Monday, March 31, 2008



We had a round of layoffs today,and,while I was spared,some others were not.The majority of those laid off came as no surprise,short calls and travelers mostly.But they laid off Chuck.I've been working with Chuck steady since the Tower of Evil,and before that at UT.All together for a couple of years.
It made me sad,Brian,a traveler who got laid off today grabbed me after the news and gave me a hug saying-"Rob-what's wrong buddy?You look like you just lost your best friend".And I said I had,Chuck and I had a groove,we were a good team.That thought was echoed by almost everyone.We worked together well and, he was a very funny man with a background similar to mine.I'll probably see him again down the line,which is good,but in the meantime I have to get balanced with someone new.
So,heres to Chuck-crusty and wise-I'll miss our time doing 'lectric work together buddy.
I don't pretend to understand the decisions contractors make in regard to who to lay off and who to keep-that's really none of my business.I'm fairly certain it comes down to money,and that makes sense.But the loss of Chuck left everyone scratching their heads.He was a hard worker,dependable and well liked by everyone else on the crew.Go figure I guess.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Talkin' 'bout my girl...

I love this song...the viddy is pretty cool too.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

White Trash, Muthafucker!
So Rob gets home after making a store run and finds that I'm talking on the phone with my mom. He decides to be all polite and such by listening to music in headphones rather than cranking the stereo. Except that he forgets that when he screams "White Trash, Muthafucker!" while he's singing along to a song by Jesus Christ Superfly, the sound isn't only in his head. Bless my mom though; despite being 84 years old and a lifelong, dedicated Catholic, nothing was said (other than an awkward pause in conversation each time he yelled it out.)

I've always wanted a ceiling mounted pots and pans rack for our kitchen,but I didn't want to pay the outrageous price most places charge.As opportunity would have it,there was some leftover cable tray on the job that was just perfect for our kitchen.
I already had the leftover chain from another job,so all I needed was eye/toggle bolts,S hooks and washers.
The process:(click to enlarge)

Measure the chain and assemble the toggles...I used 3/8 inch hardware to support the weight of the pots and pans.

I used a paddle bit to drill the holes,which sprayed sheetrock dust everywhere!(I should have used a hole saw instead).

And there it is...a pots and pans rack,and all it cost me was an hour of my time and 15.00 in hardware-take that Ikea!

Friday, March 28, 2008


Me and Chuck went from the main floor to the electrical room to check on the availability of circuits for a run we were doing.Another apprentice admonished me to "not step on the moth".There was an intricately decorated moth on the floor inches from my boot.He bent over and scooped it up,commenting it reminded him of the silence of the lambs moths-and truth be told,it did.He placed it on a rung of his ladder,and it immediately fluttered off and landed on Chucks Jeans,about mid calf,where it settled in for a meal of cotton I guess.We all had a chuckle about it and Chuck and I made our way back to the task at hand.
After about a half an hour back at our spot,Chuck was up on the ladder and noticed something on his shirt was the moth,who had somehow made the climb up his leg and chest to his sleeve.I said it's that fucking moth (because everything is fucking to an electrician)and Chuck just said"well,I guess he's still with me".And went about his business,moth in tow.
And when Chuck came out of the ceiling the moth was gone.
If you ever wondered where those dead insects come from that appear in the strangest places this could explain it.I personally hope the moth found it's way out and flew away.
To a better place,somehow a better moth for crawling around on Chuck for an hour or so.
Yeah,spiritual moments still happen,in the strangest of places.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I decided to put some thought into what I was trying to say with this song,and even scrawled some words down.But just as a guide.It is now called "Evangelicals".I ran through it once or twice and then recorded this.It's a little bright-need to learn the mic settings better I guess.And even though the slide show timing is almost spot on,I still managed to blow it,three lines from the end!Enjoy...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Mostly to those listening.I do a stream of (sometimes semi)consciousness form of song writing.I come up with a melody and then make up lyrics off the top of my head.Sometimes it works out well (Reststop),sometimes it doesn't (this take).But I thought it was funny and wanted to share.I love "beer Jesus" too.As I progress on my new years resolution I'll share moments like these,and hopefully some good ones as well.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


We were unloading a transformer off a flat bed truck,and this dude removed half the tail gate panel (big,metal and heavy) and leaned it against the other one.We had high gusty winds today,and one came along and blew it off the truck.As luck would have it,he was leaning down extending the lift directly below it.By the time I took half a step,it had hit him.He wasn't wearing a hard hat.Ouch.How it didn't knock him the fuck out is anyones guess.

Nicked from Blueberry at Texas Oasis:

How many cannibals could your body feed?
Created by OnePlusYou -

Monday, March 24, 2008


Corndog,bean burrito (whose filling I swear I last saw in a diaper) and an orange soda.And yes,that's ketchup.A bargain at $3.00-not.Further proof that it makes sense to bring your food from home.
The soda was good anyway.
So,Saturday I went to the bank early and deposited my check,then went to waterloo and bought the new Levon Helm CD "Dirt Farmer".Levon was the drummer in The Band and has this amazing voice.He got throat cancer a while back,and recovered,and he also recovered his voice...a bit scratchy,but it's Levon,that's for sure.It's traditional music and it rules.
So...later on I decided to buy a compact shelf unit stereo and cruised out to best buy.I put my new stereo in the trunk and turned the key to head home,nothing,nada,the tempo was dead.
And of course my phone was sitting on my desk,so I couldn't call Ann,the kind folks at best buy let me use the phone,and for some reason,I blanked on Ann's number as my mind filled with images of an easter Sunday spent under the tempo in a gritty,shitty parking lot instead of a day spent jamming out to new music on a new system.After calling my phone repeatedly,Ann finally answered but the spare key to the rodeo was nowhere to be found and then we remembered it didn't work anyway-drat!I even briefly found my inner asshole and Ann thought she had one of her customers on the phone instead of me,but I quickly reeled that shit in.So...what do you do in a pinch?Call LT!He came to my rescue...I also saw one of my electrician buddys and his sister while waiting by the deflicted tempo (hey!It has a slayer sticker on it-I may be dead in the water,but I rock,man).I open the door to get a smoke and look down on the floor board.And what do I see?The anti theft device I knocked out of it's rightful place with my knee without noticing.I plug it back in and she starts right up,just as LT pulls up.(re created here for your amusement)

Seems that it was kismet or karma or one of those k words that we called LT,he lost his beloved Rikki-a very cool little dog,and he was needing to get away from the house anyway,so he followed me home and we had a nice visit on the porch and listened to new music on a new machine.I moved the new jams inside on Sunday,it does it all.CD,DVD,MP3...I rigged the speakers up high with eye bolts and S hooks...Ann tied the laptop into it today,the one with a years worth of music on I-Tunes.Behold:

We can control this sucker via Ann's computer,which is really cool.And just in case you're wondering BW,that yellow thing on the wall is a colored pencil drawing I did for Kyle when he was a wee lad.

Wake up!Go to a more interesting page!

Sunday, March 23, 2008


You can't really see it,but this dog is sporting ink on his belly-"honky" in old english letters.This is my buddy Hez.I got tired of my eyelets coming out of my ears and went back to the captive bead hoops...I needed someone to put those captive beads in,and Hez hooked me up.He did my leg sleeves and my neck.good man,that Hez,I woke him up and he still helped me out.He's got the nicest pits I ever met,and that's saying a lot.

No trailer park for me this easter ... bummer.Quick thinking Rev went across the street to El Mercado for breakfast tacos.Haven't been in there for ages,but back in the day Annabelle and I had our own booth..31 I believe it was.
The bartender was the spitting image of an old El Mercado waitress and bass player in Pork,Mary Hat(t?)man-that triggered many happy memories of back in the day.
Got up very early this morning-naps will do that to ya I guess.Went to 7-11 for coffee at around six am,and as luck would have it,there was a bum waiting there to harrass me.I moved to a different parking space hoping to avoid him,but when I came out of the store,there he was.I'm a bum magnet I guess.He just wanted a light (yeah,right)...I left my lighter and gigs on my desk as the 7-11 is 5 minutes no matches for the bum,who was highly insulted and stumbled off complaining about Austin and saying he was going back to Denver.
Good luck you stumble drunk charlie manson looking scumbag walking like Tim Conway.Get yer match somewhere else... bitch.Maybe he could get a job with hotels dot com.

Happy easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008


I got some new work boots today.As you can see,the old boots look a little tired.Truth be told,they are wore the fuck out.They have served me well since I bought them last year in February (I think) considering I wore them every day,even on my off days.Missing eyelets now,and developing a "mouth" on the left sole it's time to say goodbye to daily wear.
Say hello to the new boots...same brand,different style.These new kicks have steel toes and no eyelets.In my opinion,Timberland makes some kick ass work boots priced at 100.00 or less.
You know those storefront cage gates in malls they bring down when it's closing time ?I learned how to wire them up today.The rest of the day was spent tracing circuits,we found out why we have no power to a room full of plugs,but didn't figure out how to correct it.We ran out of time and energy and decided monday morning was a good time to do it.
Mandatory overtime is over since we passed our final inspection,so it's back to 40 hour weeks.
Whew! on that.
Got the new Ministry CD (the last:( ) "The Last Sucker"-the third in a series bashing the Bush administration beginning with "Houses of the Mole" followed by "Rio Grande Blood".It rules!
In fact,I'm gonna listen to it again right now.and so can you:

Have a groovy weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I was listening to Fresh Air on our local NPR station KUT on the way home this afternoon and the interview subject was Nick Trout,a vet surgeon in Boston.He talked about the advances in vet care and the ability to extend dogs and cats lives through medical intervention.His thoughts about euthinasia (or,in the vernacular of us texans "puttin' em' down") had me in tears as the slide show of dogs (children) I have lost played out in my mind.This is truly someone who believes in what he's doing.He impressed me,and reminded me of my vet in many ways.You have to respect these guys and gals that treat maladies without the benefit of the patient being able to tell them where it hurts.
He's written a book called Tell me where it hurts that I think I'm going to check out.
You can listen to this interview here:Nick Trout interview


I spent a lot of time over the last 2 days up in this tight area of the ceiling fucking around with a home run box.When we initially turned the breaker on there was a direct short and the breaker tripped and arced inside the panel.Chuck and I solved the problem in short order,but discovered,to our dismay,that a line connecting the plugs between the womens and mens restrooms was missing.So we corrected that too.We also discovered that the water fountains were tied into that circuit when they needed a circuit of their own-we corrected that one too(I like the challenge of coming behind other peoples work and finishing it-really-I do,it makes you think and stretch your abilities).At the end of the day,all was right again in the east end bathrooms.
Every job I've been on,I've learned something new,and so far on this one I've learned to tune those damned sink sensors and a thing or two about trouble shooting shorts.
Getting closer to the goal all the while.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I watched this BBC report on tent cities popping up across the US comprised of victims of the foreclosure tsunami currently washing its way across the country.My first thought is,"self,why haven't you seen this kind of reporting on american news outlets"?Then I realize the obvious and feel stupid for a second.
Bushco says the economy is ok,robust even,and I say to myself,"self,if that's the case,then why are there these tent cities popping up all over the place"?Then I realize that it's obviously not the case and only another lie in a very long string of lies that has thrust this country into deeper,more widespread poverty and hopelessness and war and the derision of the rest of of the world.
We are a shadow of our former selves thanks to those assholes in the whitehouse,and the shadow grows and gets darker every day.Why someone hasn't tried to kill those motherfuckers is beyond me.We have been abused and compromised and lied to and laughed at by this administration beyond any limits.And they aren't finished yet,there's still time for some more rape and pillage of our well being,our national pride,and our reputation.And you can be sure they will milk that tit to the very end,count on it.
It's just like what the nazis did to the eskimos back in 1958(ok,so I stole that from SNL...sue me).
But seriously,we're getting a serious fucking here and it seems like most folks are biting the pillow and taking it in the hope that it will be over soon.
But it won't.Not for a long,long time.
If you think a democratic whitehouse will correct the ills of two terms of the biggest shitbag in the universe,think again.Democrats are idealistic pussies(I think the new congress has underlined that beautifully)Even if they somehow manage to take the whitehouse,don't hold your breath.They are as ineffective as the current occupation,just less malevolent and malignant.
And just think about what happens when China calls in their debt.
Here at depthmarker we've been grazed by the economic bullets,but have avoided a fatal blow-so far.
But,anything could happen,and for the record I will burn this house to the ground before I'll let anyone or anything take it from us.I've got a big tent and know how to rough it.
I remember simpler,better times-but it's distant and fuzzy.
My heart goes out to those people in that BBC report-I could be one of them at any moment.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I guess that's short for motherfuckers.Overall,I've been disappointed by the level of shitter graffiti on this job,at most other jobs it's been either funny and/or racially charged.The vast majority on this one has been focused on a particular member of our crew,calling him gay,a suck up and a fuck off.I'm fairly certain he's not gay,I don't perceive him as a suck up or someone prone to fucking off.He is the assistant to the foreman,and his duties are different from the regular grunts on the job,but,shit that's his job.I think maybe some are jealous/resentful.
Personally,I don't give a fuck...he's a likeable guy just doing his job (part of which is making sure we aren't fucking off).Go figure.
And let me mention again,security lighting sucks...big and hard,but we are now experts at it.
Today was a mixed bag of challenges,each of them met with good,if not bloody,results.Metal studs are like a wall frame made out of razor blades,some so sharp that you don't even realize you've cut yourself until you see the blood or feel the sting when the sheetrock dust gets in it.
That's all PUTOS!!!:)

Monday, March 17, 2008


I have this little game that I play with myself.I take popular songs from any generation that have the word love in the lyrics and substitute it with the word drugs.Much hilarity ensues (for me anyway).
Some faves...

"I'm on drugs-I'm all fucked up-uh hmm hmm"...Elvis
"I'm all out of drugs,I'm so out of drugs"...Air Supply
"Crazy little thing called drugs"...Queen
"Drugs hurt"...Nazareth

I frequently sing them at work...go on-give it a try.
Still working those long hours...I so fucking hate security lights.
Oh yeah...happy St. paddy's.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


So my little experiment was a gigantic fucking flop,all I got was the equivalent of text messaging from obviously some 20 something peckerwood ...(update! the onslaught has begun!the furious scratching out and the use of the word "puto",who I can only guess is the wetback version of our beloved tomorrow)
Plus the fact that most of the wetbacks were gone when I did it.Oh well.I'll try to be more timely on the next attempt.
Watched No Country For Old Men really are no clean getaways.Fantastic fucking movie.The Cohen brothers rule.
Worked 8 hours today-ka-ching!-but god damn,the fatigue is starting to set in,I waded through the day like I was walking in mud...irritable,punchy.I kept saying to myself "300 dollars",and while it got me to 3:30,it didn't really help.I miss my life,I can only imagine what the guys who have been doing this for over a month feel.They have my empathy but I wish I had their bank.
But now it's off to bed.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


L-R:Sean,Kyle and Mac
This is such a cool picture.I just had to snag it from my sons page.Enjoy the love,ok? Thanks.
I've had one day off in the last 14 days,working 10's the whole time and tomorrow I'm pulling 8.
Which makes home time a premium.Ann has been cooking dinner which is cool,because by the time I get home all I want to do is drop my boots and chill.
Spent the whole 10 hours today building racks for lighting in ceiling spaces so congested that it was mind boggling,but we did it.10 pounds of shit in a five pound sack for sure.This is security lighting in holding cells-the fucking lens covers weigh 40 pounds,and the fixtures another 40.
You won't be hanging these using the ceiling as a brace.
Lots of thinking and problem solving today,but we did it,and it turned out well.
I bought some new goodies today-a L.E.D light with a clip for those dark spots in the ceiling and I replaced my 10 in 1 screwdriver that was stolen from me at another job.I can clip this fucker anywhere in the dark as it rotates around like a dream,I can't wait to use it,I closed myself up in the bathroom and checked the brightness with the lights off-it rules.
Blah blah blah you drummin' mofo!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Most of it anyway.I have these relics of the stoner age laying around the house...the bong that's older than my son went to my son for our very own obvious reasons.I gave my bullet away to a friend who I knew would put it to good use,and I gave my green and black hand carved onyx skull head pipe away to a friend who has been talking about buying a new pipe,but instead borrows mine...for weeks at a time.
I can't remember the last time I smoked weed,probably because of all the weed I smoked before I stopped-ha!But for a variety of reasons that part of my life is over for now,and probably forever-but you never know.I'm hanging on to my meershaum pipes though.They are works of art in my opinion and some of them (one in particular) were gifts.And they are a rememberance of times past,I can look at them and remember - and smile.
A much more pleasant buzz than actually putting them to use.
There's this box in the attic...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Awesome squash
Tonight I made one of the best yellow squash dishes I've ever tasted thanks to a mystery pepper that I picked up at HEB. It wasn't a Bell Pepper or an Anaheim, not a Poblano, Habanero, Jalepeno, Serrano, Hungarian Yellow, or a Banana pepper. The bin of peppers wasn't labeled and I had no idea what it was, but I was strangely motivated to try it. Turned out the cashier didn't know what it was either and charged me the price of an Anaheim. Naturally he picked the most expensive pepper, but at a grand total price of 15 cents I wasn't going to argue. Fortunately we have the internet these days and after some searching, I have decided it was a Cubanelle pepper. I hope they have these the next time I go there because I can think of a few other dishes that I'd like to try with this.

Now until tonight, the best yellow squash recipe I'd ever had was cooked up by my friend LT. I it was made with cheese and what I think were Anaheim peppers acquired from a specific place in another state (not sure on the pepper variety.) It was a campground standard from him back in our camping days and extremely tasty. It was in the spirit of that dish that I concocted what I cooked tonight.

To make it, I took some heavy duty foil and made a tray of sorts to hold the goodies. I chopped up 1/2 of a sweet onion and scattered it in the tray. I cut open the Cubanelle pepper and discarded the seeds and that part in the middle (what the hell do they call that? I forget...), then sliced the pepper into thin strips and scattered that in the tray as well. I sliced up 1/2 stick of butter and distributed that on top of the onion and pepper slices. I then sliced up some yellow squash to make a layer over the butter and sprinkled with coarse ground black pepper, salt and paprika. I repeated this with another layer of squash and seasonings (I used about three medium sized squash total.) I took a giant piece of foil and wrapped it all up to make a closed package making sure the butter wasn't going to leak out the bottom. I cook this sort of thing aside the coals while I'm waiting for them to burn down to the right level to cook the meat so I put it on the grill as soon as the starting flames calmed down enough and cooked it about an hour total. I'm not normally a big fan of squash, but I loved it and I'll be making this one again... provided I can find those peppers next time...

I'm 4 ft. 11 in. of hell hath no fury!I'm ball lightning!!Don't mess with me...seriously-don't...

Today is my Mom's birthday,and while she's been gone some 15 years it's still a major day in my calender of events.While I think about her all the time,today is spent reflecting on the impact she had on me and in the world.
My Mom taught me to be self reliant,how to have a good work ethic,how to be in the world.And as much as we butted heads when I was coming up,no matter how many times she threatened to wash her hands of me,she never did for long.And I am a better man as a result.
She was right about so many things.She was a strong woman.She was a hero in WW II.Have I mentioned before she received the Winston Churchill medal of honor for her service as a nurse?Well,she did.And that fucking rules in the book of cool things you can say about your Mom.
I miss her terribly and frequently wish I could talk to her about things,but if I suspend belief for a minute and buy into that hell below-heaven above nonsense,I am talking to her.Everyday.
And she's up there in heaven talking gods ear off-and he's listening.
In keeping with my new years resolution to have a CD with four acoustic songs in the bag by the end of the year-tonight I composed Happy Birthday for my Mom,I still have to work the edges off,but it's small and beautiful-just like my Mom.

Clowning around at break time

These are some of the guys on the crew at the new job,we have all worked together before on other jobs.For the three of us seated in the second picture above,we have been together for a couple of years.I thought the commodes were just perfect for a portrait.
Another long day of doin' 'lectric work is over,until sunrise anyway.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


You know those sinks in public restrooms that have a spigot and no faucets?The ones where you wave your hands around like a raccoon and the water comes on for 5 seconds?Yeah,those sinks.The sinks at the job I'm on are those,and I am now intimately acquainted on how they are suppose to work and why they frequently don't.
It's a low voltage system with a sensor in the spigot that reads your hands and sends a signal to a valve that opens and lets the water through.120 volts of energy come into a junction box and tie into a voltage transformer that converts it to 24 volts.If the transition occurs close to the sinks no problem,but just like any source of electricity,with distance you experience voltage drop.The farther away it is the more the drop,and while 200 feet is not so much an issue for 120 volts,24 volts is another story,which explains the waving around of hands for an inordinate amount of time before you can wash those germs away.It's less efficient.
Now that I've bored the hell out of you with that,lets talk about the installation.Each sink has an individual unit(already in place courtesy of the plumber) and let me tell you,plumbers are not electricians.We come in and drill a hole in the wall behind the unit and fish the wire provided up above the ceiling,mount the transformer in a box and hook up the power.Every unit was in a slightly different location under the sink,and the obstacles behind the wall were unseen and formidable.Insulation,studs,pipes,plywood supports.Our challenge is to push a fish tape through our little hole near the floor up the inside of the wall to a point where it comes out above the ceiling.With that done,we tie a string called jet line to the fish tape and pull it back down to the hole under the sink.The low voltage wires are then tied to the string and pulled back up to above the ceiling.
We did two bathrooms today,12 sinks total-6 went fairly easy,5 went really easy,and one we fought with from 9:30am to 2:00pm.
There were minor cuts and punctures,fiberglas insulation taunted us,there was up and down the ladder relays,much cussing and the fish tape got stuck in the wall,eventually leading to us cutting it off and starting over,but we prevailed.
And at the end of the day,we were tired and over it-but we felt like gods.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mortality with a twist
I spoke with my mom today as she was heading out to attend another funeral. She's had a lot of friends die over the last few months and I was surprised to hear her say, 'It's scary." I was surprised because death is no stranger to our family. My brother died when he was 19 (I was 4) and I had a very large extended family so there was always some relative dying - grandparents, great-aunts & great-uncles, aunts and uncles, quite a few cousins and also several close family friends along the way. My dad had his first heart-attack in his mid-40s and went on to have many more, plus two bypass surgeries, an aortic artery repaired and a heart valve replacement. The man's been at death's door more times than I can count so our family has had plenty of discussions about death as well as the possibility of death. So when my mom said "It's scary," I was a bit confused and didn't know quite what to say in response. As it was, she was headed out the door so we ended the call and it wasn't until later that I realized that it wasn't death itself that she was talking about, but the thought that one day she might be alive without any friends and family from her own generation. Now that's something we definitely haven't discussed before. Sure, we've talked about the "what if" of my dad dying, but there's always been the thought in the back of everyone's mind that she would still have her brothers & sisters and friends around if that happened. These days though, that's no longer a given. All families have their own way of dealing with stress, worry and fear and in my family we deal with it by having discussions. Even the fights in my family are nothing more than spirited discussions - there's no yelling, no throwing of dishes and the most dramatic thing that might happen is one party might storm off refusing to discuss things further... for a little while anyway - things never go undiscussed for long. So I'm sure this will come up again soon, but at this point I'm at a loss as to what to say that might offer any comfort or reassurances. It is indeed a scary thought, that one might be the last one standing of a group that had shared experiences going back as far as 80+ years. I suppose the best I can offer is to just listen.

When you have a pet for a long time,and said pet thinks you are a god or something,they learn the schedule of your comings and goings,and life revolves around you coming home.When I was at the tower,for example,she knew I would be home at around 3:45 and would begin the vigil at the door around 3:30.I would be greeted by howls and yips and toothy smiles as I came through the door like a returning hero.It's good to be loved.
But with these extended hours,poor Beenz just doesn't know what to do when I'm not coming through the door until almost dark.According to Ann she pines and sulks and curls up on my pillow or the ottoman by the door,looking miserable.


You got to feel sorry for her though,my increased work load has had a negative impact on the activity she lives and breathes for...the daily ride.I try to make up for it in other ways,but she's jonesing for the ride.Hell,I could load her up in the car and back out and back into the driveway and she'd be thrilled ,but I'm so tired when I get home I can't be assed to do even that for my little girl.So she gets peanuts instead,and extra rides on my day off.
I'm trying to be a good dad.:)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Screwing with the balance of the universe
Pissed Kitty posted that she saw a Slayer sticker on a minivan. This made me want to immediately go out and buy one for my 1992 white Ford Tempo because that would mess with the universe even more than a Slayer sticker on a minivan. And so off we went, even though I was in the middle of making pizza. I left the sauce cooling on the stove and I knew it wouldn't hurt the dough to have one more rise while we were out and about. Rob convinced me to go downtown to Aaron's on 6th street after promising that SXSW hadn't kicked off yet. Well, he was wrong about that and while the huge crowds haven't formed just yet there were still enough people milling around to make it annoying. Turned out Aaron's didn't have the Slayer sticker I wanted and I'm not sure why I thought they would have the same stickers they had back when I was a Slayer fan in the 80's. However, they did have the body outline sticker that I once possessed back in the day so I got that one. Here it is on the car, ready to freak out my mom the next time I go over there.

Then it was back to the pizza. I haven't made pizza in a long, long time and my favorite pizza dough recipe has since been forgotten so I invented a new one:
3 cups white flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
4 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon Italian Herb Seasoning
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
1-1/4 cups water
2 Tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon honey

Mix this up about an hour or so before you want to start putting the pizza(s) together so it has time to rise at least once. Of course, you can also cheat and only give it a 15 minute rise if you are in a rush, but it's easier to work with after a good rise or two. This makes enough for two thin crust pizzas or use it for one larger, thicker crust pizza. After you form your crust(s), brush or spray the top with oil and pop your crust(s) into a preheated 450 degree oven for about 3 to 5 minutes, just long enough to set the crust so the sauce doesn't soak in. Pull out of the oven and add your sauce, cheese and other toppings, then bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or so. If you are using cookie sheets, your crust will not be very crisp, but the cornmeal, whole wheat flour and the precooking keep it from being a soggy mess. If you are lucky enough to have a pizza stone, you probably won't need to precook the crust - not sure since I've never owned one.

As for the sauce, I've forgotten that recipe as well but something I've used in the past and fell back on this time was McCormick's Thick and Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix (a packet of premixed spices and who knows what else.) If you use this then go with the tomato paste instructions, but cut the water by about 1/2 cup. I think it needs doctoring up a bit - maybe add a pinch of sugar and some basil or whatever else you think it might need. If you like a lot of sauce on your pizza, make two packages worth.

Roly Poly, Mama's little fattie...
Irene has definitely put on the pounds this winter. Several months ago we noticed her collar was a bit tight. She traditionally gains a little extra weight in the winter so we just took the collar off and figured she'd fit back into it in come spring, as usual. Well, it's now spring, but Irene's neck is bigger than her head and there's no way that she's getting back into that collar.

I'm a big fan of Texas Swing so Rob has had to endure my singing the Roly Poly song every time I feed her. Rob's not particularly fond of Texas Swing and I usually don't torture him with that or even my singing, but I just can't help myself in this situation. And I think it might be enough motivation for him to get her a new collar and start taking her on walks. Mind you, he just needs to get her retrained to walk on a leash without pulling and then I'll be able to take over (the pulling kills my lower back.) I figure Irene can be my weight-loss buddy though she's probably not going to call me up and give me a hard time if I wimp out on walking one evening. Nor will she understand the conflict of calories vs. one more beer, but there's probably not a whole lot of people out there who would understand my love of beer anyway.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


(Warning:This might gross you out,or you may find it ethnically offensive)

I hate having to use port-o-lets...alternately known as "mexican space shuttles" or "nigger incubators" (I didn't make these up people,I've seen them scrawled on the walls numerous times)but more commonly referred to as "the shitter".And the scrawled responses indicate two things-the mexicans on job sites understand more english than they are letting on when not in the shitter and our brothers are on the hunt for what ever cracker head peckerwood who is living in the mississippi south of the 60's dissed them.
I was in one today,trying to maneuver myself so I could take care of business and have as little of my body touch the surface as possible and smoke a cigarette.I was looking around my environment and thought the amount of DNA crawling all over this unit must be overwhelming.And then I had a crazy thought-if you stayed in here long enough,you could morph into some other kind of being ala Jeff Goldblum in the fly.I ditched my smoke and got the hell out of there.
They are only serviced once a week,so on a big job you are almost guaranteed being greeted by a replica of the sculpture Richard Dreyfuss makes in Close Encounters out of mashed potatoes,only it's not mashed potatoes,when you lift the lid.
And there's always a small mirror on the inside of the door at face level.Why?You can't snort speed or coke off of it.Construction workers could give a shit how they look by and large,and the few women you find on sites don't wear make up.And if they did,I'm sure they wouldn't "fix thier make up" in a stinky fiberglas vestibule when they could do it in the car (if so inclined).
I'm just glad I'm not the guy who drives the service truck for these things...called the honey wagon by those of us in the trade.
What a shitty job...ha!


Friday, March 07, 2008


I remembered that I haven't bent conduit in 10 months.A dog is an accidental bend to the right or left of an intentional bend (in this case an offset) that should be straight.
I have been in the land of metal clad cable for almost a year,and,apparently,it shows.Anyway,it was almost 10 hours into a tough day,and since we are working tomorrow I decided to fix it first thing in the morning.Mostly because if I had attempted a correction then I would still be there on my 8th piece of pipe!Saw some more guys from past jobs today,that was cool,and tomorrow my old foreman and friend Rusty will be on hand for the fun.
I came home to a pork roast supper with potatoes and carrots (and gravy!) compliments of Ann.Very nice.
So now,I'm off to bed with my new copy of Chickenhawk-A novel,first person telling actually,of the experiences of helicopter pilots in Viet Nam.I first read this book over 20 years ago (my original copy long lost) and look forward to reading it again.If you're interested, it's by Robert Mason.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


The safety guy at the tower was quiet and easy going.The safety guy at this new gig is like Richard Simmons in an orange safety vest and a hard hat-and oh yeah-safety glasses.The general contractor has a hard on for everyone wearing them-all the time.This guy periodically stormed through the building shouting "It's Thursday safe day"!!!"Do you know what that means"?!?
It would be funny if it wasn't so annoying.I also wonder what horrible eye injury accounts for the obsession.
Otherwise,it was a routine day,working on a lift with my buddy Chuck installing lay in lighting.
10 hours today,probably 12 tomorrow and Saturday and maybe some hours on Sunday,that's still up in the air.Ka-ching!
Some of the old crew from the tower are there,and even some from UT,so that was cool.
I gotta get used to port-a-lets again though,nasty,nasty things those.Never take your flush toilets for granted least it was cold today:P.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Today was my last day at the tower of evil.I found out 20 minutes before quitting time that I was being transferred to another job.Something new!And the foreman and I have worked together before a couple of times,so,no worries there.
It's a remote location with no restaurants nearby,so I had to go lunch shopping this afternoon.Of course,there's a taco truck that stops by,but that's a gamble most times and I don't know if there are flush toilets on site-so the decision was obvious.
Another plus,there's overtime...according to reports,they are working 5 twelves and on weekends.Time and a half for anything over 8 hours during the week and Saturday,double time on Sunday!
I can make up for Ann's lost time in a week or two,which is good for us on the banking end of things.
I will miss the tower...It's funny,back in the headache days,whenever I left for a new job,there was this profound sense of loss.I attribute that to the nature of the work.I still feel the twinges of that these days,but by the time I get to my truck I'm over it.Electricians don't look back,they just move on to the same thing in another location.
And I'm ok with that.Actually,I'm more than ok with it.
Now that the brats are off the grill,it's time to eat and reorganize my tool bag for a new challenge.
And, I have to pack my lunch.Find my lunch box.My hack saw...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Come in different shapes and sizes...

And here are two...enjoy.
BP update
My blood pressure has gradually come down over the last week. I stopped taking the Naproxen for my back and the Benedryl for my allergies since both can raise blood pressure - not sure if that made any difference, but I figured it couldn't hurt. Heh, bad choice of words there - it does hurt in the sense that my back now keeps me awake at night even more than it has been. Anyway, it's still not down to normal levels, but it's not high enough to automatically go on BP medication. However, I'm not completely off the hook medication-wise since my doctor wants me to take a stress test to check for blockage in my arteries. I go back for blood work on Thursday and they are going to check my BP that morning. If it's up high again then the odds are good that I wouldn't be able to complete a stress test so I'd need to take the meds long enough to get that stress test out of the way. Then I would get off the meds and focus on lifestyle changes. Well, that's assuming the blood work and stress test don't show anything else going on. And I'm going to assume that will be the case because if not, well there's no sense in trying to cross that bridge before my feet even get there.

Overall,I've been doing pretty good at behaving myself,but Sunday,not so much.By the end of the night I was pretty hammered.I can think of several reasons for this.It has,in general been a period of high emotion and introspection for me on a number of levels for a while now.You could call it a mid-life crisis,but I prefer to call it "same old shit,just farther down the line".
I have been very worried about Ann's ongoing health issues,more to the point,it scares the hell out of me on a number of levels I won't even get into.I don't deal with issues of even skirting around mortality...not for myself,not for my pets,and certainly not about the most important person in my life.I'm a lot like my Dad was on these issues-and he was a man too-ha!
My relationship with my son and his family is evolving,in good ways.In ways that were ,because of my recent introspection,bringing up issues of my own worth as a father-but more importantly-a Dad.We went to see them on Sunday,and this all came bubbling up.I won't go into details,but we had a talk and hug and it turns out I wasn't so bad after all,and he learned from my mistakes-Hey,learning is learning,right?
Plus something else happened on Saturday that ended up involving my son,although it shouldn't have,and he had my back...
My phone started ringing on Saturday afternoon-I recognized the number of a former friend.I didn't answer,and it rang again,then again.There was a message.This is the guy I had the falling out with last summer involving the slayer show in San Antonio.He had an extra ticket to the Marilyn Manson show,it's free,we could "bury the hatchet"...blah-blah-blah.
I have no interest in mending fences...I guess you could call it a grudge,I call it "done".
Anyhoo-my son and his wife and some friends are going to the show,so I call him to give him a heads up.It's important to note thet they have known each other since Kyle was a little boy,and at the last show Kyle saw him at,he was snubbed.It hurt his feelings and pissed him off.
Well,needless to say,there was a confrontation at the Manson show.And while Kyle felt put upon-after all,why should he have to deal with an issue that has nothing to do with him except he happens to be my son?He's 23 now,and his own man,he basically told this guy,and his wife and some other guy to fuck off..."even if my Dad is wrong,he's my Dad and I'm gonna back him up".
There was attempted guilt tripping:Guy:"You know I've always loved you like a little brother".
Kyle:"So where have you been for the last 2 years"?Guy:"You know your Dad has a problem".
Kyle:(pointing to drink)"And what do you call that"?
That he had to be subjected to this kind of horse shit from a guy pushing 40 bothers me,but,according to Kyle,he shot him down at every turn and even kind of enjoyed it.But it still bothered me.
Work has been boring...
So...add all this up and it's a good excuse to get hammered,in my mind at the time anyway.
My buddy in Colorado called me at lunch today and asked me if I was good on Sunday (something we have been discussing-skip a day of usual behavior) and while I was tempted to lie and say I was,I couldn't,and I told him the truth.And that's what he focused on...that we won't lie to each other and that made him "proud of me"-"not that it matters to you if I am or not".
I can't lie to a friend,and I think him being "proud" is more a statement of the value of our friendship in as much as I'm not going to be dishonest with him,nor him to me.
So,in closing,some good-some bad.And life goes on for another 24.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Everybody's got one,some of us have more than one.There are even people who are so tangled up in holding on to the past that they can't move forward,because they have too many grudges in the fucking way.
Then there are those few that have a grudge against the world...the WORLD.Those are the ones with the really stooped shoulders-you've seen them and talked to them.Talking to people like that makes me want a nap,tiresome.
But we all have grudges,except for the people who don't and they are called Mr.Rogers.
I remember when I was 18 and working at the state school and I heard this description of an older co worker by another co worker:"She would complain about taking a good shit".Now that,my friends,is someone with a major grudge.Let's look at the definition of a grudge...

Grudge:n. A deep-seated feeling of resentment or rancor...

There are two kinds of grudges for me,I categorize them in the french parlance of descriptions of epileptic seizures-Gran mal (big fit) and Petite mal (little fit).I have lots of petite mals,which I guess falls under the definition of piss me off and I get over it quickly.I have had one gran mal that stays with me to this day,it is a feeling of resentment that will never go away.and it's name is Andy Hines.I hate that motherfucker.He's lucky I'm just depressed and not psychotic,otherwise he would be dead and I'd be in prison.I've learned to let go of most things,but this hatred remains as fresh as the day he shit on me and my family,and that's just the way it is.If I saw him on the street I would kick his ass with not a word spoken.
That is a grudge.
You can't carry things around with you in life,it weighs you down and makes everything else more difficult.But sometimes you just can't let things go until you think of a way to make it right,and in the case of Andy Hines-I'm still thinking.
Oh I'm talking about revenge.Revenge is sweet.Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Now I'm in cliche town.
So maybe when it's all said and done you need one good grudge to get you up in the morning.
Or maybe not.