Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Went on this poetic jam last night about Jack Kerouac and bugs and fire towers further Ken Kesey beat Neal Cassady and all that dead cool so quaint today. I was at the Rockford Public Library with dear esposa Esther for the open microphone poetry reading, and I read a poem I wrote while sitting on the shoreline of Lake Superior about, basically, how the lake and everything else is slave and lord over everything else, ending with the line "Is God and surf." Get it? Play on words.

Since last I wrote here I had a weekend visit from an old college friend, Todd. We went out Friday with another college friend, goat boy, er, Shawn Robinson, who lives in downtown Rockford. Well, went out is a bit much. We hung out at Shawn's place drinking beer and then went out for a few more at Shawn's favorite bar, the Irish Rose, and then went French at the Rue Marche, where I sang a drunken, if not accurate, karaoke rendition of Pearl Jam's "Jeremy." Baritone voice and beer goes hand in hand. Todd arrived with a box of Frank Zappa discs and a collection of jazz, fusion and psychedelic, both on vinyl and CD. Lots of burning, adding to my collection. And then we played two sets of windy tennis out at YMCA courts along the river. Probably the windiest tennis I ever played. The wind blew cross court. We managed. Compensated. It worked against us both. Split sets, 4-6, 6-4.

Next day, Saturday, got started off slow because of Friday debauch, the ol' metronome hangover. I drank five glasses of water to rehydrate and then took a hot shower. After shower threw up. Most pleasant barfing experience. All water, straight up, and no bile. I really cut loose on the brews. Todd drove. He only had a couple beers. But as is the rule with Todd, we played sports. In the morning toss around his worn out leather football, the same one we tossed around back in college days, more than five years gone. It's hard to grip. I had to lick my fingers with each throw, but Todd won't get a new one for sentimental reasons. We also kicked a soccer ball around. Both football and soccer in the vacant lot across the street from my apartment. Early afternoon we go over to Harlem High School courts and play three sets. He beat me, but it was close. I lost 3-6, 6-3, 4-6. I would have had it, Todd said, if I'd tied the third set, 5-5. I was just hitting my stride. He said he was getting pooped. My tennis game takes a long time to get going because I don't play often enough. We still had many double digit strokes baseline volleys and even a few frantic net exchanges. Too many unforced errors, yes, but not bad for a hangover Saturday. Watched baseball at my parent's house. Cheered as the Angels poured on 8 runs in the fifth inning en route to a 9-4 win to eliminate the Yankees. When my Dad entered the basement lair, Todd asked him who he wanted in the World Series. Dad said he didn't care, as long as it wasn't the Yankees or Braves. Todd got up and shook his hand. After game we came back to my apartment for a short time before going back over to goat boy's place. Esther joined us. All four of us were subdued, laid back. Goat cooked up crepes, with sauteed apples and bacon. I ate more bacon Saturday than I have in the last three months combined. Also had bacon with breakfast. MEAT! I'd never make a vegetarian. South side Johnny Todd took off for Steger after Goat's. Always a good time hanging with my stoomish bud.

Sunday sleep in, read the paper, cloudy, gray, but glorious beautiful quiet world Sunday morning. Early afternoon at my parent's again scanning in photographs for my trailjournals web site. Then we go to Rock County and are the only ones to show up for fall colors photo hike at Carver Roehl County Park. The feature of the park is Spring Brook, which carves out a valley with overhanging cliffs of shelfy limestone. I puff out my cheeks and imagine myself underwater, the detritus of so many dead brachiopods and encephelopods and other shelled creatures long dead forming the delicate, chalky layers of limestone. Got some good outdoor photography pointers from Dave Buchan and enjoyed being outdoors, of course, the simple feeling of open sky above breeze through my hair. As fall colors go, the hike was a bust. The colors would not cooperate. Leaves have their own agenda.

On the way back a stop in Clinton to see old limestone (imagine that!) water tower and take picture of same in waning fall five o' clock light. It's jacket wearing weather. I can smell winter, even if the leaves haven't put on their color display. Nice dusky country road drive back home. Then a movie, "Life is Beautiful."

Yesterday awakened by upstairs neighbor Eric's alarm clock at 5:30AM. Eric slumbers oblivious. I pound on ceiling, rouse him, and can't get back to sleep myself. Afternoon I go on a bike ride on the Pecatonica Prairie Path to Winnebago. The Path is overgrown, rutted, deep puddles, thick gravel, I had to stop and walk the bike through a couple spots. Surprised to see yuppie neighborhood developments so far west of Rockford. I thought all the expansion was eastward, but low interest rates stimulate economy housing boom everywhere eats up fertile fields around Rockford while core old town rots away. Monday Night Football with Dad watch Packers and Favre crush Bears. Also got to see Braves eliminated from post-season by Giants. Good day in sports. Beautiful fall day. Temps in 60s, sunny, blue sky, that certain fall kind of sunshine. Hard to believe I been in Rockford over a year.

Today same story with upstair neighbor's alarm clock. Should just keep my hiking stick in the bedroom so I don't have to get up to pound on ceiling. Had a dream about screaming into heating vent to wake him, pounding, screaming, running upstairs, bang on door, red face and spittle. Dreams tell us how we really feel. I wake up and the alarm's going. I act rationally. A single rap on the ceiling. What to do about this problem? Get him another alarm clock? Esther says to make arrangements with him for a wake-up phone call. That might work, but near stranger Eric is going to have to agree to that. He can't help it being such a heavy sleeper. I can't help being a light sleeper.

Lots of errands today. Blah blah blah. Not worth mentioning. Small stuff to keep the life organized and lubricated and going smooth. Went down to employment agency about substitute teaching. Different lady at desk said they have not even started processing my paper work. Says there are a lot of subs in the Rockford School District. I got to work soon. Been laying low and finances are not tight, yet, but I need some work. Got a good work out at YMCA. Sore and tired now, but calm. Took a late afternoon slow pedalling bike ride. Again, just had to be outside. Winter's coming soon. Gotta enjoy these fall days before November blahs set in.

Getting together with Andy tomorrow to work on Space Oddity. Putting together four songs to do at open stage. Would like to have three covers and an original. Got a good riff and chords for original, just need lyrics and lead voice. Hard for me to sing and play at same time. Can't keep rhythm part separate and distinct from voice part. That's cause I never took piano lessons. If so, I could have two melodies going at same time. Also going to do Man Who Sold The World and am debating that third song.

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