You know your war support has eroded when...

The man who wrote and sang "Okie from Muskogee" back in the 60's is writing Get out of Iraq songs.

I remain hopeful as hell that the Bushwacker and his cadre will end up tried at the Hague for crimes against humanity come 2016 or so. You think I am mean or vindictive or whatever, but please think of me as a visionary instead. Attitudes and views shift over time. And over the next 9 years I can see it happening.

Remember, there is a very fine line separating the visionary from the crazy but I ain't crossed it yet.


Bob Heinson is dead

The news came to me yesterday when dropping off clothes at St. Vincent De Paul thrift in Kenosha. Bob worked there some 5 or so years ago. Working at St. Vinney's is not a sign of getting ahead in life. Generally, people who are in the midst of some personal or legal problems work there. My guess is - and it is only a guess - that Bob had both.

Bob was no one anybody but one, maybe two casual readers (and old friends) should remember. We grew up in the same neighborhood, about a block and a half from each other. He was a tall stoner who was exactly one year and a day younger than I.

We used to pall around together. After I got off work at the Pizza place in Waukegan (it was my first job as a 15 year old) Bob would meet me in the dining area and we would walk in the black of Friday night to the Sunset Bowl. There we would take the our money and waste it one quarter at a time on pinball (one game for a dime, three for that quarter).

There we'd play till close (2:30a.m.) before crossing the street with our remaining dollar and get a cup of coffee each and sip and talk till 4.

When I last saw Bob at the thrift he was stocking shelves and collecting incoming thrift. We talked and he told me he was big into l.a.r.p. and was a skilled competitive dungeon master. He was quite proud of it. At that age - 45 or so - that seemed an odd boast for most. People that age are proud when they run for congress, make their third million, get a Pulitzer in literature.

But Bob was one who listened to that different drummer. He did not take the path less traveled because paths were for pussies. He cut through the underbrush with machete or chew through it with his teeth if need be. He was that way - never violent or aggressive, but always he did what he had to do.

There was an older guy - a couple years older than I - who was friends with Bob through work there. He priced the bike I was looking at. While chatting I asked him what Bobby was up to.

"You didn't hear?" was how it began.

Seems Bobby had taken up truck driving. That was the job that got him away from the thrift. He didn't really have a lot of detail on what happened, just that some time back he o.d.'ed. He couldn't even say which drug it was (though I suspect it was either a cocaine variant - for fun - or a speedy drug to help him drive longer).

In any case, Bob is gone, dead and gone. I'm thinking of giving his sister a call (they still live in the area I believe)just to find out where he's buried. Giving last respects. If anyone knew Bob and would like it, I'd pass on their respects too. Just drop a line and let me know.


Clock Tower Art Show

This past Friday the Thirteenth, 16 of my photographs* were featured in an art show with four other artists at Clock Tower Art in Racine, Wisconsin.

It didn't strike me till the middle of the show but this was the fourth show my work has been featured in. That made me smile - I felt like something was being accomplished.

The show was different than the first three - the first three hours were designed to display art to potential buyers. The last 8 hours or so was beer, wine and band time, with a lot of socializing and partying going on.

It was a fun time. If you showed up, you know what I mean. If you didn't, hey, your loss...

Consider yourself invited to check out the pictures from the show - just click on the above picture of the Milwaukee Art Museum and you'll be taken to the pictures. Wanna see a slide show of the pictures? Then click on the shot of Joan Jett.

*Originally there were 17 pictures. One was a beautiful black and white nude which the model requested not be shown on the Internet. I have, of course, followed her wishes.


Viva la (software) Revolucion...

Can't speak for you, but I find paying for the software packages you need to run everyday impossible to buy. The price on the box is just too prohibitive. As a result I go looking for Freebies.

While I couldn't tell you what Gnu stands for I do know that they (if Gnu is a they) rock! You can get all the software packages you need for free*. Anyhow, here's a list of the programs I use along with links -

Open Office - the equivalent of Microsoft Office but not friggin' $149 for the student package.

Mozilla Firefox - an independent web browser, not affiliated with I.E or Netscape.

Thunderbird - a great email client.

Mozilla Sunbird - a calander application to help you schedule shit.

Scribus - this application does some captivating desktop publishing and according to rumor some of its features are comparable to Quark or Pagemaker.

The GIMP - photo editing software that has power. With imagination and practise you can really edit your photos into great shape with this freebie.

Inkscape - a graphics program that is supposed to do what Illustrator does.

A few more freebies were listed, but as they did things I did not wish to do myself (and therefore did not understand) they are not listed here. Of the above I frequently use Open Office and Thunderbird with mucho satisfaction.

The GIMP and Firefox I have used before and was happy with. I just went back to using Photoshop elements because I understood it better and I.E. because it was already on this computer when bought.

All the others I downloaded today and have plans to use in the near future.

As for other freebies, try 7 ZIP for a good WinZip equivalent and Filezilla if you need a solid FTP program.


On my bike ride today...

I stopped near this really pretty, albeit tiny, wetland area exactly on the Wisconsin/Illinois border. I stopped to call A just to let him know that I was in a pretty area he would remember and had indeed quit my Junk Job.

Briefly put, he sounded shocked. "But you were corporate. You had life insurance, health insurance."

To me, being corporate is not a good thing at all. All its subjective connotations speak of greed, short-sightedness, and a tragic lack of loyalty to staff. This last one stands as most egregious. A, obviously, has a much different view. He sees the stability and the way in which his corporation has his back in the things which really matter to him.

From what my wife tells me, my old company was the opposite of hers. Hers had been around for the last hundred years (+/-). It was settled, stable, mature. Mine had only been around for the last decade. The people running it had a real hard-on for becoming a billion $$ corporation. As such, they are insane and have no fucking idea comcerning loyalty at all.

The company's philosophy and mine were different, too different. We had to part.

After all, what good is it to be able to buy a bike you had no time to ride, to own a house you have no time to enjoy, to marry a woman you have no time to spend time with? And I mean this as a real question you should answer for yourself. This is no rhetoric. What good is it?


Fucking boneheads

Well, it took them three days past my quit date, but the junk company finally cut off my email. The neat thing is that I received one last good email before they pulled the plug. Seems that the company had an emergency meeting yesterday to let people know there would be a firing going on. The letter seemed to indicate there would be a number of the newly unemployed - after all, why would you send out a letter to announce a mere firing or two?

This is especially sad considering that they hired a lot of people at the home office last year anticipating continued wild growth. My thoughts go out to the couple of people I knew at the main office (Aaron, Antonia, Sara and a few more) who work - or maybe "worked" - the phones at the help desk. Here's to hoping they don't get dorked in what may turn out to be a mess.

As for their goal of becoming a Billion$$$$ company by 2012 (or was it 2010?) I leave this link. They can review some Taoist thoughts on dangers of unbridled growth and the personal discontent and unbalance that it indicates.


There's no such thing as bad publicty...

Who said that - P.T. Barnum?

Anyhow, if you happen to hear a story on the wires about how a politician in southern Wisconsin, USA, emphasized his education platform by having parents bring their TVs to a farm field to have them shot from a catapult, well you now know where the idea came from.

Was discussing politics yesterday with my friend who is running for office. He said parents should take control of their kids' education by limiting their time in front of TV, mass media and video games. Insteadm parents should help channel their time into study. That is when I suggested the catapult idea.


On the first day of summer vacation I...

Officially unemployed... at least from corporate junkdom. As a result I finally got to do some things I'd not been able to do for a bit -

See Pat -

Pat and I have been friends since 1975 around the time she was dating my best friend in h.s. She's been asking me to help get the fan on her computer fixed for a long bit now and I've been putting her off and off and off. When you leave for work at about 6:15 and don't get home till around or after 7:00 the rest of the day is a washout.

But there was no 6:15 yesterday. We got together for brekky at around 9 and chatted the morning away. Her father has recently been landed in the hospital and then a nursing home. At age 92 you have to expect there will be problems, but it is never easy to become your parent's parent so-to-speak. An you always hate to see them in decline.

We visited him at the nursing home. She was going to ask me if I would visit him a few times a week to make sure he's good as gold and not lacking in anything. Before she could ask, I offered. This is not because I'm a great guy, but rather because Bill represents something that's fading from this world. And that something (the WWII vet, Depression survivor, German POW) with it's attendant way of thinking and world view is something I miss desperately.

Sure, I'll be glad to see him.

Maria - Finally dropped the pictures of Bloomin' Days off with Maria. I'd put her off (it was a time thing) but was finally able to square her away. Hope they all set well with her. Altogether she received about 125 photos. There were not as many good ones as I'd hoped, but I am sure she got some stuff to use in next year's brochure.

This entire shoot gave me a new definition of my level of ability in photography. I am an enthusiastic hobby-ist.

Shit, gotta go. Time to shower for work.


Paradise with an ocean view...

Well, make that "paradise with a view of the bakery window."

I'm at the local Panera bakery wasting time on this, the third from last day of my employment. So far I have joined an on-line stock trading site, contacted a broker I know for advice ("Wait for a correction - if you see the market hit 12 and a half then go ahead and buy. When you buy, consider international investments, not just the domestic offerings.")

I like talking to brokers. They sound like they know what they're doing.

My goal is to hit the refresh button on the company scheduling page every so often to make sure I don't miss anything important and to keep leading my life.

Likely I will dump one of the company trucks today and then go to the hospital to pay an old copay (would have been nice had they sent me a bill). Maybe a nap on the company couch is in order.

The day is pregnant with possibility and I shall seek to squander it with all the vigor and imagination I can muster.

Fun tee-shirt site for one and all...

Found these guys' link on a different page I was visiting. Have incorporated "browsing their tee-shirt line for at least 30 minutes" into my last week on the job ritual.

Let me encourage you to do the same.


todays' tasks...

  • this morning, sort and edit one or two pictures from the Joan Jett concert for the art show.
  • this afternoon take pictures and video of Larry at the parade for his campaign.
  • size older pictures for the web sight version of the coming show.


and today...

is near to the last day of my junk employment. To celebrate I have dedicated this day to not getting anything done. After violating this pledge by doing a small job earlier today I tried to make up for it by visiting the Jewel Osco and sitting down in their display unit of lawn furniture and having a snack. Luckily my coworker is all up for goofing off today too.

As a dedication to this day I have tried posting a You Tube viddy which will pretty much tell ab out my day.

We have one large job to do then I think it might be time to call it quits. What can they do... fire me?