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At some point here I will post a gallery of pix of the garage destruction/remodel. For the purpose of this post, all you need to know is that 1) for many weeks now there have been anywhere from 2-15 unprotected open pathways between the great outdoors and the comfy indoors, and 2) one of the less-reported but painfully obvious after-effects of Tropical Storm Irene in VT was a late hatch of a particularly active, large, hardy bunch of mosquitos.

So in brief, we've been fighting off the bloodsucking fiends for what seems like ages now. But thanks to our geothermal contractor, I now have a remedy that can be weilded from the comfort of my desk, which happens to be nearest to the source of most of the infiltrations.

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The downstairs bathroom, the one that is due to be ripped out and replaced by the new one in the mudroom sometime in the next 3 weeks, sprung a leak this morning. Luckily the water dripped straight down the joists to the basement right into the sump well. Unluckily there was some slop to the dripline and one of our small, lovely persian rugs got wet. I shop-vac'd the hell out of it, hung it to dry, started a fire upstairs and turned on the goethermal system even though the house is warm. Well-circulated super-dry stove air ought to save the rug.

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I know I keep saying this, but: I can't do anything these days without running into the memory of Brett. Search email, he's in the results list; same for chat logs. Clean off desk, here's a postcard of one of his artworks. Sort pictures, duh, there he is. Except he's not. It's going to be like this for a long time, I get that, but I would like to move further down towards the "Acceptance" part of the Kubler-Ross model just about any old time now, please.

Today's example: I clicked over to SoundCloud to find an example track to test out shortcode-embeds on the blog [Note to LJ and DW mirror-readers; I have no idea if this will work for you, apologies in advance]. As soon as I log in, there is Brett peering at me from the sidebar with a ridiculous hat and bug-eyed DJ goggles. And yes, of course I clicked, and I listened, and I wept. So my example track is the ~9 minute collaboration below, "Wednesday."

These were the first sounds to come out of the studio when Brett and re-built it in 2009, after the water-heater flood and remodeling in the El Cerrito house. We were just noodling around testing out all the routing and for once, hit record. Brett is playing the Waldorf Q and I am on guitar; the clean guitar part and a dry Q part were laid down in the first take. Then we came back in and Brett played with the FX on the synth track while I overdubbed the fuzzy e-bow line. So this is composed solely of first takes. It's not perfect; we lost the plot partway through because of some now-forgotten distraction and after that point it's a little less together all around, but I am very happy with the first few minutes. Brett took it home and did some post-processing to create this final version; if you listen closely, you can hear him working pretty hard to "fix it in the mix" :)

As far as I can remember, this is the only piece of music we ever put to tape together. I have plenty of regrets about my life but that's at the top of the list. I have some of Brett's studio gear here with me now, and on that gear there are patterns, sequences, and samples. I have unfinished business to attend to, which is part of the reason for the changes I'm making in how I spend my time. More later, for certain.

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This is a test of the post-mirroring system.  This is only a test.  LJ and DW *should* see this post with appropriate footers, thanks to the JournalPress plugin.   Fingers crossed…

Ok, took a couple tries to get DW to cooperate, but we have achieved blog-saturation!

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Sep. 1st, 2011 09:38 am
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Sunday night, after dealing with the storm, I had a wee drop of the creature before bed. It was the first bit of liquor I've had to drink in quite some time, for reasons that should be obvious to readers of this journal.

So naturally I dreamt I was buried alive with Brett, who was also alive (Note: this is not a zombie story). Initially we were crammed into the confines of the same pine box, six feet down, but this transformed into some sort of marble sarcophagus, then into a quite luxurious mausoleum, with ornate carving on the walls and a high ceiling. We had a lovely conversation, then escaped the tomb with the help of my cat Dave, who jumped out and showed us the suitable climbing path. Any grip or platform large enough for that fat cat to use was plenty big enough for us to climb out on.

I really didn't want to wake up on Monday, but I couldn't get back to the dream so I reluctantly got out of bed.
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Hi all. I am waiting on an electronic copy of the "stories and memories" section of Brett's service, at which point I will post a complete transcript.

In the meantime, tune in to Chilled Chewy Choosedays on fnoob.com underground radio at 3PM Eastern time to hear LX Paterson of the Orb drop a DJ set which will include selections in memory of Brett Palomar. Many thanks in advance to LX!

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We regret to share with you the news of the death of Brett Summers. Brett died on Saturday, August 6th from complications arising from chronic alcoholism. Those who knew him, or were familiar with his published works, will mourn the loss of such a truly gifted friend and companion.

Brett Summers, also known as the author Brett Palomar, was born in Los Angeles on May 16th of 1968 to Darrell and Sharon Summers. The family returned to Texas when Brett was 13 and after several moves Brett graduated from high school in Tomball, Texas, a National Merit Scholar. The experience of migration would inform his latter writings. Brett then attended Texas A&M University where he obtained both undergraduate and Masters degrees in Philosophy. In 1994 he moved to Houston, and then to Austin in 2003, putting his incredible grasp of ontology and "meaning" to work in Austin's nascent artificial intelligence industry. He spent three years at Cycorp in that capacity. A consummate coffee lover, he spent his last professional years in Seattle doing similar work.

Brett loved hard. He was often a penetrating critic of his country's follies and of his local community. He had wide range of friendships, many of them centered around the Burning Man experience, the Usenet group Talk.Bizarre, and his beloved aikido dojo. These friendships and connections figure prominently in his later writings and the lessons learned from his observations form the core of his last published work, Overcoming Peace of Mind. Published under the nom de plume Brett Palomar, the work is available on Amazon. Those wishing to hear Brett's voice again, or to gain insight into the ennui of the turn of the century, have a blessing available to them there.

Brett was loved. Few people have left such an indelible impression on so many so quickly. His was not a friendship for the age of ease and low investment and he can number among his friends those outsiders who have pushed through the noise and brittleness of modern society to ask, as he did, what the good life is, and how do we live it, and always with Brett; how can we share it with friends.

He died in Columbia Missouri, surrounded by his friends and family. Brett is survived by his parents, his fiancee Hannah, and the many who loved him. Services will be held on Friday, August 12th, at the Reser Funeral Home in Warsaw , MO.

[Paul Lord Brett's parents decided not to publish in the local paper, as he had so few friends in MO, but they asked me to post this to FB and LJ.]
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[The CO crew of Deana, Jay, and Liz sent this update last night and I received more updates via text and phone call from the road today. They are headed home for now. Liz Smith doing the talking here, minor additions from me in [square brackets].]
Read more... )
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[Now that LJ seems to be up again. Jesus, Russia, can you put your bullshit politics aside for a minute? I got IMPORTANT SHIT to do and I need LJ up even if it requires that you stop suppressing dissent for a few hours. So cool it with the DDOS.]

I posted some short notes yesterday with the high points, but I wanted to share more details:
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This may be disjoint and long as I want to capture as much as possible for all of you. Some of the news below is stark.

Read more... )
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My very dear friend Brett Summers is currently in Columbia University Hospital in Missouri, and his condition is extremely grave. He has been struggling with alcoholism for some time and developed Hepatitis over the past year. Several stints of rehab were only marginally successful and about a month ago he fell into a coma in his house. He has been in the hospital since then with acute liver and kidney failure. His family and doctors are unsure whether he will live a week, or a month,
or —

I'm flying out tomorrow and hope that he will be out from sedation long enough to know that I am there. If not, I'll play him the Orb, and read to him from Italo Calvino, and leave him the get well cards that Calvin and Rose made, and otherwise keep him company through midday Thursday.

Please send your love and good thoughts for him. Anything you post here, I will do my best to relay. I'll either read it aloud to him or print your words and leave them by his bedside, or both.
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Yesterday after a little sugarin' (I went with everyone to the first shack, with the ginormous Belgian horses pulling the cart to the OMFG complex grade B ambrosia at the end. Bought a big jug of that stuff, yep), I got out of the house with my guitar and amp and pedals in hand, to hang out with a local guitarist who happens to play in the Grateful Dead cover band I saw just last week. We knew of each other thanks to, natch, an Internet guitar geek forum where cork-sniffing tube elitists argue the merits of different bits of kit. Go internet go.

As Anne would say, "FINALLY."

We started playing and all of a sudden 5 hours had passed. Unsurprisingly, my exorbitant rig sounded completely and utterly ill even at neighborhood volume. Somewhat surprisingly, all these years of woodshedding have finally started to pay off in the hands/ears/chops department. We were both listening to each other and navigated our way through some very satisfying grooves and segues within the canonical "open jam goes HERE" songs in the repertoire. D. has a high gear he can take his solos to that I haven't got but that's a "feeding off the dynamics of playing with others" thing that is my next big learning challenge.

It was awesome. We're going to do it again. and D. is plugged into the local scene in a way that should lead to more opportunities to jam, hopefully culminating in an actual steady gig. So that's the plan.
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I had a dream that there was a version of the Bible-- King James text, natch-- where every ritual object of value, every prize, every temptation, was replaced by bacon.

Eve eats the bacon of Good and Evil.

God tells Abraham to sacrifice his bacon.

Moses hears the voice of god in a pile of burning bacon, and later comes down from the mountain to destroy the golden bacon idol that his people were worshipping.

Jesus goes to the wedding in Caana and turns all of the water into bacon.

Satan appears to Jesus in the desert and offers him all of the bacon in the world.

and so forth.

I give this brain worm to you for free.
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[The Scene:] Yesterday, Calvin had a play date that kept him out until almost 5:30, which around here is actually nighttime this time of the year. As he was coming home we were in the middle of the third snow flurry of the year.

He comes in the door yelling, "Papa, come outside with me and see! It's SO BEAUTIFUL!"

So how do you resist that? I throw on a coat, hat, gloves, and walk out the back porch door. I don't see him at first, then from my right he says "Come stand right here, this is the good spot."

He's backed up to the garage doors, looking up at an angle. The moon is about 80% full and is only slightly occluded behind thin clouds. With the lake so close we get a steady but unpredictable wind that flows (sometimes, it howls) around the house and creates all manner of swirling eddies. Tonight it is spilling around both sides of the garage and as the snow falls through the pale moonlight, it spirals to earth in tight rings, the ones to our left turning one way, to our right turning the other. Tiny snowflakes fall straight down but the bigger ones are all spinning around and colliding. Calvin is almost reverent. "See? It's beautiful."

I stick my tongue out. Calvin mimics me and starts laughing, running around chasing the bigger snowflakes and cracking himself up. I hear a small whine and look down, and Ellie is wagging furiously with her ears pulled back in that "OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE" way. It occurs to me that we haven't really been outside with her in a few days and she must have a severe case of doggie cabin fever. So I reach into the porch and grab her frisbee. As soon as she sees me holding it, she turns into crazy dog, running madly in circles, digging her nose into the snow to throw it into the air. She comes back and sits without my asking, a huge grin on her face. We don't play fetch. We play, Throw->Chase the dog->clever subterfuge to make her drop the preferred toy and chase a stick or something->repeat. This is slightly more exciting than usual in the icy dark but somehow we all keep our feet and run madly about for 15 minutes or so. Right about the time I am getting winded, the snow pauses for a second and A. calls for dinner. Just so.
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After dinner tonight I took the canoe out and caught 3 smallmouth bass (plus a perch). All of the bass were jumpers. It would have been 5 but two of them threw the hook in mid air. None of them big enough to keep. But still, that's my idea of a perfect way to watch a sunset :)

Fishing magazines, catalogs, and tournaments go all googly eyed for largemouth bass, but for my money there's no better fighting fish in fresh water than a smallmouth that jumps more than twice its length out of the water.
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After dinner tonight I took the canoe out and caught 3 smallmouth bass (plus a perch). All of the bass were jumpers. It would have been 5 but two of them threw the hook in mid air. None of them big enough to keep. But still, that's my idea of a perfect way to watch a sunset :)

Fishing magazines, catalogs, and tournaments go all googly eyed for largemouth bass, but for my money there's no better fighting fish in fresh water than a smallmouth that jumps more than twice its length out of the water.
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Today was a busy and eventful day for Calvin:
1. After breakfast, he walked to the playground at the town beach, about a 50 yard stroll along the road through the single lane covered bridge. On the way, I saw him stop, step aside, and wave to the truck he let pass, before dashing off towards the monkey bars.
2. He saw a dead toad with its brains all kerflooey at the playground, so he had to run back and tell everyone about it. Rose insisted on seeing it, and we let Calvin and Rose go off on their toad-spotting adventure alone. They returned with a jogger/neighbor in tow, having made friends along the way back. I think the neighbor was worried about them, but we made introductions all proper like and let her know that the excursion was approved, nay, encouraged. Then Ellie came out to meet the neighbor and we spent the next 20 minutes corralling her.
3. He got a new bike, 6 speeds with no coaster brake, which he proceeded to ride quite a bit out of sight and back a few times.
and 4. most momentously, he jumped off the beach dock with a life-jacket and mask on, swam the 20 yards to the floating dock and back a few times, and THEN decided to shed his mask, life-jacket, and water shoes and strike out swimming for the dock for real. He ran out of juice about halfway there and I had to tow him there and back, but the gumption to start out in the first place is the bit that had been lacking throughout his recent swim lessons. A little more practice and I'll finally feel a little more at ease with him in the water.

There was also much fairy house building with Nina, and a canoe ride/fishing trip (Calvin rode, Nina and I fished but no luck). Now, he sleeps a deep, DEEP sleep :)
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Willy Wonka, godammit.
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We have taken a momentary break from the Papa-tales at bedtime-- which is a relief, honestly, because we were deep into reruns and I was desperate for a little more variety and a shorter bedtime routine as the moving/house-hunting/etc. ramps up-- and out of almost nowhere, both little ones are interested in _Where the Sidewalk Ends_. We tried before, but something didn't click. Now they can't get enough.

Now, thanks to this book, Calvin tells me, "I think that boogers are actually snail teeth. You know, from the sharp toothed snail that lives in everyone's nose! His teeth break and then when you blow your nose they fall out!"

and then two nights ago, the two of them stayed up probably 90 minutes past their bedtime, cackling in the dark at each other while they used various funny voices to recite this gem:

My beard grows to my toes,
I never wears no clothes.
I wraps my hair
Around my bare,
And down the road I goes.


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October 2011

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