It Seemed Worth Saying

Long overdue update/roundup of the events of the last year or so. Those who follow along regularly will no doubt be familiar with much of this material, but today’s recollections will be delicately adorned with details gleaned thru the perspective of time. I’m pretty sure it’d be labeled as a sermon if I was in one of those lunatic cults. And no, I’m not denigrating religion just because they haven’t formed one around me yet! I’m in a college town now. Let me think…if I grow a beard and quit pulling errant hairs out of my ears I WOULD look more properly prophetic. Hmmm. But I digress.

I’ve been here awhile now. Year and a half? In that zone. Two winters and one summer. Second summer staring me right in the face. To those of you who watched me scratch and claw my way here, those of you who helped, those of you who just rode along on my social media clown car, I salute you. Getting here to The Free People’s Republic in the time and manner I did involved crazy insane stupid risks that could have gone horribly awry at so many different levels, but didn’t. Any honest accounting of the many possible pitfalls will require an advance in quantum computing. So if you ask me if it was worth it of course I’ll answer in the affirmative because everything ended up going affirmatively well. At least in the aggregate.

Colorado is everything I remember it being, memories built from both a youthful summer spent in Loveland to my early adult career in the Air Force in Colorado Springs. Everything good that I remember about Colorado is just as it was, only better. There is a catch. The fly in the ointment. It’s an expensive place to live because so many people want to live here. If I wasn’t a fabulously radiant young widower making his abode in a 93 Dodge Minivan, my bon vivant lifestyle, let alone time for musings upon it would be nil. I live on squat and I live well on it. I didn’t realize what an art form that really is but I’ve always harbored an inner confidence of my artistic ability, at least in the Autism-Alzheimer’s spectrum. I’m pretty sure I got at least a little bit of both of those going on by now.

I miss my dog. I miss my wife. All in all. I’m still loving life.

Enjoy.

Northwest Parkway Snafu

I received what I presume is an automated billing in the mail today from a company that runs a toll road here in Colorado. It’s from an outfit called Northwest Parkway and I found their bill a bit disconcerting since I had not knowingly traveled any toll roads in the state in the last six months (or ever).

Their Detailed Account Activity

Upon examination, their “Detailed Account Activity”  ‘tags’ me at “Sheridan” back on the fourth of May at precisely 5:21:16.   This inevitably led me to the question: “Where was I and what was I doing that time of day on the fourth of May?”, as well as, “Where the hell is Sheridan?”.  I grabbed my trusty iPhone and started scrolling back to May 4th on my Facebook timeline.

My boss chimed in, “You were off on the fourth”, before I had even scrolled back thru my latest week of posts.  As I continued to scroll (and scroll and scroll), plowing thru a feed littered with the refuse of posts responding to the various high crimes and misdemeanors of President Pantywaist, I scoured my brain trying to figure out how I could have unwittingly fallen into a tollway trap.

To be clear, the amount is nil ($2.35) and it might be easier to pay it than protest, but I’m protesting since I have solid proof I was nowhere near anyplace named Sheridan on that time of day on the fourth of May.  

I am acting as the canary in the coal mine on this one folks.  Consider this a test of the customer service department of Northwest Parkway.  They will be provided a link to this story as well as my email address thru their online customer service form.  They provide no pre-formatted options to contest a bill that I could find on their website and since I’ll be forced to ‘tell’ this story to them at some point it seemed easier to document it out here and now.  My faith in corporate nature leads me to suspect they would not believe me on the basis of a friendly telephone contact alone.  I will share their response as an educational offering once I receive their reply.

My Detailed Account Activity

Where was I on that day and time?  Sitting next to Lake Loveland most of the afternoon,  before pulling up stakes and driving around the lake to the golf course on 29th (Cattail Creek) around a quarter after five.  How can I be so sure? Blame it on my propensity to check in on Facebook/Yelp with such consistency if you must, but here are the screen shots off my iphone showing the check-in dates and times.  I checked into the course at 5:35.

Conclusion

The only “Sheridan” I can find seems to be an hour or more away from Loveland and my dear van Nelly Belle just ain’t up to those kinds of warp speeds.  I believe I have been shafted by ‘machine intelligence’ gone amok.  Now all that remains to be seen is if it’s too late for the humans to help me.
Enjoy.

My Apologies

In lieu of the challenges presented over the last couple years, the list of which is both long and arduous in the retelling, I haven’t posted here much lately.

My more “distant past” is still contained on WordPress, heavily hyperlinked herein, with the last couple years of my bouncing around the country like a midget on a Dutch hooker more likely to be found on my Facebook-Twitter-Instagram-Yelp feeds.  It was much too tedious to try and support this platform on the portable devices I have been forced to rely on in that interim.

Bottom Line

I have been extremely negligent in relation to the amount of content shared here.  More out of necessity than desire, I had been forced to shift much of my (purportedly) maniacal musings to more immediate, yet entirely more ephemeral platforms however, I am back.

I cannot promise to refrain from my pattern of dropping random diddlings on my other social media platforms but I do promise to be more active here on WordPress now that the dust in my life has settled a bit and I’ve regained the modicum of stability, technology and bandwidth to pull it off.

Enjoy.

Peter McWilliams Remembrance Day

Peter McWilliams

Though Peter and I disagreed on matters of faith we were both committed to the rights of patient access to medical marijuana.  Take a moment to give thanks and praise to a fallen hero in the war on marijuana.

Enjoy.

On the Road Again

A Place in the Sun

My stay at the corner of Chelsea and Hyde Park in Memphis was bracketed by gang violence.  The day before I arrived a guy had been gunned down just up the block from the auto shop where me and Bandit were staying.  His T-shirt was one of two planted in a makeshift memorial, in an untended lot just across the street from where Bandit and I were holed up (see header pic).  A daily reminder of the senseless randomness of street thuggery in the US today, a good deal of which is fueled by the ongoing refusal of some states to come to terms with legalizing marijuana.  As was the case with alcohol prohibition, this inevitably leads to black market activity and violence is the only ‘legal’ recourse for solving “market” disputes.  There’s a “Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre” happening almost every day somewhere in the poorer parts of the American landscape, but since the dead are mostly poor Blacks and not upscale Italian mobsters, it doesn’t make the ‘news’.  I knew moving in here that the area was a sketchy, but this was underscored in a seriously dramatic fashion Sunday evening. 

Why We Left

IMG_1165

“Nelly Belle” loaded up with Bandit taking one last look at the ‘hood.

There was an honest to goodness running gun battle that took place right at this spot early Sunday evening.  

Bandit and I hunkered in for the night and when daylight appeared Monday morning, I decided not to continue to remain in an area that appears, for all intents and purposes, to be one of the primary gang “drug dealerships” in Memphis.  

To be fair, I had never before felt personally threatened by the gang activity.  I was living in their neighborhood and they treated me with kindness, dignity and respect. There was no hint of racial animosity whatsoever.  This in no way abated the fact that the internecine gang skirmishes were a fact of life or that the general deprivations of the area played heavily on my ability to retain my exuberant upbeat attitude.  None of the businesses seen in the pics below are open and even the church shown in this slideshow was ‘out of business”.  You know things are bad when both the pool hall and the church give up on the area!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Though the deprivations in our living arrangements were harsh. I was thankful to have a place for me and Bandit to bivouac while attending to the issues of the van that my friend Drew Pittman had so graciously gifted me.  I consider Drew one of my secular guardian angels.  The van he gave us is truly a life saver and game changer for me and Bandit as we continue the daily struggle to rebuild our lives back here in the US.

What’s Next?

Bandit and I have moved to a safe location outside Memphis and are in a holding pattern awaiting paperwork on the van which has been promised to be forthcoming.  I will be meeting with Drew over the fourth of July weekend to finalize all that before heading on to Pike’s Peak as has been my intention since arriving back in the US last November.  In the meantime we are both doing fine and expect to have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend just like the rest of America.  Memphis wasn’t all bad by any means and I do not wish to leave that impression.  We loved the parks and the general vibrancy of the city.  Memphis is definitely moving in the right direction and there is a lot of opportunity awaiting those with the gumption to grab it.

The circumstances of my poverty greatly exacerbated the situation and though I actually started working within a week of my arrival, getting both the van in shape and trying to acquire the basic items necessary for life made it difficult to accumulate any real wealth.  It’ll be touch and go for sure until we’re actually in Colorado and settled in but that challenge is more appealing to me at this point than gambling with my safety in Memphis.

Enjoy.