Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

When I was in high school, I took many college entry courses in English Lit, 4 1/2 years of math, physics… as well as almost every shop and art class offered. I had no control over what I was interested i, and I was not being adequately supervised. My parents worked, and I never got arrested.

At the time, I was working in the drafting department of a tech equipment company (while I was there, they were working on a machine that could scan a sample and return the percentages of minerals within.  There was much amusement when they scanned a fly)  At the time, our CAD machine occupied an entire goddam room, and had to have a separate cooling system), but everything else was hand drawn.

Hilariously, the obviously ill-equipped High School counselor, when performing the rote pre-graduation review, looked at my transcript and could not figure it out.  He looked at me, and said, “what do you think you should be doing?” to which I replied “I am already white collar, motherfucker, and that’s a good coin for this podunk town” (maybe not in those words.  He shrugged and put the file away.  Thanks, asshole!

However, my father, who succumbed to the anti-college sentiment of a suburb adjacent to a college town, had a chance to go to land grant state school and I think regretted not going, insisted that I go to some kind of post-secondary education.  To which I said (already being a punk) well, then fuck this I am going somewhere else to college, and found a UW school in the middle of nowhere (shut up, you with the ‘aren’t they all’ comments) and enrolled in the engineering curriculum.  That turned out to be a bad fit, but we corrected course and got into pre-architecture and subsequently moved to Milwaukee.

But wait.  That’s not what I’m here to talk about.  I’m here to talk about the draft.  (wait while I refresh my drink)

No, wait, I am here to talk about historic windows.  Wait.  I’ll come in again.

I’m here to talk about drafting standards.  Ok, we’ll go with that.

During that checkered high school history, I took every drafting class offered.  I also took every shop class available, and most of the art classes.  And 4 1/2 years of math.  And 3 years of English and Literature.  (The traverse from one end of the school to the other for these wildly divergent classes sometimes challenged an ability to actually cover the distance in the class break time).  The drafting teacher (who also doubled as my freshman basketball coach) was kind of bemused, teaching a class balanced between art and science and shop, and as that kind of class had many students who were aiming for trade school.  But he discovered I had great skill at hand drafting, and while the rest of the class diligently worked on the current assignments, often struggling, I mostly blistered through them and he had to scramble to give me extra work to keep me busy. At several points, he just told me to not come in for several days until we got to something new. “Take a week off”….

I learned how to handle a pencil to create effective line weights, and what those line weights could mean.  Eventually, in college, I bought some (relatively) expensive graduated ink pens to do those time-consuming presentation drawings.

This is something being lost in the CAD environment.  Colored lines on a screen mean nothing, and do not translate to physical prints of drawing – which we still use, because we need hard copy in the field.  A friend who is in the State plan review area, agrees- he says most plans come in with no line hierarchy control at all.  One of the things I have had to really emphasize employees, especially more recent graduates is that construction drawings are a form of communication, and line weights are the inflections that help to make sense.

in an early preliminary collidge class, I was criticized for using what are derisively called “bubble trees” .  In defiance, I checked out several books on how to identify trees in profile from the library, and most importantly found many illustrations in the endpapers that showed all these various trees.  I  used these to illustrate my next project , and the amount of ink I put on the paper was so much that I had to matte the whole thing with a black border just to make it balance.  One person kept wandering back and forth during my presentation, and insisted that he could see shadows moving in those trees.

But in that high school class, at one point the instructor, I think desperate to find more things for me to do, and maybe looking to present a challenge, had me do large-scale (3″) details of windows and doors.  I fucking loved it.  But I suddenly had a crash course in how windows were built and installed.  It was, frankly, one of the most instructive and informative single episodes in my pre-professional life.

Here is what it looks like when I use those skills on a contemporary project.  And unlike those projects in high school and collidge, this is for-real and for construction, and since they are part of applying for historic tax credits, real value in actual Ameros (if you are interested, those details are now approved by the National Park Service):

X8.2-window comparison round top

Because, for the most part, most windows are based upon hundreds of years of figuring out how to make windows that work pretty well.  In recent years, window technology has gotten vastly better, but the basics that were well established when my house was built in 1904 are still valid.

Amusingly, although I went into college as an engineer but left as a baby architect, when my younger brother who was still in high school told my old drafting instructor that I was going into architecture, the guy said “well of course”.

So here I am 4 fucking decades later, working on an historic building and during investigation, we discovered that a fair amount of the original ground floor windows still exist and they weren’t destroyed and are in good shape because they were covered up at some point which protected them, which will allow for restoration.  Of course, those concealments were unnecessarily destructive, as it far too common. Out initial submission to the NPS showed new windows in these locations, but considering the condition of the existing windows, my recommendation is now restoration, with new thermal panes added to the interior for modern energy expectations.

And here I am, preparing a change to our original NPS approval, showing that we will be preserving the original windows and doors where our original application indicated new construction (since it was all concealed and we had no idea what was underneath), and I am doing details of the existing and since I did those old detail assignments in high school, I know how these windows were built.

IMG_3342

Look at what they did to that masonry detailing. fucking vandals, it would not surprise me if it was done by the Trump family. Also love the GE marketing.

Look at the damage, done so they could put really ugly aggregate panels over everything.  I do not forgive.

Screen Shot 2020-05-08 at 1.31.15 AM

Mind you, this is what the masonry looked like when before those savages attacked it with chisels and hammers.

 

But I dearly love reusing buildings and historic buildings. And doing this does  makes me happy.

Happy.

My Hometown

Posted: April 7, 2020 in Fridge Note, Shovels, Uncategorized

I have never made much secret of my love for my home state of Wisconsin, and my adopted hometown of Milwaukee.  mikey often mocks me as the ultimate booster, but I feel the state is an overlooked gem (and to be honest, I think I kind of prefer it that way).

I grew up outside of Madison, I went to state land-grant colleges to achieve a relatively affordable Master’s degree, I married a Wisconsin farm girl (who wanted nothing more than to never have to work on a farm again).  Young Zombie graduated from a widely respected Milwaukee engineering school.

The state is amazingly gorgeous.  It stretches from Lake Michigan, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, to the Mississippi River, and up to Lake Superior, the deepest freshwater lake in the world.  Amazing forests, tremendous nature preserves, and absolutely lovely rolling prairies.

Plus we had Bob LaFollette (shut up about Tailgunner Joe).

Milwaukee sports the Harley Davidson Museum, a world class zoo, only excelled by the San Diego Wild Animal Park; a Riverwalk that exceeds San Antonio because theirs was built around a drainage trench, but the Milwaukee River is a real, functional river.  We led the way in the idea that freeways are not the solution and actually tore one down, resulting in a boon in development.  We are the most diverse area in the state, although we admittedly are still struggling with segregation.  We have, at the same time, the best and worst schools in the state.  White people from the suburbs are still frightened to come here.

We have fucking Summerfest.

But the Republicans not only hate all that, they are trying to destroy it.  They hate the liberal blue areas, they despise the areas with minorities.    They would like to kill us all.

They appealed to the Supreme Court the Governor’s recent order to expand mail and drive up voting for the primary and to extend it for a few weeks, because the lack of people willing to expose themselves as poll workers was pretty much non-existent.  Because it was a request from a fucking GOP group, the SCOTUS did an emergency ruling saying NO!  NO DEMOCRACY FOR YOU!.

The Wisconsin Republican legislature is dominated by shit weasels elected in viciously gerrymandered districts, protected by insidious math.  Robin Vos is an evil motherfuckers, and I may just resurrect an old gif just for that fucker:

Go Fuck Yourself Also Too

Tomorrow’s election, which is now completely fucked up electorally due to Republicans on the Supreme Court, has a critical judicial election (Kelly is a fucking Trumpidiot, if you want to know) is going to tell us how much of an Alabama Wisconsin is going to be.

As I said, I am not embarrassed by the love I have for Wisconsin.  I have visited a lot of other states, and some fair amount of other countries (hello Ireland!)  But this one does it for me, and I include the snow.  the silence of new snowfall is a very special sound.

And I sincerely love Milwaukee.  The first American city to build  a Calatrava structure, seriously?  We even beat New York!

But the things that Republicans and the Koch Brothers have been doing to this state are criminal.  The racist portions of the state have to be beaten with sock full of marbles.

Meanwhile, here’s a story.  Apparently, one Bob Zimmermann, while on a bus trip, writer a song about traveling into Wisconsin, but never finished it.  Milwaukee musician Trapper Schhoepp got his handle on the lyrics, wrote a few wraparounds, threw some chords on there, and when it made it’s way to Dylan’s attention, Bob said “let’s share the songwriting credits”  the first time ever.

this video features cameos by the Mayor, Russ Feingold, Tammy Baldwin and so many more, and all in respect to that Dylan video.  Plus, Trapper’s dog!

 

Wisconsin will live through the struggle friends

Heard about houston? Heard about detroit?
Heard about pittsburgh, P. A.?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
Somebody might see you up there
I got some groceries, some peanut butter,
To last a couple of days
But I ain’t got no speakers, ain’t got no
Headphones, ain’t got no records to play

I called one of my brothers today.  We don’t talk that often, so he asked what was the occasion, I said, just the standard Pandemic Check In.  He works retail, so he still goes in daily; they have gloves and tend toward no-contact delivery or car window service as much as possible.  My SIL is a hairdresser, and she has had to close her salon by order of the governor; although I am sure she does in-home for anyone who is OK with that.

We have an elderly widow a couple of houses up from us, she makes it a point to walk up to our corner and back every day.  I’ve made it a point to walk out and ask how she’s doing (from 10 feet away).  She has a grandson living downstairs from her, so she’s got someone keeping her stocked.

I got my meds updated to 90 days.  Also got a gift card for our mail carrier (enclosed in a beautiful Chihuly at Biltmore card because I am ARTSY).

Wife Sublime and I are both working full-time from home, and we’re very fortunate to be able to do so.  Had a brief panic episode early on, when the internet service went down for half an hour.  I have had most of my current files in cloud storage, and older stuff on my HD.  We haven’t gotten on each other’s nerves as yet; no more than usual.

That is not the case for a neighbor up the street.  The other day, we had police descend on our corner in force:  at least six cars, 3 vans, two unmarked.  The streets were blocked off, including our driveway.  Cops were lurking around the corners and inside of nearby buildings, hands on their guns and always close to cover.  They dispersed through the backyards and from the other end of the block.  As Imaginary Digital Friend mikey said, it looked like a Hill Street Blues episode, and friends and capybaras, it did at that.

Some of the police did not have hands on their pistols.  Those would be the ones carrying rifles.  

Another friend said the police log simply said “suspect with a gun” because you don’t have that kind of force arrayed when there isn’t.  Later, we learned that he was threatening to shoot his wife although it is not clear whether it was a hostage situation.  My wife said she heard a gunshot, but I missed it. In any case, we weren’t all that surprised; social isolation and a frayed relationship; and someone who might have responded to the pandemic by getting a gun or another one; it was kind of inevitable.  Again, quoting mikey (who sometimes has the soul of a poet): “Nowhere to go, death lurking outside, violence and hatred in your ‘safe’ place.”

IMG_3424

Our last concert was March 5; They Might Be Giants at the Pabst Theater.  the weekend of the 14th, we were scheduled for a trip to Costa Rica for 9 days, and I was nervous but Wife Sublime was so eager for the trip I said I would be OK with it.  However, the tour company canceled all their tours two days before we were due to leave.  Since then, we have been self-isolating and sheltering-in-place like motherfuckers.  My concert buddy and I have tix for Tame Impala on May 30, no word yet.  We also have tickets for Roger Waters in August; no idea.  Summerfest has been postponed and rescheduled for three consecutive weekends in September.  Roll the fucking bones on that one.

Fortunately, our (Democratic) governor was not being an idiot and closed down all non-essential businesses (as noted above, including hairdressers) and being not-a-further-idiot, also declared liquor stores to be essential businesses.  Wisconsin, you know?  But liquor stores are reporting quite a brisk business with the populace staying home with little to do except to self-medicate (and threaten their wife with a gun, of course) and when I am honest, my consumption has gone up.

Wife Sublime is self-comforting by incessantly watching news shows about the pandemic, she even resorts to watching the lying press conferences by Lord Dampnut.  And also reading about other pandemics and epidemics and researching local statistics, then producing analysis charts for Facebook.  She’s an engineer and IT professional and that’s what she does.  She feels uncomfortable when she feels like she has no control, and right now, there is no control to be had.  The best there is is analysis.  FWIW, we’ve been married for a long time, and I understand.  I put in my headphones and watch horror movies.

As I said to friend, “I am watching horror movies to avoid horror reality”.  But man, you bottom out on quality horror movies really fucking fast.  I also burned through Netflix’ comedy specials in like two days.  In the meantime, I am still working on projects, that I had fallen behind on although believe me it’s hard to be productive under wartime conditions.  See:  this blog post.  When I should be working on fire separation details (but at least I got those elevator shop submittals pushed out into the motherfucking mojo wire).

(ahh, you see.  There you go.  wandered off to make a new cocktail and lost my train of thought.)

But of course the difficult thing is the social isolation and the incessant dread and paranoia.  During the day, I hear Wife Sublime on video conferencing with people around the world, and they always talk about how things are where they are.  I usually have to argue with insurance shit weasels about why they won’t give me new CPAP equipment. Oh, sure, sometimes I talk to contractors and such, but since all of them are working at home, that’s almost all email too.  It does all make everything a bit more distancing.

And then, a few days ago, I went to bed and couldn’t sleep and then found myself curling into the tightest ball I could and sobbing uncontrollably.  All the fear, tension, stress and paranoia came spilling out all at once into my arms and belly and sheets.  It came as a bit of a surprise and certainly relief.

Certainly everyone is feeling the same kinds of things, and I hope they don’t respond like my neighbor up the block.  I would also say, if you have guns GET RID OF THEM or at least secure them.  When I was at my bleakest, I often thought about buying a gun and I didn’t but if I had had one available, this might be a very different blog.

Meanwhile, I appreciate all the half-dozen readers I have and all the other readers I have ever had and hope you are all well and things are going well and that  you are coping well.  I have love for you all I send zombie love out to you.

zombie-2

Afterimage

Posted: January 12, 2020 in Uncategorized

Rush wrote the song for their loss of their compatriot, whoever it may be.

I have never concealed my love for Rush.  They were one of my first all-encompassing concerts, when laser shows were still allowed, on the Permanent Waves tour.  I took my date to see the Moving Pictures tour, and it twisted her brain enough to actually agree to marry me.  On a subsequent tour, she wore the Signals shirt for years.  We went to see the reunion Vapor Trails tour, and they had fire explosions – and a string section that had to endure them – that we could feel in our not-so-bad seats.  And the year after that, we took our son who got bored and went on his phone but then after that admitted it was a fine fine show.

I have had mild disagreements with members of the Bloggerhood on this.  But hardly significant….

I have never loved drummers, nor drum solos (exception Erik the drummer for Die Kreuzen).  Always felt they were a simplistic way to allow the rest of the band to take a break and do more do drugs.

But I have always said that Neil Peart’s drum solos never bore me like almost every other drum solos.

It’s not just the amount of hardware he is able to use.  But he is also a very gifted rhythmic artist, and he uses that to be musical and venture into the jazz realm.  If you ever watch and listen to his solos, he is as inventive a percussionist as you might imagine.  He is/was sublime.  He spent his entire life making his skill better, including studying under Buddy Rich’s teacher to understand how the movement is part of the rhythm.

He had a hard life, with the death of his daughter and then his wife in short order and most people, including his bandmates, figured that was the end of the band, and not one single person blamed him if that was the way.  But…

He took the Australian ‘walkabout’ tradition, and fired up his motorcycle and rode until he felt like things were better.  He rode over almost every place he could visit by road on this hemisphere.  This was chronicled in the book “Ghost Rider”  And that was one of the most powerful songs when Rush returned to the stage.

Neil Peart died this week, and like most musicians, he shouldn’t have.  But that is what we have, and we have no choice but to give him a respectful ‘go on, and meet your ghosts and people’….

But the band are a band of brothers who have loved each other for all these years, and that is so fucking special:

 

One of my favorite bands, one that I have seen more times than I deserved and not as many time as I wanted, and now that one of them has departed, I need to mourn.  Legendary, indeed.

 

Made very famous by REM’s use of it in one of their great, great,  songs from Monster – an album that I waited in line at midnight to buy as soon as possible-  But also not noted is that one of my other favorite bands, Game Theory, used it in the proper phrasing “Kenneth, What’s the frequency?”

It was a slight amazing bit of sound and intro to one of the best of the albums from the 80s, and one of the best bands I had ever seen.  Saw them in a dive on the south side of Milwaukee, in the middle of winter, which seemed to shock the women in the band, because they wore completely inappropriate skimpy tops.

I saw Dan Rather interview the Two Mikes from REM the other night, and of course the phrase came up.  They had a clip of Dan Rather trying to sing the song during a sound check which was not amusing, it was painful.

So, let’s talk about the frequency of eye lengths.

Do you guys remember being in grade school?  Do you remember being asked to read the text on film strips?

Well, it was Second grade, I was seven, you know?  And when the teacher was going through the class asking for students to read the film strip, and got to me, I was not able to respond.  Not because I couldn’t read, but because I couldn’t SEE. After she spent a little time trying to help me because she thought I couldn’t read, she eventually understood it was an eyeball thing….How would I know?  My eyes were what I had, and what I could see was the way things were.  Had no idea I should be seeing better, because I had no comparison.

So after my teacher stopped embarrassing me, she told my parents that it was time to get an eye test.  And after that, I got some glasses for the first time in my life.  And I saw things I had never seen before.  IN fact, when I had glasses, I was weirded out by the depth perceptions.  It made walking weird, at best for a short tome of acclimatization, until i got used to the way everything seemed a bit….closer.

I have worn glasses since then.  Or contacts. For a few years, as a kid, I needed new glasses pretty much every year, because my eyes kept going south. I much prefer contacts, but it is hard because I have a weird diagonal astigmatism.  I haven’t seen my eye doctor in some time, And I need new contacts and new glasses.

I had my glasses fall apart tonight, one of the lenses fell right the hell out, and I was forced to use a bent paper clip to put them back together.  Believe me, as a guy who has worn glasses for WAY more than half my life, I have worked out any number of ways to do emergency and field repair.

And it was curious, in that I was forced to use my backup last version glasses, and that those glasses seem to serve better than the ones that lost the screw.

See now here.  As a diabetic, I am supposed to expect my eyes to go weird and degrade.  Which, I guess, is not going to be any weirder than any year before; my eyes have degraded all  my life.

Since I have been wearing glasses all my life, and my prescription is weird and changing and I have the diabetic multiplier, I have long been sensitive to the quality of the eye care I seek out, and I have a very clear preference for a for-real Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist versus an optician, and when providing lenses, I have never had a satisfactory experience from the mall shops or places like Mall-Wart.  Fortunately, one of my neighbors is an Optometrist, and a good one; and in a fine example of work going both ways, I designed his new office on the south side:

IMG_0012

What we found is that my right eye has decided to make a run for it, getting much worse over the past couple of years.  So I need new contacts, and we’ll be trying a couple of different treatment options, and my existing frames get new lenses.  There doesn’t seem to be any other degradation of my eyeballs, so other than just getting older and worser,  we seem to be in good shape.

Over the Cliff

Posted: October 8, 2019 in Uncategorized

well, before I get off into the Tall Grass,  a bit of followup.  R came back to the living after a short detox.  I am keeping in touch, trying to be more in contact for support availability.  It’s a tough road;  he has relapsed several times.

And sometimes, I have to confess I might not be the best person to rely on, especially in October. I already did not answer a couple of his calls in the lead up, and that was before October set in.

(play this loud while you listen)

yesterday started poorly, by any standard but for October?  Well, no, not typical, it still fucking sucked.  Checks had been promised last week and did not show, and then the furnace in my office was AWOL.  Admittedly, this is not the absolute worst time for it, as the weather is kind of pleasant for fall.  but the Office is a big thermal mass of air, and when it gets cold, it takes a while to reverse that. But I had promised certain things, so I had to get those accomplished, and I did.  By mid-afternoon, heat repair nor checks still had not been delivered, and while it was not terribly cold, it still had me chilled and the combination of cold and disappointment had me in a state where I couldn’t work.  So I bailed, looking for one of the two doors hinged in opposition….

and when I got home, and tried to warm up a bit, I was met by someone playing a chiding message on a phone about car insurance and demanding answers I did not have about the car (another story, maybe when I am stronger).  And the cat was demanding to be scratched, and the dog wanted walks and I still couldn’t warm up and bailed yet again and went to bed to get some quiet time and maybe a nap.  Fortunately, the bedroom was very sun-warmed and helped; was not aware how deeply the chill had penetrated over the day.

I think that might be the part that makes October the most difficult for me; that relatively mild weather still creates a chill that permeates so thoroughly.  Especially when I have all kinds of lovely pharmaceuticals making my blood thin and such as.  I miss the hotter climes at these times, and dammit if getting old makes me want to retire to hot places…

I spent the rest of the day in bed, watching the light wane.  I think I slept.  I peed a couple of times.  And I stayed there and watched some horror movies on the iPad, and then watched a couple of Star Wars movies to try and jumpstart something internal.  the Bed Time even made me miss my evening meds, which I rarely do.

I wanted to sleep late, I really did; and I had no reason to get up.  But I couldn’t get back to sleep so I still got up, there was coffee to be had.  So I split the difference and didn’t bother with a shower.  THAT’LL show ’em!  Too bad that cup of coffee was so watery….

should be noted that young Zombie gave me a subscription to a coffee roaster for Christmas, and every month I get a pound of beans.  I like strong black coffee, but the ones so far have been from Zambia, Congo and Honduras, and these are some straight up ninja coffees.  I found it best to cut them with some beans from a Chicago roaster, called Over The Cliff (name after a Jon Lsngford song). (this is also probably the best time to reveal that my wife gets wilty when she watches Rhett Miller, and I don’t think I can blame her)

 

I have said, on more than one occasion, that October is difficult for me.  Stephen King once tried to describe how it feels in a passage from the Dead Zone, and if anyone knows how it feels to watch the everything become closed and shut down for the oncoming storm, it has to be a horror writer that lives in Maine.  But it feels cold, and since my medical events,  the cold seems colder, and it penetrates deeper.

In the second season of American Horror Story, Frances Conroy did a stellar turn as the Angel of Death (augmented by the SFX of the wings at the moment of passing) and she never tried to be scary, but was always comforting and the people who she was touching welcomed the grace.

Mostly I approach October by going full gonzo on horror movies and such, and embracing the month of Samhain, because, zombie here.  But there aren’t that many stomp down good horror movies anymore (Get Out, It Follows, Let the Right One in) and the you kind of say, give me some splatter…

October has always been very difficult for me, and I am not sure why.  It was way before I had blood thinners and that crap.  But it sure does seem to happen every damn year, and it does fuck down like rain on my people.  i wish it didn’t.  But I have to do it myself first, and then it can be more soft….

But at least it’s not November.

Let There Be Peace

Posted: October 2, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

How much longer can all this go on?
How many more chances can one person have?
And all of the questions with no proper answers
Continue continue have to go on have to go on
Should I bend down and worship the ground
of the beautiful people who live without flaws?
Success is a virtue to share with the world
but failure’s a lesson that’s best learned alone
Respect is a virtue that strong men command
but when words become weapons
There’ll be peace in the valley of death when I rise
Peace in the valley of death when I rise

When i looked at my phone this afternoon, I saw I had missed several calls from friend R, who I mentioned in a prior post.

And when I looked at the most recent message, the VM algorithm was unable to parse his message, which was halting, mumbling and relatively incoherent.  It was pretty obvious he was drunk as fuck.  I knew he was not doing so well, but this was the worst I had heard him in some time.

He said he was checking himself in – somewhere.  He didn’t say where.  He said he had arranged for care of his animals, although he incoherently said maybe I was going to send up homing his greenwing macaw, Biko (a magnificent and violent bird, full of shit and happy to scar you up, you bastard).  The message was long and had lots of pauses.  The message made me hurt, in that I missed his previous phone calls.

As I said in the previous post, I have no idea where this story ends.  But I am concerned that it ends nowhere good.  I hope the place he checked himself into allows visitation.

As an aside, the two times I had my Exciting! encounters with Modern Medicine, and spent some time in an adjustable bed, (one time peeing into a painful tube), R did not visit.  At a recent time, he admitted how badly he felt about not visiting, because it reminded him of his parents decline and passing, and I told him I held nothing against him.  I know how people in hospital beds make people feel squicky.

R is one of my best friends ever.  I really don’t want him to go.  He has lots of health problems, most of which went undiagnosed until the ACA went into effect (He pays like 60 bucks a month.  Thanks, Obama!) but now he is behind the clock, and doesn’t help because he continues to drink and vape and whatever else.

Checking in every morning
To the sound of steam and caffeine
The sludge in the bottom of the cup
Just like the sludge in the stream
Slag heap keep growing higher
Every morning the sky, it’s on fire
And it’s only 9 AM again

Is there an upside to every downside?
Keep it inside, it’s a downward slide of broken glass
Keeps building in piles

And I don’t know
I don’t know if the sun ever smiles

It’s the black sheets of rain
Following me again
Everywhere I go
Everywhere I’ve been
Following me again

I feel the toxins fill my blood stream as I’m walking through the parking lot
Over and over and over and over and over and over
The clouds hanging over
Choking the life out of me
The motto seems to be
“We work in order to be free”

It’s the black sheets of rain
Following me again
Everywhere I go
Everywhere I’ve been
Following me again

Over and over and over and over and over and over again

Where were you in my hour of need
(I never see the sun stop shining)
The clouds roll over the sunlight
(Someone stopped the sun from shining)
And I stand here, ready to bleed
(I never see the sun stop shining)
A little rain is all we need
(Someone stopped the sun from shining)
Where will you be in my darkest hour of need?
(I never see the sun stop shining)
Where will you be in my darkest hour of need?
(Someone stopped the sun)
Here it comes again

I have visited these sites, where incredibly brave people decided to strap themselves into prisons and ;punch themselves in to the unknown.

I was child when humans landed on the moon, but I am almost certain we watched; everyone did, you know?

yes, people did.  It’s a terrible amount of power and it is easy for it to go sideways with no warning.  I have visited the site of the Apollo 1 tragedy, and while I have little empathy for the haunting folks, I will say that that is the only place that I have ever visited that I believe is completely haunted.

I support all of our efforts to get off of this doomed gravity well of a planet.  develop the fukcing moon, send us to Mars, let’s develop long term ships to nearby suns.  We have already shown that we have about half of our our polity, that is unable to even comprehend that they are going to suffocate themselves  Let’s fucking go.

When I was a child, I watched our civilization reach out, against all the terror and risk, and land on our nearest planetary neighbor.  It inspired me.  I built all the models, I still do.  We visited Huntington, and we spent like an hour with an actual rocket scientist who had not only flew one of these explosive devices, but also walked out in the completely terrifying unsupported spacewalk efforts.  We did not check his dick, but we imagine it was immense, as were his fucking balls.  How do you design a spacesuit to accommodate the size of those fucking balls?>

I once visited the EAA when they had Spaceship One do a fly by.  It was awesomely loud

And then we had Star Trek, which demonstrated we could hope for love and fellowship against hate and violence.

I still believe that.

As has been said, let’s light this goddam candle.

Not one of you asked for this, which is why I am putting this out.  LOL.  You guys are all masochists, I am sure.

So, we went to Spain.  This was, as you might expect, very cool.  But I have a history, you know, or maybe you don’t and here you go, whether you want or not.

In college, I was in a studio that had restricted admission, that was involved with the area that was the Olympic Village, and we had one of the architects from the master planning firm drop in for visits.  But I was admitted based on my prior studio work.   I spent much time researching the city and its architecture, and of course I fell in love with the city and with Antonio Gaudi.  Because of course, I have affinity for insane people.

We flew into Madrid.  Lovely city.  and then we went all over the country, and spent much time on a bus, but…. Granada, Toledo, Valencia, Seville, Cordoba.  Every one special in their own way.  But here; I needed to go to Barcelona, because that was where that old project was centered.  And I finally got there, like 25 years after. And we saw Cathedrals, FFS, cathedral after cathedral.  I am so tired of Cathedrals, I know all of this from my Architectural History classes, and I am so tired of thinking that the Church has done nothing  but steal from their people for thousands of years….

And here;  this is the kind of modern intervention I love in the midst of historic cities.  Because, yes, cities are built over time and reflect the new stuff every time, and this is alarming until the next generation, who just say this is part of the city.  But this:

 

Is lovely and exciting example of modern intervention in the midst of an historic city., and this is the kind of thing I love.  The only complaint I have on this is that throughout Spain, all the paving is wonderfully textured and complex and tough to walk on, and this was depressingly plain.  I think there was a lost opportunity here, to make the plaza below a well woven part of the city…

Barcelona is a real, for fucking real city.  Hundreds of taxis, and most people use motorcycles and scooters at best.  Also, they have actual transit.  And after much great times across Spain, we ended up in Barcelona.  Where I wanted to be.  Where I wanted to SEE.  Being in this city was lovely in every way.  But here is where I have to get all architect about this.  SO bail if you would like.

Antonio Gaudi was a lunatic who connected with a patron.  He was aggressive and shitty, and his fame largely came after he died.  Which happened because he was driven over by a tram driver.  Gaudi loved to stop traffic so he could look at his work and he would walk into the street to stop traffic so he could look at his work, and come on, but tram drivers must have hated him. So one ran him over.  And because he dressed like a tramp, he was ignored until someone took him to the hospital for the indigent, where, after a couple of days, someone recognized him just in time for him to die.  Which is the health care the Republicans think we should have available.

So I loved what I found about the city.  The rules about the expansion.  And after being here, the way those expansion  regulations have been incorporated into daily life.  The 8 sided blocks.  The sidewalk cafe culture.  We had sangria and nachos while staring at Sagrada Familia and feeding the pigeons: IMG_2875

Here is where I am going to tell you to go ahead and skim the rest, because I will be getting into the weeds and lots of feels….

Because I have been feeling, since my Adventures in Modern Medicine, that I seem to have lost the ability to feel strongly, for art or music or snuggly animals.  And as great as it was, coming soon after my heart attack, the Mekons show in Mineral Point, I have to count.  I have seen so many great musicians and enjoyed them, but they haven’t made my brain triggers go nutty nut nutters.

And based on that college history, I needed to see Gaudi buildings.  And we did.  But first, we walked around the Cathedral, and as I went around, I was feeling disappointed.  And as the guide talked about how there were a series of dudes who directed the construction based on their own ideas – because Gaudi designed by models and fudging and yelling at people on site.  And the 4 or 5 or 6 people running the show since, nobody really knows what he meant.  But you can see it.  Well, I can see it, you may or may not….

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I was tremendously amused by the fact that they already have to start cleaning the stone of the first efforts, while the remainder is still under construction.  I love that the existing stone  will not only be different from the new stone being used, but that cleaning the older stone will never make them look the same.

But here is what I saw, almost immediately upon walking up.  It is completely obvious that the newer parts of the cathedral are being done by someone else.  You can see that the bronze model of the whole mess is completely different from what is being built.  And I felt, that from the outside, that the lack of a supervising loud person has resulted in something that does not cohere.  My wife agrees, and FFS that is rare….

So here is the thing.  First, I walked up and saw the building and I hated that obviously the subsequent  architects could not resist to put their own stamp on it.  And as I walked around, I started to question the designs of Gaudi.  I found a lot of it to be silly and frumpery.  I became a bit harsh.  I became a bit tough.  I was no longer enthralled, this was not the masterwork it was extolled as, it was kind of a mess.

So the next day, we went to Parc Guell.  Which was completely amazing and a lovely work, in so many ways.  designed with two or three levels, it is a tour-de-force of design for landscape and the integration with the built environment.  It was a chance for Gaudi to party as a designer, and make all kinds of crazy that was still functional and would be a part of the life of the kinds of rich people who paid him for work.

It was all kinds of lovely, and a great ability to recover from my initial response to the Sagrada Familia…

Because then we went back down to the cathedral for an interior tour.  And that was a 4:30 afternoon, on a bright day, which is important.  We were there a bit early so we found a cerveseria, and got some sangrias and nachos, and looked at this:

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So, then we went to our scheduled entry of the church, and the first thing I noticed is that the bronze model of the church is much more complete and coherent than the current state of the exterior building, as I have been saying up above.  Architects love to fuck with shit; Gaudi took the basic floor plan of this church from a gothic architect, and turned it into this massive eruption of personal design.  The eastern apse is representative of the birth of Christ, and the western apse is representative of the Passion;  the southern portion is the eventual entry, which is scheduled for completion on or about 2026 (I am skeptical) which hilariously, requires the demolition of buildings that were built across the street in full knowledge that they would be time-limited, but they kind of thought it would take forever….

And then we went into the church.

It must be understood that Gaudi went beyond any Gothic design or engineering, by using Catenary arches to provide freestanding columns and arches that do not need subsequent support, and then there were more opportunities for colored glass and lighting from above.  He used innovative techniques to design the arches, which all work together to be a complete structure that works together.  And then he had glass artists that provided blues and greens on the birth side, and oranges and reds on the passion side.

I wandered the apse, and I had the audio thing but I paid little attention.  I was looking and seeing and absorbing.  I took some weird vertical panoramas which came out kind of nice:

The spaces within this building were astonishing, and I walked into people because I couldn’t stop looking up.  But the time we were there, we had the opportunity to see the afternoon sun casting through the red and orange windows and making the whole place sing with color.  And I felt joy.

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When we left the church through the passion entrance, which is much more severe and modern in sculpture, but they have a GOOD DOG:

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And a couple of nights after getting back, we saw the Musical Box, a tribute band for early Genesis; which they did not play the song Visions of Angels, if they had I would have likely burst into tears thinking back to the feelings I had in this building.

And so here.  All the feels I ever have.  This church and the previous Calatrava buildings, they brought it back, near as I can tell.  A buddy and I saw the Genesis tribute band the other night, and it swept me up.  FFS, I was walking over a bridge toward my office, listening to the new Mekons album and it brought tears to my eyes. Something- SOMETHING – has been repaired, somewhere.  Was it Gaudi?  Was it Spain?  Was it something else?  Dunno.  Should I care?  It feels good to feel something that has been missing….

 

well, hey.  You remember the other day, when I said Wisconsin was closed?  Well, we took a WHOLE GODDAM TWO DAYS OFF, not so much from the snow but from the 20 below temperatures right after.  But since then, we have had TWO fucking deep snowfalls, not to mention a couple of warm days in-between, which allowed some of the snow to melt, then get piled up behind the snow that did not melt, and then it all froze again.  Which then got covered by new snowfall, providing slip-n-fall hidden traps designed to kill Wisconsinites.

or, as the Eskimo say, kaniktshaq moritlkatsio atsuniartoq.  strictly translated, it says “Observe the snow. It fornicates.”  But the intent is clear:  LOOK AT ALL THE FUCKING SNOW.

This is the toughest snow year in a long time.  When I moved to Milwaukee, we had a snow year that had heroic piles of snow along side roads, and the intersections, you had to lean out and peer along to see if cars were coming.  And that was when I wasn’t even a property owner, where now I have to shovel that shit my own bad self (I keep an eye on the smartwatch, making sure I don’t over do it.  You know, if you read the past).

But this is what we do in Wisconsin.  We are all shoveling today, and tomorrow we will just go to work like normal.  Because we have boots and brandy.

So, now I got that off my chest, I have to get heavy.  Me, very heavy.

Some might expect that I might be talking about Ryan Adams, and I feel tough enough about that, but it’s not.  But it is related, in that his early work was released through an awesome label, Bloodshot Records in Chicago – they release Langford and Mekons content, and that should make them cool enough.

What I found out tonight is that the life partner of one of the founders of the label, was abusive and grabby toward one of the label’s artists.

This is appalling.

I friended this guy on Facebook, and have been a fan of his music.  I unfriended him tonight, as soon as I heard.

This is so sickening.  Every woman I know has these stories.  I start to look back and wonder, “when did I do something a woman did not appreciate and still hates me for?  And I don’t know when.  I feel queasy when I think it might have happened.  When I have been an employer, I never treated my employees in any other way, but maybe in my personal life….it makes me feel bad for anyone I might have.

FOR FUCKS SAKE, MEN, THIS IS NOT THAT HARD.  when they say no, they are not kidding.  back the fuck off, and if the deal changes, they will come back to you.  Being asked to call a cab is a pretty good indicator, don’t be a fucking rapist dick.

As has once been said, men are afraid that women will laugh at them.  Women are afraid that men will kill them.

The difference in power is what women say when they rail against the patriarchy, and the change is what men want to resist, because the status quo is a fucking good deal for them.

At this point, I don’t know what to say.  I am heartened that the Me Too movement is encouraging women (and men, let’s not forget the bravery of people like Terry Crews) to come forward even when the perpetrators are not the richest, most famous people.  The idea that this massive outpouring of stories of abuse and sexism need to stop being treated as some fakery by a small number of people, but that this is endemic, it exists everywhere.

I am very disheartened to find that people in the music industry I respect, have been embroiled in this.  I am particularly chagrined to find that a Musician I liked, is one of the perpetrators.

I think the only alternative is to continue and deepen the Me Too movement, in that people who feel that they have been abused in any way, come forward.  In a way, certainly that allows the accused (if named) to defend themselves or provide the alternative memory.

But this still taints me for musicians I liked.  And I hate them for that.

Related videos:

I recognize that second video is different, but as a black belt who helped teach women (and men) self defense techniques, I felt the attitude was good.

Meanwhile, guys, can you fucking just pull back a little?  Or a Lot?