Old Man Problems Part II

January 29, 2020 at 12:50 pm (Cosmic Encounters)

I’ve always tried to keep up with the times. Maybe not jump onto every bandwagon, or follow every fad, but enough to keep current with the state of affairs. I’m not a technology nut, but I have a smartphone and know how to turn a CD into an MP3.

At least I did, back in the day.

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Hope Springs Eternal

December 1, 2019 at 3:45 pm (Cosmic Encounters, Cussed Dumbers, That's not funny...)

Lost Hope?

After fifteen years on the Avenue, I have met a lot of people from all walks of life. Some affluent, others flush with personality, some are rich in earthy aromas. Everyone brings something to the store, even if it’s just irritation and anguish.

It can’t be easy being a fifty-year-old woman living on the streets, yet I know several. You’ve met Crazy Catwoman Carol, Carol Jr, and some of the others; allow me to introduce Hope.

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Shut Up And Sit Down

August 11, 2019 at 11:10 am (Cosmic Encounters, On the road again...)

I wrote this as a guest post on a fellow-blogger’s site. It was an honor to guest-pilot From The Driver’s Side. Thank you, Deke! Keep on rollin’…

Back when I was a teenager, pondering my future options, I’d contemplated becoming a bus driver.

I loved to drive, and was good with people. One little catch: I also loved the devil’s lettuce, my “girlfriend Maryjane.” Since government agencies frown on their drivers firing up before a shift, my career as a twenty-ton land-yacht captain would have to wait for more ‘normal’ times. We’re still waiting for that clear patch on the ol’ drug test.

In the meantime, I’ve been known to drive a cash register at a convenience store in the heart of beautiful downtown Portland. It’s a lot like driving a bus, people-wise. Babysitting, massaging bosses’ egos, etc. You have your nice ones, your sweet ones, your strange ones. And your scary ones. At least at my job I don’t have to drive them home.

But I do have to get to work, a 100-block journey I have not yet been forced to walk. Thanks to TriMet, I get delivered within a mile or so of my targets every day.

They used to call the bus-pass the Passport to Adventure. For me, it still is.

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The Redhead’s Rolling Rock Review

March 15, 2018 at 11:40 am (Cosmic Encounters, On the road again...)

I look forward to Wednesdays. Mizelle and Lily come down from the mountain, and I chauffeur them all over the metro area. One of the perks is the music. The Ford Explorer has a CD player as well as AM/FM, and it gets put to use.

Knowing better than to mess with another’s presets, I clicked around on the radio until I found presets closest to the stations I was after. Preset One, or Preset Five, and four clicks of the search button going right, got me one of the two classic rock stations in Portland.

KGON, to quote Bob Seger, is still the same. I called it the B.S. station. Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Squier, Buffalo Springfield. But no Black Sabbath, unless you count Paranoid. (Or Iron Man, if the DJ has to take a shit.) KGON does play a lot of Ozzy, but mostly Crazy Train and Mama, I’m Coming Home. Sho’nuff, Mr Crowley was playing when I turned on the radio.

So we click button number five, and push seek four times, to find 105.9 The Brew. Basically KGON with more Def Leppard and less Journey. (I stopped Believin‘ a long fuckin’ time ago.) Bonus: Cort Webber from the old KUFO days is the 10 AM-2 PM DJ, so the on-air interjections are humorous and brainier than usual. It’s comforting to hear a voice on radio that has been there for 30 years. From his intern days on the Bill Prescott Show, to the Cort and Fatboy heyday, Cort’s baritone snarkery is a constant favorite. He’s like Portland’s Walter Cronkite, with more nose hair.

Lily helps with musical selection. I try to explain that Pink Floyd isn’t really anti-education as we rock out to Another Brick In The Wall on the way to school. Pink Floyd gets the loud treatment; it was fun watching Lily’s face react as Welcome To The Machine threw itself around the speakers of the SUV. I reassured her it was supposed to sound that way, and the car wasn’t falling apart.

Time, with all the bells and cuckoo clocks, plays nicely in our terrestrial space ship.

Sadly, most of both channels are a playlist unchanged from 1986. Can we put Steve Miller away already? And Bon Jovi? Fuckin’ king of the earworm. I love AC/DC, but all they ever play is Back in Black and TNT. Put on some Soul Stripper or Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, and watch the volume knob have an orgasm. Judas Priest is touring again, sounding as good as ever. How about a little love? Besides You’ve Got Another Thing Coming? (I noticed they are playing the song Grinder on this tour. It’s radio-safe!)

Ozzy’s duet with Lita Ford is lovely, but I skip songs about suicide when Lily is in the car. We have some deep conversations. I’m not ready for that one yet.

The past few weeks I’ve been bringing CDs, either off my sister’s “drinking pile” or stuff I’d previously burned for road trips. Lily wasn’t as excited about Blue Oyster Cult as I was, but, judging from her facial cues, she really enjoyed my Paul McCartney and Wings homemade greatest hits. We were the band on the run…

After 12-13 hours, I’m ready to let the eardrums rest for another week. I’m keeping my eyes open, in case Sister unearths another great one. My ace in the hole? When Bohemian Rhapsody comes on, and both Lily and Mizelle are in the car, I’m going full-on Pavarotti.

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Martian Meringue

December 26, 2017 at 4:20 pm (Cosmic Encounters)

Pass The Butter

If you’ve seen Last Tango In Paris, you know that butter plays an important role in one scene. This is not that kind of butter. This butter, once a pastel yellow, ends up looking like a day-glo green cheesecake. It’s why I’ve been gaining weight, and why I’m happy as a clam most days.

This butter will take you places…

Harvest season was good to me. Thanks to Dizzy and Steel Rod, I’ve had a big pile of sweet leaf to play with. As I go, I refine my technique. My only problem? I’m running out of homegrown…

I was hoping to make it until early summer with what I’d scored when the outdoor season ended. I had nearly a pound of shake, leaf and buds. I picked the buds out, after discovering that they are better smoked than ate. (The edible high isn’t particularly enhanced whether it’s bud or leaf, so no point cooking the bud. Smoke that shit!) However, when I have as much as I want, I tend to go through it.

I have become a huge fan of Eggo waffles. A thick coating of the mean green lactate-extract-of-hooved-mammal, melted under the broiler and sprinkled liberally with cinnamon-sugar, is a five-hour buzz that will put me down for a nap if I don’t keep my brain busy.

I’ve been sleeping wonderfully.

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So Long, Been Good To Know Ya…

October 11, 2017 at 5:40 pm (Cosmic Encounters)

The Outlaw Returns

I come from a long line of stubborn people. If they found out something was incorrect, if they had once believed it, you would *still* have to prove to them three different ways. In the case of religion particularly, but I blame their passing down the ‘common sense’ gene for my agnostic ways. (I’m not saying stupidity skips a generation, and I’m not saying I disbelieve, but if God walks up, sticks out his hand and introduces himself, I will listen politely and reconsider.) A lot of my parents ways demanded stubbornness, therefore I walked in with a bunch.

So when I make a life-changing decision, it’s not done without much hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth. But I’ve been thinking long and hard, and have come to this conclusion:

I’m letting my medical marijuana card expire, and I am not renewing…

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Dairies and Berries

September 15, 2017 at 11:23 am (Cosmic Encounters, On the road again...)

Mizelle was lighting up my phone. “Hi there!”

“Well, hello sir!” she replied. After exchanging pleasantries, she got down to business. “Want to do me a favor?”

“Sure. Whatcha want?’ Her favors aren’t usually too annoying.

“I’m buying a truck out in Scappoose, and need someone to drive it back. You game?”

“Of course I am!”

And so began my summer vacation.

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Bishop Takes Night: Check!

July 4, 2017 at 11:59 am (Cosmic Encounters, Waxing Nostalgic)

Portland Waterfront Blues Festival

I am a Portlander through and through. Though I was raised in Sandy, Oregon I was born in Portland, and the minute I was allowed to ride the bus by myself I was all over the city, investigating, pretending to be a cop or a criminal or wherever my imagination (and TriMet) would take me. Much like these days, I’d rather be out walking around, soaking up atmosphere and enjoying my weird city.

Back then, there was a thing called Neighborfair. It was an end-of-summer day-long concert, and a good reason to load up on cheap wine and head for the park. When I heard there was going to be a blues festival?

I was down there waiting when the opening act took the stage.

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My Civic Doody

June 30, 2017 at 10:30 am (Cosmic Encounters, Cussed Dumbers)

Every two years, near Mizelle’s birthday, I get called for jury duty. It’s that time again.

I tried to get out of it in previous years, but they are tenacious. (“Okay, then when can you serve…?”) Jury duty fell on my days off, so might as well get it over with.

At the same time, Dizzy was leaving town, and needed a cat-sitter. Since Naomi and I get along famously, (and I get along with Dizzy okay) she asked if I would peek in on kitty, make sure she’s fed, didn’t poop in the sink, etc…

For my troubles? Use of a downtown loft…

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Out In The Country

May 31, 2017 at 11:17 am (Cosmic Encounters, On the road again..., Sweet sticky things)

After a fifty-hour work week, lots of work drama, and a phone that won’t stop ringing, I needed a respite.

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