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