Crikey! I’ve lost my mojo!

Yea Baby, Yea

This one is a bit tough for a ‘manly mans man’ to write – you see, I lost my Mojo. I *thought* I left it in the car, but no. Perhaps, I left it by the pool? Apparently not – I had become the tubby kid over the past year … nobody wants to be the fat kid at the pool, but I think the fact I was nearly harpooned after walking too close to the water a few months back was the final straw.

F That – I’m too young for this shit

So here we go, starting with a review of BODMD, and the process of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) – replenishing the exact hormones I had in my 20’s using customized bio-identical hormones.

At a party Sunday, my buddy the Doctor said, “Yea if you go through the right people, they can return your hormones back to when you were 25”, and a girl I’ve been known to roam with stated ‘Dear God NO!”, as she covered her crotch running for the Car – I suggested 35 was a better choice, and I think everyone was on the same page.

Men talk as Men do, and several weeks back a friend asked me what was going on. We spoke of variety of things, and yes … “something” hadn’t been cooperating. It’s like a man trapped in the desert who comes across a gallon of water but can’t drink it – he knows he should but … he has no mouth

Bummer Dude

I decided to do something about it, when someone I had been chasing the past few years, was there, spread out on the bed like a picnic lunch – I thought that my world had finally reached a pinnacle, the clouds would part, a golden ray of sunshine would come down, cats and dogs would finally start living together, and volcanoes would start erupting cold beer as Hookers passed out Pizza … life was good, and about to get bet …. OH you son of a bitch LMAO. So much for that idea.

Look, we all go through this and nobody talks about it – whether you are the person with the issue, or the one dealing with the person with the issue, it’s the same. Menopause for the ladies, and MAN-O-PAUSE for the guys.

Taping a Popsicle stick to my better half just isn’t going to cut it. It doesn’t happen often, actually almost never, but when it does … well, we are guys, and we don’t like it. A woman going through menopause can hide it – for men as they get older, the fix is a little more complex.

I began to search for answers, speaking my friends – many were already on testosterone therapy in one form or another, some as young as 35 – total insanity.

My buddy suggested someone who could help, which is who he was working with. So here we go … the process of taking my wreck of a body and fixing it, also known as ‘polishing a turd’

The first step of course is contacting the company and asked for a consultation at http://www.bodmd.com . Easy going and fun, the conversation was frank, and to the point.

“What do you expect from this?”

“How did you hear about us?”

“Do you make a shit ton of money to pay for this?”

It’s worth asking because it’s not cheap – to the tune of $240/month which I was told included EVERYTHING soup to nuts, including syringes, 24/7 Support, custom compounded hormone injections, US Licensed Physicians and FDA Approved Labs for the medication – so far so good.

The company then called ahead for blood work – it was LabCorp, a well-known national testing Laboratory. You just walk in – no appointment, and no charge. It took about a week to find out what was going on – I would not be disappointed.

There it was on the report “MIKE IS FUCKED UP” … expected.

Following that, a Doctor will contact you to discuss whether everything looks normal on the tests, or you are more likely to coordinate your drapes with the table linen. Yea, it took 30 minutes, but he went over EVERYTHING on that report. I found some interesting things:

1. I am anemic but I have been fasting at interval for months, my diet I admit has been sorely lacking, and I should have known to address this shit early when I started bruising here and there. I’ve since switched to a more ketogenic intake, B-12, and incorporated Flaxseed into my morning bowl of Oatmeal. I’m going to have to monitor this.

MCV 98 – High – RANGE= 79 – 97
MCH 33.6 – High – RANGE= 26.6 – 33.4

2. So, anemia, I guess I’m safe from Vampires anyway. Scrolling on down, it states my Total Testosterone is a whopping 697! That’s not bad, when at 20-25 it’s usually around 900-1000. I was smiling for a second, when the Doctor states “Yea Mike but you see, Free T is the number you want, what is bio-available for use, either because it’s unlocked, or bound to Albumin, otherwise your body can’t use it. The normal range is 7.5 to 24.5 … you are at 8.5

Well crap … but then it just got stranger …

3. Estradiol … yea that is estrogen. I’m a Dude – it’s no wonder I cried when the Iron Giant blew up! (who didn’t you insensitive bastards)

The upper limit for men is 42.6 … I’m at 41.9

Instantly I had a desire to make Brownies and watch The View. I suddenly hated the fact my neighbor had the same blue jeans as I, and I could never forgive him … was it too late for me? was I morphing into a girl without the fun parts as part of the deal? I’d never leave the shower, just saying.

You can be anything you want to be …. SUPERMAN!

Estradiol is stored in fat, and I’ve been dumping weight like crazy, so as it passes back into my system, it could account for at least part of that. Your body takes Testosterone and aromatizes it into Estradiol.

No Shit

So my system is upside down, with high estradiol and funky free Testosterone. No, this isn’t going to cut it – leaving it unbalanced like that is going to create problems down the road, and right now, I am as healthy as an ox, and I want to keep it that way.

The Hormone Monster, sincerely interested in what she has to say

I vowed to continue to lose the weight, illuminate street lights with my sheer presence, and again become the shit show I used to be *insert dramatic music here* Yes, I would again be able to hammer a six inch spike through a 2×4 with my Penis

Everything being said, things were going well, I finally had some answers, and things were looking pretty good – great communication, fast services, and the shots compounded locally at Wilson Labs (a mile from my house here in Texas)

THE TREATMENT: I obviously wrote this for Men as they grow older, have concerns, and have no idea who to talk to, or what to expect. I ON THE OTHER HAND, could give a shit less.

Once I started talking to my buddies, it became quite clear I was not alone. As a matter of fact, a good 35% admitted to either seeking help, or trying it at some point – for some it was a god send, for others not, but it became clear to me we are not all the sexual Tyrannosaurus Rex’s society would have us believe.

The agreed treatment is made up of bio-identical Testosterone, hCG, and Anastrozole. They also make a combination of daily use Cialis and Oxytocin (the love hormone) < I may have to skip that. Here is a short breakdown of the other two ingredients:

Anastrozole is a hormone that inhibits the aromatase of serum bioavailable testosterone and returns testosterone levels to normal early adulthood range. Serum estradiol levels decrease modestly but remain within the normal male range (i.e. less estrogen and more testosterone available before the body has a chance to aromatizes it)

hCG is a luteinizing hormone — This helps to regulate the testes’ production of sperm and converts androstenedione to testosterone. So, (Ladies block your eyes) it tells your balls to make more sperm, creates more testosterone and yes as everything marketed towards guys will tell you, it supposedly has an effect on the size of your penis – I already bought a third sneaker for it, rug burns suck (google it, the papers written on it are hilarious).

You self-inject twice a week, it comes to your door once a month, test for levels every six months, and stay in touch with your Doctor for any changes in physicality and mood. I expect this should really help with the rest of my diet, as it targets belly fat (or more to the point the underlying cause), in addition to the number of other benefits like energy and brain function it provides.

My first injection is tomorrow – for any guy out there following me on this review, I will update this 3-5 days later after it takes effect. Will it be as effective as Apple Cider Vinegar is at curing every disease known to man?

Here John corners Kate for the Aunt Jemima Treatment – yes, she is going to kill him eventually if he stays on this shit

It’s not an overnight cure, but my friends (and there are a few of them I found out) seem convinced – so convinced that one of my buddy’s girlfriends said if he doesn’t keep following her into the bathroom, they are done. I’ll take those odds.

The next article is covering weight loss the past 17 weeks, and my experiment with Ketogenesis – not quite as much fun, but que sera sera.

Putting the Oyster on the Cracker?

I have to get this out there, if only because no matter the audience, I end up looking insane.

If I ask anyone in Texas why they server Crackers with Oysters, I get a funny look – If I tell anyone anywhere else, especially New England, that I have eaten Oysters on Crackers, I get a funny look.

The question was, and remains, what the hell are the Saltines for?

Yes, that is all Tabasco Sauce … They age it in Barrels sealed with Salt. I’m betting the Ark of the Covenant is buried in there somewhere also.

In 2016 I decided to take the bike for a ride outside of Houston Texas. I was back in town, after traveling a big loop that encompassed Avery Island LA (Mcilhenny Tabasco Plant), up to Monroe to see the Duck Dynasty Operation, onto Shreveport, and finally dipping deep south again to Houston – in one day.

Sunburned, dehydrated, and beaten up, all I wanted was some Crawfish, and all I knew was they served them at a joint named ‘Wolfies’.

Standing at the gas station, the GPS said Wolfies was 4 miles away, as I was looking across the street at … yea, Wolfies. I would later find out there were two locations, so screw it let’s find the other one.

There I am on the bike and apparently on the wrong side of FM 1960. This was the original location, complete with ‘No Guns’ signs everywhere and two armed Guards in the Parking Lot – yes, wave to the Camera.

Not that I noticed it, but I was the ONLY white person there, and all eyes were on me – Do you remember the scene from Animal House asking if they mind if they danced with their Dates? Except I WOULD mind if they danced with my date, because I was afraid *I* was the date.

Luckily Fawn Liebowitz was killed in a massive kiln explosion making me an Ashtray

I sat at the only seat in the house, and the guy next to me gets up and leaves. I ask the woman next to him what happened, and she rather apologetically explained it’s not his fault, he doesn’t like white people. So of course, I buy her a drink – WELL, it turns out the guy was her boyfriend, and he is now at the other end of the bar with his buddies planning my demise no doubt – chance of a drive by just went up ….. 96%

“Why yes, may I order a dozen Blue Point Oysters?”

People are looking at me as if to say ‘this dudes crazy!’ – or at least that’s how it felt. I think it’s pretty common knowledge I don’t give a shit about such things, but then again, some people do. Que sera sera, I’m hungry – so I buy the young lady and I another Beer.

Oh boy, here comes that delicious platter of … Saltine Crackers?

You see, in New England you eat the Oyster out of the shell, so I’m thinking “What’s with the Crackers? What do you do with them? Are they calling me a Cracker? Fuckers (I knew that wasn’t the case, but still)

I mean what is the point?

I pay the bill, (they were delicious by the way) and left – I even said night to the guy on my way out, but he must have been eating because he didn’t say anything back, and manners dictate not eating with your mouth full.

No cars following me into the county, no being found in a roadside ditch, or in the trunk of a car at the Airport Parking Garage. It was the end to a long 24 hours on the road.

Skip ahead to DAY TWO … the other Wolfies.

Ah yes … Crawfish

So this was the opposite – daylight, huge amounts of glass, and a Waitstaff that clearly needed to go walk around the parking lot a bit – my Servers legs were so white they were searing my Corneas. Come on Folks, go make some Vitamin D, So … more Oysters AND Crackers

She asked me to repeat myself a few times until I realized she was making fun of my accent, trying to ask Her ‘da crackaghs, whats wit da crackaghs?” – it was explained that you put the Oyster on the Cracker … Savages! Who puts a 2-dollar Oyster on a Saltine?? “Ya poot da oystagh on da crackagh?” I asked incredulously, and she laughed and laughed and laughed … time for more Beer. This bitch is going to down.

Soup, whatever, they still suck

Apparently Gulf Oysters grow to the size of your girlfriends tongue when the waters get warm – so eating them is like french kissing your girl, except you bite her tongue off and swallow it with horseradish and a touch of Cocktail Sauce. To combat the gag reflex of this giant snot rocket hitting the back of your throat, they serve it on a Cracker.

Ahhhhh Science, now I see – next time I’m getting a Heddy, and someone’s having issues, I will have to remember to bring Saltines. Magic.

So that is why they put Oysters on Crackers here – like salting Watermelon, it’s new to me, not to them, and pretty darn good either way.

Touchdown in Tucson

This is part of my ‘horry sheet” I got laid off series outlining my motorcycle travels after leaving the phone company back in 2016.

Tucson – what can I say.

File it under ‘Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time”

While Vatnajökull Iceland is where I want my ashes spread someday, Tucson is where I would live given the choice (or possibly Raleigh NC, but this is about Tucson so stay on target)

Sure, Texas is great – no state income tax, I have a million friends, every day is a nice day for the motorcycle, the girls are unbelievably pretty, and the beer is cold. Living in Texas makes it great to be a man for many, many reasons, I won’t argue that.

Still, Tucson has a way about her … and I was heading to court my old girlfriend who lived there.

It was about ten days of battling snow, rain, dust storms, and yes, a disabled motorcycle pulling a camper with one gear in Roswell NM before I finally hit Tucson.

I was scorched and dehydrated after nearly 17 hours on the road when I spotted ‘Brooklyn Burger and Beer’ off of I-10. Hey, it says Brooklyn Burgers so the burgers must be great right?

Fuck YES.

And in walks my partner in crime, but neither of us knew it just yet. I had spent the past hour buying everyone drinks, and yakking with anyone willing to put up with the fact my accent makes me unintelligible at times, when this beautiful stranger comes bouncing into the bar.

Ponytail, smile, knows EVERYONE … you know the personality – everyone knows a girl like this.

When I say meeting people was easy, I wasn’t kidding #Territorial

The people I would meet, would quickly lead to me making a network of friends. I hadn’t forgotten that I crossed a continent on a motorcycle to court my ex, no ma’am, but that would come with time.

After using Tucson as a base for my trips in the months that followed, funny stories would come out.

Things like, no one believed I was living in a tent in the desert far south of the city, or that I really was unemployed and homeless, eating bacon at 3am with the coyotes and pooping in a trench. They only believed it when they saw the pictures on Facebook.

All this picture is missing, is the poop trench (thank god)

That I spent so much time at the JW Marriot, stealing their Wi-Fi and bathing in the Mens Room, that the staff at the lobby coffee shop, and Hotel Bar eventually believed that I LIVED at the Hotel.

Home for the first half of 2016 – Just me, a fire, and a Desert full of shit wanting to bite and sting me – still, it was peaceful out there in my little home.

I used to carry firewood on the bike with huge bungees, and damn, it gets cold in the desert when the sun goes down. My neighbors were a pair of mangey looking coyotes who would come into camp and sit by the fire at night. Nothing but the stars, the wind, my book, a good fire, and a couple of hungry carnivores warming up – perfect.

Adrianne (the young girl who worked at Brooklyn) became my best friend quite accidentally. Her first remembrance was that of a stranger, sitting at her bar, who knew all the regulars by name and laughing all afternoon.

We remain in touch now that we live 1000 miles apart – we still drive 8 hours each to simply meet for a steak, travel between cities, and at times, get intentionally lost in abandoned West Texas ghost towns. #Kent

The Territorial – Nothing Good Ever Happens Here #Hooligans

She would lead me to the Territorial, and yet another cast of characters who became family.

And then there was beautiful Susan and that ponytail – and Ron, who drives a race car and wanted to kill me in a parking lot one night. I probably deserved it – sorry Guys! 😀

Tucson gets in your blood I guess – from Mt Lemmon (southernmost ski area in the US), to Davis-Monthan AFB, to being charged by a Javelina on the golf course at 2am, shitfaced, while looking for tarantulas with my ex.

Yes, my ex and I finally spent some good times together, if only for a short few months before deciding ‘meh, we have grown apart’ Que Sera Sera

I’m from New England – Snow on a Harley at 9000′ ? FUCK YES 😀

So, following my spring motorcycle updates (legend suspension pieces, tires, wheel and neck bearings, and custom paint) I will be back for my yearly ‘monsoon run’ in early August.

Fuck

I pick em well … the monsoon season is exactly what it sounds like … either its 115 degrees on the ground and your skin is being scorched off, or all hell breaks loose with torrential rain, 60mph winds, tornadoes and haboobs

Still, like every year, when I see Rita Rd, I will know I am almost home, and roll off onto Alvernon looking for my Margarita at Brooklyns, before heading to see Jeff and Scott.

It makes my face leak when I think about taking that off ramp (yes, my face leaks sometimes, especially when watching the Iron Giant when he blows up at the end of the movie – gets me every time)

Happy Birthday Jeff (60), and Happy Anniversary (34 years) to you and your beautiful wife – I can’t wait to share your moment in Tucson with Everyone.

See you all in a few months!

Ernie you were a Kid?

Ernie you were a kid?

Fuck YEA! – for better or worse.

I grew up in Woburn Massachusetts – I was ten when I lived there. How any of us survived baffles me to this day.

Don’t be a pussy they said, impress Ellen Foley they said … Crap

There was nothing resembling today’s world – We had no bicycle helmets, and made jumps for our Big Wheels with bricks and boards – we did everything we could to shorten our life span.

My daughter thought it funny we didn’t have a computer – Well, we also didn’t have cable, cell phones, microwave ovens, remote controls, car starters – the list goes on and on – not that we were poor, that stuff just didn’t exist yet.

Our first microwave was the size of a Subaru, and my parents found great joy in how it heated water as the lights dimmed in the house, and christian broadcasting could be heard on our fillings. It was the perfect device for turning a nice pork chop, into a gray one.

Fact is, technology consisted off ‘turn that to Channel 5’ because we had EIGHT channels – yea EIGHT. They went off the air at midnight, with a giant Indian Head test pattern, only to re-introduce the channel each morning at six to start their broadcast day

It used to be blue … my childhood home … Howard Tree intact (you can’t kill it)

A typical day in the life of ten year old Mike, Tommy Skeffington, and Johnny Lundine was a pile of bikes in the front yard – Johnny’s Mom had the best frosted pop tarts so I always targeted her kitchen. We didn’t have video games, hell, the TV was black and white in the homes making enough cash to own one, and weighing several hundred pounds (console television)

During the week, we walked to School with bread bags over our feet to keep them dry in the Winter, and handmade mittens – you know, the ones that made snow stick to them so your friends could nail you with snowballs stuck to the yarn?

Our parents used to make a lot of our things – was it an issue of money or old values? Who knew, not this Kid – and it didn’t matter.

Why am I growing a second head … I don’t know, shut up and drink your fucking water!

We would catch Crawfish in the creek, only to find the Woburn Water was part of the Tannery cover portrayed in “A Civil Action”.

My Parents would move us to Billerica in the coming years, only to find out the Rail Yard we played in (Iron Horse Park), and the town dump were highly toxic – both would later to be declared an EPA Superfund Sites in my late teens.

During weekends, we caught frogs and snakes, made go-karts out of scraps of old wood with nails as axles, and threw things off of Blueberry Hill Mountain. That was a Quarry with walls about 400’ high, and barely a fence to keep you off the edge. I collected Blueberries there, and Mom would make Blueberry Buckle (an amazing sugary coffee cake loaded with blueberries)

Blueberry Buckle – except it was my Mothers, so it always tasted BETTER

The cliff was awesome at ten years old – not as much fun as the busy railroad tracks in Winchester, but what can you do. We would make little planes and throw them from the ledge. They always crashed, but at the bottom was a Breyers Plant (or something along those lines) and they, on schedule, used to dump the ice cream bars that didn’t pass muster into the Dumpster. You can imagine who was waiting patiently with his friends 😀 (and how I ended up looking this way)

Our swamp with blown cattails in winter time – awesome torches for ten year olds

Things for us were NOT safe. No seat-belts in the cars, smoking in public places (meaning on planes, and everywhere else), fighting for the back seat of the beach wagon – my Dad used to collect Cattails (or “Cat OR Nine Tails” as we called them) from the swamp nearby, soak them in paint thinner, light them and hand them out. We would run around the neighborhood unsupervised with burning Tiki torches until the top burned off, and then grab another.

When Woburn sprayed for mosquitoes, it was a pickup truck with a huge buzzing sprayer off the back – THICK clouds of insecticide would make the streets impassable for 5-10 minutes at a time. I mean it literally looked like thick fog (it was DDT that was later banned). Every kid in the neighborhood would go play in the ‘fog’ until it looped back and ran over Johnny Boggs.

Johnny was a dick from Spring Court who stole my sisters jump rope, and set it on fire at the Green Street Pool – but that’s history now – I kicked his ass for that one, weeks earlier. NOBODY screwed with my Sisters.

Horn Pond, Woburn Massachusetts (Thank you Joe Nicosia)

With no electronics, games, or the like, we played cops and robbers, baseball, climbed trees, and ate dirt. Nana Penny lived down the hill, she would give us snacks and we would sit with her a while. Sometimes we ventured to Horn Pond – Dad’s friend Joe Nicosia would take us for long walks with a tennis ball to throw. We played ‘King of the Mountain’ at the Green Street Pool, made a mess with Super Elastic Bubble Plastic, and turned every cardboard box we could find into a Spaceship.

My Dad introduce me (and sometimes my friends) to model trains, rocketry, the wonders of carbon paper, bee keeping, wine making, and the Post Office (he would take me to work sometimes).

My Mother was a Nurse with three young kids and a limited budget – she would make us Porcupine Meatballs, American Chop Suey, and a once a month treat – that’s right, Chinese Food because we were convinced the Chinese ate that way. I’m pretty sure my blue collar parents didn’t have a lot of money, but damn, we ate well,and had a good place to live.

Street lights coming on meant Dinner time, and you better be running – shoes off at the mud porch, and the entire family talking about their day together without TV, phones, games or other distractions. Sometimes that was a good thing – other times *shrug* meh not so good. We had a habit of wandering MILES from home, and sometimes, we were spotted. It happens.

Still, with all that, times have changed – yes, we survived, and we all moved out of the neighborhood eventually. My parents would buy their dream home in Billerica, and I would never see my friends again.

Decades later, seeing the neighborhood, I’m just as happy they did leave Woburn – nothing is ever as good as you remember, and this was no different. I still sometimes wonder what ever happened to Ellen Foley, and JoAnn Piezo. I was in love with them, but I was ten, I didn’t know why.

Que Sera Sera … every day is a chance at new memories. Good times – fingers and toes intact, no helmet, pass the bowl of carcinogens please …

THREE YEARS AGO TODAY …

This is messed up, three years? where did the time go??

I’m sorry if I see this as somehow amazing, or any different than the things others go through, but right now, exactly three years ago to the date and time, I rolled into Austin Texas for the first time (I only knew where Houston was … OK I only knew where Bimbos in Tomball was – whatever)

In Austin 4 minutes – the Eagle had landed – now for a Margarita!

I had left Lowell Massachusetts on January 03, 2016 – light snow here and there, 15 degrees out with NO plan except to get to Arizona someday, to court my old girlfriend.

In the 18 months preceding this, I had gotten divorced, sold my first house, and took a package to leave my employer of 23 years. I remember a friend stopping traffic in front of the Club so the bike  could get out, as I waved over my shoulder saying ‘I will be right back’ – I never did go home, but I never saw that coming either. Home became the Road.

It took hours for my balls to descend again after this little jaunt

A few months later, scorched by the sun and hung over, I was standing in a parking lot in Sedona, gearing up for Death Valley when the phone beeped. It was Facebook, with a friend making me an offer I couldn’t refuse – except I could. It would be another two months before I signed on to IBM, but the offer wasn’t about the money – it was about finally realizing something started years earlier at Verizon. I was told it was in Austin Texas, and everyone in Tucson told me how lucky I was – time would tell.

I pulled into a little ghost town way the hell out in the desert to look at the offer on my phone – sitting there in what must be a terminal sand storm, I sheltered up against the wall of the blown out gas station and slowly started signing. Day one would be May 09, 2016.

Kamp … what a story (2 Guns Arizona)

I had a few weeks to kill, so I went to the Gulf Coast and partied with the Radisson Staff in New Iberia. Hijacking the hotel courtesy shuttle with staff members for a booze cruise on my last night would remain a hell of a highlight (the hotel was under renovation so it was just me, a few contractors and the staff … and a terrified 16 year old local driving the drunk bus)

It was this time, on Saturday May 07, 2016 that I rolled down Burnet Rd for the first time – I accidentally hooked a left into a shopping center here called the Domain, and experienced my first skinny pant wearing man bun boy sauntering through the lot with his Abercrombie shopping bag, and a sour look like someone just messed up his double decaf half cafe triple mochaccino.

Fucking weird

C Hunts … cold beer, beautiful women, motorcycles – Welcome to Texas

My first night would be when I met the first girl here, and several people who would become conduits to my current group. I asked SIRI ‘Hey SIRI find me a dive bar near me’ and VIOLA! I found C Hunts Icehouse, a home of great women, cold beer, and a leaky roof.

I also found Gina, in her little shorts and Kentucky accent – this was a place anyone would feel INSTANTLY at home. You had UPS Paul, Mechanic Mike, Bagger Scott … the list goes on and on.

So, I get to my first day at the IBM Campus … and it’s raining sideways – I mean cats and dogs living together, wrath of god stuff. I meet Kat looking like a drowned rat (oh, YOUR Mombo … and I’m thinking “yea super”).

Happy Monday morning.

It would rain like that for the next three weeks, you couldn’t build an Ark big enough for this bullshit, until I bought a huge golf umbrella and …. YES!, Sun from that point on.

In three years, I’ve actually used that golf umbrella maybe 6 times.

I said to Kat “I’m not made of sugar, I won’t melt” and with a wry smile she looks back and says “you know with the right amount of water, even shit melts” – we became instant friends, which is good because she controlled the coffee.

Three years later, I’m STILL here. This was supposed to be a year stint to get the lab going (yes, Thunderdome), but it was fun, so I renewed my lease and settled in for a bit. I was careful not to get too close to anyone, or let anyone get close to me, because I was leaving – that is what I told myself, but the people here are amazing (like everywhere I guess), so why not do two years.

Yes, there really is a corner in Winslow Arizona

Year two absolutely flew, with a blown motorcycle motor, trips to Dirty T and people traveling here. I learned to butcher steak, put salt on watermelon, sharpen knives, ride a horse (NOT a good look for me OR the Horse), and shoot feral hogs on my friends Ranch south of here. The weather seems to always be perfect, except when it’s not, and you can ride year-round in a t-shirt unless you are from here, and then it’s parka time at 65 degrees.

Will there be a year FOUR? I honestly couldn’t tell you at this point – I thought I was going somewhere, and maybe I will, but it’s been a hell of a run since riding out from the club years ago, a half bottle of Wild Turkey in me, and the clothes on my back.

My next stop would be Upstate Maryland after blasting through a snowy NYC on a Saturday Night. Never look back – Tucson, see you on the Monsoon Run in August. Have an amazing week my Friends and thank you for the good times.

A Physicist at your Funeral?

This is great – nice job to the original author credited below – So why have a physicist speak at your funeral?

You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.”

-Aaron Freeman

So you got the Interview?

You may ask, why didn’t I choose you for the job –

It’s always a great question. Perhaps, your interview simply sucked. When I ask you to tell me about about yourself, and why you are a good fit for the position PLEASE don’t go off about your qualifications. I read your resume.

I already know your qualifications, schooling, professional certifications etc. and frankly I don’t want to hear it again – I’m looking for your work ethic, personality, ability to be a team player, and how you get along with others.

I would so much rather hear things like –

“Well outside of the qualifications I outlined on my resume, I am a roll with the punches kind of guy/girl especially when things get hectic – I take care of my myself, work well with others, and don’t air issues in public – I won’t sugar coat it in private however, when a real issue needs to be addressed.”

“I think ahead, and yes if something goes south on a Friday at 4:49pm, be aware I am proactive, and already ahead of the ball. If I screw up, and we all do, I will admit it – I don’t throw people under the bus. I am a self-starter, run with things, and simply ask the tools to do my job”

Basically, tell me about YOU, what you bring to the team – your personality – If you are sitting in front of me, you are selling yourself at that point, so take advantage of it, not everyone made it that far. Let me get to know you, not your resume alone, instead of just reading your resume and saying ‘thank you for coming in’

Sell yourself, and make sure they see you are value added, you have one shot, make it count.

Hired

Random thoughts on Star

I’m sitting on my balcony at 3am, thinking about Star Island. I touched on where it was, what it was, and why it was fun being a groundskeeper there, but really, the Island is so steeped in history and interesting stories, you would never be able to record them all.

Yea that’s it … Star Island

Nothing on the Island made sense to me when I was younger – everything from Lovers Cave to the Poop Plant. They shot for a wind turbine, only to have it blow up, and treating their own poop was interesting for a while – Which was fun, because when the poop plant overflowed, it overflowed into Gosport Harbor.

You know those cool streaks of luminescent animals glowing green as the waves hit the rocks? you betcha, poop lights! Flush the toilet (they used seawater) and little green lights would communicate with you from their advanced civilization forty thousand years beyond the Sun.

I must have stood there shit faced for a half hour one night, staring at the toilet trying to figure it out, when Dave Browns voice was heard in the darkness ‘They light when you agitate the water – now go to bed – tomorrow I will explain magnetism’ – except he never did.

The poop plant guys were actually some of the few people out there I liked – I mean the guy walks into the chow hall at lunch, gives you a big hearty handshake and introduces himself as the guy running the plant. I never asked if the gloves were clean, I was honestly afraid to ask.

So there you go, walking by the exploded wind turbine, and hoping you are upwind, not downwind from shit tank central, and you spot another thing both beloved and hated on Star – Yes, I speak of the Sea Roses.

Doing anything on Star was a act of Congress, so sometimes we pulled a Ninja trick or two. I wasn’t joking about the fucking grass – it’s an ISLAND – the grass has snakes, rodents, bugs and other things, the grass should be manicured. It IS a convention center after all but nooooooooo ….

Every year without fail I’d run into some soul who was just impossibly happy – you know, the one who sees beauty in everything.

The one you just want to throat punch, if you could only figure out a way to get away with it. The one who looks with great disdain at the lawn tractor and bitches at you for cutting the lawn. ‘Oh how could you? just look at it will ya? so wavy and beautiful … wavy grass, just so wavy …. look how it waves’ and meanwhile I’m wondering if I can run THEM down without clogging the mower.

It worked the same way with everything else on the Island – The Sea Roses were a fire hazard and everyone knew it. Super happy people would remark how pretty they were, but they were never native to that rock. They were an oily variety, and how they never had a brush fire in my years, I never knew. We sprayed and cut back where we could, but it was no use.

Seagulls? nasty dive bombing shit machines – rats with wings – gull pucky everywhere. You would have to carry a long stick to go to the back of the Island, as they would attack the highest point and let the turds fly. It was their way of protecting their nests, that always seemed to be conveniently placed in the middle of a trail.

Fucker

Want to have fun? tell your friends ‘gulls are afraid of red’ and pass out some red shirts, for your walk (YES, the dreaded Smuttynose Death March but more on that later). The hilarity of watching former friends running for their lives cannot be truly told. How some of us actually made it back to the mainland on the supply ship without being tossed overboard, truly baffles me.

So, I’m rambling about the things that lived on Star, the things we tried to kill on Star, and general Star things but the story isn’t over without talking about the pigs. Yes, you and I call them dinner, but remember, this is Star where I once overheard the cook state ‘What do you mean, of course this counts as meat, see, right on the label ‘Meat of Walnuts'” – and you wonder why Lions eat their young?

The Island kept pigs out behind the Oceanic. The idea was to keep them, and feed them scraps from the Kitchen. Who didn’t love the Pigs? However, I don’t think they thought this one through. You see pigs eat, pigs poop, pigs become tasty pork chops – and you had one very large carnivore roaming the Island.

Didn’t anyone stop to think about what to do with the pigs after the season was over? Did they really just think they went away to a special place where they would live out their lives in a cage free environment, eating non GMO and gluten free veggie diets. I can’t take ownership for any of the post season shenanigans, but I can tell you that they are a bitch to get on a boat, they DO get seasick, and word on the street is they were tasty – or so I’m told

Next time, it’s ghost stories because before the modern day Star, people were dying all over the place, from haunted caves, to winter life in a fishing village, to the Beebe Cemetery. Pass the Apple Sauce


You thought you were a Mechanic, 8 miles out …

Earlier I discussed the Island, and what got us out there initially – yea, they would give us housing, unlimited fishing, food, and we had to mow the lawns – simple – we could handle things they couldn’t, and we wanted to help – it’s a cool place with a ton of history (including us, because we are history *in more ways than one*)

However, that is when the true challenge at Star raises it’s ugly head.

Cash flow was not something the Conference Center had out there, so preventive maintenance was always an issue. It also ate equipment alive that hadn’t been winterized – and it never was. Some just left out for the season.

So cold, we would be keying cars back in Rye with our nipples

So, because of that, we often had to beg, borrow, or steal parts from one machine, to fix another – or even take two or three machines, and build one from the working parts – hence the ‘stone tools’ comment. The supply ship only went into Rye once a day, and even then you had to drive to the Store, so often times it could take a day or so, if you could even locate the part. Everything had to be planned in advance.

On Star, nothing happens quickly except the shits when you ignore the faucet that says ‘not drinking water’ and drink it anyway.

Another issue was donated equipment – now, why anyone would donate a clapped out 64 Ford Stake Body is anyone’s guess – did they really need the tax break that badly?

Carolyn and I were sitting on the deck one day, getting gooned on the Kahlua we had spiked our coffees with, when that truck died at the end of the dock. I just looked at her with a smile, and wandered on down to take a look – I found a few kids under the hood – they had no idea what they were looking at but at least they were trying.

I jumped up (yes not my first time working on this one) and popped the air cleaner. To my amusement, the kid helping exclaims “whoa there is the problem, it has oil in the air cleaner!’ (which was normal since it was an oil bath air cleaner) but whatever. A little fuel down the choke, a screwdriver holding it open and BOOM a big old backfire through the intake, as it came back to life. (this was a day of carburetor’s and mechanical pumps – they ran it out of gas)

Later that night, the Pelicans got together to discuss their day – things like ‘why walnuts are meat’ etc and one states ‘Did you see that guy earlier? He put gasoline in the carburetor – He almost blew the truck up – and there is still oil in the air filter!’ – Carolyn and I just quietly smiled at each other watching the sunset. One thing you have to give Star is the beauty of the place. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I kind of like it and the funny shit that went on.

Night time was always the best time to check out the back rocks – no explanation needed

Star was a place of good lessons for all of us, including the Pelicans.

The Universalist Unitarians who manage Star, actually stocked huge pickle jars with condoms, available in the bathrooms on each floor. They knew shit was going on, so why not address it.

Working Star gave the kids a purpose, a schedule, and a work ethic – which made it particularly fun to fire up the un-muffled tractor at sunrise and wake the little bastards – rise and shine campers, it’s GROUNDHOG DAY – oh they never looked happy, as I mowed big giant crop circles into the wavy grass (the wavy grass, so pretty, wavy grass, WAVY grass … as I’m thinking ‘lady get out of the way’)

I’d say the only time people were more upset, was when we all dressed as ghosts and attacked the Folks coming out of Mass one night – horry sheet!! run Phil, run Dave! YES, there may have been alcohol involved. Luckily, the ghost count on Star didn’t increase that night.

At some point, the equipment and vehicles beyond salvage started to pile up, and everyone knew of it, but nobody spoke of it – talk about an elephant in the room, except this one was a Chevy, maybe a GMC.

It eventually led to Seamus, and “We came, we saw, we torched” – to this day I won’t get into specifics, but we spent weekends on the backside of the Island slicing bread trucks into plate sized pieces with cutting torches, and the borrowing the little harbor boat would make them go away.

If you knew how paranoid the Island was about a fire, you would have been asking ‘They let you do what?’, but again, I think most just wanted that shit gone. No open flames are allowed on the Island, and there we are cooking a steak tip with a cutting torch, as we slice up cars – figures.

Fire out there was NO joke, and the ground scrub made it worse than it had to be (read all the pretty ‘Sea Roses’). We used to discretely spray defoliant along the trails when no one was looking, only to have people notice two weeks after we made our escape that somehow the trails just look much larger than before. Someone had to do it – and to this day we are all questioning that new mole on our shoulder.

Yes it is haunted as fuck – bad news is they are noisy – good news is they don’t eat much

In the end, we brought what we could to work with, used parts from several sources to make one good tool, ran over the tulip beds with the sickle mower (seemingly year after year), sliced my own face open with an industrial weed whacker as I fixed it while it was still running because I was pissed, disrupted angry sea gulls who shit relentlessly, complained that walnuts are not meat, and that it isn’t dinner if it didn’t have a face – the back rocks had the best fishing, the caves each had a nightmarish story including one of a woman suffocating her own child to escape detection by people trying to kill her, and lovers cave where you occasionally saw more than you wanted (and sometimes saw everything you had hoped for)

And there was Jack quietly digging with his backhoe – “leg” he says, and up comes a thigh bone, hopefully a cow, I think the dog stole it.

So where to go next? I’m thinking the Smuttynose ‘Death March’ … for now, here is a great article on Appledore Island, right across from Star.

If you love History, you will enjoy this read. Star itself is beautiful, as Star’s Sister should be —

Welcome to Star Island – We came, we saw, we drank beer

Looks quiet and innocent right? … Hold my Beer

I spent the weekend, wondering how I could structure the stories I had on my 6-month getaway back in early 2016. Riding every day, meeting new people, doing cool shit, and I thought …. Nah, let’s start with the basics.

The place that got it all started, the place where I had sex  in a monsoon delivering a lawn tractor on a Lobster Boat more aptly named the “Vomit Comet” – The place with the Ghosts, Lovers Cove, the Vegetarian Pelicans, Blackbeard’s Hidden Gold, and blood thirsty Indians in a fishing Village named Gosport. A place ready to burn to the ground, giant chests of delicious meat burning just right, so everyone knew we were savages – Cute little muskrats, because nobody wanted to admit we had a rat problem, and a VERY busy Jack Russell Terrier.

Where Sea Roses were a death sentence, drinking alcohol was forbidden, despite the fact the cases of beer outnumbered suitcases for our crew, and why the toilet sparkled green when flushed at night. You see, eight miles out of Rye NH Harbor is … THE ISLE OF SHOALS.

So, this may take a few postings, actually more than a few, so I am going to categorize them under STAR ISLAND. It’s been more than seven years now, and the statute of limitations has run out – that being said, I’m pretty sure if the Universalist Unitarians caught wind of my return, they would burn the dock down to the waterline (I mean *I* would)

To start, I belonged to a small group of guys and girls named the LRA (Liberal Religious Adults) – Yes I am NONE of those ^^^ things. My buddy asked for help with the computer systems on the Island back in 2000. The Universalist Unitarians ran a Conference Center out there, and in reality, it was open to anyone. The joke UU meant “anything goes” was pretty much true – but super nice people.

When someone looses a flip flop, we didn’t screw around – it’s about saving the turtles

The LRA was the Adult Conference, but early each year before the Oceanic Hotel opened, a small group of us would go out in early June, fix all their equipment, help with whatever was needed, spray toxic weed clearing mixtures from jugs with skulls on the sea roses, widen the paths before anyone accused us of destroying nature (because look at the wavy grass – so pretty filled with snakes and ticks – waaaaavy grass, look how wavy, so pretty) Jesus, just fucking shoot me.

We would freeze our asses off in our unheated cottages, and steal all the blankets from the surrounding rooms so we didn’t drop dead overnight from hypothermia. We generally stayed a long weekend, and just before Island Management saw the damage (I didn’t know that was a tulip bed I ran over with the mower), we were back on the boat having cocktails.

This went on for years, and in many ways I’d love to go back, but I’m sure the Island Manager never forgave us for the liberties we took – que sera sera – or Joe screaming across the dinner table, that it’s not dinner unless it had a face – good times.

The first year gave birth to the work group getting a formal name …. Hmmm LRA ZERO? We came, we saw, we mowed? Sounds legit – it would eventually become “We came, we saw, we torched” – no comment. Phil Stanway, would perch over the bow of the ship with his Bud Light, sailing into Gosport Harbor looking all Pirate-y and such, glorious to behold actually, to the chants of the Pelicans.

Now the Pelicans were the “slightly more conscious than a bowl of pudding” crew who worked the Island Staff while on Summer Vacation from College (i.e.rich kids)

So what about that chant? You see, there was a tradition based on superstition here, and once you read all there is to read, you may want to go explore this haunted little gem yourself (yes it was featured prominently on Ghost Hunters).

When coming in to dock, the rope handlers will chant “S,T,A,R,S,T,A,R you DID come back, you did come back, you did come back” and with that the ship will return the chant saying ‘S,T,A,R,S,T,A,R We did come back, we did come back, we did come back”.

When leaving the Island it was a little different – the ship would chant “R,A,T,S,R,A,T,S we WILL come back we will come back we will come back” and the dock personnel would return it as “R,A,T,S,R,A,T,S you WILL come back you will come back you will come back”

You can’t just still a Virginians Cocoa – not cool

Why the chant you may ask? Well legend has it Blackbeards Wife, Mary Ormond would walk the rocks near East Rock at night, calling out to sea “He will come back’ – of course he never did and she was left abandoned. At that point in time Captain John Smith had declared the Isles of Shoals as the “Smith Isles” and his monument? At the top of the original obelisk were three carved faces, representing the severed heads of three Turks that Smith lopped off while in mortal combat during his stint as a soldier of fortune in Transylvania (now really, I want to party with this guy) – Blackbeard? He was in deep shit for capturing two French Ships full of sugar and cocoa. The Governor of Virginia, who wasn’t a gutless turd, ordered Blackbeard (Edward Teach) captured and took his head. On moonlit nights on Star, Mary is still reportedly seen walking the rocks in white, waiting for Blackbeards return.

In any event let this serve as the primer for the stories that follow – from working with Stone Tools, to using the hot shower in the Nurses Station (because screw that cold, collected off the roof out to sea water – shower in it you peasants, but the Nurse is letting me use her private shower and I’m not saying no – at least my soap foams up in this water) It was nonstop hilarity with a serious purpose. Just file it under ‘Someone had to do it’ – more to follow …

Did I mention we had a Radio Station?