dadadadio: (Default)
Max loves being outdoors and he's always trying to get there. You have to look at your ankles when you open a door to guard against him slipping by. When there is a jail break there's no need to panic, the smells of freedom slow his escape. His nose won't let him get far. Eventually he'll be big enough to use Mikey's dog door, but we won't be training him. We hope he doesn't figure it out until he's bigger. In the meantime he's mostly an indoor cat learning the outdoors.
About a month ago we started crating him at night to combat his nocturnal wanderings. Now we can sleep! At first he whined but now he's come to like his pen. He climbs right in at night, no protest, but in the morning when I open the zipper a he sticks his head out before I can get it open. I need a picture of that.
We take him out to explore the yard a few times per week so he'll at least know his surroundings when he finally escapes through doggie door. He's never gotten on top of the masonry walls so he's safe in the confines of 4600, for now. I know he'll learn to scale that wall someday and his world will get much bigger. He may join the Alley Cat Gang. I just hope he knows his surroundings well enough to find his way home.
Between birds, lizards and insects there's plenty of prey in our small city yard. Chirping birds drive him nuts. Every morning after breakfast he takes his perch on the head board of our master bed, which is under a window. This requires him standing on my or Cheryl's pillow, paws on head board, neck stretched between vertical blinds. He watches the tree outside the window hissing and meowing at the birds. He'll do this for hours.
During his outdoor adventures he's attempted at climb the tree near my garden .... we finally let him go up this weekend. It's not a big tree but I don't care to have him stuck up top. I've already devised a tree-cat-extraction-technique in case he gets stranded. I will leave that a mystery until the day he needs a rescue. He won't like my plan. It was good to see him climb up and down the tree today, except for his using my basil as a soft landing pad. He has mad tree skills for a newbie.

He and Mikey are getting along well, except for the sneaky cat attacks and the dog just taking the abuse. I would okay if Mike swatted him away but he just doesn't seem to care.

Today I witnessed what I will call a predator cackle. Max saw a lizard on the tree, stared at it, poised to jump, opened his mouth in a wierd manner and let out a cackle. ..... and up the tree he went. The lizard ran off. The cat cackled at flying insects also. As the sun went down our neighbor's tree filled with chirping birds. Max climbed our tree, stared at the other tree over the wall making that same noise. Cheryl says the cackle is common.
I might take him into the alley behind out house to let him poke around, learn the sights and smells of the hood .... and maybe program his feline GPS to know where his home is.


Nov. 3rd, 2011 12:32 am
dadadadio: (Ghost)
(I wrote this weeks ago but forgot to make it public. Oops, a Perry moment)

During a recent Friday happy hour at the pub someone mentioned Casey Moore's was haunted. Many staffers, and some patrons, have witnessed a woman in the second floor dining area, a cloudy mist with female features. How cool is that?

I may not have faith or spirituality but I do believe in spirits, only because I've experienced some paranormal activity in my life.

When I was 12 we lived in a house in Pawtucket, RI that had a storefront on the first floor. The space was empty, windows painted over and was used as storage. My brother and I would sneak down there to play in the store, totally against my dad's rules. There was a bench with tools on it. We would play with the tools, bend metal, cut wood, doing nothing creative.

The second time we went in the tools had been moved back to their original place. I though nothing of it. Maybe my dad did this, even though he didn't go in there. It wasn't his storage space. We played with them again, and again. Every time we went back the pliers, saw, hammer and other tools were in their exact place, neatly arranged. It was freaky. I thought my brother was doing it, he thought I was.

When we were moving out months later the landlord asked my dad if we ever saw anything strange in the house. Apparently past tenants had complained about spooky things happening.

As a young 20-something my friends Dave and Jenny shared a house in Cumberland, RI. It was a Revolutionary War era colonial duplex in a rural part of town directly across the street from a historic cemetery. They had swinging saloon style doors between the living room and kitchen. One evening as Jenny walked through those doors I saw a shadowy women standing in the kitchen. She appeared and disappeared from view as the doors swung open and closed, open and closed. She was wearing the long dress and apron of years gone by.

I said nothing until Jenny asked, "Don, are you okay? You look like you're in a trance." They had been told by the landlord to never tell the land lady if they saw something. She lived next door and was not happy about the occasional haunting images reported by others. Of course I told her, because I'm a jerk.

My last experience was in the late 90's through 2001. In the first months we owned our Victorian home in Cranston, RI, I was home alone in the basement workshop. I heard the front door open and close above me, footsteps walked through the foyer, living room, dining, kitchen and to the edge of the stairs leading from the kitchen to the basement where they stopped. I called upstairs to see if my boys had come home, no reply. As I started walking towards the stairs the footsteps retraced their path to the front door. I heard the heavy wood and glass door open and close again. I rushed to the door, it was locked.

This exact scenario played out at least 4 or 5 times in the first year we lived on Arnold Avenue. One night at the dinner table I mentioned the footsteps for the first time because it happened that very afternoon. My ex wife lept from her chair and with an excited tone said, "Oh my god, it's not me! I've heard that a dozen times from the laundry room (in the basement) and thought I was going crazy." I did not tell her the entire story, she finished it for me, exactly the way it always happened.

Fourteen months after we moved into that house we adopted our female Boxer Milkshake. On more than a dozen occasions over the years she would sit in an obedient pose, staring into an empty room ... always the dining or living room .... and act strange, as if someone were talking to her. Milky would wag her stumpy tail, make little barking noises, the kind she made if we were offering a milkbone. But she was staring at no one.

Finally, when I began my third floor rebuild, knocking down walls, ceiling, collar ties and transforming what was a small apartment into a large famiily room, I was spending many hours alone on that third level. We had a square spiral staircase going up three stories. The stairwell is a defining feature in that 1896 home. It was all wood, no carpet and very squeaky with several landings and odd features. It was impossible to sneak up or down those stairs, too many loose boards and creaks. You could see from the third floor through the well all the way to the first floor entry foyer.

I won't guess how many times I heard footsteps on those stairs. If others were home you don't think about it, but if you're home alone there's no mistaking them. The started on the first floor, came up, paused on the second floor, started again and stopped. I ran to the rail many times looking over the edge calling the names of my family thinking they had come home. They had not.

I finished my third floor office first (1999) and spent many late nights on my computer in the mostly unfinished top floor. In the wee hours those footsteps were especially spooky. I would walk down one level to peak in on the family, three beds occupied, all sleeping, chills running up my spine.

Our mailman was an oldtimer who grew up in the neighborhood. He said an old man died in the kitchen in the 1950's and people had told him things about the house. I told him a few more.

I'll have to request upstairs dining at Casey Moore's more often. I'd love to meet their ghost.
dadadadio: (Maximilian)
So far my answer to that question is ... "No, cat's do not learn from repeated experience." Maximilian is no feline sponge soaking up lessons learned from his curiosity. The spray bottles and squirt guns deter him from forbidden dining tables and counter tops, but he always returns.

Max is a nocturnal pest. I just reminded myself to wake him up. Hold on a moment while I roust him from his evening nap.

Every night he scratches bedroom furniture or creeps on our bedding and pillow tops. He drinks water from my night glass and likes to sit on my clock radio. The buttons are on top, the radio will come on at any wee hour.

Eventually Cheryl evicts him from the bedroom. I'm not getting up, it's her cat. He meows and scratches at the door. She solitary confines him to the laundry room where his food, water and litter box is.

Speaking of laundry rooms. They're often the best smelling room in the house. Not ours, not any longer.

You know I wanted to close that door, but I didn't.

If we also evict the dog, the cat may not fuss outside our door. He's not alone. Mikey and Max have become friendly, the cat chews on his clipped Boxer ears, like they're furry bologna. Trust has been established, but not totally, as it should be between a cat and dog.

The cat was hidding under the box while Mikey snooped in his cat area. He loves that box, like a kid at Christmas.

They curl up on the floor together, often where we must step over them constantly to get around the house. They always choose the intersection of rooms so they can keep an eye on what the humans are doing.

Mikey's only escape from the cat is the great outdoors, for now.

Cheryl bought a harness and leash for the cat. My initial reaction was negative, "I won't be seen walking an 80 pound dog with a 7 pound cat." That's not right. What's next, a sweater for Mikey? Fuck that foo foo shit.

I took the cat outdoors so he could explore the yard. Eventually he will escape through Mikey's doggie door so he may as well learn the lay of the land with me in control. Cheryl bought the leash for that purpose. He hates it but he's so consumed with outdoor cat curiousity it doesn't matter.

There's a field trip planned for the alley behind our back gate. The cat needs to know about that place, sniff around and learn where home is. I hope he learns, I don't want to put MISSING posters up in the neighborhood.

I've sort of created a monster with rough play. Max has a ton of energy, spunk and loves to attack from hidden places. He doesn't recognize his size disadvantage. He might be dumb as a stump. I don't know.
dadadadio: (Default)
I've never been to a demonstration, protest, a march or rally of any kind ..... until today.


I took the light rail downtown for the Occupy Phoenix protest. I didn't know how many people to expect. There were zombies on the train and a few placards.


If there's one thing in the media that's pissing me off in regard to the Occupiers, it's the portrayal of them as dirty slacker hippies who don't want to work but are looking for a handout. I know that's not the case, people of all ages, races, and economic backgrounds are mad as hell. The younger people simply got the ball rolling.



The main rallying point was Cesar Chavez Plaza on the steps of the Phoenix City Hall. There were circles on the outer edges of the plaza where people took turns speaking to smaller groups. Onlookers created the human microphone affect echoing the word to those outside the circle.



These young rapper Latinos didn't need the human microphone. They set up a PA system for their social-political based rap music.

The evildoer headquarters is right accross the street from the plaza, the Wells Fargo and US Bank towers. On Friday there was a brief standoff
at the entrance of the Wells Fargo building but cooler heads prevailed.

This guy was stationed under the bank towers telling it like it is. His was one of my favorite signs, simple but true.


Police kept their presense on the streets adjacent the plaza but never ventured into the crowd. There was no reason to intervene. It was peaceful assembly.

The media portrayal is total bullshit. The average age of the Occupiers was easily 40 years old. 20 and 30 somethings were matched equally by 40's, 50's, and senior citizens.


I enjoyed the creativity in the protest signs. Even with the anger and frustation directed at our corrupt government and corporations the people still maintained their sense of humor. And there was genuine good will in the crowd.


Look at all the young slacker hippies in these last two pics. There was no one over 80 years old in the plaza .... kids these days. We have no respect for authority.



I don't know if these protests will make a difference. Only time will tell if the voices of the 99% will be heard and respected. I do know it felt good to be there, to see and hear for myself what this movement is about.
dadadadio: (Default)
Last night I watched a video of this superhero dude in Seattle who fights crime on his free time. Okay, I know that sounds weird, because it is, but there's something about Phoenix Jones that makes me smile. This 23 year old man dresses in a black and gold leather suit and patrols the downtown streets. The video was kind of crappy, and way to long for the amount of action, but I found it oddly fascinating.

Phoenix had a camera man and another sidekick with him when they encountered a group of five people beating on two young men. Phoenix intervened, used pepper spray on the assailants while one of his posse dialed 911. With all the running and chaos the camera work is shaky to a point of being annoying. But I continued to watch.

The pepper spray recipients, two woman and a few men, became furious and attacked the threesome. I'm pretty sure alchohol was a factor in their original crime and rage toward the pepper spray. There was a hit and run incident with a car speeding away. After a long, mostly boring exchange, the 'bad guys' fled in an SUV.

I could not help notice the amount of time between the 911 call and when the Seattle Police arrived on scene. The drive up window at the donut shop must have been backed up. The SPD response time was beyond pathetic. When they finally arrived they arrested the only person willing to remain on scene, the superhero Phoenix Jones.

The video has gone semi-viral and the Phoenix Jones Facebook page has been bombarded with comments, mostly positive with a fair number of haters. I've been following that. He went from 4400 'likes' to well over 19,000 since his arrest. It's safe to say the cops did more to help his popularity than squash his exploits.

I don't know why this story has my rapt attention. It's not in my usual sphere of interest. I suspect it's the moral dilemma hooking me. Is Phoenix Jones doing the right thing, taking the law in his own hands, or is he misguided? I don't know the answer but I like the fact he cares enough about his community to do something about crime.

The cops don't seem to be doing their job. Maybe we need a few more superhero wannabes on patrol.
dadadadio: (Default)
I took Friday off to work on my garden project. I dug a 40" x 40" hole about a foot deep in the hard caliche. I picked up some 4x4x8 lumber to constuct a foundation around my hole. Once my 4x4 was level I mounted the raised bed kit on top. The metal stakes that hold the corners in place go through the foundation into the ground. It's a solidly built bed, just over 20" deep.

I used 1x1 stakes to build a frame above my little garden. The stakes are secured to the sides of the bed. I ran three 1/4" water lines up the frame for automatic misters. I also have two sprinkler lines at earth level. Water will not be a problem. The frame will also be used to hold a sun screen. I will not bake another plant.

Today I filled the bed with 8 bags of organic garden soil, 2 bags of steer manure, and a bag of peet moss. I tossed in a bag of organic shit mix, bat guano, chicken manure, worm casing, oysters and all kinds of yummy composted materials. It's official, Michelangelo is a shit eater. He can't keep his face out of the soil. He licks manure! And I thought the cat shit was bad.

Six little tomato plants have a new home, two Romas, plum, cherry and Sunfires which are supposed to be heat tolerant. The sprinkler test was a success. We potted Jalepeno, Habanero and Anaheim chile peppers. Some of those will be repotted when we get some larger vessels.

I have invested far more time and money into this project than previous attempts to grow tomatos in our urban desert. A friend wished me good luck. I replied, "I don't need luck, it's a matter of commitment." I will not fail this time.

The next step is to level the earth around the bed to build a small garden patio.
dadadadio: (Default)

There were three lantana here last week. They took over the whole section of yard and what do I get out it? Yard work. That's all lawns, flowers and shrubs give you. If I'm going to put the sweat and $$ into a yard project, I want fruits for my labor, tomatos, veggies, herbs .... food for our table.
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This is the start of the patio/garden project . All the soil must be imported. We have shit soil in the city, hard caliche. Tomatos are going in the 4x4 raised bed. I'll build a wood frame above that bed for shade cloth and misters.

That's Mikey's butt. It's always in the way.

That pile of landscape rocks was a pain in my back to move. I'll be putting down flat patio stones. There will be several large and medium pots with hot peppers, herbs. I'll tap into the water system main line to run misters and sprinklers. We have a wall to build and a trellis to assemble.
Those two small pots represent where the wall will be.

We picked up several bags of organic garden soil, manure, and compost to fill the bed. Some plants are ready for their new home. That pile of landscape rocks was a pain in my back to move.

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dadadadio: (jesushate)
I'm catching up on the blogs today, a lazy morning that should be put to better use. I have chores to do but the procrastinator in me is winning the battles of wills. I'll get around to my tasks later.

I made my final tuition payment today. Jeffrey has one quarter of classes remaining at UCLA. Because he spends summer quarters taking classes when most students go home he completed his major (psychology) early and will finish his minor (teaching) before the holidays. After 13 years of continuous tuition I'm very happy to see this come to an end. Graduation is next June.

I'm working on my next attempt to grow tomatos in the desert. It really shouldn't be this hard but I've never gotten the correct combination of season, shade and water to succeed. Lack of sunshine is never an issue here but I recently learned my season is a major problem. I'm still stuck in the New England state of mind when it comes to gardening. Mayor Bob advised me to plant in September, protect them from potential frost in the winter, and harvest the fruits of my labor in early spring before the sun bakes my plants.

We're looking into shade sails to manage the amount of direct sun the plants get. I removed three lantana from the yard and will use those watering lines to keep my tomato pots moist. I should be in the yard prepping the ground and tapping new water lines into the sprinkler system main. I'll get there soon.

Speaking of Mayor Bob, he's in the hospital for his seventh round of chemotherapy. He's doing okay but his cancer keeps creeping back. The man is battling and doing everything possible to fight off the illness. Some days I'm in awe of his spirit. He's a good man with many friends.

We used the light rail last night to reach a blues show. Monday we're using it again to attend a baseball game. I love using the train. I wish PHX had a more extensive system reaching Scottsdale, Chandler and into the west valley cities. That's the long-term plan but the tea bagging yahoo jackasses are trying to block funding.

Anyone who saw the unbelievable Tea Party debate and can still support these heartless ignorant bastards is not someone I want deciding the direction of this nation. Really people, you would let a 30 year-old man in a coma die because he didn't have health insurance? Last night my friend Tom said, "Don is turning into a liberal.", to which I replied, "In some ways I have."

I will always be an independent but the longer I live in this red fucking state the less I can see things from a right wing point of view. I find more hypocrisy in Christians every day. The intolerance, bigotry, inhumanity and hate is too much for me to take. I now call them CINOs ...... Christians In Name Only. It's a fair spin on their RINO denunciations.

Meanwhile, over in LJ, there are a couple of rambling up-all-night posts..........

dadadadio: (vampire)
I've decided to keep my LJ account active and maintain two journals. There are a few people over there I like who will not leave LJ, and that's okay, but I don't want to lose touch. I'm especially fond of OgreVI who creates excellent videos on YouTube, some related to atheism, and links them to LJ. His style is unique, using hand drawn cartoons, and his soothing Virginian accent is perfect for narration. I can't say enough about how good his videos are and I'm happy to say he has hundreds of followers on YouTube.

I will occasionally drop a link to an LJ post here and visa versa.

I have a post about the 9/11 anniversary. I cannot decide if I should publish it. My opinion of media obsession and over-rememberance is probably more common than I think it is, but I suspect people who feel as I do keep their opinions to themselves. I suppose there's no need to pour salt in the wounds of those who insist on reliving every horrible moment ..... but I feel strongly against digging up 9/11.

My attempts to disconnect from politics have not been successful but I have not blogged about the ridiculous rancor I read about daily. Life is challenging enough without being angry about things I cannot change.

My Ogre friend's video work caused me to buy software and try my hand at making a video. It's harder than I thought, but it's not the Photoshop and Premiere Elements software, I'm learning. I have a very hard time liking the results of my labor. I find images for my slide show, I write and record my dialogue, but when I review the connected work I find my self in neverending edit mode. It does not help that I dislike my recorded voice.

A few weeks ago I decided to put it away, take a break, and come back to it when inspiration strikes. Someday I'll post a video but I have no idea when.
dadadadio: (666)
The Republic of Ireland has been dealing with the abuse of children by Catholic clergy and the subsequent cover up by the Vatican. In another display of criminal arrogance the Vatican 'rejected' a report criticizing the church for the abuse and systemic obstruction of their investigation. The Romans recalled their ambassador after the Irish Prime Minister lambasted the Papists. 
That'll teach the Irish for their blasphemous search for truth and justice. Who the hell do they think they are?
I don't know how a member of this church can accept the actions of the Papal hierarchy. The history of Catholic hypocrisy and nefarious dealings is long and littered with abuse of power, disregard of people, bloodshed, and self serving repression of justice.
I don't believe in a God, but if I'm wrong I hope the invisible sky daddy smites the phoney Catholic hierarchy at the pearly gates.
A phone in the clouds rings.
St Peter: Hello. Pearly Gates.
God: Pete, it's the lord. Those dudes with the funny hats arriving from Rome, detain them. They're not getting past the velvet ropes.
St Peter: But sir, they've been serving in your name for centuries.
God: Bullshit. They've gotten fat and rich off my name. The arrogant hypocrisy must stop.
St. Peter: How far up the Vatican ladder are you talking?
God: All the way. I'm kicking the Popes out on their asses, retroactive!
St Peter: But sir, that's a lot of saints your talking about. We just can't.....
St Peter: How far back are we going?
God: The sixteenth century would be a good start. Those burnings really pissed me off.
St Peter: Should I send a memo?
God: Nah, just have them wake up in Hell tomorrow, no explanation, no voice, no one to help them. Just like they do to the children.

It's times like this I wish I believed in heaven and hell. No man would be granted eternal paradise after covering up the abuse of children.
dadadadio: (Mikey)
It took Mikey several days to figure out the cat. He's not the sharpest dog. The cat swatted his nose a few dozen times before he learned to approach-cat-with-caution. Mikey's calmer advances have gotten him closer to Max, but the cat is still weary of the behemoth Boxer.

When we got Mike a few years ago dog-rule #1 was no-dog-on-my-bed. I will not sleep with my dog, deal with his hair on my sheets, or have an 80 pound snoring beast with claws competing for slumber time real estate. This was also a rule with Milkshake, our last Boxer, and my Bassett Hound before that. It's a good dog-rule and it's really the only law I enforce with iron determination.

Maximilian requires a whole set of rules. I don't have to worry about the dog on counter tops, the dining room table, or other food preparation areas. The idea of Max stomping in his litter box and then strutting across my cutting board is just gross. This little guy likes the high ground. We have spray bottles with water to correct his trespasses into the forbidden zones. I like shooting the kitten with water. It's good clean fun.

Speaking of the litter box. Why do dogs eat cat shit? Mikey came out of the box chewing. YUCK. I did not see him eat the poop, James did, but the tell tale kitty litter on his face and nose was more than enough evidence for me to convict him ....... stool muncher!

We allow the cat on the bar-shelf above the kitchen counter because he can access it from an adjacent room. He likes to watch us cook from there. We put a water dish on the bar and sometimes feed him snacks. Last night I opened a can of sardines. Max watched from his perch, very interested in that smell. I gave him one whole sardine. The fish had no chance.

Max cuddles with banannas. I think he likes the smell. He nibbles on the skin then falls asleep with a paw wrapped around the fruit. He sleeps in any bowl or dish we leave on the bar-shelf. He also loves teething on eye glasses, flip flops, and removing the lining to my work shoes and sticking his head completely inside the leather footwear all the way to the toe. He's a weird little fucker.

I attempted to keep my bed as a forbidden zone for cats but that's not working out so well. He sneaks up after we dose off. I've booted him off but he returns with vengence. On two occasions I was startled from my sleep by his claws wrapped around my foot while he sunk his teeth into my big toe. WTF? I'm not liking it.

Cheryl has a Mac with a very large monitor. When she's on the computer the cat swats at her cursor or any moving video on the screen. Who said cats are smart?

Mikey learned when Max arches his back and hisses, the claw is his next move. The dog now preempts the cat strike with a large Boxer paw to the body swatting Max across the floor. Mikey has won a few rounds with one swift paw. Yay for the dog!

The suppose the cat's okay but he's got some lessons to learn. We're dreading the day he learns how to get outdoors through the doggie door. The door is large, too heavy for a kitten, but someday he will get outside.
dadadadio: (Default)

Since moving to Tempe we've become fans of the Metro Light Rail. The closest station is a few miles up the road. There's a parking garage, 24 hour security staff, indoor bike racks, and lots of camera eyes on duty. The parking service is free.
There are many people in this valley hating on the shiny light rail system. They vow to never use it, always vote against it, and keep on trucking with their 4WD Chevy & Ford pickups. The truck and auto culture will never die, but people need options and this city has to stop sucking off the gas pump, even if it's just a little.
From McClintock/Apache station the line runs west through Arizona State U. in downtown Tempe, the Mill Avenue District, over the lake and on to PHX. There's a long stretch through undesirable industrial zones before you reach the capital city. The trains are brand new, the stations clean and relatively safe, and there are places to go along the line.
Chase Field has a station for baseball fans. The PHX Suns play downtown in their arena, there are museums, shops, restaurants and plenty of things to do downtown. And you don't have to drive or pay for parking. We've done the ballgame trips, with more planned, used light rail for a Rush Concert. An all day fare is only $3.50. It's cheaper than the gas and parking fees.
Using Google Maps I started looking for reasons to use light rail. My favorite steakhouse is on Central Ave, on the line. There are several theatres within a stroll of the stations. I noted the restaurants, bars and clubs.
I've been telling my son James that he should be using the rail but he would not venture. We eventually took him to see the 4th of July fireworks just a few stations down the line at Tempe Town Lake. He needed to be walked through the process. In recent weeks he's made the 3 mile bike ride to McClintock/Apache Station, locked his bike in the garage and rode the rail to PHX for baseball games. He loves the rail, his life is expanding a little. He goes with mom and he goes solo.
Most of rail haters come from a few clear groups, suburbanites who live nowhere near the train line (but are connected by bus routes), people who simply would never leave their cars (the folks drive-up windows were invented for), and hardcore anti-tax, no government spending, socialism haters ..... a.k.a teabaggers. On local news sites the right wing trolls scream that light rail is socialism. And they hate that word, even if they don't know what it means.
I wondered if anyone thought of linking the businesses, civic buildings, entertainment and sports venues, hotels, and any business that hopes being on the rail line will improve their lot. I have a marketing idea for Valley Metro but I suspect someone already thought of this. There must be a map of the line designed specifically for dining, nightlife and entertainment. If not they've missed an opportunity.
Make the line the place to be. Development in this valley needs to look inward, not to the burbs. I see light rail as the link between socialism and capitalism that could do this valley good.
One cranky old conservative who dishes daily on our local comment boards complained "light rail will never turn a profit. It's a loser." My keyboard exploded. "Are you serious? Can you be that dense? When was the last time the interstate highway system turned a profit? Maybe we should stop building and maintaining bridges and tunnels because there's no profit in them. WTF? You dumb ....... " I think I called him an UnPC name at the end.
When the economy turns around I hope the blighted lots along Washington Street find new uses as places to go, retail, entertainment and residential. There are long stretches of potential if city leaders and developers could get on the same page. They need shops and dining near every station. The metro line should be the focus of this valley's development, not pushing the grid further from the city. We have enough developed land and too many vacant strip malls in the suburbs.
Phoenix needs to start doing business differently. Stop the subdivisions, build IN the city. Bring people back to the urban setting, especially young people. Public transportation is a key factor. The next generation will embrace these changes more than blue haired snowbirds. It's okay if the rednecks, soccer moms, and teabaggers don't use it. That makes the ride more pleasant for the rest of us.
dadadadio: (Cat)
I blogged about the new member of our family over in LJ .............

We've been offline for a few days with spotty internet, if any, since mid-day Saturday. Our cable modem appeared to be failing but even when we did have a connection to the outside world there was no wireless signal coming from the NetGear router. I can't tell you how many times I reset the equipment or poured over wireless settings.

I broke down and bought an Apple Airport router. It's hardwired to Chery's Mac. The PCs take wireless. I guess we're good now.

What does 1:20, 1:55, 2:30, 2:44, 3:15, 4:12 and 5:02 have in common? These are all AM times our new kitten woke me during the first three nights. He's puked twice, scratched at our bed linen, woke the dog and had Mikey chasing him in the wee hours. If this continues he'll find his kitten ass locked in another bedroom all night long.

Max has a good set of lungs for a tiny cat. I know solitary confinement will result in constant all night meowing so I haven't sentenced the cat to the cooler. The spare bedroom is on the other side of the house so I would not be bothered by late night kitty whining but James would probably be affected. The last time I checked, I was the only person in this house getting up at 6am for a workday.

Max better learn to be quiet. I would like a full night's sleep this week. I don't want to have a kittycat lock down but I will enforce the peace if needed.
dadadadio: (beware)
It appears we'll be rescuing a cat in the near future. Cheryl has wanted a cat for a few years. She put her 17 year old cat down shortly before she moved in with me..

I've never had a cat in my life. I'm a dog person. I'm not in favor of getting a cat but I won't kick and scream to prevent her from having her pet. My resistance is subtle. Michelangelo on the other hand may have issues with a feline on his turf. I will confess to using Mikey's dogliness as an excuse for not getting a cat. When I walk my dog he makes a run for every cat or small animal he lays eyes on. Of course the dash is not longer than his leash.

I've made it clear I doubt my dog will live peacefully with a cat. Mikey is number one and if he and the feline interloper do not get along ... the cat is history. A few weeks ago Cheryl took Mikey to Petco to introduce him to adoption cats. When he approached a young kitty hissed and swiped at his nose. Mikey decided to ignore the cat.

Damn. I thought my Boxer would put up more resistence. He's looks tough, he's got a big dog bark, but he's more a pussy than your average cat. If I could somehow communicate that a cat is coming home, he might put his big paw down. Unfortunately Mikey cannot connect his cat visit to potential cohabitation.
Emboldened my a mere kitten's ability to show Mikey that messing around is not wise, Cheryl is now determined to adopt. She's looking at available cats online as I type. Scambling on defense I let her know I'm not paying for a cat, cat food, a litter box or any feline accoutrements. I picked up the canine adoption tab, she can buy the feline.

Last week we stopped at a couple of corporate pet supply chains to browse the cats for adoption. She really thinks I'll warm up to a kitten if I hold one. I held a feisty little black & white but maintained my chilly exterior hoping to discourage an on-the-spot transaction. Mikey will be along for another meet and greet, maybe this weekend. He must bark now or forever hold his peace. 

I won't break down but I suspect my resistance is futile.
dadadadio: (crime)
Friday was a local holiday. You won't find cards by Hallmark to commemorate the day. There are no big sales at the mall. The mailman is delivering junk and the banks are open.
Our friend Bob, the Mayor of Bohemia, had to stop smoking due to his throat cancer, half dozen chemos, and laryngectomy. He quit smoking everything but some vices can be enjoyed smokeless. I'm not talking about chaw. That shit is gross.
A few months ago the Mayor proclaimed "Today is Brownie Friday" and treated his friends and admirers to his contraband fudge creation. The mood at the pub was extraordinary that evening. Laughter was easy. We drank, dined and had a fantastic time. A tradition was born.

Not long ago we celebrated Brownie Friday II. We again enjoyed Mayor Bob's Bohemian Brownies and took in festivities at the pub. The brownies bring new meaning to Happy Hour. It was another fabulous Friday.
Last Friday was BF3 but it was Cheryl and I supplying the treats. We tried our hand at baking the mood altering pastry. I performed the extraction process and Cheryl did the baking. Our BF3 celebration was a success, Bohemians rejoiced, our pub visit was festive but short. 

Two hours after her half brownie Cheryl was rendered a useless couch potato while I was buzzing around the house doing dishes, prepping dinner, cooking and cleaning. That is the affect Mary Jane has on me, it's a major upper giving me a shot of energy and inspiration. The brownie buzz is different. The affect is long and even with small ups and downs, like a cheap carnival kiddie coaster.
One minute I'm talkative, laughing with a perpetual smile, the next moment I'm in a quiet zone, fine and mellow staring off in a trance. The brownie coaster is a very long ride. I ate a whole brownie. SEVEN hours later I was still baked, but the energy hump was behind me. I was in the final 'stupor' phase of the brownie trip. It was time for bed and I slept like Rip Van Winkle.

As it turns out our cakes were more potent than Mayor Bob's. I used a different extraction process, a three hour oil simmer, where Bob uses a shorter butter based method. My lengthy extraction provided more active ingredient. One brownie kicks .... your .... ass.

Sunday we decided to munch on a half and go to the movies. It was awesome. We saw the new Cowboys & Aliens film. I wanted to see this movie because it's an original concept .... something Hollywood is lacking these days .... and it has a great cast. We shared a brownie and grabbed a popcorn and soda for the inevitable munchies.

I don't know if it was the movie or the film seen through the lense of Mary Jane's pastry .... but I really enjoyed Cowboys & Aliens. It had all the trappings of a classic western, with aliens as bad guys. The reason the aliens were on earth was plausible. The acting was good. The script had plenty of action and a few twists and turns. I recommend the movie if you like westerns and/or Sci Fi.

If you can score some mind altering baked goods at the concession stand ..... I recommend those too.

We had a great weekend.
dadadadio: (pondering)
DW sent me a few invite codes. I've extended an invitation to LJ refugees looking for a new home. Since my paid account has 100 userpics I can invite my monkeys and keep the signs. I may come up with a permanent theme but if not, no big deal.

I've spent more time on Facebook in the last two weeks than any time prior. In mid July I logged in for the first time this year to wish my sister a happy birthday. I've really tried to like FB. Because I have these big gaps between logins there's always something new. When I login I check up on people, play with the site, but eventually get bored and go away .... until the next birthday.

I have a pet peeve about greeting cards. I think they're a total waste of money. I refuse to spend $5 for someone else's words which rarely say exactly what I'd like to say. I find Facebook to be useful in sending greetings to far away people. When I do buy a card I usually opt for blank inside and write my own greeting. Back in the day I made my own cards with cartoons.

I'm still learning DW. It's similar to LJ but different. I'm sure I'll figure it, find a style, colors, a blog theme, and maybe discover a community or two to connect with people. I'm not obsessive about these things so it takes time for me to catch on. Right now I'm just happy I can access my account when I feel the need to scribble my thoughts.
dadadadio: (crime)
I'm scurrying like a drenched rat off the deck of a sinking ship. I opened this DW life raft account in reponse to LJ's problems. I'm now thinking I should make this my primary blog.

The latest ddos attacks on LJ are proof they cannot secure their site. Why should I pay for a blog service I cannot access? I've been blogging less but when the urge strikes I want immediate satisfaction. My writing is usually spontanteous. If I cannot login and compose my thoughts when an idea pops into my head the inspiration drifts away, lost at sea. 

Today I signed up for a paid DW account and bought extra points (whatever they're for). When I figure out how to get invite codes I'll offer them to a few to LJ people clinging to the rails. I hope they use these life preservers to start fresh in DW. I'd hate to lose touch with current LJ friends but I realize that is the way of the internet. People come and people go.

dadadadio: (enter at risk)
My son texted me today from UCLA.
What high school did you go to?
Odd query I thought, he knows my home town.
Cumberland. Why?
I knew that. You graduated in 80.
No. 1979. Why?
Do you remember Aaron Fricke?
Reading that name was like a dainty slap in the face. Oh yeah, I remember Aaron Fricke.
The prom case from 1980.
Yes. I'm taking a GLBT studies course. We're discussing that case.
That was a tough time for my town. People were divided. Media circus. Not good.
I'll call you later. I'm doing a paper on the case.
Decades old memories emerged from hibernation. I was sitting at my workstation staring at my PC. There was a numbing affect. I was lost in time.
Paul Gilbert was denied permission to attend the prom with his adult boyfriend during my senior year of high school. It was not a major issue in our school. School Principal Dick Lynch squashed the plan. Gilbert was a minor. His parents sided with the school.
One year later Aaron Fricke was denied permission by Dick. His date was Paul Gilbert. Fricke called in the ACLU. The school was sued. The media flocked to the high school campus like vultures. I graduated in 79 so I missed the daily barrage of vans and cameras, but I still lived in town, with friends and neighbors in high school.
The town was immediately divided. Cumberland is a bedroom community, suburb of Providence on the Massachusetts state line. Thirty years ago gay rights were not battled for on fields of small towns. This turned into a major case, very fast, and the people of Cumberland were not happy with the attention, including me.
Paul Gilbert was in an economics class with me. He was a snotty kid with an attitude. Everyone knew he was gay and most people didn't care. I did not know Aaron Fricke personally. The principle, Richard Lynch, was an authoritarian asshole. I suppose that's prerequisite for the job. My line was, "Dick Lynch's parents must have been psychics." I had to explain that joke too many times.
This was the first time in my life where gay rights was an issue I seriously considered. We had 2500 students in our school. There were a handful of known gays and no one really paid undue attention to them, except for a few jerk-off jocks. Since jocks teased anyone they perceived as weak, I don't think the gay kids were singled out more than any other weaker student.
The school was divided into two major clicks, jocks and heads. I love sports but was not in with the jocks. I was a head. Many of the jocks were jerks. I partied with a nicer, more tolerant crowd. We smoked pot, had a garage band and chased girls. I don't recall any of my people being outraged by the gays attending the prom, but we were not happy with the media circus. It was a bad time for Cumberland.
I blamed Dick Lynch for the whole fiasco. If he just let them go, did his job to insure security, and kept the whole event low key, I suspect the CHS class of 1980 could have pulled it off. Everyone knew it was coming. Fricke and Gilbert made no secret of their intentions. Lynch's denial set the stage for the ACLU, a judge and the media to step in. 
There were threats against the gay students. That alone gives the town a bad name but I think we all know every town has people like that, bigots and haters. Dick used student safety as his primary reason for denying their rights. I recall hearing a scheme where some jocks were going to beat up Gilbert before the prom, bad enough to make it impossible for him to attend. That never happened.
People were angry. There's always a loud hateful anti-gay faction but they were a minority. The rest of the town was split, some supported Dick, others Fricke. I recall cringing at some of the man-on-the-street interviews done in our little town. There were many bad jokes but I only remember one. Dick hates Fricke but Fricke loves dick.
There was a threat of students boycotting the prom, not likely, so an alternate prom was planned at another site on the same night. That also didn't happen. In the meantime our town was in the media for weeks as lawyers and a judge considered the case. Cumberland was the butt of many jokes. Our jocks put up with taunts from opposing teams.
Of course Aaron Fricke won his court case versus CHS because Dick was wrong. It was a foregone conclusion. The hype was totally unnecessary. He and Paul Gilbert attended the prom with a state police escort and media van motorcade. That was the last I thought of Aaron Fricke, until today. The event passed. Life goes on.
Until today I did not know this was a watershed case. I had forgotten Gilbert's name so I Googled Fricke. Of course Wiki delivered. Apparently Fricke v Dick Lynch is a very big event in the GLBT community. The case is cited as precedent case after case. Maybe at age 19 I missed the significance. It's funny how we can learn something we knew long ago. Old memories came out of the closet. Maybe this 31 year old case helped shape my tolerance towards gay rights issues. I don't know. I just know I've never been against them.
dadadadio: (trespass)
After chirping all spring about how awesome the weather in Tempe is, it's time to pay the devil. We hit 110 this weekend, possibly 112 today, and might see 115 by mid week.

In this weather you don't want to leave the house. Unless there's a very good reason to venture outdoors it seems stupid to endure the heat. During the summer the axis of the earth tilts and PHX is about 12 miles from the sun.

I park outdoors, the inside of my Jeep is an oven. For nine summers I've removed my sunglasses from the visor, slipped them on and had the wire frames sear themselves into my temple. WTF? The AC never gets cold fast enough, I'm in a full sweat before I reach the end of my street.

It's the most wonderful worst miserable time of year. I can't take Michelangelo for a walk on the solar surface, his doggie feet would melt on the sidewalk. We wait until the sun goes down for our strolls to the park. Riding my retro bike to the pub is out of the question. The riding is not so bad, you get that warm dog-breath breeze in your face, but when you stop your body over heats.

The monsoons will come soon with a little cooling but the moisture will make it humid for several weeks. After the monsoons pass we'll have nine months of great weather.

At least I don't have to shovel 110 degrees.
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