Rambling Jack's Laboratory
A McKinleyville-based repository for ruminations and assorted rubbish.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Ode to Joy
My relationship with my ex dissolved and imploded some time ago, but there was still one big step I had yet to take – moving out of our loveless hell shack. This final stage commenced abruptly Monday evening when I moved out and started a new life free of darkness and negativity. I moved my computer and related business essentials into my downtown office, then secured temporary lodging in Arcata.
The first order of business was to jump up and down on the motel’s bed in celebration. I was free. Free at last. Then I wandered over to a local tavern and ordered a dirty martini (gin, a splash of vermouth and some olive brine). I requested two olives to make it extra special. The cocktail waitress has since told me that this is her favorite drink to make, which is good because I plan to keep her busy making them for me while I reside at such a prestigious address. Surrounded by degenerate drunks, some missing limbs, I smiled and slowly nursed my martini. It was the best fucking cocktail I’ve ever enjoyed. I was overcome with a feeling of tranquility. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I could feel my blood pressure dropping.
After I finished my martini, I started to stroll back to the motel when I heard the sweet sounds of a harmonica in the distance. I wandered across the street, over a vast expanse of asphalt and towards a homeless panhandler who was playing for change. I emptied all the quarters, dimes and nickels from my pockets and complimented his musical stylings. He asked me if I had a guitar he could borrow, but I had none. Then I returned to my little room with little soaps and little white towels and called a beautiful person to break the news. Life was good.
Tuesday was my first full day of freedom. I started the day at 4:30 a.m. I had a lot of work to do and my blood was pulsing with adrenaline. I needed to figure out how to run a portion of the business that I was unfamiliar with. I made a long list, stumbled forward and figured it out. People I know commented that I seemed happier than usual before I even had a chance to tell my story. Later that evening I got cleaned up and met with an amazing goddess.
She took me out on her canoe.
We spotted an Osprey.
We saw Godwits.
My Sicilian hippie chick is wonderful in every way and enjoys giggling and cheesy haikus, as do I! She’s exceptionally kind to me. Plus, she’s got tattoos and is hot, hot, hot.
There are many challenges ahead and I’m far from being in the clear, but that’s OK. I may stumble and I may even fall. But I plan to do so in a positive manner.
It’s all peace and love from now on, baby!
Life is beautiful.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Bloggers Picnic in Rio Dell
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
The sadness of Bob
Meet Bob. That's what they call this former pulp mill in Fairhaven.
Bob is a real character. When I arrive too early at the nearby printer, or there's a delay, I spend quality time getting to know Bob.
Bob is always interesting.
But Bob has a sad side. Very sad. Things just haven't been the same since the mill closed down in 1993.
Fortunately, Bob has good friends nearby for support.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I like her version of Valerie. I like it so much that this kept going through my head during today's Trinidad Tour. I completed the 100k in 4:20. That's a time that Humboldters can appreciate. Nice and slow, despite my efforts. Next time I need to get a song with a faster beat drilled into my head.
The good news is that I came in just ahead of the pretty college girls and their studly boyfriends. But there was a difference – they looked relaxed and refreshed as if they could do the ride all over again, while I looked like I had spent the morning fighting the Taliban in the mountains of Tora Bora.
Oh, but such good fun. I was also invited to join some college kids for what's called Fickle Hill Friday. You meet at 5 p.m. and climb Fickle Hill. Sounds painful, but I might do it just to see if I can keep up.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I’ve had my bicycle basket for three days, and I must say that it’s changed my entire life. I’m now in total harmony with myself and my surroundings. Everywhere I go I see rainbows, butterflies and baby ducks. I’m operating on a level of consciousness that most of you sorry bastards will never experience, unless you get your own bicycle baskets.
On Thursday I sent a message telepathically to George asking him to invite me over to his garden so I could fill my new basket with fresh produce. George did as requested and I enjoyed the bounty.
I walked away with the most incredible rainbow chard.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Cockeyed Florence, etc.
Before this evening's special meeting of the Mack Town Board, I attended the Cockeyed Florence Parade in Trinidad. It's a small but spirited event in honor of a woman of "ill repute" who some say was buried just outside the Trinidad Cemetery in the late 1800s.
I met a lady named Matilda. Damn! I forgot to get her number. Oh well. You snooze, you lose.
Ned Simmons was the master of ceremonies and the life of the party. He read a ballad he wrote and got the crowd fired up.
Everyone got into the spirit, although I can't help but think that the woman and child on the right were peering disapprovingly into my soul.
After the parade was over I met up with Janine Volkmar and Katrin Burleson (above) at their church. Janine is a retired librarian and always fun to talk to. Burleson paints these really cool icons. I admire her work. They're Episcopalians, which is some sort of renegade offshoot of the Catholic Church. I'm basically an infidel, but I have just enough Catholicism drilled into me that I find this stuff interesting and I've been known to recite my Hail Marys when I'm on a narrow road on my bicycle and I hear a logging truck roaring up behind me.
Today I did something so profoundly significant that it’s bound to change my life’s trajectory.
I purchased a basket for my English 3-speed. In time, people will reflect back on this moment and say “Jack was a lost soul wandering in the wilderness. But ever since he bought that bicycle basket, he’s fully self realized and answers all of our spiritual queries without exception. He’s got everything figured out.”
Having a basket on my bike is a liberating experience. I no longer hassle with backpacks and little bags. I just dump my stuff in the basket and enjoy easy access as needed. Well, at least when I’m riding my 3-speed.
The entire basket is easily removed for shopping. I imagine that when I go to the McKinleyville Safeway I will be able to impress all the single women with my new basket.
As I’m hovering around the produce section near the cabasas, I’ll glance over at a pretty woman and say something like “Those are some nice looking melons.”
She’ll retort “I like your basket. It’s so big.”
And I’ll say “Would you like to hold it?”
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
I encountered a traffic jam this afternoon on Fischer Road on my way to the Arcata Bottoms.
Speaking of the Bottoms, for some reason I perceive the area as small and compact, when it's actually large and sprawling. You can really rack up the miles out there if you go exploring. As for today's ride, I'd sum it up with one word – beautiful.
Amy Winehouse – Love is a Losing Game
I've been in an Amy Winehouse mood for the past couple weeks. She's brilliant, but we better enjoy her talents while she's still alive.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Trinidad Tour on Saturday
I plan to change my schedule around and do the "Rider's Challenge." Sounds like good fun for a good cause, plus they feed you!
These are advertised as "fun rides," but I'm pretty sure a race will break out, as they always do.
The end of summer is closing in, but local bicyclists have one more Humboldt County event to enjoy – the Trinidad Tour on Saturday, Sept. 13, sponsored by HealthSPORT and Corsetti & Noyce CPAs. This long-running event is a benefit for Project Share, an organization that matches bone marrow donors to patients in need.
The Trinidad Tour offers rides for all abilities. The Easy Family Tour is 20 kilometers. It starts at 10 a.m. at Trinidad School. The route goes to the end of Patrick’s Point Drive and back. Relatively flat, but a bike with multiple gears is recommended.
Riders wanting a longer ride can do the Family Challenge Tour. This 45 kilometer ride (28 miles) starts at 9:30 a.m. From Trinidad School the route rolls our to downtown Trinidad and climbs up Westhaven Drive, joins the U.S. Highway 101 and frontage road to Central Avenue in McKinleyville. Then it’s Dow’s Prairie to Crannell, back onto U.S. Highway 101 to Westhaven Drive, Patrick’s Point Drive and take Old Stagecoach Road back to Trinidad. The longest ride is the Rider’s Challenge at just over 100 kilometers (65+ miles). It starts at 9 a.m. from Trinidad School. Tour Westhaven Drive, U.S. Highway 101 and frontage road, Murray Road towards Fieldbrook to State Route 299; Jane’s Road to Arcata Bottoms; old railroad bridge back towards McKinleyville; onto Dow’s Prairie to Crannell and back onto U.S. Highway 101 to Westhaven Drive, Patrick’s Point Drive and Old Stagecoach Road back to Town Hall.
Entry fee includes snacks and sports drinks at the rest stops, and a spaghetti lunch featuring sauce from Abruzzi. The Easy Family Tour 20K ride is $15 per rider (or $10 per rider for a group of 4 or more), the Family Challenge Tour 45K ride is $20 per rider, and the Rider’s Challenge 100K is $25 per rider. Entry forms are available at local bike shops. Further details and an on-line registration link can be found at www.teambigfoot.net. For questions call 845-3095.
Friday, September 05, 2008
The life of a big-time newspaper publisher in McKinleyville is non-stop glamour and excitement.
For example, on Thursday I met Quinn Fry, cast member of season 3 of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” Quinn is a former Eureka resident and was in town to visit family. She’s 52 years old and, according to wikipedia, she’s portrayed on the show as a “cougar” who is casually seeing a 26 year old named Jared. I’ve never watched the show, but that sounds deliciously scandalous. Quinn, by the way, was a good sport, although somewhat confused at first because every time she asked me who I was, I told her that I was with the McKinleyville paparazzi.
That evening I met another star – Kimberly Rhode. While her name may not be familiar, her accomplishments are impressive. She’s an Olympic athlete who won two gold medals (1996, 2004) and a bronze (2000) for double trap. When the IOC removed women’s double trap after the Athen’s Games, Rhode switched to skeet. She compared the change in sport to an Olympic swimmer switching to diving. In this summer’s Beijing Olympics, she won the silver in skeet. She let me hold and closely inspect her medals, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. The silver medal from Beijing, with the jade inlay on the back, was by far the prettiest.
Also that evening I got to do something I’ve never done before – fire a shotgun several times. Paul McCartney was right – happiness is a warm gun.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
'Universal energy of Earth'
Monday, September 01, 2008
Butler Valley Ride.9.1.08
I was overdue for a long ride, so I took advantage of the holiday and spent some quality time with my Cannondale. The first order of business was a minor tune-up, followed by a ride into town to get fueled up.
Because it’s Labor Day, I assumed I’d eat at one of the corporate establishments. I was tickled pink when I discovered that Tastebuds was open. Debbie made a delicious egg salad sandwich, which I washed down with black coffee. I also stocked up on some sugary sweets, which I would consume going up Kneeland.
I made my way back to the Hammond Trail and then entered a Tsunami Hazard Zone. Danger is my middle name. Then I cut across the Bottoms, Janes Road and made my way to LK Wood. I passed by Humboldt State University, which I like to call the Land of the Beautiful People. Then it was on to Old Arcata Road and Kneeland.
About halfway up, I began to have doubts. But that’s normal. It takes time acclimate to such activity and the body is trying to convince you to turn around, go home and just laze around, which sounded appealing as I looked at these switchbacks.
Yes, it is fun “4” every “1.”
I was going to climb to the Kneeland Airport but decided instead to take Butler Valley to Blue Lake. I descended to the valley.
Here’s the view from Butler Valley looking west towards Kneeland.
For an excellent description of what’s known as the Butler Valley Loop check out Jim Robbins’ entry on his Northcoast Bike Rides blog. By the way, I think I saw Jim out there, although it's hard to recognize people when they're wearing lyrca, a helmet and sunglasses and zooming down a hill at full speed.
The road is rough and hilly as you head north up the valley, but it’s worth it as you can see.
When you reach this barn, it’s a happy sight because it’s time to descend to Korbel. That's Blue Lake in the distance.
I stopped at the Arrow Tree. Diplomacy between two nations came to fruition here in the 1880s, or so the story goes.
The Blue Lake Bridge, built in 1928, crosses into Korbel. What a beauty. They were smart to use cement.
From Korbel I made my way to Blue Lake, Glendale, North Bank Road, Azalea Avenue and then home. Total distance: 59 miles.