Way Out

In happier news,

I think, by an odd coincidence, two special ladies whose birthdays are right around now are among the relatively few still on (or at least branching to) LJ. And a happy birthday to them, in spite of the year's various tribulations, from the frozen north, which right now is more than usually living up to its name (it's -3° F outside right now). <3 :)
Way Out


Twenty years ago, right about now.


I can't quite believe it, but it's true.

I miss you, man. You could have made this shitty year seem like it was worth experiencing, somehow.
Way Out

(no subject)

Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run... but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant...

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of "history" it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened.


There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda... You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning...

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave...

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream
Way Out

Sometimes You DO Get the Elevator

The guitar I mentioned in my last post came back from rehab. It took Dallas (the guitar repairman) a week, in amongst the other jobs he had on, but he and blind chance between them worked a minor miracle, because the Giannini is playable.

Collapse )

The damage is still a Sad Thing that didn't need to happen, and I'd still like to give the person responsible a whupping, but it's a better outcome than either Dallas or I were expecting when we started. I'll have to be gentle with it, but then, you're supposed to be gentle with classical guitars anyway. That's how we got into this situation in the first place.
Way Out

aaand two months later...

... my ice maker breaks down.

What kind of mocking god, etc.

(Fear not, I have an appointment to have someone come and fix it, although since I live in darkest Podunk, they can't come for more than two weeks.)
  • Current Mood
Way Out

straight from the fridge, daddio

When I was a kid, there were certain things we didn't have. Not because we couldn't afford them, this isn't that kind of anecdote, but because my father, for one reason or another, wouldn't buy them. He had this weird economical streak that would come out in response to particular stimuli, to wit: He hated to pay for optional features on anything. The very thought burned him, like battery acid. His rationale behind this, when questioned, was a sort of two-pronged logic assault:

1) They cost extra and you can buy the product without them. Therefore, they're not necessary and are just a way for the manufacturer to chisel some more money out of you, which is morally offensive.

2) They're just another goddamn thing that'll break, and then you either won't have it anyway (so you could've saved your money) or you'll have to get it fixed (more money, and probably another piece of the conspiracy cited in 1) above, plus it's a hassle).

For this reason - despite the fact that he was a working professional engineer and making pretty good money - until I was in high school we never had a car that had electric windows or air conditioning; we didn't have any sort of automatic heating (or cooling of any kind) in the house; we didn't have touch-tone telephones, although, in fairness to Dad, those didn't work in the town where we lived until I was in the 11th grade anyway. He extended this policy even to items based on technologies he didn't understand, balking, for instance, at buying a computer with more than the stock bare-bones amount of memory in it.

That's the background you need to understand this next bit. When I was six or seven years old, my favorite aunt Dot started dating a guy called Mike, who flew a crop duster for a living. Not sure if you knew this, but those guys make some pretty good money too, and unlike my father, Mike liked to get top-of-the-line stuff (I guess when you work in aviation, you tend to associate anything less with a higher probability of being killed at work). He had a refrigerator at the house where he and Dot lived that had features I had never even imagined as a seven-year-old. The freezer went all the way up one side of it, and in the door there was this thing you could put a glass into and crushed ice would fall into it.

Crushed ice. From a slot on the front of the fridge.

This was witchcraft to a cold-beverage-loving kid whose father had a philosophical objection to electric windows in cars.

For a few years, I assumed that you had to live in a special kind of house or something in order to have a fridge that did that. Once I outgrew that admittedly weird idea, I assumed for several more years that fridges like that must cost a fortune, and so were the kinds of things that only doctors, other people who could afford to drive Mercedes-Benz sedans, and people who won them on The Price Is Right could own.

Then, one day, I was dawdling around the appliance section at Sears, bored to misery by the length of time it was taking my mother to decide not to buy any of the vacuum cleaner models they had on offer, and I discovered that they sold such refrigerators... and that, yeah, they cost more than the normal fridge-over-freezer ones like we had, but not that much more. I mean, I had been assuming that they must cost $10,000 or more, not an extra couple hundred bucks. I immediately began lobbying for us to get one.

Naturally, we never did. To make it even worse, the ordinary fridge we had was equipped to accept an optional ice maker, which was advertised with a giant label on the inside of the freezer compartment. It wouldn't have dispensed ice, the doors and the layout were all wrong, but it could at least have made it without us having to fart around with ice cube trays and all that business.

We never got that either, and the sticker advertising its availability remained, taunting me, for my entire childhood and adolescence.

Then I grew up and moved out on my own, but I was always renting and every place I rented already had an ordinary mortal refrigerator. (My place in California had one that was genuinely an antique, the kind where the freezer is a separate compartment inside the fridge and the door has a mechanical latch on it, so curious children can get trapped inside and suffocate.) When I moved back to Podunk and into the house where I live now, I was bemused to discover that this house had a fridge of precisely the same model as the one we'd had when I was growing up.

It even had the label in the freezer, advertising the optional ice maker it did not have.

Meanwhile, my mother had moved out on her own, and she had a fridge with an ice dispenser, because no longer required to listen to Dad when making big-ticket purchase decisions.

Well, yesterday, a truck from Sears came and delivered unto her home a new refrigerator, one of those giant chrome Fridge Of The Future deals with the double-secret special outer hatch (so that you open the door and the shelves-in-the-door are still inside the fridge - witchcraft, and the computerized what-kind-of-ice-and-cold-water-do-you-want selector panel, and the freezer that is a giant drawer (so the ice is coming out of a door that doesn't even back onto the freezer - witchcraft). And when the sweaty and out-of-sorts (it was a beastly hot day, as is today) but very obliging fridgermen were done installing it, they took her old fridge...

... and brought it over here, where they put it in place of my even older one and carted that one away.*

This was an unauthorized extra job for which they are heroes, even though they didn't have the time or the parts to do the plumbing. Dad - whose attitude toward such things has softened markedly as he's approached retirement age, may I just note - came and helped me hook it up today. In the process, we deranged all the plumbing lines in the house, and the faucets (and the cold water dispenser on the fridge) were producing this terrifying yellow water for an hour or so afterward, but that seems to have run its course now.

I turned 41 a couple weeks ago; I've wanted a refrigerator that dispenses ice from the door for well over 30 years. It's in there making its first batch of ice in its new home right now.

In an hour or so, I shall have crushed ice any time I damned well want it.

This may be the most ridiculous lifelong-dream-achieved story you read all year, but I don't give a damn, because I have my ice-dispensing fridge.

* Yes. That is a Spider-Man action figure with magnets in his feet. Every refrigerator should have one.
  • Current Mood
    hell yeah ice-dispensing fridge
Way Out

D plus 25,568

Today is June 6.

Ten years ago, I wrote a piece for the newspaper I then worked for commemorating the 60th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, one of the pivotal moments of the Second World War. I've repeated it on this journal every so often since then. This may be the last year I do so; today, most of the people I had in mind when I wrote it have gone.

Collapse )

Also in audio form, if you like.
Way Out

Great Moments in Public Address

One dark night in 1982, a British Airways 747 unwittingly flew through the ash plume from the eruption of a volcano in Indonesia. This had, as you might expect, a somewhat deleterious effect on the performance of the aircraft, to wit: It conked out entirely. While his command cruised relentlessly toward the Indian Ocean, and his first officer and flight engineer labored mightily (but as of that moment fruitlessly) to restart at least one of the 747's engines, Captain Eric Moody got on the public address system and calmly made what may well have been the greatest announcement in the history of airline travel:

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem: All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress."

And that, boys and girls, is how you do that. That's right up there with, "I am just going outside; I may be some time." (Albeit with a happier ending, since Moody and his crew did eventually get the aircraft working again and were able to limp into Jakarta with no casualties.)
Way Out

reminiscences of flights gone by

I don't like flying commercial very much. I did the vast bulk of what airline flying I've done before 2001, and I wasn't a fan of the procedures and delays even then, but mainly what I don't like about it is that it makes me ill. Not "eew, recycled air, gerrrms" ill (although that has happened), but ill as a consequence of the experience itself. My eustachian tubes don't work very well - some days the right one doesn't work at all - so the pressurized cabin experience (band name!) is always a bit of an ordeal. I generally land mostly-deaf (not Mos Def) in one ear and feeling like someone hit me in that side of the face with a shovel, a condition which persists for the rest of the day.

However! That said, I was having a conversation the other day about air travel, and in the course of the chat it occurred to me that, in fairness, I have had a few good times on airliners. Collapse )

1 Or a cold. And to be fair, I probably got that at the con.
2 Not in that way. She wasn't that bored.
3 Silly me, I went to the gate printed on my boarding pass expecting it to be where my flight home was going to leave from! Ha ha! I know, right? Almost got onto a flight to Santo Domingo instead. I don't want to go to the Dominican Republic. Does it really need mentioning at this point that the new gate was approximately as far away as it was possible to go and still be in Orlando, and that the departure time itself hadn't changed? Of course it doesn't.
  • Current Mood