So, it is officially the start to my 4th month of bio-identical hormone therapy. Not the therapy you get with your health plan (TRT and nothing else to counter the damage long term use will do to you), no, this was a cutting edge therapy by a licensed US Physician, and man, my wallet definitely feels it … OUCH … skipping insurance and paying out of pocket to do it right can be brutal, but hey, you can’t cut corners with health.
Hey, you get what you pay for I guess – So, a few things first, and YES, it is a rant. My Provider really screwed the pooch and I guess for the most part I don’t blame them but it sucks anyway. They had a data breach. Yes nothing financial, just email addresses, but still, it resulted in a 7 day delay of my monthly supplies.
Now you might say “so what” but once you have your levels where you want them, and you find you are inadvertently dry humping your furniture because you have the testosterone level of a 25 year old, not having your stuff sucks. Yes, I could feel the difference.
The upside of course is that it was working.
Outside of the fact I still seem to be slightly allergic at the injection site 9nothing big just local itching at the injection site), all was good in the world, the sleep issues over, and the one thing I was truly worried about, aggression, never materialized.
So it is October 1, and I starting my fourth month of treatment.
The treatment is (let’s review) testosterone cypionate .05ml, anastrozole which promotes a healthy sperm count and keeps the body from aromatizing testosterone into estradiol (estrogen), hCG .05ml, which prevents damage from the effects of testosterone AND … makes your balls bigger 😉 yea baby.
The secondary treatment is 6mg daily of taladafil (daily use cialis) compounded with oxytocin, also known as the ‘cuddle hormone’ (it makes men faithful – yes I have a boner pill with a hormone in it that makes me faithful … WTF)
4 shots, 1 capsule, and 1 sublingual troche a week – I can handle this.
Now the upside … I *think* … you may recall I was making tons of testosterone with my giant man balls BUT my body was using an enzyme called aromatase to convert it to estrogen. What should have been great levels of T were never making it to where it had to go. Instead, my estogen levels were through the roof.
Crying while watching the view, being unable to forgive my neighbor for wearing the same pants as me, no thank you. The final straw was trying to match my drapes to my linen.
So I turned to a friend who just got his blood test done – He had been playing this game for 6 months. He went from a 250 total to a 1600 total, his free testosterone went through the roof, and his estrogen came down to normal levels (the range is 7.5 to 42.9 and I was a 41.9 when I started).
And … that’s the score, 2 more months of treatment. I’m dying to see where it ends up. Until then, I will be sleeping like an apple with a pencil stuck in it … rolling back and forth all night, but never able to roll over. Whatever.
This is an update on the bio-identical testosterone hormone therapy I started 7 days ago – Yes, under a licensed US physicians care, with US/FDA approved medications.
Part 1 ( http://www.pacifictracy.com/2019/06/25/crikey-ive-lost-my-mojo/ ) covered the issues I was finding, locating a provider, doing some in depth investigations on providers, and understanding what was being provided as a service. This shit isn’t something to screw with, so before I did anything else, I needed to know the pros and cons. I had other friends watching, as apparently *I* am not alone here (loss of lean muscle mass, fatigue, depression, loss of libido, boner issues, I mean the list goes on and on)
The difference here, is I was to find out I really DID have an issue, and a correctable one. Women deal with menopause, and I guess guys deal with MAN-O-PAUSE … FUCK that
Part 2 ( http://www.pacifictracy.com/2019/07/01/ive-lost-my-mojo-part-2/ ) covered the routines, the blood tests, the consults, understanding levels, financial considerations, and yes, receiving the materials. I won’t go over it twice, that can be found in Part 2, but it was extensive, and professionally packed. Part 2 is also where I finally had to stick myself … not once a week, but twice a week with two different needles.
So here we are a week later. What did I find?
Well, there were a few things in the instructions that probably shouldn’t be there – nothing big, just not the best fit for me. The first thing is the injections themselves. The instructions call for a needle angle of 45 or 90 degrees (45 if you are very lean, as they are subcutaneous injections). I chose my abdomen for the shots, and that was my second mistake.
I bruised … and I mean bruised. My stomach looked like the forearm of an elderly man – so many colors, purple, yellow, green … how the hell did I do that with 0.5 ml and a 27g syringe? It was clear I needed to work on it.
My last injections, I did three things that made it SO much better, less painful, and yes NO bruising;
1. Ice the injection site for 30-60 seconds 2. LIGHTLY pinch up a little skin 3. Inject at 45 degrees, and with no hesitation – release the skin 4. Testosterone is thick due to sesame seed oil, push the plunger SLOWLY – even better warm it up in a cup of hot water – it makes it flow easier. 5. Wait 5 seconds before withdrawing the needle, and do NOT rub the site
I chose the tops of my thighs this time, and not my abdomen – worked like a charm. I still cringe doing it, but it is what it is.
So after a week of testosterone, anastrozole, hCG, b-12, tadalafil, and oxytocin what have I noticed? Let’s go with the CONS first –
1. I’m tossing and turning a bit – they said it could worsen sleep apnea, but since dumping that weight (52 pounds), I barely deal with it anyway (I wear a mouthpiece that tilts my lower jaw – no snoring) Maybe I’m just stressed out, still, it’s something to watch.
2. Aggression – I like to drink like pretty much everyone I know, and I’m a bit of a handful when I get angry. So let’s pump this 6′ 6″ guy with huge amounts of testosterone??
3. Bruising at the injection site – Well, that has been addressed (hopefully)
4. Sensitive Teeth – call me crazy but 4-6 hours after treatments, my back teeth are super sensitive, almost to a toothache. My fronts are fine however.
The PROS? Well the usual shit you may expect –
I dropped a few extra pounds last week over my usual loss, despite eating garbage and totally blowing my intake – it was July 4th Weekend. More energy for sure, a better view of things. More lean muscle mass? too soon to tell. Walking around wanting to jump half the women I know? Yea…. I walked into a chair at the office AND HAD 400 BABIES! and they are good at sports.
Looking back, I think I would have had my PCP do the original blood test – that is the only thing I would change at this point.
I dropped $297 to join the program and the next step was a blood test. What if it came back normal? I would be out that money, whereas through Insurance it would have been a simple copay. I didn’t think that one through, and knowing how many things are blamed on Low T, it’s utter bullshit to assume everyone actually has an issue. I did however, so it worked out.
In the end, the PROS are definite and I can feel them, and the CONS are mostly perceived with the tooth sensitivity being the one watched most. Still haven’t grown breasts, or had an arm grow out of my forehead, so I don’t have much to complain about.
I’m going to give it a full month and check back then.
When we last left Ernie, he had done everything – blood work, consultations, financial shit, the works.
They had shown his hormones, like most men his age, tend to vary. His testosterone was normal (695.7), however the bio-available amount was low (8.5 in a range of 7.5-24.5), and estrogen (estradiol) through the roof (41.9 in a range of 7.6-42.6). The decision to go on bio-identical hormone therapy to correct that, was made. I was tired of matching my drapes to my linens, and hating my neighbor for owning the same pants I did.
So what happened next?
A week after pulling the trigger, an email came through stating that the shipment was on the way – very exciting. Custom compounded medications per my Doctors order, made specifically for me
So what do you get for 249 dollars? It came in a white box marked ‘Perishable – Keep Refrigerated’. Inside was a styrofoam cube with ice packs, and everything well labeled.
What was inside? Inside, was a vial of testosterone, a vial of hCG (premix), a bottle of anastrozole, insulin syringes, #16 and #27 needles, alcohol swabs, and instructions on giving injections – enough for 30 days.
What was NOT inside? Dosing information, and the instructions were not up to date on hCG preparation (it comes from the lab already in solution). Super clear instructions for everything, including a list of things SHOULD have been in that box, but weren’t – not good BodMD. Luckily, some fairly outdated instructions were available on their website, but again, it needs to be cleaned up a bit.
While I have given injections, most people have not, and this stuff should be clear as day for those who may not be the sharpest tools in the shed.
SO, the fun stuff – the injections …
The injections are given subcutaneously, and luckily I’m not a skinny guy – You draw up 0.5/ml in one syringe (testosterone) and 0.5/ml in another (hCG). The needles are 27g, but still … I have to give MYSELF a few shots? Luckily, the anastrozole is in capsule form.
I sat there Saturday morning on my balcony looking down at the world, poking my belly with the syringe – cringe – do it again – cringe … what a pussy. I’ve never given myself a shot, who has? And then it popped into my head “The needle isn’t going to inject itself!” and BONK, in it went. NO PAIN! nothing.
Yea, you pinch a little skin after swabbing it with an alcohol pad, push the needle in, release the skin, slowly depress the plunger, count to 5, remove the needle and wipe the injection site with the alcohol pad to work the medication in. Simple, and easy – I was impressed with myself.
Would this return me to my levels in my late 20’s? Would I again become a sexual Tyrannosaurus Rex? and at the same time would I be lowering my risk of heart disease, stroke, and a variety of other bullshit I don’t have … That was my primary goal
The next dosage was in 3 short days, I wasn’t expecting much at this point, they say upwards of 3 weeks for the sexual effects to kick in, and 3-4 months for the rest of the blood work to come around. HOWEVER …
I was sitting around three hours later with a boner that could hammer tent stakes into the ground. Obviously it was probably more psychological than anything, it couldn’t have worked that quickly, but I’m no Doctor.
I didn’t care as long as SOMETHING was happening. The side effect was I was in a great mood, libido high, and things were good in the world. You know how your car runs better after an oil change, but you also know it’s total bullshit? yea, like that.
But was it really just in my head? it was after all just a single injection. The weekend continued on, and I was looking at every woman around me, friend or not, like a lion scoping out a gazelle on the Serengeti. It was funny to me, I was definitely in a good mood.
I had noticed jumping out of bed Sunday, something I do NOT do – lots of energy, and just a really big smile on my face. My brain was calm, and so was I, as I sat there thinking how awesome the sunrise was, big cup of black coffee in hand. My neighbor walking to the pool in a bikini she probably should NOT wear? Maybe not so much.
Not to be blunt, but after a year, the old me was back. Again, it had to be psychological.
It’s now Monday, and I am looking at my next dosage and again, a bit of anxiety about sticking myself again.
This is the second article on BodMD and bio-identical hormone replacement, and I hope it helps my friends wondering about treatment, and their quality of life. My next article will be in a month, after I see how this goes. So far so good.
At this point, I’ve become a regular smorgasbord of basically useless information regarding endocrinology – I suppose I better understand it if I’m going to be fucking around with hormones. To some it makes no sense to look at a 6′ 6″ biker dude and think “HEY! I have an idea, let’s knock him up with huge amounts of Testosterone, hCG and Anastrozole” but I did it.
Meanwhile, the biker guy is thinking “hold my beer ….”
This week, I started reading up on Oxytocin – a fascinating little nugget that does many things in both men and women. What I found was amazing.
Some quick facts –
1) Oxytocin is a hormone and a neurotransmitter that is involved in childbirth and breast-feeding. It is also associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building.
2) It is referred to as the “love hormone,” because levels of Oxytocin increase during hugging and orgasm. It’s also used as a investigatory treatment for a number of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and intestinal problems. It’s use in autism is being investigated.
3) Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain. Females usually have higher levels than males.
Well, ok then – not only does it enhance erections in men, it apparently makes men more FAITHFUL – yes, you read that right.
“Come for the romance, stay for the Qxytocin” That’s the bottom line on monogamy, according to new studies.
Guys using an Oxytocin spray, showed a renewed attraction for the faces of their romantic partners, but not for equally attractive strangers. And the men weren’t just saying so. Their brains were hyped up in areas associated with reward and motivation, according to the study. Men on a placebo were at the bowling alley bar, buying shots for the ladies.
So, what drives males to stay in a monogamous relationship?” The answer seems to lie in a steady diet of Oxytocin – it triggers Dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with reward, motivation and addiction.
In humans, hugs, massages, and sexual intercourse all release Oxytocin, and it in turn, has been shown to induce better social behavior –- we tend to trust each other and feel more attached to others in response to it. Simply hugging another person for at least 20 seconds releases it, and builds trust.
In studies with Oxytocin, men in relationships actively moved AWAY from attractive women in favor of their mate, and even when she wasn’t around, that behavior continued, often without the subject realizing they were doing so.
As humans, Oxytocin has been shown to inhibit men already in relationships from approaching other attractive women; enhance activation of the brain’s reward systems when they see their partner’s face compared to other attractive women, and help couples deal positively with conflict.
Its effects on social interaction have made it an appealing therapeutic tool in patients who struggle with social situations and communication, including in autism, schizophrenia and mood or anxiety disorders. I am thinking PTSD falls squarely into this list of treatable things.
The best part is that it’s obtainable and easy to use. The studies have used nasal sprays to boost Oxytocin levels. These sprays are readily available, and appear safe to use, at least in the short term – no one yet knows whether there is any long-term harm, but by the time I’m growing a third limb out of my forehead, it will be too late and I won’t care.
That being said DO men become “addicted to love” for their mate via Oxytocin? The metaphor may not be far off the mark. It’s been suggested that the mere proximity of a partner could touch off the same reward and motivation circuitry behind addictive behavior.
So, a steady diet of sexual activity, hugs and other forms
of physical contact may be enough to override the desire to spread genes,
keeping a man at home.
In other words: Keep the home fires burning and do me! DO ME! Yes please.
In the meantime, one of the scientists doing the study said, “We believe we found a mechanism that could explain why it is beneficial for males to stay in a romantic relationship.” Oxytocin, in short, may have edited the “r” from “stray.” – how clever I thought.
BUT, as all things go, there is a dark side which is equally interesting
Oxytocin is a powerful thing it seems – this stuff has many functions I found including sex, reproduction, social behavior, and emotions. It can increase trust among people and make them more cooperative. It can increase the social skills of autistic people. It’s released during orgasm. It affects lactating breasts, contracting wombs and the behavior of mothers towards their newly born children.
The list goes on: drug addiction, generosity, depression, empathy, learning, memory, boners, more boners …
However, Oxytocin can also do some pretty weird shit like subtly shift your memories of your mother. In some people, it paints their mother in a fairer light, making them remember her as closer and a more caring person.
In others, the chemical has a darker influence, casting your mother as a LESS caring and a more distant parent. That’s fucked up right there. And that response isn’t just towards mothers, it’s toward EVERYONE depending on the user’s perception of them before taking it.
If you like someone, you develop trust and bonding, if you don’t know someone, it’s easier to build trust in them, and if you didn’t care for them before, it has in some cases amplified that distaste
Oxytocin in some can influence moral judgements and increase risk-taking and aggression., though the increase in aggression is limited to those who have an existing disposition to it. I thought ‘no shit’ if your pre-disposed to rob a bank, you are more likely to rob a bank? Who knew?
Anyway, the questions it brings up may create further bad press for the love hormone in the near future. It may be that the darkening clouds that threaten to tarnish its reputation are only just beginning to gather. At the very least, it should give us cause for careful evaluation before anyone starts tossing it back like Apple Cider Vinegar for everything under the Sun.
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 ran for the door – 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
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, 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 to 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 “Ernie 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 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.
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.
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.
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 taladafil 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?
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
I grew up in Woburn Massachusetts – I was ten when I lived there. How any of us survived baffles me to this day.
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
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.
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)
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)
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.
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 …
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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, 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.
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.
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 —
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.
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”
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 …
I was sitting there thinking canned chili WITH BEANS is a good idea – and then dumped a half a bag of sliced pepperoni, anchovies and chunks of Velveeta into it …. BETTER
For whatever reason, the thought of being unemployed crossed my mind while I was contemplating the existential meaning of Bacon
It’s high tech and ageism is a very real thing – as is discriminating against white males in this workforce. Why pay the rate they do, when they can hire two kids with PHDs at half the cost? It’s a real problem, and the older you get, the more likely it is to affect you.
I work in a world where 35 is old, and I’m well aware of it – they are also.
So I thought “What would happen?’ – it wouldn’t be the first time I’d been laid off, I’ve actually been canned three times before – they always paid me a big chunk of change AND then I would be hired back by the same employer each time. People say if I got laid off on a Friday, I’d have a job by Monday, and maybe that’s true.
Like everything else, I usually step into shit and come out smelling like a rose. So maybe it’s not a bad thing.
Money is important, but it’s not everything – So let’s say the worst happens (and really, considering the worlds real issues, is it anywhere near ‘the worst’? … the short answer is of course NO) – outside of food and fuel, time is what I have. Nobody wants to fall behind on their bills, but then again no one has ever died because they couldn’t pay a bill, or found they couldn’t live like they were before – you just modify your life and move forward.
I imagine, life would be a blank canvass – starting over from scratch – Hell knows it wouldn’t be the first time I looked over my shoulder riding out of town to a new life I didn’t know yet. Maybe go to Northern Arizona and raise horses with a girl I know there. All I need is my bike and gas money. Or back to Tucson, getting a job as a civilian contractor at Davis Monthan AFB that perhaps isn’t in my field but allows me to try something new while generating some money for other things
Do I really need a lot of money to be happy in life? All this talk about leaving Austin someday, and I realized last night I never really contemplated the whole ‘What if I just got up and left someday’
Who is getting younger? Not me, but then I’m not my Dad yet – and why not chase someone, SOMETHING, and learn a new skill? Why not get the enthusiasm back for my job?
The Russian once barked at me – She said ‘You need to love your life, none of us have forever, dance, and dance some more until you can do it right – nobody gives a shit if you aren’t good, you will be – and you will have great fun along the way.” SHE WAS RIGHT She literally gives zero shits about things that aren’t important and is far happier for it.
So, am I going anywhere? NAH, not that I know of anyway … I still have 10 more months on my lease – who knows – I can’t decide what I’m doing 24 hours from now, never mind next year. I still laugh at the thought of being all gung ho to go – being sidetracked by some pretty lass at the gas station, who will put me in a hole 40 years from now. Not that I have a choice, fate is everything. Like I said, it was just something to ponder out on the balcony.
Ahhhh time for one of the most ‘UNSEXY’ posts ever … my review of the Phillips Respironics Dreamwear Nasal Mask (yes, a mask for a CPAP machine – because it’s not always glamorous being a Sasquatch).
I will tell you this posting is a year old, and since then I’ve lost weight, allowing me to use other alternatives. However, I still use my CPAP here and there, and this is some pretty good information for some of you that feel like crash victims with that thing hanging off your face, like some hideous chest burster from Alien.
A year old, but I figured I’d post it anyway, because I know I’m not the only one – as a matter of fact, the number of friends who use a CPAP, whether all the time, or just during allergy season, consistently amazes me. And let’s face it Folks, who DOESN’T want to sleep with Darth Vader? … so onto ‘The Review’
Now if you are the average user, you don’t need the damn thing all the time, but if your significant other enjoys a partner who sleeps through the night, doesn’t snore or toss and turn, doesn’t sweat and get up to pee constantly AND isn’t always wiped out, this thing is great. The upside (as if the previous ones weren’t enough) is an increase in energy … which usually manifests itself in someone being late for work 😈
So, CPAPs are what they are, but the damn mask … I mean come on … it looks like something you administer oxygen with at an accident scene. Add to it, a goatee doesn’t allow it to seal properly, and you have a blue gel emergency room looking thing with gaps, allowing it to burp, fart and hiss in your partners face all night. If I’m going to crop dust, or pull an easy bake oven, I’m not going to do it with a piece of medical equipment. Additionally, the overflow vent is in the front (blowing in your partners face again), the straps leave marks (like you have been sleeping in the dumpster all night), and the tube connects in the front which is wildly inconvenient for side sleepers like myself.
So there you are in bed, eating mac and cheese at 3am in your work boots, and a ripped bathing suit, watching porn, thinking ‘what to do?’ … WELL …
Enter the Respironics Dreamwear Nasal Mask. This thing is the meat and potatoes – OK WHY? The mask, instead of covering your whole face, simply sits under your nose. Yea! No straps to wear out, adjust, or replace. No dumpster marks on your face. The air intake is at the TOP of the headgear, so no more hissing in people’s faces – this also makes it a snap for side sleepers. The super soft nasal pillow seals perfectly, so no more burps, farts, and whistles. No more having the dog leave the bedroom because he/she simply found you annoying.
This thing allows you to use your CPAP when you need to, while still looking like a sexy mother fucker with a piece of plastic stuck to your face …. attached to a hose … attached to a little machine … plugged into the wall … eh whatever.
The kit was under one hundred dollars and contained everything needed for any head size. Just use the little nose gauge and attach the correct pillow for a perfect seal.
My first night was a bit of an adjustment period, but last night? VIOLA! Slept like a rock – no issues, no waking up to a bad seal, nobody glaring back at me floating ping pong balls in the air stream, no worries about being smothered with my own pillow (because she is going to kill me eventually anyway) NONE of that.
So in the end, if you have a CPAP, and find the dog has disowned you and your mask is driving you crazy …. Check out this one, you won’t regret it.
Well I started this blog to capture some of the past few
years, so while it won’t be in chronological order, it should be fun anyway.
It all started with my boss, after 23 years of stellar
service giving me a hundred grand, and a year’s benefits (not to mention
unemployment). I’m pretty sure he wasn’t amused as I jumped for joy, entering
his office to be laid off (for the third time in my career at the phone company).
This was old hat – they lay me off, wait thirty days, bring me back. He’s currently
my boss again at IBM – small world. There it was though, my career over, and a
really uncertain time ahead – the phone company was supposed to be what I
retired from, but alas it wasn’t meant to be.
The months preceding that, I felt like Bill Murray in Stripes – I lost my wife,
my house, and my job just like that. I was renting a room in NH, thinking about
my next steps, and no it didn’t involve joining the Army. I had said months
before the layoff that if it happened, I was going to explore the world on my
motorcycle. And I did, but that’s next.
I was at the Pawtucketville Social Club in Lowell Massachusetts, the following
Saturday morning, with the bike fueled, and my little camper on the back. A
half bottle of jack later, and I rolled away in light snow saying, ‘see you in
a month!’ – except, it would turn into years. The only one who knew was Ellen,
because I certainly had no clue. It was 20 degrees out.
Where was I going? I HAD NO CLUE
I sometimes wonder about my mental health – 6 hours later, blasting through
Saturday Night traffic in a snowstorm on 93 South in New York City, the temps had
dropped to ten, and my balls nowhere to be found – at least I’d have had a good
explanation had I just been in the pool.
Playing Frogger in NYC on a motorcycle puling a camper in the snow with hypothermia can be fun – hey I ALMOST made the length of the Jersey Turnpike without a traffic jam due to some inattentive cow in a minivan, but no – not this time – pretty much not ANYTIME.
Stopping in upstate Maryland proved to be my first taste of “Dude you aren’t in New England anymore”;
M: Hey can I get a Margarita? F: Sure M: What kind of Tequila do you use? F: We can’t sell hard alcohol – we use flavored wine M: Huh F: Yea M: But there is a Packie right there?!
Strange shit I would find in my travels – she was nice though. I would be in my room for the night shortly – standing there feeling cold air stream off my body due to the hypothermia I didn’t know I had, while the hottest shower ever brought my extremities back to life was amazing. It was perhaps 20 minutes when I heard a loud clang. Like someone dropping an anvil – IT WAS MY BALLS! Hey kids welcome back – yea they descended, which is kind of important.
Looking back, my first 18 hours on the road went well – my compensation wouldn’t hit my account for another month, I was worrying about money, it was winter, I had no idea where I was going or why, and I was wearing a t-shirt in the parking lot. Not to mention of course, what was I going to do for work?
I’ve NEVER had, or needed a resume, and pretty much kept to just two employers my whole career. I had no idea of how to do a resume, look for work, interview – I mean I’ve never had to do any of that, things just always fell in place.
I was hoping to hit N Carolina tomorrow, for now, just a quick check for bed bugs at the local truck stop Motel and suffering through someone banging a lot lizard through the headboard in the next room over. Time to get some rest for sure (more to follow)
Ok a little product review is in order here, because I KNOW I have a ton of friends who use a CPAP Machine for Sleep Apnea and Snoring.
For the past 20 years, yours truly has been using a CPAP Machine. Slip it over my nose, turn it on, look like Darth Vader, sound like Darth Vader – it’s about as sexy as Mother Theresa dressed in nothing but six yards of Saran Wrap. Sure, my significant others have said it was no big deal over the years – I mean it beats snoring like a 747 (whatever that sounds like), and needing to pee my brains out all night – so ok, cool trade off, because snoring sucks.
However, how can you be a sexy motherfucker with a hose stuck to your head – I mean, nothing says sexy like the thing plastered to your face while you do your best ‘Luke I am your Father’ impression. It sucks – if I wanted a robo voice I’d be yelling into a box fan.
So for years, they have pared those machines down, smaller and smaller, quieter etc. but still you have to stick this thing on your head. And then a few weeks ago I found THIS –>
Yea, it’s a Mandibular Advancement Device called Vitalsleep. I’ve tried this bullshit before, and they have all done the same things; sore jaw, no improvement, and a pillow covered in drool – think I’m nuts? Put some marbles in your mouth and try not to salivate – impossible. However, this one was 59.00 and came with a 60 day guarantee. I mean if it didn’t work, ok, but I’m not out the money so why not. A friend tried it and liked it – as a matter of fact pretty much everything I read was positive.
So you boil it to fit your choppers – and then you hate it for a few days, trying to get used to this chunk of plastic in your mouth. And then one night you wake up after sleeping a full eight hours. Sure, that big white device looks hysterical in your mouth (think mega white teeth and a perma-smile) but so what. No drool, no snoring, and sleeeeeeeeeep!
I’m pretty sure the hardest part has been, and will remain for a while, how quiet the bedroom is now – I can FINALLY sleep like an adult – no hissing from a machine, regardless of how quiet it is. And because it’s a mouthpiece it can go with me anywhere – no more planning where the night will end so I can pack a machine (which unless you have done it, you don’t realize what a pain in the ass it is). I have to wear it a few more weeks before my final opinion is in, but it looks like with the weight loss and this cool little doo dad, I may finally be able to cut the cord. And that’s the tits!
SO … if you snore, have apnea, whatever – if your significant other thinks you are a significant douche for not getting this shit looked at, if you piss like a racehorse all night, and feel like a bus hit you in the morning, give it a shot. Like I said, none of these have ever worked, but this one? Don’t be surprised if I grab you for a solid eight, in whisper quiet bliss (with a cat sitting on my head – what is with that fucking cat?!)
I’m adding content before I get to the real stuff – the escape from New England, the Javelina Attack, and the hilarious shit happening the past few years.
Now, perhaps I’m being a dick here – you tell me. It was explained to me by a friend of mine who shall remain nameless, that she likes to switch off sides of the bed here and there. WHAT? My reality came crashing down in one fell swoop – that shit’s not natural.
Meaning, while I hog the left side, she wanted to sleep there, but generally crashes on the right. I admit I couldn’t sleep following this horrible discovery. Maybe throw her a used t-shirt from the gym? wrap it around a wind up clock so it sounds like a heartbeat?
WHO doesn’t have a side of the bed? I mean I bought a King so I could sleep DIAGONALLY if I wanted, but someone who doesn’t have a side they sleep on?
I’ve managed to navigate through it all – not moving so much overnight so I don’t rip a tremendous fart and dutch oven anyone, learning to sleep without covers and not bitch about it, perfecting the slow roll and drop so as not to wake anyone, holding my bladder so god forbid I don’t wake up the dogs, making sure the toilet is porcelain white before company arrives, putting both socks in the SAME place so I could sneak out without waking her (and yea this is MY house we are talking about) but THIS … this could be a deal breaker.
Does anyone else feel my pain? I’m beside myself (on the right side of the bed it seems AGAIN) and it’s a little freaky. What’s next, ketchup on the scrambled eggs? She doesn’t like coffee and bacon? She uses mayonnaise to ‘butter’ her grilled cheese sandwiches? I’m at a loss.
It seems after 5 years of retirement, Ernie Souchak, the alleged former terror of Lowell Politics, and someone apparently confused with the Lowell Shallot, has re-emerged. I wouldn’t mind being confused with the Shallot, but my Photoshop skills could never be confused with the Shallots love of Microsoft Paint … I digress, sorry.
So, word was a certain member of the City Council wanted to kill me, random strangers would walk up to me at the sidewalk Cafe and just start talking (apparently my pen name wasn’t much of a disguise), and someone tossing a broken glass table top down the trash chute from 4 stories up while I was clearing the chute wasn’t very nice.
All that, and some recent cajoling by friends has made it apparent I should be doing something I enjoy, outside of scraping paint off my House, and making a Sweater from lint collected from the Dryer. Default Color=Gray
I’m not here to put a bee in your bonnet, but to provide what I hope is interesting entertainment, without the Facebook bullshit – while I enjoy scrolling through posting after posting of political nonsense, fake news, and drunken Folk at 3 am airing dirty Laundry, it does get old. You understand the challenge – Savages
For those who asked, I did marry Nell … yes, I DID get on the goddamn Train, and YES, we did consummate the Union before we got married, despite almost getting myself killed courting Her (damn Mountain Lions)
Yes, Victor Wyoming was actually Cedar Falls, Washington on the now-abandoned Pacific Extension of the Milwaukee Road, and yes, they lied, Wyoming looks nothing like Washington. Still, it was pretty.
So, time to get back to my vintage Smith Corona Classic 12 Typewriter, and wake my old crunchy ass up. I’m starting to sound too much like my Father getting out of a chair. I hope you enjoy, and of course comments and criticisms are greatly appreciated, just keep it sane and respectful – Ernie