Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday adventures

This image was swiped from the unspeakably cool Invisible Edge

I go away for a few days and when I come back I find out that people have been reading this thing. I've been running around in the three dimensional world.

First, I am in the first week of the seven week pre-retirement vacation. I also just got notice that the large orange bridge, highway and transportation district has approved my paperwork and I am now recognized as a mildly disabled proletarian hero and Stakhnovist of the first order. Just yesterday I was a bum who never bothered to show up for work. It is a damn good thing that I am a recognized gimp because my car is starting to act like it wants money. My car has never wanted a small amount of money. I do not have a large amount of money. My car might be the cause of some terrible health problems before I finally manage to retire. It is good to be able to take off work with only a mild amount of anxiety over job loss.

I am still more than a little sleep deprived. The old timers who have departed for the other shore (retirement) send back messages. One of them told me that it takes about two weeks to realize how tired you really are and another two months to get caught up on your sleep. Yesterday, I got up at an ungodly hour to take a bus to SF a train to Oakland a bus to the island city of Alameda, a cab to South Berkeley a car to Ashby Avenue in Berkeley, a train back to SF and rides in various cars around SF. I tried to fit in a ferry but the scheduling wouldn't work out.

Along the way, I visited my dad in his new assisted living community. It was a nice enough place. The old man was sitting there, unshaved and wearing a dirty sweatshirt. He was sitting at a table with another old gent, quite talkative and 92 years old. Also at the table was a woman who didn't say a word for many minutes. Then she stood up and announced, "It's OK. I'm 95 years old." She grabbed her walker and wandered off. Dad is only 84, but he doesn't seem particularly happy about it. For much of the visit he sat silent and stared into the middle distance. Then he'd get a little smile on his face and say something to me, then he'd go back into his little world. Pretty much the way he's always been, only more so. I'd have to say it was a successful visit.

Then I made a mad dash across Alameda and Oakland to the Berkeley home of Peter Hurney and Pohaku Ukuleles. Peter has just finished several ukuleles. I wanted to try out the new concert sized instruments. I'm looking to buy myself a retirement present. If you've come here from a google search I'd be happy to give you a review of any of the ukuleles that I played. They were all beautifully made and sounded great, but my big, big favorite was a concert sized resonator. First of all, I like the resonator sound. Second I like the sheer "gizmoness" of resonator instruments. The little concert sized resonator was LOUD as hell and pretty as anything. A visit with Peter is a real treat because his ukes are the coolest, but Peter is a cool guy himself. He really likes what he does and can talk about it with great eloquence. He showed me a bunch of nifty graphs explaining the tonal qualities of various woods. He has also just finished putting up an exhibit on California ukulele and guitar makers. He did it in conjunction with the Oakland Museum. The exhibit is on display at the Oakland airport terminal. You can read about it here.

I'll end it there for now. I'm too tired to be writing even though yesterday didn't end until after two AM. The trouble is that today's mad dash started at seven AM.

Here's a favorite Christmas song. Other than the title, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with Christmas.

Archie, the Red Nose Reindeer- Tappa, or if you like, Tapper Zukie (buy)

And remember kids, the axial tilt and the eliptical orbit are the reason for the season.


@eloh said...

I thought I said something last night when I stopped by... I'm easily distracted, obviously.

Buy the new uke Jon, you deserve that and so much more.

Retirement isn't the life you may be expecting... soon, you will be wondering how you ever found time to actually work a job.

Jon said...

Eloh, we all deserve a few things. I, like most of us, get what I can afford, not what I deserve. I can probably afford the uke, I hope I can buy my way out of what I deserve.

As I once heard someone say at an AA meeting, "Life isn't fair and it's a damn good thing it's not because I deserve to be dead or in prison."

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

That AA line sounds like half the chorus of rootin' tootin' country song.

Life isn't fair and it's a damn good thing it's not/Because I deserve to be dead or in prison/What I liked I liked fine and what I didn't I liked more/If It wasn't for luck I would never have made one good decision.

ish said...

Your coming retirement sounds very wonderful. Sorry there are health complications...those suck. I spend a lot of time frustrated that after having a career that gave me constant promotions and raises I'm back to hourly work and a fair degree of uncertainty about money. Stupid me for believing I was above all that for a few years. At least I'm smart enough to know money isn't everything.

Jon said...

Hey Ian! We're finally in touch with each other's blogs. Money is going to be an issue but the terror of "I have to do (X) or there will be NOTHING", has been relieved. I'll be getting a little money and essentially free healthcare for the rest of my life. The rest is up to me. As to the health probs, that's the point. I'd keep my current job except for the fact that I have been constantly low level sick for over a year now and a seventy hour work week does not allow for much self care.

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