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Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category

Smiling Irishman

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on October 9, 2017

I had that appellation applied to me in high school when one of my German teachers would ask me how to say most anything in German, because I’d just grin awkwardly if I didn’t know the answer. Truth is I’ve always had a hard time with languages, but that’s neither here nor there, because that’s not what I came here to talk about today.

I suppose what I’m here to talk about is death, not that I’m that emo, or into dark gothic role playing, or angst, but it’s something that rolled across my consciousness after hearing a song by Johnny Cash called, Smiling Bill McCall, with these lyrics:

“I don’t want to be layin’ in bed
When they pronounce me dead.”

Well, that’s true enough for me. I’d rather die trying to do something, or just doing something I enjoy. Hiking up a mountain, or acting, or fucking – those are things I’d prefer to die, well, not doing, but immediately after. I do like to complete things.

Now, I probably came close to that dying-while-fucking part once. Met a woman about 35 years younger than me, and, somehow, it didn’t take us long to get into it. We were in the kitchen when she suddenly grabbed my belt and undid my pants and glommed right onto my penis, which leapt into action. I had never met a woman that aggressive about sex before, and it was amazing! So goddamned turned on! I wanted to fuck real bad, so we moved to the bedroom.

Well, she dropped herself backwards into my bed, and I helped her shuck her jeans, and I just dived into that gorgeous muff of hers, and she squealed in delight. I worked on that cunt of hers with lips and tongue, while she squirmed and wiggled. By the time I got around to putting on a condom and fucking, my penis had lost some of its stiffness, and it wasn’t doing its job. That, of course, is supremely frustrating, especially when you’re hot for a woman who’s hot for you to fuck her. Now, since I’d been divorced about five years, I also hadn’t had sex, with another person, for that long,  so I wasn’t expecting that.

I went to the doctor and got some of the blue pills, and he said I’d probably only need half a dose, and he was right. I was afraid I couldn’t entice that young woman back into bed with me, but I called her and she was still eager. I’ll never know if I really needed ’em or not, but I had an erection that just kept keepin’ on, and not long after we’d stop for air, we’d go back at it again. Well, that was fine, and we kept at it for two years like that. I kept popping the blue pills because I was afraid to disappoint her or myself, and we could fuck and drink for days at a time.

Now one fine time, after we’d gotten started early on a Saturday night and spent most of Sunday morning fucking as well, I had to take her home, so I could go run the winery I worked at part time. The next day, Monday morning, I picked up my stepdaughter to get her to work, and then donated a pint of whole blood, and, since they tell you to follow that up with a big meal, I stopped at a buffet, for a breakfast of chorizo and bacon and eggs to replenish my iron-depleted blood, and a syrup-laden waffle, and half a plate of fruit. Went home, played around on my computer, dug through tons of spam to read my emails, and read part of a book. I began feeling strange, and there was a strange pressure in my chest, and to make a long story, that I’ve already talked about, short, I proceeded to get myself to a hospital and had my obligatory American-style old-man heart attack while surrounded by doctors and nurses and technicians in an operating room.

One of the questions they’d asked was if I’d had sex recently. I told them I had. Later on I found out that those oblong blue pills were implemented in some heart attacks, but that didn’t stop me from using ’em again as soon as I saw that lover of mine. We got right back into our routine, since I felt great, better than I had for years, and the blue pills weren’t necessary any more. However, the whole heart-attack thing had bothered her, and since she had never planned for us to be a regular item, it didn’t surprise me that one day she said goodbye, and then left town not long after that. Maybe she just didn’t want to kill me, but I’d have gladly died fucking her.

So, where the hell was I? Oh, yeah, death. Fucking is one way to go, or falling off a mountain – things like that. But I suppose I might have another heart attack some day, and I suppose I might be riding my iron horse, the one with two wheels, 750cc engine, four carburetors, and four tailpipes. I do like riding that thing, and I like getting it up to speed. It’s old too, but the engine purrs when it feels like starting up.

So, where I’d been going with the whole random line of thought was this: if I’m riding along on my motorcycle some day, and I feel a bad, painful, I’m-probably-not-going-to-survive-this heart attack coming on, I’m not going to pull over and die on the side of the road, or in an ambulance cruising to a hospital, or in a hospital bed. I say this because, just in case it happens that I die blowing on down the highway, and they say I was doing 250mph, it wasn’t suicide, or stupidity. I was just going out, and having fun while I was doing it. But I’m pretty sure I’d rather have been fucking.    irishsmiley

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Posted in death, humor, Life, motorcycles, My Life, Random Thoughts, sex | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

This is what covfefe means:

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on June 2, 2017

OK, so the President of the United Sates posted this tweet: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” Shortly after this, he posted another tweet, AFTER deleting the first: “Who can figure out the true meaning of “covfefe” ??? Enjoy!”

In context, you see that the word would have been “coverage”, which, when refering to press coverage, is something Trump hates. He has often said the press makes issues out of nothing, and he really, really hates any kind of bad press resulting from something he has said or done, even when it is 100% true. That said, Trump did not correct the tweet; he instead told us to: “Figure it out.” Now, cov is basically a short form of coverage, shortened deliberately, because Trump wanted to add another word. Unfortunately, he didn’t spell it exactly right, but if you seperate cov from the word, you get fefe. Now, fee fee can be used to mean, “a party”.

However, an actual Fee Fee is a masturbation device, (a rolled towel with a rubber glove) that is used by prisoners. After being rolled, the end of the glove is then stretched over the top. Then it is finished by pulling a sock over the opposing end to hold the glove in place. Can then be run under warm water or placed in between mattresses to create a “real life” effect.  Fee Fee

It is a fairly common word. Used with cov, in context with press coverage, it refers to the press basically playing with themselves – making up stories where there are none, basically: creating a story they can play with for their own enjoyment (masturbating).

Now, you may think I’m just making this shit up, but I am not. If Trump had merely mistyped coverage – although I think it is difficult to type “fefe” instead of “erage” – he wouldn’t have deleted it so fast. He may have simply retyped the correct word, or said something to the effect of: “You know what I meant.” He did not. Why? because a popular understanding of the slang word he attempted to use would have brought negative criticism of a President using foul language. Even just the idea of a Fee Fee would gross a lot of people out.

I will bet you, with 100% confidence, that press coverage-fee fee is what Trump meant, as an off-color jab at the Press.

Posted in current events, madness, opinion, politics, Random Thoughts | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

I was wrong about wine most of my life

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on April 24, 2017

I decided to respond to a Quora question:”What have you assumed was exaggerated until you experienced it?” since I’ve been working in a winery for seven years, cleaning ditches, weeding, picking fruit, fermenting fruit, pumping, filtering, bottling, labeling and selling wine. I wrote:

Well, lots of things, really, throughout my whole life, but I’m going to just focus on wine. Most of us, especially when young, make fun of all that wine tasting stuff, like swirling the glass, or sniffing the “bouquet”, and can’t figure out what wine goes with what food, often resorting to anyone else’s recommendation, but always feeling like it doesn’t really make any difference: wine is wine. I thought the whole thing was made up or grossly exaggerated. Which is not to say there really aren’t posers who do not know what they are talking about, or try to impress, regardless of how much or little they actually know.

Anyway, I found out many things when I began working at a winery, and actually making wine, and not just grape wine, but wine made from cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, apples, blackberries, raspberries, and even cranberries, among many others. Only wine grapes don’t need any additions of sugar to ferment, having a high enough sugar content to make a strong alcoholic beverage. But, by adding sugar, slowly, incrementally, to fruit, any fruit, you can make damn fine wines too.

I say this because I would not have learned as much from a few grape wines as I have from fruit wines. Yes, it does make a big – a huge difference – what wine you have with your meal. If you’re just drinking wine to get drunk, or impress people, it doesn’t matter much what you drink. Fruit juice with distilled alcohol will do.

However, one of the first things I learned is that wines to be paired with food need to be dry, that is, without sugar. If all the sugar is converted to alcohol, you get a very superior wine. It can take quite a while to do that, but it’s worth it. Drinking a sweet wine coats your tongue with sugar and makes tasting anything else difficult: the fine flavors of food can be masked by sugar. And, dry doesn’t mean bland or high in alcohol content; dry table wines can be very fruity and complex with layers of flavors.

But, even drinking dry wines with food takes a little bit of consideration. A very light-tasting food needs a light-tasting wine. White wine with chicken or fish, sure, but not if the chicken is heavily spiced, or the fish is something like salmon. But, a strong grape wine, like a cabernet sauvignon, will completely overpower the taste of some milder foods. Drink them with red meats like buffalo, for sure.

Very strong-flavored foods need a strong-flavored wine. A rich-tasting wine will complement the salmon you’re eating, neither taking away the flavor of the food, nor being overpowered by it. In our winery we have an apricot wine, served by itself or blended with a white grape wine, that we use for things like salmon, blackened tuna, or aged cheeses. For really strong, pungent cheese, we recommend that or a 100% peach wine.

When it comes to spicy food, we recommend a red grape wine blended with wild cherry wine, the pure wild cherry wine itself, or plum wines. The plum is particularly great with curried foods.

For meats that same red wine/ wild cherry wine mix works great, or other all-fruit wines we blend.

Now, none of this is to convert you to fruit wines other than grapes. There are some really great grape wines. It is just to illustrate the point that you have to experiment with wines to see what foods they complement. (I used to only drink whites like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, sémillon or pinot grigio. Now I can finally appreciate red wines, even cabs.) I hated the intense pure apricot wine until I tried it with venison; suddenly the apricot flavor jumped out at me, and the heavy gaminess of the meat was toned down. I don’t like blue cheese, or any of the moldy-looking strong cheeses, but I tried them with this powerful peach wine, and suddenly I could appreciate the flavor of the cheeses, and the wine. This happens at some level with all wines. If you can’t taste the wine after a few bites of your food, or if you can’t taste your food after a few sips of wine, it’s not the best experience.

Another thing I learned is that the whole point of wine, from the very beginning of The Grapes of Wine viticulture, was to accompany food. It can heighten the flavors in your food, making the meal a real joy, which makes you feel pretty good, compliment the chef, and smile. As long as you don’t overindulge in the dinner wine, you will be able to enjoy your wine and your food, and not actually feel drunk. Drink some water too along with your meal. The water and the wine help your digestion. Sweet wine? – after your meal. And maybe have it with a little dessert too, yeah?

 

Posted in food, My Life, Random Thoughts, wine | Leave a Comment »

Reading Piñón, Valentine’s Day

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on February 14, 2017

Damn! I wish I could find my fucking reading glasses. But it’s a nice day, and I head out to buy a battery for this pinche little clock/timer I use. The little silver oxide battery is going for $5.99, which seems a little steep for just one, so I buy the three-pack for $10.99. What the hell. Save a few bucks when I need another one. And I buy a package of Walgreens’ faux-Oreos while I’m there. cookies No high fructose corn syrup in these, they taste exactly like the real thing, and at $2.29, they’re a great deal. For some reason a pack of real Nabisco Oreos with the cheap-ass chemical hybrid syrup from taxpayer-subsidized corn cost twice as much.

But then things get real good, because there’s a piñón coffeeshop a few blocks away. Now, this section of 4th Street features nothing but shops and restaurants. There’s a KFC and a McDonald’s, of course, but also Bob’s Burgers,  Powdrells BBQ, Tacos Mex Y Mariscos, Burritos Y Gorditias, a Church’s Chicken, and a Teriyaki Chicken Bowl, among others. There are money-lenders, the Laundromat, and a car wash, donuts and ice cream.  It’s a busy street, so it’s not the greatest place to hang out, but I brought a book with me, and I love piñón coffee. Piñón coffee is always smooth. pinon-coffee The cafe uses dark-roasted beans.  My large café americano has four shots of espresso, which will make me hyperactive later on. I buy a bear claw too, and sit in a stuffed chair in a sunbeam. The bearclaw is gooey, and so messy that it’s hard to eat it and drink coffee one-handed, while trying to turns pages and hold a book one-handed, so I ignore the really hot coffee for a bit and finish off the bear claw first. Then I have to wash my hands. Finally, I get all settled with the book in one hand, and my coffee can be set on a little table next to me when I need my other hand to turn a page.

The book is excellent! Luis Alberto Urrea is not only one damn fine observer of people, but he can write about it with fine attention to detail, and also be funny. Well, some of it seems funny to me anyway, because it sounds like barrios in California, the South Side of Chicago, and here in Albuquerque have a lot in common, and I’ve heard a lot of it before in my forty years in the southwest. The book is a real treat, but I do wish I had my glasses, because reading without ’em is usually tiring, and it sometimes gives me a headache. Can’t get new ones until I see the optometrist in a week. But the book is so good that I don’t mind, and the sunlight makes it easier to read.

It’s not a real busy coffeeshop, having only opened recently. One old guy, like me, sits reading when I come in. A couple comes in after I sit down, while I’m still strugging with the bear claw. The woman is young, smiling and very attractive. When I try to ogle her, she looks back, but blankly, twice. Her companion, with his back to me, is a young man with extremely short buzz-cut hair. A young woman comes in with a guide dog, orders coffee and something to eat, and sits down six feet from me. She speaks low to the dog from time to time. She is dressed in very plain clothes in muted colors and without any kind of style. Her hair is cropped short and she looks more like a young man.

I read three stories in Urrea’s The Water Museum, and prepare to go. water-museum My coffee is not quite finished, so I sit quietly for a few minutes without reading. The man reading a book has left. Another single woman comes in and hits the restroom. The young woman with the guide dog prepares to leave, taking her trash to the receptacle across the room first, which seems to confuse the dog when she returns to her chair for her coat. She chides him, humorously, for sitting as she turns to leave, and I chuckle with her. Moments later, after the woman in the restroom leaves it and walks to the counter, I finish my coffee and head out.

I think about my glasses. I thought they were in the house somewhere, but I’ve turned the place over several times and I can’t find ’em. I was on a movie set near Santa Fe, on Zia Pueblo land, a few weeks ago, and may have had them with me. I vaguely remember that, since I intended to read, I could have taken them with me and stashed them in my green fleece jacket with Applied Biosystems embroided into it. They are a biotech firm I used to order supplies from before I retired. I’ve had it for many years. I remember hanging it on a tree limb at one point, as we rushed to set, and left it behind when we wrapped after dark. No one in the crew had found it when I went back later. The set had moved, and they clean up really carefully, but I suspect my reading glasses were in that jacket, and it’s still hanging in that tree somewhere in the hills south of Santa Fe among the stunted piñón trees.  pinon-pine-trees

(FOLLOW UP: I finally finished Urrea’s book in the evening, and it is mind-blowing. The stories bounce around from barrio to rez to border towns and midwestern towns, and the people come in all races and types, and the love and hatred and ennui and dialogue and descriptions and emotions and sharp shots of drama just knock the breath out of your chest. And then I read the title story, about the water museum, and yeah, it’s a museum, because large parts of the country have had drought so long that children don’t know what rain is or what it sounds like, and fear humidity. And, although it hasn’t happened yet, you know, you just know, it will happen just as he described it. And I’d recommend this book to everone.)

(MORE FOLLOW UP: I found my glasses in my house, sitting on top of a carved wooden statue of a wolf-like lounge singer that sits in a corner near my bathroom; until I saw them, I’d forgotten that I’d put them there, or why. The green fleece thing is long gone by now, battered by rain, snow, hail, and broiling sun, and probably fallen on the ground and used by packrats for nesting material).

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Loquacious after Two Beers

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on April 6, 2016

040616 (5)

So yesterday I helped filter 300 gallons of cranberry wine, but I fucked up, because, of the three square filters we use to pump wine through, I managed to turn the 3rd one 90° so the holes didn’t line up, so even though it seemed like everything was fine, only about 2/3 of the wine got really filtered, and we only discovered that when we tried to filter a small batch of wine with lots of sediment, and the higher pressure punched a hole in the filter and so today I had to refilter that whole 300 gallons of wine into one tank and then pump it out into the two tanks eight of us will use to bottle that wine and three other batches of wine on Saturday. And Sunday my step daughter and I will label some of that wine.

So when I got home there was a message from the background casting company. Because of a bad weather prediction for Friday, the shoot for the episode of the TV show I was to be in the background for was moved up to Thursday, and if that was OK, “…could I come in right away for a costume fitting?” And of course I said, “yes,” but before I went to the studio I stopped by Ramona’s house to pick up my hiking cap that I’d left there, because we usually watch movies together on Wednesday nights, but not tonight, so then I dropped off a book I had borrowed from a photographer who sponsers a teaching/learning photography group on Wednesdays called Guerrilla Photo Group, and then I went to the movie studio, and found out that the shoot was postponed until Friday anyway, but I had already told the vintner at the winery that I couldn’t work Friday, and then emailed him that I could work Friday because the shooting had changed to Thursday.

So I usually hike in the mountains on Thursdays, but I decided to go to Tractor Brewing Company’s tap room for Poetry and Beer night, and I had two strong beers: an oatmeal stout and a Farmer’s Tan Red, and an “asian style” chicken sandwich with sriracha mayo from the food truck outside. So now I don’t have acting work for tomorrow, and I could hike, but I really just want to sleep. I don’t want to set an alarm for early in the morning again. I don’t want to think about anything tomorrow. I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything.

But, of course, I have a part in a horror film and I have about nine pages of dialogue and rambling monologue to commit to memory by April 24, and I’m not quite there yet, and I probably shouldn’t be doing so many things, but I’m “retired” so what else should I be doing? I don’t want to just sit on my ass. Sometimes it seems like all I do is sit on my ass, but this week reminds me that I really don’t. ass

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Imperfect as I am

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on February 21, 2016

I am a very imperfect man, with many flaws. That said, I’m going to tell you some things about the concert I went to this morning. There is a classical concert 50 Sundays mornings of the year here. I do not go every Sunday. For one thing, it costs $15, and since there are espresso baristas who provide great free coffee, tipping is a nice thing to do. There are people who bring fresh home-baked sweets as well, and there is another tip jar there, so it’s easy to spend $17, and I’m not going to do that every Sunday. Besides, sometimes the music is choral, or operatic, and I’m not going to those. I like my classical music, old or modern, to be instrumental only. Perhaps that’s a flaw, but I do not care to change it.

Bach concert

This was Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach, to be exact. Born 1685, died 1750. It was a sold out concert accommodating 150 ticket purchasers, and the volunteers who make it possible. The first part of the program was performed by a fantastic cellist who was solo cellist of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway, among other positions in the U.S. She played Suite No. 4 for solo cello in E-flat major. It is a complicated piece, and a very busy one, with seven parts. I remember thinking how thickly populated with notes it was. The notes seemed mostly brisk and sharp without long duration. Since I am not a musician, I cannot speak technically about the music, but it rocked! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in coffee, eremiticism, Life, madness, misanthropy, My Life, opinion, Random Thoughts, relationships, Writing | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The way of life or system of being a hermit

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on January 10, 2016

Another Sunday morning, although, truth be told, it’s just another day. I wandered over to the Flying star cafe for some good coffee – 2 shots of espresso diluted with a bit of hot water – and some breakfast, because I get tired of the stuff I make.

It’s nice to get out of the house too, but I can’t say I like the crowds on a Sunday. Way too many people all at once, and many talk as if what they have to say is really important, loud and clear words cutting through all the other mindless chatter. And I brought a book with me that I use to shut ’em all out, but it’s hard to do. They come in at times, standing next to me, looking for a place to sit, and we all know how busy the place is on a Sunday, but they look anyway, thinking there’ll be room just for them. Important assholes.

I never understand why half of ’em don’t go up or down the road to where there are dozens of food or coffee joints. It’s probably too busy for ’em there, too many people, too many cars. But they come here, here where’s just a bookstore and a cafe, and they pack the parking lot full to bursting, and the latecomers drive around and around looking for that spot that must be waiting just for them somewhere. And the tables are mostly full, and although they know it, they come with groups of five or six and expect to find room. And they ask me if I’m using one of the extra chairs at my table, and I pull my eyes away from my book and say no. And I go back to reading, and sure enough, another group has come in, and another one of them asks me for another chair.

And I just want to tell them to go somewhere else. When they arrive before I do, and they stand lined up from the order counter, and the line snakes around past the door and heads north, I just turn around and go back home. It’s just not worth it to stand quietly in line while people talk loudly about nothing, and have no idea what they want to eat when they finally make it to the counter. And most of ’em come from the rich houses a little north of here, and they have big dining rooms and kitchens, and lots of chairs, but they want to squeeze in here where they pretend their words matter. And their big expensive houses are empty except when they come home at night and sleep in them.

And I grow more impatient with humanity. And I lean to eremiticism. Sometimes I am lonely, but more and more I’m just alone, because I just can’t stand to hear humanity babbling, especially when the babbling rises to a dull roar. I grew up with six siblings, and you’d think I’d be more accustomed to background noise. When I first left home, I missed the sound of other people in the house, low conversations, or toys being fought over, or crying or toilet flushing. I used to think I’d prefer that to living alone, because as much as I enjoy solitude, the loniliess creeps up on me and it aches. And the aching makes me aware of just how alone I really am, despite my reluctant acceptance of being a recluse, because, well, maybe I’m not a true hermit.

     I could be a cenobite, but I’m not religious, and I no longer want to be part of any community, I think. And yet, something drives me across the street to eat at the cafe. I am a hermit in a crowd, but the crowd bugs me. At the same time, I have been trying out for parts in movies, and I must, of necessity, be around other people, interact with them, and act. I’m good at acting. I think most of us are, because we act differently around each group of people we get around. I feel as though that’s how I’ve gotten through life, acting here, acting there. I smile when I’m not happy. I talk because people expect it, but usually I’d rather not. Conversation, to me, is private, shared one at a time with someone I trust and like to be around, but there are so few of those.

Blogging is almost ideal. I get to talk without listening, something most of humanity seems to prefer. We talk at each other, and listen for the pause that allows us to speak again. It’s all a big pause here. I can type and type and type, and maybe someone will read it, and maybe no one will, and that’s OK. But something drives me to write and put these words out where someone might read them, and I don’t know why.

And, just like a semicolon in a sentence, like the one tattooed on my arm, I know there’s more to come. I haven’t finished what I have to say just yet.

semicolon

And, I suppose that’s a good thing! After all, a few months ago, a man drove his car here and parked by the cafe and blew his brains out all over the inside of his car. I guess he had nothing more to say. Was he lonely, or just sad? Was he terribly troubled? Was he in pain from loss? Was he dying of some incurable or painful disease? I’ll never know. It saddened me, me, a recluse. Why should I care? if I don’t care about humanity? Perhaps I can only care in small doses. Humanity is just too big. There are too many. Too many.

Posted in coffee, eremiticism, Life, madness, misanthropy, My Life, rambling, Random Thoughts, rants | Leave a Comment »

Cheating Death, Again, and Again, and Again

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on January 4, 2015

Got knocked down by a car the other day. It made me think about all those times in my life when, but for one thing, I would have died. As an infant, and later as a two-year old, I had pneumonia. I was saved by penicillin, by science, technology and society, twice. Before penicillin, I would have been dead as an infant.

As a six-year old, I fell into a house under construction. The incomplete basement had no concrete yet, the floor was mud with pools of water. Me, my brother John and Eddie Knight were bringing  the biggest stones we could find and carry, climbing the foundation wall, and dropping them into the pools of water. The object, of course, was to get a huge splash. We dropped in our stones, enjoyed the splash, and set out to find bigger stones. I dropped a nice one in, hit the water nicely, and turned to see Eddie plop the biggest stone I’d seen all morning on the floor level of the foundation, so he could use both hands to climb up. Somehow, I couldn’t help myself. I ran over, grabbed the stone, and dropped it in. I think it made a big splash. I say think, because all I remember is perhaps a sense of movement. Eddie, pissed off as all hell, had come charging at me, I think. The details are vague. Because I was standing by the edge of the hole in the floor we were using (it was for the stairs to come), I must have gone right over. I woke up some time later. Two adults were carrying me through tall weeds in the huge field behind my house. I had cracked my head against one of the stones, maybe even Eddie’s big one. Lying face down in the muddy water, I would have drowned. My brother pulled me out. Eddie, meanwhile had gone for his parents, who were carrying me home. I never saw Eddie again. He never came by. I would guess that he felt guilty, or his parents simply forbade him to play with us again. Life saved by my younger brother, although medical science repaired my cracked skull.

Lutheran Hospital I turned eight years old during my stay at Lutheran Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland (formerly the Hebrew Orphan Asylum). My appendix had ruptured, and I remember being told later that I had peritonitis (literally an inflammation of the stomach lining), although today the term used is blood poisoning, or sepsis. In septic shock, weak, and barely able to shamble, with support from my mother, who drove me to the hospital in a borrowed car, the staff there knew I was in trouble from my blood work. An x-ray did not show cause, so I was taken for exploratory surgery. The appendix was hidden behind an organ, and hadn’t been visible on x-ray. Again, medical science, through surgery and chemistry, had saved my life, although I was hospitalized for four weeks, and convalesced at home for another week. Happy Birthday!

Soon after that I developed bronchial asthma, and survived by using steam and a towel over my head, or a prescription inhaler. Sometimes I simply couldn’t catch my breath at all. I didn’t know where it went or why it was running away. The asthma attacks went away sometime after my 12th birthday.

Of course, not everything I did was life threatening. I slipped trying to repair a leaky roof in a tree house and fell to the ground, breaking my arm. Excruciating pain came with that one, and a cast on my arm, and notoriety at school. It was hard to brag about falling out of a tree. I was just embarrassed.

I must have developed an acute sense of caution, because I didn’t get hurt again until I was an adult. I got creamed by a huge beast of a car as I had been pedaling down a nice hill. It hit me broadside, and dragged the bicycle across the street, but I had been thrown forward by my own momentum. I bounced, and passed out. Passers-by thought I was dead. I heard them say so as I came to. They’d already given up on me and were comforting the driver! I was in shock, didn’t know who I was or what had happened at first. I was thoroughly amazed that I’d survived, because my last thought before the impact had been that I was going to die. Traffic had been thick and heavy, and I could have easily been run over by some other vehicle. As it was, my own momentum had carried me in a high arc straight forward, and the car was so big, a Lincoln Continental Mark III, Lincoln that it had blocked enough of the lane to keep the other drivers away.  Saved by the eighteen-foot car length. Nothing broken this time. I had a major sprain on the top of my left foot, which had been hit by the car. The heavy Schwinn bicycle pedal arm had been bent, back into the spokes.

Bicycles on highways or city streets are accidents waiting to happen, and I had a few more. Once my shoe was simply ripped off my foot. Once I skidded on gravel on a mountain road and slid down a long section of blacktop, taking a lot of skin off my chest and stomach. Ouch. Another time, a car side-swiped me as I pedaled down a city street right on the edge of the road. It appeared as though the car had passed another car on the right, illegally, had not seen me up ahead, and clipped me. The impact left a huge bruise on my ass and thigh muscles. I was stunned at first, and lay on my back, staring unblinkingly into the light rain that was falling. I worried that I was paralyzed. The driver didn’t stop, but someone else did after a few minutes, and an ambulance took me and bicycle to a hospital. Bruised and scraped flesh was all I received then, but it could have been worse. Somehow I had fallen without breaking my neck. Somehow the car hadn’t broken my hip or run over me. Little things.

Given my history, buying a motorcycle was not a very smart thing to do, but at least it put me out into the drive lane at speed, instead of paralleling the other vehicles, riding bicycles in the gutters full of storm-drain grates and broken glass. It didn’t take me long to lay the bike down: the first time taking a corner in the rain, slipping on icy roads, or hitting a crazy dog on a curve. I was never hurt, but I went through a few turns signals and mirrors which stick out to the sides. I learned to anticipate accidents, to always brake the front and rear wheels simultaneously, and even ride on icy or snow-packed streets. I got good. However, as I neared my house one fine day, I decided to pass in front of  a stalled car blocking my lane, and he hit the gas microseconds before I got there. I t-boned him, and sailed over the car hood. The bike was totalled. I was sore and bruised but none the worse for wear after a few weeks. Everyone in the neighborhood said I must have said my prayers. I didn’t pray anymore, so that wasn’t it. Given my moral turpitude at the time, I could have thanked the devil instead, if I’d still believed in such things.

Years passed with my replacement motorcycle. As I was near home again, in a different house with a wife waiting for me this time, I misread a red traffic light. I thought it was still green, but the sun was directly behind it as I topped a hill. I sailed into the large Route 66 intersection at about 40 mph. There was a pickup directly in front of me; I looked up – the light was red. Never even applied the brakes. Totalled that bike too. I was again bruised and scraped up. My arm was a bit sprained, so I wore a sling for a short time. The driver of the pickup told my insurance company that I had bent his truck frame. Really? Well, no matter. I got another bike, number three in a series, and I never wrecked it. Since it was old and leaked oil, and always needed repairs, I finally traded it in.  Success! I had ridden a motorcycle the entire time I had owned it without damaging it or myself. However, the newer bike was not so lucky. Within two weeks I had laid it down, negotiating a turn, I didn’t understand what had happened until it happened again. This time I took it in to a shop. They found a spacer missing from the front axle. Such spacers keep the wheel centered on the axle, but without one, the wheel was sliding to one side as I turned, causing the wheel to lock up.

Of note in all this mayhem is that I paused in June of 2013 to have a minor heart attack. The large descending artery on the right side was partly clogged when I first got to the heart hospital, but within minutes, the clog had moved to completely block the artery (sudden minor pain). Fortunately, I was already hooked up to an IV and heart monitors, and my wrist was prepped for sticking a balloon up to my heart to clean it out and leave a stent behind. They went ahead and did that, and I felt relief immediately. Recovery was rapid and complete. Four months later, I ran a half marathon in three hours exact. A year later I ran it in 2 hours, 46 minutes. Cheating death. Again. Heart before

So, I’ve dodged any motorcycle accident for many years now. I am very aware of my surroundings. I always know where other vehicles are, and I keep a constant eye out on side streets and pedestrians. I hit nothing, and nothing hits me. I have a car now also, and my motorcycle habits have transferred. I have no accidents, because I am always acutely aware of my surroundings. So, it came as a shock last Friday evening to find a moving car pushing against my body, again.

I was crossing a street at a slight angle to reach my car. It was a cold night, and I was worried about an approaching storm, so I had opted out of riding the bike. I was in the southbound part of the street as I saw a car approach the intersection from an eastbound lane. I sped up so I wouldn’t be in its path. It was about 50 feet away, so I had plenty of time to reach my car before it even reached me. Wrong. She had turned wide, and sped up as she straightened out, but not where she should have been. She was squarely in the northbound part of the road. Her right fender was pressing hard against me. I noticed the rest of the car was ahead of me, instead of behind me in the empty southbound lane. She never said what she was doing. Was she just turning wide? She later said she only saw me at the last moment before hitting me. Had she tried to avoid me? swerving around me? She never said much else. Liability issues, I’d guess.

Fortunately she did see me plastered against her grille, and stopped. I was thrown forward and hard onto the asphalt. It hurt. So, there I was again, lying in the street again, wondering how the hell I’d misjudged that situation. How the hell had she caught me? I hurt all over it seemed, but I thought I should get up. My right hip area had impacted the street, and it was in considerable pain, but after a few minutes, the pain went away. We exchanged information. She is an artist with the gallery whose open house I’d just left.

I went home, took two Advil Liquid capsules, applied some Blue Emu cream, ate a late dinner with some chokecherry wine, and got some sleep. The pain was back next day, but so far, so good. The hip only hurts to the touch. “So don’t touch it!” I know, I know, but sometimes ya gotta roll over in bed, or ya bump against the side of a chair. It’ll heal. There’s skin scraped off again, but no bruising. The pain seems to be deep, and just behind the hip bone that juts out there. Worked hard yesterday, did a lot of heavy lifting and shoving at the winery, with no pain, so I think I’m OK.

Again.

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I Am Not Happy Very Often, So?

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on October 10, 2014

Today was another day. It was a day like many others. I woke too early, in that it was very dark. That was to be expected, inasmuch as I had drunk a pint of beer the night before. What was unexpected is that, after I fell back asleep, I woke again, before dawn. I knew that I had to be up fairly early, as I had work to do, and 24 miles to travel before 9:00 am. However, because I had also run 3 miles the evening before, I wanted as much rest as I could, so I stayed in bed. Before long, after a period of daydreams, I noticed it was light, which, this time of year, meant it was later than I should have gotten up, so up I got. For the third time that morning, I peed.

I made a double Americano, and sipped it while browsing the land of the internet. I ate a banana, and showered, and brushed and flossed my teeth. I was running late, but I rarely care about that. I am retired, after all. The sky was dark with rain clouds, but it is never safe to bet on rain in Albuquerque, so I mounted my old motorcycle anywa and rode to Placitas. There was work to do at the winery. I am a partner in the winery. The work involved “buttoning up” a storage shed, to quote the vintner. The vintner showed myself and Michael what needed to be done, and began working with us, but was soon called away. We cut wood strips, and screwed and nailed pieces along the upper east side of the shed to close the openings there. First, we had to move all the old pipes, wood, metal, and other junk that accumulates in farms and ranches everywhere, and remove a small fence along the side of the shed, so the project took many hours. We took a lunch break because the vintner always makes lunch (venison stew today) for whomever is working. After lunch we worked for 30 to 40 minutes, but the rain came and chased us off, since we were using power saws to cut the lumber and pressed plywood.

We went inside. I was still hungry, and I wanted something sweet. Since there is never anything sweet to eat at the winery, I persuaded Michael to drive the four miles down to the closest shopping. He bought coffee for us and the vintner, and I bought a wonderful peach and apple cake baked right there in the local grocery store. It was heavy in its pan, full of peach and apples slices, spiced with cinnamon in a sugar syrup, and covered with a simple cake. It was incredibly delicious, and not only did the vintner partake, but our newest partner, who is upgrading our computer books and website, also had some cake.

Michael and I finished the work on the shed and stowed the tools inside it. It still doesn’t have a door, but, there is still a lot of work to do: sealing all the cracks inside, and then we will power wash the entire inside, because of the activity and shit of pack rats in there. Then it will become a functional place to store things safely.

But, as it was after 4:30 already, I headed home. I hoped to make it home without being caught in the rain, but I did not get far before it caught me. I’m used to that. On my way home on Wednesday night (my 64th  birthday), I had also gotten caught by rain and soaked. If I had thought to have brought my chaps, and worn my boots, I’d have stayed mostly dry. Fortunately, today, I had at least worn my boots. I arrived home with only my pants wet, from the top of my boots to my knees. I threw them in the washer as soon as I got inside the house. They are clean and dry now.

There was an interesting book reading by the coauthors of  More Than TwoMore-Than-Two and a discussion about polyamory across the street at the bookstore at seven, so I had time to walk over there, dressed in my leather hat and leather jacket, as it was still raining. The talk was interesting, and the questions even more so, as: “What is the effect on children in polyamorous groupings?” and “What about legal problems, mortgages? What was their experience with couples introducing a third person into the relationship? I thought the book, and the discussion rather dry and boring, or I was just very tired, so as soon as there was a break, I grabbed an unrelated book by Neil Gaiman that had been on the shelf in front of me, browsed it, bought it and left. TheTruth

I went into the restaurant next door and had a vanilla bean milkshake. It was good. I was still a bit warm and red in the face from being outside most of the day, and I had a thirst I couldn’t quite quench with water.

I walked home, not a long distance, but perhaps a city block away in length near the back of the compound I live in.

Suddenly, I found myself humming loudly, and enjoying it. I was even voicing some da, da, da da, dadadadas, along with the hums. I was unaccountably happy. I couldn’t even stop doing it. It was just spontaneous, and I enjoyed it. It doesn’t happen very often, and it didn’t last long, but today had become a day unlike many others.

Tomorrow I will run 8 miles. The next day I will hike 12 miles in the mountains. I will do some more running and working next week. In one week I will run a half marathon.

I’ll likely take a week off everything after that. Read, watch some movies.

Such is my life.

I look forward to feeling happy again some day.

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Dreaming of Random Acts of Sex and Situations Intolerable

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on August 1, 2014

One Foot Over the Line 2 Woke up this morning early, dreaming. I had stayed up until 1:00 am, but I was wide awake at 5:30am. I ran a lot last evening, in the rain, with lightning just a few miles away. It was the first time I’d run in the rain. I liked it; I was able to keep my body temp down while running. Cool, in reality.

The doves are cooing and I have my coffee now. I decided to post because my dream fascinated me. In my dream, I had decided to live on the street. I know, I know, one does not just “decide” to do such a thing, but hey, it was a dream. I had some sort of small tent or structure over me, and I was under a large blanket, peering out at life on the street. Part of me wondered what I’d done with all my stuff. That part of my brain decided that I still had a car and had my stuff in that.

As I peered out, I saw a couple I knew. I knew the male better than his partner, but they came over and looked in at me. Suddenly the woman was getting into my tent, box or whatever it was I was in, and she was naked. So was I. She climbed under my blanket and lay on top of me. Her skin was warm and smooth. I was in heaven. Then, of course, this guy also came in. He seemed a bit hesitant at first, but he came in and lay down next to the woman. I had no idea what was going on.

In fact, I quickly realised that the two people didn’t know who I was, that I was out of context, and in the poor light available, they hadn’t recognised me, as I had thought. That raised interesting questions to me. Did they do this sort of thing all the time? Did they seek out homeless men to sleep with? Should I tell them I know them? As I pondered ways to shock them with my knowledge of their identity and introduce myself, I realized I’d forgotten their names, which killed my element of surprise, so I said nothing about myself.

Realizing that they were probably expecting sex, especially since the woman had her hand on my erection, but I wasn’t into either this ménage à trois stuff, or sex with men, I wasn’t sure what to say or do. The male asked me if it was alright. I said I wasn’t into men sexually. He asked me why. I told him that men just didn’t turn me on, and he, of course, wanted to know why I wasn’t curious. I told him, I had been curious, but I had gotten over that. I went into a reverie, and could no longer tell if I was just in my head or speaking out loud.

I remembered my roommate from when I’d first left home. He was into young boys, his words. I accepted that about him, but came to realize he was also intererested in me. In fact, he was four years older than me. I’d thought of him as a friend, but he had other ideas. Nothing ever came of that, not for lack of trying on his part, but I’d had to punch him a bit to finally dissuade him.

Shortly after that experience, my best friend had been a lesbian. That doesn’t mean that I learned anything from the experience, but years later, on a trip to Canada, where my old roommate had become an expatriate, I had needed his help getting across the border, after a run in with the border cops, and I was staying in his apartment. He made it clear I couldn’t stay long, as he couldn’t afford to feed me. It was clear that he wanted me to feel grateful for his help, and he told me to go ahead and make myself breakfast while he went off to work. I had very little money at that point, having lost $50, half of all the money I’d had a few days earlier, and I was feeling a bit desperate.

When he came home later, it seemed clear from a number of things he said, that, if I were to be open to sex, he could possibly put me up longer. That was consistant with his previous attempts, and I figured I should consider that. However, the sight of him naked didn’t excite me, in fact, I was totally flaccid, and couldn’t get it up anyway. That seemed to settle the issue for him. Somehow, people always seem to assume one can get into something they have no interest in, if only they try. It often doesn’t work for heterosexual relationships; so there wasn’t any reason to expect it would work for a homosexual relationship either, except that young men seem to always be ready for sex at any time.

I really do think that there has to be some physical attraction, and some hormonal signaling, for this whole sexual attraction thing to work. I don’t think one should ever have sex with someone one is not attracted to. Random sex with strangers is just not a good idea, in my opinion.

So, that is what I told the couple. The woman still wanted to have sex with me, and, as had happened before, the man said he would just watch. I had turned down that offer as a young man, but I was very much interested in this woman, so I was considering it when I woke up.

Ah well, it would have been a much more interesting dream, I think.

Once, while I was young, tanned and muscular, I met a couple who invited me to their home for a party, and since I didn’t have a car, they drove me there. However, there was no party, except for the three of us, and the man had made that offer: I could have sex with his wife, if he could watch. It was the first I’d ever heard of such a thing. I considered it for a nanosecond, but at 25 years of age, I turned them down. I felt vulnerable, and a bit worried about what would happen. Rape came to mind. Being bound and tortured came to mind. But, most of all, I knew damn well I couldn’t have enjoyed myself with the woman with anyone else watching, much less her husband.

Once I told them I wasn’t interested, we had a few drinks, talked some, and slept, since it was very late at night. I slept on the couch and they didn’t bother me. In the morning they drove me back to where I lived. I never heard from them again, but it was fascinating to learn that there where people who did such things.

I don’t know why all this bubbled out of memory last night.

Perhaps I was curious about what my stepdaughter was up to. She had texted me to pick her up from work, but hadn’t said where she was going, Her evening class was over, and I thought she might want to have me take her food shopping, since she doesn’t drive. However, she had wanted me to take her to a certain bar, a favorite of hers, one not far from where I live. I was going to be running with my running group, and would have to turn around as soon as I dropped her off, and go right back to near where I’d picked her up. I remarked on that, since I thought it was kind of funny. She was apologetic, as she thought it would be easy for me, since I’d be so close to my home.

I asked her if she was meeeting someone, and she said, “Yes.” I asked her if she was having dinner or just drinks. She said, “Dinner.” And she said, “Bye, See you next time.” I was curious who she was meeting, but she didn’t seem to want to say, or give me any information; I was curious why.

I love that woman a lot. She inspired me to run. She runs a lot, always has, except during her cancer treatment. It took a lot of work on her part to get back into running, but she runs marathons these days. I ran a half-marathon last year for the first time ever, four months after my heart attack, and will run one this year. She will run a full marathon at the same time, probably in little more time as it takes me to do a half.

When I got back from my run last night, I thought about stopping into the bar where she was, but I know she likes her privacy. I remember thinking that I’d have joined her if she’d asked, but three can be a crowd, and anyway, we don’t hang out much anymore.

So, perhaps that is why that threesome idea permeated my dreams. It’s not that either of us would ever comtemplate such a thing as the stuff of my dreams, but I was lonely, and I’d have enjoyed some dinner company. Boy, do I have to be careful that she never knows I even connected her vaguely with the kind of things I dream about. She’d be horrified. I’d hate that. When I say I love this woman, I mean it. I love her with all my heart, and always want her to have a great life. I’d love her even if I never saw her again, but I hope that doesn’t happen.

Some day, she’ll be married, with a kid perhaps. Maybe we’ll drift further apart. I used to drive her to and from work, but she doesn’t need me for that anymore, just an occasional lift here and there. I’m divorced from her mother these last seven years, and her mother avoids me like I have bubonic plague. No communication or reapproachment with that one. She’d kill me if she believed I had any designs on her daughter. Hell, my stepdaughter would quickly terminate all ties with me too, if she thought I’d ever thought of such things, even in a vague association with a dream.

I don’t know why I even brought it up. It is nice to have someone to love like her, even in a non-sexual, platonic way. In fact, I’d find life a whole lot less tolerable without her. It’s bad enough my cat got eaten by coyotes. “Situations tolerable” the Traveling Wilburys sang, and really, my life could be worse, but it could be better.

Posted in 1960s, Dreams, Life, love, madness, My Life, rambling, Random Thoughts, relationships, sex | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Explosion of Blackberry Wine

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on May 16, 2014

IMG_0160 I feel like this is my last night on Earth. Almost one year ago I had a heart attack – on that day, I felt doom, oddly like the end of the world, or at least my world. I honestly felt like my life was finished, like I was going to die. If I hadn’t gotten myself to the heart hospital, I’d have been dead – so they say. At the hospital, I was shown an echocardiogram of my heart. The main right artery was nearly completely blocked. Only a trickle of blood was making it past the clot. The doctor convinced me that I needed balloon angioplasty, where they would break up the blockage with the balloon-tipped catheter and leave a stent in place. I asked about options. He said I could undergo drug therapy, but he didn’t recommend it. He seemed amused that I was unconvinced that angioplasty was my best option. I said to go ahead. They decided to insert the catheter via my arm, instead of my groin, after they shaved both areas. My groin may not have been the best choice since I hadn’t showered since the morning of the day before. They asked my if I’d taken Viagra. I had, on Saturday night – it had been a nice night of sex with a woman I knew at the time. It was then Monday. They probably thought I’d not showered since then. In actuality, I’d showered on Sunday morning, but masturbated Monday, that very morning, and washed up, but had not had time to take a full shower. I had had to rush off to pick my stepdaughter up and get her to work on time.
I felt fine that morning, and, in fact, donated a pint of blood after I’d dropped my stepdaughter off. My blood pressure was OK, and my pulse steady, and all seemed fine; my cholesterol levels have always been good. They told me to go eat a big breakfast. Taking them up on that, I stopped at a breakfast buffet. I had a pile of bacon, a little bit of scrambled eggs, some carne adovada, a small waffle, some fruit and coffee. I felt great. I went home and relaxed, played around on my computer: checking the status of things I had for sale on eBay, reading email, looking at my blogs on WordPress. I picked up a book and read for a while. It was then that I felt the weird pressure in my chest that wouldn’t go away and kept getting worse. Nothing I did helped. The feeling of doom crept in. Death. An ending. It’s over. All that went through my mind. No pain. No numbness. No nausea. Nothing but the most unusual sense of impending doom, and the pressure in my chest. I survived.
No heart attack now. I’m off most of the medications. I’m supposed to keep taking aspirin every day for the rest of my life. I’m still taking a statin drug to keep my cholesterol down. It’s lower than it’s ever been in my life. I also take a drug to fight off acid reflux. It helps. However, I don’t feel like taking any more drugs. I checked my blood pressure the other day, and it was higher than it’s ever been in my entire life! Way higher. I never had a problem with hypertension before. I started training for a half-marathon shortly after the heart attack, and ran it in October: 13.1 miles in three hours. Slow, but I made it. I had never run before. I’ve been running since, but not lately – I’ve had too many conflicts, what with work at a winery, and being on a movie set, and hiking sometimes in the mountain. Somehow I am busy, even five years after I retired from my day job. All is well.
Psychologically? I don’t know. I came back from visiting a friend who just had cancer surgery a few days ago. She had her thyroid removed, and her parathyroid relocated. We visited a bit, and she said she was tired, and wanted to nap. I left, but later saw that she was on Facebook, and at dinner with friends. She hadn’t mentioned that. I’d offered to take her out, or pick something up, but she’d said no. Well, that felt odd.
Watched a movie tonight: The Secret LIfe of Walter Mitty. Great movie. Easy to identify with the main character. Just before it ended I heard a muffled explosion from my kitchen. I was engrossed in the movie and didn’t want to get up. But then, I heard the sound of water running, and dripping, and I had no idea what it could be. I paused to see what the hell it was, and discovered my kitchen cabinet leaking. A bottle of Blackberry wine that came from the winery I work at, but had been opened by my stepdaughter, and recorked, had exploded and was pouring out over the countertop. She hadn’t liked it, and had given it to me. I grabbed some towels to mop it up, left them in place and watched the rest of the movie. Since then I’ve cleaned up a little, taken most everything out of two shelves and wiped up all the wine. I still need to wash it out. My whole house smells like wine now. It’s past time I should be in bed. I need to get up in 5 hours to drive to Santa Fé to work with the film crew. It’s the last day, day 13 of filming. It is a Sci Fi TV pilot. Whether or not it will ever be seen by anyone but ourselves, I can’t say. It’s an excellent concept, and everyone has worked hard. Very low-budget. Most of us worked for free. As extras and crew we’re not paid (except coffee, donuts, fruit, cheese, water and pizza). The actors are paid, although not much.
It feels like the end to me. Running through my head is the idea I can’t shake: that this is my last night ever, that tomorrow is my last day, ever. I don’t know why. I’m being melodramatic. I’m foolish. I know better, but not much inspires me to write anymore. This does. What if this is my last night?

Posted in depression, Life, medical, My Life, rambling, Random Thoughts, wine | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Killing is NOT the Same Thing as Murder

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on December 24, 2013

Why is that?

Killing It is so, because murder is a legal term for killing not sanctioned by society. If all killing were murder, then executions would be murder. If all killing was murder, then any death in wartime would be murder: killing the enemy? murder. Friendly fire? murder. collateral damage? murder.  Because we sanction those things, we do not define them as murder. Recently I came across the comparison of the fines and penalties for harming the eggs of protected species, like Eagles, and human fetuses.  fetus The argument appears to be that if it’s wrong to destroy eagle eggs, then it is wrong to kill human fetuses as well. This does not follow logically. The Eagle, for one, although recovering, is an endangered species, and the fine is an attempt to allow that species to continue. Does anyone, really, anyone, believe that abortion is killing the human race? That we are in danger of dying out as a species because of abortion? No, of course not. Hell, we continue to proliferate, for now. What does threaten the survival of the human race is pollution of the air and water, and eradication of too many animal species. Life on Earth is a balancing act.

When we kill off entire species, we remove an element from the balance. For example, animals are usually either prey for some other animal, or prey on some other animal, or are both. If a species goes, its actions in the balance of things go too. The result can be overpopulation of that animals prey, or an absence of prey for others, whether it was mammalian or insect, or aquatic in nature. Sometimes, another animal can fill the void, sometimes not. Sometimes, the death of a species results in the death of many other species. Some argue we are in the middle of just such an effect now, where the death of so many thousands of species has reached a point of cascade, wherein it is impossible to stop, and we will be left with only humans, for a short time. For, regardless of whether one is vegetarian or not, humans are dependent on animal life for our survival.

There are so many interactions between animals and plants, between animals and insects (another animal, but I’m making a point here), between animals and the air we breathe and the water we drink. Humanity would cease to exist long before the last animal species was wiped out, because it is a co-dependancy. A good example of co-dependancy  is that between wolves and deer. Too many wolves, and the deer are removed. Not enough wolves, and the deer overpopulate, then overgraze the available resources and die out en masse from starvation. Huntings laws help keep that balance, but hunting laws are not going to keep us alive when all the predators are gone, or when all the prey is, or when all the bugs are gone. There are billions upon billions of interactions in the world that result in life for humans, and we can’t imitate them all.  That’s the reason for endangered species laws.

Be all that as it may be, however, I’ve strayed too far from the point. The point is that killing is not murder, legally. abortionAbortion is NOT murder, legally. There is a movement among Evangelical Christians to define life as beginning from the moment of conception, frivolous and stupid idea that it is.  Does the world celebrate birthdays or conception days? Most of us know that life begins at birth. No one wants to see a baby killed. However, killing living, breathing human beings is almost universally illegal, except for executions, and in war, or self-defense, or by accident. Killing is not and cannot ever be considered murder in all cases. Killing a fetus is just such a case.

Killing a human fetus, is not, for the time being, murder. There was a time when it was. Murder is a relative term, depending entirely on what the society making the laws believes.

For, if killing a fetus is murder, regardless of the law, then so is execution, war, and accidental death. We don’t seem to agree on this. A number of fundamentalist zealots want life defined as beginning from the moment of conception, so they can justify making all abortion illegal. However, almost all of them accept execution, and war, and do not want those things to be illegal. It is a very inconsistent, illogical and convenient. Is all killing murder? or not? Does a woman who slips and falls, kill her fetus? or a woman who is involved in a car accident or other such incident that results in the fetus’s death kill that fetus? Are they murderers? How many exceptions will the believers accept in order to make abortion illegal again?

But then, there is that other question. If one is opposed to all killing, and all killing is murder, then eating animals is certainly murder, for animals are often cruelly killed, tortured and abused in the process of becoming what we refer to as meat. meat Dead animal flesh is dead animal flesh. The animal had to be killed for that. If killing is murder, than eating meat condones murder. Hah! you say? animals are not human. Why is that? Very convenient. We can kill, that is, terminate any life we want, as long as it isn’t what society defines as human. Funny how most animal fetuses, including human fetuses, look exactly alike in the womb at some point. It is in the development that a fetus becomes an animal or a human. So somehow, people argue, animals and people are not the same, and it is OK to kill animals for food, even if they resemble us, because well, they are not human – by law. Again, it is a legal fiction that animals and people are not protected from killing in the same way. There are animal cruelty laws, but those usually apply only to pets, and ranch animals like horses, which often are a kind of pet. Slaughterhouses kill every day, and we don’t blink an eye at that.

So again, I have to ask, why is a human fetus, unborn, not yet even breathing, more important than a living, breathing animal? The historical answer has always been: the soul. Biblical teachings have it that human beings are special, and are thus endowed with souls. Animals have no soul, therefore, it is legal to kill them. And, kill them we do, in the millions every day, and yet it is not murder, because we do not define it as such. So it is with abortion: when it is legal, it is not murder.

So, the whole question of abortion as murder comes down to this soul, a religious belief that sets humans apart from animals, for the purpose of allowing us to kill animals without shame or repercussion.

Some people do not believe in the concept of souls.

Some people believe that all living things have souls.

Some people selectively believe that only humans have souls.

So, what life-begins-at-conception laws and anti-abortion laws really are, are an attempt to impose, legally, the belief on all people, that souls exist, that a human fetus, alone of all creatures, has a soul, and therefore cannot be killed. This attempt is only possible if one does not care what other people believe. Lately, I see all these complaints from the politically-motivated-religious right that they are being persecuted for their beliefs. Somehow, it is persecution to resist their attempts to force their beliefs on those of us who do not share those beliefs. This has happened throughout the history of religion. Those who believe have killed those who do not believe the same things in the same way. “That was in the past,” they say. Bull. It is happening again. This same group of self-righteous religious fanatics wants to make providing access to abortion, or having an abortion a Capital Crime. Again, those motivated by their belief that they are right and the rest of us are wrong, want to kill everyone who does not accede to their beliefs, and they want it to be legal to do so.

That is the essence of religion: do what I say, or you will die, for I am right, and you are wrong. And you seriously think I shouldn’t be offended by that? You seriously think I shouldn’t fear your blatant attempts to legislate your particular brand of morality? to make everyone follow your beliefs by law? Christianity

THINK AGAIN.

Posted in crime, current events, faith, Human rights, Life, madness, opinion, politics, rambling, Random Thoughts, rants, religion, war, World | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Women Have Always Been A Puzzle to Me

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on January 25, 2012

Those Women

Always a Puzzle to Me

 

Posted in Dreams, Life, love, madness, marriage, My Life, photography, Random Thoughts, relationships | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

He was survived by two cats

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on August 30, 2011

I have such an odd feeling, as though I have no future. I have cleaned up my house, put things away, and find myself thinking that it is ready for the estate sale after I die. It keeps running through my head that I haven’t much time left. Last night I even thought that my due date is coming up sooner than later. All bills are paid for the month. Rent check, book I sold, and Netflix movie are all in the mail.

I watched The Man Who Wasn’t There last night.  Perhaps it influenced me too much. In identifying with the protagonist, I ended up being depressed. Of course, I never have to dig too deep to find such feelings. Been that way for some time now. I don’t feel sad as such. I just have this gut feeling that I will die soon. I kept getting the idea running through my head last night that once I leave my house today I will never return. That could mean different things, but it’s hard to imagine not returning to my house if I’m still alive.

I hope someone takes care of my cats.

Posted in depression, Life, madness, My Life, rambling, Random Thoughts | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

The Dragon I Slept With

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on March 2, 2011

She said to me that I was lazy, that was why I was with her, that I was too lazy to look for love. She implied that was why I loved her. I think she felt she wasn’t good enough for anyone to fall in love with. She also said that I didn’t love her, I loved everyone. She was a hard person to love. She would not tell me she loved me, and, it’s likely she didn’t. She was never affectionate; she never touched me on her own. She was rarely passionate. I could touch her, but not too much, usually only after sex, and then we could cuddle together for a short while. If it was sex on the rare night, she would turn away quickly to her own spot on the far side of the bed. If it was a weekend morning, then she would get up shortly after sex, so the cuddling was short. She slept late on weekends, and told me never, ever, to wake her. I woke early on weekend mornings, and I waited for her to wake for hours sometimes. Over the years, she began to sleep late, wake up suddenly and jump out of bed before I could touch her.

Sometimes she would let me put my arms around her while she worked in the kitchen, but she wouldn’t stop what she was doing. Usually she’d move away or brush me off. She seemed to like it sometimes, but never for long. If I persisted, she said all I wanted was sex.

She never came to me for sex. Sometimes she allowed it; that was my impression. I liked sex, sure; never seemed to get enough. I liked sex with her, even though it was so one-sided. During the four years we dated before marriage and for a few years after that, we’d often had sex multiple times in an evening. One morning, I remarked to her in surprise that we’d had sex five times since the night before, and she was shocked; she didn’t remember the middle-of-the-night sex at all. That puzzled me for years. It was rare for her to orgasm, and she said she didn’t mind. She once told me that she had orgasms in her sleep. She thought that was the only time she had them. I knew better. She would orgasm during sex, sure enough, but only after a night of drinking. She had to be really drunk, and her body arched, and shuddered, and sounds came from deep within her chest. Afterward, she passed out. It was years before I found out that she just didn’t remember such things. I always thought it odd that she said she never had orgasms, no matter what I did, when I’d heard her moan softly and felt her breath quicken. And she breathed hard and fast and I kept going as long as I could, and her excitement excited me and I’d go crazy with lust for her. I never wanted to stop when she seemed to actually be enjoying it. I never knew if I pleased her, or if I disappointed, because she never said anything. After years of marriage, she would often just signal that that was enough, and I should stop.

I finally put it all together. It happened one time that we were out of town, staying at a motel in Santa Fe. We ate dinner and drank a lot. We drank way too much, and the increase in altitude made the drinks work faster, and we headed off to bed. It was not often, away from home, that she’d agree to sex, but this night was different, and we both got our clothes off quickly. She said that she had to use the bathroom. I don’t know when she came back. I woke up shortly afterward to find her nude, and asleep. It was a hard night for me in both meanings. I was aroused by her nude body always. She was out cold. I once heard a neighbor tell how he often had sex with his wife when she was passed out drunk. He loved for her to get drunk. That wasn’t me, however. I couldn’t see having sex without mutual desire, or at least acquiescence. I snuggled up to her, but I couldn’t fall asleep. I was aroused, probably because it had been awhile, and also she was nude in bed, which didn’t happen anymore. She always slept in a heavy nightshirt and socks. In the summer she’d wear something lighter, but always there were the socks. When I could snuggle with her, I’d get my hands inside her night clothes to feel her warm body, but often not until she was asleep. She always said she was too hot. She insisted on sleeping under a thick comforter all year long. She said it made her feel good, but she would throw it off several times a night.

Once, on a cold night, I awoke shivering and found neither of us covered. I pulled the comforter up over both of us, which woke her up. She asked me why I’d covered her. I told her it was cold; I thought she’d want to be covered. She yelled at me, angrily, to never cover her or uncover her. She thought I had been uncovering her at night.

On this particular night in Santa Fe I couldn’t sleep. It was a combination of the excessive alcohol and my desire for her. I tried falling asleep, but I couldn’t. I felt her soft belly and cupped my hands around her breasts. My rock-hard penis was nestled against her ass, and it wouldn’t settle down. I felt the curve of her hips and her soft thighs. I caressed her arms. I dared to rest my hand on her mound. She never woke. I was restless and excited. I wanted her so bad. Towards morning I was exhausted. It had been a long night. I dozed off only after light came in the crack between the heavy curtains, but not for long. I woke and dozed, woke and dozed, always with a hard on. Finally she was awake. I snuggled up against her, touched her, kissed her, and she pushed me off, gently this time. I persisted, however, and she said, “We already had sex.” I was incredulous. “What! We didn’t.” I told her she was wrong, that I would know. She insisted. She said that since she was naked, she knew we’d had sex. I struggled for words. It was impossible. There was no stickiness, no wet spot on the bed, no smells, and besides, sex is not something I have ever forgotten. She insisted we must have, but, after a quick trip to the bathroom, she came back to bed and agreed. It was too late for me. I was dead tired, and hung over. My penis was not very stiff, and I couldn’t keep it erect for more than a minute. I had to just give up. She said nothing. We got up and went to breakfast.

But, after that, I knew why she thought she never had orgasms, why she thought we didn’t have sex when we had, and why she thought we’d had sex when we hadn’t. She blacked out. She is one of those drunks who doesn’t remember what she did the night before. All those times we had sex after Thursday night dancing and drinking – she didn’t remember it. I think she remembered mostly the morning sex, the quick rushed sex because we both had to go to work. Years of long Thursday nights, and lots of sex that she would never remember. Orgasms she would never remember. My efforts to please her for nothing. I enjoyed the sex, but it was only a chore for her, something one does for someone else’s benefit. Did it mean she loved me? I guess I’ll never know. She never said. It’s been four years since I’ve seen her. I wrote her, without a reply. I sent her a book with a note in it, asking if we could get together to talk, see if we had misunderstood each other, if there was anything to say; she said no. I called her when her daughter had to travel to Texas for surgery, offered my help, offered to drive, share a motel room, or buy her a plane ticket. She said she’d think about it, that her sister might fly in from LA and go with her, but she never called me back. I called her and she said her son was taking her, and she didn’t want me there. My step-daughter said not to come, that it would just upset her mom more than she was already.

She lives alone now, as do I. She told her daughter once that she had never been alone before. She’d gone from home to marriage, and even after her first divorce, she’d had the kids with her. Now she is alone. She has her alcohol, and her phone and her sisters and friends to call long distance. Her son calls her nearly every day or she calls him. But, she doesn’t need anyone. She thinks she has always been this way, because she doesn’t remember when I held her hand, when I cuddled her, when I touched her and fucked her, and loved her, and only her, for all I was worth. She just doesn’t remember when someone really loved her, and when she thinks of me at all, she knows I didn’t love her, because I just love everyone.

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What IS depression anyway?

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on October 26, 2010

Just what the fuck is depression anyway?  I tried researching it, after experiencing it for a few years.  Got medication simultaneously with counseling. I was definitely depressed.

Depression, which doctors call major depressive disorder, isn’t something you can just “snap out of.”

Symptoms

  • Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
  • Dramatic change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss
  • Extreme difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and inappropriate guilt
  • Inactivity and withdrawal from usual activities, a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed (such as sex)
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping

Major depression disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic, is when a person has five or more symptoms of depression for at least 2 weeks. In addition, people with major depression often have behavior changes, such as new eating and sleeping patterns.

Depression can appear as anger and discouragement, rather than as feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. If depression is very severe, there may also be psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions. These symptoms may focus on themes of guilt, inadequacy, or disease.  It is thought to be caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals and other factors.

However.  Hmmph.  However, none of this says what depression is, or where it comes from. Obviously, trauma can bring it on: the loss of a loved one, a pet, a friend, or the end of a marriage, love affair, or even a job. Many things can trigger depression.  If it is caused solely by a chemical imbalance, then it would be entirely random, in my opinion.  People in all walks of life would be depressed for absolutely no discernible reason, whereas most of us can attribute those feelings to something that happened. Everyone deals with these things in different ways, and, in fact, it is common for everyone to be depressed at some time.  So, to follow the medical opinions, I should talk about major depressive disorder, that thing that just doesn’t go away for some people sometimes.

I think I know what it is, and where it comes from.  I’m not a doctor, neither an M.D., a psychologist nor a psychiatrist.

Now, Wikipedia says: “The biopsychosocial model proposes that biological, psychological, and social factors all play a role in causing depression. The diathesis–stress model specifies that depression results when a preexisting vulnerability, or diathesis, is activated by stressful life events. The preexisting vulnerability can be either genetic, implying an interaction between nature and nurture, or schematic, resulting from views of the world learned in childhood.”

Blah, blah, blah.

I think it is nothing more than our reaction to pain.  Pain, as many of us know, decreases in intensity after we suffer it for a time.  Runners, torture victims, accident victims, and victims of disease know what I’m talking about. There may be a variety of things involved, but we all commonly think about endorphins kicking in, numbing us to pain after awhile.

Endorphins (“endogenous morphine”) are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters. They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise, excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm, and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being.

Well-being after sex, yeah, I know that one pretty well. I also like chile, red or green, and sure enough, a blast of really hot spicy food brings about a lessening of the hotness after a short time. I can then eat hotter chile, but I pay for it later.  So, one thing to notice is that this morphine-like substance we produce in our bodies doesn’t last very long. But, we can produce it over and over again, in response to various stimuli, including stress.  Some of us experience stress daily, so we must also be producing endorphins daily.

Here’s what I think: depression is our bodies’ response to psychological pain.  Depression is our psychological morphine, producing analgesia.  We go numb in response to psychological pain.  We cry, or grieve deeply, sometimes feeling an overwhelming crushing weight.  We can’t function that way.  We have to go to work, or continue our normal routines, so we have to push those feelings aside just enough to function.  Depression is the result.  If it was a relatively minor pain, we may work it out through continuing our normal routines.  Sometimes, however, the pain was severe, or was perceived as severe, and continues to recur. We may keep brushing it aside.  I think this is a normal mental defense, allowing us to continue our life until we can deal with the cause of the pain, similar to the production of adrenalin or endorphins, which give us temporary options for survival.

But, it has to be dealt with sooner or later.  Just as an injury can be ignored while adrenalin or endorphin pumps through our bodies, eventually the injury must be treated.  Depression is our temporary defense against psychological pain, but at some point, we have to deal with the “injury” that produced the depression in the first place.  How we deal with the injury is what our mental health industry is all about.  Alcohol and other central nervous system depressants slow normal brain function. In higher doses, some CNS depressants can become general anesthetics.  Temporary.  These measures are temporary, and can actually worsen depression.

An interesting tidbit I gleaned from the research literature is that endorphins attach themselves to areas of the brain associated with emotions (limbic and prefrontal areas).  Perhaps endorphins are involved in the onset of depression? I do not know, nor care.

Do I know how to “cure” depression? No.  Various treatments, combinations of certain drugs with counseling, are said to allow our minds and bodies to slip out of depression long enough to allow us to reprogram ourselves out of it.  The length of treatment, types of drugs and types of counseling vary widely. The results vary widely.

Having just come out of a three-year long depression (at minimum), I have some observations:

1.) Depression is temporary.

2.) It does not occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

3.) In all likelihood, we prolong our depressive state ourselves.

4.) Whatever caused the initial depressive response must be overcome.

Yeah, I hear you: Overcome? How? Beats me.  Drugs and counseling will help in some cases.

My best guess?

Here ’tis.

1.) Recognise that one is depressed.

2.) Trace the cause. This may take medical and psychological help.

3.) Eliminate the cause. This one is tricky.

I know that there are techniques often applied, common sense approaches, that may or not be accepted by all.  For example, I have read that grief cannot be overcome unless one goes through various stages, like denial, and anger, leading to acceptance.  I’ve found this to be true for depression.  One cannot wish depression away – that is simply denial. Accept that one is depressed. And then get angry.  Avoid violent solutions, because the depression will worsen, and be prolonged, but anger? Anger is good.  Get really fucking angry. Maybe one thinks it was all their own fault. Let me tell you, getting angry with oneself doesn’t do a whole lot.  What hurt you badly? What was the thing that drove you over the edge? Was it your boss, your spouse, your ex, your lover, your sibling, your parent?  Hate them. Your injury? Hate it.  Give it all you’ve got.  Hate your boss, your spouse, your ex, the negligent driver, the government regulation, the politician?  Hate them.  Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.  Give into it.  Feel the vindication, the release, the shifting of the pain from yourself somewhere else.  When you’ve gotten the focus off of you and onto the cause, let it go.  Forget? No.  We can never forget.  But we can let the anger go, and the pain goes with it.  Then focus on change.  Get away from the source of the pain if you can, or confront it. Attempt to change the situation that caused the pain in the first place.  We all know what we have to do.  If we don’t, the pain will hit us again, and we will be depressed again.

In my opinion.

Posted in depression, health, Life, madness, medical, My Life, opinion, rambling, Random Thoughts, rants | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

TUMBLEBUNNIES

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on September 12, 2010

Dust bunnies blow across my floors
like tumbleweeds through my yard
Some blow away, keep tumbling
some get stuck.

Tumbleweeds in the ditch
tumbleweeds in the fence
dust bunnies in the corner
dust bunnies underneath

Memories are like that.

Posted in Life, love, madness, My Life, poem, poetry, Random Thoughts | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

MORE PANCAKES PLEASE

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on September 11, 2010

Some people eat beans every day
some people have bread every meal
some eat anything any old way
We had potatoes, hey, what’s the deal?

Ate a lot of them growing up
with potatoes in the garden
and meat vegetable potatoes
every night for dinner

Mashed potatoes Scalloped potatoes
Boiled potatoes Baked potatoes
Home-fried potatoes
French-fried potatoes

Potatoes au gratin
Potatoes and ham
Bacon potato salad
Sweet potato pie

Potatoes in the stews
potatoes in the soups
potatoes as main course
potatoes on the side

But, ah! potato pancakes
smothered in applesauce
Couldn’t get enough
More pancakes please.

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The Future is Backwards

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on April 3, 2010

my indigestion, my yellow teeth
pain in my feet, pain in my back
or is it my sacroiliac?
all the times I’ve come to grief

they add up over time
these aches and pains
the body slows, stiffens
joints pop and squeak

The mind wanders though time
dull painful memories
sharp happy ones
the future is looking back

Posted in humor, Life, love, My Life, rambling, Random Thoughts, rants, relationships | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Winding down, dow, do, d….

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on February 16, 2010

Emo warning.

Do you know that odd feeling in your throat when you get emotional? It tightens up, you find it hard to breathe, and maybe your eyes water.  Happens from time to time.  Sometimes I watch a sentimental movie and feel that.  There was a time when I felt deep regret over a lost love and I’d get that way.  Doesn’t seem to happen much anymore.  It’s an odd feeling, and only seems to occur with a sense of great loss, or empathy with someone’s loss or near loss.  I remember when my step-daughter survived cancer.  If it had been something I was watching in a movie, I’d have choked up like that, with my throat tensed and a feeling of  being overcome by emotion, regardless of outcome.  However, when Maya survived the surgery, and then again, when I found out the tumor was gone, after a whole lot of radiation and chemo treatments, I felt joy.  It was the purest joy I’d ever felt.  I was happy.  My throat did not tighten,  I did not cry, I did not feel overcome with emotion.  I was, instead, blissfully happy.  I stayed that way for a while.  I am, of course glad that she is fine today, and in complete remission, and it is not the type of tumor, being so rare, that she is likely to experience ever again.   The joy I felt back then was for her.  I love her so much.  I don’t need anything from her, don’t need to have love from her, or anything at all.  I wish her a long and happy life.

Mine is not so happy.   I experienced depression for a time in my life; got counseling, and medication.  It may have made a difference.  There was a change from that deep hopeless depression.  I was sad a lot.  It was sometimes overwhelming.  There was an almost physical pain, tightness in my chest, sighing.  That part is over now.

As always, I stay busy, even though I’ve retired from work.  I hike, I snowshoe, I read, I watch movies.  I buy things online and in junk/antique stores.  I don’t feel sad.  I eat a lot, which is not good, but it hardly seems to matter anymore. Nothing does really.  It’s not the way I ever thought I’d be: just drifting along.  No sadness, but no joy either.  It is hard to enjoy a movie, a good book, a good sleep.

Sometimes I nap and I wake up nearly suffocating.  It is dark and terrifying.  My throat feels like it has been closed up.  My brain feels oxygen starved.  I feel like I’m dying.  It happens more and more often.   I don’t know what it means for sure.  I’ve no known breathing problems.  I had pneumonia as a child a couple times, so perhaps my lungs are not all that strong, and I had asthma until I was twelve years old.  I don’t feel like there is anything wrong with my lungs now.  My hikes take me up over 10,000 feet above sea level sometimes.  It’s not all that easy, but I survive.  I hiked near that altitude once for 20 miles.

I don’t know what to make of all this sometimes.  I think I will drop off to sleep one day soon and I will just stop breathing.  That doesn’t seem to scare me.  It’s just the waking up unable to think straight and feeling like I’m dying that ever bothers me.  When I couple that with my lack of joy in living, with a loss of interest in companionship or love, and with no enthusiasm for the sex that always made me happy, I wonder if this is it?  Is my life over? Not in any figurative sense, but really.  Is this what it feels like to die, or just to grow old?

I should do something, right? I try.  I have a meeting tomorrow with people who want to change the world of politics.  That used to excite me, but it’s more running on inertia now. I do the things I used to do, and new things too.  I tried out to be a VJ ( a TV announcer/spokesperson), and it was good to try.  Didn’t happen.  I went to a local winery and I will be working there a couple days a week, with flexible days and hours.  I might be serving/selling wine, or helping clear the ditches, or helping with new construction. I may be able to help with some of the tedious paperwork stuff, since I have some experience with maintaining inventory and budgets.  It’s a new place for me. Something to do.

I don’t know if my life will change again.  I tried the guitar, but I’m not doing much with that anymore.  By now I thought I’d have a few dozens songs down.  My photographs never sell, so I don’t know how much I will keep that up.  My stories never sold, and I know they’re not that good.   My poems pale next to most everything I hear or read.  You’d think that would make me sad, but I don’t feel sad so much as tired.  I don’t know what the point of it all is anymore.  Going through the motions, eating, sleeping, doing things, watching things, reading, writing, working.  I just don’t know.   I know that people say, even when they’re dying, that life is a joy, and we can just enjoy every minute.  Can’t say I feel like doing that.

In reality, I think my life is winding down.  I think it may be ending soon.  I can’t say why.  It just seems like it.  Sometimes the brain knows things we don’t consciously admit to, or recognize.  Animals have been observed doing that: preparing themselves to die.  They sometimes seem to know.  Are people any different?

There are lots of things I can do: volunteer to help kids with their homework.  Ask someone out.  I have tried to get interested in other people, but the spark is just not there.  It’s not here in the sense that perhaps there is no need anymore?  If my life is going to end soon, then there really isn’t much point in anything.   I look at that in the reverse direction, and I think, if there isn’t much point in anything anymore, then maybe that’s the sure sign that I am going to die soon.   I have no regrets, no bucket list, no things I need to resolve. Death doesn’t scare me.  Nothing scares me.  Nothing excites me either, so that seems the same as death.

Well, tomorrow is another damn day.  Who knows what will happen?

I had a dream last night: I was moving.  I didn’t want to move. There were other people I was living with, and I didn’t want to go with them.  I stayed in bed while people finished packing.  I got up after awhile. There had been a very young kitten hanging around for awhile, feral, skittish.  I didn’t know where it had come from.  I saw it now, asleep by the bed.  It looked so sweet and happy there.  I went into the bathroom to pee and noticed little bits of cat shit around the toilet. Seems the kitten had decided to stick around.  I thought about sticking around myself, just by myself.  I heard a truck horn.  There were to be two vehicles going. Four guys in one big truck and the two women in a car.   I remember thinking it odd that the women and men were going separately, fearful that the women were going to disappear.  That it was deliberate.

I went back to the cat, stared at it.  I decided it was my cat.  I could stay.  Then I decided to go after all, but the cat was coming with me.


Posted in Dreams, Life, madness, My Life, rambling, Random Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Dates and Palindromes

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on January 2, 2010

I happened to notice that today’s date, in the standard US nomenclature, is a palindrome: 01022010, if reading as January 2nd, 2010.   That is the way most of us speak of the date in English in this country.  Of course, it is sometimes written another way, as the 2nd of January, 2010.  Under that convention, today’s date is 02012010, not a palindrome at all, and confusing.  Of course, under that secondary convention, the palindrome for this year would be the 01 of February, 2010, or 01022010, but that dating convention leads to far more numerous palindromes.   I prefer to use the first convention, by which the last such palindrome date was October 2nd, 2001, and, which is more interesting, the one before that was August 31, 1380!

Of note are these: October 10, 1010 (not a palindrome), although January 1st, 1010 was; December 12, 1212 is an interesting repeating two-digit number also, but, again, not a palindrome;  and November 11, 1111 (now, that was quite  a date!).  Perhaps people don’t consider 11111111 as a palindrome?

So, assuming today is the palindrome for 2010, then one question that would arise is: when is the next such year?  Obviously, it occurs on November 2nd, 2011; 11022011.   However, no such date palindrome occurs again until 2020: 02022020. For those who put a lot of faith into numbers, it may mean something.  It means nothing of importance to me, but, still, I find it interesting to note that our 12-month, approximately 30-day cycles yield such rare sequences of numbers. 

This would all be so much simpler is there was only one conventional way to write a date.  So, I’m looking forward to February 2nd of 2020, the first date in 1010 years that is unambiguously a palindrome by any convention, even one that puts the year first.

Is the next dual-use, unambiguous one after the year 2020 in March of 3030?  There is, of course, Sept. 22, 2290, an ambiguous palindrome (It’s either 09222290 or 22092290), and October 3rd, 3001, (it’s either 10033001 or 03103001).  Another 1010 years?  I leave that to you, but I believe there is such a date.  Tell me if you think you know what it is.  There’s a hint in this post.

Posted in 2000s, Random Thoughts | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Hooray! Lizard shit!

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on September 30, 2009

Cheerleader

Rat shit, bat shit, dirty old twat! 69 assholes tied in a knot! Hooray! Lizard shit! FUCK!

– the world, according to photographer/model Kassandra Leigh Purcell

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Good ol’ February 14

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on February 11, 2009

090608-22 Another Valentine’s Day.  People make fun of the day, and criticize it as meaningless commercial promotion for the greeting card and candy companies.  I’ve often found, however, that when I’m in a serious relationship, it is satisfying to do something nice for your lover on a day that is dedicated to love. Once I didn’t, by mistake, actually.  I was one of those who felt that gifts or flowers as sentiment should come spontaneously and randomly, and I acted on that.  However, I knew, without a doubt, that my lover at the time would want to be treated special, so I had a plan. Since I rode a bicycle every day to and from work, it was difficult to range very far in getting flowers, which is what I thought most appropriate at that time.  And, of course, arranging to have them delivered never occurred to me. Every day, I passed a flower shop on the way home.  I had never had a real girlfriend or lover to buy flowers for before, and had no idea how early one has to buy these things.  However, the shop would certainly have had some kind of flowers left, even if they weren’t roses.  So, I left work, and headed home, climbing the slope of “nine-mile” hill steadily.  I reached the flower shop, and THEY WERE CLOSED! As in shut down and moved away. Crap.  I couldn’t believe it.  I knew of none other within miles, and I was expected at home anyway.  I went home, and promptly told my love what had happened, and she said it was OK, and no big deal.  DON”T EVER BELIEVE THAT.  It is just not true.  Later, after she’d left me for someone else, and we’d become friends again, years later, she told me that’s when she changed her mind about me. She was actually pretty upset.  She met this guy coincidentally the next day, and she became interested in  him.   rose4jam-2

Be that all as it may be, however, I’ve been with many women since then, and I never screwed up like that again, always giving flowers and treats, and not because I had to, but because I wanted to.  So, I like Valentine’s Day.  However, since that last divorce and my subsequent unrequited love infatuation and rejection, I don’t think much of this approaching day of love.  It sucks, really.   I added a note to myself on my appointments calendar for the 14th: Kill myself.  Now, it’s unlikely I will.  For one thing, I’ve gotten really interested in learning guitar, and I practice every day.  I understand a little bit of the nomenclature, and I’m training my fingers, and making slow progress.  It may take a long time, but I think I can do it.  So, since I want to see how well I can do, I should stick around a bit longer.

Before this, I joined the Mountain Club, however.  I went on four hikes, up and down hilly terrain, for lengths of  8 to ten miles, and enjoyed it.  Loved the slowly increasing strength and stamina, but I haven’t been hiking since January 1.  I used to go hiking on level ground about 4 miles every Sunday before going mountaineering, but I haven’t even done that.  Now I’m focused on guitar.  I wonder if I can keep my interest in that?  Or will I lose the excitement that grips me now?  If I do, will I decide there’s no further reason to keep on living? or will I find another item on my bucket list to throw myself into?  I can’t predict, just can’t tell.

Posted in hiking, Life, love, madness, marriage, My Life, rambling, Random Thoughts, relationships | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Where would I go now?

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on January 14, 2009

I watch so many, many movies these days.  The TV is useless for much of anything else.  I don’t know what I see in the movies.  I like to escape, of course, but that is less appealing than it used to be.  There are so many stories to see, ideas to hear, intrigues, and mysteries, and wonder. Still, I find it hard to sit still for movies anymore.  I wander off and read, or check my email or auctions or Word Press stats, or play solitaire, and watch some more.  It’s not so much the movies themselves, but that I am restless again, as restless as I was in 1973 and 1975 when I rode away from jobs and family and stability.  I rode away the first time, but came back and tried again.  In 1975 I rode away for good.

Movies seem to have relevance sometimes, but I am tired of extrapolating them into the myriad ways that they reflect my own life, or comment on it, or condemn it.  They’re not as much fun as they used to be for me.  Neither is my job, and my life, which once had purpose.  It’s time to return to the carnival.  We, most of us, speak of running away to join the circus, and that’s what I did so many years ago, although it turned out to be a carnival: no animals, well, live ones anyway.  There were always the two-headed goats and five-legged cows, but they were actually in jars of formaldehyde, which you would only find out after you paid your money to see ’em.  The marks always lined up to see those kind of things, and the painted signs outside always made it seem like the animals were real, and just inside.  But, a carnival doesn’t put on animal shows, just people shows.  Mostly it’s all “punk” kiddie rides and ferris wheels, and all  the other mechanized thrill rides, with music blaring from giant speakers.  No big top, no tents really.  Lots of trucks, motor homes, and trailers.  And electrical generators, of course. Need power for all that stuff.  All those lights.  All those popcorn “poppers” and games-of-chance “joints”.  Try your luck, but you’re really buying cheap fluff.  Hotdogs and ice cream and sodas. Eat and spend. Eat and spend.  The real American dream.  Carnies epitomize our values – buy low, sell high. Maximize profits. The ideal is to get the most for the absolute least you must provide in return.  Provide thrills and escapism; promote gluttony for empty calories.  Cheap thrills. cheapthrills

When I left the carnival, I realized that much of the world around me was the same, even Universities.  It’s all sleight of hand, and manipulation, and cheap thrills.  Education, sure, it’s important, but secondary to research grants that pay the bills.  Stationary carnivals.  My brain is tired from trying to keep it straight.

I went back to work, and finished college.  I pay my bills, I eat a lot.  I watch movies. I marry and divorce and marry and divorce again, and buy and spend and work and buy and spend.  Cheap thrills.  I am viewed as more respectable than a carny, but the differences are slight.  Some towns only sit in one place, some move around, but we stay the same either way.

I can’t imagine I’d really want to work a carnival again.  But, traveling is always good.  Hiking? Bicycling? The physical activity is liberating.   As you put distance behind you, it feels like a new world, a new beginning, and you can’t go back.  All that walking or biking would be a waste if you went back.  But, one doesn’t have to travel in the opposite direction to go back.  I’ve been back to visit, but I live 1675 miles away.   Where would I go away to now?

Posted in 2000s, Life, madness, My Life, rambling, Random Thoughts, Travel, World | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

raison d’etre – 1:11:11

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on October 26, 2008

Time to ramble again.  I have a glass of wine in hand, a white wine from the New Mexican winery San Felipe, that they call Moscato.  Sweet, but not as much as a muscat. I sound like such a wine snob.  Ha!  I just shared my life with a wino for 14 years.  After a hundred wine tastings, visits to California wine country, and traveling to every winery in New Mexico, I absorbed some of the lore.

Tonight I’ve been watching the 1979 movie, Being There, with Peters Sellers and Shirley MacLaine, and really enjoying it.  I paused the movie to write this.  The readout is 1:11:11.  As with most movies, I only enjoy them if I put myself into the movie, and, much like a medical or psychology student studying disease, I imagine what I watch to apply to myself.  The child-like gardener that Peter Sellers plays is easy to empathize with. He only knows how to do one thing, but somehow people imagine that he knows much more.  Because of the way he’s dressed, and misinterpretations of his description of his life, he is taken to be more educated and intelligent than he really is. That’s where my imagination comes in.  I am him, and imagine that I’ve always been this way.  As far as imitating what I’ve read and watched and people I’ve known, I am.  I also question if I am who people think I am.  I say I work with DNA, which seems to impress people, but I backed into the position, working my way from lab work on rats and mice, to a research position extracting immunoglobulins from the glands of mice and purifying them, to working with proteins.  I learned how to operate simple machines that can uncover the amino acid sequence of proteins, or take amino acids and assemble then into a protein.  The machines simply take known science, and using valves and solenoids, deliver reagents in standard formulas with standard protocols.  From there I learned to do almost the exact same thing with DNA, using very similar machines. At first I was not paid very well, but these days I make about half of what some of the better-paid professors make.  I always live in dread that people will find me out – realize that I don’t really understand much of what I’m doing.

I’ve always wanted to be a scientist, but never could get through all the classes.  I understood basic chemistry, physics, and math in high school, but college was another story.  Laboratories were always fun, but genetics lectures, calculus, and physical chemistry bewildered me.  Oh, I understood the lectures well enough, but I could never remember all the formulas, equations and pathways, and did miserably on tests.  I persevered for a long time, finally passing several classes in calculus, basic genetics, basic physics, organic chemistry, and basic biochemistry, but even though I understood the purpose and usefulness of integrals and derivatives, and stoichiometry, the biology of cells, and vector analyses well enough, I can’t remember how to use them anymore.   I can balance simple chemical equations, and my high school algebra never leaves me, but my understanding of the science of DNA is so rudimentary.

Just like the gardener, I stumble through life, getting credit for knowing far more than I know.  What’s worse, it’s all falling away from me now as I age.  I can barely type anymore, as I invert so many letters and words, even adding extra words, or leaving some out.  Without editing, I hardly make sense.  Without computers, I’d have failed to get through many of my final classes, and it’s much worse now.  I just make too many mistakes, and don’t control my fingers all that well. The brain feels tired now.  I have been playing chess, and doing OK, but only against a novice player.   I don’t know how much longer I can continue to pretend that I have a clue what’s going on, or can concentrate long enough to do a job.  I’d like to retire from life now.  It’s been fun, but, really, it’s all a bit too much for me.  People, and money, and relationships and reading and writing.  I want to withdraw.  I don’t want to be here anymore.  But I stay.  I work every day.  I talk to people.  I go to political rallies.  I play chess.  I still exist.  Existence is not a sufficient raison d’etre.  But, then again, why should I care about the reason for my continued being? Why does it matter to me?  I think we all need a plan, something to shoot for.  What is left me at this stage of life?  Yes, yes, whatever I want.  But, I seem to want less and less.  To be a child again.  That would be nice. To play, to move from one thing to the next, to have no place to be, nothing I must do. Being here.

Surely, we all can’t be simply dragging ourselves along this way, simply to drag ourselves along?

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Letter to the Governor and the general public about life at UNM

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on April 28, 2008

April 28, 2008

I see where things are going, and I’m not real happy about it, but they’re going to go where they go. I’m right in the middle of negotiations with my union local and the University. We’re not a typical sort of trade union; hell, most jobs in the USA aren’t trades anymore. Most jobs are turning into service jobs of one kind or another. A lot of our people are administrative assistants, (which is the new title for secretaries everywhere), or advisers or other desk jockeys. We live and work in a college town with a military base and a weapons lab and a big University. Even Enron has a chip plant nearby. The Sandia (Watermelon) and Manzano (Apple) Mountains are full of nuclear missiles. The anti-war people keep trying to get the city council to force the government to admit that the missiles are there, and that they are a target and hazard that we should be prepared for. There is the hope that we can get rid of those someday.

Our local is at the University.  Education is our mission, and every department has a mission statement, just like the corporations and their imitators all over the country. Useless things, mission statements. Hardly anyone reads ‘em, and they don’t reflect anything except the way the grossly overpaid administrators felt the day of the retreat when they wrote ‘em.

We do our jobs. We put up with asinine supervisors and managers who have or are working on their business degrees, and hope to make something more of themselves. They squeeze staff, push ‘em around, and then move on to their next position, a step up somewhere, with a fuller resume, and a recommendation or two. We remain here, and try to keep our jobs. Myself, I work in a DNA research lab, mostly running robot-like machines that manipulate DNA. It’s a living. I’m the President of the local, for the last four years, and I’m really tired of negotiations. We’ve done well for the staff here. We have to lobby the State every year for our raises, insurance and health benefits, because they control the purse strings. Negotiations are entirely dependent on what was appropriated before we even set negotiation ground rules, but we go through the motions anyway. We dick around with the contract every year, trying to improve on protections for staff, and make management more accountable. Sometimes we win a little, sometimes it’s a draw. But, every year the contract gets a little better, and we lose more members.

Everyone we represent by law isn’t a member, and they don’t have to be, to be protected by the contract or get the raise we negotiate. In fact, it’s rare that there’s much difference between the benefits of being a dues-paying member and a free rider. Usually, for staff we cover, it’s a clean shot at a certain raise percentage, while people outside of our representation get whatever their supervisors decide out of what funds are available, which can vary quite a bit.

So, one of our members has a problem with the way she was treated. She was getting pushed around and we fought back. She got the promotion she deserved, but a lousy performance review. These reviews don’t mean a whole lot, but it bothers people because they worry about the reviews being used against them. In this member’s case, she is being retaliated against for fighting for herself. She didn’t like her review, but we can respond to ratings and comments with our own comments before signing the damn things. I told her to go ahead and sign hers, and make all the comments she wanted. Her bosses sent the thing to the personnel department, excuse me, Human Resources department, and they sent it back because it was incomplete.

This is damn boring stuff, ain’t it?

Anywho, once it came back, the review was changed, comments were added, and then it was sent back to be put in her permanent record, and all of this after it had already been signed. Illegal, and even against University policy. Human Resources did nothing, and just assumed that the correct version is in this woman’s file, even though she told them it wasn’t. It seems a small matter. However, a contract is a contract, and just as our union contract has the force of law behind it, so does any other contract made in this country, or at least it used to. When you sign a document, it doesn’t get changed afterwards, or it’s no longer an accurate or legal document. Everything is on our side in this. Today, a group of three union officers went to HR to see the personnel files and were refused. HR has a 24-hour rule about access, and they didn’t know that, so they were pissed off. So far, they are no repercussions to the small-scale confrontation, but, like I said earlier, I have a bad sense about where this is going. We have already made it clear this could be a legal matter. The union officers, who are also the negotiating team, are pissed off, and HR is wanting to meet. Meanwhile we have to meet the same people in negotiations in a couple more days.

I’m so tired of all this. Important rights are at stake, but someone is going to lose a job here, maybe even me. I’m so tired of my job, and I seem to have few reasons to even stay around here. I wanted to retire in a few years, and try writing, or part-time work at least. Getting divorced took away my chance at retirement. It wasn’t my idea, but my ex got the house. I get to keep my retirement income if I ever retire, but it won’t be enough to buy a house, and I’m too old to take out a long-term mortgage anyway. My retirement income won’t even be enough to afford a nice place to live, so at the moment, I have no idea what kind of future to look for.

It’s so easy to push people around, even at what the right-wing nuts like to call a liberal university. There are good people here, and good ideas, but the place is being run as a business, and the management of the University see our union as an outside business muscling in on their territory. There is certainly a territorial fight over turf involved in negotiations every year. We feel like we win a little, but then we hear of managers pushing people around, telling them to quit if they don’t like it, and getting rid of people who actually understand how the ever-changing rules and regulations work. We have a new financial system that took years to put into place and tweak, and it forces people to conform to it, instead of being just a useful tool. The bureaucratic mind loves it, since they expect everything to fit under its umbrella, but there’s always something we can’t do, or must do because of the accounting software structure. Most of the admin assistants have been turned into part-time accountants, and are given purchasing cards that spell the end of their jobs if lost or not properly accounted for, even if no wrong doing occurs. It’s a funny place.

Our Governor gets to appoint the Regents, a medieval nomenclature for the political appointees who run this place. He ran for President of the United States. He knows a lot about international politics and is a skilled negotiator, but, really, he does not know what goes on at this university, except that tuition for students has to keep going up.

03/13/09 UPDATE: UNM’s faculty voted no confidence in UNM President Schmidly, Executive Vice President David Harris, and President of the Board of Regents Jamie Koch.  We’re still waiting to see what happens, as a new audit was also requested, but Governor Richardson visited campus and met with faculty.  Shortly afterwards, Jamie Koch stepped down as President of the Board.    Our Legislature is still in session, so we have yet to see if they will confirm Koch’s seat on the Board.  They still need to confirm the new President of the Board.  Meanwhile, the Board of Regents can’t meet, and UNM seems no worse for that.  Harris needs to go too.

Posted in Life, My Life, Random Thoughts, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Motorcycles and Old Trucks Are Like Cream and Sugar

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on April 10, 2008

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Roadblock

I ride my bike to work every day, or, I should say, I used to ride it every day until it wouldn’t start anymore. I jumped it from a car battery – wouldn’t turn over. I checked fuses, charged the battery, checked the fuel line, and the spark plugs. Everything seems good, but it won’t start; it just grinds and wears the battery down, even the jumper battery. I replaced the starter solenoid – no luck. I jumped the solenoid across the terminals and the bike still just grinds, over and over, but real fast. Now it seems the starter button is dead too. I finally give up. I decide to take it to the best repairman in town. I have to schedule an appointment, and they squeeze me in as a favor, since I want to ride in the Ride for Kids that benefits pediatric brain tumor research and treatment and provides scholarships for the kids too. My step daughter went with me last year, and after all she went through with her brain tumor, I really look forward to her company.

I called to verify my appointment, but before I did, I had to make sure I’d have a truck to use. My friend Mark always has his good old Dodge, and after helping him build his house, he always lets me borrow it anytime I need it. He’s like that anyway. He’d lend anyone anything, even money, although his newest wife ameliorates that a bit, I think. I called him, and left a message on his cell phone, and I wasn’t expecting a quick reply, as he’s often busy or traveling. Amazingly, he called back in 20 minutes or so, from his plane. He had just turned his phone back on and got my message. Good timing. He was off to speak somewhere. I told him what I needed, and he apologized for being out of town, and that the truck was not available – it was at the airport. I was prepared to go get it, pay for it, and put it back before he returned, but he said, “But! There is another option!” (He often speaks in exclamation points, and loudly, as he is hard of hearing these days.) He said he had just bought another old truck, a ’59 Ford. It was in the field behind his house. “It’s a little tricky,” he said. I might have to spray the carburetor in order to get it to start. He had a can of spray on the seat, and the key was in the ignition. 1959 ford

So, OK. I come home, eat, and head over to his place. I leave my car inside his yard, and head for the field. It has been raining. The field is muddy. I traipse though the mud. I close the tailgate, noting that the bed is outlined in leftover manure, so I know what he uses it for. It doesn’t start right off. I spray into the air intake, several short bursts, as it says on the can. I try again – it fires right up! It is a very old looking, beat-up truck. However, it has all its windows, and they aren’t even cracked, which is damn good, because I can’t get stopped for anything, as the truck isn’t registered yet. The seat is high. It is narrower than the original, and welded in place in the center of the floor, so I can’t move it up, and it’s a little short on the ends. It reminds me a lot of the ’51 Dodge-post-office-parcel-post truck I used to drive. This one has four speeds instead of three, but in the darkness I can’t tell. The lights come on, but go off if I turn the knob too far. I don’t have instrument lights, which is why I can’t tell right off how many gears the truck has. I think it has four gears, but I can’t find fourth. I put in the gear where first was in my ’51, and head out, shifting into what I think are second and third. At the first stop the engine revs really high. I hit the gas and it dies. I spray the intake again, and it restarts. Off I go down the road. Playing with the light switch, I notice that I can get the instrument lights on, but it’s a delicate balance between having all lights, having only headlights, or having only instrument lights.

At every stop the engine races like the timing must be way the hell up, or the carburetor wildly adjusted to keep it running. It takes a while to understand what’s going on. I finally get a rhythm going for stopping: push the clutch in, and tap the gas before braking. I make it home in one piece, without the engine dying again.

In the morning I move the truck around (after spraying the air intake) and lay a board from a small grassy hillock onto the bed. The bike is heavy, and simply pushing it up a ramp isn’t going to be easy. I notice that I have put the truck in second gear, where I thought first was. It is the simple H pattern, but my tired brain and bad memory forgot all about that. I think it starts alright in second because it revs so fast. I push the bike up onto the grass and run towards the truck, but a neighbor stops to help and we push it on fairly easily. I’m wired on coffee, because I thought it would be a major effort by myself. I tie the bike down, noticing, in the light of day, all the colors. One door is a turquoise green, a fender is pink. The roof of the cab is painted white with black, zebra-like stripes. The rest of the truck is a faded pale blue, where it isn’t rusted through. The moistened manure smells really fine. I’m surprised my neighbors didn’t torch it the minute they saw it in the parking lot.

The truck fires right up this time and runs much the same, except after a few miles there is a popping noise from the accelerator, and it is suddenly unstuck, and I don’t have to hit it anymore to get it unstuck. Linkage? Anyway, it runs fine, but I try not to stop with the bike in the back. When I see the sign for the motorcycle shop, it is beautiful. I have never been so happy to arrive there. it takes three of us to get the bike down, and I abandon it there. Carl, the best bike mechanic in the world, chats a bit. I tell him how I am hoping to take my step daughter on the Ride in ten days, and how happy I am that she is healthy again. Carl tells me about his wife Teresa, who had three surgeries on her ovaries, and how one operation left her bleeding internally, but she is much better now. His mother has also been operated on, and had her hips replaced. It is early in the shop. No one else has come in yet, and he is relaxed and calm. Later, people will be lined up, and the phone will not stop ringing all day. It rings now once, and he picks it up, but it is a fax coming in. I tell him how busy I am these days, with little time to work on the bike, and he tells me how busy his life is. He is in his church choir, and also plays drums for the church’s band, so he is often practicing. My step-daughter is in a similar sort of church herself. I am not religious, thank god.

A couple men show up outside the door, so I head out. I notice the CD on the truck seat. It is my Honda Magna 1993-1997 manual. I run it back inside to give to Carl, but he has already gone back into the shop. The men are explaining what they need to Carl’s substitute helper. I don’t know her, but with Teresa out, someone has to be up front to order parts and help customers. I hear her tell them that the earliest possible day she can fit them in is a month and ten days away! I am a very, very lucky man.

What kind of life would I have without motorcycles and old trucks?  It would be like drinking black coffee all the time just for the caffeine, without enjoying the drink.

Coffee in a white cup served on a saucer with stirring spoon.

That’s a cup of coffee.

Posted in coffee, family, humor, Life, My Life, rambling, Random Thoughts, Writing | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Keratoses & Barnacles & Young Pretty Doctors

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on March 19, 2008

Actually, to be specific, Seborrheic Keratoses (seb-o-REE-ick Ker-ah-TOE-sees).

I found this thing on my ass, of all places. It was a mostly round, raised area, with a brown circle, almost like a cell nucleus off to one side, and the rest was red. I went to see a doctor over a month ago, and got referred to a dermatologist. The doc said it wasn’t cancer, so I guess that’s why there was no big rush. Of course, it’s also because the University is trying out this new managed care thing, and rather than have an employee stop by the employee health clinic and get seen right away, I guess it’s better to make appointments, and wait for those to come around, if I can remember to even go. But, I’m straying from the story here.

So the dermatologist, over a month later, takes a look at it, and she says right off what it is. I’ve got a nice pamphlet explaining it all. So, nobody really knows why these things occur, but they’re not cancerous, and they’re not from sun exposure. That is pretty obvious, especially if you saw how white my ass is. I’ve never had sun shining on that part of my anatomy for very long. Here’s the salient point from the brochure: “…almost everybody will eventually develop at least of few of these growths. They are sometimes referred to as barnacles of old age.” How nice.

barnacle.jpg

Real barnacles

“They become more common and more numerous with advancing age,” which is what my doc kept trying to say, without ever mentioning age. She said, “as we get wiser” and things like that, trying to be funny, I guess. I said, “You mean, as we get older and fatter?” She didn’t want to agree with that.

Anyway, my barnacle is irritated, probably by having my jeans rubbing against it all the time. Even though it isn’t dangerous to have one, these barnacles can itch or bleed, so they are often removed (among those of us with health insurance). Liquid nitrogen to the rescue! So I ended up having my ass frozen by Dr. Kim, a pretty young doctor. Not so bad.

Meanwhile, there are also actinic keratoses. The first doctor I went to noticed them on my forehead. They are little tiny hard bumps; they feel like a piece of sand glued to my forehead, and I’m always scratching them off. These I hadn’t given much thought to. I had felt them on my scalp before, and asked another doctor about them, but he tried to tell me they were just sand, and only after bugging him about it did he finally admit they were probably keratoses, which can be pre-cancerous. He dismissed it as insignificant and harmless, so I never worried about it. Hey, I’m getting old anyway, so who cares? Long story short, these are also called solar keratoses, because they are found on fair-skinned people who have had significant sun exposure; they are considered the earliest stage in the development of skin cancer (10% do become actual cancers).   How nice. actininc-keratosis.jpg

Again, treatment #1 is freeze ’em right off with liquid nitrogen. That was more fun. However, it’s likely I have more, and will continue to develop more around my forehead and slowly receding hairline, so rather than make regular trips to have my face and scalp spot-frozen the rest of my life (the doc gives me another 30 years), there are other methods. One is a topical chemotherapy lotion that really reddens the skin for awhile ( that’ll look really nice all over my forehead), and the other is another cream that promotes an immune-type of response (also possibly creating red blotches all over my forehead) for a much longer time. I have a prescription for that, so once these frozen ones fall off, I will start using that. After three months: fours weeks of treatment, four none, four treatment, I should be through with these little things.  The odd thing: the cream, Aldara, is also used for genital warts and actual skin cancers (basal cell carcinomas).  In my incarnation as a cancer lab worker, I used to give skin cancer to rats, then treat them with combinations of drugs and radiation, before those treatments were tried on terminal cancer patients.  Then I had to dissect them – skin cancer will eventually invade the entire body, organs, lungs, brains – not a pretty sight.

And, the moral of this story? Use sunscreen, especially when you’re young. The doc, the young pretty one, said I probably got these started when I was 18 or so. Actually, it was riding a bicycle around the country a few times in my 20s, but close enough. Never wore a hat much, and certainly never used sunscreen. Of course, my parents took us to the beach every summer as kids, and we always got sunburned, every single time. It wasn’t ’till I lived in Arizona for awhile, after bicycling in from the East Coast, and working outdoors there, that I ever had a sustainable tan of any kind. I told Dr. Kim that it was great: I was tanned and muscled for the first time in my life. She thought that was pretty funny, or wanted to me to think I was funny.

“Who’s that knocking on my door?” said the fair Young Maiden….”

Just call me Barnacle Bill the Sailor.

barnacle-bill.jpg

You should listen to or read the bawdy lyrics for Barnacle Bill the Sailor sometime.

You won’t believe it! (Barnacle Bill the Sailor song lyrics)

betty-barnacle-bill.jpg

A much tamer version: Betty Boop Cartoon

UPDATE: 4/30/08. I’ve started treatment for the actinic keratoses. Weird!  The first morning after treatment I could see more of the little bumps under the skin, and they stay visible.  No reddening of the skin yet.  I did wake up with acid reflux.  Felt like acid in my throat.  Later on, I felt so tired I was like the walking dead.   Drank an extra coffee to get me through the day.  I was unusually talkative, and even more unrestrained in what I said to people than usual.  Suddenly, about 9pm last night, I felt like I woke up.  My mind was clear, and I felt happy.  I even smiled, for no reason at all.  Odd.

UPDATE: 08/14/08. Finished treatment last month, but one area still itches.  Every place I saw raised bumps and scabs that itched like crazy during treatment, but only that one area still itches every day.  Odd.  I learned that 10% of all actininc keratoses become skin cancer, so I do wonder.

Posted in Bicycling, health, Life, medical, My Life, rambling, Random Thoughts, skin cancer, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why is it?

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on February 21, 2008

power_cord.jpg Why is it that wrapping a long cord around something is extremely satisfying? Like an electrical cord around a power tool or vacuum cleaner? You wrap it in neat circles around and around, so it’ll stay together and unwrap easily. But, it irritates you when you want to use it and you have to just as slowly unwrap it? Seems to take forever. Why is that?

Why is it that you’ll clean up your car or bike thoroughly once in while, vacuuming, wiping, washing, polishing, but, not other things you use just as much? Like the toilet, the bedroom, the garage, the den? Why is that?

Why is it that your house has no odor until company is coming? Then you smell something rotten, something fishy, sour milk and dirty socks? Why is that?

Why is it that you remember to watch the lunar eclipse, and when you go out the moon is covered by storm clouds and you can’t see squat? Why is that?

Why is it, that, needing a new VCR, and debating the relative merits and popularity of Blu-ray over High Def -DVD, you buy the cheaper Panasonic HD-DVD player that plays every CD & DVD format in the world, except Blu-ray, but Panasonic drops the entire technology a couple months later, leaving the foreseeable future solely to Sony’s Blu-ray? Why is that? blue-ray_vs_hd-dvd.png

Why is it that, early in every political race, the one candidate, out of a huge field of candidates, that you really like, who makes the most sense, who seems the most trustworthy, intelligent and visionary, is never one of the the two left to duke it out? Why do we always have to choose the lesser of two evils? What’s that all about?

Why do people make lists like this? Why is that?

why-would-a-person-do-that.gif

Posted in current events, humor, Life, My Life, rambling, Random Thoughts, rants, Writing | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Coffee, tea, coke or Nana?

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on February 19, 2008

I LIKE TO DRINK

coffee.jpg

coffee  (Costa Rican)

Good to the last drop

black tea (Lipton)

Made from tiny little tea leaves
needs sugar black-tea.jpg
raw (Hawaiian)

And I like cow juice too

2%, (Creamland)

hormone freemilk.jpg

whiskey-pour.jpg Now, whiskey,

whiskey is OK,

(Jameson’s 1780)

Triple distilled

Twice as smooth

but

nothing

nothing beats a Coca Cola

make it real

I like the way coke.jpg
it dissolves my teeth
removes stains
or cleans the toilet bowl
Now, That’s good stuff.

© O’Maolchathaigh 2013


Now for something really cool, listen to and watch Nana Mouskouri sing a blues classic: Black Coffee (YouTube)   mouskouri
Oh, yeah.

Posted in coffee, poem, poetry, Random Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Coffee Trash

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on January 27, 2008

OK, I’ll admit that I like coffee. No, this isn’t the first line of my therapy. I just like coffee. I like it leaded or unleaded, with caffeine or without. I enjoy drinking it. I like the flavor and mix of roasted bean extract flavored with raw sugar crystals and cow juice. I have access to an espresso cart at work, and I have developed an appreciation for espresso, but a single or even a double shot doesn’t give me much to sip on. I like Americano coffees. Hot water and two shots of espresso at work jump starts my day. On Sunday mornings I amble across the street to the Flying Star. It serves great coffee – far better than Starbucks, or any fast food restaurant or gas station convenience store. I have a favorite now; I order an Americano with four shots of espresso. The funny thing about espresso is that it doesn’t have the jolt of caffeine you’d expect, nor the bitterness of brewed coffee. It actually tastes good. So, to paraphrase a song lyric: my mind begins to wonder. I walk through Flying Star’s little parking lot every Sunday morning, and what do I always see but empty take out coffee cups. Not strange, you say? pigs-ina-poke-nr1.gif People are pigs, you say? Well, amazed to discover: the discarded coffee cups are not from Flying Star! Most are from Starbucks, with their characteristic green logo, some are from 7-Eleven, and some from Circle- K. It boggles my mind. There are no other coffee shops of any kind within miles. People have to have brought these cups with them on their way to Flying Star. Now that raises a lot of questions in my trivia-obsessed brain.

Do people need a coffee with them in order to drive to Flying Star? If they like Flying Star coffee, why buy coffee elsewhere before they get there? Are people that addicted to the caffeine that they have to buy one on the road on their way to a cafe? Why drop the cups in the parking lot? If they are going in to the Flying Star Cafe, why not dispose of the empties there, or just outside the door in the highly visible trash can? Why drop these cups in the parking lot at all? It’s a mystery to me. Flying Star coffee is highly rated around town, so I can’t understand why people are drinking coffee elsewhere, and then coming to this Cafe? Why would people drop their cups in the parking lot anyway?

cigs.jpg The only thing I can come up with is that these are smokers, or former smokers, or that they have tapped into that same mentality. Smokers used to drop matches and butts everywhere, higgedly-piggedly, although I rarely see a used match anymore. Occasionally I’ll see a discarded, far more ubiquitous disposable lighter. One of the problems associated with smokers is that they simply drop their spent butts wherever they happen to be, sometimes putting them out, sometimes not. If a building policy forbids smoking inside, then piles of tobacco droppings are certain to be found spread around the door like guano. Smokers seem to have adopted the crime mentality that permeates many people’s brains; it is the mentality of the law-abiding citizen who breaks a law or moral code, and comes to accept the label of criminal. Once you’re a criminal already, then why care about anything? How else to explain the careless way smokers throw matches, cigarette butts, and cigar butts out of car windows, over their shoulder, on simply down at their feet? It is the behaviour of brain-addled addicts, to be sure, but addicts who have no sense of social responsibility. Enter our new, more socially-acceptable addiction: coffee. Along with the habit comes the old habits: toss, drop, ignore.

Cigarette butts were bad enough. Now it’s styrofoam cups littering the sidewalks, cups.jpg and all the parking lots of our schools and workplaces. It is a shameful product of minds that cannot accept responsibility for their own actions; that cannot see their actions as bad. I imagine the attitude is, “It’s not my driveway, my house, my sidewalk, so why should it matter?”

Why have we become such trashy people? Is it simply another sign of civilization in decline? The attitude used to be: “Out of sight, out of mind.” It gave us leave to dispose of things we called trash, even people, because we didn’t see it anymore. Now, we have, “Out of mind, out of sight.” If we don’t mind, it don’t matter. How long before nothing matters anymore? Sad.

Posted in Life, madness, My Life, opinion, rambling, Random Thoughts, rants, Writing | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Who does Santa support for President?

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on December 11, 2007

santa.jpg Oh, you’re looking for another celebrity endorsement, are you? Well, you won’t get one here. I will tell you this: Santa is a man of peace, and not peace when it’s convenient or politically correct, but now. Those of you fighting in Iraq, and Santa knows exactly who you are after all, need to get out of there. Santa does not endorse any of your gods either. Get out. Get out now. You say you still want to know who should take over as President of the United States? I haven’t seen much good will coming from Republicans or Democrats, and not much effort has been made by any of these politicians to seriously end this war. Now they are even preparing for another war, even while occupying two countries. No, my friends, it is not for Santa to say who US citizens should vote for in their Presidential circus. That said, however, I think you should all search your hearts and vote for whoever you think will end this mess quickly and bring all of your loved ones home quickest. That’s all Santa has to say on this subject.

santafish.png

Posted in celebrity, christianity, Christmas, current events, family, Holidays, Human rights, islam, Life, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized, war, World, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Are old women sexually attractive?

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on December 3, 2007

In response to one of my posts on another blog, I got this email (excerpted):

>>> Why aren’t you attracted to women closer to your own age? For that matter why can’t most middle-aged men appreciate women of a certain age? I’m in my mid-thirties and it really gets on my nerves when I’ve been hit on by men in their 70’s. After this happened a few times I began to wonder if I looked old or something. It’s not flattering to be hit on by someone old enough to be your father, trust me. It makes you wonder what is wrong with the guy and whether he has some issues about control and/or power. …it’s no fun being a woman and getting unwanted male attention. … OK, I guess I feel pretty sensitive about the whole age thing. … And hey, why not try to meet some women your own age?<<<

old-woman-madeira.jpg old-woman.jpg old_woman.jpg

I’ve been giving the second part of your message some thought. I’m attracted to women my own age, for friendship. Sexually, I never stopped being turned on by my ex, even as her jowls increased, her weight increased, her hands turned old & leathery looking, and she had to regularly dye her hair. Every look at her bare skin or touch of her body was enough to arouse me. I’m still attracted to her. However, being attracted sexually to other old-looking women is difficult. For one, in my experience, women lose interest in sex as they get old, especially during and after menopause. Men never lose interest their entire lives, and can in fact father children their entire lives. Since it is rare for an old woman to conceive, I suspect men have always looked to younger women for sex. I’ve heard that some older women enjoy sex, but I’ve yet to meet one, so why would I expect to have good sex with a woman who no longer enjoys it, and/or who only has it for their spouse’s sake? I love cuddling, holding hands, snuggling during movies and in bed, but that is not enough. I believe the answer to your question is simply, sex. Men are conditioned, perhaps also inherently through biology, to seek out young women for procreation. This is not to say that a man can’t continue to have a great sexual relationship with his spouse when they get old, but a single man? or a married man that is not getting sex and/or passion? Of course men will hit on women of any age that appear sexually attractive. IMHO.

This woman is definitely sexually attractive (at age 52): mariamcbane1998.jpg

This a a good resource on sexual arousal of older people: Sex and the Silver Years

Men are almost universally attracted to women of all ages, and I can’t see that changing. For friendship, it doesn’t matter. If an older woman, who is not interested in sex, wants to live with or be married to a man, then she must let him seek out other women for sex, not insist that he be “faithful”, whatever the hell that means. Just because a man loves a woman, that doesn’t mean he only wants sex with her. Usually it’s true, a man wants sex with his partner, and that’s usually enough, but when a woman doesn’t enjoy sex, or rejects it out of hand, why the hell would they object to a man having sex with another woman, regardless of age? I think the same holds true for women: if they want sex, and their spouse/significant other doesn’t, then they should have sex with other men, and there should be no jealousy, nor any change in living arrangements. Maybe old women who don’t enjoy sex should just live with each other.

>>> I know you’re being honest and frankly, it scares me. Getting old for a woman isn’t the same as for a man. It’s like, we can’t all be Demi Moore and look fabulous. I am friends with a couple of women in their mid-to-late forties and I think they are drinking themselves to death because of their loneliness (much like the woman you ran into while you were walking in the ditch). I hope you can see a woman’s point-of-view on this one. Men are often guaranteed a lifetime of love and companionship.<<<

No one is asking women to look like Demi Moore. Well, of course, I can understand why you’d feel that way somewhat. What I don’t understand is why older women can’t be happy with their friends? Why are they lonely? Why does a woman need a man? If she wants sex, then I can see it. But if a woman has already had lovers, husbands, children, and isn’t interested in sex anymore, why would she need to have another man, and only a man, just for companionship? I don’t understand that. Children tend to stay in touch, visit, and be around their mothers all their lives, so it seems that women are usually guaranteed a lifetime of love and men are the ones that aren’t. I doubt seriously that men in general are guaranteed any love or companionship for life. The ones that do have it have had to go out and actively seek it out, perhaps again and again, and it’s a crapshoot. Additionally, just because a man is with a woman, that doesn’t mean he’s getting love or companionship. I do know about that. Men do not seek out young women for looks so much as for the sex. Are you saying that women in their 50s and 60s look for men for sex? or they can’t imagine the “disgrace” of only living with other women? If a woman is fun to be around, and there’s some sexual tension or playfulness, then I don’t think she has to worry about finding a man in her old age, or keeping the one she has. Many old women and men hang out together for fun and companionship. Old people can live together, but denying men sex because a woman doesn’t want it anymore? That’s wrong. If older men were free to have sex outside such a relationship, then such a scenario wouldn’t result in a man leaving an older woman, just for sex. All bets are off if the woman is actually interested in sex. Some women fail to appreciate how important sex is to most men, again, IMHO, and place too much importance on men having sex with other women, even when they are not interested in it themselves.

You also said, “I began to wonder if I looked old or something.” Are you kidding? Do you think people have a filter on their attractions, that men can only be attracted to people their own age? That was the funniest thing I ever read, that a man who hits on you thinks you look old! That was really, really funny. Thanks.

And I am certainly interested in woman in their 30s, or 40’s. I married my 1st wife in her 30s, and my second was already over 40 when I met her, 45 just before we married. Both women were divorced with two kids, one of each already a teenager. I certainly have never been bothered by such things. My first real, live-in relationship was with a woman 5 years older than me. There is only ONE woman under 30 I am interested in at all (she’s 27), and I am far too old for her to even consider.

See also:

older-men-find-older-women-just-as-attractive-as-their-younger-counterparts-survey-shows

[In a Synovate survey of seniors aged 55 or older nearly 40% of men in 12 key markets said older women were just as attractive as their younger counterparts. The study was conducted among 3,481 seniors in France, Germany, the US, Japan, Greece, Hungary, South Africa, Slovakia, Italy, Romania, Hong Kong and Korea. Questions asked of respondents ranged from their perceptions of beauty vis-a-vis age, the age they think a woman’s beauty peaks and the least beautiful thing about men and women as they age. Apart from the 50% of Greek men and 33% of Italian men who point out weight gain as the least attractive aspect of women getting older, a flattering majority of men in most markets surveyed find mature women every bit as attractive – wrinkles, grey hair and all. In Germany, six out of 10 older men think older women are simply gorgeous.]

All this being said, however, I think the question can be simplified to: Are women attractive? Certainly. Some are, some aren’t. Women that wouldn’t have been attractive to me when they were younger, aren’t suddenly going to be attractive when they get older, just because I am older. So, no, not all women are attractive to all men, nor are all men attractive to all women. Age can be a factor, but it is not the primary factor in a relationship, any more than a certain kind of look. We can be influenced by society: family, friends, commercial ads, movies, etc. but we are still attracted to whom we are attracted to, regardless of sex, colors, or age. No one has any right to condemn anyone else for who they are attracted to, as long as the attraction is based on real physical interaction, not fantasy or mental disease.

The question I should really pose here is: Are old men sexually attractive if they aren’t rich or famous?

Posted in Life, Random Thoughts, relationships, sex, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , | 19 Comments »

Could it be? is better than should’a’-could’a’

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on November 18, 2007

I feel good today. There is more bounce in my step, and my eyes seem clearer. It’s a warm fall day, of course, but it’s easy to overlook that when you’re busy obsessing over a failed marriage, an unrequited love, being short of money every month, having union meetings to call and preside over, and trying to figure out how to assist people who need help keeping their jobs, and being treated fairly at work, since they pay dues hoping the union can do that. I’ve a meeting today, but I went for my usual espresso.jpg 4-shot espresso/Americano across the street. I could make my own, but Sunday mornings I want to get out of this casita and be around people. The cafe has wonderfully pleasant staff, and really good coffee. I realized on my way home that I didn’t feel compelled to see my ex anymore. Sometimes I’m tempted to call, to see about going over there, having sex again. I woke up thinking about sex with various people I know or knew, obviously feeling a bit horny this morning. I always have sexual dreams about karen-7.jpg my unrequited, but she is off limits.

My ex, the Dragon, is still by herself as far as I know. Her general hatred and mistrust of men should keep her that way for awhile. I keep thinking back to that time I went over to finish up the computer swap from my system to hers and having her standing next to me while I lay under the desk pushing and pulling cables and getting everything plugged in. She was wearing that light, almost transparent wrap she has and it was parted, exposing her bare legs next to my eyes. There was a small hole in it, and I mentioned it to her, talking from my position under the desk, not seeing her face. She answered, in a pleasant voice, that she knew about the hole, and regretted that the wrap was wearing out, as it was so comfortable. My hand ached to stroke her legs, legs.jpg and our conversation was not strained or angry, so, who knows? She is sexually attractive to me always. I also thought of others though.

I was married before this. Ran into her in the grocery store last weekend. Talked a bit, but we sometimes see each other at work, so it’s not like we haven’t kept up. I’ve asked her to come by and check out the new place before, or to come for coffee some on Sunday mornings when I’m across the street. I should have invited her right there and then to come by when she finished shopping, because she wasn’t all that far away from my little place, but I didn’t. irene12a.gif I fantasized about being in bed with her again too. She still wears that small gold Tumi knife figurine that I gave her shortly after we met, but she’s been with the same guy now for about 13 years.

My mind connects a vision of Carla from about 27 years ago, to Karen, my current object of desire, unrequited, these last few years. Karen has facial acne, and Carla had facial acne. I remember Carla telling me just before she left that she was pregnant, and she needed money for an abortion, but when I pressed for more information, asked for some kind of evidence, she backed off. I thought she was just trying to squeeze me for money. She had been living in LA, but was here visiting, living with her sister. I met her at one of Mark’s construction parties. He had lots of gatherings of people to work on his house. Friends, students, friends of friends; they all came to help Mark make adobes for his walls, mix mud for the adobes and the floors, pour a slab for his kitchen/living area, etc. In the tradition of barn building, some people brought food and drink; others, like myself, came to labor. It was at one of these work parties that I met Carla, whose sister had brought her along. I don’t know how it started. I must have noticed her or even been introduced by her sister, who I knew from my brief stint as a math assistant at the technical vocational school that she and Mark both worked at. She was a very cute woman, long dark hair framing a pretty face, and it wasn’t long before we were hanging around each other. I took Carla for a ride on the motorcycle to cool off, and we stopped along the arroyo that runs along the nearby Pueblo. It was a damn hot day, and the water looked inviting, so we got in. Since it was next to a highway, we left our clothes on, but that didn’t stop us from playing around, and even dry humping a bit. Can you dry hump under water? Wet hump? Anyway, it was too public an area, and who knows what was in that ditch water? We decided to go to my house, and the sex was nice, very nice. We saw each other for awhile after that. I found it hard to imagine living with a smoker, however. She was sexy, so I can overlook a lot for that, like most men. The t-shirt carla2.gif she sometimes wore said ‘Good Stuff’, and she was. She was often at my house, so I bought a TV for entertainment. It had been years since I’d had someone to live with, and I just didn’t know what to do with her. I liked fucking her, but I wasn’t making any plans. If she had stayed around, who knows, maybe we’d have stayed together, and she’d have moved in permanently? As it was, she said she was going back to LA, and I found that was OK with me. She just announced that she was going. That was after she said she might be pregnant, but we seemed to have settled that, and she didn’t bring it up again. I bought her a carton of cigarettes as a parting gift.

Suddenly it occurred to me that Karen is exactly old enough to be Carla’s daughter. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the head? They both have the same acne problem and the same build. K may even be smaller than the petite Carla, but since Carla smoked, that could have resulted in a small baby, from the oxygen deprivation. I have visions of Luke and Darth Vader: “I am your father”. Cool. I’d love to be Karen’s father. That would pretty much kill my sexual fantasies, but I would welcome the permanent link to her. I know Karen is adopted, and she knows her biological mother. She told me the last name once, but I can’t remember. What if? Man, I come up with doozies in this fevered imagination of mine. I had the same thought before, wondering if I could be Karen’s biological father with another woman from my past.

Probably not, but there was this woman Chris, and she told me she was pregnant and that was somewhere in that same time period. She had been something. We mostly just had sex. Sex is one of my all-time favorite things to do. I was busy with a part-time job and lots of studying. I didn’t want a full-time relationship, or marriage. One time, Chris said she wouldn’t mind having another child. Her daughter had been taken to Florida by her ex. She said that, if she got pregnant, she knew someone who would marry her, even if I didn’t want to. I said OK, so I didn’t worry about it after that. One day, of course, she told me was pregnant, and wanted me to marry her. I reminded her we agreed not to do that, that I wasn’t interested in marriage. She threatened to abort the baby if I didn’t marry her, and I just wasn’t interested. I don’t know why. chris2.gif I certainly didn’t have a definite future at the time, and I felt no deep affection for her, and didn’t care if she had the baby or not. I never saw her again, so I don’t know if she decided to have the child or not. Another potential biological mother of Karen. How did I go from wanting to live with Karen, to marry her, and have children with her, to wondering if I could be her father? Well, I already know I’m insane. What sort of man believes he can hook up with a beautiful sexy young woman at my age? Why would she trust an asshole like me anyway?

 

Posted in Random Thoughts, relationships, sex, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gold Glasses for Grandmom

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on November 13, 2007

rubyred.jpg“There is gold in them.” The woman in the antique store told me that the glasses were made with gold. They were old glasses. She didn’t know how it was done. They were red. I couldn’t understand why glasses made with gold in them could be red, but there they were. She said that was how you could tell, that only glasses made that way could be that color of red. Blood red. Nothing else is that exact color. She thought they had been made during the Depression. I was so intrigued that I came back a few days later and bought them. People have been coloring glass for centuries. The ancient Romans knew that adding gold to glass would convert it into a ruby-red material when heated in a controlled fashion. My favorite colors have always been blue and green and black. I think I liked the glasses more because I imagined the gold swirled around in their making. I’d done some blower.jpg glass blowing, so I could appreciate the red hot glowing balls of molten glass being formed into joints, into tubes and balls and shapes. The hot glass is so pretty that you want to touch its perfection, but you cannot. Years later I was to work in a printed-circuit board shop, and learn how gold is applied to the finger tabs along the edge on each board, the tabs that connect the board to other boards, and to power. Gold’s properties as a conductor make it almost perfect for connecting these thin circuits. circuit-board.jpg One need only apply a current across an object in a tank of acidic dissolved gold, and you can coat that object with a layer of gold. Of course, on a circuit board, under the gold is a layer of nickel. I do not know exactly what the nickel is for, unless it is to create a thickness and strength for the very thin layer of gold, which could otherwise be worn off quickly. And the gold must have something to adhere to. I don’t remember exactly why nickel was used, for once you see the gold tank, you forget all else. chrtank1.jpg It is a shining pool of red, the color of blood. For gold does not dissolve into any old solvent. To dissolve gold and maintain it in solution you need cyanide – actually hydrogen cyanide is its proper name. The structure that forms is similar to a structure found in hemoglobin. Cyanide is also necessary for the commercial preparation of amino acids. It is considered likely that hydrogen cyanide played a part in the origin of life. It is released from molecules in cherries, apricots, bitter almonds and apple seeds. At the right concentration hydrogen cyanide will kill a human within a few minutes. The toxicity is caused by the cyanide ion, which prevents cellular respiration.
It occurred to me to ask my grandmother gm-on-crusie.jpg if she had known about these glasses, and she said she remembered when Ruby Reds were popular, but had never owned any. I had only five of the small juice glasses. Five. She had five children left before my father died, but she had raised six healthy children. Six.  One of my aunts had died, hit by a car, while still a young and beautiful mother. I brought the glasses with me to my father’s wake and gave them to her then. I don’t know why. I seldom saw her, and wanted to give her something. After a while at the wake I saw her, and she was a little on the tipsy side as my father might had said. She was carrying the glasses around the house with her. I dismissed it at the time as an old woman having had too much to drink. But she was hugging the glasses, and would not put them down. After that I looked for more. I finally found one, and bought it, for it had finally occurred to me that she might have found more significance in the number of glasses than I had intended. I sent it to her so that she could have six blood-red cyanide glasses of gold, one for each of her children. auntsuncles.jpg

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