Your mama told you never to eat your friends…

I got a new title at work. Director of Programs, it’s a title that virtually means nothing. Instead of two program I am now responsible for five, now not all of them are residential  so I have responsibility for outpatient programs as well. I guess technically it is an absolutely correct title.

It’s more interesting, I get to move around a lot more although the office is super quiet without 26 kids clamoring for attention and 40 staff, I got to give them to my protege I guess. She promptly took off to climb a mountain leaving me holding the baby, well adolescents.

In reality my biggest concern may be that my view changed for the worse. I now no longer look out on 90 acres of woodland and creeks but a dumb ass orange canopy and some trash the builders left on the roof.

I also for the first time in 32 years of working life have to figure out what I am going to eat for lunch as I no longer have a cook and a kitchen to meet those needs. I have been eating out quite a bit but that does not seem to be sustainable or even healthy. Alternatives are being considered, I do however seem to have settled on the make a damn sandwich my friend, as my colleague Paul said. There has also been some adjustment to the coffee regime, my new office is enamored of the Keurig, seems wasteful and the coffee is a little weak.

Some non-negotiables in taking this gig, I will not wear long trousers unless it’s too cold or I want to, no ties ever and a pay raise if a suit is required.

So the current view is:

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The previous view:

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I really think I am losing out here. Oh well someone has to do it and it appears that idiot is me.

In a fit of senselessness I managed to acquire a fun desk that goes up and down with a sweet electric motor, how high tech and trendy of me.

In another world the Planet Earth Rock’nRoll Orchestra exploration trundles on with Grace Slick and Paul Kantner’s Sunfighter album. The orchestra members plod on with their spaced out jam fest of an album. Containing songs covering everything from cannibalism to the joys of parenthood via domestic terrorism and vegetarianism and the Kent State incident it’s an album with more ism’s than necessary perhaps.

I also like to think that the album cover inspired our favored grungeanauts although they went all blue and male underwater instead of all sunset and female rising out of the oceans..

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Seems I am on a mission to rediscover these self-indulgent albums one by one. It’s not a bad journey to fill the days after a hard day at work followed by the manual labor of preparing the new homestead.

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Pick axes and string have been involved in creating a solid base for the shed arriving on Friday, this is our first outbuilding as we finally prepare to maybe move in one day soon, actually over the next four weeks. Math was also involved which my wife the clever teacher correctly identified as a practical use of the pythagorean theory. I believed it was magic.

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It is a good job I have early 20’s helpers to wield the pick and shovel at twice the pace an old fart like me can.

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You know that Indian girl, she wasn’t an Indian she was the law, oh…

That strange time and that strangest of albums.

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If Only I Could Remember My Name… The title says it all, while Crosby may not have remembered his name  he could remember the lyrics, or most of them. Sounding as if Pink Floyd recorded a CSNY album at times it is a strange, trippy, collection of songs and sounds and almost songs. Ranging from the long rambling Cowboy Movie with everyone and his brother playing guitar on it to experimental vocal exercises on Orleans to the paranoia of What Are Their Names, it covers all the bases.

It is again another Planet Earth Rock’nRoll Orchestra album, recorded while all the conspirators where high on success or well frankly just high. The early 70’s at Wally Heider’s studio and the Dead recording American Beauty, Paul Kantner was ripping it up recording Blows Against The Empire and Crosby was working on his first solo album. All simultaneously. I can only imagine the chaos and the cross percolation of ideas, thoughts and tunes. Add in Neil Young and Joni Mitchell along with any passerby and you have a band.

It would be 18 years before Crosby recorded another solo album, some would say it was his drug habits that caused this or maybe it was just too complete an album in it’s own right and it took him 18 years to find something else to say. Even the Vatican managed to rank it #2 in it’s list of 100 albums to hear.

I guess I got a theme going here with the Planet Earth Rock’nRoll Orchestra, or that hippy shit collective thing.

That’s a deliberately blurry picture there, or I was tired.

Yes I know I wrote about this before but it’s a good one so go figure.

 

Yeah you gotta watch out if you sneeze…

So as I descended into a pit of despond I figured what we really needed in society today was some fucking angry hippies. Or we just need to go get our shit together in the country.

For some reason this got me to thinking about San Francisco, being poor and of little means right now due to building my own little slice of heaven in the longest building project known to man, I had to make do with the music. Here is a confession, are you ready?

I prefer Jefferson Airplane to the Grateful Dead, the songs are funner and the guitar solos better. They also managed to understand the importance of melody and the joy of the three minute song along with the stoned jams.

I especially like the off-shoot period of about three years from 1970 to 73 when the Planet Earth Rock’nRoll Orchestra was in full ridiculous flight. Imagine all your favorite bands from the late 60’s San Francisco and the Laurel Canyon scene hanging out getting stoned and recording for hours on end and you have the Planet Earth Rock’n’Roll Orchestra. Anarchic self indulgent and a glorious sound if you like that hippy shit.

The whole thing began with Blows Against the Empire by Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship, this is a long way from building any city on rock and roll. This is subversive stuff, taking a look at the Nixon fueled world and advocating getting out there revolting and stealing a starship and getting out of here. Now we have a space force we can probably pull this shit off as the great orange one blurts his bloated cascades of vitriol at the world.

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Blows is credited to Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship. It does not however have much to do with that band and is not seen as part of their discography, it is the first in a series of off-shoot Airplane albums to come out in the early 70’s. Most of the Airplane appear on it along with members of the Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service CSNY and just about anyone passing through or hanging out in the studio. Filled with rich harmonies and fiery guitar solo’s pounding keyboards and banjo’s.

It’s a political record of dissatisfaction with the hippy dream and the failure of the old guard. That dissatisfaction led to some stoned meandering concept that is more rewarding than it sounds. Yes its’ hippy shit but it’s hippy shit with attitude.

I know I already talked about this album but it’s a good one so there you have it along with some Monty Pythonesque boobs.

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Personal liberties…

It’s been an intense couple of weeks. It seems I could come to writing these words just about every day for the last two/three/four years. Truth is there is currently an intensity to life that is both gratifying and terrifying. It’s not that this is a bad thing, it just needs a commitment to life that is intentional.

I have been listening to much of the music I have been reading about on other blogs. Punk, rock, metal and Fripp have percolated around my brain firing the synapses in untoward ways. I have also found myself becoming angered at the news and the actions of our “leaders” in so many ways, this has resulted in an imbalance for me.

Out of the blue I got a call from a voice I had not heard or years, “pack your shit we’re going upriver.”

Filled with a Heart of Darkness moment I agreed and Thursday afternoon we set out, jeep, canoe and party of three, with whiskey a guitar and snare drum, leaving the electronics behind locked in the car we headed out up river on our own journey to escape the noise that is everywhere it seems.

Three days of paddling and singing and drinking, neither Heart of Darkness nor Deliverance but fellowship and a shared desire to reconnect with humanity in the face of a dehumanizing society. Fishing and eating and taking the time to swim and play and lounge in the cool waters.

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Driving down out of the Coast Range we could feel the weight settle on us as the heat intensified from a comfortable 70 to an oppressive mid 90’s. The question then being do you let yourself be sucked back in or address the world as well as you can going forward. As the world closed in around us we turned on the electronics to be confronted with the bleats, peals and notifications of the world discovering we were back.

Sitting on the shelf as I got home was Let The Power Fall by Robert Fripp. An album of Frippertronics from his tour of canteens, record stores, restaurants and theaters. Each track dated for a year from 1984 through 1989, it’s a claustrophobic dense collection of pieces. No guitar heroics or jagged chords but thoughtful collages and constructions of sound that are moments in time from that tour.

In the notes on the back I read:

“We have already entered an era in which the erosion of a wide range of personal liberties to which we have become accustomed, and which are often constitutionally and legally acknowledged, is general and accelerating. To call attention to this is necessarily polemic”

Sitting letting the music wash over me I was painfully aware that things have not changed for the better since 1980. It also is again necessary to be polarizing in drawing attention to this in every day life.

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Heading out later to the intended home we discovered that they have begun to drill our well. This is the last piece of a puzzle we have been putting together for thirteen months. We are all ready to move and get back to the country and if things work out it should be soon.

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