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My Robot Is Pregnant theme song!

tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

September 20, 2008

yellow jackets crush honey bees

photo posted from my iPhone

This is the inside of the hive that the yellow jackets overran. (Alina called them goldcoats and that sounds friendlier to me). The honey bees got chased out and the goldcoats (yellow jackets) moved in, eating every baby, honeycomb and cell of pollen in the whole two level hive. It took them about a month. The other three hives are quite strong and can repel any goldcoat attacks.

details

So yes. I hit a firetruck. It’s been a crazy week. My truck got broken into, my nose got punched and the cartilage has kind of shifted, I got two parking tickets to the tune of $100 and then I hit a firetruck. It was in North Beach on a Saturday night, rows of people at tables outside at the bars and here I come trying to squeeze by this fire truck and all of a sudden “BAM”! I BAMMED a firetruck.

I didn’t know what the hell the noise was. “BAM!” I stop the truck and look behind me. Oddly enough Engine Number 2’s ladder truck door is jammed into the fender of the box truck and my side view mirror is dangling upside down.

The fire chief comes over mad as a five alarm in the gorilla exhibit. “What’re you THINKING? We’re here on an EMERGENCY RESPONSE!” Smokey the Bear never gave us city kids any advice. I was tempted to stop drop and roll under my truck and run away. You should have seen the dirty looks from the bar patrons.

“He hit a fire truck! He hit a fire truck!”

I stepped out of my vehicle and they looked at me with a viciousness only found in human eyes. Like I’d run over a little girl and was laughing about it as I went through her pockets looking for candy to steal. There was some confusion apparently. Everyone thought I’d driven right into the bright glossy red vehicle with the yellow lights flashing all over it and reflective safety paint demarking the town and company. “SFFD Engine Two”. As far as warning devices, only the siren was not functioning.

I didn’t exactly drive into the 38 foot long steel monster. Some brave firefighter opened the door into oncoming traffic (me) without looking to see what was coming. At this point many things could have gone wrong. His head could have been smashed in. My arm, had it been dangling out the rolled down window, could have been cut off. I could have had a heart attack from the surprise volume of that “BAM!”

None of it did. Everyone was fine. No one was hurt. We all have insurance. None of us were drunk. I think only one of us was high.

keep on truckin’

Just hit this firetruck with my big white truck. Actually as I passed it, some firefighter swung open the door and ripped my mirror off which dented my truck further back. Waiting for the cops to come and get the report.

September 19, 2008

photo posted from my iPhone
anybody know what these things on his rims do?

September 18, 2008

bedtime story

I joined a band since The Flagpoles never practice anymore. It’s Bedtime Story and it’s quiet moody rock. You can see by the photo of Scot up there that they needed another member in the band since he has to play two guitars.

fight

People say, “Rolston’s got a big nose,” and I’m like, “I can hear you. I’m standing right here! My nose isnt big, it’s well proportioned for my face.” And then I get in a fistfight and its like trying to protect a boat trailer hanging off my head.. So I lost the fight last night. The weirdest blood came out of my nose, too. It looked like the miscarriage my ex showed me. You can’t ever forget that. Liver like. Glossy viscous chunks.

Today at three thirty I’m interviewing a local congresswoman about impending legislation that requires recyclers to be licensed. This is part of the pod Fisher and I are shooting about cardboard recyclers in the city. I have a set of knuckle marks on my forehead and a crust of blood in my left nostril. Thank god for bangs and camera angles.

September 16, 2008

trucker

I went to Vegas two weeks ago with my friend Alina. We were going to compare Vegas to Reno, find out why one became a success and the other one didn’t. Reno has a terrible reputation; it’s turned into a national trucking hub and a down and out crapshooters last stand while Vegas has become a national convention center and family vacationland that also by the way condones 24 hour drinking, gambling and sex for money. Stars go to Vegas, burnouts go to Reno.

I’m gonna share a transcript of an interview Alina and I conducted at a booth in the Denny’s across the street from the Flying J truck stop just off highway 15 in Las Vegas.

It might read a little odd, I’ve included every word, every stumble. Listening back makes me realize how much editing goes into a radio interview. We speak terribly. And I never got the guys name on tape…let’s call him Big Trucker, or BT for short. He was wearing a tan t-shirt and had been up to the buffet for seconds many times. A lot of truckers are kinda heavy, eating is a comfort to all of us and there seems to be a lot of loneliness on the road. He hadn’t shaved in a few days, his beard was salt and peppered. He sat down at our booth across from Alina and I, smiled, folded his hands in front of him up on the table and was happy to talk. So thanks, Big Trucker, where ever you are today!

Jon: You are a truck driver?

BT: Yes I am

Jon: So we’re talking to people about Vegas. Do you live here?

BT: No I live in Beulah Montana.

Jon: Ohh, and how often do you come through Vegas?

BT: Every once in a while I come through, yeah but this time I’m stuck here, I got here Saturday night and I’m stuck here, hopefully I can get out tomorrow.

Alina: Why are you stuck?

BT: Well I was supposed to go down deliver yesterday in California but what the load I got on, they stopped me at the bug station, yeah, I ‘adda turn around come back out of state

Jon: Whats the bug station?

BT: It’s ahh. We call it bug station… agriculture check station for the state of California

Jon: You got bugs on your truck

BT: Yeah, pretty much yeah (laughing) actually I got a load of ears of corn.

Jon: Okay.

BT: And they found and they took ahh…they opened…cracked the seal…opened back end of the truck, went up on top took maybe ten or twelve ears out put em in a bucket went in the…..office tore em apart found some bugs.

Jon: ooohhhh….

BT: That’s not good.

Alina: So what’d you do being stuck here?

BT: Oh nuthin much I just went over yesterday, last night for supper I went over to ahhh uhhh you know that casino down here about a mile down the street here.

Jon: Silver Nugget?

BT: No I uhhh

Alina: Cannery?

BT: Yeah Cannery yeah. I couldn’t think of the Cannery, yeah it was Cannery. Eat supper there, played a little bit, came back here to the truck.

Alina: Did you win?

BT: Nooo I lost.

Jon: Now do you think, so a lot of people think Vegas has a reputation for sin what do you, do you think that’s true?

BT: mmmmmm …. yeah there’s a lot of it out here

Jon: uhhh .. tell me about it.

BT: Well there’s there’s girls walkin, walk the truck stops every night, so…

Jon: But isn’t that most every truck stop you can find that?

BT: ohhh..well not, well most your big cities, like, well not big cities but ahhh, Ontario, California’s got two truck stops, and one of ’em’s full of of ladies and uhhh Las Vegas. I don’t know about, it’s been a while since I’ve been in Reno but ahh a TA* there in Reno there was, last time I was there. It varies from state to state.
*(Travel America truck stop chain, also an old slang for Tits and Ass. A coincidence? You decide)

My phone rings. Alina answers it, a guy from Craigslist we had talked to earlier, offering a ride to San Francisco from Vegas the next morning but we have already found a ride leaving today. She talks to the rideshare as I talk to Big Trucker.

Jon: We’ve been trying to hitch hike out of here, it doesn’t really work.

BT: Yeah it’s hard man.

Jon: Most truckers wouldn’t take someone right?

BT: No most of ’em won’t because of what happened in the past er (this is how he says or) they’re afraid to and some of the companies won’t allow riders.

Jon: Okay.

Alina hangs up.

Jon: So we’ve so we got the little computer on here, (I show him my iPhone) and uh, been puttin’ out craigslist, are you familiar with craigslist? Do you do much computer stuff?

BT: No I don’t.

Jon: It’s like an online bulletin board where you can ask for rides from place to place…

BT: Oh is that right…

Jon: So we got a ride back to LA. Supposed to be comin’ any time now. So we’ll see. Just a total stranger.

BT: Yeah I hear ya.

Jon: So and we give ’em gas money they take ya’…

Alina: So do you like Las Vegas? How is it for truckers?

BT: it’s alright…I don’t do much gamblin’ ya know but other than that its a nice little town like last night I stuck five dollars in just to see what would happen. Five minutes later I walked out the door. (laughs)

Jon: You lost five dollars

BT: I lost five bucks. (still laughing)

Alina: But you had some fun.

BT: Yeah, I did yeah . yeah

Jon: It’s it’s it always seems like the first five bucks you put in you win and then, then you start feeling lucky but you’re not .

BT: Yeah yuh, uh uh, no.

Jon: So you always, you always haul the same sort uh, I mean are they gonna throw this corn out? What…

BT: I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I talked to one of my dispatchers yesterday or Saturday, yesterday morning, they said they might have to ship it back where it came let them deal with it.

Jon: That’s funny.

Alina: What are the differences between the truck stops in Vegas, and do you have a favorite one to go to?

BT: Truck stops you mean? Just happened to be the closest one here other’n the TA, well TA doesn’t have a restaurant, they’ve got a Burger King uhh Taco Time and Subway, but I like to go to a sit down restaurant you know, set down and relax, most the truck stops anymore’s got that fast food, nnn I just don’t really like it.

Jon: It looks like they’re openin’ up a restaurant at some point but not yet.

BT: Yeah not yet no uh uh.

Alina: So is flying J is usually like the biggest one? The biggest truck stop?

BT: Yeah there’s Petrol (Not sure exactly what he says the name is) too they got a pretty good decent restaurant there too but I just that’s about six miles up here the road but I decided to stay here so, cuz I don’t know where they’re gonna give me ahhh drop this load here er take it on up to Northern Cal uh Colorado where it came from so..

Jon to Alina: Were we gonna go to San Francisco tonight? Is that what that guy was saying – no, he was going tomorrow morning.

Alina: I don’t remember

Jon: Sorry we’re trying to figure this out. He’s the guy that wanted to go tomorrow morning, right?

Alina: Yeah

Jon: So it’s not really worth it?

Alina: No.

Jon: So we were’ gonna, I told you we were gonna hitch to Reno, but we kinda gave up.

Alina: Do you think its possible these days?

BT: It’s possible but its hard.
Alina: Yeah? Why’s it so hard?

BT: I guess what happened quite a few years ago that they’re, the truckers or anybody’s ‘fraid to get – to pick up any body in case of ya know… ahhh, they think might what would happen to them, ya know, like get murdered er er something like that so that’s my idea, cuz they’re afraid to pick up anybody.

Alina: Would you be afraid?

BT: ohhh … if they looked half way ya know decent, no I wouldn’t.

Jon: So you wanna go to Reno?

laughter. followed by awkward silence.

Jon: And it’s probably.. We were kinda nervous to like stand out there with a sign cuz it seems like the cops….

BT: Yeah they’re pretty strict about that I think too…

Jon: People at the truck stop itself…

Alina: They are? So would they arrest us if we tried to do that?

BT: I don’t know if they would. They’d probably talk to ya and find out where you’re goin’ and what you’re doing in the state you know and why don’t have any… I have no idea so that’s probbly what they’re saying trying to figure out so…

Jon: You see people hanging around with signs trying to get places at truck stops?

BT: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah I see quite a few people wanting… sign says ‘help me I’m homeless’ and all that…

Jon: Yeah

BT: There’s organizations that help em like uhhh uhhh I can’t think of any right now..

Alina: But hitchhikers. So what’d you know about the road from here to Reno? Is that a road that truck truckers even go?

BT: There’s Highway 50. That’s a long straight road. There’s truckers that travel that but there’s nuthin’ out there to break the scenery up, like little towns anyhow? Theres nuthin’ out there, it’s just a long stretch of highway.

Alina: So highway 50, not highway 95.

BT: 93 not 50. 93. Runs from out there towards Heli. (I don’t know what town he’s talking about.) Theres a few. 95. I haven’t been on 95 fer too long. There’s truckers out there that run 95 but uhh…

Jon: Any road you take’s probably gonna be empty I guess.

BT: Yeah pretty much yeah.

Jon: Nevada’s pretty…have you driven through Nevada much?

BT: Well just across 80 and 15 here.

Jon: Okay. Seems like there’s probably not much in between.

Alina: (prounouncing Nevada “Neh-vadd-ah”) Nevada.

Jon: She wants me to say “Nevada.”

Alina: No its not me its the people who are from “Nevada” want you to say “Nevada”. (I pronounce it “Neh- va -da”)

Jon: But I’m not from Nevada, I’m from New Hampshire.

BT: You got that eastern accent.

Jon: Nevahhhda. How do you say it? Nevada?

BT: Nevad-a. Yeah.

Jon: And he’s from Montana.

BT: Yeah.

Jon: So you would know because you’re closer.

BT: Oh just like guys that aren’t from Montana pronounce our capital Helena (Hell-een-ah) but its not, its Helena. (hell-en-ah)

Jon: Its Hellenah?

BT: Its Hellenah.

Jon: Oh, I didn’t know that.

BT: It’s Helena Montana.

Jon: I woulda said Helena too.

BT: (He laughs) Yeah and theres like theres a few of them like Spokane Washington, they say it “spoken”.

Jon: You don’t know.

BT: Yup you don’t know.

Jon: Take your best guess. How long you been trucking?

BT: About 22 years. 22 23 years.

Jon: thats a career.

BT: I got 6 more and I’m out of it.

Jon: Oh yeah?

BT: Yeah

Jon: How long you been with the same company?

BT: 11 years

Jon: Where you retiring too?

BT: Montana. Staying home. Got things I gotta do, wanna do. I travel a little bit, not too much. I like to fish and hunt. Do a lotta fishin’.

Jon: Thats the right state for it huh?

BT: Yeah it is.

Jon: Well alright, i wanna thank you for your time here.

BT: No problem.

Jon: Any last thoughts on Vegas?

BT: If you wanna see shows and stuff, bring lots of money. I was gonna go see a show over there last night and I said, well, I’ll wait till it comes out on video. Ten bucks a ticket? I don’t think so.

(our ride calls and is standing at the cash register in front)

September 14, 2008

flowers for a hell’s angel

SF Gate says, “Mark “Papa” Guardado, 45, was shot at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday near 24th Street and Treat Avenue, about a mile from the group’s clubhouse where he lived. He died at San Francisco General Hospital.”

I was at the bar a few nights later and took this crappy iphone photo of the makeshift memorial to “Papa”. It’s interesting to note only Hell’s Angels call SF “Frisco”.

You can read the article here

folding bike

photo posted from my iPhone

I’m selling this folding bike on Craigslist. I love the triangular reflectors.

future claus


you are looking into the future. Santa Claus rides a flying wheelchair because the reindeer are extinct.

I did a little moving job today with an old pal, Jesse. We drove over to the homeowners in the big white truck and as we wound our way up Lincoln Ave along the cliffs overlooking the ocean in The Presidio, he got to talking about being an old man.

“It’s a natural fact we’re gonna get grumpier earlier. I’m already pissed off at young kids and I’m just thirty. I didn’t have the internet when I was a kid. I went to the library and used the god damn dewey decimel system. The faster technology evolves, the quicker we turn into old men.”

It sounded like the truth to me.

September 13, 2008

b.m.’s

Of course B.M.’s are a polite way of saying bowel movements, and bowel movements are a polite way of saying…well, you know what it means. There was a stack of letters written to a little girl who went away from home for the first time to camp, and while sometimes we say scary things “scare the shit out of us”, in her case she was so afraid she couldn’t poop at all.

learn russian the easy way

September 12, 2008

safety meeting

Slow day at work, Rosie made a tobacco pipe. Felt like high school – which reminds me of Sass. He got a job at a powder coat factory. Sean and I spent a few minutes calling out items we’d like to powder coat if we had a guy on the inside. For instance, powder coat your teeth gold, the under- carriage of Grampa’s wheelchair, your favorite pencil so no one chews on it. Take a minute and ask yourself what you don’t want to chip and rust in your life. Tell a friend to powder coat it. Start that conversation.

September 11, 2008

illustrated text

Remember when you used to come home from work and go directly to your computer and open up your email account? It was so nice to see how full your inbox had become since the day before. Now you work at a computer all day long and the inbox never has more than three new messages. Those are spam. Everyone is sending you text messages and you never get to read a nice long email written with care and containing links to funny kitty photos.

I thought I’d illustrate the latest text from Ravi, give us a sense of what’s missing in this digital age.

baby on board

This cultural phenomenon of the 1980’s has made a semi-comeback around here. You used to go into any store at the Fox Run Mall and be able to choose from a bunch of these things. “Baby on Board”, “Asshole on Board”, “Drunk at the Wheel”, “Moose in Trunk”, man, they had everything. I drew this one up today, if anyone wants to hang it in their car window, I’ll mail it to you.

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