Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ceiling down!!!

So I went out for a little while today and when I returned, Madeleina met me at the door and said: "Dad, don't freak out, but something bad happened while you were gone..."
    "You okay?" I asked.
    "Yes, dad. It's nothing like that...."
    "Then what is it?"
    "I think you better come see for yourself. But don't flip out, okay? It's bad but not the end of the world."
     With that I knew it was the end of something and decided to have a glass of wine before I went to see whatever it was.
     What it was was this: A huge chunk of the ceiling in the hallway that connects the kitchen to the three bedrooms and the bathroom had fallen. Just got waterlogged from condensation on the pipes connected to the air conditioner. It's happened before at the end of the summer, but never like this. This was hundreds of pounds of waterlogged dry wall that had become soaked wall.
    What could I do? I started singing, "This house is falling apart..." ("Anna Sun" by Walk the Moon), "This house is falling apart, we got no money but we got got heart. We're gonna rattle this ghost town, we rattle this scene, oh Anna Sun..." And then I pulled out some garbage bags, filled 'em, had Madeleina take them to the truck where they'll sit till I go to the dump, and in half an hour it was clean. And if you don't look up, ever, you won't even see that there's a huge chunk of empty where there ought to be a ceiling.
    See how easy it is if you accept things like that as regular occurrances? No need to go nuts. Just clean it up. Oh, and then call your son, Italo, and tell him he ought to come over and fix it.....

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What's cooking?

Well, there seem to be lots of plans afoot. Most of them I cannot talk about. In fact I've had to sign a slew of "non-disclosure agreements" lately related to television shows, restaurant ideas, medicines and other stuff. For a minute it feels like you're (I'm) important, but then I know as well as all of you, that it's only very infrequently that someone else's ideas come to fruition. Or my own ideas. But at least I have some control over my own ideas. I fail sometimes for lack of funds, but generally knew that was going to happen going in, so I don't consider it a failure, just a lack of knowhow in terms of materializing the funds necessary to turn my pie-in-the-sky ideas into reality.
    I'll tell you one idea of mine that should have been jumped on years ago: When you were a little kid, and perhaps even today, we had camping cups. Camping cups were aluminum cups that were built by having several 3/4 inch pieces of aluminum on top of each other. Each was a bit bigger than the one below, and a bit smaller than the one above. So they crushed down on each other. The cup, when crushed, was just 3/4 of an inch tall. Snap it open and it was a full eight-ounce cup.
   My idea was to have a similar but much larger cup that you could use as the base for a hot air balloon. Something that folded up small enough to carry in a back pack, very light weight. But when opened up would be the right size for a single person to ascend heights via hot air. Now if that came with a small gas balloon made of super strong, super lightweight mylar, and if that balloon could be filled with a gas that could be held in a 10-15 pound tank: the balloon could be filled, then emptied back into the tank, allowing the tank and balloon to be used multiple times on a single trip, well, with something like that I could soar to several thousand feet and investigate some buttes and mountain tops in the Andes Mountains that are otherwise inaccessible and have never been photographed because of 24/7 cloud cover. The Matses, for instance, claim they came from a butte that is known to be about 40 miles long, 20 miles wide and never been photographed. They claim their fathers left it because there were monsters there that attacked them. Is that true? I have no idea. But I've been hoping to investigate the story for 20 years. And I can't until some damned machinest out there makes me my single person, lightweight, aluminum-cup/mylar gas balloon.
    Okay, so that's one of my ideas that hasn't panned out yet. But when other people have ideas and have me get all hyped up about them, have me invest time and energy in them...well, I'm old enough to know that most of them won't pan out for one reason or another. Might be lack of funds. Might be lack of enthusiasm, or waning enthusiasm. Might be someone in their family negates the idea. Might be a million things.
   So while I'd love to tell you all what's been swirling about, thinks I'm supposed to be included in, well, I can't. I signed those agreements. And once in a while someone's dream does come true. And when that happens, well, it's the most fantastical thing. So I'm rooting for them all, but still getting my stories in on time to make sure I've got a paycheck coming my way.

Project Done

Well, I got back and then didn't stay in touch. Why? Because I've had a guest here for two weeks. Hector, whom I know from Peru but who has also previously visited my home here in Texas, has been redoing my website/websites into one gigantic bundle of magic. He's decided to push my profile a little, using the covers of some magazines I've been printed in, lots of art, a couple of new sections and so forth. I'm a little nervous because it seems a bit grandiose for me, but then those who have seen it are impressed. He's actually done a great job. And there is more to come. But I think most of you will be able to see it at seems to be up over most of the known world already, though not here in Joshua, Texas. I've gotten notes from Bali, from several countries in Europe and so forth. So that's what I've been doing. Providing new material, hunting down old magazine covers, writing new text in several places. And there is even an "influences" section at the bottom of the Biography page. That was a great idea of his: I got to salute a lot of the things that occurred at just the right time in my life to have a huge impact on me. And some of them will no doubt resonate with most of you.
    Okay, now I'm behind on a couple of stories for work. I think I can catch up by the end of the weekend. And then I'll be in a position to tell you all a few new and good stories. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Back in Texas, Everything is Upside Down

Well, I'm back again. And boy, what a mess things are. My boys forgot to cut the lawn for six weeks, forgot to train the baby cats not to poop in the living room, and Madeleina went off to college just three days after I returned. That's the big one. She's not far away, but because of band and required courses and the requirement to take a dorm room, it's doubtful she'll be home one day a week for the first semester. Which is probably great for her but stinks for me because I miss her already and it's only been 5 days!!!!
    Enough of complaints. The trip was fantastic! The first group included old friends--four of them--and six newcomers and we all had a rollicking good time in the jungle, with the medicines, with everything. That was followed up by one of the new guests buying the rights to the after-sting medicine I make, Gorman's Jungle Juice. My huge old hotel room was turned into a factory for several days, with five of my team making 200 liters of the medicine for the fellow to bottle and distribute in the US in hopes of getting a national chain interested. As it's the freaking best after-sting medicine around--it works on mosquito and bee and hornet bites, black fly bites, chiggers, horsefly bites, and poison sumac and poison ivy among other things, and I mean it works in seconds to reduce swelling, kill bacteria, eliminate itch and redness and seal the wounds--I think he might get it done. If not, the contract calls for it reverting back to me in 24 months. And if it works, well, I'll be good too.
    And making that medicine in that bulk was a gas. We turned it into a party with lots of fruit, good things to drink and eat in the room, lots of breaks when the heat of the day began to overwhelm us (no air con in my room in Iquitos), and lots of laughs.
    And then, to top it off, a television show asked me to coordinate a trip for them and then put me on camera for hours. And paid me. I can't talk about it but as soon as they put out trailers, I'll post more. Suffice to say it was great.
    Actually, even topping that was having Chepa and Sierra and Alexa there. Chepa went off by herself or with her sisters a lot, so I had the girls nearly every day when I was in Iquitos. And I think it was a vacation they will remember for a long time.
    Okay, not a great post. But did want to let you know I'm back and missed you all as well. Thanks for being there.