Growing Up in Los Gatos, California in the 60s by Gregory Vanderlaan – Chico, Santa Clara, Washington DC, Eureka, Orangevale

Born March 19th, 1954, I moved to Los Gatos in 1960 and lived there until graduation from LGHS in 1972… an Ideal Childhood… Then I Went to West Valley Jr. College, learned electronics drafting and got a job at System Industries in Santa Clara… I feel blessed that not only did I grow up in a great location but I also grew up at a great time. I missed the Vietnam War by ONE Year.

Starting first grade in 1960 I experienced President Kennedy’s Challenge of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. We were trained in school to become astronauts or rocket scientists. At NASA and Lockheed. Eventually I did end up designing computers that were flew on USAF jets. So my early dreams were fulfilled. I always wanted to design Spaceships but USAF Jets is as close as I got…

…and… during the late part of the 1960’s I got to participate in Anti Vietnam War protests. We were successful as eventually the vast majority of the American People grasped the concept that the war was Pure Evil. Nixon ended the war AND ended the draft. Saving countless American lives, including Mine. Thank You! Richard Nixon,.. and Joan Baez, Jane Fonda, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Daniel Ellsberg and millions of unsung heros…

…and… I had the opportunity to go to Grateful Dead Concerts High on LSD.  THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!

Original Painting on My Little White Truck

One peak experience in Los Gatos was attending the Tower of Power concert outdoors at the Chateau Liberte… In the Redwoods near Summit Road…  I remember going with my friend Rich Field  ( a trumpet player) to the Concert. We saw how The Tower achieved the flute to trumpet blending on the song “Diamonds Sparkling in the Sand”. One man walked towards his microphone while the other walked away… both were playing the same note… This amazed Rich as he was a jazz band member at school and this effect was a mystery to him until we saw it done… I also remember that the Hell’s Angels and The Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle clubs both arrived at the concert at the same time and I was concerned that there would be violence… so I walked to the other side of the concert as far as possible away from them…. Years later I learned that they OFTEN partied together at the Chateau and my fears were unjustified…

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I remember playing my harmonica at a school play with Barry Hill. It was called “Sneaky Fitch is Dead” and I had a great time performing… We also performed “Hippie from Olema” by the Youngbloods at a talent show in the high school gym. Rich Field and Nancy King and Rachael Ludlum were also in the band. Washtub Bass, Jug, Guitars and Washboard…

Many of the LGHS students performed as “Spearchuckers” and Slaves in the Opera “AIDA” at the San Jose Civic Auditorium. There was a touring opera company that filled the stage with locals from high school drama departments… They instructed us to move our mouths BUT DO NOT SING… They had a choir that did the singing and we would have just been annoying and off key. Since the big scene we were in was when the hero came back from the Middle East with the spoils of war (an elephant and a tiger). We had to cover our bodies with dark brown stage paint… We were supposed to be playing the part of black people but there were no Actual black students at LGHS… I had long blond hair but they just tucked that up under a hat… Big Fun… My girlfriend Liz Dunbar was in the Opera also…

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In 1972, a friend of mine went to San Francisco and went to the Fillmore West and came back to our high school and said… LET”S BUILD OUR OWN.

That was the beginning of Forbes Mill in Los Gatos California… We had a light show and electric rock music every weekend at an abandoned stone flour mill in the center of town… On Wednesday nights we performed folk music. My band performed… I was the head of security and did advertising posters.

Since we had Town sponsorship of our “Teen Club” thru the organization Youth Unlimited, we had to make sure no laws were being broken or the police would shut us down. Certainly no drinking or illegal drug use or housing of runaways. My take on law enforcement was to direct potential lawbreakers to the nearby hole in the fence that lead to the wooded area next to the freeway.  I admit that a lot of laws were broken on State of California property, but that was NOT MY CONCERN. I was responsible for making sure that OUR property was crime free.

The light show was created by using four slide projectors and two spinning wheels with variable speed motors that blocked the light from reaching the white wall behind the bandstand. Each cardboard wheel had holes cut into it so that the slides would be projected in a stroboscopic manner.  Some slides were abstract art created by “crystal craze” paint and others were photographs.

We also owned a strobe light and I learned to not point it at the electric organ player because the blinking light made it impossible to see which keys were black and which were white…

“Youth Unlimited” also built a crisis center called Fre-Ba-ZAK House. 

 It was in an old wooden home on North Santa Cruz Ave. The idea was to have a place for runaways to have a safe location to negotiate with their parents. Kids that had nowhere else to go could go there … My friend Richard Bergholdt worked there as a counselor. I used to go there because it was a fun place to go talk with other classmates… I remember drinking coffee and discussing weighty subjects late at night. One time I went there because I couldn’t go home. I had gone to the Ike and Tina Turner concert at the San Jose Convention Center and took a Large Dose of LSD. I had to wait until my parents went to sleep before going home. It was a great concert and I remember that MANY of the students at LGHS went. I also remember listening to the FM radio there. Talks by Alan Watts about Buddhism… and the story “The Cave” by Plato. There were some totally free radio stations then. They had the freedom of selecting what to play and when to play it. I heard “Space Hymn” by Lothar and the Hand People at Fre-Ba-ZAK House.

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I remember going to a wonderful natural hot spring in Pfeiffer Big Sur State park. We hiked 12 miles into the Ventana Wilderness along the Big Sur River to get to “Sykes” Camp. The Park Rangers kept the Hot Spring maintained so that about 6 people could bathe at the same time. I went with my high school friend Joe Franck, his older sister Peggy and their cousin Katie. At our campsite a raccoon started to eat our food and Peggy went to shoo the raccoon away… The raccoon turned and hissed at her and bared it’s claws… She screamed really loud and in the end, we fasted for a couple of days… Wild animals win any fight… I also remember reading a Carlos Castaneda Book and tying a rope around my waist to act as a belt because I lost weight while fasting.

Another time in Big Sur I saw a cat that was about the size of a toy collie… I guess it was a Bobcat, not a mountain lion… There were also wild pigs that ran around at night… In my imagination, they were as big as “Wonder Warthog!”.  On the Big Sur River close to the Pfeiffer Campground was a swimming hole with a waterfall at the upstream end. Very popular and private… perfect for skinny dipping. I sure hope that the hot springs are still being kept in good repair. It was Well worth the 12 mile hike in… I also went to the campground on the day that President Nixon resigned. I took LSD and had to go lie down in the woods when the hallucinations peaked so I missed the actual resignation. (oops, got stoned and I missed it.) There was great celebration at the campground that night.

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My family took a vacation every summer. Often we drove in the car and camped out. I remember great trout fishing in Manning Park, Canada. Another time we were in the tent in Canadian Glacier Park when a bear came into our campsite and broke open our Coleman Ice Chest. He just picked it up and threw it down on the ground until the latch failed. He ate the bacon and the butter but ignored the whipped honey. The Park Rangers had warned us in advance to lock all food in the trunk of the car… However we felt that leaving an Aluminum Ice Chest on the picnic table wouldn’t be a problem… OOPS! We also went to Banff Lake Louise and visited the giant Canadian Railroad Hotel there. Really Elegant. Actually, my first memory of my entire life was the sound of a steam whistle on a Ferryboat going from Seattle to Victoria. Really loud and scary. We visited Butchart Gardens and Had TEA at the Hotel. Every Business had a Picture of the Queen on their walls. The queen of ENGLAND!

One summer we flew to Hawaii. On Kawaii, dad rented me a surfboard from a guy on the beach. I rode the surfboard down a big wave. I did not stand up because there was a lot of coral underwater and I was too scared. However, it was really fun to slide down a big wave on my belly.  On the island of Hawaii we went to a black sand beach in the Kona area. My brother and I swam out to a big underwater cliff and explored it with mask/snorkle. I saw a Moray Eel hiding in the cliff. There were Thousands of Tropical Fish. I could swim down as far as I wanted… and that was a long way… I experienced Bliss.

Years later Martin and I went snorkeling off Key Largo, Florida. We saw Hammerhead Sharks and Barracuda. We bought tickets on a boat and the Captain took us to a great place to Scuba Dive. He said that we were not to worry about the sharks because that seldom bothered divers… At the end of the day we watched the sunset into the ocean and I saw the Green Flash.

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My Parents had a SNCC fundraiser at our house during the 1960s. Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

A Black Man gave a speech about The Civil Rights Movement and we sold admission tickets. Many people attended and the house was packed. In general, my parents were opposed to racism. Los Gatos had VERY few Black people but Many Mexican Americans and Orientals.

I remember watching the Television News. Black and White films of The MOON Landing and The  Police Riots at the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968. “The Whole World is Watching” chanted the Anti-War Protesters… Television was a new invention and bringing news films into the living rooms of America helped end the Vietnam War.

I also enjoyed Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In and That Was The Week That Was (a parody of the news).

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My favorite beach in Santa Cruz was Manresa. It was about ten miles south of town and It always seemed to be sunnier and warmer. It’s a very long beach and you can walk far away from other families. No need to listen to their loud children… I also liked the Boardwalk. In the late 1960’s there was a Funhouse with wooden slides and a giant record player that threw the kids off due to centrifugal force. I also loved the Merry Go Round and the automatic music box. (Calliope)

My dad reached his limit when we rode the Wild Mouse. He swore that he would never go on another ride ever… and he never did. The Giant Dipper was a classic wooden roller coaster and vastly superior to the more modern ones that are made of steel (Like Great America). When we went to the beaches North of Santa Cruz we walked thru a Brussels sprout farm. We always ate the fresh sprouts but it was important to remember to wash off the poison in the ocean first. To this day I like Brussels sprouts and artichokes due to growing up near the farms. We grew Apricots at home (4 trees) and cut cots at a neighbors smokehouse. They let us use the sulfur smoker if we worked on their farm cutting cots. There were a lot of prune orchards in our neighborhood. The most famous was on Daves Ave and had the Billy Jones Railroad. We rode the train for a penny… just throw it into a jar… Later they moved the train to Vasona Park.

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I participated in “The Moratorium” anti-Vietnam War protest march in San Francisco. We had protest marches that day in every city in the USA. At my high school we chartered a bus and many students rode from Los Gatos, California to San Francisco. The march ended at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park.There was a vast sea of people and The Beatles song “Come Together” was playing on the public address system when I walked over the hill leading to the field. I felt a feeling of “Oneness” with the crowd. It’s emotionally valid to be in favor of good and opposed to evil. The Vietnam War was pure evil. We cut school to participate in this protest march but the principal of our High School did not assign any punishment for our missing class. He told us to figure out for ourselves the meaning of not getting assigned detention. (he was proud of us for risking punishment in support of

our beliefs.)

I participated in a Candlelight March down Main Street in Los Gatos with my parents. I also collected signatures on an Anti-War petition from passers-by in front of the Post Office in Los Gatos. One man who was in favor of the war gave my father a book for me. “You can Trust the Communists” was the title and it’s contents explained the justification for the war.

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Ecology became popular when I was growing up. I participated in the “Youth Walk for Survival” at UC Berkeley. It was a fundraising benefit for Ecology groups. We asked people to sponsor us for a few cents per mile walked. We started at the Football field on campus, walked around Lake Merritt in Oakland and then back to the football field. Then there was a concert and Malvina Reynolds sang “Boxes, little Boxes”.  I also worked for the Sierra Club in the Action Clean Up project at the Little Kern River… We camped out for two months and picked up garbage, burnt it in a campfire and packed out the remaining waste to a big dumpster at the trailhead. I got a fine Peace of Mind living in the woods with some other kids for a couple of months. One night I was walking in the moonlight near the trailhead and a bear that was sleeping on the hood of a car jumped up and ran away… I’m sure glad that he ran away…

That summer I also worked for the Saratoga Drama Group painting sets and as a stagehand. We Performed “My Fair Lady”. Our family went to many stage musicals including some that were performed at an outdoor theater in the Oakland Hills. My brother Martin recommended that we go see the musical “Hair” that he had enjoyed on Broadway in New York City. Yes, it was epic.

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I went to visit Martin when he was at NYU. He lived in rural New Jersey in a student apartment building on a lake in the forest. He put me on the PATH train so I could visit Manhattan. I wandered around New York City on my own and admired the tall buildings.

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I’m glad that I never played football in High School. Many of my friends and co-workers have developed severe spinal pain due to old football injuries. I was on the team for one week in 7th grade but quit because David Morera and Brett Mannon hurt me every day. Not Fun.

I was a swimmer. We had an AAU team at The Swim and Racquet Club on Oka Road and then there was a the team at LGHS. I won sixth place in breaststroke at the “Far Westerns” held at Foothill Junior College. Anyone from West of the Mississippi could enter. My swimming career peaked at 12 years old and went down from there… sigh… The pool at the Swim and Racquet club was 100 feet long and that was slightly longer than the standard 25 yard pool. That gave us a slight advantage over other swimmers because we had the endurance to complete a long lap. Of course, swimmers that trained in an Olympic size pool, 50 Meters, REALLY had the advantage. I remember racing a 200 meter individual medley at Foothill and completing a lap of Butterfly was grueling…

We competed with other swim clubs and I remember that Almaden had a pool on a hill overlooking Santa Clara Valley. Years later I got to swim at the Santa Clara International Swim Center during long lunches when I worked at System Industries. Our Boss, Edwin Zschau, was studying the Japanese style of factory management and all of us were encouraged to exercise at lunch. On family day Mom and Dad got a personal factory tour lead by Ed. He later became a Congressman in the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. One secret to the success of our computer factory was Large Quantities of Immigrants. He recruited the best and the brightest from around the world. Mostly Orientals.

I also played basketball but was bad at it. Always sitting on the bench while the skilled players took the court. My Coach was Isidro Maytorena. My Idol in 8th grade.

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I went to Isla Vista, CA to visit my brother at UC Santa Barbara. I remember that there was tar on the beach and when we came back to the apartment there was a can of gasoline to be used to clean the bottom of our feet so we wouldn’t track the oil into the home and ruin the rug. There has been oil on those beaches since the dawn of time… Also, companies were drilling for oil offshore and it was leaking onto the beach. California outlawed offshore oil drilling to fix this problem. Now, in 2018 our President Trump wants to start drilling again off ALL the coasts of the USA… That would increase the chances of an ecological disaster like BP had in the Gulf of Mexico. Trump’s Policy often benefits the super rich at the expense of the American people… and at the expense of Animals and Fish.

We also went to a nightclub that had a color organ attached to the record player. The lights would flash in time to the music. Bass notes would trigger red lights, mid-range was green and high frequency sound was blue. By combining Red, Green and Blue equally you can create white light.

This machine blew my mind. Visual Music… Synesthesia…  Seeing Sound…

During the years my brother was at UC Santa Barbara, the students burned down the Bank of America to protest the Vietnam War. My brother says he was not involved with this arson as being outdoors on the streets was way too dangerous. Too much possibility of having your head bashed in by a cop.

One time when we were hiking in the mountains behind Santa Barbara I saw a Condor. They are amazingly large birds… It impressed me.

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On family day, my brother took us to visit Lawrence Livermore Lab. I remember the Shiva Project.  It was a Fusion Nuclear Power Plant Prototype. You may have seen it as the movie “TRON” had a few scenes filmed there. It was a fundamentally valid idea but it never created more power than it took to run the machine. They took a drop of “Heavy” Water and focused many giant laser beams on it from all directions. The idea was that the heat would cause the hydrogen to FUSE into helium. Just like it does in the SUN. When they turned on the power the lights of the city of Livermore would dim. Martin worked in Biology at the Lab.

One time Martin took me to a Biology Trade Show in Washington DC at a big Hotel. A BioTech Company from England had invented a single celled animal that TASTED LIKE CHICKEN. We ate some… It was illegal for a BioTech Company to design and grow food in the USA but the laws allowed it in England. Quite like Zymoveal out of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Books. I still believe that it’s a good idea. I think it ate oil… Could solve World Hunger.

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I really enjoyed riding a skateboard at Daves Ave Elementary School. They had concrete hallways that formed a circle and we kids would race. I was also really interested in baseball and marbles. The school was within walking distance of home so I always walked to school. President Kennedy was assassinated when I was in third grade… I didn’t really know who he was or why the teachers were upset.

All my friends really enjoyed riding bicycles around town. Los Gatos is small enough that we could go anywhere on a bike. Barry Hill and I raced down the hill from the Novitiate and I had a bicycle accident. I ran off the road at a sharp curve, plowed into a short stone wall, flipped over my handlebars and landed on my back in a bush. No real injury except for cuts and scrapes. Had to replace the front wheel but we were able to bend the forks back into shape. One time a bunch of us decided to ride all the way to Big Sur but I got tired and quit before I got to Summit Road. Going uphill all that way didn’t seem like a real fun trip after all. Years later I lived in Chico, CA and enjoyed bicycling everywhere for years… Especially in Bidwell Park.

One time I rode my bike all the way to the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose. I always loved that museum with it’s Egyptian Pyramid displays. We could go down in a tunnel into King Tut’s Tomb… Across the street was a magical bookstore that also sold paintings by Joe Parker, a surrealist/psychedelic painter. He did mandala sunsets in magical landscapes. His paintings were also sold in a record store on North Santa Cruz ave.

My whole family rode bicycles on Highway 280 before it was opened for cars. Thousands of people rode in a one day celebration. We started near the Winchester Mystery House and rode towards downtown San Jose. I’ve always loved 280 as it was a fast and beautiful way to go visit San Francisco. We had friends that lived in “The City” and would go visit them often. One took me to the Fillmore West in 1969 to go see a band called The Youngbloods. The big song of the night was “Get Together” a classic Hippie Anthem. There were light-shows on the walls of the concert hall. Squishy Water (like the album cover of Iron Butterfly’s In a Gadda da Vida Album) and many movie loops. There were blacklights and people were painting each other’s bodies with fluorescent paint. Big Fun.

We also went to The Exploratorium. That museum allowed the visitors to play with the exhibits. My favorite was the custom built musical jam session where a half a dozen people plated synthesizers that were designed to never play a wrong note… with strangely shaped keyboards… that way visitors that had no musical training could experience the joy of playing without the pain of making noise that was not pleasant. They also had a virtual reality experience where I was flying thru a tunnel and my spaceship traveled in the direction that I looked. It was a game where the goal was to crash into floating cubes that moved randomly. The cubes had people’s faces on them and one was Jerry Garcia. This was long before VR games became available to the general public.

We visited the Winchester Mystery House when I was a child. I was not impressed as I was expecting something more like Disneyland. In retrospect, I am admire the giant house and appreciate the story of Sarah Winchester being haunted by the ghosts of all the men that died from gunshot wounds caused by her husbands rifle. She employed carpenters to work around the clock so that their sounds would keep the ghosts away. And if she did have any nightmares she had strong men to protect her.

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As a child I loved the Books by Jules Verne and H G Wells. Later my favorite author was Asimov. I’m surprized that Hollywood has never made a movie out of the Foundation Trilogy. It would be as epic as Lord of the Rings… An invention foretold in Foundation was the Encyclopedia Galactica. It now exists as Wikipedia… I still believe there is a possibility of predicting the future using computer modeling… (PsychoHisory)… Be sure to see the movie “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Rick Wakeman and an Orchestra… They have a narrator reading the Jules Verne story and then the band plays a song about that chapter. Quite Remarkable. Yes, Rick plays two Moog synthesizers at the same time. Got two hands? Play two Moogs.

Everyone read “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut. We practiced the transference of Our Souls thru the Soles of our feet… lying down on the High School Lawn in the Sunshine… Yes, we were goofy.

MAD Magazine was my favorite. They did satire including a silly poem called Jabberwacky… (On Dreaming, After Falling Asleep Watching TV) based on Lewis Carrol’s Book Alice in Wonderland and Thru the Looking Glass. “Twas Brillo and the GE Stoves did Proctor Gamble in the Glade. All Pillsbury were the Tastee Loaves and in a Minute Maid. Beware the Station Break My son…” etc. etc. etc.

I found some engineering plans in Mad Magazine that allowed us to turn off the sound of the TV during commercials. I took apart my parent’s TV and installed a switch on the end of a long wire. We had a “Mute” button long before remote controls were invented. Amazingly, I did not get electrocuted nor did I wreck my parent’s TV.

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I remember hiking in the Santa Cruz mountains behind The Novitiate. I often went with my dog, Prince, a toy collie on that trail that went all the way to Lexington Reservoir. I caught a terrible case of poison oak by petting the dog. However, one time made me immune forever. I collected sprouted buckeyes and planted them in the backyard of our home on Bruce Ave and one of them grew up to be a giant tree. For years we collected the buckeye seeds and burned them in our fireplace. They POP at random times and that’s fun when watching a fire. I also walked trails up and down Los Gatos creek from Campbell percolation ponds to Vasona to Lexington. It was fun to swim at Vasona. We would dive in from the dam and swim until the Park Ranger approached in his boat. It was illegal to swim there and so we had to keep an eye out for the law. Another good swimming hole was the Almaden Reservoir. That one was supposed to be so polluted with Mercury that it was dangerous to swim there… However, Both of my parents and I swam there with no ill effects… Go Figure…

My dad lived in Los Gatos as a Jr. High School and High School Student and Mom was from Willow Glen [near San Jose]. Dad moved to Los Gatos to cure his Tuberculosis at the Top of the Hill Sanitarium off Kennedy Road. When I went to my Dad’s Funeral at the Unitarian Church on Blossom Hill Road I could see the “Top of the Hill” from the deck out behind the church… I felt comforted in being able to see the beginning and the end of his Los Gatos residency. Dad and I became friends during his last few years of life. He came to visit me in Eureka and was happy that I was married, had a good job and had quit drinking and smoking dope.

In 1976 I went with my wife to Wine Tasting at the Novitiate. They were a major supplier of wine used in Communion Services. I remember that they had a cave used for aging the red wines that had a crack in the ceiling caused by the 1906 earthquake. They used giant redwood barrels that absorbed the wine and the outside of the barrels was wet. The air in that cave could make you drunk from breathing the alcohol. Los Gatos is famous for Almaden Wine and Saratoga has Paul Masson. One of my in-laws worked at Paul Masson and another worked at Sebastiani. When we went wine tasting at Sebastiani they brought out the “good stuff”, wines that were for family, not sold to the general public. Yes, it really was good quality. Especially the brandy.

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We had really High Quality Public Schools in Los Gatos. In Elementary School at Daves Ave we were taught the “New Math”. I don’t actually remember how that was different than the “Old Math” but at least they were trying to help us learn. They were trying to create rocket scientists to work at NASA… After all, The Russians were ahead of us in the “Space Race”. We also studied the Spanish Language all through school. I didn’t really get good at it until I was an Adult working at Radio Shack on Branham Lane. It’s a commissioned salesman job and many of my customers spoke Spanish as their primary language. Yes, I got good when my Paycheck depended on it. Hector Sianez was the store manager and people from all over the Bay Area would drive to our store because we had the advantage of being Bi-Lingual.

We were taught Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math at LGHS. A college prep curriculum… After I graduated from LGHS I went to Chico State for two years and the West Valley JC (an outstanding school to learn Electronics Drafting). One class at West Valley was scale model building. I took blueprints of a cabin my Dad was having built at North Shore Lake Tahoe and built an accurate scale model. I still have that model because Dad liked it and made sure it never got accidentally damaged.

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I have actually fired a gun. Really! At Camp Campbell [YMCA Summer Camp] in the Santa Cruz Mountains we learned how to shoot targets with a .22 rifle. I enjoyed it. Quite similar to playing Darts or Archery. Another time I fired a large pistol at cans. ONCE. My dad’s lawyer owned the pistol. It had a “Helluva Kick” and was really loud and scary. I’ve never actually owned a gun or had one in the house… Thankfully… as on occasion I have had arguments and none became fatal…

Camp Campbell also had a zip line. I got into a swing seat, jumped off the cliff and whoooooosh went down to the ground. At that time we were responsible for our own actions and staying safe. I suppose I could have fallen out of the zip line seat but I made sure I held on tight. BIG FUN.

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After high school I went to Chico, California to attend college. My major was biology and I found out that I had no interest in studying that subject or ANY subject AT ALL… I spent a lot of time smoking marijuana, drinking and playing music with my friends. After two years I flunked out. However, I did get to experience swimming in Upper Bidwell Park where the Black Lava Flows from Mount Lassen are. I swam thru a Lava Tube at “Bear Hole”… That tube has been closed by the Park Rangers after a student drowning…  I really enjoyed swimming at One Mile Pool, Day or Night. Not many Parks are open all night long but Bidwell is so long and thin that a fence is impractical. Plus, a fence is, like, totally opposite to the culture of the Chico-Freako! It was super fun to go swimming nude with my girlfriend… Last Year I read her Obituary on the internet… So Sad…

I remember Tubing on Butte Creek. During the Spring it was a wild ride due to melting snow coming down from Mt Lassen. During my second time living in Chico my wife and I swam at Oki Dam.

I remember riding my bicycle everywhere because Chico is a totally flat town and parking is difficult to find near campus. In general, automobiles were expensive and unnecessary too. However, some students DID own them and they were handy for visiting San Francisco (Like the time we went to hear Led Zeppelin at Kezar Stadium).

I got to go on a Magic Bus Ride with a many other students to go hear The Grateful Dead at UN Reno. My friend Jimmy played his guitar and I played the Harmonica while everyone else sang along… Then we stayed at a cabin on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe and the next day I ate some LSD and went to hear the legendary “Wall of Sound” at the University of Nevada football field. The Dead had a lot of trouble making that absurdly large public address system work but… we all had fun anyway… Especially playing slot machines after the show and driving down that street where they have giant sculptures of Showgirls.

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In the springtime Chico State has a week long celebration called “Pioneer Days”. My friends and I decided that the last place we wanted to be was in town when it was invaded by drunken strangers. We went camping at Yosemite, took LSD and climbed the trail to the top of Yosemite Falls. The higher we got in elevation the Higher We Got… By the time we arrived on top of the mountain it appeared to be moving wildly… as if the granite was dancing. I lay down on my belly and crawled to the edge… That’s a great view but really dangerous because it’s a tall cliff with no guard rail. We walked down to the valley floor and rode the double-decker bus around… sitting on the top, with no roof… bliss… we also walked to the base of Vernal Falls on the mist trail. I looked at my arm and it looked like a bear, with claws… I went fishing in the river and slapped a fish out onto the shore… just like a bear would. That evening we were playing guitars and my harmonica around the campfire when a ranger ran out of the darkness and tackled me… We were passing around a joint and I was holding it. He gave me a ticket for “Disturbing the Peace” and told us that we had to leave the park the next day or he’d change the charge to possession… In my humble opinion, The Ranger was the one “disturbing the peace” by tackling me…

The next Year we took a camping trip to Hetch-Hetchy reservoir. Another beautiful granite mountain near Yosemite. We took LSD and went free-climbing up a chimney and then hiked around above the tree line. I went down to the edge of the river to admire the bubbling water and accidentally slipped in. Could have died as there was a large waterfall downstream. The water out powered me and took me to the bottom of the pool. I gave up, accepted death and bubbled up to a place on the far shore where I climbed out. A cosmic near death experience… Hey Kids, Don’t Do This!

I lived in Chico in 1973 and 1974 and then for a few years in the late 1990s early 2000s. I Joined AA and quit drinking Alcohol. Chico has a big active AA community. Since Chico is Famous as a “Party Town” it makes perfect sense that it’s also Famous for being an AA Town too. Going to meetings at Campfire Council Ring behind Caper Acres, Bidwell Park is an experience I will always treasure.  I spent one summer “Rent Free” camping outdoors at Picnic Area 37 in the grove of 13 Redwood Trees.

I wrote this song for my friend Manual. He fasted in order to meet God and became an asshole…

My Invisible Friend (lyrics)


I’ve got an invisible friend

and I call him Hay-seuss.

not Dr. Seuss or mother goose

but JESUS.

If you don’t believe

in Hay-seuss or mother goose

you’ll got to HELL (or Pittsburg)

and burn for eternity.

Oh, me and Jim Jones

we believe in Hay-seuss

and cyanide suicide

will get you quicker to his side.

I didn’t eat for three days

and I heard voices

God talked to me

like I was on LSD

and said you’re SATAN (or Peter Pan)

I remember playing “Witchy Woman” in Chico on Main street with a college girl… Busking for spare change… When she sang I expected to see her head spin around like the exorcist… She was an enthusiastic singer and we collected a LOT more money when she was performing than when I sang solo.

I also played “Witchy Woman” with Mike Gardener (Lou’s Son) after the AA meeting at Campfire Council Ring in Bidwell Park. Then we played “Keep your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” to bring the listener back into the LIGHT… Send them into madness then bring them back with an Old Negro Spiritual..

I had a meaningful AA meeting with Lou Gardener. He was the Chairperson and we were discussing making amends. The 12 steps says you should make amends to PEOPLE where needed but it DOES NOT say anything about making amends TO CORPORATIONS. How would you even do that? Should you do that at all? Do we have Freedom to Screw Over Corporations at Will? Who did I really harm? The Stockholders? It was an interesting conversation… His advice was that IF it was bothering me and making me feel guilty THEN I should make amends to someone… Maybe an employee in Management… but if it did not bother my conscience, just let it fade into the past. The point of making amends is to help you stay sober and events that don’t bother my conscience are not really significant. He also recommended I stop bragging about my life of crime…

Other songs that were fun to play in public were… “People Are Strange” by the Doors, “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles and “Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show…

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

And Then… After flunking out of Chico State I moved back into my parent’s house. Mom got me a Job at the San Jose Art, Paint and Wallpaper store in Valley Fair shopping center working as a stockboy and then as a clerk. Three Years… I met JoAnn at the KarmelKorn Shop next door where she worked.

One summer, JoAnn and I rode bicycles from New York City to Washington DC. It took 2 months and we camped at private campgrounds in rural New Jersey and Maryland. First, we had listened to the stories of a co worker about their fabulous bicycle trip all winter long and that inspired us to do a similar voyage. JoAnn sewed a tent and a sleeping bag for two on her sewing machine. We outfitted two ten speed bicycles with saddlebags, disassembled then and put them in cardboard boxes. Rode a Greyhound Bus for three days from Santa Clara to NYC. A friend of my brother’s picked us up and we stayed in his home and rested from the bus ride. After three days on a bus JoAnn’s feet were so swollen that she couldn’t put her shoes on. I assembled the bicycles (wrong) and we started out. The rear wheel on JoAnns bike rubbed against the brake pad… After an hour she convinced me that something was wrong and I fixed her bike. We rode from 20 to 50 miles a day and often stayed a few days at particularly excellent campgrounds. The owners of farms in rural New Jersey often had campgrounds with swimming pools on their farms in order to pick up some cash. They would make reservations with friends of theirs down the road and we enjoyed a guided tour… I remember that the road towards the Delaware River was downhill for 60 miles… Quite fun to zoom, zoom, zoom at a rapid speed… And then thee other side of the river was UPHILL for 60 miles… Grueling torture. We stayed a week near Washington DC and rode the bus downtown to visit the Smithsonian. Somehow we had enough money to survive without working for two months… I don’t remember how…

She recommended that I go to West Valley Junior College and study Electronic Drafting. After ONE year of school I was able to get a job in Silicon Valley. We got married on July 4th, 1976 in the Mission Santa Clara. JoAnn was a student at Santa Clara University and all students were allowed to get married in the Mission on Campus. We lived in Santa Clara and JoAnn worked graveyard shift at National Semiconductor and I worked days at System Industries.

When I was working at System Industries in Santa Clara, California (1976) the owner of the company (Dr. Edwin Zschau) went to Japan to learn how to run a business. The Japanese were doing very well in comparison to USA companies and there was a lot of interest in learning why. So we adopted many oriental concepts and implemented them in our business. One thing was that we had a company song. We had a birthday meeting every month and we would all sing the company song.


“System, System Industries, Here we go, Hand in hand.

Solving Data Mysteries for the betterment of man.”

Another thing we did was take a two hour lunch so we could exercise. I swam at the Santa Clara International Swim center with my wife. She was working the Graveyard shift at National Semi-conductor so we met twice a day. Lunch and evenings.

We had many people from foreign countries working there. When Dr. Zschau went to Japan he hired many Japanese people. Immigrants made our company better. That was a universal fact of life about Silicon Valley… The brightest engineers worldwide came here for work. I had a neighbor from Nicaragua who came to work at IBM. And another Engineer I knew came from Germany at the end of WW2 to work at Lockheed. Very Common.

Another time in Santa Clara we partticipated in a “Car Rally”. Everyone would meet at a starting location then we were given a series of clues as to where to go next. One clue was “Go to a street named for a part time orchestra leader.” We were supposed to figure out the puzzle and navagate to checkpoints. The answer to that clue was “Semi-conductor Blvd”… semi meaning part time and conductor is the leader of an orchestra. This was all part of the California Car Culture.

JoAnn graduated with a degree in Spanish and got a job as a Russian Transcriber at the NSA, Fort Meade, Maryland.  We moved to Columbia Md and I went to Howard Community College and studied Computer Programming. Columbia is a planned community halfway between Baltimore and Washington. In my humble opinion a Planned Community is vastly superior to an UN-Planned community like San Jose. Everything required for survival was within walking distance of our Apartment. VERY handy during snowstorms. After One year of college, we didn’t have enough money for me to continue school so I got a Job as an Electronics Draftsman.

During the year I went to Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland I studied FORTRAN and COBOL. I punched cards that were fed into a HP-3000 mini-computer. My final project for FORTRAN was to simulate playing a million games of Roulette to see if any betting system would be advantageous to a gambler. The answer is NO. For example: A betting system would be to place a bet on RED or Black: if you won-keep the money, if you lost-double your bet and play again. That way if you lost the first time but won the second time, you would still be one dollar ahead… The plan is to keep on collecting dollars… It would work unless you lost MANY times in a row. Eventually, the player either exceeds the table limit on how much a player can bet OR the player loses all his money and can’t keep on playing. In general, this only happens if a player loses 7 or 8 times in a row… and in my simulation, I played a million games… and a losing streak always happened.

Then I took a couple of short term temp jobs thru an agency. One was working for an architechs office measuring old townhouses in downtown Baltimore and then drawing floorplans. We went out in groups of three. One man held one end of the tape measure and the other held the other end. The third watched the truck to make sure it wasn’t stolen. The abandoned townhouses were being sold by the City of Baltimore for $1.00 but the new owner had to promise to put a lot of money into reconstruction. We were drawing the floorplans so the builders could estimate how much material to buy. Often these abandoned townhouses were very elegant… built at a time when people had marble fireplaces… but over the years they had fallen into ruin.

Another temp job was at Ward Machinery in Towson. They built machines that created corrugated cardboard for boxes. Every installation was a custom job and so my task was to draw wiring diagrams from polaroid photographs of the machines after they were installed. One day The Nuclear Power Plant at Three Mile Island had an accident. We were about 50 miles from TMI and one of the engineers in my office was a Nuclear Engineer. He said there was nothing to worry about because the system was designedd to be safe unless 10 things went wrong all at once… He said that we were at about #8 and he left the office to drive to safety. As it turned out there was not a gigantic Nuclear Disaster. However, peeople close to the power plant did report tasting a metalic flavor when they breathed… sure sign of Uranium in the air.

I was driving to work from Columbia to Towson in the winter and it was very scary to go on the Baltimore Beltway during rush hour in icy conditions. I’m sure glad to come back to California where it does not snow.

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JoAnn and I enjoyed going to my brother in laws farm in the Ozark mountains. When Ray Chapin came home from Vietnam  he bought some land in Missouri and camped out there for 5 years before he sent for his wife. He had PTSD and did not want to have anything to do with American Society so he just SURVIVED way out there in the woods until his PTSD subsided. During that time he built a house out of rocks. His whole family were Masons by trade so he knew how to build. They grew their own food and he hunted and every summer he would go to California for three months and work building brick walls. That made enough money for them to live all year round.

The rock house had an Abalone Shell as a decoration near the front door. Basically a jewel… The people that lived in the Ozarks had never seen an abalone shell before and it was an amazing treat for them to see such a beautiful rainbow hued shell. My brother in law liked to go scuba diving in Mendocino for Abalone with his brother Gary.

We went for Christmas. I have never been so cold. We had a turkey dinner that Ray raised. I held the turkey’s head and Ray hit the neck with a machete. Blood squirted everywhere. THAT is a task i prefer delegating to someone else. I grew up in a society where you bought turkey at the grocery store instead of killing it yourself. Some neighbors of the Chapins had a brief argument about this subject. They had raised a pig and the husband wanted to make BACON but the wife wanted a pet pig. She had fallen in love with the animal and severely resisted the idea of BACON! Eventually they killed the pig and she cried but got over it. They were California Hippies that moved to the Ozarks to go back to the land…

We also visited in the summer and went skinny dipping in the creek. Ray grew “MULE” marijuana and we got high and I rode in the back of the truck looking at the big puffy clouds. He said those clouds looked Biblical and he always expected GOD to appear at any moment… The called the marijuana “MULE” because it “Kicked you in the head”… Those were some really fun times.

We went to Eureka Springs Arkansas to see the Passion Play at the Christ of the Ozarks. Sadly, we arrived on the one day a week when there was no show… They had a giant sculpture of Christ that looks like the one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They built a stage set right into the side of a mountain with a cave and a rock that moved so that Christ could come back from the dead.

My first long term  job in Washington DC was at Analytics Communications Systems, a very small custom electronics design firm in McLean, Virginia. Here is a song written about my time there…


we are living in the city of the future

all of us have hi-tech jobs…

we don’t give a dam about unemployment

that only happens to low tech slobs

be a nurd!

be a nurd!

I’m a high-tech wizard


They used to laugh @ me

when I was in high school

the social in set was so very proud

but now when those people

are searching thru the want ads

they say “I want to be one of the

computer crowd

be a nurd

be a nurd

be a high-tech wizard


We built electronics devices for the Air Force and Banks. Our company was lead by Major Paul Jones, USAF retired. He bid on Pentagon contracts and we built them. There were 20 people total that worked there. We had no time clock and just did what was needed to get the job done. I worked as a draftsman/designer taping printed circuit card artwork and drawing sheet metal mechanical drawings for enclosures. When it came time to actually ship the products I also soldered together wiring on power supplies… Actually, everyone did whatever needed to be done when we were facing a deadline… and aftr it was done we had a party! I stayed there for six years. It require a confidential clearance from the Department of Defense. I became friends with another employee named Ken and we played music together at his townhouse in Manassas, Virginia. My wife JoAnn and I were living in a condo in Oxon Hill, Maryland. At first we lived in Columbia, Maryland in an apartment but then she had the “brilliant” idea that we should buy a “starter home”. She went shopping and selected the condo. It turned out to be an idiotic decision. 12 years later I could not sell the condo and simply gave it back to the mortgage company. Her plan was to buy real estate, live in it, sell it for a profit and get a single family home. OOPS! Then she decided to rent out the condo and buy a “Cape Cod” style home near Tysons Corners, Virginia. We rented out the condo to a woman on government subsidized housing and she stayed there until she had another child and she had to move to a larger place. At this time JoAnn and I got divorced, we sold the house for a profit, split the money and I moved back into the condo… and she moved to Korea to take a government job at a military base. She worked at the NSA for two years. One year as a student learning how to transcribe phone calls in the Russian Language and one year actually transcribing them. Transcribing was astonishingly annoying, boring and depressing. Most of the calls were civilians complaining about living conditions in Russia. Then she took classes at night at the Computer Learning Center and was able to get a better job as a computer operator with a Top Secret Clearance. The clearance itself was worth about $20,000 and so she was very employable…

At Analytics we played Hearts every day at lunch. It’s a card game sort of like bridge. Major Jones taught me to never sort my cards by suit in numerical order but to keep my cards in random order. If you sort your cards, the other players can guess what cards you have… For example: if you play the King of Hearts from the second position of your hand it is likely that the Ace is in the first position. I guess that he had a lot of time to play cards in the Air Force…

During my time at Analytics I ran my own business for one year as a consultant.  I was working for a Job-Shop and I got paid seven dollars an hour but the shop charged the company ten dollars an hour. I made an arrangement with the company to pay me the entire ten dollars and hour by billing them directly. I had to pay my own Social Security payments, file quarterly income tax withholding and collect the money from the company. One month the company simply told me that I had to wait for my payment. They were having cash flow problems and owed money to INTEL and Me. They selected to pay INTEL. After running my own consulting business for a year I re-hired the job shop as they were entirely worth the $3 an hour. They were happy to re-hire me and said: “Oh, we knew you would be back. Everyone thinks they can do better as a consultant… Until they try it.”

My boss at Analytics was a big basketball fan and went to games with his son. Sadly, his son died accidentally and Ed was stuck with an extra ticket to 10 games. So I went… Kinda creepy being the surrogate son but… it turned out to be fun.

We sat very close to the court right behind where the Cheerleaders danced. Very Sexy up close! When the giant men were fighting over possession of the ball they were VERY CLOSE. Loud, violent struggles. One set of Forwards was called “The Beef Brothers” and another was nicknamed “Thump and Bump”. I believe they played for the Philadelphia 76ers. – The Arch Rivals. Larry Bird also played at our games against Boston.

We sat right in front of the dressing room and when the players went by I could slap them on the back and shout GOOD JOB!

This all happened in The Capital Center – a 19,000 seat arena… It was very loud with all the cheering and a guy playing the big drum and running all over the place encouraging madness.

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I also went to the Capital Center for Rock Concerts: Michael Jackson played there and I bought TEN tickets, then sold nine for a slight profit to friends of mine… I made enough that I got to buy a Grateful Dead ticket with the profit. Sadly, the Michael Jackson concert started with Very Bright lights pointed at the audience and I was blind for the first few minutes of the show. That pissed me off. Going to a show that I couldn’t even see? WTF?

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I remember dancing to the Grateful Dead’s song “Sugar Magnolia” with my wife JoAnn at the Capital Center. That feeling was the best in the world. Being in Love while dancing to a Love Song.

I really liked going to rock concerts at RFK Stadium. I bought ten tickets to Paul McCartney and sold nine…  Paul announced that he would be giving away for free the unsellable seats behind the stage for the next show. I picked up a pair of free tickets and a friend of mine arranged for a blind date with a lady that worked at the CIA as a newspaper reader. We had a fine time at the concert and she invited me to a kegger she was hosting the next weekend in her backyard. Volleyball, beer and many female CIA office workers. Most of the men invited were either Pizza Drivers like me or Deadhead drug dealers. It was a classic party… CIA ROCKS!

At a Grateful Dead show at RFK we had a Thunder and Lightning storm with torrential rain. It turned the lawn of the football field into a Sea of Mud. People were running and sliding just like they did in the movie “Woodstock”. Some Unknown Person “Dosed” me with excellent quality LSD and I danced in the mud. After the show I did a POWERWALK like I was in a Carlos Castaneda book. I took ONE STEP and waited until I GROKKED that location, then I took another step and GROKKED that completely different location… so I walked extremely slowly all the way to my car in the parking lot… a spiral of deadheads surrounded me laughing and ridiculing me… “Watch OUT! That man is walking Extremely Fast and You better get out of his way or you’ll be RUN OVER!” Silly People… I met some Deaf Students from Gallaudet University and we partied until Dawn. They had “Liberated” an electric cart and were driving silly all over the parking lot until the Security Guards stopped them and “Suggested” that they pick up trash and cart it to the dumpster… No need to arrest the people for stealing a cart, just put them to work!

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Then I got a job offer at a higher rate of pay from Pulse Engineering of College Park. A salesman that visited  Analytics also did business with Pulse and he made the contact. I took the job and we did custom electronic design for the NSA (National Security Agency). This was in a building with no windows and I got a Secret Clearance to work there. We made many things but I had no idea what they were. I was only told enough information to do my job and no more. We had a Faraday Cage in the factory. A room with grounded metal mesh walls. That room prevented any radio waves from leaving the room. Our work had to pass TEMPEST testing. That was a DoD standard that required electronic equipment NOT broadcast radio waves. The basic idea was that the Russians could use a custom Radio Receiver to spy on equipment… and be able to read what was printed on a computer’s display. One product that we made was an encrypted telephone in a briefcase. That allowed people to go to a remote location and talk securely with the home base. This was during the 1980’s and President Reagan was spending a lot of money in a cold war with the Russians. Eventually, I got fired from that job for not showing up. I was smoking a lot of Hashish at that time and I had gone to a Grateful Dead concert in Philadelphia and failed to come home and go to work on time. The owners came over to my house, found out that I was safe and then fired me. Then I took a five month vacation. Driving around the East Coast of the USA.

WILSON BRIDGE (lyrics) about commuting to work at the USPS Engineering Dept in Virginia.

Wake up early in the morning, (CHORDS) D C

gotta go to work. G D

gotta drive across that Wilson Bridge, D C

my mind it just starts to hurt. G D

10,000 fools in 10,000 cars, D C

cross it every day. G D

as I sit behind my steering wheel, D C

I know there’s got to be a better way! G D


Because every day in every way, D A C G

life gets more annoying. D C D

every day in every way, D A C G

life gets more boring. D C D

I escaped from D.C.

and I burned my car.

Ride the light rail in San Jo se.

It’s better by far.

10,000 fools in 10,000 cars,

still drive every day.

writing lyrics on this magic train,

I know I’ve found the better way!


Every day in every way,

It’s not so annoying.

Flirting with ladies on the subway train,

Sets my heartbeat soaring!

The next job was in the Engineering department of the United States Postal Service. I was hired to lead a team of CAD draftsmen who were redrawing the pencil and paper drawings into a computer system. Our goal was to incorporate new changes to the design of a stamp vending machine. It took six people about a year to complete that task. We used the software system called CADAM. Later I found out that computer system was only used at the USPS and Lockheed. A more popular system called AUTOCAD was used everywhere else. When I wen looking for a job as a CADAM designer, no one was interested. I never worked as a draftsman again.

I played music at the USPS Christmas Party. Richard Verril played piano and I played Guitar. I had created a book with all the lyrics and chord changes of my favorite songs. I remember that we played “Light my Fire” by the Doors and Richard knew all the notes for the organ solo. I was really impressed. He had played in a band in High School and they played all the block parties in Philadelphia.

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One of my favorite synthesizer performances was when I took a battery powered analog synthesizer [SH-101] to the banks of the Potomac River in Alexandria, VA in the middle of the night and made “spaceship taking off” sounds…  I was right across the river from DARPA and my goal was to FREAK THEM OUT. DARPA is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and they are most famous for inventing The Internet. They also invented Agent Orange and that was pure EVIL but… you can’t win them all. I had battery powered speakers and I made a really loud noise… might have been audible at the Lincoln Memorial… The basic idea behind “Spaceship” sounds is to turn the resonance of a band pass filter all the way up. That causes a sine wave with the frequency determined by the center point of the filter. Analog synthesizers have a Modulator that changes that center point. The note selected on the keyboard also determines the pitch… You have probably heard this sound on the Beach Boys song “Good Vibrations” oooh ooohhh oooh oh oh… Or Emerson, Lake and Palmer [the ending to “Lucky Man”]. Steve Miller… “Fly Like an Eagle”…

Another performance was outside a Mickey Hart Concert at George Washington University. A few hours before the show a group of Deadheads formed a drum circle on the street. I brought a set of Chamber Chimes and made tinkley sounds in time to the beat. Usually a Chamber Chime player keeps the wooden bar horizontal but I held it vertical sometime to cause a more focused clank-clank… I did not have a ticket to the show so I walked over to the White House and Lafayette Park… amazing the tourists…

I took my acoustic guitar to Lafayette Park often. One song that got a good reaction from the crowd was “Deal” by the Grateful Dead. After I was finished singing a man complemented me on my song about a DEER. I also played outdoors at Wolf Trap and sang “Me an Bobby McGee” with all the La-di-ye-has sung correctly at the end of the song… At Merriweather Post Pavilion at the Grateful Dead Concerts. I had a 12 string and was sitting on top of my car strumming away when a passerby said that it was the most beautiful sound he had EVER HEARD… about 15 minutes earlier he had heard Jerry Garcia… I was honored. He was probably tripping on acid…

~~~~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~~~~

Eventually I got fired from the Job at the Postal Service for showing up late to work. The office was in Virginia and I lived in Maryland so I had to cross the Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac. Traffic Jams were unpredictable and so I got fired. Then I took an eight month vacation. I spent that time playing original music in my home recording studio. Synthesizers, guitars and drum machine.

~~~~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~~~~

Other Grateful Dead Related Events:

When I was living in Washington DC I got an Invitation to a concert that was to be held deep in the woods near Quantico Marine Corps Base. Some people carried in a generator and about a quarter mile off the road they had a rock concert. The only people that attended were fellow Deadheads that were given invitations at the Grateful Dead concert at the Capitol Center. Quite fun.

A more formal event was held at Wilmer’s Park in Brandywine, Maryland. You needed a ticket for that one. Mr Wilmer has been holding barn dances and rock concerts since the 1950’s at his farm… Generally it was fiddle square dancing on weeknights and in the summer, local bands… Generations of people enjoyed this recreational facility.  The band I saw was called “New Potato Caboose”.  They played tribute songs and Bob Marley… In researching this webpage post, I wanted to spell Wilmer’s Park correctly and so I googled it… Mr Wilmer has passed away and It is under new management and they plan to build a big place there to play… marketing bands that are not popular enough for Basketball Arenas but too big for bars. They also say that in recent years, almost all of the groups were for a black audience… Go figure, once again Deadheads and Blacks partying in the same location… Just like The Spectrum and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.

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The Rainbow Gathering in Pennsylvania in the 1980’s.

This event really started at the Spectrum Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at a three day Grateful Dead concert. It eventually turned out to be a five month vacation traveling from Florida to Canada looking for the best beach…

I drove up from Washington DC and camped out in the parking lot in my car. During the daytime, we were able to swim at a public pool across the street from the Spectrum. The local residents had the lifeguards pull a rope across the pool so we swam on one side of the pool and they enjoyed the other… sort of like segregation except the black people were the ones that wanted us over on the other side of the rope…

One afternoon I ran into a fellow from Manassas, Virginia that called himself “Lumpy the Biker”. He asked if he could rest by sitting in the front seat of my car. He had injured his leg in a motorcycle accident and had trouble standing. So we were relaxing in the car and he told me that he didn’t really LIKE the Grateful Dead and did not have a ticket. He was just here to have fun at the parking lot party and to score some acid for resale back home in Virginia. By this time I had already eaten a dose…

I decided to wander over to look at the railroad tracks and admire the trains. They were underneath of some freeways and reminded me of an Escher Drawing.

When I got back I found out that “Lumpy” had been dealing out of my car. He was selling bottles of Visine LSD: Each drops of water had one dose in it. Somehow, someone had started the rumor that since he was dealing out of my car, that I must be his supplier… Therefore, later that night at the concert, many people came up to me and thanked me for the excellent quality of the acid. Then they asked if I wanted any and I stuck out my hand, they squeezed a couple of drops and I licked my hand… many times…

this was a classic case of an unknown large dose…

I ended up dancing in the concourse area where the refreshments were sold. There were many flashing lights on the advertising billboards for the Atlantic City Casinos. Many other Deadheads encircled me to tell me stupid jokes because they were guaranteed that I would laugh… A friend wrote in the dirt on the back window of my car “Mush Brain”… I got his address and visited him in New jersey later that summer. He was a teenager that had built a shack way out in the woods for a party house. I have quite a bit of admiration for creative construction like that! At some time during those three days, someone gave me a card with an invitation to the Rainbow Gathering to be held at an undisclosed location somewhere in Pennsylvania July 4th. I put the card on the dashboard of my car and forgot about it…

As luck would have it, I got fired from my job that week for lack of attendance. I just did not show up for work and a couple of days later my boss knocked on my door and told me to not come in… He was not amused… So, there I was, time on my hands and money in the bank… I had been working steady for about six years and had been throwing my loose change in a dresser drawer for the whole time. So, I pulled the drawer out and put it in the trunk of my car and headed towards Florida. As I headed down the road, I picked up some hitchhikers and they informed me of the location of the Rainbow Gathering. I had no Idea what it was but from their description, it sounded like fun. I dropped them off and went to Epcot Center and Disney World.

I ended up staying there for five days. I found a campground and every day woke up early, went to EPCOT for a few hours, went back to the campground when it got hot and took a nap, then went back to EPCOT near sunset. The place is totally different at night. The most impressive spot is at a lake near the big sphere. They project LASER light that looks like the planet Earth… Outlines of the continents… and then animate the globe to give the impression that it is revolving… at the same time, they have fountains dancing in colored lights, fireworks and loud classical music. Specifically, the Russians: Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky… Quite the sensory overload. Everyone had told me that the best ride was Space Mountain but it’s only good the first time when it has the element of surprise… So, for the first day at EPCOT, I took LSD and pretended that I was a secret agent with a goal of climbing space mountain… handy to remember that while tripping in public it’s a good idea to maintain one’s composure or the Munchkins would throw you out of the park! Space Mountain was excellent but standing in line for a half an hour was difficult while the faces of the people were distorting… Yes, it was an astounding ride.

Ialso rode the Monorail over to the hotel and went to the top roof and admired the fine view from 10 stories up of Florida… Remember that when tripping, it is not a good idea to wear a t-shirt with a physics joke on it… The “straights” won’t understand the joke and will ask you to explain… I made that mistake… I had a shirt with the picture of Einstein wearing a policeman’s hat with the saying “186,000 miles per hour, not just a good idea, IT’S THE LAW!”

I also liked the Kraft Foods singing and dancing fruits and vegetables show. They had a giant refrigerator onstage and food came out and did song and dance numbers… Just like in ZAP COMIX by Robert Crumb.

and the Carousel of Progress will stay with me my whole lifetime…

especially the SONG!

“Now is the time, now is the best time,

now is the best time of your life!

Right here and now, you’ve got it made…

The world’s forward marching and you’re in the parade!”

originally, the General Electric Display at the New York World’s Fair, it shows the same happy fimily and their technology thru time… A diorama shows them in the 1800’s using oil lamps, then we sing the song and the Audience rotates to view the next era… electric lights! The song was written by the same fellows that did “It’s a Small World” and most of the other Disney classics… The Sherman brothers:

My hitchhikers said the Gathering was at the intersection of 6 and 666 in Pennsylvania.  I drove there by myself and was greeted by a man that said “Welcome Home, Brother”.  I parked and walked in carrying a backpack and sleeping bag… no tent… so the entire time I was sleeping in random different locations… When I arrived at the main campfire circle I noticed that the Gathering was located on a creek and so I wandered downstream to find a nude swimming hole… There by the creekside was a sweat lodge and a group of  bathers. I went swimming and waited for the opportunity to go into the lodge. By this time I had been approached by someone’s child who recommended that I not smoke tobacco during my time at the Gathering… I took that advice and soon was feeling the withdrawal symptoms from my addiction… A group left the sweat lodge and I went in… a person asked me to leave as there were two couples that wanted a private sweat and I was a fifth wheel… I got angry because I had no knowledge of a queue waiting for the sweat lodge… and I was freaking from the tobacco “JONES”… I left after arguing a bit and later got to sweat with many other men… The sweat was very therapeutic and helped with my nicotine anxiety. I wandered up to the main circle and met a fellow that manufactured plate glass xylophones and wooden marimbas. I borrowed one and played at the main circle. Then went over to a stage near the entrance and joined a group performing there. I was not wearing any clothes… It’s the one time in my entire life that I have performed on stage nude… We mostly played songs like “JINGO” by Santana… that classic beat…

And the song “Infinite Sun”


We are all one ‘neath the Infinite Sun,

forever, forever, forever…

I will never forget you,

I will never forsake you,

forever, forever, forever…

Later that day I met some women and retired to their blanketed campsite for a back rub… One was named Terri and we became friends… Traded phone numbers… She decided to leave the Gathering Early because she wanted to go to the Bob Dylan and The Dead concert at RFK Stadium in Washington DC.

I selected to not go because the Gathering was a better event… In my opinion…

On July 4th at the main circle I found a bowl of Peyote unattended… It had a sign saying Sacrament, Help Yourself… and I did… For the entire day I ate small bits of Peyote… Just a small amount and then wait a half an hour, then another small amount and wait… after about 12 hours I had eaten a LOT and truly got the Mescaline High without barfing. The flavor of Peyote is quite bitter and many people find it to be so bad that they barf… I prefer the slow, steady approach.

I wandered over to a stage made out of hay bales and enjoyed the music. There was a cable slide built into a tree and I rode that often. How it worked: there was a steel cable leading from a platform about 15 feet up in a tree streatched taughtly to a stake in the ground… A person sat in a leather seat that was attached to the cable by a freespinning wheel and chain… Jump off the platform and ride the cable to the ground… whee! swing the seat back up the cable for the next rider… That was an amazing ride, home made by Rainbow Gatherers just for our own amusement… Thanks!!!

Then I started dancing with a lady that had coarse brown hair… we became friends and were kissing on the ground when she suggested we go on stage and sing for the rest of the tribe. By this time I was very high on Peyote. She gave me a choice of three songs to perform… the names of the first two songs were incomprehensable so I selected Kumbayah, the third choice. We did go onto the stage and sang for the rest of the tribe… by that time she selected to go to her campsite and we parted ways… I located my sleeping bag and found that another lady was in it… I told her to not worry or leave and we slept together like spoons…

In my reading about the Native American Church, one of the things that happens is that a person high on peyote meets Mescalito and is taught their song… then they perform it for the tribe… My experience was similar… I felt as if the woman with the coarse brown hair was MescalitA and we did perform my song…




















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Psychedelic Poetry: This was written after attending a Grateful Dead concert in JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I was sitting up above the crowd in the bleachers and could see the dancers move more enthusiastically during peaks of the music… less motion during gentle passages… as the dynamics of the improvisation ebbed and flowed, the dancers moved accordingly… like sea anemones moving in the currents of the ocean… I also mention the Spectrum in Philadelphia… It has many blinking advertisements for Atlantic city casinos in the area where refreshments were being served…





adrenaline, seratonin,synapses on fire !




adrenaline,serotonin,synapses on fire!





adrenaline,serotonin,synapses on fire!







adrenaline,serotonin,synapses on fire!








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I visited the John Lennon memorial in Central Park, New York City.  I was walking along minding my own business when I noticed a dramatic shift in consciousness among the people… They all seemed to be moving slowly and had thoughtful expressions on their faces. Then I noticed a tile mosaic floor that said “Imagine” and I realized where I was.

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Everyone we knew either worked at The Agency (NSA) or Analytics. We had a lot of fun going to Discos in Baltimore. One had a flashing Light Floor just like the one in the Movie “Saturday Night Fever”.  Most of the Women that worked at the Agency were looking for husbands and they had many parties where they invited the Engineering Department from Westinghouse Defense Systems near Baltimore… Since we were already married I often acted as a chaperone on visits to the Disco.

The actual work of Transcribing Russian Phone Calls is incredibly boring and depressing so many of JoAnn’s co-workers quit and went back home… I remember one time we were visiting a lady in NYC and she suggested that we go to the Top of the World Bar. When we got to the World Trade Center the Maitre-d insisted that men had to wear neckties. We had no neckties. There was NO dress code for women. SO, the ladies went up to the top while Bob and I waited on the ground level. An opportunity missed… Later, two airplanes flew into the buildings and they fell down. Now, no one can go get a drink at the Top of the World.

JoAnn and I took a whitewater rafting trip down the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. It’s a long gentle ride with one waterfall/rapids. You go past Harpers Ferry where the Rivers meet. There is a museum of the rifle factory that was Very Significant to the Civil War. “Rifling” is the process of machining a spiral inside the gun barrel. That spins the bullet and allows it to travel farther. The Northern Soldiers could stand safely out of range of Southern Soldiers and shoot them. This invention probably won the war for the North.

Luray Caverns are in the Shenandoah Valley. We visited them and heard the Stalactite organ. Hammers hit Stalactites that have been trimmed to vibrate at the exact frequency of musical notes. They have a keyboard that controls the hammers. Creating Music. They have a player piano roll that automatically plays the song… Shenandoah… Often people get married there and have a musician play the wedding march etc.

Near the Shenandoah Valley there was a State Park that allowed people to go chainsaw fallen down logs for firewood. Often we would go there and fill up our Dodge Omni car with logs for our woodburning stove. Sometimes I would eat Heavenly Blue Morning Glory seeds (a legal psychedelic) before chainsawing. That’s an interesting experience…

We bought a Condo in Oxon Hill, Maryland and then a Cape Cod style house in Tysons Corners, Virginia. When we got divorced, we sold the house and I moved back into the Condo.

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I spent a total of 12 years total living near Washington DC. I often visited friends in Manassas, Virginia and we played music on Synthesizers and Guitars. Music Non Stop – TechnoPop. aka Outer Space Whoosh Whoosh Music like you hear in Science Fiction Movies…

I also visited the Smithsonian Museum countless times. It was on the way home from work and quite convenient to stop for a few hours and let the traffic jams dissipate. I really enjoyed the National Art Gallery. I posted xerox copies of psychedelic drawings I did on the walls of the museum when the guards were not looking. So, yes, my art has hung in the National Art Gallery.

My favorite painting at the National Art Gallery is “The Last Supper” by Salvadore Dali. It is located in a room by itself that is cool and dark. I found that when I was visiting the Smithsonian I often felt the desire to go look at that painting again. I noticed that many of the other visitors to that room were frequent viewers themselves… I kept on seeing the same people! I concluded that it was an unofficial Church and people found that prayer and meditation there was relaxing and healthful… A fine antidote to the high stress lifestyle of Washington DC.

One day I took an LSD trip to the Modern Art Gallery building and found to my surprise that “The Tragedy” by Piccasso was my favorite painting. It shows a thin man, woman and child standing on a cold beach. I felt the temperature in my own body go cold. I had expected that Roy Lichtenstein or Andy Warhol would be impressive on LSD but they just seemed trivial. Later that day We all went to a Tangerine Dream Concert at the Elegant Warner Theater. My friend bought ten tickets so everyone I knew went together. I was concerned during the show when the FOG spilled off of the stage and covered the audience. Stage Fog is made from CO2 and it seemed possible that we would not have enough O2 to breathe… FYI: Tangerine Dream plays German Techno Pop Music on Analog Synthesizers. Very MODAL and relentless rhythm played by computers.

A few months earlier I went to the Kraftwerk Concert at the Elegant Warner Theater. I read a review of their hit record “Autobahn” in the Washington Post Newspaper and was intrigued. I bought the record at Tower and Liked it. This was the “Computer World” tour. The Synthesizers were arranged on stage to resemble the bridge of a spaceship. In the audience there were many people from Germany… College students and diplomats children. Kraftwerk Invented the style of Music called Techn Pop. Music Synthesizers and Drummers playing machines. At the end of the show, they programmed their machines to continue playing and the musicians walked off the stage… We continued dancing to the computer music… At that time I did not know that such music was POSSIBLE. Programable Dance Beats…

We often went to a fancy movie theater called The Uptown. I saw Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” there and it really scared me. The theater had a giant screen and LOUD music. Rock concert levels of Distortion Free sound. We also saw “Koyaanisqatsi” there… Philip Glass music and a dialog free Ecology film with many slo-mo and time lapse scenes. A classic!

I went to anti-war protest marches near the White House. Played the drums and acoustic guitar often in Lafayette Park. I Met Daniel Ellsberg and Dick Gregory at a Protest against the war in Iraq by George Bush the Father. The idea was that we would play the drums so loud that it would interfere with his sleep…

There were some very interesting people that had permanent protests on the street in front of the White House. One was a Retired Nuclear Engineer protesting against Nuclear Power and Atomic Bombs. I met a man from Los Gatos High School that was living at the DC Homeless Shelter because he was being chased by the IRS. He ran a computer software company in San Jose but failed to pay withholding taxes for his employees… He owed the IRS $100,000 so he could not take a job because they would trace his location using his Social Security Number. SO, he worked for cash doing computer user training people who worked for Trade Associations… This happened before the invention of the Windows Operating System so there was a big demand for DOS training… I took him home with me, convinced him to make peace with the IRS and co-signed on a job driving a car to San Jose… Years later I found out that he was successful relocating to his mother’s house and did make an arrangement to pay off the IRS… And then he started another computer company… So, I did make a difference. I helped a homeless person regain his life.

I went to the Fourth of July Events in downtown DC. Some years over 500,000 people attended. The Beach Boys played at the Washington Monument while Henri Mancini played at the US Capitol. There is a certain Madness in large crowds. Especially at Large outdoor concerts by the Grateful Dead. In the Summer it was very Hot and Humid and at Sundown there would be an INTENSE Thunder and Lightning Storm that drenched the crowd and turned the lawn into mud. Yes, it was a lot of fun to dance in the mud… Once the power went out on stage and the concert became a drumming duet with Thunder accenting the fills…

Since we lived near Washington DC, we became host for all our families to visit the tourist attractions. This had the unexpected benefit of requiring me to guide my family to many shows that I had no knowledge of or interest in. It expanded my horizons. When Uncle Harry, Aunt Roberta and Mother in Law Helen came we visited the silent marching exhibition at the Marine Corps Headquarters. Normal marching has a soldier chanting commands to the men like “Hup, two three four” and “March Left”. This gives the soldiers clues as to when to turn, spin a rifle or stop marching. The beauty of THIS Marine Corps marching was that hey did it silently… and perfectly…

Then we went to the White House. Roberta sits in a wheel chair so we got a special tour. We were escorted to the front of the line of tourists waiting and saw elevators and back corridors that were not on the standard tour. We also went to Colonial Williamsburg. I never would have gone there on my own.

One time my brother in law came to DC for the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington. There was a stage at the Lincoln Memorial and Jesse Jackson gave a speech. There were a series of public address speakers all along the reflecting pool towards the Washington Monument. These caused so many echoes that what words he was saying became impossible to understand however, the rhythm of the speech was inspiring.

There were many musical performances that were unique to Washington DC. The “Airmen of Note” and “The Marine Band” performed often for free. DC has a thriving local band scene. There were frequent free concerts at the Washington monument… and a number of Bars… I saw “Betty” at the washington Monument at a show with many other bands and after her performance Betty came out into the crowd and danced herself. She is a giant sexy black woman.

I got to hear John Cage perform an orchestral piece at the National Academy of Science. Their concert hall is shaped like an egg. The music was composed by drawing curved lines around round objects on music staff paper. Like tracing a coffee cup or dinner plate… It was performed on cellos and prepared piano.

One time I got to hear “Music for Unitards” at an art gallery. Abstract Synthesizer Music on Synclavier with cello and emotional punk poetry. You don’t see stuff like that every day. Avant Garde! Ballet Dancing in One piece Leotards (Unitards).

I went to a concert in the woods of Quantico Marine Corps Base. A bunch of hippies hauled a generator way off the road and performed in the dirt. Invitation only…

I continued working as a Draftsman/Designer and built computer equipment for the USAF, the NSA and Banks. I saved my money and took big vacations whenever I was laid off. Once I drove to Key West, Florida and then to Niagara Falls, Canada… looking for the best beach. I spent 5 days at EPCOT/Disney World. I took LSD the first day I was at EPCOT and rode the ride at Space Mountain. They had a show by Kraft Foods featuring dancing food… Like a Zap Comix Cartoon.

That Year I attended a Rainbow Gathering in Pennsylvania. It was a week long camping trip for hippies. About 10,000 people attended… I ate peyote, met a woman who asked me to sing a song on stage for the crowd… Just like the Native American Religious Ceremony. Supposedly, you meet “Mescalito” and he teaches you your song. Then you sing it for the tribe. We had a brief affair. We went to visit her Guru, Dar San Singh, in rural Virginia. I did not like the scene at the ashram so she stayed there and I came home. The Guru has such a thick accent that I couldn’t understand what he was Saying.

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Analog Synthesizer Tips and Tricks. Electrical Engineering FUNdamentals

SOLARWIND… Our Musical Group.

I was fascinated with playing electronic music and played with my friends (Ken, Mark and Leon) in Ken’s basement for 5 years on the weekends During the 1980’s. I also had a setup in my living room and would invite guests. This was at the time of analog synths and the beginning of midi. My favorite instrument was the Korg Polysix… It had the ability to make those really astonishing outer space sounds… Modulated resonant filter sweeping… like Steve Miller, Edgar Winter or Doctor Who… The pitch of the note could be defined by the control voltage input on the rear panel… well, I had a Radio Shack “100 in One experimenters kit” and a bag of capacitors, resistors and light emitting diodes that I hooked up to generate an oscillating circuit… Absolutely no one else on the planet was making the noises that I made… similar, true, but my noises were unique… Since it was created using wires and SPRING CLIPS to connect the components, the resistance of each connection varied according to stress on the wires… for example: if I blew at the circuit, the music would change due to the pressure of the wind…

Leon had a black box that allowed me to sing or talk into the synthesizer and the volume of my voice determined the sound of the synth… You can hear this particular technique on THE DOORS- STRANGE DAYS… Listen carefully and when Jim Morrison sings the words “Strange Days have found us…etc” there are squiggly noises that follow along with the vocals… (amplitude to control voltage converter, also pitch to control voltage)

I also had a display of 18 strands of Christmas tree lights that would blink on and off… they were hung in the corner of the room with a mylar mirror on each wall… That provided enough light to be able to see the controls and keys on the keyboards… Each strand of lights would be either on or off and they all had different timing cycles… this made the whole display appear to experience waves of rainbow colors… The keyboards were all interconnected to allow waves of sound to evolve over time as the modulated filters ebbed with tidal forces…

Fun, but all those analog synths are hard to find anymore… they were replaced with digital ones that were cheaper to produce and more reliable… somehow there was a move towards realistic instrument sounds instead of outer space whoosh whoosh… too bad…

I remember Emerson, Lake and Palmer in concert at the Winterland in San Francisco… Keith jumped off the stage and wandered around the dance floor “zapping” people with a ribbon controller that was making “ray-gun” sounds… A good example of the ribbon controller was on “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys… the part that goes oooWWWWEEEwooowooo… ooooWWWWEEEwooowooo…

Another beautiful synth was bought used at a yard sale for 75 dollars. It was a minikorg and had been thru severe abuse on the road. This marvel is most famous as the lead voice on Kitaro records… the breathy flute sound that he uses to play melody parts… The theme to Silk Road, etc… This was a monophonic synth that had ring modulator effects and white noise… this also had a switch for setting the pitch to an extremely low tone… as if you were playing notes on a piano that were way off the end of the left hand… this machine allowed me to create what I called the “Dawn of Time” sound… A growling bass note that needed about 10 seconds to play… A ring modulator lets each key have its own vibrato rate… for example” “C” might have a wow wow wow sound that shanged every half a second while “C#” would have a wow wow wow that changed 42 times a second… “D would be 6 times a second etc… this tonal quality creates many of the more avant garde (or teeth gratingly irritating) sounds of extremely early synth recordings…

I also became fascinated by the possibilities of echo and computer controlled music. Lucky for me, instruments started being built with a MIDI interface… this caused older instruments to go on sale at extremely cheap prices…

The Roland microcomposer was 8 1/2 by 11 inches and had a microcomputer in it. I stored sequences of pitches and durations of notes using the tiny keyboard… really, really tiny… It was designed to drive two SH101 Roland synths and could play two notes simultaneously… what a breakthrough… from ONE NOTE at a time to two… By typing in a series of bass notes each with a duration of 1/8 of a bar… and then running it thru an echo box that had a time set to 3/16th of a bar… and setting the voltage controlled filter so that some notes were silent, some notes were muted and some notes were loud… I was able to trick the system into composing by itself a never repeating bassline that was fun to improvise over… the computer selected which notes to play and when… cosmic…

This worked well for music that is called MODAL… In that style, there are no chord changes at all… the performers select a handfull of notes as the scale and just go to it… the most famous modal piece is “The Old Washer Woman” and The theme performed by Edith Bunker on the television show “All in the Family”… The music is played entirely on the BLACK NOTES of the piano… I think they called it “Those Were The Days”… “Didn’t need no welfare state, everybody pulled his weight, gee those old La Salles ran great… THOSE were the DAAAAAYYYYSSSS…. It is an extremely simple song. So simple that I was able to teach a computer to play in that style… Of course, my compositions were not at all like that whiny song… more robotoc and like German Technopop…

Music nonstop, technopop… Bleep, blonk… tchatchink…

I was fortunate to have read an article in the Washington Post about the upcoming Kraftwerk concert so I went out and bought the recommended album Autobahn and liked it… The basic style of music sounded interesting and so, I went to the beautiful Warner Theatre to see them. This was an elegant performance space that started out as an ART DECO theatre and then became a dance hall for rock music… oh how lucky we were… This was my first exposure to the technopop music and many of the people in the audience were Germans… I had no idea that such music was even possible. The tour was to promote their albums Computerworld and Man Machine… They had two fellows that beat with “knitting needles” on touch sensitive drum machines while the other two played keyboard synthesizers… The drummers were wild because every time a knitting needle contacted the machine, a loud percussive sound happened… not drum sounds but more like boink or ping or even pffffbtt… When they performed their song “pocket calculator” they walked to the front of the stage and had members of the audience play the notes… The lyrics state ” by pushing down a special key it plays a little melody” blink bonk…. katrronk…. Quite an effective piece of showmanship and audience participation… Then at the end of the show , all the people left the stage and let the computers play the song… for about ten minutes… wild dancing to actual robot performers… I was amazed… Their website has a toy on it that lets you play a drum machine… boing, boom, tchack, peng, zonk…

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Lyrics to the song ‘Global Economic Collapse’ (bubble gum pop rock genre)

TEMPO=PEPPY. Chords: G, E, C

“The growth industry of the 90’s…

will be subsistence farming…

when Reagan’s rubber check bounces…

and global economic collapse…

rears its ugly head…

what will you do for food ?

OOOh, The winter gets cold…

when the arabs turn off the oil…

Your BMW will make a lovely planter…

growing beets in bucket seats…

open the sun roof wide…

scrounging in the city dump…

I seem to have lost my pride…



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Much of the time when I played with my friends in the basement in Manassas, Virginia we had a home made laser lightshow going… My friend built this using an extremely slowly rotating mirror that had a little “house” built on it out of transparent “walls” and clear glue… The “house” was about 3/4 of an inch tall and caused interference patterns to be displayed on the ceiling… these took the appearance of galaxies or clouds that slowly changed. The speed was about One RPM. He had guests come over and bring their instruments… A trumpet player from the Redskins Football Team band was a memorable evening. In general, we played music that you would hear as a soundtrack for a motion picture… Incidental music or abstract jazz or “outer space whoosh whoosh”…..

We made a demo recording and had an agent in New York try to sell it to people making corporate videos… No sale, but it was fun trying… When we recorded the demo, I loaned a huge pile of my equipment to Leon and he set up a special studio in the basement of his grandpas home. His grandpa was a Retired General in the Army and had a mansion in McLean and another in Arizona. I never met the grandpa because were were not allowed to visit when he was in town nor were we allowed in many parts of the mansion due to breakable oriental antiques. These people live in a truly different world than us peasants.

I really got into samplers when I got a midi controlled 4 second monophonic machine. It could be controlled by the drum machine. My favorite sound was a pan pipe. I set up the sound so that the sampler could play it back very slowly giving a low pitch. It sounded as if a giant was blowing on a pan pipe 20 feet tall… I made a tape and gave it to my friend “Major” Tom (a Bowie fan). He was very happy with it because when it was played on the car stereo, it put his children to sleep… Unfortunetly, also on that tape were some doppler effect noises and he panicked because he thought it was a police car siren. A moment of fear but it was quickly resolved by erasing that song from the tape…

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When I was working at the Postal Service Engineering Department there were many immigrant employees that I became friends with. Since the USPS did not require a Secret Clearance from the Department of Defense, it was one of the few places that an immigrant draftsman could work in the Washington DC Area. One Friday night three of us went to New York City to attend a Hindu Wedding. I drove… We stayed at an apartment building in the Bronx. The entire multi-story building was filled with Hindus from around the world. They had a temple in the backyard. There was a lot of “Sacred” food to be eaten and supposedly we would be insulting our hosts and the Gods if we refused to eat it. I ended up eating much more than I wanted to. The Groom was coated in a yellow colored spice (Saffron). He had a bad allergic reaction to it… On the night before the Wedding we went to a Hindu Disco and danced. Some of the people my friend was related to lived on one apartment building and some lived in a different one. We had to walk the women from one building to another because the neighborhood was dangerous and they feared getting abducted… So whenever a woman wanted to go to the other building, we escorted her… At the wedding an old woman played the drums… My friend was from Guyana, South America… a former British Colony. His ancestors were imported slaves from India.

The third person in our adventure to NYC was a black American man. His mother lived in NYC and she was the owner of a Rastafarian Bar. We did not get to visit because the air conditioner in the bar was broken. Too bad… It would have been an interesting place to visit. Another draftsman at the USPS was a man my age from Vietnam. He said that when he was a child he watched the American Bombs exploding and he thought they were pretty. I’m not making this up.

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One time when I was laid off I was offered a Job at Domino’s Pizza as a delivery driver. I worked there for 5 years at a Parlor run by Black women. Met a woman named Betty-Lou and we lived together raising her daughter. Eventually I quit that job due to Murders of Delivery Drivers at work. I delivered in Fort Washington, Maryland. It’s a suburb that is populated by Black government workers and other Black professionals. After the first Murder I switched to delivering in Mount Vernon, Virginia and Fort Belvoir. Delivering to the Secret Army base was interesting. On sunny days they enforced security protocol and I was not allowed into certain buildings. However, if it was snowing, the guards just ignored security because it was cold outside… After the Second Murder I drove to California… Crack Cocaine caused insanity among the residents of Washington DC and there was a lot of Gun Violence. I abandoned the Condo and the Mortgage company foreclosed.

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Our Family History:

One thing Dad told me was: “Scots Wah Hey, We Wallace Bled.” In English: We are Scots. Men of William Wallace. (Braveheart-Mel Gibson)

He also bought me a book: “Born Fighting” by Jim Webb about  the history of the Scots/Irish in America. Remember the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd? That’s our people!

In the 1990’s I often drove around with my Dad. One time we were cruising down Vista Ave near our home and he said “At least I raised you right, that man’s son became a “Merry Prankster”…and he pointed to a neighbor’s house. I have forgotten who the boy was but I’m sure he was older than me… more like my big brother’s age. And definitely NOT Neal Cassady. He lived in a Different part of Los Gatos.

I was living in Willow Glen at that time and Working at Radio Shack and he would often come over an we would get a cup of coffee and sit on a sunshiny bus stop and “solve the problems of the world”. He often wrote letters to the editor and they usually got published in the San Jose Mercury News. One letter recommended putting a stop light on Almaden Expressway at a dangerous intersection and soon the city installed one there. Saved some lives…

My mom’s family lived in “The Heart of the Willows” and I remember going to Christmas Parties there. My uncle made apricot white lightning and I would eat an apricot, get drunk and then dance with my cousin. The adults thought it was funny to have small children experience sexual desire before puberty… HA HA! The way he made the liquor was to fill a mason jar with pitted apricots and rock candy (sugar) then pour in vodka. Set that jar on a shelf for a year and the liquid was nearly 100% alcohol.

He also went to a bar named “Chick Letty’s” during prohibition. Willow Glen was an unincorporated part of Santa Clara County just outside the border of San Jose. The laws were not enthusiastically enforced in the County… Decades later I went to the same bar and purchased illegal marijuana in the parking lot. SO, nothing has really changed… He bought illegal booze and I bought illegal reefer…

Mom’s grade school has been recycled as a Senior Center and Dad went there to participate in their bus trips to Eureka. It was a voyage to the Bear River Casino in Lolita but he just used it as a handy way to travel to see me.

One time when he visited we went on The Hammond Trail in McKinleyville to look at the Mouth of the Mad River. It is visible from a park bench there. We had a long and meaningful talk about Mom. I’m really glad that I got sober and became my Dad’s friend in the last years of his life. I was drinking heavily when Mom died and missed that event. OOPS! Mom worked as a secretary in Fisher Junior High School Library in Los Gatos and Lexington Elementary School. The kids loved and respected her. Dad proposed marriage to mom on the top of the hill behind the Novitiate in Los Gatos. There is a trail that goes to Lexington Reservoir and from the top you can see all of Santa Clara Valley. (Filled with apricot trees).

I remember Aunt Alberta’s last years. Dad bought a Television at my Radio Shack store and we drove over to her house and installed it in her bedroom. She had a TV in the living room but when she became bedridden she spent her entire time in the bedroom. I remember that I wanted to explain to my Cousin Dian how to use the remote control but she said hat it didn’t matter because Aunt Alberta couldn’t tell one station from another. She was taking morphine at that time but hated it. Too much nausea…

Grandpa Malek worked as a carpenter (general contractor). He would build entire houses. Mom’s family would live in the houses while they were being built and then move on to the next house when grandpa sold it. Our family house on Hedding Street in San Jose was built by grandpa. We had to move because it was under the flight path for airplanes to the San Jose Airport and the entire neighborhood became uninhabitable when JET airplanes were invented. We moved to Los Gatos and the house was put onto a truck and moved to Almaden. The house was valuable enough to justify moving it instead of simply tearing it down. Grandpa became a carpenter right after the 1906 earthquake. He was living in Oregon when the call went out for all able bodied men to go work rebuilding the city of San Francisco. He also built a house on “The 17 Mile Drive” a neighborhood of palatial mansions in Carmel. Mom, Dad and Grandpa built a Redwood Deck on the back of our house in Los Gatos in 1960. The deck is still there today.

Grandpa Vanderlaan worked as a minister. During the 1930’s the people that attended his Church had NO MONEY to put in the collection plate. Ministers feed their families with the money from the collection plate. Grandma, dad and uncle Marc went camping on the Trinity River because there was good fishing, hunting and NO RENT. Dad and Uncle Marc were very good at fishing and hunting during the 1930’s because that was a major source of food. During the great Depression Grandpa came to the realization that God did not exist. So he quit his job with the Church and became a math teacher. He also was a founding member of the Humanist Society. It’s an alternative to Christianity. My dad was an atheist until the day he died. My brother became a Unitarian and I became an Acid Head. Grandpa Vanderlaan wrote a book about Religion… I tried to read it a couple of times but got bored in the early chapters and never finished it.

We went to Christmas parties at Dorothy and Leland Lea’s home in the hills behind Oakland. My cousin Gary and I would play guitars and sing. Gary also played the family piano and the drums in a rock band of his friends from high school. Leland had a huge collection of tiny liquor bottles. The size they give you on an airplane… Surprisingly, after Leland passed away Gary sold the collection to someone on the internet. Before he shipped them to the customer he emptied all the bottles and poured the booze down the sink. It’s illegal to ship liquor across state lines but empty bottler are Legal…

Gary Lea taught me about the Visual Mantra he used to quit smoking tobacco. Whenever you had an urge to smoke, think of the O’Neil Surf Shop Logo and remember that if you don’t smoke you will have a longer life and more opportunities to go surfing… Good Idea!

We went to Sacramento on Thanksgiving to Uncle Marc and Aunt Peg’s home. They had two daughters, Robin and Jill. Uncle Marc became a criminal defense attorney in Sacramento and Aunt Peg was a Social Worker. Jill became a lawyer and moved to Seattle and Robin went to work at Uncle Marc’s Law office. One time a client of Aunt Pegs did a Bank Robbery and was holding hostages. The police called her and said that the only person he felt comfortable talking to was his social worker… She negotiate the release of the hostages.

Martin’s wife Patti took me to my first AA meeting at Lake Tahoe. Thanks! It allowed me to live a lot longer.

I remember going to Martin and Adrienne’s wedding on a Boat in Long Beach Harbor. We wore funny hats (Yarmulke) and I danced holding up a chair the she sat on.

I remember going to Nicole’s Wedding in Laguna Beach. No chair dance that I remember… It was at a really elegant Golf Course and we had a lot of regular dancing… We met Brodie’s Family for the first time. Martin bought us a Hotel Room at the fancy Hotel… it was where Hollywood Film Stars wen to party in the era of Charlie Chaplin. Big Fun! I also got to go to an Anti Iraq War protest march at the Beach. Every year we had protest marches in Eureka and I was afraid that I’d miss out if I went to Laguna Beach… But the people there hated the Iraq War Also!

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

Patti and My Dad’s Funerals…

At our Dad’s Funeral I got to have a personal conversation with every person that attended. We had all afternoon and each of us talked until we did not need to talk anymore. That was very healing.

My brother showed a Slideshow of Family Photographs and described who and what they were all about… He had inherited all the shoe boxes of family photos and albums and there were many pictures that we had not seen. This show was very popular with the people that attended.

We waited a year before we had the Funeral. That was the same year that Patti died so  there was just too much grief to have Dad’s Funeral any sooner. We had it at the Unitarian Church on Blossom Hill road in Los Gatos. From the Church you could see the “Top of the Hill” tuberculosis sanitarium that Dad lived at as a child.

One man told me that he always wished that he had Dad’s courage to speak up during meetings.   Dad was not shy and freely expressed his opinions. This instance they were at a Park Commission meeting and another member was droning on and on and on about something when Dad spoke up and told the speaker “we have already heard all of that, why don’t you go on to a new subject.”

Patti’s funeral was at a Unitarian Church in San Francisco. A lady that spoke at Patti’s Funeral said that Patti taught her to “Always live your life as if what you do will be printed on the front page of the newspaper.” – Dad said the same thing to me.

Patti took me to my first AA meeting in Lake Tahoe. That prolonged my life by years.

I always love meeting friends and family at funerals. This time I met Mitzi Raas. She and Alan Raas had two sons the same age as Martin and I. We had many adventures together as they lived in San Francisco and whenever our family wanted to go do something in the city we visited them. For example: Go crab fishing, visit the Exploratorium or go to a concert at The Fillmore West.

I also got to chat with Brodie, my nephew and he told me that they lived in Dana Point, named for the author of “Two Years Before the Mast”.

My cousin Gary said that he had started Marijuana Farming at home. Cheaper than buying medicine at the dispensary. It’s FREE! I also learned that Gary’s daughter had graduated from Chico State and already had a job offer as a nurse.

After the funeral Martin drove Vanessa and I back home. We were very cheerful and Martin took an UNMARKED short cut thru the hills of San Francisco… Vanessa said it was like using the magic train station in Harry Potter… We drove fast…

Martin and I went out to dinner at a Oriental restaurant and discussed what stocks to buy on the stock market. I had an extra $10,000 that I wanted to invest and I wanted his opinion. That was a really MIND STRETCHING conversation…  He said buy Apple. I did buy Apple and made some money. WHEE! Sadly I never went to a stockholders meeting at their corporate headquarters… I’ve heard that sometimes those are really special events… a missed opportunity… deep sigh…

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During the months before Dad’s funeral I was experiencing paranoid thoughts because I spent all my time on the internet posting to my protest BLOG about Anti-War activism, ecology, government spying and corporate brainwashing. I had a popular BLOG with a thousand visitors a day… I also posted Tourism Photographs and descriptions of the places I had visited after retirement. I kept on seeing unmarked white vans and trucks parking in my neighborhood…

SO, I got in my car and drove away from the house… I went to the Avenue of the Giants to my secret place. I had gone to a “Save the Redwoods League” hike exploring the forest after the Canoe Fire. We parked at the “San Francisco Garden Club” grove and walked over a hidden footbridge over the Eel river. That bridge is not visible from the locations most people see when visiting that grove. You have to walk a quarter mile Upstream to get to the bridge… Anyway, as soon as I was on the OTHER side of the Eel river my Paranoia faded away and I felt safe. After all, no humans were there so no evil government agents would bother me…

I drove south on 101 until I got to the turnoff for Highway 1 and Fort Bragg. I couldn’t go south on 101 due to the fire in Laytonville. Traveling down 1 on the coast I stayed at a bed and breakfast in Elk.  Then I drove to Bodega Bay and ended up camping in Muir Woods. I met a bicycle rider at a swimming hole on a river and we smoked some Marijuana… I had not smoked for years and it was very powerful grass. In Muir Woods I stayed awake for most of the night listening to the Radio…

The next morning I drove to a little country store for a cup of coffee on the porch and I wondered… If Jesus came back, how would you know it was him? Inspired by the song “What if God was one of us? I was drinking coffee with a group of retired men on the front porch in the redwoods and I questioned Each person individually to see if they were Christ… or the Buddha… Including myself… I concluded that none of us were divine…

I drove to San Anselmo and Got lost… I stopped and emailed my family from the library and asked them to come pick me up… but after waiting an hour, I got directions from the owner of a coffee shop.. I cruised over the Golden Gate Bridge and went to my brother’s house. I was still tense and anxious due to traffic and my general paranoia… I told my niece, Vanesssa that I was “Channeling my Inner Chewbacca”… I could tell that she was frightened of me… Whenever I experience madness, people fear me. I do not mean harm but being a giant and having “That Look” in my eyes must be scary for other people…

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Traveling HOME from Dad’s funeral I was still freaked out by “The Matrix” of the Bay Area. Too many computers watching your every move. At the Golden Gate Bridge there are NO TOLL COLLECTORS. No Humans! You are supposed to get a computerized travel pass to pay the toll. That might work great for frequent travelers but I have gone over that bridge twice in TEN years. Neither time did I successfully pay the toll and so I got a $45.00 fine instead.

In Golden Gate Park there was a computerized lawnmower… It replaced a human working as a gardener with a “Roomba” mowing the grass.

There was also simply too many cars… I’ve been living in Small Towns since the late 1990’s and Urban Traffic is Stressful. One way streets caused me to drive ten blocks in the wrong direction when we wanted to visit the Cliff House/Sutro Baths… A computer sensed when I wanted to park in a parking garage and when I wanted to escape… ENOUGH!

So, when I stopped at a rest stop in Laytonville at night… I was in a location where my car radio could not get any radio stations… I put the radio on seek/scan and NO stations were within range. I finally felt relief as I was OUT in the COUNTRY… Civilization was NOT THERE. I could still smell the smoke from the fire but it was out… I relaxed there… finally… in the woods… safe…

So I questioned if the truck driver of the 18 wheeler parked nearby was the Second Coming of Christ or was the tourist also parked in that lot was The Buddha…. I realized that THERE WAS NO WAY TO TELL. Could be! That gave me something to ponder for a few hours… or a few years…

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I worked at Radio Shack in San Jose during the 1990’s. After I left Maryland I drove to my parent’s house and started working at the Shack. I was there for Six Years. I learned a LOT about electrical engineering and corporate marketing. It was a very social job and I was paid commission to sell electronic stuff. One technique for selling more stuff was to draw diagrams for the customers who wanted to set up cable TV systems. The local cable company had two wires entering the house… some channels were on cable “A” and others were on cable “B”. In order to distribute the cable TV signal to different rooms in a house was a rather complicated system. However, I knew how and could draw diagrams for the customer to follow… and… I just went around the store and collected everything they needed, took it to the cash register and rang it up. These people would tell their neighbors and friends to go see me and I got a lot of business that way. My years playing guitar and synthesizer music also lead to increased sales as I could recommend equipment that would allow customers to accomplish their dreams. It was fun to work there, sort of like an endless party. I drank a lot of booze during those years. A relaxed and friendly salesman sells more stuff.

We sold the most advanced personal computer at the time. It was called “The Sensation” and it had the first CD-Rom disk drive in a PC. I sold one system to a fellow that made computer games. He wanted to test drive his CD-Rom game product. Another self made millionaire to shop at our store bought a hundred magnets every year to give away at his lectures to third grade students. He hoped to give them a lasting remiinder of the wonders of science… hopefully to inspire future engineers. Another customer bought a Sensation Computer in order to write a product review for the Silicon Valley Computer Society Newsletter. That society originally was called The Home Brew Club and was started by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniac. This customer also created a talking dictionary on a CD-Rom. The first of it’s kind.

Wozniac built a museum in downtown San Jose and it was fun. Designed to appeal to elementary school students it had many interactive games and toys. One was a TV time travel device that randomly filmed the patrons of the museum and them merged those films into a kaleidoscopic show.

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

In Chico during the late 1990s I camped out for an entire summer in Bidwell Park and rode a bicycle all over town… I ate at the “Jesus Center” a free meal and attended a couple of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a DAY for about a year. I made a lot of friends in the program and Married One. She helped get me a job at the WREX plastic factory making injection molded parts and I held that job for a year.

On 9/11 I was at Work at WREX plastics Factory when a co worker drove up and said: “They Bombed the Pentagon”… and I said… “Good”

In my opinion the Pentagon has done a great deal of EVIL in my lifetime and so… if someone has bombed it, GREAT!

We went to work and the quality control guy came around my station once an hour with updates about the World Trade Center and Airplanes… My co-workers liked to listen to the radio playing rock music as we worked and none of them was interested enough in the news to change the station…

I really enjoyed working at the factory in Chico. It was simple mindless work that I excelled at. Since I was willing to put a tiny amount of effort into making great parts I was dramatically better at the job than the vast majority of the other workers… The boss was glad to have me… We made a lot of plastic parts for a COKE vending machine. To this day, whenever I see a machine I remember making every part with fondness. We also made brake shoes for a wheelchair and I kept one of those on my keychain as a reminder of why I didn’t want to work at the Factory all my life…

I was promoted to part time office manager and had to learn how to use the computer system that tracked production. I guess that’s what made me become interested in learning computer science and lead to my attending Humboldt State University in Arcata.

Chico has a very hot climate in the summer and Arcata is cool and rainy… My wife challenged me to find some way to escape the heat and I took Student loans from the Department of Education… and we moved.


wrote at an Amerindian Christian Tent Revival Meeting we attended.

The lyrics simply appeared in my mind full formed while playing the Father Drum.


Awaken the giant within…(E,F,F#,F)

Awaken the giant within…(E,F,F#,F)


Went down to the river (E,G,D,D*,D)

Went down to the sea (A,A*,A)

Drank deep of the water of life (E,G,D,D*,D)

and set my soul free,my soul free (A,A*,A,E,E)

Ya Way is the mountain

the ocean and the sea

may the four winds of the ancients

become one with thee,one with thee

…sing chorus here…

Ya-way,your way (E,G,D)

lead on mighty spirit (A,A*)

Ya-way your way

fill me with light

Ya-way, your way

the path is calling

Ya-way, your way

Rainbow warriors to the fight

Ya-way use me

make me a healer

Ya-way, use me

Big medicine is yours

Ya-way, use me

flowing waves of compassion

Ya-way, use me

My hands are your tools…

…sing chorus here…

The spirit of the buffalo (E,G,D,D*,D)

the spirit of the bear (A,A*,A)

teach us to live in balance (E,G,D,D*,D)

mother eARTh we will share, we’ll share (A,A*,A,E,E)

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

Direction (lyrics to a song I wrote for Victoria)

Wandering this world

Without direction we were lost

(I was)

We will build our life together

I can’t, we can

Now I found you

And you found me

Never, never, never, never

Go on a first date again

No more lonely nights

No more lonely days

Then there was us

What a wonderful phrase to say

Because you trust me

And I trust you

Thank you, Lord, for Victoria (gregory)

The clouds have lifted and

I can see our future

We will be us



During my second stay in Chico I enjoyed playing my guitar and singing on the streets and in the park downtown. Busking. Once I teamed up with a college girl and we performed on Main Street. We earned about $10.00 and I let her keep it. We performed “Witchy-Woman” by the Eagles and when she sang, I expected her head to spin around like Linda Blair did in The Exorcist. That song has a lot of lyrics that are simply… AAAAAOOOOOO!

I also performed at our AA meetings. While the meetings were in session I would be quiet but before and after the meetings I would lead group sing-a-longs. I had 3 spiral notebooks with the lyrics and chords to all my favorite songs and people would search thru them and make requests. Big Fun.

A friend from AA and I took lessons on how to play the drums from the Adult Education Department. We had classes in Paradise and a dozen students would play together. Some playing big drums, some playing small drums. We performed at a Farmers Market in Downtown Chico. After that performance the teacher wanted us to go pro and tour… The students had no interest in that so we disbanded.

We attended a 5 day Christian American Indian Tent Revival Meeting. It was called the 206 drum meeting because they had six Father Drums and 200 frame drums. I got to play the Father Drum (BOOM boom boom boom – repeat). Later on a song appeared in my head and I took my guitar out into a field at sunset and wrote it down. It’s very rare that I write a song but that meeting was inspirational. We got invited to this event because we became friends with a lot of Native Americans that were in our AA club. We also went to a Pow-Wow in Paradise and I got to dance. I had a set of sleigh bells that I strapped to my foot and “Danced those Bells” (infused the bells with spiritual power). Years later I used those bells to signal the end of the workday at my office job in Eureka. When I retired I gave the bells to a co-worker so she could ring them at 5 PM every day for the rest of time.

Once while performing “White Rabbit” on Main Street  a lady showed me how to do a flamenco strum to simulate the Military rhythm of the drums on the Jefferson Airplane Record… Big Fun learning while Busking.


This was written at a time that we were living in Chico California and were surrounded by a corral with 4 horses. We were also growing many plants including morning glory flowers that eventually got so tall that they climbed up to the roof of the little house. The tomato plants produced an abundance of food… quite a miracle…

Bm A D G

Planting, planting, planting seeds


May our garden grow…

Bm A D G

May God bless the earth and rain


And sprout the seeds I sow


And sprout the seeds I sow


G Bm

We’ve been tilling soil since the dawn of time


The fertile loam of home is nature most divine

G Bm

The lady with the hand upon the plow


is identical, then and now

Weeding, weeding, weeding weeds

feed ’em to the horses

may God bless the new-born foal

and teach it natures forces

and teach it natures forces

Riding, riding, riding steeds

just like long ago

May God bless the hay they eat

and set their eyes aglow

and set their eyes aglow

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

The concerts in the Park were my highlight of Summers in Chico. In general there are more guitar players per square mile there and the best play in the town square. People from AA and WREX plastics went every week and we had a good time dancing. Chico is famous for being a party town and every great party needs a “Keggar” Band. My favorite was the Jeff Pershing Band. He plays Positive Worldbeat Music.

I was working at a plastics factory and that was a great job for me to do while I was getting sober. My boss was a member of AA also. The work was simple. They trained you how to make a plastic part in about 10 minutes and then you had 8 hours to relax and do your work. My favorite part was the wheelchair wheels for a “Smarty” brand named wheelchair. This was satisfying work because people all over the world used our products… Those wheelchairs were loved by those who rode in them.

I was eating at the Jesus Center while I was a homeless person but the lady that ran the place told me that since I had started a JOB and could buy my own food, it was no longer Right for me to accept charity. Makes sense…

I wrote a song about my experiences called “Simple Treasures”. My time Dancing in the Mud at RFK Stadium at a Grateful Dead Concert… We had a torrential rainstorm with thunder and lightning.

Thank God for simple treasures

Thank God for rock and roll

An arena full of singing people
a blessed time to ease my soul
Dancing in the MUD
in a stadium
when I hear the drums
I know that I belong
the hammer on the gong
and the momentum
will reveal the truth
hidden for so long

Thank God for simple treasures
Thank God for my guitar
it has a magic healing power
(in order to live, I sing)
Dancing in the MUD
in a stadium
when I hear the drums
I know that I belong
the hammer on the gong
and the momentum
will reveal the truth
hidden for so long

Thank God for simple treasures
Thank God for my machine
I make another 30 wheels then,
take a rag and wipe it clean
In the factory
working all night long
making plastic wheels
until the break of dawn
“God bless this wheel
and all who ride upon it”


This lyric is about my time working at the plastic factory in Chico. We made wheels for wheelchairs. One day after work I was extremely stressed out about the miserable conditions I was working in and a wise lady suggested that I have Jesus bless each wheel and all that ride. I was handling hot plastic and working extremely quickly to fit tiny nuts into the wheel before the plastic cooled and the wheel shrank in size to be too small to fit the nuts. This basically meant that I was frantically rushing to fit 9 nuts into a wheel that was burning my fingers. She suggested the blessing as a stress reliever for me. Fortunately, my boss came to the realization that I was the wrong person for this particular product and never made me make that type of wheel again. I did become THE wheel maker of another type. I did continue to bless the wheels. I am an atheist but… WHY NOT BLESS THE WHEEL… Eventually I made thousands of wheels. A useful way to spend my time… *

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

In 2001, I started college at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California studying Computer Information Systems.  I originally wanted to get a degree in Computer Science but that major required TWO semesters of Calculus and was designed to study Hardware and I felt more interest in Software. I was a senior returning student as I was 47 years old. Most students were in their 20’s but three of us had gotten into AA and changed our lives around and had decided to attend college. I asked an AA member I knew in Chico how to get college loans and she taught me the system of applying for FAFSA online at the public library’s computers. I quit my job at WREX plastics.

When I started College I voluntarily stopped smoking marijuana. It’s really easy to quit. I realized that it would be impossible to learn computer programming and get stoned at the same time. I decided that learning was more important. Parts of the schoolwork was incredibly difficult to understand. Especially Oracle’s Structured Query Language. I had to take that class twice in order to pass it. Calculus was very difficult also. I managed to pass that class but never understood why anyone would want to use calculus ever. As it turned out, I never used calculus in any class or in real life. Someone said that without calculus the atom bomb and atomic energy would have been impossible to design. So maybe calculus is not just difficult but actually evil…

My experience with smoking tobacco shows the difference between drugs that are actually addictive and drugs that are not. Tobacco is addictive and it’s really difficult to quit because I felt pain when I did not smoke. With marijuana, I just wished I was stoned… I have a great sympathy for the people that took the Doctor Drugs and got addicted to painkillers… I meet a lot of them at my NA meetings.

It was easy to avoid Marijuana as a student in Arcata, California because everyone I knew was a student in the computer science department. In general, nerds don’t smoke dope. Arcata is in the geographic center of the illegal marijuana farms of the Emerald Triangle. Some say that 90% of the weed in the USA is grown in the North west corner of California. Humboldt, Mendocino, Shasta, Siskiou, Trinity and Del Norte counties are famous worldwide for Marijuana farming. Southwestern Oregon too. It’s the same locations that Bigfoot is said to inhabit.

Now that marijuana is legal in California, the underground economy of Humboldt County is undergoing a crisis. It used to be that a vast amount of cash came into the county due to the illegal farms… Now, that business model has changed… The last few decades have been difficult for the economy there. First, logging stopped when all of the really profitable trees were cut down. Lumber mills closed in Fortuna, Carlotta and Arcata. MAXXAM went bankrupt. Then the fishing industry fell on hard times because many of the fish had already been caught in the ocean. No work for fishermen when the catch is small. Now, with legal marijuana it makes more economic sense to grow it in vast plantations in the central valley. More sunshine, black dirt… The only reason people grew weed in remote mountain farms was to avoid the police. I grew tomatoes in Chico and that central valley dirt yields bountiful harvests…

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My wife and I moved from Chico to Eureka and she got a job as a data entry person at a health care company. We had difficulty finding an Apartment and had to live in The Budget Motel on Highway 101 for three months with our three cats. Eventually we moved into a small apartment behind a log cabin in Cutten. This building was on the edge of a second growth redwood forest. There were paths through the forest creted by dirt bike riders and it was possible to hike all the way to the Freshwater Valley (5 miles away).

I drove a little white truck on the old road to Arcata every day to go to school. It was a Chevy LUV Mikado (Isuzu Pup) that we bought for $1,000 in Chico from “The Well” (a prisoner rehab organization designed to help ex-cons rejoin society). Eventually I painted a giant blue heart with rays of red and white exploding out of it on the Hood of the Truck. Everyone smiled when I drove by and some people saluted.

School taught computer programming in the language C++ and SQL. At every turn we were encouraged to help ourselves by using Google to find tutorials about how to accomplish whatever task we were doing. The fundamental idea was that after graduation we would have to solve our own problems at work. We also learned JAVA, Javascript and HTML. Older students were encouraged to teach younger classmates as the experience of teaching really enforces the lessons learned. We built an online store. My friend Tom showed me how to create an animated GIF that showed all sides of a coffee cup by spinning the product around. Later Tom was employed at The Welfare Office of the County of Humboldt and helped get me a Job there.

After graduating in 2005 many students took computer science jobs in Locations far away from Eureka but I did not want to move as this location is IDEAL. A Cool and Rainy climate that never gets so cold as to have snow and never too hot. Living behind the “Redwood Curtain” it was difficult to believe that the rest of the world even exists. I could read about difficulties and troubles the outside world was having but often I simply turned the page. There was 9/11 and wars and hurricanes and racial difficulties but we simply didn’t participate. Arcata is a town that was mainly influenced by Hippies who grew marijuana, fishermen, loggers and the University.

One remarkable teacher is Dr. Eugene Novotny. He taught my “World Music” overview class and was the leader of the Humboldt Calypso Band (Steel Drums) and the Samba Parade. They would play the drums and march around town leading Mardi Gras Dancers. I often took pictures of the musical events and published them on the internet. We had many anti-war protest marches against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. At least one major march downtown on March 19th including a VERY LARGE protest BEFORE the Iraq War began. Actually, MILLIONS of people worldwide protested against that war before it started but Bush invaded anyway. History has shown that Bush was an Idiot and invaded the wrong country. Iraq had no ties to Al-Qaeda, No WMD and Nothing at all to do with 9/11. That was a Saudi-Arabian attack.

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I went to the Rainbow Gathering in Idaho, 2001, with a goal in mind. I wanted to play my guitar and sing in public. Yes, mission accomplished. Living in Chico, California and working at the plastics factory when there was a layoff, my wife suggested that I borrow the car and drive over to the gathering. My friend Mike Jensen wanted to go and so we checked the oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid and water and set out on a classic American road trip. We made it as far as Reno the first day and slept by the side of the road.

Normally I’m creepy about just pulling off and sleeping because there is the possibility of being hassled by the police but Mike soothed my fears and we spent an uneventful night there. Then on thru Nevada to Winnemucca and a turn North to get to Boise traveling thru the High Desert. Boise is a very beautiful town in a fertile valley. The directions printed from the website recommended going an extra 50 miles out of the way thru Sun Valley instead of taking the shortest route because the

road was supposed to be difficult to travel. We drove thru the Sawtooth Mountain Range (stunning beauty) and finally saw the tiny sign directing us to the Gathering.

About a mile down the dirt road, the car stopped running. All it needed was 15 minutes rest and it started right up. We had been traveling fast for hours and it was over whelmed by the demands i was putting on it. Many people drove by offering help. I was upset but Mike calmed my fears and sure enough it was fine.

Another 5 miles down the dirt road there was a fork with a sheriff… he directed us to the left and gave us a piece of paper telling us that it was an illegal gathering. Mike wanted to ask him a bunch of questions but I just wanted to go and avoid police contact… We found parking and walked in with our few belongings and set up camp. Went to sleep.

Mike was interested in finding “Serenity Ridge” (a 12 step AA/NA meeting-we met at Mom’s AA in Chico and were both interested in the program at that time) … and so the next day we started our search…

On a side meadow there was a sculpture made out of branches that formed two interlocking three sided pyramids. One with the pointy end up and one with the pointy end down. It formed a three dimensional star… Like the “Star of David”… On the path we saw “Dun Dun Village”. They were doing drumming and synchronized dancing.

I ran out of water and was getting really thirsty. Mike suggested that I ask the nearest people for help and “Just bliss out”… It so happened that the people not only had fresh clean drinking water and a glass, but the had herbal tea… I was very grateful… not only for the physical help I got but for the knowledge that my needs were going to be taken care of for the rest of the event… I gave myself permission to “just bliss out”…

Then we went to the main campfire and danced to the drums for hours… actually all night long… It was cold up there in the mountains of Idaho and we only had sleeping bags, no tent… If we left the campfire, it was uncomfortable, so, why NOT stay and enjoy the unique experience of 30


The next day I went over to the “Relaxation Station” near the entrance and sat there all day long. I played my guitar and sang for all the newcomers to the gathering. A man wearing a silly “Dr. Seuss” hat sat down with his guitar and I taught him how to play “Uncle John’s Band” by the Grateful Dead. We played it for a very long time… It seemed to him to have an odd chord sequence but after repeated instruction, we got it down. Fortunately, I had brought my hand written songbooks and the lyrics/chords to hundreds of classic rock/folks songs were in them… We had a fine time at “Relaxation Station” a place where newcomers were encouraged to stop and rest after their long journey… A lady was telling fortunes with Tarot Cards… we had beverages, food and anything else that a weary traveler could want… Grass, music and shade…

There was a fellow that was playing a trick on passers-by… he had a piece of foam that looked like a concrete block. he would ask the stranger to help him lift it because it was so heavy, then he would “accidentally” drop the block on their toe… They thought it was going to hurt them because it appeared to be a very heavy object, but it actually was very light… The “OH NO!’ experience turned into silly laughter when the passers-by realized the joke… He did this to about 15 people during the afternoon I spent there… ahh, simple minds easily amused by cosmic theatre…

The next day was July 3rd and I walked over to the main campfire… Playing my 12 string guitar and singing loudly to the assembled thousands of people. Mostly “Iko Iko”…

ONE DAY WE ALL NOTICED A GIANT RAINBOW IN THE SKY. IT WAS CAUSED BY ICE CRYSTALS IN THE CLOUDS BEING DIFFRACTED… My wife calls this phenomenon a “Sun Dog”… It stretched for over half of the visible sky and stayed there for hours. You could tell something was happening because the people in the meadow all of a sudden started pointing at the sky… In our campsite under the trees I could see the main meadow and saw hundreds of people spread out for a mile stop what they were doing and point…

The people camped next to us were 20 something years old and they had long involved conversations about their careers in computer businesses in the Midwest… they also talked about their body piercing and the trouble with infections/who to go do the piercing that had clean tools

etc. I sat with them for and afternoon and sang them songs. One of the fine things about having my handwritten songbooks is that the people I play for can select which songs to sing from the index. Often they would exclaim “That’s my favorite song!” and so we would sing it… It helps because they often don not know the words and can read them while we are singing…

I had to leave the gathering before the big July 4th celebration because my wife had bought tickets to a concert in Clear Lake, California. I took the shortcut road home and it was fine. The directions to the gathering recommended going the long way because of high winds… IF YOU ARE DRIVING A BUS WITH A VOLKSWAGON VAN WELDED ON TOP… But my little Honda car went smoothly.

I drove home alone and Mike stayed there at the gathering and found his own way home… as it turned out he stayed there for a month and got a terrible ride home in an old bus with bad brakes…

On the way home I experienced a light rain shower in the High Desert of Nevada. I stopped the car and walked around the in rain… It is so very rare to have rain in the desert so it was a happy time. I also watched fireworks as I was approaching Reno from the east.

Back at home we packed the car and camped out at a state park near Konocti Resort. Saw Dan Fogelburg and danced it the bar to a local band… Overall, a fine trip that was an unexpected blessing… I was so fortunate to get laid off at the Factory (for a week)…

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I got a BS degree in Computer Information Systems and immediately got hired at the County of Humboldt in the Welfare Department as an Eligibility Worker. Safe, Clean Work in an Office Cubicle. I One thing I learned at School was how to USE a computer and that’s what I did at work. I interviewed people applying for Food Stamps, Medi-Cal and Welfare and the typed their information into a computer system to determine IF they were eligible and for How Much. Often teenagers would travel across the country to work Trimming Buds at the Illegal Marijuana Farms… When the harvest is over, they all are laid off… Since this is an Illegal Business, often they were let go without getting paid MONEY for their labor but being paid with a big bag of weed… So these kids from Tennessee or Alabama were wandering around town stoned and lost and hungry… We got them a Greyhound Bus Ride Home.

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This is a description about my trip to The Rainbow Gathering in California 2004… I wrote this to help me remember…

What IS the Rainbow Gathering? To me, it is Woodstock with amateur musicians and I’m in the band…

Thousands of people go backpacking for a couple of weeks… Every year during the end of June and the beginning of July… The location is different every year but it is always in a National Forest… It’s an intentional temporary village…

Thousands of People chant OM. This photo was snapped just before I decided it was time to put away the camera and experience the event… Yes, it’s important to remember to LIVE LIFE instead of DOCUMENTING LIFE.

I made it to the 2004 rainbow gathering in beautiful Modoc National Forest of California. I got there July 1st before sunset and left July 6th in the morning. On July 1st, I hiked in a minimum distance and slept outdoors near the giant lava rock. At that point I was upset because I smelled burning clutch when I parked my mom’s car in the sagebrush. It turned out that the car in front of me was the source of the smell but I did not know that then. I drove over from Eureka and had a pleasant trip but I did drink 3 GIANT Pepsi-colas and was wired on caffeine and sugar…

I chatted with my fellow campers and we got along great. They told me the layout of the area and informed me about bears, cats and other local conditions. No problems with the animals. Then I went to sleep. I woke up and was cold and stiff from sleeping on the ground. It was a full moon and I walked all over looking at the sagebrush meadow. Another nap and then at dawn I went back out to the car and got supplies, more clothes, raincoat and water bottles. I walked back in and visited many campsites and chatted with locals… getting a clue about where it was all happening.

Got directions for a short-cut to the main circle… followed those directions and wandered around lost for a while…I really enjoyed the quaking aspen groves up on the mountain. I visited Bread of Life kitchen and listened to people blowing shofars and singing Christian sing along songs.

I visited a Jewish teach-in about the history of different tribes. On the main path, a dreadlocked man was playing bagpipes… including some Arabic harem music…Then I wandered down and stopped at Ram Dass’ tent. I spent 8 hours there. Many people came to chat with him personally but I never felt the urge to do that. This tent was on the main path and right next to the information booth so there was a constant flow of interesting people to look at. A couple set up a therapeutic massage clinic right next to me. They did a lot of healing and it was fun to watch people get better. We smoked some grass. They had a sign hung up advertising their massage clinic and many people stopped to ask me detailed questions about it. This turned out to be funny to me because I was just an innocent by sitter and had no official connection with them. And I didn’t know any of the answers to the questions… Some 20 year olds were next to me and they were loudly begging for “zuzu”. After an hour of listening to improbable stories about their time machine that ran on “zuzu” and their need to save their invalid aunt, I asked someone to tell me what a “zuzu” was. It turns out to be secret code for candy or chocolate… I had filled my backpack with LOTS of snickers bars and M&M candy to share with fellow campers so I threw a package of M&M’s at them and there was much cheering…

Then I went out behind Ram Dass’ tent to enjoy the sunshine and get away from the crowds. This was the first time that I had smoked marijuana in a year and I was feeling strange and kinda creepy… It appeared to me that I had smoked too much… I could see the giant tents way off in the distance and they looked like alien spaceships that had landed. I found out later that one was called “simply wonderful” and the other was a Hare Krsna tent.

I enjoyed the sunshine and the paranoid effects of the grass wore off…

The sun set (amazing colors) and I went into a wooded area and played fetch with a dog. There were a LOT of dogs this year and they ran around loose at night. This one brought a stick up to me and dropped it at my feet. We played for a very long time and after I was totally bored he still wanted to play. I kept on telling him that I was not going to play anymore and he kept on trying to get me to play. This experience of inter-species communication was very powerful to me. The grass made everything seem so intense and I had just read a book at school called “A Language Older than Words” by Derrick Jensen that was all about inter-species communication. My ecology class studied this book in detail. We would read a couple of chapters, write a page of analysis and talk about it in groups. So my experience with the dog was strangely significant. Later that night I was eating a stick of summer sausage and another dog came to visit. I fed him some of the meat and we had a good time dining together. He also wanted to stay and eat forever but I was able to get him to go away when I conclusively “proved” that there was no more meat. (I put it inside the backpack and he believed that since he could not see it, it was gone)…

Then I went down the trail in search of drums. This year, there were many drum circles- none could be considered the “main” one. I danced with some people playing a Hare KRSNA beat and waving glowing cyalume lightsticks. I had two super bright LED flashlights (tiny-keychain size) that I tied to a short piece of twine. I could spin them around and make circles of blue and green light. Big fun to dance with. I was slightly concerned about temporarily blinding people because they were so powerful… I also wore them as a necklace and they automatically lit up the trail right in front of me as I walked along. It made the forest look like an underwater scene… blue and green light bouncing around and mixing to form ever changing illumination. Then I visited a tent where a man was telling GURU stories about Hanuman and Lord KRSNA. There was a fire inside the tent and 20 people listening. It was warm, comfortable and I stayed there for a couple of hours.

Then I went to the “Chai-Tea” kitchen and played the drums until dawn. I had my TEAK STICKS and tapped out rhythms in complementary patterns. My wife bought me those teak sticks and they are very lightweight, extremely loud and simple to play. Tick, Tick… Tock… Tock-ta-tic-tic-tic….. I have found that it is possible to make a sound that is similar to a cricket and that makes me feel like I’m a part of nature that is playing in the band. I ran out of drinking water and was saved by a refreshing cup of tea. Truly a miracle. At that time I had not found the source of drinking water and was truly concerned about it.

Then the sun came up and it was time to sleep. Early morning campfire scene.

About noon, I went out to the car for supplies. On the way I stopped for a cup of coffee. VERY strong coffee. At the car I played guitar and sang for an hour. One person was getting stuff from his car and stopped to listen. He wanted to find hot springs near the gathering that he heard were really good. A friend of his just happened to be parked next to him (coincidental meeting? Celestine?) and he complained to her that the noise of the drums kept him awake all night. I confessed to being one of the drummers that interfered with his sleep… I did that! I made that noise… They went away together to find the hot springs (romance?)… I wandered way up on top of the mountain to find the bathroom. This gathering had a huge quantity of people and the tents seemed to go on forever. Eventually, after a very long walk I found the slit trench bathroom… Then I located a wonderful source of drinking water at the “Warriors of the Light” kitchen. I made my way towards the main circle where they were serving dinner but arrived too late. Not a problem because I had plenty of food, candy and water. I also had a large amount of tobacco and shared it with anyone that asked. I was attracted by the sound of the “marimba tent” and went up there for a while playing the teak sticks and a borrowed drum. I smoked a lot of grass for the entire rest of my time there. I did not have any more paranoid effects, just endlessly stoned. Especially the chocolate syrup topping that went onto breakfast waffles… heavily laced with grass…

I ended up playing the drums at the “DunDun Village”. I took some action photographs of the synchronized dancers. The all-female dance troop was so erotic that I did not take any pictures of them. They seemed so sexy that I felt that it would be impolite and voyeuristic to use a camera. I just respected their femininity by taking home memories instead of photographs. Eventually, I spent the night playing drums around a campfire there. They had fire dancers performing at night. They had torches doused with camp-fuel (white gas) that they spun around their heads. One performer accidentally set herself on fire and rolled around in the dirt to put it out. During breaks in their show, I did my LED dance of blue-green circles. Same dance as they did, but high tech. I got a positive reaction from the audience. “GO BLACK LIGHT MAN, GO !”

The word was passed around that the morning of July 4th was to be silent. No talking or drumming at all. Then the sun came up and it was time for sleep. I woke up July 4th in the late morning. I met a fellow that I had played drums with and felt compelled to sing him a song that I had learned the night before. The lyrics are: Om mane padme, Om mane padme, Om mane padme OM. (repeat) The jeweled lotus is blossoming, deep within our soul, The jeweled lotus blossoming is our highest goal. He thanked me for the song but reminded me that we should not talk that morning.

I wandered on down the path towards the main circle and ran into a person from Arcata. Bart Orlando from the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology. He was demonstrating his solar oven. We communicated using hand gestures and I walked over to the main circle. It was about 11:30 AM and we held hands and chanted OM for a half hour. I could not stand up for the entire time. It was a unique event. 16,000 people holding hands… Then a parade left “Kiddee Village”, the clock struck NOON and we all cheered. I had to find shade and relaxed under the quaking aspens near the Marimba tent.

A fellow gave me the last half of a marijuana cigarette but I had had enough. So the next group of people set down, and I gave it to them (two couples, about 40 years old). They thanked me but said “We won’t actually smoke that “shake” right now because our HASH is better”. They stayed for a long time and it was funny because the ladies got into a detailed conversation about home-loans and re-financing mortgage rates. One of the guys made fun of her for bringing in “Babylon ideas” to the gathering. Often the outside world is referred to Babylon… I guess that is a reggae/biblical reference to capitalism… We had a great time chatting in the shade.

They showed me a knife that was made out of a deer bone. It was sharp enough to serve as a letter opener, butter spreader or cheese cutter but it’s hidden significance was… no metal… easily smuggled  past metal detectors/xray equipment… The lady that owned the knife explained that she lived in a dangerous city and wanted it for self defense but refused to be hassled by police with metal detectors. I guess I will not be flying on an airplane any time soon since such a simple weapon can totally defeat homeland security efforts.

Some people walked by dressed up as cats on stilts…

An oboe player sat nearby and played middle eastern tunes.

Then we admired a lady that had a KORA. It is a west African 21 string harp used by storytelling singers. She was a tiny oriental lady with a lovely wrap around dress and BALLOON HAT.

I woke up and went to dinner at the main circle. We ate great vegetarian food and I put a dollar in the Magic Hat to help fund the Rainbow Gathering.

I relaxed near the giant rock outcropping and watched the sunset. The stars were especially bright that night. I saw the constellation Aries the Ram. (I THINK) I pointed it out to some people I was sitting with and we all could see the outline of a giant goat with curly horns standing on the top of the mountain. To find this constellation, follow an imaginary line made by the last two stars of the big dippers handle. They point directly at the Ram’s head. Also that night there was an electric parade… people walked by on stilts with their bodies outlined in lights… I spent the night at the Marimba tent.

Drumming at the Marimba tent… in the afternoon…

They had two marimbas (covered by blue cloths in above photo) and the leader would teach a volunteer how to play a simple bass line on one while he improvised on the other. They were not in use during the day of July 4th. That night, they were both played…

They also had a complete drum set with cymbals, violin, gypsy dancers, 10 conga drummers, acoustic guitar and ME on teak sticks. I was amazed at how loud the bass drum of a drum set is when you are sitting very close. It was like getting kicked by a mule in the chest.

A lady had a red LED flashlight and we both played with our lights on the white parachute that formed the top of the tent… wiggling the lights in time to the music… making a psychedelic light-show… her doing red, me doing blue and green…

mix all three and every color of the rainbow is possible… RGB…

At dawn, I went to the Warriors of the Light tent to get water and sleep. July 5th was spent walking out. I would walk a little, rest a lot, walk a little, rest a lot. I met a guy from Chico that said he was a mural painter and that he owned “The Palms”. (a large farmhouse in rural Chico that is a rock and roll/art commune) I showed him my computer art (prints of my websites) and we had a good time talking about our experiences in Chico.

He took the picture of me standing in front of the giant lava rock.

The fellow in the foreground of that picture offered to sell me some magic mushrooms but I declined. The other fellow has a grass pipe on a fishing rod that he dangles out onto the trail… hoping for someone to fill his pipe… “fishing for weed”

I spent some time near the “CALM” medicine tent and drew a pen and pencil sketch of it. They provide general medic services for free.

Then I walked out to the car and had dinner, played the guitar and slept soundly inside the car.

I listened to AM talk radio and ran the heater… It gets really cold up there at night. The next morning, I tried to drive away but the rear tire dug a big hole in the sandy dirt. STUCK! I jacked up the car and filled the hole with dirt, let the car down to compress the dirt, jacked up the car to add more dirt and eventually, was able to get out. We had to park in a field that was covered with sagebrush and very difficult to drive thru. Major hassle getting in and even worse getting out. Driving home I saw about 20 wild horses running free…

I drove home stopping only for a giant hamburger in Redding and a swim in the Trinity river. Many road construction delays and unbearable heat in the Trinity Alps. That dip in the river was so fantastic… I drank so much water I got high… So, how was your summer vacation?

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Bear Tales: Our family loved to go camping in the woods… and so, we met bears. Walk away backwards slowly and let them eat your Lunch.

We lived in Eureka on the edge of a forest that was about 5 miles to the next house. Many animals lived in those woods including bears, a fox, deer, raccoons and skunks. The only time I saw a bear was when I was standing in my kitchen looking out the window at the parking lot. The bear just walked slowly past and I was really glad to be indoors. That bear killed the neighbor’s dog. I assume that the dog was annoying and barking at the bear… that’s a mistake you don’t do twice.

We enjoyed the deer so much that we bought a salt lick at the feed store. The deer really loved it as not only did it have salt but it also had seeds to eat. We put it in the meadow next door to the house and that’s how we got to see the fox… In general, animals are afraid of humans but if you buy them Lunch… that’s a different story.

Once a skunk came into the house thru the cat door and hid behind the record player cabinet. I took a roll of Christmas Wrapping paper and poked the skunk and it left without spraying. LUCKY!

We had three cats and they were free to go outdoors at will. I became especially fond of Shasta the cat. He was a disobedient large male cat. I am a disobedient large male human so we got along great. When it came time to go to the VET he and I would wrestle and when I won I put him in the cat carrier. It was not obvious that I would win the fight.

When he got really old he became blind and during the last week of his life he would walk forward until he hit a wall then turn right or left and walk forward until he hit another wall. He repeated this blind walk for hours… I had to clean my room so that there were not any corners because in a corner he became stuck… turning right or left did no good in a corner. So I walked around the house throwing away trash and straightening us the clothes on the floor etc FOR HOURS! It was as if Shasta the Cat was doing his “Forever walk” and I too was on the same wavelength… Sometimes he would lie down and not move and so I sat down and looked at him and I did not move. I was retired from work at this time so I had all the time in the world to meditate with my friend.

Eventually he walked into a storage room and hid under a pile of clothes and did not move. I assumed that he was dead but I wasn’t so rude as to POKE him to find out for sure. A couple of days later he walked out of that room and continued his blind “Forever walk”… I figured that he had regained his health and so I went on a driving vacation to Chico. He died a couple of days later.

BUT, we had a very meaningful week together.

Shasta had a sister named Meadow that we got at work in Chico. Miss Vicki was working at United Healthcare as a Data Entry Operator and another employee had a litter. I was assigned the task of Naming the cats and I wanted to name them after the Native American Sacred Spring on Mount Shasta at Panther Meadow… Miss Vicki overruled the name Panther because one simply does not name a housecat – lion, panther, lynx, tiger – so they became Shasta and Meadow… Meadow is still alive.

I made a Youtube film of Shasta…

A family of raccoons lived under our house. Evidently the bathtub leaked and it was a good source of drinking water. They really freaked out Miss Vicki as they made a scary scratching sound whenever someone would go into the bathroom.

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When I got my job at the County Welfare office my wife bought me a  custom decorated coffee cup. She went shopping on the internet and found it at… Then she explained that people could create their own stores selling gifts decorated with original artwork or photographs. This was a wonderful lucky break for me as I have uploaded hundreds of images and sold products worldwide. It is extremely satisfying to be a successful professional artist. I also have made gifts for my own family that pleased them greatly. Dad loved the coffee cup with pictures of our family on it. He said he used that cup every day as it had a photo of mom. A pleasant dining partner.

I also write slogans for bumperstickers and buttons… That’s a good exercise of my mind. Writing Jokes… and I owe this wonderful hobby to Miss Vicki, who found Zazzle for me…

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I’ve been visiting the Kinetic Sculpture Race for many years. The Sculptures are whimsical art bicycles that race for three days over road, sand and water from Arcata thru Eureka and end in Ferndale. Some sculptures have as many as eight people providing foot power to drive them down the road. All are pretty works of ART!

Every time I take my camera and document themachines on my websites. My favorite location is the Manila Community Center. They have a big celebration there with live music, food, a jump balloon for the kids and food. The Sculptures Change their wheels from street tires to sand worthy. The next part of the race goes over sand dunes and on the beach. I’ve walked on the beach there during the race but it’s really exhausting so in recent years I’ve not gone there. My wife never wants to go out to events so for years I’ve taken photographs for her to enjoy when I get home.  There is a thrilling route down a big hill called “Deadman’s Drop” where the machines often crash. They also travel in the Humboldt Bay from one end of Eureka to the other… Using special wheels that function as paddlewheels and floats.

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After graduating from Humboldt State University I got a job at the Welfare Department of the County of Humboldt in the “General Relief” office. GR is cash payments to clients that do not have children. Families were served by a different department. GR is designed to help people that cannot help themselves. Typical clients included Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who were suffering from PTSD and found themselves homeless. We also served people recently released from prison. Some clients could not support themselves because they were disabled. We would help people pay rent and find a job.

Since I worked there for seven years I got to know many of the chronically homeless people in Humboldt County. A couple of my clients died. One man was always argumentative and annoying whenever he came into the office. He also had tattoos on his face. He was murdered a by knife wound to the stomach. What happened was that he was argumentative and annoying to a man who worked at a fish cannery and the man simply stuck him with his filet knife. Remember this, you can be an asshole at the Welfare office because we are being paid to serve the public but DO NOT try that lifestyle out there in the real world! The police solved the murder by watching all the surveillance cameras in Eureka at the time of the murder. Yes, my client was seen getting into a yellow Chevy at a gas station about ten minutes before he died. The police asked “Who drives a yellow Chevy?” and it turned out that a man that was already incarcerated at Humboldt County Jail on a different charge was the owner…

Another client died from overexposure to the weather. He was an old drunk who slept outdoors. A cool and rainy climate killed him.

A third client overdosed on Heroin. This fellow took advantage of our one way transportation program. Basically, if a client wanted to LEAVE Humboldt County and travel to ANYWHERE in the Continental United States where they had family or friends who would take them in… we would buy them a ONE WAY Bus ticket or gas for their car. It’s a very inexpensive solution to homelessness to simply ship a problem citizen somewhere else… and then that problem citizen is NOT OUR problem! Anyway, Robert was from The South and we gave him enough money to buy gas and food all the way from Eureka to Tennessee! So Robert drove to rural Humboldt County and bought enough Heroin to finally kill himself… He was supposed to drive all the way home but instead he just got high… and it was a ONE WAY ticket to the morgue.

We did have some successes. We were very good at sheltering battered women. We introduced our clients to employees of the State Employment Office. They would find jobs and help with transportation to interviews. We also made arrangements for people that had lost their Photo ID to get a CAL-ID card. An ID card is required for every job. If a person loses their wallet (for example: if they were mugged), they have great difficulty getting a new ID card because they have no money or proof of US Citizenship. We also assisted people that were applying for Social Security Disability. We would provide food and shelter during the LONG and involved process of getting SSDI. Usually it would take a client OVER a year to qualify. The federal government makes it extremely difficult to get paid in the hopes that applicants would simply give up…

Many of our clients couldn’t work due to mental illness. We had our own psychologist who could verify if the client was actually mentally ill or if they were just faking it in order to get Welfare Benefits. Our psychologist was a charming and sympathetic person and she was very helpful to me while my Father was dying… If a client couldn’t work due to physical health problems they were required to go visit a doctor and get verification. Most clients had Medi-Cal insurance paid fo by the State of California and Food Stamps paid for by the Federal Government. Often the task of attending a free doctor’s appointment was too much for my clients. That required a client to be aware of time and space. A doctor’s appointment is at a specific location at a specific time… and for people applying for Welfare… they just can’t do it. Lost in Time and Lost in Space… We did have social workers that rounded up clients that were in remote locations and would bring them to the office to attend appointments. Fundamentally, it was cheaper for the Taxpayers of the State of California for these people to receive General Relief than it was to Incarcerate them… And many clients spent large parts of their lives incarcerated.

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Bear Tales: Our family loved to go camping in the woods… and so, we met bears. Walk away backwards slowly and let them eat your Lunch.

We lived in Eureka on the edge of a forest that was about 5 miles to the next house. Many animals lived in those woods including bears, a fox, deer, raccoons and skunks. The only time I saw a bear was when I was standing in my kitchen looking out the window at the parking lot. The bear just walked slowly past and I was really glad to be indoors. That bear killed the neighbor’s dog. I assume that the dog was annoying and barking at the bear… that’s a mistake you don’t do twice.

We enjoyed the deer so much that we bought a salt lick at the feed store. The deer really loved it as not only did it have salt but it also had seeds to eat. We put it in the meadow next door to the house and that’s how we got to see the fox… In general, animals are afraid of humans but if you buy them Lunch… that’s a different story.

Once a skunk came into the house thru the cat door and hid behind the record player cabinet. I took a roll of Christmas Wrapping paper and poked the skunk and it left without spraying. LUCKY!

We had three cats and they were free to go outdoors at will. I became especially fond of Shasta the cat. He was a disobedient large male cat. I am a disobedient large male human so we got along great. When it came time to go to the VET he and I would wrestle and when I won I put him in the cat carrier. It was not obvious that I would win the fight.

When he got really old he became blind and during the last week of his life he would walk forward until he hit a wall then turn right or left and walk forward until he hit another wall. He repeated this blind walk for hours… I had to clean my room so that there were not any corners because in a corner he became stuck… turning right or left did no good in a corner. So I walked around the house throwing away trash and straightening us the clothes on the floor etc FOR HOURS! It was as if Shasta the Cat was doing his “Forever walk” and I too was on the same wavelength… Sometimes he would lie down and not move and so I sat down and looked at him and I did not move. I was retired from work at this time so I had all the time in the world to meditate with my friend.

Eventually he walked into a storage room and hid under a pile of clothes and did not move. I assumed that he was dead but I wasn’t so rude as to POKE him to find out for sure. A couple of days later he walked out of that room and continued his blind “Forever walk”… I figured that he had regained his health and so I went on a driving vacation to Chico. He died a couple of days later.

BUT, we had a very meaningful week together.

Shasta had a sister named Meadow that we got at work in Chico. Miss Vicki was working at United Healthcare as a Data Entry Operator and another employee had a litter. I was assigned the task of Naming the cats and I wanted to name them after the Native American Sacred Spring on Mount Shasta at Panther Meadow… Miss Vicki overruled the name Panther because one simply does not name a housecat – lion, panther, lynx, tiger – so they became Shasta and Meadow… Meadow is still alive.

I made a Youtube film of Shasta…

A family of raccoons lived under our house. Evidently the bathtub leaked and it was a good source of drinking water. They really freaked out Miss Vicki as they made a scary scratching sound whenever someone would go into the bathroom.

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My dad took a bus ride with the senior center to visit me, The Bear River Casino and the Lolita Cheese Factory. It was one of the last visits we had. We met at the casino near Eureka (where I lived) and I drove him around in my Ford Windstar Van. It was a great visit and we had long chats by the fireplace at the Casino… A good ending to a long and involved life. He was proud that I was sober, employed, married and taking care of myself.

During the last few years of my working at the County of Humboldt, I really got into playing Farmville on the computer… My job was stressful and depressing and it was wonderful to go visit a totally artificial world… Actually, it reminded me of the legendary “Perky Pat Layouts” of the Philip K Dick Story “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch”.  Total Escape from my Bleak Life…

I kept that job for 7 years until my Dad died. Then I inherited money and a house in Eureka and did not have to work. I had my pension from the County, Social Security and a Trust Fund. I spent a lot of time driving around and visiting the western United States. Including a trip to Beautiful Utah for a Rainbow Gathering (10,000 hippies camping in the woods – big bonfires every night) and a Trip to Seattle Washington to eat the Cannabis Cookies, drink powerful coffee and ride the Monorail to the “Experience Music Pavilion” next to the The Space Needle. There were custom made musical instruments designed to be payed by visitors to the museum. An array of tubular bells that were whacked by a pool ball whenever a tourist wanted… random noise? or abstract soundscapes…

One thing I really  wanted to do when I retired was to become free from time. Sleep when I was tired, awake when I’m rested. Do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it… I’ve spent a lifetime under time slavery. Get to work ON TIME. Stay there until QUITTING TIME. Pay the rent ON TIME… etc etc etc… Well, as a retired person I found that the Internet was open 24 hours a day and Taco Bell was open 24 hours a day and WINCO foods was open 24 hours a day… So I totally lost track of time. When I looked out the window sometimes I didn’t know if it was Dawn or Sunset… I was really interested in doing art on the computer and blogging my opinions and travel pictures… I did notice that after midnight many people online were living in Europe and about dawn the Australians appeared. In the morning people from the East Coast of the United States joined the conversation… I did have one task a week. I had to take out the garbage every Thursday night so they could pick it up Friday Morning. The bins were located right in front of the house and I had to go up 5 steps to reach street level. No problem until the time I slipped and fell backwards and hit my head on the concrete. It was raining and I was holding onto the handrail as I pulled the bin up the stairs… After that I moved the location of the garbage bins to street level on the side of the house. Lucky Me… No Brain Damage!

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Marijuana Tourism – my trip to Washington State, The Space Needle, The Experience Music Pavilion and then Oregon.

As legalization spread across the USA I wanted to experience LEGAL weed as soon as possible. When I retired from work I did a lot of driving around sleeping in the back of my VAN… I was like a turtle with my home on my back.

First I drove to Utah with my friend Mike Jensen to attend the Rainbow Gathering…

Since I had time on my hands and money in my pocket… it was a perfect opportunity to go camping with 10,000 hippies in the woods.

I drove my Ford Windstar Van with the bed in the back to Chico and picked up my friend “Rainbow” Mike Jensen. We drove for two days to thru Nevada and Utah to Salt Lake City where we went shopping for groceries. The clerks were very helpful and in General the Mormon People were kind to us. I drove past Park City and turned off the main road just before Heber City. I had gotten the driving directions from the website and we traveled a long way on dirt roads into the Utah wilderness. I parked in a field and we relaxed for a day in order to get acclimated to the high elevation. A camper who parked next to me was complaining that he had forgotten to pack Bungee Cords and he was upset as that was an essential part of his backpack. I had a few extra that I gave him and in his gratitude he gave me some Marijuana. I was at the gathering for 5 minutes and already stoned.

Mike was excited about going to the main part of the gathering and he packed up his backpack and hiked down the trail. I wouldn’t see him for 3 days. I spent the night sleeping in my van on the mattress. The next day I simply relaxed in the parking lot and enjoyed the sunshine. Then I packed my own backpack and walked on down the trail. I did not take my camera as it was low on batteries and Mike had my batteries in HIS backpack. It was exhausting to hike due to the 9,000 foot elevation. I only made it half way to the Welcome Home Tent on the first day. I did take a blissful ride in the back of a pickup truck with a pile of other campers thru the sunny forest… Then I camped out in a location that had many mosquitoes… not a lot of fun… I put my sleeping bag over my head to prevent getting bitten and endured the night.

The next day I walked on down the trail resting often… Including next to the campsite of the Lady Nicknamed “Hitler” who was drinking a lot of booze and loudly arguing with everyone… Eventually she would be arrested by the police for stabbing another camper with a knife… I walked on by without talking to her and arrived at the “Welcome Home Kitchen”. I would stay there for two days and nights… smoking weed, singing songs and Tending the Campfire…

I was given the opportunity to focus my attention. Here is what happened…

While at the Welcome Home Kitchen, the Fire Tender wanted to go to another kitchen and trade a cooler filled with coffee for pizza. He asked if someone would watch the fire while he was gone. SOMEONE had to be there… I volunteered. I Said “I’ll be here. I’ll be the responsible adult. I can do that, I have done that.”

he said “Great” and Left with the cooler filled with coffee.

So I took over and made sure we didn’t burn down the forest. I also collected wood, placed it carefully on the fire arranging the logs so that they would burn without causing a lot of smoke AND I invited arriving people to help themselves to a cup of coffe or clean drinking water… and to take a break and relax around the fire.

This is a classic way to focus attention as the placement of logs on the fire is very similar to Zen Gardening with sand…

So, during this time… I asked for a Really Big Idea… I had attended Rainbow Gatherings before and I wanted each visit to be different. It’s pointless and boring to keep on repeating experiences… so, this time I wanted to get a really big Idea…

and here it is: A SolarFire powered Desalinization Machine. Use a driftwood fire to power a steam engine. Use the force from the steam engine to drive a water pump. Pump seawater thru a pipe in the fire and into a long black pipe with a reflector that focuses sunlight on the pipe. When the water boils, it expands in volume… at the end of the pipe, steam will be billowing out with a great deal of force. Use that force to drive an electricity generating turbine. Collect the steam and let it turn back into a liquid… The result is Pure H20, NaCl and Electricity… all valuable and sellable.

Clean safe drinking water is a big problem. We could use the collected steam for drinking, bathing, livestock, gardens… AND making Ice for a really great Scotch on the Rocks.

To make this pracital, the location of the machine would need to be near a big pile of driftwood. On Agate Beach in California, I have seen a pile of driftwood that covers the entire beach for about a half a mile… In other locations, use watever resource is available. For Example: In Saudi Arabia it would make more sense to burn oil or gas…

So, during my meditation I Got my really big idea…

Later, the fire tender returned and his mission to get pizza was successful.

Much later I was sitting by the fire and another Rainbow Gatherer approached… He said mockingly: “Have you been sitting in that same spot for two days?” Which was true, I did spend a couple of days at the Welcome Home Tent.

I replied: “No, I also worked as the fire tender… That gave me an opportunity to Focus My Attention… [said slowly] Focus… My… Attention… ”

The fire tender was listening and he nodded with understanding… Later we ended up hanging out together and he was a fine fellow… He was also very interested in being in the Cleanup Crew… I assume he got paid a lot in valuable stuff left behind.

Long ago I was playing the drums with some Buddhists at an anti-war protest march… I asked them why we were playing such an odd rhythm… They said that it requires that you Focus Your Attention… It’s true… That experience was quite different than bang out a 4/4 on the big bass drum… I also did that at the same protest, our goal was to get George Bush the Father to remember that we didn’t LIKE his war… and there were people playing the drums 24 hours a day in Lafayette Park to remind him… His only choices were to listen or flee…

We walked from the Welcome Home Kitchen to camp at The Big Shady Spot at Main Meadow. At high elevation, sunburn is a major problem so our campsite was the very best!

A group of musicians were relaxing in the shade and I played my harmonica. I actually lead the group doing the song “You Are My Sunshine”. A six year old girl was demanding the attention of the adults and I played that song for her, everyone else sang along… Big Fun…

I saw a group of people congregating in the Smaller Shady Spot at Main Meadow and I wondered… “What are those people doing?” Then they all came over to our campsite… A Lady asked me if she could teach a healing seminar at our location… I said “SURE, have fun. I was wondering what the crowd of people was for, and was considering walking over there but you came over here…” and she said: “Sometimes Mohammad goes to the Mountain and sometimes the Mountain Comes to Mohammad.” Her name is Sonya Sophia and she taught a seminar of Self Help – Accupressure. We put pressure on locations of out body by tapping lightly with our fingers while she told us reassuring statements and we would all repeat what she said… Like: “I Love and Respect Myself.” It was a good seminar and I enjoyed it so much that I took her business card and attended once a week internet sessions.  Here is a link to a youtube video of her teaching at a Rainbow Gathering…

That night I attended the GIANT BONFIRE and danced. Some campers brought a laser lightshow.

I tried to get the people to play along with the Drumming Beat [Boom, Boom, Chick] from Queen’s “We Will Rock You” but no one wanted to play that beat… Everyone liked “Jingo” by Carlos Santana…

When it was time to leave I found that Mike had mover the Van to a much closer location. Thank You Mike! I never got acclimated to the high elevation and hiking was exhausting.

He also volunteered me as an ambulance driver to take two teenagers to the hospital at Heber City. When we arrived, we took the girl to the nurse and then delivered the couple to the Salt Lake City Airport where her uncle had a ticket home waiting for them… They basically had taken too many psychedelic drugs and were tired, lost, broke and needed some help.

Mike spent some time reading out loud from the book “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand at the gathering and in our motel rooms.

~~~~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~~~~

After we were done with that I took a drive to Washington State to experience the Legal Weed. On the first visit I was unable to find any… I asked some local kids and asked for directions but there were very few stores and they were often closed…

On the Second Trip I picked up a hitchhiker who had some hash oil and he gave me some as a thank you gift for picking him up in the rain… Later I decided to go home and attend the Kinetic Sculpture Race at home but… and this is a big but… I smoked some hash oil… then I got onto Highway #5 and   I accidentally put the van into gear #2 and turned on the radio… When I hit 70 miles per hour the transmission exploded and then the engine caught fire… OOPS! I pulled over to the side of the freeway and said the Serenity prayer… I walked down the freeway and over to a Lumber Mill. The security guard called me a tow truck and I was towed to a motel…

I had the van towed to an auto repair place where they said it would cost $8,000 to repair my Ford Windstar. I paid $3,000 to buy it used so I decided it was Uneconomical to repair… Eventually I gave it to the Humane Society as a donation to help animals.

I did not allow this disaster to interfere with my vacation. I rode the AMTRAK to Seattle, Bought and ate TWO Marijuana Cookies, drank some of that rocket fuel coffee and rode the Monorail to the Space Needle and the Jimi Hendrix Experience Music Pavilion. (also a Nirvana Museum) Both musicians lived near Seattle. They had a musical instrument for tourists to play… It was 20 Tubular Bells that random people could whack with pool balls hung from a wire. VERY popular with children. I loved it too.

Then I rode the Monorail to downtown Seattle Business District and arrived at Quitting Time on a Sunny Friday afternoon. The first big weekend of Spring. I was impressed with the JOY of the office workers and the BEAUTY of the Secretaries. One effect of a heavy Cannabis Dose is that it makes women appear more beautiful… I really had to piss and was in the center of the city with no public bathrooms… so I peed my pants… I didn’t care.

I stayed at motels for a few weeks and walked, rode the train, rode the bus and taxi and eventually got home. Quite a tricky walkabout. I enjoyed the friendship of kids in Centrailia, Washington… Great People! Then I bought another Van for $3,000…

I wanted to not only experience LEGAL WEED but I wanted to Vote with my Money and reward Washington State politicians who voted for Legal weed. The next year Oregon legalized Marijuana, Then Nevada and California… Soon… the entire USA.

Then the State of Oregon legalized Marijuana and I spent 7 months VERY stoned. I Ended up at a Mental Hospital with Cannabis Psychosis and after 15 days got released to an Old Folks Home near Sacramento where I have lived for a year and a half. That’s where I am right now.

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

Reefer Madness is Real. I stayed stoned continuously for a month AFTER I STOPPED SMOKING. Something to be aware of now that Cannabis is Legal and you can buy as much as you want… When the Great State of Oregon legalized Marijuana I drove north every other week and bought an ounce. I did that for seven months during the winter of 2016… I smoked about a pound total… Then I decided to take a driving vacation in the spring and I left the marijuana at home. I didn’t want to risk having an ILLEGAL drug in the Van while driving around California and Nevada. What I failed to realize was that my body contained enough THC to impair my ability to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. For Example: I believed that I won $10,000 in a casino playing a slot machine… I really won a few HUNDRED dollars but in my imaginary paradise I was confused. Then I came to believe that the owner of the Casino was angry at me for winning so much money… In retrospect, Mr John Asquaga probably didn’t have any opinion at all about me… I got all worried about nothing!

Yes,  it’s true that this was a beautiful driving vacation… I left Eureka, California on a bright sunny day and drove first to The College of the Redwoods. During that seven months of continuous smoking I had lost about a hundred pounds of weight. For some odd reason, Marijuana did not make me hungry but was actually an appetite suppressant… Go Figure… At that time I was also eating Caffeine/aspirin/acetaminophen pills and smoking tobacco. I find that for the first hour after smoking I don’t feel like eating because I’m sort of queasy… During this time I smoked a puff or two EVERY HOUR and so I didn’t eat except once a day at bedtime…

At the college of the Redwoods I enjoyed kicking a soccer ball around with some students… Since I had lost so much weight I enjoyed running… I had a Spring to my Step… Lighter than Air… Then a fat security guard came over and kicked me off campus because I wasn’t a student. I told him I was an ALUMNI and he insisted I leave. I got angry and ridiculed him for being fat and uneducated… HE wasn’t an Alumni… He was a FAT FUCK and couldn’t catch me because I could run faster than he could… I ran rings around him and then Left… Why stay at a place I wasn’t wanted? Those Caffiene pills shorten my fuse and I’m not very tolerant of mindless vegetables.

Then I drove south and picked up a couple of Hitchhikers in Fortuna and we drove over the amazing route 36 to Red Bluff. 36 is a twisty mountain road thru the Redwood Forests of rural Humboldt County. Then I let him drive and we went to Los Angeles via highway 5. On “The Grapevine” the CHP were creating a “Rolling Roadblock” so people would not drive too fast. The week before there was a horrible auto accident with many cars crashing so the CHP actually stopped traffic when we were traveling. The CHP trucks were driving back and forth across all four lanes while we were parked. It seemed to me like the trucks were dancing… like a square dance… You don’t see THAT every day of the week!

~~~~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~~~~

this next section covers the same subject as the last section… editing needed to avoid repetition.

~~~~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~~~~

I have experienced Cannabis Psychosis. I saw things that were not there but I believed that they really existed.

I experienced events that did not happen. That made it difficult to make smart decisions. Californians ought to be aware that it is possible to smoke too much dope. It took my smoking about a pound of Oregon Legal over a 7 month period for me to experience Psychosis. [I was also drinking coffee and smoking tobacco.] Yes, it’s FUN to see some things that are not there, Like a cat about the size of a German Shepard Dog. Meow! However… I neglected to file my income taxes… etc. etc. etc.

I stopped smoking when I went on a driving vacation and didn’t want to be in possession of an illegal substance while camping out in my van. I remained stoned for about a month due to having so much THC in my system. It was a great trip and I saw many beautiful parks and deserts in Southern California and Nevada. We were driving over “The Grapevine” and the highway patrol created a rolling roadblock to slow down the traffic. They actually forced us all to stop completely by driving back and forth across all the lanes of the freeway… I thought the CHP Car was dancing. Quite an interesting event to observe amplified by my THC enhanced brain… The combination of my being retired from work, having money in the bank and the Legalization of Marijuana in Oregon allowed me to simply take too much. Oregon was 100 miles from home and I bought an ounce a week… The stores rate and price their weed by quantity of THC per gram. I tended to buy the strongest stuff available… I went to the hospital to have an infected blister on my foot treated and they tested my blood and urine… I still tested positive for THC after not smoking for a month.

I started smoking marijuana in 1969 at age 14. I’ve smoked off and on my whole life. However I realized that I had to quit smoking while I was studying computer science at Humboldt State University. I believe that it would have been impossible to do my homework while stoned… So I quit for 4 years… In Arcata, the geographic center of illegal marijuana farming in Northern California. Marijuana is not addictive like tobacco is but it still has risks associated with it. One risk to be aware of is being arrested for driving a car while stoned.

I did a scientific study of playing chess while stoned on various drugs. I owned a chess computer that would allow me to play at different skill levels. I concluded that I played at a higher level when I drank coffee and a lower level on Marijuana and alcohol. On LSD I refused play at all as the entire test seemed absurd.

Cannabis does have entertainment value. Rock concerts are more enjoyable while stoned. One time I went to an Allman Brothers concert during a time when there was no marijuana available and the music seemed too loud and the guitar solos were pointless and too long. Sex is more pleasurable when stoned. Food tastes better. In general, all experiences are more fun. Reading a Science Fiction Book while stoned is astonishing as every page has a mind blowing revelation or plat twist. Of course, the author intentionally designed the book to twist your mind. Mission Accomplished!

Marijuana is not addictive in the sense that it does not cause pain when a person stopped using it like tobacco does. However, given a choice, I prefer to be stoned all day every day. Smoking at dawn and taking another puff whenever I feel like the effects are wearing off. During my 7 month smoke-a-thon with Oregon Legal I lost about 100 pounds of weight. Strange effect. I believe that the weight loss happened because during the first hour after smoking, I felt queasy and did not feel like eating. Since I was smoking at least once an hour, I did not experience the munchies. After I went to the mental hospital I stopped smoking marijuana and have gained all that weight back and more. Deep Sigh…

During the time I was smoking marijuana heavily, the number of visitors to my blog went up dramatically. Google provides statistics about how popular my words of wisdom are. I was writing what I call “Absurdist Fiction” and posting a lot of travel photographs/descriptions. I also figured out how to “GAME” the Google Search Engine Algorithm… My Blog uses keywords describing my posts individually.  For Example: If I write a post about Traveling to Oregon, I write a dozen words that describe that blog post. I found a way to copy and paste ALL of those keywords into a single blog post. Therefore the content of that blog post would rate high on almost any Google Search.

That technique no longer works as Google probably fixed the search algorithm to ignore that “Hack”.

Anyway, I believed that the reason my blogs popularity had increased dramatically was that I was writing better when stoned. Just like The Beatles became Super Popular when the started recording records like Sargent Pepper… Yes, it’s true that I came up with more and better ideas while stoned.

BUT… the vast majority of my increase in visits was due to that one trick I played on Google.

After I got out of the mental hospital I quit smoking marijuana and have not had any great ideas since. SO, I have been writing my Autobiography instead. Typing what I did in the past instead of creating the future. By the way, I’m really glad that Marijuana has become legal in California because freedom of choice is great. It’s not the right drug for me but the last thing anyone needs is going to jail. We ought to legalize Marijuana Nationwide! Reduce spending on Law Enforcement while increasing VOLUNTARY taxes… AND… Release all the Cannabis Prisoners.

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

I suffered an adverse reaction to Lithium when I was in a mental hospital. It increased my Paranoia and I became suspicious of my Doctor.

The chemical made my emotions more intense. For Example: A scary movie on TV became unendurable and I had to flee the room. I believed that the social workers were NOT on my side but were trying to keep me in the hospital (even though there was nothing wrong with me) just so they would have a large quantity of patients. As if they were commissioned salesmen paid by the head… That could be true but it’s unlikely. Yes, it is true that they justify their paychecks because they have enough patients to treat. Yes, it is true that there is no incentive to cure a patient. However, I have faith that mental health professionals in general are trying to help people. Under the influence of Lithium they all exhibited suspicious behavior. I felt that in order to be released from the hospital I ought to follow orders and do what I was told to do by the Doctors no matter what the side effects were. I imagined that they were all like Nurse Ratchet from “One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest”. After 15 days I was released because (surprise, surprise) I did not have any mental health problems.

If you find yourself being prescribed Lithium, I recommend that you question if it is appropriate for you. It’s unlikely that the Doctor will continue to prescribe a medicine that is causing damage to the patient. Yes, it is true that some Doctors are evil but I believe that the majority are attempting to do good.

Under the influence of Lithium every song on the radio seemed to be written for specifically for me and the lyrics showed unbelievable insight into my life. I would burst into tears over classic rock songs and get all choked up. Yes, it is true that some of those ballads ARE filled with meaning but… I felt like I was experiencing the same level of emotional revelations that one does reading Haiku on LSD. You know that AHA! feeling… Hey, maybe Lithium is good for you but… Think for Yourself and Question Authority…

The reason I was committed “5150” was that I was experiencing a Cannabis Psychosis. The effects of the marijuana wore off when I stopped smoking it. The entire trip to the hospital was an error. A member of my family thought it was a good idea to have me introduced to the Butte County Mental Health Department but it was not.

Word is out “on the street” that if you are having mental health problems, the LAST place you want to go is Butte County Mental Health in Chico, California.

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

My life in Orangevale at the Senior Citizens home is quite similar to “The Matrix” movie. I’m basically on “life support” with Satellite TV and the Internet to create my artificial paradise. All my needs are met by caregivers… they shop and cook food, give me my Doctor pills, drive me to appointments and NA meetings and my brother pays all the bills out of a trust fund set up by my father. I stay at home most of the time… I have not touched money in over a year… One thing I read on a RAM DASS website was that “a saint does not touch money”… an old person with power of attorney doesn’t either…

Starting in 1997 I have been creating websites to display my Words of Wisdom and original Art created on the computer. I started by visiting the San Jose public Library and using the free public computers. I built websites on Yahoo Geocities… Other patrons at the library taught me how to code…

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

Comparative Religions: So Many Different Gods… Many Loudly Proclaiming that THEY are the One True God. Absurd!

I, like 100% of the people on Earth HAVE NO CLUE if God is real or not. Some people state that they know… but they are just deluding themselves… I don’t mind them deluding themselves, but if they Kill people that are of different Religions… They are Crazy and Dangerous.

I do pray… I may not believe in God but what if God believes in me? I often send prayers for good health to the people who are sick. If God is Real, he reads my email… and the people who get the email feel better…

I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior in 1976. If Christianity turns out to be the correct Religion, I’m Saved! I was living with my first ex-wife and she was interested in me becoming a Baptist and I was interested in sex with her so… I went forward at a meeting, accepted Christ, joined the choir and then got bored with it all… we rarely attended. I did like Communion… It’s a make believe Vampire, Cannibal Cult! Pretend to drink a persons BLOOD and Eat a persons BODY… OOOH! That’s Creepy! But FUN!

However, I much later I did become addicted to crack cocaine and when I wanted to stop I went to a Baptist Church and gave my addiction to Jesus, and never smoked crack again. That evening I went to the Pink Floyd “concert” called “Welcome to the Machine” and that helped also because it gave me something to distract my attention while I was suffering thru the withdrawal symptoms. Another time I went to the Presbyterian Church founded by Annie Bidwell in Chico and prayed that God would find my friends a JOB… and later that week both Manuel and Victoria were employed. A miracle…  Not only that but if I ever stub my toe or hit my thumb with a hammer I shout out JESUS!

When I joined Alcoholics Anonymous I was introduced to the concept of a “Higher Power” helping me with my addiction. The “Higher Power” that worked for me was The “Group of Drunks” an acronym GOD… We were supposed to seek guidance thru prayer and meditation. However I always got Nothing from Prayer or Meditation. ZERO. The Group did help and I stopped drinking alcohol. Remember, Bill Wilson invented Alcoholics Anonymous while tripping on Belladonna and Henbane. Both POWERFUL Hallucinogens. He saw the “White Light” and had a vision of God. Me TOO! Me TOO! LSD, DMT, Peyote and Magic Mushrooms all give you a vision of God. I do like AA so Bill’s Trip was a great help to mankind.

If the Hindus or Buddhists are right I’m set to reincarnate as a human or better because I’ve lead a good life. I have NOT killed any people but have eaten a few hamburgers… I love Bacon too… Oh Well… Maybe I’ll come back as a Cow… and then a Hamburger myself…

If the Mormons are right, I’m not in luck. I liked meeting the Mormon people in Utah, they were very friendly and helpful but I just can’t believe that God is an Extraterrestrial… Moroni from a star in the constellation Orion… Not very likely to be true.

However, maybe the “Ancient Alien” theorists are right. There sure is a lot of really strange evidence of Alien Visitation… For Example: Why did Mexicans, Cambodians and Egyptians all build Pyramids? What is their purpose? Did they have Alien Help?

If Islam is correct I’m screwed… But then, their Religion JUST SUCKS.

I like THOR… Valhalla I am coming. Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song”

I have a few members of my family that are Jewish and I think that on Judgement day they will let me in. I’ve been nice to them and that’s important in a world where some people put them in gas chambers and kill them.

Of COURSE, Gaia makes a lot of sense. I can really relate to the fact that all plants and animals are brothers and sisters… I really GROK this idea when I’m in a Redwood Forest. I lived on the edge of a second growth forest for 15 years and I “owned” a specific tree in Eureka. I sat on it daily and smoked cigarettes… I sat on it more often that anyone else so it’s MY TREE and I’m It’s Human. I will share that tree with our cat Meadow as she liked it too.

Then there are the Goddess Religions… Thankfully, I’ve met a couple of Goddesses and I sure am glad. One was nicknamed “Nature Nurse”. She became my Second Ex-Wife.

Another was Ja-Kay R. from Chico. We played the drums in a band in Paradise, California  and performed “Miserlou” at the Farmers market in downtown Chico. A beautiful Blond Nordic Goddess.

Another was a GURU/Teacher named Sonya Sophia who lead a group healing seminar at the Utah Rainbow Gathering. I also bought admission to her weekly internet sessions where we studied “Tapping” a self-help Acupressure technique… I did that for about a year and learned as much as she could teach. “I Love and Accept Myself”

Rastafarians? Sure, I’ve smoked a lot of reefer… I can play reggae music… it’s got ONE CHORD! Easy but I find it boring even when I’m stoned. Cannabis Psychosis is REAL. If you smoke every day you remain stoned even if you don’t smoke… You stay stoned for about a month… and I saw things that were not there but I believed that they were… Difficult to take care of business when I’m THAT Stoned…

Pastafarians? – The Flying Spaghetti monster is a good joke.

The Church of the Subgenius? OK, another good joke.

I’m a registered Minister in the Universal Life Church. Why Not?

Scientology? No thanks, that “E-Meter” is BOGUS science and I know enough about electrical engineering to see that the great OZ is just a man behind a curtain… It’s a GREAT religion for L. Ron Hubbard but not for any of the followers.

Timothy Leary and LSD? Ultimately it was disappointing and just an amusing ride… No more meaning than a good roller coaster…

Ram Dass? He took a lot of LSD and then went all the way to India to find a GURU… Then he learned to “BE HERE NOW” from a 6 foot 7 inch surfer from Laguna Beach. He could have saved a lot of time wasted on air travel if he had just gone surfing in California FIRST and Ignored the Indians… but he writes great books…

Ken Kesey and the Grateful Dead… Fun to dance to rock music on LSD. However it all has the creepy feeling that it was just an experiment in the CIA Project MKULTRA. What IF we dosed millions of people Nationwide? Would that be useful as a Weapon of War? Make the enemy too stoned to fight?

Surfing as a religion? Yes, that makes sense. Or to put it more simply, doing what you love to do as a way of life… Playing the ukulele or throwing pottery or oil painting or computer programming or dancing or bicycle riding or snow skiing or camping or taking photographs or … etc etc etc… Yes there is a bliss when a person is doing something they love and are totally focused… TIME itself seems to pass more rapidly… I have experience this myself while programming graphic arts… Suddenly hours have passed while I was “in the zone”.

A Christian fellow was giving a lecture at Humboldt State University one time and he said that there was only ONE WAY to go to Heaven, Jesus. He said that you couldn’t find God by Mountain Climbing OR Drugs… What he forgot to mention was finding God by Mountain Climbing AND Drugs. BOTH! at the same time! It’s not an either/or question… I have hiked to the top of El Capitan in Yosemite on LSD and I”m really glad I did…  He also said that Premarital Sex was a SIN. Like, BAD and you shouldn’t do it. What an Idiot. I bet that attitude prevented him from getting laid.

Once I read a book called “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz and there was a lot of Toltec Wisdom there.

Another Book Series: “The Teachings of Don Juan” by Carlos Castaneda… Yaqui Indian Brujo Wisdom

I’ve played the Father Drum with Native Americans and THAT was “Big Medicine”…

“The Temple of the Screaming Electron” and Digital Immortality. Ray Kurzweil plans to  upload your entire Brain to the Internet and Living forever in the cloud.  I’m working on that too with my Blog by typing almost every event in my entire life and every opinion I’ve ever held…

So, if you don’t like your God simply FIRE him and Write your own Religion!

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

to be continued, same Bat time, same Bat channel… but first I have to live some more life and have some more experiences to document! I want to do visit RED ROCKS Colorado and see a rock concert there. I also want to go to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico to see the Pyramids at Chichen Itsa and Palenque…

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

Here is a list of people that inspired me:

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

and here is a list of the Cultural Meanings of Numbers. In popular song, movies and math truths.

~~~~~ (~);-} ~~~~~

To conclude: My first memory of my entire life was the Steam Whistle on the Ferry Boat going from Seattle to Vancouver Island. I was sitting on my father’s shoulders and it was really loud and scary…

Yes, life is a circle…


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