Tuesday’s Theme Music

Heading downtown after dressing, started singing a bastardized version of ZZ Top’s “Tush” (1975) from my childhood’s end: “Lord, take me downtown, I’m just looking for some coffee.”

Yeah, not as lyrical. Tried other things, and thought caffeine worked best. The things your mind ends up doing to kill walking time. It’s a good upbeat walking song, simple but steady with some guitar riffs that talk to me.

So, here’s the real deal (the song, that is).

 

Friday’s Theme Music

After I’d finished writing, I headed into the wilds of Ashland’s streets and sidewalks. Using the East Main crosswalk by Sherman, I saw a young woman driving an SUV toward me. She seemed to be steering with her elbows, as her left hand was holding a phone to her head as her right hand worked on applying lip gloss. Like, holy crap, just what you want to see coming toward you as you’re crossing the street.

The day had warmed to an almost balmy 56 F. Sunshine was blooming but rain was lurking on the mountains. The clouds seemed shifty, like they were planning a move. I decided I wouldn’t mind a little rain, so pressed on, heading down Fourth Street.

Down on the corner of Fourth and B was a pile of popped corn. Look, hey, what the heck is this doing here?

Must it be said that the sight stirred a 1972 song into my stream? ‘Course not. The song is a synth-pop ditty name “Popcorn” by Hot Butter. Seriously. And it was an international hit. Seriously.

I don’t know what’s up with that, but here it is in all its glory. Listen to it, please. Let me know if you’re familiar with it. Just curious, ya know?

Saturday’s Theme Music

Thinking about disasters as I was walking yesterday. Australia is struggling to catch a break this year, going from bushfires to rain to flooding. Indonesia continues having a tough time, quakes in Puerto Rico, and flooding in Chicago.

Then there’s the snow. A winter storm passed through here, giving us a couple inches. Trudging through the aftermath, we’re grateful because it helps the snowbanks, an important source of summer water, even while many mildly rue and curse the snow. Come on, it’s snow, and disrupts our easy ways and pleasantries with its cold intrusion.

It’s impressive how tiny flakes can add up. Our flakes went from normal or average sized to supersized flakes, back to normal before dropping into tiny. All still added up.

These thoughts took me to a Kate Bush 2011 song, “50 Words for Snow”. I enjoy her but I’m mostly aware of this song because Stephen Fry is the one giving the words. Fry delivers them like he’s tasting the expressions. Then Kate goes on with a chorus, “Come on, man,” telling him how many more words he has to go. I don’t hear this song often, originally hearing it by chance on NPR (“Is that Stephen Fry?”) but have since listened to it on the ‘puter, trying to understand all the words for snow. I find it satisfying and contemplative.

Like snow.

Friday’s Theme Music

Weep for yourself, my man,
You’ll never be what is in your heart
Weep, little lion man,
You’re not as brave as you were at the start
Rate yourself and rake yourself
Take all the courage you have left
And waste it on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head

But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn’t I, my dear?
Didn’t I, my…

h/t to AZLyrics cuz cut and paste is easier than typing.

So it was that “Little Lion Man” by Mumford & Sons (2009) was going through my head this morning. Writing, a dream, and cats share almost equal weight in bringing the song into my stream.

The dream was about jigsaw puzzles, parties, hockey, and drunk celebrities in a brightly lit and strangely joyful montage that also seemed a bit fucked up, and left me to, well, puzzle it out. The cat was the little ginger lion that I was talking to this morning (you’re not as brave as you were at the start). Writing…well, writing is all about fixing the problems in my head. Not exactly a dark place, but not a clean, well-lighted place for enjoying life, either.

So, now, after singing the song to myself yesterday after writing, it returned to me after thinking about my dreams this morning, and gained strength when I was talking with the cat. Thus, it must be outed from my stream before it gains too much steam and stays too long.

For the record, I enjoy Mumford & Sons’ style, and its infusion of unique sounds in rock music. This video, with its intensity, and the sense of isolation and alienation that I find in it, keeps me watching. It’s like a confession that he’s making to himself but also a dialogue in his head that he imagines having, as the others play and listen. Then, they all join in, as though it was universal to the band members. Through it all flows introspection, a simmering sense of regret, and a realization.

 

Saying Good-bye

It’s time. I didn’t want to face it, putting the reasonable off, but finally acquiescing to what needed to be done: I was replacing my Tilley hat.

I’ve had it for a number of years. Like a good companion, it’s with me all the time. I wear it all the time when walking and about ninety-five percent of the time when I’m outdoors.

It shows; the color has faded. Five inch horizontal rips gap along the crown’s front, nicely complimenting the small two inch vertical tears. I’ve taped them together.

The Tilley comes with a Guarantee-for-Life replacement policy. I went to their website and filled out the form. They responded within a few days.

Hello,

Thank you for submitting your request. We would be happy to help you with your Guaranteed for Life claim.

We do require some additional information to determine the eligibility of your item. Please reply to this email with 3 photos (.jpeg preferred as small a file as possible) of the following:

    1. A photo showing the entire item
    2. A photo to clearly show the qualifying damage
    3. A photo of the inside label. This should show the words “Guaranteed for Life”

Once we receive these photos from you, we will review them and determine the eligibility of your item. You will receive an email from us within 2 business days with your next steps.

That was done. A few more days passed.

Then came their answer.

Thank you for submitting your photos. We have assessed your item and agree that it qualifies for the Guaranteed for Life Policy.

Your Guarantee Identification Number is RMA#G00665

Good news! You no longer have to return your item to us in order to get a replacement!

In order to complete your request, we require the following information:

    1. Credit card information for shipping fee –
      • $12.00 CAD OR $9.50 USD  $35.00 USD international . Your credit card will only be charged at the time of shipping.
      • you may contact us at 1-800-363-8737 and leave your credit card number with any agent. Please use your RMA# as reference.
    1. Proof of destruction Photos –
      • We must confirm that your old hat is no longer usable before we can honor a replacement hat.
      • Please Write the RMA# clearly on the hat. If the hat is a dark colour, you may write the RMA# on a white piece of paper and include it in the photo
      • Cut off the crown (The top part) of the hat.
      • Take a photo of this so the removed crown and the RMA# are visible. Save as a .jpeg in the smallest size possible

Once we have received your photos and credit card information, you order will then be processed. Please allow up to 2 weeks for your replacement hat to be shipped. We will email you once your order has shipped.

Destroy my hat? Shudders swept me as I read these words. Yet…yet…the time had arrived. The Tilley was failing. I needed a new hat.

So I took the Tilley for a final walk in the snow. After he dried out, the cats gathered. I played taps on Youtube, cut off the crown, and took the ghastly pictures.

IMG_0984

The deed is done. Now I await my new hat.

 

St. Asphalta

Many are familiar with St. Asphalta. Her origins began after motorized transportation such as cars were developed and grew popular. Although her exact heritage and origins are shrouded in exhaust gases, one popular belief attributes her early beginnings to the first automobile accident fatalities.

A benevolent god (she eschews being referred to as ‘goddess’ as an outmoded and unnecessary distinction based on gender), St. Asphalta is most associated with parking. People typically pray to her, sometimes making a sacrifice (such as buying her a beverage, such as coffee or tea) when they need a parking space.

But limiting St. Asphalta to parking overlooks the many ways this modern god can help. Did you know that St. Asphalta’s realms and powers extend beyond mere parking issues? St. Asphalta relates to everything involved with wheeled transportation and their systems, processes, and issues. For example, although you might be walking, St. Asphalta is the god to address when you’re crossing a street. She’s the one who’ll wake the drivers up and drive them to notice you and provide you with the right-of-way.

Likewise, St. Asphalta should be contacted for safety when there’s a traffic accident, or the one to appeal to for help during road construction, congestion, and traffic jams. Appeal to St. Asphalta when you have car troubles such as a flat tire, or your car has been stolen.

She’s a good god to know. Like a car, she doesn’t demand a lot, but she must be given her due. If she’s not given it, then, like a car, she’ll let you down just when you need her most.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Well, time was up.

Past ‘up’.

I was supposed to have departed the fix about fifteen minutes before, so I was now behind my schedule. Couldn’t help it. Couldn’t stop writing. Coffee was gone, butt was uncomfortable, and my sciatic nerve was causing pain issue from being perched on the coffee shop’s new hard chairs. All the signs were aligned, time to go, mo-fo.

But —

Yes. Closing up with a stern order, go now, I packed it all up, strapped on the backpack, and headed into the sunshine. It was doing little good against the wintry air, but it was in the low 40s, a better place to be than, say, single digits that some in Alaska are enduring, and it’s better than Australia’s fires and blazing heat. So, couldn’t complain.

Walking up the hill, the distinctive piano playing of the Moody Blues cover of “Go Now” (1964) arrived in my stream. It’s a wondrous juxtaposition when the thing you’ve been doing, memories of places and events, and what you’re now doing come together in a perfectly mellow mood. I usually need a beer, a glass of wine, cup of coffee, or the toke of a joint to arrive in such a state.

But here I was, just me and the small town, with myself and music in my head, cold in the air, and sunshine on the other side of the valley.

 

 

Writing Time Again

Yesterday’s writing session went well. Only five pages finished, taking me to two sixty, and closer to the story’s end. More of the final details flashed into me, which was really exciting.

I kept writing in my head in my après-writing walk, which ended up being two and half miles. I’d just kept writing in my head and forgot about the time or distance. I was ravenous by then, as it was after three and I’d not eaten lunch.

Books had been given to me for Christmas. I began reading one of them last night after watching the news, but had only read a paragraph before the urge to add a line to my novel jumped into me. Opening the document, I added that line and then experienced more ideas and wrote three more pages.

This morning, as I fed les chats, I wrote in my head and decided to add another line to the novel. So I sat down in the sweats that I wear to bed and wrote two more pages as I ate breakfast.

That seemed to satisfy the muses.

Breakfast is finished but I’m not dressed or anything. Must clean up, shave, brush the teeth, etc., so I can go out and write like crazy, at least one more time, and have a cuppa coffee. Haven’t enjoyed a drop yet today.

I take it all as it comes.

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