door of a bar in Boulder. They were not the ZZ Top you see before you now. Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill, attired in button-down shirts and Dockers, leaned back on church-basement folding chairs and played a brand of Rio Grande blues that nobody had heard before. They had beards, as I remember, but short well-trimmed beards. Except for the drummer, Frank Beard, who had no beard at all, save for his last name. My friends and I were sore amazed and proceeded to buy up whatever they released.

The next time I saw them, it was ZZ Over-The-Top. They had huge stacks of amplifiers that looked for all the world like Marshalls, but said Rio Grande on the front and had steer horns growing out of the sides. Hill's and Gibbon's jackets had maps of Texas on the backs with the counties (all 250-some of them) done in different colored sequins. That time I think they had outrageous 30-gallon cowboy hats and the beards were getting out of control.

As always, I think the music was better when they were obscure. That's what obscure bands are for, I guess, making good, different music. But they definitely have fun with it. There was a guy who worked on their crew in the earlier days, Terry Van Vickle (sp?) I think, who used to bring odd pieces of broken equipment to our shop when they were passing through town. So one of my many "brushes with stardom" was to fix some mixer or equalizer or something actually owned by ZZ Top. Wow.

But that's nothing. A lady who works for us there at The Workplace of Tomorrow has a son who has been ZZ's lighting director for a number of years. Whenever she visits her son at a concert, she brings biscochitos, Mexican (New Mexican?) sugar cookies with anise in them. She has become known to the band and crew as the Biscochito Lady. The last time they were in town, she took a batch of biscochitos out to them even though her son wasn't with them on that particular date. Now that's a brush with stardom!

Currenter Yet Events:

I need to go over to T's tonight and help him brush up on his 'lectrionical acumen. He was as good an enganeer as me once, but he spent too many years managing projects and his brain has atrophied a bit. Gotta get back into the nuts and bolts if you wanna be truly marketable. It might help anyway.

Well there are those who say that sitting here typing this shit will get me nowhere. My ideal scenario at this point is that he gets a job somewhere decent where there is work to do and competent people are valued because they can do it and the next time they need an engineer, he says, "Hey, I know this guy..."

It could happen.