Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Old Familiar Sting

I struggled for 2 weeks with on again, off again bouts of dizziness. I had a few good days on my bike interspersed with some days spent napping on the couch. I went back and forth about whether or not I should go through with the second shot but by the time the date came up for it I was feeling mostly o.k. Unfortunately the volunteer had written down the wrong date for the second vaccination clinic on my vaccination card and we showed up at the casino 2 days too late. Fortunately I was able to get 9:00 a.m. appointments for both of us at City Market the following day. 

About 10-12 hours after the 2nd shot the dizziness set in again and I had a bad 24 hours of mild chills, mild nausea, fatigue and terrible dizziness and pressure in my head. Maybe a headache? I don't usually get headaches so I'm never sure what they feel like. Mercifully the terrible pressure in my head went away after 24 hours but the dizziness and fatigue persisted for 3 more days and I pretty much spent those days drifting in and out of sleep on the couch. I was able to walk the dogs for about 1/2 an hour and walk around the yard a bit here and there but that was about it as I'd then have to hit the couch to stop my world from spinning. Yesterday I was seriously doubting whether or not I'd made the right decision but today I feel significantly better and the only reason I'm not out on my bike right now is that the septic tank is being pumped. I'm hoping that's all it needs but I'm not optimistic. It's a pretty new septic system too. Life in the country.

I went running the day before my second shot, didn't feel too dizzy but also didn't feel awesome and tripped about 50 minutes into a 57 minute run. I landed pretty hard on my hip, hard enough to set off the emergency alert service on my Garmin which I thankfully managed to turn off before it actually alerted anyone. I fell heading downhill so I slid across some sandy slickrock for a bit as well. Miraculously I managed to escape with only a small abrasion on one knee. I never even got a bruise on my hip. My other knee and palms were covered in dirt where I'd skidded across the rock but somehow my skin remained intact. Back in my 40s or even my 30s there's no way this would have happened, I would have been covered in road rash and bruises and it would have hurt like hell. Because vegetarian diet. I'm not saying I'm currently bullet proof but thinking about it I've taken a few falls both running and hiking in the past few years and they've barely left a mark. I'm not sure why I fell, whether it was because I was mildly dizzy and didn't realize it or because I simply tripped on a funny shaped rock and lost my footing which happens to me from time to time. But it does have me concerned about hitting the trails again too soon.

The other odd thing was that my knee barely bled. And I wonder if this is something to do with the vaccine and the clotting issues some people are having. Hopefully my blood hasn't turned to sludge. Hopefully I just happened to not get a very deep cut. Still, it was weird to have road rash without a stream of blood running down my leg.

The skin under the dirt was scraped up, just didn't bleed through the dirt. Very strange. Being a guinea pig is fun!

Initiative 16 had its rehearing with the Title Board and they spent several hours tweaking the language but nothing significant changed. The problem is that it's intentionally written to deceive but not in a way that the Title Board can call them out on it. The objecting coalition will take it to the Colorado Supreme Court but I'm not optimistic, I think we need to assume this will hit the ballot. I have more to say about it but the outdoors beckon. I've been sitting on my ass for far too long.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Spinning On That Dizzy Edge

I woke up last Wednesday at 3 am with my head and the room spinning round and round. It was a bizarre sensation since I was lying down and had no other symptoms. I figured maybe it was dehydration, got up for some water and eventually made it back to sleep. I woke up feeling a little off but didn't think too much of it. When I attempted a weight workout that afternoon I found it more difficult than I thought it should have been, the weights felt heavier, definitely not motivated. Again woke up dizzy at 3 am and was still dizzy when I woke up and had a weird taste in my mouth. Walked the dogs then spent most of the day on the couch. I wasn't exhausted but I felt tired and unmotivated, just brain foggy enough to not want to attempt much. The trails were a mudfest anyway from 4" of snow the day before. No other symptoms. I finally suspected maybe it was a latent reaction to the COVID vaccination I'd had 2 weeks ago and sure enough, Google confirmed that people are having dizziness and a strange taste in their mouths 2 weeks after their first shot. Weird. And a week later the brain fog persists on and off. At least I'm not dizzy. Mostly. The fog lifted briefly on Monday and I thought I was through with it but it seems to be back with a vengeance today. Got all my dog and farm chores done and spent another day on the couch. Hopefully this post comes out somewhat coherent. Not sure if I should go through with shot #2, I guess I see how I feel next week. I do know someone who had actual COVID who had brain fog for months afterwards.

Thanks to the Pause Initiative, now called Initiative 16, I've been learning a lot about the initiative process in Colorado. Apparently not all states have this, the opportunity for any citizen to put any crackpot thing they want on the ballot as long as they get enough signatures. And the amount of signatures isn't all that much. I hate getting involved in politics and I struggle with ways to be effective in my involvement. At the moment Initiative 16 is still at the Title Board phase and a group of ag groups have formed a coalition to fight it. There are many hoops the Initiative has to jump through with the Title Board before the proponents can start gathering signatures and the coalition hopes to get it completely thrown out during this process or at least get the language toned down or changed. The Title Board only addresses certain aspects of the language of the Initiative - does it address only a single topic? Does the language convey the meaning/purpose of the issue that the authors are trying to address? They don't address whether it's constitutional (a part of it isn't) or legal or destructive or batshit crazy.

The initial objection from the ag coalition is that the Initiative addresses more than one subject, that it contains deceptive and incomplete language that doesn't convey the intent and meaning of the initiative and that it contains political catch words. The hearing for the objection is next week. The authors can re-word it and come back if the Title Board agrees with the objection. It's a long, drawn out process that will likely take until the end of the summer and there's not much anyone can do in the meantime other than financially supporting the ag groups. I'm already a member of one of them. So I guess I can save my panicking about it until them. There also seems to be a lot of initial opposition to it, of course the ag community has lost its mind over this but there are initial signs of opposition from Front Range, non-ag folks as well. Fall should get interesting. Hopefully it won't come to that though I imagine they'll try to get something on the ballot because what do they have to lose?

Activist groups are interesting, I've been to a few meetings over a few causes and never got involved beyond that. Because it almost always seems to be more about the egos of the people involved. They're social groups as well, sort of, with really weird dynamics to them. Animal Rights especially so. Because people who truly love animals donate their time and money to groups that directly help animals - rescues, shelters, vet care for low income people, cancer research, etc. They also don't care what their fellow humans eat. A lot of people involved in Animal Rights don't even have pets or particularly like being around animals unless it's part of their activism or a publicity stunt. And I don't get the whole thing of wanting to inflict veganism on everybody else, worrying so much about what other people eat and their values. It sounds exhausting. 

If this does make the ballot I'm interested to see how life for the authors will pan out. One rents a room in a vegan co-op in a multi-million dollar house surrounded by multi-million dollar houses in one of Boulder's toniest neighborhoods. Also Boulder is a smaller place than it seems. As it happens a friend who's coming down to visit this summer knows him. Many people are already irate about this, the effects will be huge and far reaching, and I suspect life may become unpleasant for these guys. Or maybe not, I don't know. I guess we'll find. out.

I'll leave with some photos from a week ago Monday. I stopped to share a moment of whimsy with Mesa Verde before dropping into the awesomeness of the Rib Cage. It was a wonderful, cathartic ride and I was finally done with worrying about Initiative 16. Then I got back to the car to the news of the mass shooting still in progress in Boulder. What can I say other than that I'm not surprised and that it was surreal and unnerving seeing such a familiar place on the news, crawling with SWAT. Even more upsetting was seeing the footage on YouTube of the bodies lying in the parking lot and inside the store and hearing the shots ringing out while the guy with the camera stood in the entryway. Because somebody actually posted this and I actually watched it because I didn't know what I was clicking on. I lived walking distance to that grocery store for 6 months and even after I moved to the opposite end of town I still popped in there on the way back from the mountains or after going to the Indian restaurant around the corner that we often frequented. No words.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Mad World

'We drove through the hills with the moon in our eyes
We bought a house in the country where we could lose our minds' - Nick Cave

I moved out here, the middle of nowhere, for a quiet life. All I want to do is raise as much of my own food as I can and ride my bike. Play with my dogs, run, hike. A simple life. A very human life. We evolved eating meat and moving around in the natural world and I'm trying to mimic these things as best I can while navigating the Zoo that humans are currently inhabiting. These things don't seem that unreasonable, in fact they should be inalienable rights as humans if human health and living our best lives was the goal of humanity. But unfortunately it's not. Having the woods taken away is a terrible blow. I'm not sure how to fight going forward but I'm going to fight. And now I've become aware of a 2022 ballot initiative that would shut down animal agriculture in Colorado. I'm not exaggerating. I wish I was. Two animal rights activists, one from Boulder and another from Broomfield (a Boulder suburb) have created the initiative and it's couched in the language of preventing animal cruelty, which it will not do, but the intention is to shut down animal agriculture, which it absolutely will do. And because it's an amendment to the Colorado statutes and not the constitution they only need 124,000 or so signatures to get it onto the ballot. And those signatures can be from anywhere in the state, they don't have to have a certain amount from each county or judicial district, meaning they can stand outside a few coffee shops in Boulder and Denver and probably get all the signatures they need in a few afternoons. Because who isn't in favor of ending animal cruelty and exploitation? That's how they'll present it to people but that's not what it is. It's beyond incomprehensible that two vegan transplants who've lived here 10 minutes can bring the whole state to its knees so easily. I would like to brush it off, to say there's no possible way people here would allow this. And if we were talking about Colorado 10 years ago this would be true. The state's very ethos is (was?) Live and Let Live, there's no way folks would fall for this. But the state has been inundated with newcomers, one of the main reasons the Front Range has become so intolerable, and they narrowly approved a measure to release wolves back into the wild here, something I NEVER thought I would see in my lifetime.

How do you fight a ballot initiative? I'm not into politics, I really loathe politics, I just want to live my life, I'm not interested in influencing other people. If someone wants to be vegan, whatever, I truly don't care what someone else puts on their plate for dinner. But vegan activists aren't happy enough to live their lives, they're driven to force their beliefs and agenda onto anybody and everybody. Vegan activism is a cult and the people involved are deeply entrenched. Trying to reason with them is pointless and boy do they love the sound of their own voices.

Thirty years of vegetarianism was a FAIL, I'm not going back to an even worse diet. But I don't know what to do. Arguing with vegans is pointless and aggravating, I won't do it and it gets nowhere. The majority of the public are not vegans. How to make them understand what they're voting for? I don't know. As a side note, artificial insemination will also be illegal for dogs so dog breeders are effected too. In fact, artificial insemination of all animals, domestic pets and livestock, will be re-categorized as a sexual act with an animal, a felony. I can't even make this up. For some reason AI really really infuriates the vegans. This could be the end of spay/neuter in Colorado as well. There is no exception for it and anyone could interpret the law to include it. 

The effects of this are huge, rural life in Colorado will be lost, a multi-billion dollar industry shuttered overnight. The economic effects of this will be felt state wide. Widespread unemployment, hunger, food shortages, skyrocketing food prices, I can't fathom it. This will have a ripple effect in other states, especially on food prices and availability. As meat becomes a luxury for only the super rich, folks will turn to the soy kibble fake meat products and those prices will soar as well. I'm not exaggerating. I wish I was. If the pandemic has taught us nothing it's that we need MORE locally produced food, not less.

Never mind how they're going to enforce this. 

This is video that explains everything pretty succinctly. Spoiler alert, she bursts into tears at the end. The animals matter, absolutely, but the people matter more. I'm crying for Colorado right along with you Rachel. I hardly understand the world anymore.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Needle Tears a Hole

It's turning out to be a mostly happy and productive week. We arrived at the Ute's free COVID vaccination clinic an hour early and there was already a pretty good line going but they decided to start a half hour early and everything went very quickly and efficiently. All told it took about an hour twenty minutes plus 35 minutes of driving. SO grateful to the Utes for sharing their excess vaccine with the community, I was probably 4-6 weeks from being eligible for a vaccine never mind when I actually would have gotten the shot in my arm. The Utes accepted all comers 18 and over so this was a great opportunity and the community took full advantage of it. The woman in front of me in line had come all the way from Telluride, about 2 hours away. When I left at 9:48 (clinic was supposed to start at 9:30) the line snaked around the parking lot seemingly forever. So glad we decided to go early. I hope everyone who wanted a shot got one eventually. 

Huge thanks to the Utes for their wonderful generosity.

By the afternoon I was feeling feisty so I decided to go for a short, easy run just to stretch my legs and get some sunshine. But my knees felt good and the music got me a little carried away so the run ended up being harder than I was intending. I wasn't tired or sore but about 20 minutes after I got home I had multiple rapid fire sneezing attacks which were very strange. I've never sneezed so violently and so many times in succession. At first I thought maybe something had crawled into the crawl space under the house and died and I was allergic to it. I do have seasonal allergies sometimes, especially since I've moved out here, but never with sneezing like that. I had several bouts of sneezing attacks throughout the evening and a couple good sneezes this morning but now it seems to have passed. Had to have had something to do with the vaccine and maybe also with the run lowering my immune response. I had no runny nose at all which is something I always have with my seasonal allergies. Very strange but thankfully seems to have passed. Other than that I had a mildly sore, achy arm, not too bad compared to how sore my arms get from weight lifting, and no other symptoms. Jonny had more severe arm pain and is woozy this morning. He had a good nap this morning after our not very long dog walk. I'm going to take a rest day today even though I'm feeling feisty again. I go back in a month (this was the Moderna vaccine) for the second shot and after that one I'll absolutely have a rest day or two.

I'm looking forward to going back to the pool. It'll be mid-April until I have full immunity but I may not wait until then. Our local infection rates seem to have stalled and the pool is taking good precautions so I think I finally feel good about going back, at least for very short swims to get back into it. I may enter a race in June in Arizona, I'll see how things go. Base training for biking and running feels good but the swimming, ugh, that's going to be a long haul.

I also managed to finish getting my tax info. together for the tax preparer. This is always a major stressor for me, I hate that kind of paperwork. And I finally managed to write a comment to the forest service about the logging slated to take place at Boggy Draw. This has been very nauseous making for me for the past month or so, keeping me up at night and worrying me throughout the day. My beloved Boggy Draw is slated to be logged as part of a 10 YEAR logging project. Awful. Nauseous making. Those woods and trails are one of the main reasons we moved here. I can't believe it. But here we are. The Forest Service is taking comments, this is National Forest land so anybody can comment. If anybody is inclined to comment you can do so here, it's very easy:

The bike club has a lot of information about the project and the issues in this post:

In short, the main issues are that they are going to open logging roads that will cross the trails, bringing heavy logging traffic right through the recreation area and destroying the trails. They're also going to log in the recreation area, forever changing the scenery. The area will be closed to the public due to logging as well. If they were going to do the right thing they should leave the whole recreation area out of the logging plan, preserve the trails, re-route the logging traffic around the recreation area. There are other issues but those are the ones that keep me up at night. Comments are due by this Friday, March 12.


In happier news I took a little day trip to Hovenweep over the weekend. Such a beautiful, special place. And they allow dogs. Ruby was pretty happy but Tess, well, she sees Dead People everywhere that isn't home.

I better publish this post before I run out of Mediocre Internet and enter the realm of Hillbilly Internet. I just found out there's a virtual public meeting tonight over Boggy Draw and I need to save those gigs.

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Hope Unknown, Part 2

At the start of the week I'd pretty much decided that triathlon racing would be out of the question this year. Somehow I thought I'd be vaccinated by April easily but then Biden said end of May for the regular folks and that's just too late for me to start swimming from scratch and be ready for even Xterra Nationals in September. But I found out the Ute Tribe had a vaccination clinic for everybody over 18 a few days ago and they plan on having another one next week! So I'm going to try for it. Not sure how long the lines are, we're going to go early and hope we get lucky. I could go back to the pool any time, it's open and they're being careful from what I hear, but I've just not been comfortable with it. The pool is usually nearly empty when I go but it seems poorly ventilated and stuffy. And I have plenty of other ways to exercise, the pool is a luxury. The break from the harsh pool chemicals isn't a bad thing either, my hair is doing so much better. But I miss it and it's good for me, physically, mentally. So we'll see. Trying not to get my hopes up too high in case it doesn't work out. A few more months isn't the end of the world and another summer without racing is no big deal. But it would be nice to have a goal of sorts. I've been feeling a bit not anchored lately, perhaps drifting a bit too far out to sea. Along with everyone else.

In the meantime this isn't a bad way to get in a good workout. Sand Canyon seldom disappoints. The lizards were out in full force so perhaps spring is nearly here.

I did hear a meadowlark the other day which is a good sign of spring. When the vultures return I know we're there for sure. Though I don't mind winter.

I saw 4 bald eagles flying over the house the other day, so very cool. Not sure what it was about and the crows chased them off pretty sharpish. The crows around here don't stand for much in the way of interlopers.

I suppose I'd better formulate a rough training plan of sorts. Just in case.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Nick Cave, Space Cadet, AFI New Music, Hanoi Rocks, Looking Tragic, Begging for Trouble and Some Exploring

It was like Christmas last Thursday with Nick Cave, Space Cadet and AFI all dropping new music. Nick Cave was a complete surprise - a full album of wonderful goodness. Just the thing for being cooped up during Mud Season. 

The Space Cadet song is next in line, so good, wonderful post punk with some guitar work by the iconic Brian Baker. Their full album drops in March, can't wait.

Space Cadet

AFI dropped 2 songs, one of which was released as a single with a video of sorts. One was really good, the other, well, kinda meh and the weakest of the four songs released so far in my opinion.

'Begging for Trouble' is the better of the two, perhaps my favorite of all four. Catchy, melodic, I dunno, just all around good. It's a great showcase of Davey Havok's wonderful vocals as well. I'll put it on my mp3 player so I can take it running with me if I can figure out how to buy a downloaded mp3 of it.

The other song, 'Looking Tragic', is the single and, well, I dunno, not my favorite thing. Kinda too rocky, the vocals back to that stoccato thing I don't care for, or something. It's a terrible earworm too. Not bad but not great. But in the cold harsh light of 2021 I guess I'll take what I can get. It's hard to fault them for the video, trying to shoot a music video during a pandemic is challenging at best and clearly they were trying to do the responsible thing by staying socially distanced so you have to give them points for that. But I'm not a fan of those quick, seizure inducing cuts. Which perhaps comes from being 90 million years old though as I recall I hated them back in the day as well. Davey Havok's pouting at the camera brings to mind Hanoi Rocks somehow, don't ask me how, but that old much maligned 80s band somehow sprang immediately to mind out of the dusty depths of my memory. That pink mic stand though! It almost makes up for everything. Almost. 

Also, maybe it's just the hypnotherapist in me but I think it's maybe not the best idea to start a song with, 'Wait a minute, this may be boring. Is it less than a total mess?' According to their press release, ' " 'Looking Tragic' addresses the theme of overstimulation resulting in desensitization. Melodic and driving, the song came to life quickly and immediately stood out as a track to make bodies, if not sentiments, move." ' In plainer words, it has a good beat and you can dance to it, and social media sucks. Which is ironic because for reasons I can't fathom, the bass player decided to go after two fans discussing their disappointment in the new song on the band's own social media, making fun of them in a sarcastic way that made the innocent bystander think, 'Man, what a dick.' Ah the train wreck of social media, it's so hard not to stop and watch even though you know you shouldn't.

And just for laughs I had to go look up Hanoi Rocks to see why they popped in my head and, yeah, I'm not crazy. At least not for this anyway. The pouty lips, the tiger striped shirt, memory is a funny thing. I haven't thought about Hanoi Rocks in a million billion years.

I took the bike out for a spin yesterday, exploring some nearby back roads. The lower elevation trails are a muddy mess and I can't imagine the higher up trails are in great shape for fat biking so I decided to keep it local and rode from the house. The views did not disappoint.

Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona all in one photo.

Mesa Verde

La Platas

Sleeping Ute

These dirt roads are in a subdivision that's supposedly the first 'archeological subdivision' in the U.S.

It's a beautiful area with 35 acre lots most of which are currently undeveloped so it's very sparsely populated. And many of the residents are part time. I rarely see people or cars. I have mixed feelings about it though, the archeological sites are Native American ruins and it's great that they've been preserved but . . .  these are mostly huge fancy houses, very wealthy people living here who've taken over ruins that really ought to belong to the Native Americans. But yeah, that's not going to happen and at least the area and the ruins have been preserved. Still hard not to feel some second hand guilt. But I'm so very thankful to have this area so close by, great for biking, running, dog walking.

The other exciting news for the week is that I finally got my meat back from the processor. We drove an hour to Utah to get it, took forever to load it onto the truck then even longer to get it in the freezers in some kind of orderly fashion. Then a day later the processor called and said they found more of our meat and we had to go back. The butcher never cut up the bones so I have whole legs and spines that I have to deal with now, way too big to fit into a crock pot for broth or to give to the dogs. I had to buy a bone saw from Amazon, we'll see how this goes. And who knows what kind of watch lists I'm on now.

Our first chuck roast. After 30 years of vegetarianism it took me a long time to be able to eat meat again and even longer until it actually started to taste good. I'm so grateful to be in a position now that I can raise my own meat and take ownership of it. It tasted as good as it looks.

I suppose I'd better stop stalling and get to my weight lifting. It looks like Xterra racing may be a likelihood this summer. Arizona hosted the first Xterra of the year yesterday and apparently it went down o.k. Only 100 people allowed but it was something I guess. Maybe I'll get a vaccination by April? I haven't been in the pool for over a year, it's going to be ugly and hopefully that'll be enough time to prepare for a summer race or Nationals this fall. I guess I'll wait and see just like everyone else, wondering when life will start to return to somewhat normal.

Monday, February 15, 2021

One Bad Day

The week before last was difficult but good. But difficult. I took my first steer and heifer over to Utah to be processed. Or rather I paid a very wonderful and knowledgeable cattle woman and her father to haul them to Utah for me and Jonny and I followed behind. Of course it's not an easy thing. For years before I got the cows I wondered how I would deal with it, if I even could. The thing that helped the most was watching videos of other city type folk who had moved to the country and loved their animals and treated them kindly, allowing them to live their best lives then giving them the most humane 'bad day' they could. One especially kind man in particular had learned how to slaughter and butcher his sheep himself in the most respectful way. His channel is here, I won't post the video because I imagine it will upset people and I'm not trying to upset people or make some kind of point. I've made peace with the Circle of Life but not everybody else has. I have a friend who has always eaten meat who's already told me point blank that she refuses to eat the meat from any of my cows if she comes over for dinner. Even though she doesn't even particularly like the cows. And she eats factory farmed, grocery store meat which is a million times more inhumane and less healthy for humans, cows and planet alike. But I'm not here to judge or lecture or force her into something that makes her uncomfortable when she's a guest in my home. We all have our inconsistencies and I'm starting to think they're an important human coping mechanism. Because that's how I'm dealing with this - cognitive dissonance, denial, whatever you want to call it. I can't think about it too much or too deeply. My friend's father who helped trailer the cows said it's important for people to have a relationship with their livestock, it contributes to their quality of life. And my friend said the cows looked really good which made me feel better because I'm still only learning what 'really good' looks like and she's an expert.

I was surprised by the atmosphere at the processing plant. There was a herd of 20-30 sheep in the holding area and they were very calm, some of them coming up to the fence to be petted. My cows were also calm when they were unloaded. It was nothing like what I'd seen on t.v. and in documentaries. It's a very small place, they have only one butcher. I met him and he said he'd been doing it for 37 years and was really proud of his work. My friend commented that meat cutting is truly an art. I had to answer a lot of questions about how I wanted my meat cut up and I felt stupid not understanding what a lot of the terms meant. I had to ask a lot of questions. Hopefully I made good decisions because I'll confess that I'm still not sure what I signed up for.

The good side of this is that the remaining cows now have a somewhat better quality of life. At first I worried that they would miss their herd mates but that night all four of them were frolicking and running around, kicking up their heels with enthusiasm I hadn't seen in a while. If anything they seem more content and calmer in general. Six cows is too many for my land during an exceptional drought and the past 4 months have been hard on my pastures and my pocketbook. Hay is already expensive and many people are gauging, charging twice the normal prices. Thankfully I found a place just 5 minutes from my house that was selling for only slightly more than normal and I should have enough hay to take me through to when the pasture starts growing again. 

I'm going to get a trailer and make the next processing appointments now so that I don't have and overstocking problem again. I'm still going to try to find someone to do on farm processing but at least I'll be prepared if I can't or if I can but the person falls through. It's interesting that many of the things I worry about aren't the problems I eventually end up having.

One cow is due to calve in May and the other is not yet pregnant. We'll try again on her next heat cycle and if it doesn't work I'll have to wait until late summer because if she gets pregnant much later she'll be calving in winter which I really don't want. I also like the idea of the calves being farther apart. It makes management more difficult but it will help with the overstocking issue. It feels really good to be back down to 4, so much more manageable.


Last week my back finally felt recovered enough to attempt a full on, 'real' Crossfit sort of workout. I'd been gently easing back into weight lifting the previous week or two and it didn't feel like I was overdoing it but it's taken me 2 days to feel sort of recovered. I had to trudge through 6" of uncharacteristically wet sloppy snow yesterday to dig out the wire cow fence that had become buried in snow and remove the coat of ice off the wire and this was not fun with sore muscles, especially my poor arm muscles. But I got it done and today finally feels better. Hopefully the bike trails are groomed and I can get the Fatty up there for some riding. And more snow is on the way! Hopefully. The recent moisture finally seems to be making a dent in the drought. Hopefully the trend will continue on through spring. Mud season isn't my favorite but I'll welcome it if it means some much needed moisture.

I'll end with a nice sunset because why not?

In the heat of the night walking into a dream.


Monday, February 01, 2021

Just Like a Memory it Twists Me

Two months ago I was rifling through some old paperwork and a piece of notepaper that had been stuck between the larger pages fluttered to the ground. I picked it up, read it, froze then went into a sort of panic. It was a note from Kevin Seconds thanking me for letting him and his band, 7 Seconds, stay at my house. The panic was because I had zero memory of this. 7 Seconds was my favorite punk rock band during the mid-80s and Kevin Seconds was absolutely my favorite front man. The band and the man were and are legendary, iconic, beyond influential in the punk rock world. They meant so much to so many, including me, back in the day. If they had stayed at my house and I'd forgotten about it then it was for sure time to find me a home because it meant my memory had so deteriorated that I was a danger to myself and others.

When I was in college I put on punk rock shows, a task that had fallen unwillingly into my lap. I hated it and I only did it because I wanted to see cool bands. I let the bands stay at my house to save them money on hotels. Much as I hated all other aspects of show promotion, I enjoyed having the bands stay. I met a lot of fantastic people and nearly everyone was appreciative and respectful. So if 7 Seconds was at my house it meant I'd arranged and attended a show with them and I remembered neither. Not the tiniest glimmer of a memory. How could this be?

I finally did the math that I probably had pictures of the show somewhere so I started digging through a box of old photos and sure enough I found a packet of photos. They had faded away to practically nothing but eventually I was able to make out a pipe organ in the background which meant the show had taken place at the old chapel in the Channing Murray Foundation building which also meant I hadn't organized the show. And then thankfully it all came back to me.

This had all happened my last semester of college during which I'd relinquished my concert promoter career to my friend Josh. I'd also moved to a different house from where all the other bands had stayed. I was trying to picture the band in the old house and of course came up with nothing. I was also trying to picture Kevin Seconds as he looked in 1985 when I'd first seen him in Madison, Wisconsin.

When in fact this was what he looked like in 1986 at the show in question. Also the music was markedly different. They played some of their old hardcore songs but they were touring on their 'New Wind' album which was a huge departure from the standard punk rock formula. They had added melody and tempo changes to the songs, I think one of the first punk bands to do so. They were so far ahead of their time and probably influenced so many of the more melodic punk bands that came many years later. I loved that album. So much. I had forgotten all about it. I've been playing it over and over. Sadly the rest of the punk rock world was not so receptive. Punk Rock aesthetics are so bitchy.


I can't understand why such details mattered to my memory and it's still a bit concerning. The human brain is endlessly fascinating and terrifying. But at least I finally remembered what had happened. About halfway through the show I realized Josh would have nowhere for the band to stay because Josh was still in high school and living with his parents. And yeah, my favorite punk band stay at my house? Twist my arm. I went up after the show and offered up my house and everyone involved was more than happy to take me up on it. Thankfully my roommates, who weren't at all into punk rock, were laid back and used to me and weren't all that shocked or put out when I came home from the show with a band.

My roommate's sister was in town and she'd taken all the cushions off the couch for her to sleep on so there wasn't even a good place to sit other than the floor and I had no food for them since I hadn't been expecting company but they didn't seem to care and were thankful for showers and a floor to crash on. I remember Kevin Seconds asking to borrow a curling iron and I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. I don't know, I found it funny somehow. The best I could do was lend him my blow dryer with some attachments. I also remember Kevin and I lingering over some cups of coffee and tea on the front porch the following morning while the rest of the band slept. It was one of those beautiful Midwest fall days, sunny, blue skies, warm but with a cool breeze. Perfect. He lamented his upcoming day in the van and I lamented having to spend my day in classes and at the lab. Then I had to leave for classes and I left him and the band to lock up the house after they left. Thankfully he left a nice thank you note (the only band member who ever did) or I would have forgotten the whole thing.

I never saw them play again after that nor did I buy their next album. Listening to it now, I don't care for it nor the album that came after it. I'm not sure how I knew I didn't like it without buying it. I'm also not sure why I never went to see them again. Or maybe I did and didn't like it, I truly don't remember. But I was curious about what had become of them and of course the internet has the answer. Remarkably they kept at it until 2018, just 2 years shy of their 40th anniversary. Sadly they finally had to break up due to the bass player's and drummer's health issues. They kept touring and putting out albums throughout all those years. Kevin Seconds still does solo acoustic shows, the music being very different from 7 Seconds. His voice is still so crazy good after all these years and lifetimes, amazing.

I also discovered that he paints. One of his paintings came up on my Facebook or Instagram or something and I loved it but by the time I saw it many people in the comments had said they wanted to buy it. I checked the website where he sells his paintings and it wasn't there so I assumed he'd sold it to someone in the comments. Then a week or two (or three?) later he posted that it was for sale and this time as luck would have it I'd spotted the post right away. I snatched it up, I couldn't believe my luck. Apparently his good stuff goes pretty quickly.

'First art piece of the new year. I had a great time with this one despite the fact that I actually listened to the insane and delusional Trump Atlanta rally speech while painting, something I definitely wouldn’t recommend.'

It's even more fantastic in person. I was thinking I'd have it framed but now that it's hanging in my house I'm not so sure, it looks good as it is. The crows and ravens around here play such a big part in my daily life. They chase away the hawks that circle over my chickens and tease my derpy steers who love to chase them. I didn't buy it because Kevin Seconds painted it but it somehow makes it all the more special that he did. A bit of my beloved past hanging on my wall in the present.

Now I wonder what other good stuff I've forgotten about?