Thursday, June 18, 2020

This Is Getting Annoying

So here I am blogging from the Bikers' computer.  Mine finally shit the bed after one final tease, the beast. Thankfully all my information made the jump with me, and when my new computer arrives in a few days I can stop being pissed off.  If I have to. I guess.

I now have so many pins and passwords and usernames and accounts for the account to get into the account-type set-ups that I have to keep it all on paper.  Wood pulp squished flat with little lines on it that you write on.  I have backups for my backups and copies of my copies and still, one good thunderstorm will take it all out.  This is way more complicated than it needs to be. (YES I should have gone with a Mac but I wuz afeared.)  I'm a gardener!  I'm retired!  I can't imagine what it must be like if you worked at a financial institution and had a social life.

Even during my last job as a maid they were requiring all the girls to have a smartphone.  Still, I recall things working just fine lo these many years gone past, back when we didn't have to purchase an expensive toy with a screen that breaks just to scrub toilets.  It worked out OK.  I distinctly recall that.  We used this thing called a telephone.  It plugged into a wall. You talked on it.

There is a phenomenon associate with my husbands side of the family I like to call the Biker family ski slope.  The seat of every single upholstered chair on that side of the family is worn so that your hind end sits several inches higher than your legs, so you're always having to brace yourself against the floor to keep from sliding out of the chair.  The chair I'm sitting in right now at Biker command central is worn that way.  Finally I just said to hell with it and I'm sitting here cross legged, perched on the thing, and it creates just enough of a 'door stop' effect to keep me from landing on the floor.

When my in laws were alive they had an upholstered dining room set that I dreaded.  They were swivel chairs, and they had wheels, and every single seat sloped like a log flume.  I'd spend the whole meal jiggling and situating myself and accidentally pushing my self away from the table, or cracking into the side of it and making the glasses jingle. They just could not understand what my problem was. 

My problem is that I do not have little stubby hobbit legs.  I can buy pants off the rack, and they fit.  Every single pair of pants the Biker wears has been sent to a tailor to take five inches off the length.  The Biker family:  built for comfort, not for speed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

HALP! My Computer Is Working Again, And It's Controlling My Mind By Passing Alien Space Thought-Forms Into My Fingertips Via The Keyboard

OK this is getting stupid.  I left my computer open, I did not close the lid, and I went rampaging into Bellingham a few hours ago to purchase a new computer because this one was fuckin' with me.  And it is an antique; but it's been a good old gal.  When it started playing up I was bummed.  I can hammer away on this and feel that keystrike, like on an old IBM Selectric, that length of throw that I like.  But no more, no, 'tis not to be, as it lay gasping its last in throes of mortal computation, failing, the bloom fading from it's cheeks now so pale....

It's working now.  Perfectly.  Apparently the key is NOT CLOSING THE COVER.

I like going through the Internet Archive and looking at old periodicals and obscure, funky things, and I found something that just about stopped my heart.  I mentioned that my grandmother had a display garden. She owned these t - well just read this.  It won't take long.

From 'Brief History of Early Horticulture in Oregon'

In the summer of 1847, Mr. Henderson Luelling/ of 
Iowa, brought across the plains several hundred yearling 
grafted sprouts — apple, pear, cherry, plum, prune, peach, 
grape, and berries — a full assortment of all the fruits grown 
in the then far West. These were placed in soil in two 
large boxes, made to fit into a wagon bed, and carefully 
watered and tended on the long and hazardous six-months' 
journey with an ox team, thousands of miles to the banks of 
the Willamette just north of the little townsite of Milwaukie, 
Clackamas County. 

Here a little patch in the dense fir forest was cleared 
away with great labor and expense, and the first Oregon 
orchard was set that autumn with portent more signifi- 
cant for the luxury and civilization of this country, than 
any laden ship that ever entered the mouth of the Co- 
lumbia. A fellow traveler, William Meek, had also brought 
a sack of apple seed and a few grafted trees ; a partnershi
was formed and the firm of Luelling & Meek started the 
first nursery in 1848. Roots from seedling apples planted 
at Oregon City and on French Prairie, and sprouts from 
the wild cherry of the vicinity, and wild plum roots 
brought in from Rogue River Valley, furnished the first 
 My grandmother grew those trees and plants in her garden!  I walked to the Seth Lewelling Grammar School every day, on the site of his old nursery!  All the properties around this 'little patch in the dense fir forest', which went on to be my neighborhood, had his apple trees, fruit trees, the concord grapes, everything!  My grandmother was related to William Meek! OMG I am absolutely trippin' here.  My uncle, a few blocks away, owned the very first commercially sold Bing Cherry tree, and it was still growing and still producing huge, deep red cherries 100 years later.  My grandparents knew Seth, William and Henderson, and Mr. Bing too.

This absolutely blows my mind.  All my grandmothers' apple and plums, her concord grape, were first sets bought from that nursery!  I can go on Google Maps and see those trees still growing and producing fruit around my grandmothers' house!  I grew up under those trees, making cider from that fruit, and sneaking that applejack in the winter, spreading that grape jelly on my toast.  

This might not sound like much, but to someone with a tenuous history like me, it's like proof that at least what I heard from my grandmother was true.  And it stayed true.  It's still true. 

The author proceeds to go on at length about his trials with the plum tree and selling fruit.  I don't know what he was doing wrong; the things form thickets where I lived in Milwaukie and are hardy as hell.  I had so goddamn many of those plums thrown at me as a kid that I still can't stand the smell of them. We had a huge old specimen on the corner of our property that all us kids merrily climbed, nailed stuff onto, swung from and peed next to.  It was enormous, about the size of a small house, and hung down to the ground all around like a dome, and the fruit was so thick on that thing that the hornets would take it over in August; you couldn't get near the tree. 

That plum tree was just a switch when my uncle planted it at the corner of his property and my grandfathers.  He had a little landing strip there, and the old stick and dope airplanes would park there and the pilots would pick those plums to eat as snacks. That outfit was long gone by the time I came along.  It was all suburbs. But occasionally a big piece of cast concrete would pop up as proof of the old strip and the little office with the plum tree next to it that had been there in the 1920's.
This is so cool.  I'm outta here. Gotta read up about pioneer gardening.

HALP! My Computer Is Dying!

This may be the last post for awhile, kats and kittens.  My good old HP is going down that long ol' lonesome road.  If any of you are computer boffins, I'll describe what's happening:
 The computer shuts down completely after a certain amount of time has passed - I set it to sleep only, unless there was an update; in which case you don't have a choice anyway. This started up about two months ago right after we got a new provider and a new router.
When I press the power switch, I'll get a couple of seconds of 'press escape for boot screen' and then it goes black again and turns off.
It barely picks up a signal from our new router.  Yes, I've rebooted everything. No soap.
Things load strangely.  I'll go straight into a site I usually have to sign into, for example, and be able to work there.
It's slower than molasses.
I have synched everything to the Cloud, so I can hopefully regain that stuff.
I have a new file called 'Camera Roll' that I don't remember putting in there.  I can't delete it either. When I did my last system image that file wouldn't load.
Strange things are afoot.
Just like this.  All footy and stuff.  

What I'm going to do is jump out and buy a new laptop.  Hopefully I won't have to go through a bunch of bullshit with crapware - let a girl dream.  Anyway, off I go, bitching into the sunset with my debit card and my dreams.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Terrifically Important Opinions

After a week of rain I was able to get outside and hack back the jungle that had been my yard, but now contained Tarzan, Jane, Boy and Cheetah.  I kept Boy.  Everything else had to go.  It was TALL out there.

We've had the weirdest Spring.  It's been one long late April out there, overcast most days, rainy for a good third of that to a greater or lesser degree.  Things that should have been past by May are still hanging in there - but things that blossomed early got beaten to death by the precip.  I am not pleased and I will be writing letters. - well, Boy will be writing letters. - well, Boy will be standing around in his loincloth while I write letters.  Son of Tarzan grew up goooooooood.

I have been loving William Shatners' series "Weird - or What?" on whatever serves as my television.  Is it even still a television?  It runs on the internet, I think.  You have to boop a remote to make it change channels so it's like a T.V.  OK.
Anyway, the Shat does good.  Usually he bats for the state line, but age seems to have taken the edge off his PRESENCE DAMMIT.  I am a secret 'unexplained phenomena' fiend and he gives excellent host - not too serious, very, very irreverent, and no old ground gone over (I'm talking to you, Winchester Mystery House.)  It's good to see my Captain having fun and getting his bills paid.  Yeah, I'm probably late to the ball on this one, but it's quality trash television.  Not nearly as good as Leonard Nimoys' late lamented "In Search Of" because Leonard Nimoy, but there ya go.

The surprise winner of my science fiction Jones Award has to go to the series "Altered Carbon."  They took a very, very average book with a premise that had been done before, and better;  and turned it into a very, very addictive show with engaging characters and some honestly come-by, make ya think issues, like 'What is reality? What is personality? What is the soul? Where does memory reside? Do memories dictate the future?  Are memories enough to base a past upon?' type questions to ask yourself while all the kung fu and bloodshed is going on. Two thumbs up, a twist and a kiss, with a triple lutz and a Flying Camel.

The shittiest offering is the series "The Rain."  If you have a baby that cries all the time and won't shut up, stick that kid in front of this slow-moving woofer and watch it pass out from sheer baby boredom.  "The Rain" consists of white people slogging through the woods, with subtitles.  I thought there was going to be some post apocalypse action going on here, but instead I got a damp, tiresome reprise of the eighteen years I spent in Oregon. 

The very place where I used to live is now RAWK, or BBQ, or something.  CHAZ.  That's it.  The takeover down in Seattle on Capitol Hill.

I lived four blocks down from East Precinct and a more useless bunch of ballsacks could not be found.  They did nothing. Nothing.  One night our building was under siege, actual siege, by a group of home invaders that was trying to break in and kick down doors.  This was in 1984. The manager sat behind the windowed front door on a chair, holding a metal baseball bat. We tenants took turns patrolling the roof so they wouldn't climb up the fire escapes, or onto a neighboring roof and jump over to ours.  I remember taking my turn with three other people, and I had an infant in that building, you realize, and all I had was a sharpened screwdriver hoping if someone tried the jump from roof to roof, I could icepick the fucker.  We kept calling the police, and they kept not arriving.  Oh, they'd drive past - they just didn't stop.

I don't agree with defunding.  I absolutely agree with tearing it all down and starting over - from the ground up.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Guess What I Am?

Give up?

As of 4:00 P.M. today, I am a HOME OWNER.

Yeah!  We paid off our house in full!  We went to the bank, and we stood there in our little Covid masks and bought a house!!!!!

Good Lord, it's strange.  I always thought I'd end up living under a bridge, eating goats, shitting in plastic shopping bags and throwing them at cars.  And I still might, but it will be because I chose to live under a bridge, eat goats and shit in plastic grocery bags, and throw them at cars.

I might yet.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Good News, Unexpected News, And A Freaky Realization

Quaint vignettes from my charming rural idyll!

A young couple moved in down the block and we got talking, and they admired my garden and said they were starting their own.  What should we grow?

I took them into the back yard where I have my raised beds full of divisions.  "Take your pick," I said.  "Everything here is extra and it will just go into the compost pile."

The husband stopped by today and told me that the plants I had given them just took off like a house afire, and the rose already has blossoms!

I don't know why I'm a kid magnet, but I am, and it can be a little strange at times.  Mainly because kids can be strange at times. 

The new people right next door (Yay!  They aren't screaming lunatics!) have three little girls; six, four and three.  I have two beds right out in front on the parking strip full of pretty flowers so that kids will stay out of my yard, and this works like a charm, an absolute charm. I was out taking a walk around and suddenly the three little girls are all introducing themselves and talking all at once and picking flowers.  I got about one word in ten.

Suddenly the middle girl, just a beautiful little thing, like a Caravaggio painting, starts telling me "We had to move here because my mom and her boyfriend take drugs and they have guns and my dad had to move us out of there so we'd be safe..." and goes on to tell me a real horror story, right out of 999. No child abuse happening, but I now know way more than I ever wanted to know about my new neighbors. Apropos of nothing.

 Having delivered that bit of information she goes back to chattering with her sisters and they pick a couple of flowers and wander off, and I'm left standing there going "WOW."

I was washing dishes yesterday when I had a realization about something that happened years ago.

 I was twenty or more miles up on the logging roads, way into the Mt. Baker Wilderness area, and had gone past a sheer rock wall on my way to find a waterfall I'd been told about.  The only prints on the road are mine, and the animals.  Nobody had been up this way in awhile.  And I'm merrily driving along, alone, in a Buick, and I find the waterfall and there that is.  I goggle at the waterfall, and that's nice.  Time to go back.

A couple miles back down the same road I come to the same rock wall, and my way is blocked by a rock fall.  Not a colossal one, but big enough to present a problem.  There's rocks I can't move.  As I'm standing there planning my strategy I shout "Shit!" and listen to that go echoing up and down the valleys.

And two dudes come walking up out of the brush. Big smiles. Two ratty, scrabbly, scroungy, guys in track shoes.

We all look at one another.

"....Oh.  I guess ya need help, huh?" says one guy, and I laugh, and the three of us shove the rocks off the side of the road and down the hillside.  I thank them, and we all wave at one another, and I drive off and never give it another thought. There is always someone out poaching, or hunting, or hiking or what have you.  For example, the lovely cloud-capped mountain in the back of this picture is called 'Dead Drug Dealer Mountain' by the locals,  because when two drug dealers go up, only one comes back down.

Yes, this is the view from my front porch.  Yes, that's a damn good beer. 

It hit me, as I was standing there washing dishes, that I had been helped out by meth cookers.  Both of them packed; I clearly saw the pistols down the small of their backs, but this is bear country and that's not an uncommon sight. Had I been out hiking I would have had the same thing. No, the final clue was that both of them were wearing cheap track shoes instead of hikers, and both of them absolutely reeked of cat piss.  At the time I thought, well, guys out hunting aren't going to bathe, whatever.  But no.  They thought that they were going up to the road to meet their transporter, and what they met was a fat lady in a Buick.

Holy shit.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Display Garden, Sumas, WA

This devolves into a discussion of roses, just so you know.

Our town has an 'Old West' theme.  And I live in a house that was built before Washington was a state, a poor mans' Carpenter Victorian, and so I felt that I would stay in keeping with my towns' theme and grow an old fashioned display garden.  All the front beds are symmetrically arranged and planted, tall on the sides, short toward the middle of the yard, framing the front of the house.  Because I've been building this garden for over twenty years, all the plants are mature and need dividing and pruning, and that's fine.  I'm at the age where I'd rather do maintenance than construction.  And I have left enough yard so I can zip around on my riding lawn mower with it's little wagon and look all pro. Do I have a single dandelion?  I most certainly do NOT.  And I live on four city lots. Yeah, I'm really that awesome.

I did not set out to grow white flowers or mess with needled shrubs, because I grew up in the suburbs and everyone had that mess, along with  Red and Yellow Darwin tulips and some blue crocus in the spring around the apple tree in the front yard.  And there's nothing wrong with that, it's better than nothing, but my grandmother, who lived next door to us, had a Display Garden, and anything my grandmother did, I do.  I owe that woman everything that's good about me, and she grew a garden that was meant to be shared with people, that was an ornament to the neighborhood.

Gardening is an addiction.  You put in a few German Iris, a couple of Arborvitae, some simple stuff, and at that point you can either say "Yeah, that's good," or "You know, I think a nice pillaring rose would look good by the side of the house...." and you're done.  Welcome to addiction.

It's why I now have a white rose, a plant the size of an igloo that gets covered in small white blossoms all summer long.  It's why I have an evergreen drift in the back yard, with a Yellow Hemlock and a Blue Juniper side by side, both conical, surrounded by miniature evergreen this and that shrubs. It's why I have a 'White Star' magnolia tree.

Oh, I have ALL the colors.  Foliage, form and blossom, it's all here, every color of the rainbow, with blue a distinct favorite.  I have so much color that I needed the white to offset it. Without white, you glance and look away and your mind perceives 'orange.'  With white here and there, all the other colors buried in the green foliage are augmented with sparkle.  Think of the difference between a flat pool of water and one with wavelets. That twinkle turns it into something more than a blur.

I most certainly did not mean to go into roses.  I wanted one in front of the house for sentimental reasons, and I found an old, old variety growing alongside an old church.  I asked the pastor if I could take a slip (something I don't always do) and he happily agreed.  That slip took like gangbusters.  I get hundreds of trusses of small, vermillion-pink blossoms, more blossom than leaf most summers.  I've taken so many starts off that plant -  and those starts take off like a house afire - that at least six people in town are now growing that very same rose, all from that one plant next to the old church in Nooksak, WA.

I knew a woman in town who also grew a beautiful display garden.  We used to visit and talk.  She's since passed, but not before giving me a slip of her pillaring rose 'Sombreuil' which gets a pink and white striped, fully double blossom, and smells like HEAVEN.  You can literally smell this rose in bloom from across the street.  I have it planted next to the front door so that the aroma can permeate the house.

I was lucky enough to find rosa 'Improved Josephs' Coat' in a little quirky nursery in Sequim.  'Josephs' Coat' was the Holy Grail rose back when I was a kid.  They're known for their extreme susceptibility to diseases and their outrageously thorny canes.  My version, exceedingly rare, is clean as a hounds' tooth and bulletproof.  It's in blossom now, and the display is ever changing, like weeks of sunsets, every day a different combination of reds, oranges, and yellows, an airbrushed effect, and simply astounding - a real show stopper.  People ask me 'Is that Tropicana?' because that's the rose you grow when your Josephs Coat craps out on you.  "Nope," I say.  They go away and think "She's sooooooo cool." and I am, but when it comes to roses, I just got lucky, and the downhill plunge into addiction commenced.

I've had failures.  Oh God have I ever. "Intrigue" hated me at first sight.  I tore it out this Spring, no regrets.  Now if you live in a temperate climate, do PLEASE grow this rose; it's pure murex purple and it smells gorgeous, but it wants mild winters, good drainage, and it's a very heavy feeder.  If you have mild winters, a protected spot in full sun, acid soil and access to horse manure, this is the rose to grow. It's a specimen quality plant in the right circumstances.

Similarly, rosa 'Don Juan' slapped me across the face and told me to fuck off and die.

Rosa 'Black Baccara'? Slapped me, went joyriding in my car and took twenty dollars out of my purse before it croaked.  If you live  south of the Mason Dixon line, both these roses will joyously reach toward Heaven and sing halleluja.  You will get glorious, high-centered, spiralling, rich-scented roses perfect for cutting and competition  from 'Black Baccara' and it breaks my heart that it's just too tender for my biome.

"Lady Banks," a true vine, a twining rose, just cried itself to death.  I had it in a less than optimum place, though, so I'm playing with the idea of giving it another go.  Like I have room, which I don't.

You see how it progresses?  You fall in love with a pretty face and you have to have it. You find a place, or make a place, any place, make rash and foolish decisions, and either become a slave to the beast or learn to live in harmony - or hold a funeral.

'Night Owl', 'Fourth of July', 'All-American Red' (no scent), 'Cinco de Mayo' and 'Hot Chocolate' are highly recommended. "All A-Twitter'(neon canteloupe orange) and 'Sunsplash' (stripes of highly saturated yellow, red and orange) are on the fabulous end of the rose spectrum and both smell like cotton candy!

 If I had limited space and wanted a rose that would give me gorgeous blooms all season long, beautiful perfume, a reliable bushy form and lots of thorns to capture and hold miscreants, 'Hot Chocolate' would be my rose.  It is hardy as hell, the leaves are a glossy green, and the blossom color is like a dying ember, sooty orange and incandescent. It smells great too. I would honestly plant this rose in front of a first story window and leave that window open all summer long, day and night, and never worry a minute, serious as a heart attack.  Nothing made of meat that wants to come through those canes is going to get through. It is scary thorny and very woody and tough. If  Mr. or Ms. Crackhead wants to try, they'll still be hanging there in the morning, and you can poke them with a broom and laugh until the police come by.

I have rosa Damascena performing guard duty at my living room window for this very reason. Since I have a huge picture window there, I chose a rose with a very open, airy form so it lets the light and the view through. You get one flush of heavily scented red blossoms, but the leaves smell like apples all season long, and the canes are very flexible and have hooked thorns - think of Stalag 13.  I've shaped it into a fan and interlaced the canes, so it looks interesting all year long, and fantastic with a crackhead hanging from it.

Two roses I recommend with reservations are rosa rugosa 'Frau Dagmar Hastrup' and 'Zephyrine Drouhin.'  Both of them are hardy, but they tend to come up all over the yard, and you only get one flush of blossoms.

'Zephyrine' has no aroma, baby pink double blossoms, and is prone to sulk for a year or two after a hard cutting back.  It reaches for the stars, and wants to take over the world. These can get twenty feet tall, folks, with a tree to lean against.  If you want a tall, leafy green...thing, with very few thorns, this is the rose to go for. Hey, some people want that. It's so vigorously upright that I have it trained up an old folding latter for a support. My Zephyrine rose came from a mother plant that is 101 years old.  It was brought from Europe, around Cape Horn, and was planted alongside a farmhouse up in the mountains nearby.  I traded some tiger lily to a hippie for the start, and I'm pleased to have it, even though it's a brat.

'Frau Dagmar' can be destructively invasive, rending apart cement walkways, patios, and foundations.  I have it planted far, far away from the house, in a spot where I wanted something that would form a thicket, and it did that job very well.  It repays you with ruffly leaves, a nice aroma and pretty red new growth.

My very favorite rose of all time?  David Austins 'Munstead Wood.' Like Mary Poppins, it is practically perfect in every way. You get a four-five foot high shrub that gracefully arches over, and bears deep, red, rich, velvety, sooty, sensuous double-double blossoms that smell like rose-honey-rose. There is not a bitter note or an offputting tang. It has the most perfect true rose fragrance out there, besides 'Sombreuil.' The leaves are shiny and clean, the form is manageable, the blossoms don't droop, and it pumps out the flowers all summer long.

The crappiest rose?  Crested Moss Pink.  It's just ugly. The plant is ugly, the canes are weak, the blossoms droop and are an unremarkable pale pink, you only get one flush of bloom, and the blossoms smell like baby powder.  The only thing it has going for it are the strange, ruffly, interesting flower buds, which are covered in funky sundew tendrils that smell like pine.  And that's cool, it really is.  The plant, spring fresh, covered in unopened buds, is .  Unfortunately, those buds open, the boring flowers face downward, and the whole plant just goes 'bleaaaaah'.  And you're stuck with this ugly, messy looking thing for eleven and a half months a year, unless you rip it out, per Vita Sackville-West. Life is just too short, you know?

Friday, June 5, 2020

Memories Of A Wheel Ass

I am everlastingly grateful that I got into the biker lifestyle before it became stupid. Things were in transition. It was an amazing time to ride. 

 OCC and all those shitheads out there repping like they were the life? Bullshit. They weren't even close.  Jesse James was bullshit. Happy as hell to sell out.  You don't get a tattoo on the palm of your hand that says 'Pay Up Sucker' if you aren't all about the cash. I know from personal experience because I DO have a tattoo in the palm of each hand (certainly not 'Pay Up Sucker' please, I have class), and that shit feels like someone  grinding a lit cigar out on you for twenty solid minutes. Two hands, forty minutes of sheer hell.  Honey you gotta be convicted as a mad motherfucker.  Ol' Jesse only cares about Jesse.

I grew up around bikers.  Lots of the dads in the blue collar neighborhood where I grew up rode, and some were clubbed up.  The main clubs going in our area were the Bandidos, The Gypsy Jokers, The Brothers Speed, the Tumbling Dice, and the Top Hats.  One of my dads' good friends was a Bandito, and another one was a Lone Wolf (no club) but rode with the Hells' Angels.

I won't go into the wheres and whyfors and politics because that's always changing.  I will say that most - not all - of the clubs on the West Coast are Hells Angels Affiliates, meaning that they've come to an 'agreement' with the Eighty-One, and won't shoot one another on sight because they've all agreed that the HAMC are the big dogs in the neighborhood.

Now I'm talking about 1%ers.  Not Susan and Dale going out for a ride on their Honda.  I mean outlaw motorcycle gangs, riding Harleys or Limeys (or Victories these days, since Sonny Barger switched to one.) I'm talking about back in the days when the old dudes were Greatest Generation guys, crewcut dudes, still living in the 1940's, super conservative, America Love it or Leave It fuckers.  They would not talk to a woman if her husband was nearby, and most would not talk to a woman at all, period. Motorcycle events were no place for a woman, and they'd make comments meant for you to overhear along those lines. Those old boys;  I never knew  single one whose wife wasn't a hardcore Fundamentalist Christian.  It sounds like a conflict in terms, but when a 50 year old woman thinks nothing of wearing a 'Property Of'  rocker, or having the same thing tattooed on her body,  then you've got a woman who is happy to hand the reins over to anything with a dick.

The thing is, all those women started out being wild ass girls, straight out of Women In Chains, and that's who those old fucks met and fell in love with when they were still able to play horsie.  I saw the new generation of wild girls come into the clubs.  They'd start out righteous and fine, all out, full bore, straight up dirty mean and nasty, and within five years time end up being a "yes, baby" ol' lady, all fried hair and broad in the beam with a Marlboro hanging out of her mouth.

Year ago my Biker rode with (but had not pledged to) a certain gang up in Alaska.  If you want to impress me, be an Alaskan biker.  Be someone who rides all winter long, in Alaska, with Spikes On Your Motherfuckin' Tires.  Then I will be impressed, and you can give me money.  He was not a member, but he was a 'bro'  back when that was totally a sub-sub-subculture term.  The other term was 'Lone Wolf', a biker who rides righteous - meaning they ride an American or Limey bike -  and hangs with 1%ers, but isn't pledging or a made member of a club. You know what, Mr. Internet is your friend here.  I'm using the terms, you get to look them up.

Anyway, we met - and deal;  a tattoo artist introduced us!  Am I badass or what? And it was love at first haircut.  The Biker came down here from poor tired Alaska with his 1970's hair and I said "Oh no that will not do" and invited him over to my place to take care of his sad, sad hair situation because I know how to cut hair, and we get chatting, and I find out that he's smart and reads and has seen Eraserhead; and it is LUV .

We ended up in the ass end of nowhere that is The Fourth Corner, WA. and set up housekeeping right smack in the middle of Bandido territory.

My Biker buys a Magna, and it's a nice ride, a very smooth and mechanically reliable beast, but when he enters it in the local car/motorcycle show a certain Name in 1% circles (who was featured in an early edition of 'Easy Rider' magazine no less) makes a disparaging remark about its being a Rice Rocket. Quel horreur!

The Magna was replaced with a Harley that quick.

 Now we're riding RIGHT.  Now we get respect. Now we can ride into any little town and that engine note is all it takes - all the kids wave at us and the adults look up from their crack pipe and Jack Daniels and give us a 'Sup.  Other bikers give us the biker wave as we pass in opposite lanes.  We are COOL. This just astonished me.  It was like riding around in a parade float!

We meet our friends out there, taking road trips.  Foulmouthed smart agnostics who are born to be wild seem to be drawn to the same places, and we had some interesting encounters with people all over the map.  Old people were the best.  The ones who approached us saying 'Y'know, I used to ride a motorcycle..." who rode back in the days of the Graveyard Pony and the Silent Grey Fellow, Hendersons, Ariels.  They would spin tales that left us aghast, or laughing, and every single blue-collar hero was on our side, male or female; working people with calluses on their hands.

Tattoos were part of the biker scene.  Hand in hand.  If you rode right, you had ink.  It just was.  I'd wanted ink since my cousin Carol did her own while she was in Juvie, using a needle and a Bic pen cartridge.

My first tattoo was on my shoulder, and commemorated a life event.  It reads "Defeater of Demons" in kangi, or perhaps "Dumb American paid $75.00 for this."

Either way, my cool meter pegged the needle. One tattoo!  I could walk down the street during a meet, wearing a tank top with my shoulder bare, smoking a Blackie, wearing leather chaps and boots, and the respect was awesome. Anyone who worked in a bar didn't play games - they just kept you supplied.  You tapped your empty twice on the bar and they silently came to fill your glass again. Waitresses played up to you. Managers, clerks, maids and bellmen were fast and efficient. You were what they wanted to be, and you were doing what they wanted to do.  What their fathers, sisters and brothers had done. Their mothers.  Grandmothers. Great-Grandfathers.

Sitting in the chair waiting to get a tattoo wasn't something that has ever scared me.  And the tattoos I have didn't hurt, except where they extended into an area where there was sensitive skin with numerous nerve endings. Even then, just grit your teeth and sit still.  In a few hours it doesn't feel any worse than a sunburn.  Just don't ever get one on the palm of your hand.  Unless you're into pain.  Then go nuts.  I am not into pain.  Pain hurts. I found out the hard way.

Despite all the tattoo shows on T.V., your tattoo artist does not want to hear the story behind why you wanted to get your tattoo, really.  The flesh is flying and s/he's trying to make a buck, and that means asses in the chair. He or she is wearing a plastic face shield and latex gloves, and they've had to craft their own needle clusters and keep everything sanitary, well-ventilated and organized.  You are the hazmat they deal with on a daily basis. So before you go in, take a shower, put on some clean clothes, eat a good meal, and be hydrated. Don't be high or drunk.

Be respectful.  Do not piss off a tattoo artist.  He can take that gaff, turn it on, let it angle off a surface for half a second - which makes the incredibly sharp and thin ends of the needles bend - and hook you to death.  You want to be an asshole? Better make sure you want that tattoo, asshole, because you will never get rid of it, ever.  I've seen the results of this.  That ink gets rammed into the bleeding gutter of meat that those bent needles are making, and there it stays, and there it spreads.

No.  No no no no no no no no. No no, no no no; no.  No no no. 

Most tattoo artists rode.  It wuz lak Peas an' Carrots.  At any given event in Washington State we would meet the people who'd laid on our ink, and there would be a Conclave of the Bod Mod Freaks in some bar willing to put up with a lot of flesh on display.

Bikers took body modification out of the fetish closet into the mainstream.  I loved the shop talk and the amazing designs. The first scarification, keloiding, branding, implants, gauges, extreme piercings I ever saw were all on bikers, re'glar folk who worked in your auto shop, your bank, your grocery store.  And what was not to love?  Men in leather, women in leather, lots of skin, tattoos, motorcycles, weed and liquor, good loud music, burnouts, rapping throttles - Heaven or what?

Most meets back then, if they were open and not by invitation only, were 1%er meets, hosted by the local club.  Since - like I said -  most clubs were affiliates of the Hells' Angels, (and most small towns here in the great PNW are well aware of the fact,) they could hold it in the actual town itself; close off streets and park the bikes along each side, knowing that no running gun battles would ensue, because there was always a Red and White rep on hand just to make sure.

The businesses would all have 'Welcome Bikers' banners, and the owners of those businesses would make out like bandits. And oh my God, the motorcycles.  Amazing things. Works of art.  Speed demons.  And terrible, laughable, insane WTF things too, home built and somehow running down the road, by someone with more tools than taste.

Riding a motorcycle is the combination of driving a sports car, and riding a horse.  You are IN the landscape, not just watching it go past.

And just like a horse, a Harley stops every now and then and takes a shit.

Well, the older ones did.  You were always working on those things in parking lots and on the side of the road. They were unreliable. They vibrated so badly your vision blurred and your whole body went numb, and they always, always leaked oil.  And that's new, straight out of the bag.

 And oh, God help you with that used Harley you just bought. My husband tore one apart and found that they'd used magazine pages stuck together and cut to shape for the gaskets.  The shit we found in bikes was unbelievable. Dried chunks of dead animal. Bad welds in crucial spots. Bondo covering up stress cracks, front forks bent upward like a letter 'C' (or the Rhino) from all the miles of straight -up riding, and you don't want me to go on, but I could.

Now on the other side of that coin is the fact that the Biker and I had a nice little side gig going, customizing, painting and restoring old bikes and re-selling them, doing paint sets (Look it up, lil' buckaroo) and setting up a booth at all the motorcycle swap meets with all the old parts we'd stripped off.  One mans' apehanger handlebars are another mans abomination. We still have a shed filled with old stock.

I was such a committed sales-biperson that pretty soon our friends were putting their stuff in with ours because I was bringing in the cash, kids.  I was the only woman actively selling that I ever saw, and I can sell ice to the indigenous Alaskan persons and do so all day long. I didn't just sit there sullenly smoking, saying "My old man will be back around in awhile if yer interested." No.  I liked selling, because I got to people watch, and I met a lot of interesting folks and made good working connections. There is nothing like a big fat wad of cash between your tits at the end of the day to make you feel like 'Ick, I should put these in a bag or something.'

Victory Motorcycles came along at the very end of that era, and thank God those were reliable, turn-key bikes that went like hell and wouldn't suddenly roll to a stop, or come up with a piece of the frame split or the engine making rock-crusher sounds.  Sonny Barger said as soon as they started making a reliable American motorcycle, he'd switch to that brand; and for awhile there they did, and it was Victory, and Sonny bought one and rode it.  I met him in Arizona.  He was OK.

I've met, spoken with and talked to a lot of famous or notorious people from back in the old, old days, the Easyrider Magazine, Booze Fighters, take over a small town days. They were straight up working men, just...guys.  I only met a couple who were shitroosters.  I would target my shitrooster and walk straight up to him in front of his boys and bum a cigarette off the dude.  I always got that cigarette, because if the dude turned me down, I might go crying back to my ol' man, who might be President of the Psychotic Chainsaw Maniacs MC and there'd be trouble; he didn't know.  I was just some dumb bitch who didn't know how important he was, and he had to rep in front of his guys, and I'd walk off with a free smoke, having won my skirmish in the rigidly enforced white boy War Between the Sexes.

OK. Now I'm really going to rank.  Watch out.

Out of all the bigots, racists and butt-ignorant cocks 'o the walk out there in my world, clubbed-up, 1% bikers are by far at the very pinnacle of the shitheap. The vast, vast majority of them were rednecks. Rabid conservatives.  Disenfranchised,  edge of the herd types who willingly let their lives be run by the loudest and most violent person they could find, wore the same clothes, followed the same rules, had ranks, won medals, paid dues and fines, pretending that they were still in High School or the military, and were the badasses that they'd never been and would never be without that patch on their back.

The soldiers - ordinary members with no rank - were sorry as hell.  Those guys were treated like nobody.  Imagine being a scrawny, 70 year old dude, never gone up in rank, still being called 'Critter' by your 'bros', working in a lumberyard or out in the woods, chain smoking, hard drinking, dumb as a box of rocks - and then you put on those colors and you're SOMEBODY. And your idea of being 'somebody' means that everyone assumes that you're a violent criminal, nobody trusts you, and you just might get hit by a car, just for kicks, out in America's heartland as you're working on your busted bike along the side of the road and the cops will not do shit about it. That still happened. And that was your life.

Now  1% club women came in three varieties:  1. Ol' lady, unmarried. Dumb and sleazy, but cheerful and fun   2. Ol lady, skinny, rode hard, only talked to other 'ol ladies, sour old harridan;  and 3. Wives, the lite and fluffy Born Again Christian women in their mom jeans, wearing their 'Property of Ratprick' patch on the back of their vest, with a 'Jesus is Lord' patch over their heart, who followed behind their husbands and never said a word.  They all smoked Marlboros, and they all drank Budweiser. Well, Born Again lady would carry a Budweiser around all night, but you'd catch her dumping it out a bit here, a bit there.

These are all stereotypes, and things don't become stereotypes because they never happen that way.  This is what I saw.

Toward the end, coming up on the 1990s, you'd see a few women come riding in on a Wide Glide or something, and it was invariably her late husbands bike.  This is how she signaled 'Single, need a man,' and that big ol' motorcycle was the bait she was dangling, because after twenty five years of not working (Heaven forfend; a woman's place is in the home) hard, hard partying and not enough money for plastic surgery, your ass needs bait. And this worked.  You'd see the recently bereaved all sitting on a bench in the shade, while the men came by and ogled their bikes with the 'In Memory of Ballsack' sticker on the oil tank. She'd see one she liked and would go out and attempt to engage that man in conversation.  The Widows' Bench always had a line of cigarette butts in front of it an inch thick by the end of the day.

I never drove a bike.  I was always a passenger.  I do not have the coordination it takes to steer, shift, accelerate, clutch, and brake or whatever order that goes in. The one and only time I ever drove a motorcycle, I whiskey-throttled my way straight out of the driveway, across the road and into the far wall of a deep drainage ditch.  The bike came to an abrupt halt; I did not.  Five airborne seconds of "Gracious! I'm going to die now!" followed. I ended up in the emergency room with my bra full of dirt and baby corn plants, my shoe full of blood, missing a chunk of meat out of my calf.

Now we road trip in cars.  In a car, when a bee hits you, it does not hit you like a bullet and sting you - it just spatters on the windshield.  If it rains, you don't have to find a coffee shop or a motel and wait it out. If that logging truck up ahead drops a length of bark, you have the luxury of cussing the driver.  You don't have to ditch and dive.

It's all right.  It really is.  And I've got excellent memories.

*I grew up in what had been, 70 years before, The Howling Wilderness. The Wildest Part Of The Wild West.  Most people could not afford an automobile - but they could afford a motorcycle, or a motor for their bicycle.  The further out into the backwoods you went, the more people would wave you over, sit you down on the porch and show you their dauguerreotypes, great grandma as a young girl standing next to her Cyclone, or great grandpa with all his kids in a sidecar, next to the house, on his Hazelwood Colonial.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Old Neighbors, Threats, And Sucking Dick

More quaint vignettes from my charming rural idyll!

My very favorite neighbors ever moved three years ago, and I was bummed, kids.  I have never had a truly good nextie until she and her extended family moved in across the field from me.  No, what I had were  schizophrenics, years and years of them. I was always next door to the person who would stand on their back porch and scream incoherently at 2:A.M. and I am not telling you anything but the absolute truth.
When Ser and her daugher Sar - and kids -  moved in, it was so great.  Ser had a baking business, and she made my husband's birthday cakes and they were astounding. Sar's kids made a fortune off me when Girl Scout Cookie time came around (give me ALL the Samoas.)  We were just regular, friendly, not 'in your shit' but 'there to have long outdoor chats with' neighbors, and not a single one of them was violently insane. Then they left.

Who should I meet at the post office today but Ser and Sar and the whole crew?

I broke Covid protocol.  We all did.  We hugged. We patted. We  exchanged droplets. We stood in the parking lot and talked shit loudly.  It was fantastic!  And Ser is moving back in to the neighborhood!  Look at the misanthrope getting misty!  but I am stoked, it's true!  Ser is good people and I'm looking forward to seeing her around again.

The neighbors on the other side of me....oy vey.  I have stories.  But those stories came to an abrupt end when they all moved out, them and their 246,83539 pets and giant sacks of garbage and the daughter who used to stand on the back porch and argue loudly with the pear tree in their back yard, or just scream full-throated for 45 minutes. Yeah.
They sold the property and good fuckin' riddance, because  they'd trashed it so bad that the fire department used it for training new volunteers.

Actual picture of that happening. Rancho FirstNations is just out of frame to the right.
There are firemen at the end of the rainbow.  Did you ever doubt it?  

  Now all that is gone, razed, hauled away, scraped bare. Up from the mud and weirdness sprang three fourplexes.  Once these units are filled I'll have an estimated 63 - SIXTY THREE - new neighbors (It was a four-lot parcel.)  The nearest unit is whammo, right on our lot line.   
Things are quiet so far.  That will change, come August.  And by God, if I end up with the screaming nut in the unit right next door to my place I am going to go fully Old Lady on their asses. I am sick of that mess. If you must be crazy, do it SOMEWHERE ELSE. My empathy is all used up.  I've been crazy.  But I never stood out in my yard and shouted gibberish at 2:A.M.  Neither should you.
I mean it.

Last night I binged on a certain Infomaniac Bitches' blog, and I found a post that I wish they'd teach in Health Class. Those of you with delicate constitutions should Skip This Link, Pamela Troeppl-Kinneard.

Wouldn't it have been nice to go out into the adult sexual arena armed with this knowledge?  I did not.  Men were like a pinata - give it a whacking and Surprise! Wow!  Look at that! Now what the hell do I do with it?
Big ol' can opener? Check. Discipline collar? Check.  Large roll of foil?  Check. Clue? None whatsoever.  No quatloos for you.

I've been married to the same man for 32 years.  I am a confirmed monogamist* and haven't had to worry about this shit in years, but that post brought it aaaaall back. 
That was an activity that I really enjoyed, but you had to be ready to do some vamping as you went over your strategies once that kielbasa was hot 'n' ready. And the Rhino was always bitching. "Hey, I don't do 69 - Ooooooh." Or "I wanna be able to see your fa - Ooooooooh." Or "I don't wanna lie dow-Ooooooh."   And Mr. "Too Much Of A Good Thing" really, absolutely did not get that he was in a right-angled turn lined with teeth and not a straight, smooth stretch no matter how you gakked and herked - and no matter how much he kept repeating 'No teeeeth, be caaareful, oh you're ruining this!' with every. single. partner.
My sluttin' around days were in the early 1970's when AIDS was just a distant rumor and all STD's could be cured with a shot of antibiotics and a hearty handshake.  Them that went around, went all around, and got notorious in the relatively small world of gay Portland in those days.  I wonder if D. or  W. ever figured it out, or if they're still out there someplace, grey haired, stuffed to the gills with Viagra, whining "I wanna see your face" and "No teeeeth" and wondering why nobody gets it already.

*Yes. I know. Yes, he knows. Yes, I still cross. Yes.  We argue about who gets 1980 Jaime Lee Curtis first.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

My Camera Won't Talk To My Computer And My Phone Doesn't Take Pictures Because It's A Cheap Piece Of Shit

Quaint vignettes from my charming rural idyll!

Last winter, for the first time in twenty years, our town flooded.  Note that when I say 'town' the legal definition of this dot on the map is 'A Hamlet' but let's move on.  The water was pecker deep all around my house for a few days; thank God for tall foundations.  I was looking out at it going 'Oh my God there goes my garden.'  Basically screw the neighbors; it's everyone for themselves in this mans' Apocalypse - BUT NOT THE ROSES DEAR GOD WHY.

After that went away, the weather turned.  We get two solid weeks of below-zero weather and constant high winds from the North; and thanks, Canada, I really appreciated that shit.  We left the water dripping from all the taps, but they froze anyway, and burst.  The plumbers arrive, open up the side of my house, fix the pipes - and discover that one of Gods lil' creatures has chewed through the connection between the water supply and my hot water tank!

I asked God "Why did you send one of your lil' creatures to do such a random, stupid, You-damn thing?" And God replied by killing my washer-dryer.

And lo, a new washer-dryer was installed, yet it did not wash, nor did it dry.

The repairman came out and discovered that a ground wire had been dislodged.  That good, kind man re-lodged it, and said that he'd fake up a report about a bad switch so we wouldn't get charged for the service call-
and HE DID.

Jubilation reigned here at Rancho FirstNations! The tide had turned! Lady Luck was shining her light on us once again!

Oh, and my garden?  HAS NEVER LOOKED BETTER. (see the title of this post.)

I am going to give you my personal, single experience of this quarantine. I realize that I am in the minority when I claim this, and I realize that it's simply a matter of luck and disposition, but I am enjoying it.  I don't socialize much, and when I do, I keep things casual and light.  I live in a small town, and that's how you survive, and fortunately I'm just fine with that, even without it's being necessary and enforced now. I've been doing social distancing like a boss, bitches, way before it was cool.

People are not dying up on nearby Reese Hill Road - a notoriously steep, twisting, off-camber two-lane road that goes up into the mountains.  I'm on the main road through town, the one that most vacationers take to reach the Mt. Baker Wilderness Area, and it turns into Reese Hill about a mile down the road from here. I haven't heard a single siren, night or day, in two months.  That has never happened in all the time I've lived here.

All the neighbors are outside in their yards, or strolling around town, riding bikes, skateboarding, and I've met more people this year than I ever knew lived nearby.  Most of the jobs nearby are rated 'essential' and so we haven't been hit very hard economically. The man who developed the lot next door is filling the units. People are behaving themselves in the nearby stores.  Most importantly, the Trump Shrines are coming down.
In the reddest corner of the bluest state, The Trump Shrines Are Coming Down.

Front porch shrines, little decorative arrangements off to one side, are A Thing here.  I never saw this (maybe around Halloween or Christmas if at all) in Oregon, not even when I went back to visit, but here in Washington nearly everyone has something.  Usually a straw bale with a few pots of flowers on top, and a decorative sign or a house star or a scarecrow, that kind of thing.

I have a front porch vignette too.  It's an old, old bar room chair, a rifle* leaning in the corner nearby, and a sippin' jug.  My decorative sign does not say 'Welcome Friends' or 'Live, Laugh, Love'. It says "Guns Don't Kill People - RELIGIONS DO."
By the time I answer the door for the JW's, half my job has already been done for me.

SHOUTOUT TO 63 MAGO:  I can't comment on your blog at all.  But I am reading it and thank you for mentioning me!

*We took the wood stock off an old Daisy Air Rifle and replaced it with a length of electrical conduit painted primer black.  On the side of the stock that faces the wall, my Biker has written 'Don't Bother Stealing - It's Not Real.'  We've found it lying in the yard a couple of times.