OLDPAGES 51 SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2009 THAWING OUT
Compared with what much of the top half of the country is going through weatherwise, our weeklong cold snap is pooty piddling, but for Willamette Valley denizens four mornings of single digit thermometer readings had everyone puffing their cheeks and blowing puffs of air complaining about the cold.
As it got colder, the creek began to ice up along the edges and by the end of the week there were only small channels of water running between the banks of ice.
There's that pesky blue jay follows me all around, screeching at me, where's my food, don't you know everything fit to eat is froze up solid?
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2009
Still all worn out, made that same mistake again, when will we ever learn to write and sing a catchy song instead of starting a major project just before a big hoop tee doo get together? This time I decided to repair the kitchen ceiling which for the past twenty years has had a large gap due to a leak I couldn't find and kept tearing things apart until I located it, the leak long since fixed but the leftover hole so much a part of things that no no one even sees it, except me and I decided I'd fix it before Thanksgiving, see if anyone noticed.
What we have here are the doug fir planks that are the actual roof, then a space where the insulation used to be, then the inner layer of tongue and groove cedar. So, easy biz, get some new insulation, new cedar boards, whip the whole thing together. But no more of that awful fiberglas isulation, nasty stuff. Instead, rigid pieces of foam with outer layers affixed for keeping out the cold air.
Simple enough, once the trip to town to get the supplies, then the measuring and cutting and getting the insulation in place, what? Already two days gone by? How did that happen? No need to panic, yet, still got a couple of days until the big feast.
What? That took a whole day, just for those few boards? Alas, all too true, but let's face it, I didn't spend a whole day on the job, not at the rate I am distracted by calls of, Hot Toddies Up.
Did it, just in time, and didn't wear myself out so much I couldn't enjoy the festivities. But the question begs: did anyone notice? How could they not help but notice when the first thing I did when a guest would arrive is point out the ceiling repair, so what they gave it a glance and a nod of the head like it was no big deal, I was stil the proud handyman, another home repair job under his belt, which was soon loosened due to the large intake of turkey and all the stuffings.
My oh my how the time do fly. Tempus fugiting faster all the time. All caught up in the chainsawing and woodsplitting and then, here come the hot water heater woes. Kitchen hot water heater, under the counter type, goes kablooey, it's in there too deep, too deep, just leave it. Drain the sucker, seal off the intake and output. Go get a new under the counter heater, put it in next to the old one. Nodding to it, except I measured the opening wrong and the new heater wouldn't fit so had to take it back and get another one.
And then the real fun began. This water heater is not a 220 volt unit like the old one. This is 110 volts, means I have to go into the breaker box and redo the wires. Monumental. Day long job. Now to hook up the water pipes. Ancient galvanized pipes, I reuse the old ones, turn the water on, fill the hot water heater, turn on the electricity, wait for the water to heat up, EEEK, what's this, a leak! Way in the back, behind the hot water heater, an old pipe leaking at an old union I reused.
Turn off the juice. Turn off the water to the house. Get a hose. Drain the hot water heater. Attack with wrenches. Remove the leaky part. Get new part. Reassemble. Did I say another day gone by? Or was it two days? Time is all a-jumble. There is only the job.
To make a short story long, I put everything back together, turned on the water, turned on the juice, waited for the water to heat up, just happened to flush the toilet after the necessary, and KABLAM, the water intake into the toilet exploded with a blast of air, I lifted the lid and it fell on my toe and broke it, no not the toe, the porcelain lid, something is wrong here.
Don't, my friends, hook the cold water from the well to the hot water outlet on the water heater and the hot water outlet from the heater to the cold water pipe into the house. Pumps the pipes full of air. Quick! Shut everything down, drain the water heater, switch the in and out pipes to where they are supposed to go. Turn everything back on, open all the faucets, clear out the air, take two gin and tonics, go jump in the creek and cool off. Wonder where the week went and oddly, once it is all over, have fond yearnings for working on the hot water heater, for after all, I am like the Army guy who can assemble and reassemble his rifle blindfolded, only for me it is the . . .
I'm plain curious about the flashing ZYGONE at the top of the page onthe Skypilot Website. According to the Urban Dictionary, a 'zygone'is a worn out whore or slut. There also seems to be a cold sorerelief that goes by the same name. Should I be seeking associationswith the former? I know that cold sores can be acquired from theserelations. Or is it that cold sores are a possible side-effect oftraversing the stratos in true Skypilot fashion, and you are
suggesting a relief from the discomfort? Or just maybe - it is all
of the above! Zygone (cold sore relief) is your invention, and this
is all a brilliant subliminal marketing and advertising scheme?
You know what they say: A myth is as good as a smile, and the
addition to the zygone myth makes me laugh, keep em coming.
Zygone was the greeting the inhabitants of the O'Reilliken Galaxy
gave the first skypilot to arrive at the home planet. It means,
generally, great good fellowship, happy feet, enduring well being.
As applied to wornouts and slutits, it means comforting blanket of
When you give one another the skypilot handshake and say Zygone, a moistening, healing cream seeps from the palm of your hand and you can apply it not only to cold sores but also to hot flashes, mosquito and chigger bites, jock itch and athlete's foot, piles and frowns.
Subliminal? Some say Clubliminal.
Like a squirrel storing nuts, I am already cutting firewood for winter, can it mean a hard winter is coming? Only one way to find out. Stay attuned.
Everybody knows now that time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana, ana banana fee fie fo fama, obama, and the big Four Oh is building up all around us, I'm acknowleging it but saving my big guns for the fiftieth. Here is a little ditty I composed to assuage the demanders of a Woodstock story:
Me and the Gleef
by Ken Babbs
(My rap and the gleef's rap are both on the sound tapes from the scene, but the new DVD starts with the gleef talking, I've already quit, before the first camera got rolling, so he gets a great closeup, out in front of everthing, coverage, his moments in history.)
The release this year of the three disc set of the Woodstock movie has brought to the fore a misunderstanding that for forty years has been part of Grateful Dead lore.
I've been asked many times, why was I such a gleef up on the stage at Woodstock and I always reply, "That wasn't me, that was some other gleef."
Now, for the first time everyone can see who the gleef is that was talking over the microphone when the Grateful Dead started to play.
A tremendous thunderstorm had just roared through, tearing the canvas top off the stage, covering the floor with six inches of water and shorting out all the electrical power: the lights, the musicians' amplifiers and the PA system.
I was onstage at the time, leaning on the organ, talking to Pigpen while the techs attempted to make sense out of chaos. Finally one microphone, in the middle of the stage, close to the edge, was working.
Pigpen, as he always did when the Dead were messing around, not yet ready to play, said, "Tell them a story, Babbs," knowing once they heard my voice booming out of the loudspeakers, they would immediately come forward and take over.
I told the audience how all of us, forty people and four buses, stopped at Yellowstone on the way out and bathed in the hot waters, just like the people of old, for it was a sacred place, where everyone came in peace, all beefs and differences put aside, and now, I said, Woodstock has emerged with the same spirit, and you can take that spirit of unity with you out into your daily lives.
I backed off the mike, the band began to play Lovelight, then another voice came out over the loudspeakers.
This is where the Dead portion of the DVD begins, after I've quit talking, so I'm not in the DVD. I am on the audio tape, however. Cosmic editing. I didn't make the cut. One camera starts filming and the sequence begins with the gleef on the stage, no one knows who he is, he arrived from no one knows where.
Dark piercing eyes. Black Prince Valiant haircut. Closecut beard shaping his mouth. He's on the center mike, telling everyone there is a third coast, it is on a huge lake in the middle of the country, it has a magnificent beach, and while he's babbling, with a single spot lighting his face in a beautiful camera closeup, Michal Lang is saying off camera, "wWho is that guy, get him out of there," so I lit up a joint, walked up to the gleef and handed it to him.
He took a big hit, passed it to me, his back was to the edge of the stage, I gave him a little nudge and he disappeared into the unkown from which he came.
The Dead tore into a fantastic 38 minute Lovelight with all the stage lights gradually coming on and all three cameras working, a tremendous addition to the Woodstock DVD.
Well, forty years before the DVD came out, the audio tape of the dead playing was already circulating through Deaddom, and the listeners, unable to see what was going on, assumed that I was the gleef, and ever since, Deadheads have been asking me, why were you spouting that lame phoney baloney stuff over the mike at Woodstock?
I no longer have to defend myself. The DVD has vindicated me. Everyone can see for themselves that it was some other gleef. I no longer think of him as a gleef. He has a name and I remember him now with fond affection: Third Coast.
It's not just another party, we're cooking a whole pig! Hope everyone can make it out. Lots of beer, music, and food. If you want to play golf. I'm heading out for nine holes around Noon.
My back held up okay on the pig roast and music fest camp trip, although the pad from the chaise lounge was too narrow and ditto on the blowup backpack mattress I put on top of the pad, so I was sliding off the pile all night long and when finally got into a deep sleep just before dawn was awakened by the pig roaster calling me to come get coffee and let's get started on the pig roast which had to be cooked for 7 hours.
We trussed and bolted the pig to the basket that turned on a spit above the coals, driven by a slow turning motor. Everything was going good until the motor became disengaged from the spit and we had to loosen the bolts holding the motor to the frame in order to recouple the two gizmos together and while the pig lay there unturning, the fat dripping on the hot coals blazed into a roaring fire, caught the pig on fire, right behind the bbq was a dead cedar tree with flames licking its way. I grabbed the container of water being used for cleanup and dumped it on the pig, not enough to douse the flames but lower them a bit and Dustin, the master pigroaster, grabbed a rake and raked the coals to the ends of the bbq, out from under the pig and all was well. Like the farmer locking the barn door after the horses got out, I brought over a hose and sprayer, chopped the overhanging cedar limbs off with an axe, then we mated the motor to the spit and resumed the cooking, the pig a bit worse for wear but only on the outside, a bit charred but made for tasty cracklins, and when it came time to eat, the meat was cooked perfectly and mucho kudos to chef Dustin Panique.
Then in the darkening evening we tootled and whootled a muscial fest to the laid back guests till their headbones were as full as their bellies were stuffed and I, having cleverly thrown all my camping gear: bedding and tent and cooler, into the trunk of my car, said my fond farewells, quietly, so as not to disturb anyone's tranquility, and stole off into the night, hit the 5 with the cruised control on 72, home to my own bed at one in the AM and since then it has been blessed sleep, naps, and lounging by the creek, did I say the music at the pigroast was by Lost Creek, the band?
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