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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

April 19, 2009

mycologist college is for mushroom studies

I was doing some weeding this morning and pulled back some branches to reveal this major clump of shrooms. The gross thing about this job was crouching down trying to get at the roots and squishing a moldy damp poop from the owners dog. Multiple times.

Yesterday Sophia and I took my motorcycle up to Sacramento to look at a truck. It’s an International Loadstar, 1973. Had an aluminum box 14 feet long and lift gate to boot. The picture is just to give you a likeness as my search couldn’t turn up the original photo.

No snow in Sacramento. More like a hundred degrees frying my brain in my helmet.

Just didn’t have confidence the old thing would make it out alive from the two plus hour trip back home. At one point Sophia said she fell asleep on the back of the bike and it must have been then that I dreamed she was a balloon and had floated off the back. It was like I felt her let go, although she keeps her hands in my jacket pockets on the ride.

A passenger is a mighty responsibility on a motorcycle. As the miles went underneath our feet at 90 I pictured all kinds of accidents. The oddest one was turning to look over my shoulder and finding Sophia still holding on, but headless. As though somehow a branch or low wire or drunken duck had decapitated her and I hadn’t known. It was inspired by war stories from the Pacific, seeing a buddy floating in the water only to find his lower half missing from shark bite.

But she held on enough to make it home alive and now it’s time to go bed tonight. Good night. More landscaping tomorrow. Possibly a run to the scrap metal yard. I’ll hardly be able to sleep due to excitement.

April 18, 2009

didn’t give up yet

yeah. feelin good. work. people call and I feel wanted. i find stuff in piles of garbage. found the thing you screw to the bottom of your door to stop breezes. and drafts. it’s an energy saver. been lookin for that. found a back brace. the velcro thing you strap around yourself. cuz i’m older now and my body gets hurt easy. but i forget to wear it. i found one and i’d just bought one. i hate buying things. always find the thing free i just bought. discouraging.
lookin at a truck tomorrow. some people have pets, i have trucks. gotta feed em, take em to the vet. or mechanic. keep em healthy either way. trucks don’t puke on my bed. but they don’t put their wet nose on my face either.
i like trucks. how cant you make money with a truck? every body is moving. or needs something brought to them. or something taken away. it’s easy. so you have to decide what kind of truck you want. what do you want to carry? dirt? dead bodies? damaged vehicles? there’s a special truck for each one.
i want a bunch of trucks. i’m a generalist. i like to try a little bit of everything. wanna know how the whole thing works.

April 17, 2009

pallets are down to a dollar a pound

photo posted from my iPhone

I’m busted. Used to be you got three bucks, then it was two, and today when I went in, they were paying a buck and quarter a pallet. Which adds up when you have a truck load like dude there, but think about how many pallets he’s hauled to buy a $40,000 truck.

ace hardware enters lucrative video game system market

photo posted from my iPhone

Can you believe this? My cell phone provides this much action. It’s so weird. Hardware stores always have some random aisle full of this type of cut rate entertainment for people who are going to camp or stuck in a motel or can’t afford bus fare to the mall.

california street raisins

photo posted from my iPhone

Doug came by and we tried to use up some scrap wood we got from a clean out. He wanted to get a bunch of people together and paint California Raisins. So that’s what happened. JB baked delightful chocolate chip cookies. They tasted like angel pussy. Heavenly. All kinds of people passed through and I’d like to thank them all for their spirit and painting abilities. Especially Jeff. He showed us all how far we’ve come.

April 14, 2009


Obama Sees More Pain Now
but Hope Later on

If I wasn’t supposed to be doing my taxes I’d take the Obama “Hope” poster and put “Pain Now, Hope Later” in it’s place. Thanks New York Times.

“President Obama said on Tuesday that the battered economy was showing signs of recovery, but he warned Americans that more pain lies ahead.”

April 13, 2009

this is not a wheelie

Truck broke at the grocery store downtown. This being a city, a guard patrols the lot and writes tickets if you stay more than three hours or walk off the walled shopping compound and onto the street. $63.00.

Jhase came by and neither of us could do anything to get the thing going so we walked over to the security kid and told him we’d like to get a beer at the beer joint down the corner.

“You can do that, but I’ll write you a ticket for leaving the lot.”

I started swearing at him, and he just stood there smiling. So I swore some more, and got out my phone to take his picture, which kind of tripped up my string of swears because I have to concentrate to turn it on, then find the camera button, and my timing was off because I was done my swear and the camera hadn’t activated yet. There was an awkward moment where no one was saying anything and I was looking at my phone. Then I had to aim it and still no one was saying anything. I wish I could just be in the moment and not think about blogging at a time like this.

Inhuman dildo or guy doing his job?

I got a good one of him, and then I told him, “You’re not human.” I was back in my stride. I didn’t bring up the fact I’d already walked out to an auto parts store and replaced a hose, just any old thing under the hood thinking it would make my bearded lady happy and turn over. Which it didn’t. Now, when I ask permission to walk away, I’m denied? What am I learning here?

The kid told me to call the number on the sign, which I did, and got a voicemail about what address to send your complaint letter to. So I asked the kid who he calls when he talks to his supervisor. (Doesn’t it feel awesome to tell someone you want to speak to their supervisor? It’s kind of like shouting, ‘I’m a total dickhead!’ Sometimes I am.)

“I’m not allowed to give out that number,” was his answer.

I was frustrated. I’ll admit it. I’ve never been into punching dudes randomly unless they’re my friends and we’re drunk, so I didn’t know what to do. I had called him an inhuman dildo and asked to talk to his supervisor. My bag of tricks was now empty. I’ve been to court many times and I just don’t like it, and that’s where I’d go if I jammed his digital clipboard down one or up the other.

I turned to Jhase and he said, “Trader Joe’s sells beer.” He’s reasonable.
“But it’s not cold,” I told him. As though injustice will never really end.

We strolled through TJ’s, I picked up a Cobb salad hoping to calm down, Jhase got some carrot juice, and we talked about what we’d just been through. The kid out there had made some interesting points in between my defamations.

“You work for yourself, not all of us do. You can choose what you do, but my boss tells me what to do. He tells me not to give out his number, and he tells me to write people tickets if they leave the parking lot. In the past people have told me their car was broken and they go watch a ball game. I see them drive away later and they say, ‘It’s working now!’.”

He made some other points, and all in all, he was explaining why he was a robot. Which when done well creates sympathy in me for robots.

So the tow truck came and we were out of there. It’s probably the starter, since when Jhase hit it with the monkey wrench I keep under the seat for the day I no longer worry about going to court, it almost went. My truck is diesel and has two batteries, and it is hard to start. Every morning it takes a full minute to finally crank over. That little starter gets a workout. Shouldn’t be too hard to switch out, since I have a Chilton’s manual.*

“Be careful, it’s heavy.” That’s the advice they give me for $25?
It only took two steps.

1. Find the starter
2. Remove it.

But for those that like to read, they offer some additional instruction.

LIke for instance, they let you know there are two types of starters. No where does it tell you how to identify the type you own. Which would help. Kragen showed two options, but only stocks one, so that’s the one I took. It looks like the thing dripping grease bolted under my engine. Only Kragen’s is cleaner. And probably broken as well.

I’ll stop right here and say I hate working on cars. Always have. I follow step one for Solenoid Actuated Type. I remove the battery ground cable. Which is possibly the same as the negative battery cable referred to in the Positive Engagement Type up above. So why can’t they call it the same thing? That’s one of many problems I have with this book. I understand electricity a little. There is a negative, a positive and a ground. But do car batteries have three posts? No, there are two. Like a 9 volt battery. So how do I find my trucks ground cable? No mention of such a thing in the index of my Chilton’s manual. I remove the black one wrapped around the minus sign. Thank you.

Under the truck on my back I put a wrench on the wires feeding into the starter solenoid. Sparks shower down on me. I guess I need to undo the positive wire on the first battery as well. Which I do, but wish the manual had told me.

I’m back under the truck. More sparks. I bang my eyebrow against the steel frame. It hurts. I undo every wire going anywhere near eithr of the batteries in my truck and that of course works.

Step 3. “Remove the two bolts attaching the steering idler arm to frame.”

What the fuck is that? I’m not a mechanic, that’s why I bought a picture book. How about cross referencing to a picture somewhere else, so I know what it looks like? Again, the index is useless. At this point it is dark and my drop light doesn’t have a shield and it blinds me and when I move it burns the hair on my head and I need to go upstairs and do my taxes. They’re due in two days.

(*I should say I have a new, second, Chilton’s manual because Dastard never sent me my old one…)

April 12, 2009

oh to be a carny now

The Ferris Wheel lights were first. It stands the tallest in the parking lot. As Doug and I came up the elevated 880 freeway the Tilt-A-Whirl and all the other contraptions reveal themselves below us. It’s pretty to see the lights of the fair at night.

“That’s the best place to get wasted,” Doug says. I haven’t ever been to a city fair, and feel a little intimidated. All the tough kids from different neighborhoods, probably no 4H barn, and everything is set up on pavement. I’m used to dirt under my feet.

“What’s another great place to get wasted?” I ask.

“By a fire with water nearby,” he says as his head turns back to catch the last look from the window as we pass by. Doug’s wearing a shiny red jacket with “Budweiser” written on the back. It’s the stretch cuff and waist kind, probably from the ’70’s. Sean gave it to me when he realized the cigarette smell wouldn’t come out. I gave it to Doug when I figured it out as well. Doug smokes.

The Stratham Fair was the big one for me growing up. I could lie in my bed at night in Greenland and here the sounds of the action drifting through apple orchards and pine forests into my open window on the hot nights of July in New Hampshire.

Me and the fellahs were trying to sneak behind a tent one time and a large woman in a purple t shirt asked us, “You kids carnies?”

We looked at each other and laughed. I didn’t even know what it meant. She had asked us if we were the kids of someone’s parents working the rides. I thought about it all day, that I might look the same as the children of this lifestyle. I thought the woman was a fool to even consider that. I was a Greenland boy, not an itinerant carousel operators child.

Those early moments of defining yourself stick with you. I can look back and see the beginning of my ego, the beginning of caste and class definitions, or rather my first realization that those things were already strongly in me. It was like realizing I spoke a second language without having studied it. It was just there.

photo posted from my iPhone

April 10, 2009

photo posted from my iPhone

Who else is tired of crappy iPhone photos? I’m getting a camera this week. Taking the money from scrap metal and buying it. That’s what you’re trying to look at up there. Two articulated loaders grabbing scrap and piling it up. I love this place.

April 9, 2009

would you kindly get off the median?

photo posted from my iPhone

Copper hit an all time high last year, over $4 a pound. It went down to about a buck and half though when everything tanked. It’s almost back up to $2. I’m thinking about cashing in my stockpile under the shed.

“Copper’s ‘often called ‘Doctor Copper’ because it takes the temperature of the global economy. According to Doctor Copper, things are improving, mainly due to Chinese demand,” says MarketWatch.com.

Scrap metal is back up to $80 a ton, so I’ve called my neighbors up looking to make a load. I got some pipes from Cal and a water heater from the guy who doesn’t really speak english. Just happens he’s had a water heater by his garage for a week. I knocked and said “Basura?” while pointing at the thing. Which is funny, because he’s Chinese, but everyone knows that means garbage because it’s written on our city provided garbage cans.

Lastly, begging isn’t measured on the stock markets, and isn’t recommended as a retirement plan, but for some people that’s their best option.

April 7, 2009

dress up the pattern

Papa Sean came over and we played around with some patterns. He added the fake sushi grass stuff to his. I put some wine out for the girls and made a dress out of a scratch ticket. If this type of thing interests you, I have about twenty more patterns. Come over next tuesday at 7 pm and we’ll make some more. I’m totally serious. Everyone is welcome. We can listen to records and eat snacks and cut out paper. RSVP at 846 2077.

I got the patterns out of an old suitcase that belonged to my friends grandmother, so we’ve already got a lot of good mojo going here.

April 6, 2009

photo posted from my iPhone

Just sewed a flower “patch” on my hoodie in honor of Spring!

April 5, 2009

hard boiled

photo posted from my iPhone

Sophia boiled an egg with a cracked shell. It looks like ice cream. Smells like a fart. She got laid off and sprained her ankle too. She’s still in good spirits though. “there’s so many people laid off right now it’s kinda fun. A lot of my friends are too so I have people to hang out with. It’s refreshing to break the routine I had for four years.”.

So week one of unemployment is a success for her. Perhaps the cyclical nature of economic collapse is a product of workers frustration reaching critical mass. Subliminally people want things to fall apart because they need a goddamn break.

April 4, 2009

the richmond – I’m digging it

I’ll be putting these on my hunting pants. I end up on my knees digging little holes.

(here’s a sample of my newspaper column for the Richmond Review as discussed yesterday. I’ll write a few more and submit them all at once. Turns out it’s a monthly, not a weekly paper. That’ll make it three times easier.)

I took the metal detector out this first saturday of April since it was like Eden in the Richmond – no wind and no fog, a rare combination for us. There are four tennis courts within a chain linked square tucked among homes between 30th and 31st Ave. I hit a small patch of grass on the 31st side and immediately dug up a pull top, large enough to remind me of a Dinty Moore soup can. Pull tops, usually from beer cans manufactured in the 1970’s, are a nightmare for hunters. It’s like that decade was a giant outdoor frat party.

Lying mere inches next to that letdown something made my machine scream out in pain…I was directly over the sprinkler head. Dandelions had obscured the iron cap. I swept the metal coil around a few more times and came up with a faint blip. It didn’t take much to find the foil lined ketchup pack at the bottom of the grass. I couldn’t get much more done in that spot, the power lines were directly overhead and that messes with the detectors sensors.

I powered down and decided I’d just poke around in the shrubbery abutting the courts. Treasure hunting comes in many forms…maybe I’d find a whiskey bottle with something still in it. There was nothing out of the ordinary, but if you’re ever looking for tennis balls, here’s a tip: get your brother and a stick and head over to the 31st street side. One goes down the ramp into the court and catches the balls knocked loose from the ledge from the one outside holding the stick. There must have been ten or fifteen good lookin’ ones jammed in there, unreachable from the inside due to the height difference from excavation necessary to flatten the area for tennis. Go check it out, you’ll see what I mean.

Well, I didn’t find anything other than metallic garbage, but it was a nice day. The thud of tennis balls on rackets and the sunshine made me think of my childhood, clicking through the four channels and only finding Wimbledon coverage on tv. I’d go outside and climb trees.

Shaken from my reverie I looked up and noticed a wooden sign. “Dog owners are responsible for picking up their dog’s feces. Health Code Sec 40.” I decided to look that particular bit of legislation up when I got home and see what else it had to say.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person owning or having control or custody of any dog to permit the animal to defecate upon the public property of this City or upon the private property of another unless the person immediately remove the feces…yeah yeah yeah…

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to walk a dog on public property of this City or upon the private property of another without carrying at all times a suitable container or other suitable instrument for the removal and disposal of dog feces.

(c) Visually handicapped persons who use Seeing Eye Guide Dogs are exempt from this law.

(Amended by Ord. 420-78, App. 9/8/78)

Well there it is. I’d never considered the Seeing Eye Guide Dogs before. Good piece of code there, that (c). You can’t expect a blind person to pick up dog feces, for obvious reasons. (b) as well gives food for thought. Perhaps in these leans times officers could be allowed to search dog walkers and those that come up empty handed as far as suitable containers for feces are concerned could be given a ticket. How else is The City going to stay solvent if we don’t explore new avenues of revenue?

I look forward to getting out to another Richmond area park real soon, and this time I’ll remember to avoid the power lines. I hope to have some exciting finds to share with you when we meet again.

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