My Robot Is Pregnant theme song!

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

December 31, 2010

for matt, wherever he lands


We had a local move…neighbors two doors down. Had to rent a second truck there was so much stuff. Someone suggested I take a picture of the back of the truck at the end of each day. So here it is.

December 29, 2010

next year i’ll get shocks


God the kitchen stunk for the last few days. We cooked turkeys and brussells sprouts and wild rice and who knows what else…it got moldy and wet and gross. That’s Christmas. Too much of a fun thing. Can you imagine if people lined up at the mall to sit on Jesus’s lap? Think of the guy who would play Jesus…Oggy Bleacher. It’s like the guy who plays Santa is probably a Harley dude the rest of the year. Who else has a giant white beard and pot belly and can survive in this economic shit storm? Only a speed dealer.

now that it’s over what do we do?

This is what happens when you’re underemployed. Work one day a year?

December 28, 2010

why i’m broke

Here’s my financial advice: you can always piss in your hot tub, but you can’t invite friends over to hang out in your toilet. Know what I’m saying?

December 27, 2010

why you do that?

Why does a homeless man struggle to load a 200 gallon fish tank with a 2 foot tall stand onto his shopping cart and push it back to his illegal camp by the abandoned Greyhound station?
Because it’s an ostentatious display of wealth. The man is no different from you. Owning an object that makes no sense is an ideal method of flashing status. If the speed limit is generally 65 mph and your Lotus handles corners at 135, you have more than you can use. A 190 pound aquarium next to your cardboard house is more than you can use as well, in the same way! Which man is different? Don’t they both want people to shake their heads and ask, “Why?”

The high heels on the hardwood floor upstairs have me up early. Gotta get gas in the truck anyway. Air in a tire. Got a chemical burn on my hand going through some old guys belongings in a clean out. He had a lot of old military gas masks and tourniquets in a closet. Something had white powder all over it and then my hand did and now it hurts. It probably won’t kill me, but you never know.

December 25, 2010

all i want for christmas is my old hip back

So Jesus dressed like a Muslim. The whole bathrobe thing. But he’s white in every picture I’ve seen. Jews aren’t white. Jesus was a JEW!! None of this is making any sense. It’s his birthday today, does he get to make a wish and blow out candles? What did Jesus wish for this time? It’s been like 2000 birthdays.
As far as that sheet he wears, do you think he still wears it? Not the same one, but one like it. Or is there fashion in heaven? There was fashion when he went on fishing trips and walked on water, so why not now? If anyone has an imagination, let’s picture him in a plaid wool coat like an L.L. Bean catalog. And for those of us with access to the Adobe suite, lets take the caucasion bearded guy in flowing robes and put some Timberlands and a hoodie on him. But keep that aura around him. The holy thing. Keep that.

this season give a shit

There’s a lot of people looking for work these days. Ever heard of Craigslist? Lots of work there. Sometimes you just need money, not a bunch of forms to fill out and a drug test to pass. When the kid needs diapers and Daddy needs a drink safety training and a second interview aren’t gonna work out.

Simple Pleasures, or “The Rough Brew” as Nick calls it, is home to a different class of worker than a street corner, although there are many similarities.

These dudes sit out front at a bistro table on plastic garden chairs and smoke cigarettes and drink coffee and tell stories, talk about bands, ask about girls, and try to hustle a little work. Guys on corners stand around, smoke cigarettes and nip off Vodka pints. They talk to themselves and tell everyone, “God Bless”. It’s kinda the same thing.

Simple Pleasures has become the Outer Richmond Labor Hall to me. I can roll up there at any point during working hours and find someone to help on a move, or load garbage, or get some gardening done.

This lot is what you call underemployed. They may pick up shifts at a movie theater or this same coffee shop, so they get 20 or so hours a week and don’t spend any money on coffee or movies. Whole networks spring up to aid the underemployed where you hook up and get hooked up.

Making the leap into an office job can be scary since you don’t know how you’ll be able to afford anything if you have to pay for it every step of the way. If you aren’t hanging out all day Tuesday telling jokes and letting friends in at the theater, why would you keep getting free shots at the bar across the street? You wouldn’t be there when the bagel shop worker brings leftovers after closing. You’ve unplugged yourself from the swapping community. Ask about the Peoples Temple, it’s hard to quit a community, even if it isn’t perfect.

So we have shitty jobs and play in bands and smoke weed.

December 23, 2010

don’t none of us know the other

This beautiful rooster showed up at the ranch a few months ago.

Went down to Rus’. He was on the Bobcat trailer painting stringers for a deck job. Big 25 foot 2 by 12′s he needed up out of the dirt and hay.

“You ain’t doin’ that kine of work these days,” he says. I’m a junk man now. Everyone’s coming to terms with it. We went into the hay barn past the chicken’s roost and he opened the door into his quarters.

The first room you enter is a spare bed for when his sister and brother in law come to visit. Most of the year it houses piles of bills, receipts, truck trader magazines and junk mail to sort. At the far side of the room there’s a long narrow folding table with a bath towel laid over it. This is where I sit and write up invoices. Locke’s time sheets sit up to the right, new envelopes are under the calculator to the left.

Whatever free calendar Rus is given by a local building supply merchant is where he keeps track of his hours and I collate this and Locke’s numbers and do the math. Neither one is ever able to get the same times down, and Rus writes like rain drops running down a windowpane. Then take a rock and throw it through the window. It’s not pretty. The amount of fiction that goes into accounting is staggering.

He sits in a chair next to me and tries to remember the names of his clients so we don’t have to put the street address on the bill.

“Mrs. Murphy. I ‘member her husband drove the old green manure truck.”

I remember that old green manure truck. The guy who delivers hay drives a green truck too. That’s a long flatbed. Completely different from the dump body.

“He fell over dead. Was sleeping with a gal who boarded a horse here at the time.”

I say, “Guess he didn’t get away with that. Did I know her?”

“Problowly so. She drove a real clean white Shivvy pickup. But then half the world is full of white pickups. Folks gave her such a bad time she ended up moving to the other end of the state.”

When the bill is all added up I put it in an envelope and write the name, or most of the time the street address of the job, and then lean it against the table lamp.

“Snap that light off will ya and we’ll go get a little somethin’ to eat,” Rus says, but this time I had to head further south and hit up San Jose for it’s plethora of junkyards.

Took a poke in the snot box

Hauler took a hit from an 18 wheeler. Totally my fault, trying to pass him as he turned left. That big old back wheel snagged the edge of my front bumper and my little truck whimpered as plastic flew skyward and the steel joists bent like a broken arm. No damage to the rig.

A junkyard is another of the rare liminal spaces in this world, a place where people of all classes can mix. A kid on a skateboard in the parking lot was asking a guy, “Hey man, why you limping?” The guy had a cane and an eagle tattoo showing on his chest.

“Got shot in the back by a prison guard,” he answered as he dropped a Red Bull can on the ground and crushed it with his good foot.

Christmas is just around the corner. I wish you all the best.

December 15, 2010

107.3 for a day


It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Glenn the Carpenter. I saw him the other night, his girlfriend borrowed my truck and set up a pirate radio station in the back of it. Parked it for a day and played music to a 30 block radius. Glenn helped her duct tape the antenna to the back door.

“There’s nothing you can’t do with duct tape. And a bottle of whiskey.” His was The Famous Grouse, an honest blend of scotch whiskeys.

We were listening to a different radio as this one was set up when Wham’s Last Christmas came on.

“If it wasn’t for royalties from this song, George Micheal’s partner would be in bathroom stalls soliciting from guys like him.”

This is what makes Glenn the greatest carpenter in San Francisco.

December 12, 2010

does jeffery rhyme with referee?

Dear friends in this new online world, it will be a few days before I can write an adequate account of the Christmas party, the flea market, my desire to have a bachelor bake sale rather than a bachelor party (trying to make money, not spend it on some guy) and the the other dramatic events of the holiday season. Please pardon my silence.

December 6, 2010

what about baby satan?


Built a manger scene. Well, the manger is another name for a trough, where you throw the hay when you feed the livestock. So we built a nativity scene. Even built a sheep. Just the one. The eskimo dog may not be part of your tradition. It works in the north.

December 5, 2010

math minute

Here’s another one for the it’s a small city box. I’m helping a guy demo out the old CItizen Cake restaurant in Western Addition. It was a trendy spot known for desserts and old roommate Matt was the bartender.
Now I’m sawzalling out the copper pipes from the kitchen sink and unscrewing steel studs from the 15 foot ceilings.
Being a junk man the contractor asked me to keep an eye out for 1 by 6 doug fir tongue and groove or ship lap, about 500 board feet.
“Sure,” I said. I had very little idea what all that meant. Probably about half made sense. Doug fir is Douglas Fir, a tree that covered much of this area in the 1800′s and even today is available for construction. 1 by 6 is the thickness and the width. Tongue and groove is a board with a groove on one edge and a protrusion on the other so the boards lock into each other. Ship lap, I didn’t know. It means a rabbet, or notch is taken out of the edge, allowing boards to overlap. Research revealed a board feet is 144 cubic inches of wood. So you measure width times height times length and divide by 144. This becomes algebraic and thus impossible for me to calculate. Mrs. Mace would have written like, “You need 500 board feet of lumber. How many linear feet of 1 by 6 douglas fir do you need to buy?” Then the bell rang.

December 3, 2010

where’s the punch bowl? i need a hit.

Nick’s not dealing with the holiday so well. He installed a bottle opener on his headboard last evening and this morning I heard his alarm, followed by “chhhsss” as the frosty cap from a bedside cooler of brews cracked.
The new roommate Kathleen still isn’t working, but shit, neither is half of America. She wants a christmas tree bad but they aint cheap in the city. She threw on a bikini and threw a wool coat on top. Went down to the lot and flashed the guy deep in a row of Doug fir’s. “You sure you can’t go a little lower?” she cooed. We got an 8 footer in the living room now and it cost her 6 bucks. She took a cab home.
Tis the season for dealing. Hope it works out for you too!

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