Monday, June 18, 2018

Motorcycles and Memories

A moto buddy of mine name Russ (Space Giant is his artist name) puts on a vintage motorcycle show on every year on Father's Day. Its always a fundraiser for something. It has been Austin Pets Alive in years past but this year it was for Big Medium, the folks who put on the East and West Austin Art Studio Tours .

The name of the show is The East Side Classic.It started in 2010 and he has been doing it every year since. It is, as the name suggests, always on the East side somewhere. It has grown and gotten bigger as these types of things are wont to do but Russ is such a low key, laid back guy, its still fun, somewhat disorganized (in a good, fun way) and pretty much everyone has a blast.  I was involved in the first few years then due to the oft mentioned mental health stuff, I was gone for a couple of years and then I have been working on Father's day for the last couple of years. But this year, I said; fuck it...I'm taking Father's Day off and I am going back to the East Side Classic to help.

I have been really down and feeling extremely lonely lately, realize that I have been isolating and need to interact with people more. I recently joined a non BookPeople Book Club for this very reason. I am trying to get my work schedule changed so that I can interact with some of my peer group on Saturdays more. Not sure how that is going to work out and may be looking for a new job in the near future.





At any rate, I had a good time. Two things happened there got me thinking (or thinking more any way). Number one was that one of the Big Medium people there had a reusable drink receptacle that had an A/TCEMS Employee Association sticker on it. I quietly said to here as I passed by to get to the main East Side Classic Booth to sell t-shirts and raffle tickets that I was the President of that organization a long ways back. She immediately followed me over and started asking questions. She started there the year that I left so we never crossed paths though I am sure she has probably asked people there now about I am. She wanted to know when I was President, etc. I gave a very short very readers digest synopsis of when I was President of the Association and how it was when they got aligned with CLEAT and unionized etc. She told me she was running for President this year and wanted to know if we could meet up so she could learn about the history of  the organization,etc. I basically told her that I had said pretty much all that I was going to say, that I really did not like talking about my life at EMS. In my head, I was going "why in hell did you say anything in the first place" She said  ok but later came up to me and gave me a piece of paper with her name and email address on; asking that if I changed my mind, she would really love to sit down with me and learn more. So now I have to figure out if I want to do that or not. My core being says NO-RUN AWAY-NOTHING GOOD WILL COME OF THIS_IT WILL JUST STIR UP SHIT YOU DO NOT WANT REMEMBER...then Bob(the internal shit stirrer who lives in my brain) pops in and says, it can't hurt, your memory is so bad anyway, it's just gonna be a mish mash of shit anyway.  So I don't know. Gonna ask the Gnome about it. If I just stick to the politics of the organization back then, what can it hurt....anyway....

The second thing that happened is that a guy came up to the booth to by raffle tickets. I said howdy and so forth and he asked how I was doing. I said fine, etc... then he started asking me questions about The Critter Fixers, the non-profit I set up out where I live to help people get their dogs spayed an neutered. I gave him the latest and he thanked me for posting up pics on Instagram of the dogs and such as his life was pretty shitty right now and they made him feel better. The kicker is, I have no idea who this guy is or was. He had a vaguely familiar look of the motorcycle hipster so probably have met him at some point. But he definitely knew who I was. One of the fellow volunteers asked me who he was after he walked off and I had to tell her that I had no idea. She said, well, you pulled that off pretty well. My memory issues have made me pretty good at faking acknowledgement. Just pretending I know what is going on and winging it. But it has me worried.

I recently had a text exchange with an ex girlfriend about a trip we took to Europe together a few years ago. We had gone over to meet my folks and my brother and sister and their significant others to help my mom and dad celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in England. After we did that, L and went across the channel and spent some time in France and Belgium. She was texting me so stuff related to Brussels that I do not remember at all...none of it. This was a magical trip and I fondly remember some specific details  but she was relating some stuff I have not memory of. Is this left over from the ECT? Did it erase some random memories ? What about that guy? How come I can't remember who he is? I'll be getting ready to text someone and all of the sudden, I cannot remember their name even though it is someone I talk to almost on a daily basis. It seems to be getting worse.

I have had more than my fair share of concussions and head injuries in years past. Is this the manifestation of that combined with the ECT? Am I heading towards a deteriorating mind in years to come...ugh....not fun thoughts today. But I feel it is important to get them out.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

well...its been a while

Its been a solid 18 months or so since I last wrote anything for this blog. The Dog Ranch moved out into the county just outside of a little town called Lytton Springs. There is not much there except for a  couple of convenience stores (one that seems to be closed down for now), couple of churches, a Masonic Lodge and an elementary school.

The ranch is an acre and 1/3 and includes the trailer home we live in (the dogs and I), an older trailer that is my studio (not that I have done much in it) and another workshop on a slab except the roof is mostly gone so it does not really work as a workshop any more.

The plan is to fence up around the workshop and get some chickens. One of these days perhaps. I need to get electricity into the studio because after a grass fire last summer, the electricity quit working in that building. The plan is buy a rechargeable generator and then use solar panels to keep it charged. Once again, one of these days.

I work in town at BookPeople as a manager. Its an ok job, does not pay very well, but gets me by. But I am driving in 5 days a week and lately have been in a depressive dip that leaves me very little energy for anything else.

I did manage to get a non profit started to help people around where I live to get their dogs fixed. Lots of country dogs running around fucking and creating other country dogs. Caldwell County is rife with loose dogs, the shelter in Lockhart is overrun. Have managed to get a few dogs fixed but the aforementioned energy level has kept me from pursuing much more that word of mouth at the moment.

Four dogs live at the ranch now. Luna is still there of course. She is 15 now, very grey and noticeably slower but still seems to be going ok. Polly Jean is there, she is a 8 month old puppy I got from the neighbor when I had a girlfriend living with me. She has since decamped to Montana, where she was from (the girlfriend, not Polly Jean; Polly Jean is still there, probably destroying something of mine and dragging it into the back yard. There are the twins as well; 2 Chihuahua mixes, also from next door who used to be outside dogs over there. But they were not fixed and kept wondering off and both got mauled by other bigger dogs. Rudy almost died, we spent a boatload of money on an emergency vet and that's how the non profit got started. So Rudy and his brother The Captain live there now as well. They are technically fosters but I really honestly don't see them going anywhere. Rudy has permanent damage to his throat that give him breathing problems and he could not be put to sleep so he could be fixed. They are good little guys, not really a problem having them around and they play with Polly Jean which keeps her out of Luna's space; who has no desire to play. She does referee them when they get to rough and will growl at them to get them to calm down.

This is all I have time for at the moment but I need to get out of this funk so will try to write at least once a week. There is a lot going on in my head at the moment that needs to get out, so be prepared. Some will be funny, some unpleasant, all of it honest....

Monday, October 31, 2016

The DAM DogRanch is moving...

While the DAM DogRanch has always been a state of mind more than a place, it's physical location has always been wherever I happen to be living at the time.  the Dog Ranch name originally came about when my then wife and I had 6 dogs...hence...dog ranch....

The DogRanch has been in south austin for the last couple of years in a tiny studio apartment. Lots has happened during that time frame and it has served its purpose. Time to move on.

Luna and I are moving to the thriving metropolis of Dale, Texas, about 20 miles southeast of Austin (about 10 miles north of Lockhart, home of our favorite BBQ joint, Smitty's
DSC_0085



Thanks with help from my Mom, we bought a little over an acre with a trailer to live in and 2 out buildings to turn into a studio and a metal shop respectively.  The DogRanch is a real ranch now.  Luna wants some goats to herd so that may be in the future.

More soon, but hopefully the art output will significantly increase in the near future...now that we have some space to expand our minds....

so in honor of being out in nature...Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds do Nature Boy:


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

well...it has been a while...

ok...its been some time. I last wrote about my brief encounter with Eddy Merckx at the Las Vegas Airport.

and now months have passed.  i feel like my life has been in turmoil since.

right around thanksgiving, 2 friends died of cancer..

then, my dad went in for what was supposed to be a fairly simple  procedure and did not come out the other side on this side of the soil.  yes, he died.  it was a devastating few days waiting around in the waiting room of the icu in a hospital in san antonio while several doctors debated whether what they were doing was going to pull him through or not. they were all wrong...i think they were wrong before they pulled him in for the procedure...fucking 20/20 hindsight fucking sucks....

the day before he went in to surgery, he left me a message that ended with "i just wanted to talk to you and say goodbye in case it does not work out"... i had been driving when he called so did not answer when he called.  when i listened to the message, i called right back...we talked for a few minutes...he told me he was not worried about the surgery...but when i hung up with him, i just felt strange...

my dad died a few days later...my mom, brother and sister and i were all together when it went down. i am having trouble writing about it now....6 months back. but i need to do it.

my dad should not be dead. the doctors should have been better about figuring out and fixing his heart issues.  but...after years as working as a paramedic, i know that medicine is a guessing game at times.

the bottom line is that i miss my dad; he was an incredibly kind and giving man. he was a great father, a great husband...he had his faults as all people do...he could be controlling and his silence could be withering when he was not pleased....but James P. Martin raised a family, served his country, and could fix the window winding mechanism of a  '49 ford...

i wish my dad was still here, but that is not to be.  about 2 weeks or so before he died, we were driving over to threadgills for lunch...he looked over at the tattoo below my left ear that looks like a stairway....he said: "is that heading into your brain?"..me: "yeah, that's pretty much it"....my dad then said..."that makes sense"....

that was my dad, as long as it made sense, it did not trod on someones rights, and if the leftovers helped  someone out...bring it on....


i try to end all my posts with music...dad liked otis redding,,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTVjnBo96Ug






  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

THE BEST FUCKING BICYCLE RACER EVER told me: "call me Eddy"


This is Eddy Merckx. He is Belgian.  He is the best bicycle racer who has ever lived. No one will ever surpass his palmares.  He won 11 Grand Tours (five of those were the Tour de France, five were the Giro d'Italia and so as not to leave the Spaniards out of his conquests, he won the Vuelta once). He was world champion three times. He won 28 classics (brutal single day races like Flanders and Roubaix). He won 17 six day races (grueling endurance races held in smoky European velodromes). His hour record stood for 28 motherfucking years. Of the 1800 races he entered, he won 525 of them. Its no wonder he became known as "The Cannibal". When he got the bit in his teeth, he did not give up, he took no prisoners, often going on the attack in a Grand Tour even though there was not a chance in hell of anyone catching take more stage wins (he has a total of 34 Tour de France stage wins: mountain stages, sprint stages, breakaways...no matter, he went after all of them) He did all this from 1965 to 1978 when he retired at the age of 32. He competed year round, no breaks (a lot of cyclists did back then but Eddy even raced on the track after the road season was over, few did that). 



In 1969, at a Derny (a small motorbike that was ridden in front of the cyclist) paced race shortly after the Tour de France, Eddy and his Derny rider, Fernand Wembst, crashed on the concrete velodrome in Blois, France.  Wembst died; Eddy ended up flat on is back for six weeks with a twisted pelvis and massive head injuries.  He came back to win the Tour again in 1970. Nothing, I mean nothing, keeps Eddy down.   In the 1975 Tour, a spectator punched him in the stomach (he was riding in the lead up a mountain side, spectators, then, as now line the slopes right next to the riders.  Two days later, he crashed and broke his cheek bone and had trouble eating throughout the rest of the race. To insure the his teammates would not lose a payday (the winner gives all of his race winnings to his teammates, once again, still done to this day), he opted to not drop out of the race, ultimately finishing second.


So; anyone still reading this is probably starting to wonder why I am writing all this? Damn good question to which I do not really have a damn good answer for. Just because will have to do.  I fucking love professional cycling. Ok, well. I used to love professional cycling. Lets just say that a certain lying fuck face dickhead with a name that rhymes with Lance "shit for brains" Armstrong kind of put a damper on my love of the sport. I still follow the races. I still ride my single speed bike around some. Cycling is definitely cleaning its act up after years of EPO and blood doping almost put the sport in the graveyard for good. Eddy comes from a simpler time. Was there doping? Of course there was, but it was not at the crazy scientific, doctor led levels it got to recently. Races were harder to read, riders did not follow safe plans to minimize losses, they fucking went balls out and tried to fucking win.

Several years ago, I headed to Las Vegas for a conference related to my then career in EMS. I normally avoided conferences related to EMS like the plague. I did not want to hang out with a bunch of other medics talking about medic shit. However, on this particular year: Interbike, a splendiferous celebration of all things cycling was being held at the same time as the EMS jack off fest was going on. So I jumped at the chance to get a free trip to Vegas (another place I avoid like my life depended on it) so i could go to Interbike . A friend of mine from the cycling world was going as well and had snagged me a conference pass through his job. I did what I needed to do to meet my obligations on the EMS side of things and then promptly would high tale it to Interbike.

I land in Vegas. I get off the plane and head to the luggage area to pick up my bag.  There is a man standing in front of me. I am looking at the back of his head. I'm thinking, huh, this guy looks really familiar. He reaches forward to get a bag going by on the belt and turns slightly to his left. Time stopped, the air thickened, a pale yellow light enveloped everything. Luckily, I had just gone to the bathroom or I would have pissed myself. Eddy Merckx was standing in front of me, retrieving his bag from the conveyor belt. This is fucking ridiculous. Eddy Merckx should have some sycophant doing this for him. As I am thinking this, he fumbles the bag and it falls off of the conveyor to the floor, landing on its side. I immediately go for the bag, righting it, saying: "let me get that for you Mr. Merckx!" (I think thats what I said anyway, its what was in my head, but I was so flustered to have THE GOD DAMN MOTHER FUCKING BEST FUCKING CYCLIST WHO EVER LIVED...THE FUCKING CANNIBAL HIMSELF...EDOUARD LOUIS JOSEPH MERCKX....EDDY WHOLLY SHIT MERCKX...standing in front of me in the Las Vegas airport baggage claim area, that its amazing any words came out at all).  He thanked me (EDDY MERCKX THANKED ME...fuckity fuckity fuck fuck). I then said something along the lines of what a great thrill it was to meet him (who fucking knows what I said, it was a long time ago and my memory sucks) But I do remember what he said: "Call me Eddy (I think I had said Mr. Merckx about thirty seven times by this point in our brief conversation), thanks for catching my bag." Then he asked if I was in Vegas for Interbike, to which I said yes. Then he said: "Good, I will see you later then." My fanboy brain basically collapsed in on itself like some kind of higgs boson black hole, grinding noises filled the void in my empty head. Eddy (he told me to call him Eddy) then turned and walked away with his bag in tow.  

I, of course, did not run into Eddy(he told me to call him that) again. However, I handled this luggage for him. And that was pretty fucking cool. And he told me to call him Eddy (I don't think I ever did though).

What song for this you ask? Hmmm.....well instead of music, lets go with this Monty Python clip for Bicycle Repairman:









Thursday, September 24, 2015

Little Black Book

I carry a little black book (I call her Fallacy, Fal for short) in the back left pocket of my jeans a great majority of the time. It sits back there with a Pilot G-2 07,
this world renowned gel pen clips into my pocket on the left side, snug against Fal. This has been going on, the carrying part ever since I got out of the 5 month inpatient program I was in for my crazy/drunkard issues.  Fal has actually been in my possession since January of this year, which means she was with me for the last couple of months of said stay. I assume I carried her around during that time period as well, just don't remember. I'm assuming it was in the pocket on the scrub type tops we wore.

Anyhoo...she is chock full of notes, names, addresses, dates, appointments, random thoughts, references, snippets of bullshit, pictures both drawn and taken, cartoons...what have you...

A black and white version of this comic strip has been cut out and taped into the back.
I would tell you the creator but cut the name of the funnies (my grandmother's term for the comics in the newspaper) off and when I googled "alligator playing a trombone", the guy that posted the above pic did the same thing. Anyway, the premise is brilliant.

Fal is pretty beat up, there is lots of tape holding together, I have to retie the elastic holding her together a couple of times so that she is now bowed and  even when the elastic is undone, she will not lie flat. There are bits of paper and folded up napkins stuck inside. One piece of paper has a bunch of random movie titles written on it... 

STUNT ROCK
2019: AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK
DEAD END DRIVE IN
NEW BARBARIANS
NEVER TOO YOUNG TO DIE

...the other side of that same bit of scratch are instructions on how to lead a Dharma Punx session.
I don't remember writing either one of these notes. I chaired the Dharma Punx meetings in August, so that is an easy one to figure out. I finally
 figured out that it is probably an order ticket from The Alamo Drafthouse so I must have been writing down stuff from the previews before the previews that show at the Alamo. All of those movies are very obscure trash 'em bash 'em types that came out post the first Mad Max.  Hence, it was probably one of the many times I went to see by far the best god damn movie that has come out this year, Mad Max: FURY ROAD...



...ok...back to Fal...

Fal's front has a picture of my dear friend D holding what appears to be a psychotic cat (aren't they all?).  At the bottom are taped the following phrases: "it happened" and "to remember", there is also a little heart taped there. D is one of the people I will be attempting to write about in more detail later. She killed herself in the hovel (my apartment) where she was holding down the fort while I was inpatient. She is one of the ghosts who haunts me. But really, she can haunt all she wants, she is a benevolent ghost...we love you D.

at the other end is the trumpet playing alligator comic and a small pic of K with the same phrases that the pic of D have. K is another ghost, we love you too K...there is also a promise that I made to one of my counselors that says I will not kill my self, no matter what for the duration that I have some kind of coverage through the facility I was in. (this is an ongoing pact I have with the Gnome)

There is also a quote from Euripides:

"When good people die, good people suffer with them."

also, this quote from Edith Perlman:

"What counts is how you behaved while Death let you live, and how you met Death when life released you."

hmmm...little deathy in there...

elsewhere in the book are lists...one has about 30 different meds that I have been on over the years. Another has a list of suicide attempts: slit wrists, couple of strangulation/hangings, multiple overdoses (intentional and otherwise: as in, it would be absolutely fine if I just don't wake up) and the last most serious involving lots to ETOH, medications, and carbon monoxide. There is another quote that says:

 "I want to drift away in my sleep and wake up in another world, as long as it is not this one"...

I googled it and it did not come up attributed to anyone, which means there is a high probability that it came out of my head which makes sense as it is fairly redundant.

There are lists of books, movies and music I want to follow up on.

There are several pages of names and phone numbers.  A good majority of them, I have no clue who the fuck they are.  I met them in the last year obviously, but the permanent ECT fog has obliterated their identities.

There is another list of ghosts from my days at EMS. I guess some may not be ghosts as theoretically they could still be alive. Most however, are people who were already dead when I got there and there was absolutely no way there was I anything I could do to mitigate their particular disasters. An interesting aspect of EMS work in Austin is that Medics are called in to get pronouncements on obviously dead people. Thats a topic for another discussion....back to Fal...

Fal is also a date book so there are a bunch of appointments written down in her. ECT, Aftercare, psychiatrists, doctors...mundane shit that make up chunks of existence. 

There are little snippets on days that say things like: "fucking shit day"..."argument with fat fuck"...

I get surprised, sometimes informative, sometimes joyfully, often perplexingly. I have dug into her many times to try and jog my memory or just to find something out that I then have to contact someone to see what a particular note means.  An example: all my ECT sessions are catalogued so I know when I went. But...I did not write down who took me and I know for sure that there is one person who helped that I have lost contact with but I don't know who it is. I have a nickname but since my old phone took a giant shit on my psyche and I lost a boatload of contacts, I have not been able to figure out who it is.  It'll happen eventually...

Fal is not the only notebook I have, she is just the smallest and the one I have at my fingertips most of the time. I am so used to having her in my pocket that when I reach for her and she is not there, panic sets in. Thank the powers that be she has never been lost for any significant length of time.

Will be looking for her replacement soon so I can start 2016 "fresh"...

So, what piece of music best plays into and supports all of this bullshit?

Well, when in doubt...Nick comes to the rescue.

Higgs Boson Blues....the very first line of lyric goes thusly:  "can't remember anything at all"..



...till next time my gang o' pals