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Just awoke from a long winters nap, about a seven hour nap! I got home around four thirty, long day at work, last day of a week on call. Being on call is a mixd bag. Sometimes it's not much different from a nomarl week, other than having to go in on the weekend, other times you can't seem to get away from the place.This one wasin't bad, but just being tethered to your job is tireing. You have to be constantly ready because the phone can ring at any time for any reason. The powerplants I run have systems that call automatically so when something goes wrong my phone rings, Kinda dangerous cause nobody else knows, but the alternative would be expensive, monitoring the places in shifts from a control room, and of course I'd have some bean counting moron tracking my response time, I'm sure it's coming to that.  Iv'e been called out for minor problems, sometimes total bullshit recurring problems that should have been fixed years ago but never get adressed, and major ones, everything from flooding rivers to flooded buildings to explosions, electrical fires, and massive huge machinery that weighs twenty tons or so spinning out of control and destroying itself. Usually at night when the power is out. One thing that never fails is if you forget your flashlight the one you find at the sight is always dead. So much for the Hydropower rant.       I Had a pretty cool dream during the nap, Actually the first notable one since I wrote Arabian nightmare two years ago, this one was kind of creepy, I was in an alternate version of the small town I grew up in. Kind of like David Lynch restyled it to resemble HP Lovecrafts Arkham. It was July Fourth and everyone seemd to be somewhere else, off partying in campgrounds and summer cottages and the few people left in town were either working or too broke to go anywhere. I was one of the working stiffs, on call even  in my dream, stuck in the village waiting for something to go wrong somewhere, and wandering the streets in the mean time. It was as if thirty years of home improvments had been stripped away, the houses had peeling paint, cars were up on blocks in yards, many places looked abandoned. Really wierd. I ran into someone I knew and helped tow an old truck back to his house so it could be sold for scrap, that seemed to be a main source of income in my nightmare village. The house was crooked, dusty with old french pane windows ready to fall out of their casings. warped floor boards sixteen inches wide cut from old first growth trees, plank walls coverd with layer upon layer of ancient peeling wallpaper, cardboard and layers of old carpet for insulation. The whole dream had a strangeness to it, and yet it's not far from reality. I know people who live in places a lot like the old house, and people who scrap old cars for quick cash when they can, and do whatever else they have to to get by. I spent a July fourth weekend on call like that once, everyone else was away, I guess thats where most of this came from. But the odd part of whole dream was the feeling of a town quietly waiting, hanging on and waiting for prosperity to return, or for a revolution to start. Hopefully things don't come to that in reality. But you wonder, as jobs are shipped overseas to countrys with no labor laws, corporations are allowed to buy legislation and politicians in our country, and working people are expected to starve so a few people can get richer and a little more powerful, what happens when they finally wake up? When the unemployment quits being extended and the rent subsidys run out, what then?

October country

Well, I guess its time for a long overdue update. Summer blew by in a flash this year, and things are still rolling by way too fast for my taste. I usually prefer a leisurly approach to life in general. The insanity started last memorial day when I had some very close friends up to camp for a cookout and discovered that things weren't going well with them. A week or two later and they'd filed for diorce and I found myself with a temporary houseguest throughout June, july and part of August. July was busy, I met my girlfriend Nikki on the sixth, she's great! can't believe she puts up with me. I started painting the camp on the fourth, got the seadoo going for a bit and had another cookout with my brother and family. I rehab'd and re-rented two apartments later in the month. And at the end I spent a week at camp, got to see my cousin and her folks, and we got some of Mom's things out of her apartment (she's a permanent nursing home resident now) and did some camp redecorating and improvement. Things settled down a bit in August, but by then I was gasping for breath. Work was getting crazy, but I managed to get the riding lawnmower i've had laying around in pieces for four years put together and running, rebuilt and sided the front wall of Barnhouse manor and went to water safari, and to the go cart track(late Aug/early Sept). Later in the month I did some financial manuvering that I'd been putting off and got enough cash to build the storage shed, pay some bills and buy a bike lift for the shop and around Sept I began getting into carpentry mode. Carpentry mode pretty much continued right up til last week, working til and sometimes into the night, but the shed's done except for the ridgecap on the roof (ordered) and the door. Intermixed with the shed project I've been working on stuff for this years Halloween haunt- two new air cannons with monster heads that are launched by the air blast, and a video projector illusion that'll go in the new shed called Hallowindow, really cool. Thats about it for now, I took most of this week off for the festivities, and family stuff etc. never did get to the vortex tunnel project, maybe next year. All in all this will be one of those summers I'll look back on in awe and wonder how so much stuff managed to happen in such a short time, but thats the way it seems to go up here in the north of nowhere, bored to death in the winter and flat out nuts the rest of the time. 

Arabian Nightmare

One of the reasons I started on LJ was to document dreams. Every once in a while, usually during a power nap in the afternoon I'll have some epically strange dream so vivid It could be a movie if I could get it from skull to Dvd before I forget it. I've dreamed feature legnth cartoons before but usually it's more like something from the twilight zone or masters of horror. Their always very detailed and in full color, usually with some bizarre plot line, but always interesting. this one just happened. I apologise for the spelling and punctuation, maybe I'll edit it later, but I wanted to get it down as fast as possible, they have a way of evaporating.                                                                              I was on a road trip somwhere near lake Ontario, on the flats, maybe near pierrpont manor, or mansville driving. I don't remember with who, probably Rob, it was a warm dry day and we were on route five, i rember talking about somehing that happened there when we were kids and saying I hadin't been back down that road since. it was wide open spaces, interspersed with small plots of hardwood scrub, trees, and abandoned,or nearly abandoned farms. after driving a while we pulled into and old dirt parking lot with some rundown buildings, a small general store from pre quickemart america and an antique/junk shop in what seemed to be an old roadhouse. I went in and was looking over all the old stuff, big veneer'd radio consoles fron the twenties, a piano, a display case with the cash register and chechout. toward the left was an old man sitting in front of a pile of old guitars and guitar cases and what could have been some very old thirties or fourties amps and PA equipment. He moved over when I approached and pointed to some old square cases and said these wern't for players, these were samples, if they liked em they could order the real thing, he opened the  top case and picked up what looked like a cross between a keyboard and a national guitar. I don't rember my reply, but I walked away and as I went around a corner there was a short staircase that went a few steps up and turned to the right. at the top was a rundown room with some old furniture, chairs, a wardrobe,lamps all pre ww2 vintage. And a tent. not a camping tent, kind of an old ornate Arabian tent like something from an early talkie of maybe one of the later silent films. I rember thinking how black and white couldin't have done it justice. It was all gold trim with aqua colored netting and very detailed designs, and there were children playing in it. not that I could see them, but I heard kids inside sounded like a girl and a boy around five to eight years old. as I went to lift the entry flap they rushed past me and said something I didin't understand, something like' she's in there'. I had to stoop to go inside and I thought this thing must be the best piece in the entire shop, couldin't figure out how it had ended up here all the way from thirty's Hollywood. there were pillows on the floor that matched the overall design and panels of aqua moskito netting on the walls, the outer flaps were down, but the whole thing seemed backlit somehow. As I sat there marveling at the place I kind of slipped out of normal consciousness, some very airy string music bagan to play, a five noet decending progression two bars long, like you'd hear as the camera sweeps over some great mountain or ocean vista in an old movie. Suddenly the mosquito netting began to move and bulge in on one wall, the bulge slowly resolved itself into the shape of a hand, then another, coming toward me, reaching out. Arms formed, female looking arms, not actual arms you understand, just backlit aqua netting, displaced as if by unseen hands and arms streching way inward toward me. When they touched me I blacked out. As I awoke and left the tent I realised a lot of time had passed, the light had changed, it seemed to be late twilight. I went back down the stairs, which were unlit and came out on the other side of the shop, near a row of coollers full of soft drink. The old plank floor was worn out and creeked under my fee.t ahead of me there was a woman walking toward the checkout desk. She was very good looking with wild blond hair, a white flat brimmed hat, striped top, and a short white skirt.  I walked past and mumbled Hi to her, and went outside, only to find the parking lot empty. Darkness was falling and the only light was from some old green porcelin light fixtures on poles and over the doors of the buildings. then I saw the red Geo prisim my mom used to have. I went back in and searched the shop for Rob and found no one except the shop keepers, the Girl in the skirt was behind the checkout totalling up, and I could hear the old guy rummaging around in back. I asked if they had seen anyone else, she said they had been looking for a while, an older woman was missing. 'We think she skipped' she said,' sometimes when they skip they never come back, and when they do they're not always alive'. Thats when I woke up! 
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After many months of malaise, I'm back. Spring is slowly dawning on the frozen tundra of Northern NY, the first crop of robins died of exposure and were replaced by a second wave who seem to be thriving, the penguins have all been shipped back to Antarctica via Fed ex overnight, and the last polar bears have been dye'd a convincing dark brown and instructed to wait in various dumpsters for the return of the summer crowd,(won't they be surprised). And most importantly I'm begining to get up to my old tricks again. this years agenda, time and money permitting, involves the construction of a storage shed to house all the animatronics that have taken over the workshop in recent years, building one of those rotating vortex tunnels (big spining tunnel that you walk through, painted with flourescent dots,lit with blacklight, makes you want to hurl) for the Halloween season, and starting Acme Rocket Bikes, a sideline hobby I've been thinking about, I plan to buy one or two wrecked Buell motorcycles a year, restore and re title them and then put them up for sale. I originally planned to do this with the bike I'm riding now, but It's a really unique bike and I can't  bring myself to sell it. All this and the normal gardening, landlording, work, and misc. stuff I normally do. I'll be lucky to get half of it done. 
Been pretty busy, just thought I'd log in long enough to say WHO DAT! the Saints did it!!!

Barnhouse -1, penguins- 0

The chimney is up, although not quite functional yet, (still have some bracing to do), and this warm spell is supposed to last for a few more days. It's amazing how much a mid-winter thaw improves my mood. When the temps hover around zero I tend to hibernate next to the TV a lot more, and any ambitions I have seem to leave. I'm far enough North of the equator that going somewhere warm for a weekend is out of the question, and I spend a great deal of my day working outside, so winter sports just seem like more of the same. Luckily there are some interesting things on the horizon - Feb 6&7 is the Super Swap at the NYS fairgrounds, a huge motorcycle swap meet with tons of bikes, parts, live music etc. the week after that the fairgrounds hosts the biggest boat show in central NY, even though it's indoor, walking around checking out yachts I'll never be able to afford makes it feel like spring. And toward the end of the month there's an ice fishing derby at my favorite Adirondack lake,  I don't fish, but I've got a camp up there, and I like to watch everyone else freezing to death while I'm inside next to the TV, and people always stop by to warm up.           I did have an idea to make ice fishing more fun, a sort of  ballistic tip-up that would launch the fish right out of the hole, shouldn't be too hard to build, I wonder if it would be legal to use?  
AHHH friday ! No more running around enhancing shareholder value. Well for a few days at least. This weekends project is going to be the installation of a chimney on the roof of the new addition to the laboratory, and installation of a wood stove so I can free myself from the tyranny of National Greed's natural gas divsion. Hardest part is going to be removing the two feet of snow from the roof so I can cut the hole, a colony of penguins seem to have taken up residence there and are defending their territory to the death. Have to remember to pick up an extra long pointy stick at the hardware store.

Riding the Bullet

Ten days into the new year allready. Technically the next decade won't start until next year, but after looking back at this one I'm calling it done now. First, a little background, then the reason for my Steven King reference will become apparent. About twelve years ago I was living in a small resort town on Lake Ontario, very nice place, tourists in the summer and you could ski down main street in winter without meeting a soul, pretty cool. Anyway I eventually met and became engaged to the wrong woman and wound up with a down payment on a house neither one of us could afford and some ever growing credit card bills. the financial stress and our basic incompatability led to our breakup, probably for the best.
After crashing at my brothers place for about a year I bought the place I'm in now, at the time it was ready for the cover of Crack house magazine, boarded up windows, ancient mechanical systems, no insulation etc. but it had two rentable apartments, enough income to cover the mortgage, and I was watching a lot of Bob Villa's tv shows at the time. Well ten years later most of the remodeling is done, the interior has been totally gutted and rebuilt, modernised and brought up to code, and except for a few bad tennants, the income has largely paid for the whole venture as well as allowing me to live for free,  I've amassed the ultimate collection of tools, and a pretty good workshop where I build some really cool stuff ( Halloween animatronics, hot rods, and motorcycles). It's been a very long haul but mostly worth It.                                                                                                                                                                                       About a year ago my mom had a serious stroke and was diagnosed with alzheimers, my brother and I have been doing our best to keep her out of the nursing home, she lives in a retirement community near me and loves it there, we go over twice a day and a nurse comes twice a week, but I'm not sure how much longer she'll be able to stay. Today began with a call from one of her neighbors, she was extremly upset and  trying to get them to call one of us (lost her speech from the stroke). Things turned out ok, she was just confused and needed some company so we went for a ride around town.                                                                                                                                                                        Sometimes life is like Hitchhiking across Maine on Halloween night, maybe its best to ignore the monsters and just keep walking.                                 

X-Mas

Well its christmas eve and the shopping is finished, I'm off for a few days and I'm planning on painting one of my apartments before the new tennant moves in on the first, also working on the addition to the lab I started last fall. Going to my brothers tomorrow for the annual gift exchange etc. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!
Wow what a weekend, I'm on call til wednesday and most of the machinery my company owns is junk, six power plants between seven and thirty miles from my home. some of this stuff has been running close to one hundred years with very little maintenence, and the powers that be don't seem to grasp the concept that a crisis repair is'int the same as an overhaul. Well the temperature dropped down to about zero saturday and things began freezing up everwhere, I was getting called from two sites at once for ice issues and just after getting ahead of that at about two am. a turbine came apart and flooded a third site. Hosing down a machine generating a megawatt or so at twentyfive hundred volts is a very bad thing, lets just leave it at that. I didint make it home until about three pm. yesterday, caught a few hours sleep and had to head right back out. Everyone spent today picking up the pieces, it's warmer.20F or so, maybe the rest of the week will be easier. At least I'll enjoy the overtime pay.