Sleep? Who Needs Sleep!, Sunday, August 20, 2018

When last we spoke it was Wednesday, and I was in Utah waiting for Kerry Ward and his intrepid band of canyoneers–Sam Edwards, Sam’s 13 year old son Max, and Kerry Sherman–to make the most challenging slot canyon descent in Zion Canyon National Park.

At the Trailhead

At Lava Point–Kerry Sherman, Max and Sam Edwards, and Kerry Ward

The target was Heaps Canyon. Heaps feeds the Emerald Pools, one of the most accessible and popular features of the canyon. It is so challenging that the first descent of the canyon was not even made until 1982. It is a full-featured canyoneering expedition requiring serious gear–wetsuits, long ropes, harnesses, slings, and rappelling hardware–and features numerous rappels, deep potholes that turn into keepers when not full of water, and culminates in a 280 foot free rappel to the upper Emerald Pool.

Entry to Heaps

The approach to Heaps Canyon

I had dropped off the canyon crew at Lava Point at about 8 am. Sam told me that I could expect them to finish between 4 and 6 pm, which was more than a little bit optimistic given that the CanyoneeringUSA.com guide to Heaps says that the descent can take from 12-20 hours. The expedition began with an 8 mile hike just to get into the canyon, and I had heard from Kerry Ward about 10:30 that they had reached the mouth of the canyon in very good time.

Later that afternoon I explored the park a bit and found that the trail up to Emerald Pools was closed, so around 5 I headed down to the Visitor Center where I would wait for them. As the day wore on I noticed some serious cloud buildup north of the canyon. This was a cause for great concern as one of the dangers of any slot canyon trip is the possibility of flash flooding. Sure enough, by around 6 the skies had darkened, thunder and lightning had commenced, and light rain was falling at the Visitor Center.

EUP by www78 on Flickr Edit

Final rappel sequence for Heaps Canyon. The second rappel is 280 feet. Image from Flickr www78.

As 8 pm and darkness approached I began to worry in earnest. There are a lot of things that can go wrong in a descent like this, and I had visions of them dropping their long rope and not being able to make the final descent. That would not be a huge problem under normal circumstances as there would be a lot of visitors to the Emerald Pools who could be notified and seek help. The trail closure nixed that possibility!

I was waiting at the shuttle stop as shuttle after shuttle appeared with no canyoneers. I noticed a very worried looking gentleman who was also anxiously watching shuttles. I found out that he and his wife and daughter had been hiking in the Narrows, had become separated, and they had been unable to locate the daughter. The gathering storms were also feeding his anxiety.

Sam Takes a Leap

Entering the canyon. Most folks rappel down, but that’s too slow for Sam.

Finally, just before 8 I received a text from Kerry W.  They had successfully exited the canyon, were hiking down the closed trail, and would soon be on a shuttle heading down to the VC! About 5 minutes later my co-worrier got a call from the rangers that his daughter had been located at the last shuttle stop before the Narrows (the Temple of Sinawava) and was on a shuttle down to the VC.

Heaps Narrows

In the narrows.

When she arrived she was very angry with her parents, and I wondered why. After becoming separated the parents had come out of the Narrows. They didn’t find the daughter at the shuttle stop, assumed that the daughter (who had been behind them in the Narrows) had gotten on a shuttle and gone back to their prearranged rendezvous at their car at the VC.

Finders Keepers

My fears of them losing a rope proved unfounded. They actually returned with about 600 feet of rope that had been lost/abandoned by other groups.

They took the shuttle down, didn’t find her, and made a fatal mistake–they got in the car and went looking for her, moving the car to a different location. My guess is that the daughter had come down after they moved the car, didn’t find it, and took the shuttle back up to where she had last seen her parents and where she had been waiting anxiously for them until the rangers canvassed the location. Kind of a comedy of errors!!

Final Rap Setup

Sam setting up the last rappel. Getting late, but still light out!

The shuttle with the canyon crew finally arrived about 9, and we all headed to Springdale for a well-earned dinner. Then it was back to St. George, where we arrived at Sam’s at 10:30. No rest, however, when hanging with Ward, as Kerry and I were headed back to LA! I drove the first leg to Primm, Nevada, Kerry took over until Barstow, and then I drove the last leg to the Morgan Castle in the Hollywood Hills. I dropped Kerry there, headed back to Long Beach, and got home at 5 am, which is when I usually get up!

My Costume

Me in costume at Versailles with a couple of new friends.

I had a lot to do, so after I slept for a couple of hours I got up, went to my 11 am Pilates class at Pilates X, and then it was off to my costume fitting at Bianca’s Historic Costuming! I had been invited to a costume party Friday at the Morgan Castle. The theme was “Let them Eat Cake Party at Versailles”. The Morgan’s are serious costume partiers, and I am costume challenged so had decided to seek professional help. Bianca and her husband Peter expeditiously fitted me with a great period costume.

I had a decent nights sleep, was up at 5 as usual, worked out, took a Pilates class, had a nap, and then drove up to the Morgan Castle in the Hollywood Hills for the epic costume party. A little after 1 am I managed to extricate Kerry Ward from the party–not a trivial task as he is traditionally the life of any party he goes to–and I drove him up to Big Bear where he planned to rendezvous with his friend Dax Orion Hock.

Party scene by Baxter Zappa

Dancers at the party–photo by Baxter Zappa

Dax, along with his wife Sarah, is a world champion swing dancer, and they are the owners of the Lindy Loft in downtown Los Angeles. About a year ago he expressed an interest in doing an ultra marathon. Since then Kerry has been mentoring him in that endeavor, and he finally felt that he was ready for his first 100 miler. Dax had started the Kodiak Big Bear 100 ultra at 8 am on Friday, and Kerry wanted to meet him at the Sugarloaf aid station to pace him through the last 30 miles.

Dax was faster than expected, and we left the party a little later than planned, so we missed Dax on his first pass through Sugarloaf. Kerry grabbed a bit of sleep in my car while I watched for Dax. When Dax arrived just about at dawn they were off for the last 20 miles of the race. Dax finished at about 11 am for a total time of 27 hours and was first among all male non-professional runners, a pretty spectacular result for a first timer!

Then it was the long slow drive home. Mid day traffic on I-10 was a whole lot worse than middle of the night traffic, but eventually I dropped off Kerry at the Morgan Castle and made it back to Long Beach just after 5 pm. Between Tuesday morning at 5 am when I got up and Saturday at 5 pm, a span of 108 hours, I had gotten a total of 13 hours of sleep. I will be getting some needed rest over the next few day. No rest for Ward, though. He was off today for a job Monday in Charlotte, NC, then back to Vancouver where he will gear up for the long drive to Burning Man!

 

David and Jennie, Friday, September 16, 2016

No, that’s not me in the picture above. That is David (aka, Diablo) Matthews, lying on the pavement  of the 710 freeway. He is taking a selfie of himself in the aftermath of an incident where a motorist in a hurry to get into the HOV lane cut across the double-yellow and sent him sliding across 3 lanes at 85 mph. If you look closely, you can see that he is smiling. Smiling, despite the fact that he had suffered a double compound fracture of his left arm, and his right arm had dislocated at the shoulder and pushed into his chest. Now this is a person who knows a bit about absorbing those insults and injuries that we are prone to!

I spend a good chunk of my days sitting around coffee houses, talking to pretty girls and other interesting characters. Working, I call it, and it’s great work if you can get it! Today was a banner day for me. I was in my customary location when a lovely young lady sat on the bench next to me and was soon joined by a bearded biker type gentleman, replete with baseball hat and tattoos. Having an arm in a great big honking splint is a great ice-breaker, and sure enough, David (as I found out later) inquired about my arm. He was conscious enough to offer me a firm left-handed handshake, and I soon found out that there was a story in that left arm!

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I found that David was only seven weeks removed from major surgery on that arm, surgery to completely redo the unsatisfactory work that was done two years before after his accident. His initial surgery had left him with limited mobility, much pain, and a few fingers that weren’t working. The latter condition was particularly galling as  David supports himself by making jewelry, as you can see on his web page. Over the next two years David consulted numerous orthopedic surgeons until finally settling on Dr. John Itamura at White Memorial Medical Center, a member of the Kerlan-Jobe group. Dr. Itamura’s assessment was that the earlier surgery had used very outmoded methodology and been badly executed to boot. He advised starting from scratch, removing old hardware, rebreaking the bones, and resetting everything using newer techniques.

So, that is what happened just seven short weeks ago, and the results are amazing. Except for the scar, which is still rather raw, you would be hard pressed to notice any thing special about that arm. He has full flexion, but comes a bit short on extension. I foresee a day when his physical therapist has to throw her entire 95 pounds into fixing that, but for now Dr. Itamura wants to give more time for the bones to heal. Best of all, those fingers that weren’t working are back in action, and David is a much happier man, ready to put this episode behind him. My kind of guy!

Gretchen’s Automotive, August 11, 2016

Back in the spring of 2002 I had gotten myself out of debt and had accumulated enough cash that I could actually think of making a down payment on a house. I drove my car up to the Mt. Baldy ski area for a day hike, and when I returned to my car it would not start. Having no other options available I had it towed in to the nearest Pep Boys. They checked it, said the timing belt had failed, and replaced that. Since they were already working on the car (1995 Dodge Neon Sport Coupe) I also had them do a tune-up on the car.

Fast forward a couple of days, and on my way home from work there was a loud bang and a lot of smoke from the engine compartment. On investigation it turned out that one of the spark plugs had blown out of the engine, an event that ruined the engine and required me to spend almost $3000 to have it replaced. That both set me back a bit on my plan to move to Long Beach and highlighted the importance of having a mechanic and a repair shop that one can trust.

Happily, just a few months after I moved to Long Beach one of my good friends, Todd Kelm, opened up a repair shop in town and I was his very first customer. Since then I have had an easy answer to any question about where to go for automobile service, and that answer is Gretchen’s Automotive. Yesterday I needed to take my car in for routine servicing. I arrived at 7:30, had to wait about 10 minutes until the service writer appeared, left the car, went for a walk, and got a call just after 10 letting me know that my car was finished; that kind of service turnaround is par for the course at Gretchen’s. When I was still working I would drop my car in the morning and would be given a ride to work on the other side of town, and when it was done I would be picked up and delivered back to the shop. That kind of service makes life much easier!

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When Todd’s not out tooling around in the Gretchen’s racing boat, a boat which has done quite well over the years in the Catalina Ski Race with Todd at the helm, he runs a very tight ship at Gretchen’s. The shop is thriving, and the reason for that success is the repeat business generated by the friendly and reliable service it provides. It’s great to have a master mechanic in the family!

 

My Body Mechanic, August 3, 2016

My body is very different than it was 5 years ago, or even from where it was 6 months ago. I have shed 60 pounds, remediated a foot problem that had hobbled me for more than 10 years, and made tremendous advances in core strength, flexibility, and stability. I have not accomplished all of that alone, and in fact all along the way I have availed myself of the services of experts in various fitness regimens. In short, I have assembled a team, known henceforth as “John’s Team”, and one of the purposes of my blog is to highlight those individuals who both currently and in the past have made valuable contributions to my progress.

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I was looking forward to an appointment that I had with one of those team members, my body mechanic Donna Place from Long Beach Gyrotonic, for this past Monday, but she had gotten overbooked. Fortunately, though, she was able to squeeze me in for an appointment today. Donna knows the body inside and out; she knows what’s in there, how it all hooks together, and things that can be done to correct existing problems and prevent future issues. Donna has certifications in Pilates, Dance, and Gyrotonics. She teaches Kinesiology at Orange Coast College and also is a trainer of prospective Gyrotonic practitioners. Donna is a master of all things fascial, and I don’t mean cosmetics, but that stuff that holds your muscles together. Most importantly, though, she has the requisite “thumbs of steel”. And elbows, knees, or whatever it take to make an impression on stubborn tissues.

 

Long Beach Gyrotonic itself is a space shared by several lovely ladies who practice a variety of healthy arts, Gyrotonics, Pilates, and Rolfing among them; it is a full service body shop, well equipped with Pilates, Gyrotonic, and sundry other equipment. My philosophy about keeping fit is that it is important to invest in yourself. All too often I hear people balk at doing something like yoga classes because “it’s too expensive!”, but I think that  money spent on fixing myself is money well spent. It is well worth the investment to develop relationships with professionals who can get to know your body with all of its quirks to help you work out all the kinks!

 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Let’s see… The last couple of days have been pretty low energy output. My knees have been pretty achy after stressing them out a bit too much on Friday, so I have been taking it relatively easy. I went to Ramona’s class on Sunday morning as usual, but she was stranded in Colorado and there was no sub, so I just did some walking in Belmont Shore, picking up my obligatory mushroom and sausage pizza slice at Z Pizza. No yoga, but I did manage to get in about 14 miles of bike riding. Monday was a walking day and I used it to take care of some business, like walking to the post office to pick up my held mail, and accumulated about seven miles, all of it with good form.

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Today was a very special day as my friend Renate met me for breakfast at Steelhead Coffee with the twins, Kit and Dot, in tow. They just turned 3 months, and while I have been happily deluged with extremely cute pictures on Facebook, this was only the second time I have gotten to see them live and in person. Kit was out like a light the entire time, but my repertoire of funny faces for babies managed to elicit some smiles from Dot, a treat that is apparently only bestowed rarely.

One of the purposes of this blog is to highlight those individuals who I think exceptional, and one of those is Renate. Renate eschewed the typical path to college–I am not even sure that she even graduated from high school–and instead went into cosmetology. Apparently she handled that quite well as she eventually wound up teaching cosmetology. Then she met Kenny, a rocket scientist (seriously, he works for SpaceX), and they married. Renate went back to school and is on the verge now of graduating from UCLA with a degree in Geospatial Information Systems (GIS). She would have been done by now if not for the fact that she was busy with other matters for much of the past year. Renate is extremely bright, a very hard worker, and has also proven to be an excellent mother; she is also getting ready to apply to graduate programs in that field. Remember, it is never too late to change the course of your life, and I hold Renate as a prime example of what can be accomplished if you set your mind to it.

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There was a bit of extra excitement across the street from Steelhead. A car in the parking lot of the liquor store was smoking badly, and a couple of folks wound up running over there with fire extinguishers. Their efforts were for naught, it seems, as shortly afterwards the car reached a stage which I believe is best described as “fully engulfed in flames.” A few minutes after the photo above the firemen arrived and quickly put an end to the fire.

Next stop for me was LA Fitness where I have very much missed the Tuesday morning yoga class taught by JR Johnson. JR is an outstanding teacher, and is a master at using his voice to set and maintain an atmosphere conducive to fostering the mind-body connection. It is not easy to teach in a room the size of that at LA Fitness, but JR manages easily and provides a challenging and invigorating experience that I always look forward to, and today was no exception.

 

Roger and Judy and I, July, 2016

In requiem, Wednesday, August 21, 2019

I received a message third-hand last week from Roger Gedney indicating that Judy had stopped eating and drinking and that the end of her journey through this life was approaching. I have also been seeing a lot more hits on this post, and finally today I saw this obituary from Clugman-Tibbets Funeral Home in Macomb, IL:

“Judith M. “Judy” Gedney, age 78 of Macomb, Il., went to be with her Lord and Savior at 7:05 a.m. Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at Wesley Village Healthcare Center in Macomb. ”

Clicking on this LINK will take you to the full obituary with a wonderful tribute to Judy. Memorial service is scheduled for September 7, 2019. Full details are in the obituary.

July, 2016

I was on the boy’s gymnastics team at East Leyden High School from 1965-68. In my freshman year I still had not realized that I was blind and was mostly in my own little world, but that changed my sophomore year. As the girl’s team worked out on the other side of the school I don’t know that I was even aware of the existence of a girl’s team until my sister Alice entered school and joined that team. She would come home with tales of the beautiful and very cool young coach, Mrs. Gedney.

 

Mrs. Gedney (aka, Judy) and her husband Roger, were both recent emigres from LSU.  Roger and Judy are graduates of the University of Iowa, where they had been gymnasts, dabbled in circus arts, were around for the birth of the trampoline, and other sundry accomplishments. Roger was the boy’s gymnastics coach at one of our rival schools, Glenbard East. Over the next three years I got to know Mrs. Gedney a bit and she lived up to the picture Alice had painted, and then some!

I graduated in 1968 and received a half-scholarship for gymnastics at Western Illinois University. 1968 was also the year that Roger and Judy Gedney began what would become quite long tenures at that institution as the assistant men’s and head women’s coaches. The setting was one where both teams shared the same workout area, and so everyone who came through that program, men and women, got to know both Gedney’s for the beautiful people that they are. As a matter of fact, my handle “Captain Univac” was created by one or both of the Gedney’s back in those days!

I have managed to keep in touch with the Gedney’s over the years and was able to almost keep track with developments. In her late 30’s Judy took up powerlifting as a training tool and found that she could be quite successful as she was always an extremely powerful person packed in a tiny frame. Judy set world records, won world championships, and is in the Powerlifting Hall of Fame. She continued to compete and to win well into her 60’s. Roger had always been involved in weightlifting and fitness and he began a community weightlifting center in the basement of the Salvation Army building that has provided training opportunity for locals for over 30 years now. Both Roger and Judy were also heavily involved in the charitable work of the Salvation Army; Roger spent several years in Haiti around the millennium doing relief and missionary work.

 

It had been several years since I had seen the Gedney’s so I routed my trip so that I could pass through Macomb, IL and visit with them. On my last trip all was well with them. They had sold their house in the country and moved into a small house in Wesley Village, a retirement community that provides appropriate levels of care from retirement through the end of life. At that time Roger was approaching 80 and still lifting very heavy weights (see the video below, with Roger at 80+), and Judy was in her early 70’s and doing very well. They were joking that Judy would probably have to be caring for Roger sometime in the future, expecting some kind of cognitive decline on his part.

When I arrived in Macomb I tried to call Judy’s number, but it was disconnected. As that  was the only number I had for them, my next course was to go over to Wesley Village and look for them, but I decided to stop by the weight room at the Salvation Army first. The weight room was still running and still populated, and I saw Roger’s protege and partner in keeping this endeavor running, Tim Piper. Tim gave me Roger’s number and informed me that things were not well for Judy. Some years earlier she had begun exhibiting cognitive deficits, and was found to be suffering from corticobasal ganglionic degeneration (CBGD), a rare progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks cognitive and motor functions.

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I called Roger, found out where they would be, and made my way to the Wesley Village where I found them finishing up their dinner. Roger was hand-feeding Judy the vegetables that he had finely chopped for her that morning. Judy appeared tired, as it was the end of her day and bedtime was approaching, and there was very little in the way of recognition or response on her part. I made another visit the next day, earlier in the morning, and this time Judy seemed to recognize me and made some efforts to talk. I gave her a kiss on her forehead, and her face lit up; for a few moments I could see the old Judy shining through.

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Roger told me that Judy is still physically in very good shape, and he expects that she may outlive him. He also said that she has been making some gains in physical therapy and has been close to walking on her own. I was also very heartened by her response to me. CBGD was only identified in 1968, and so there is a lot to be learned about it. Who knows, it may be possible for patients to make comebacks, or for new therapies to be developed. Any of you out there who believe in the power of positive energies in whatever form (prayer, meditation, etc.) are invited to send some of that energy to Judy and Roger. Life goes on for Roger, and it’s quite lonely for him as old friends disappear over time, so any visits to him would be greatly appreciated. For now, as he gently stroked her forehead as she lay in bed, he told me “I finally feel like a complete husband.”

Gedney_Colleen

The Gedney’s and the Westberg’s.

Update on 9/24/2017–Shortly after I published this post last year a couple of former gymnasts from Western went out and visited the Gedneys. Colleen Westberg was on the women’s team, and her husband Jerry Westberg was a teammate of mine. They commented “These are our college gymnastics coaches, Judy & Roger Gedney. We visited them today in Macomb, and even though Judy has a form of dementia, she had her beautiful smile and I believe she recognized us. They were a tremendous influence on us.” They also posted the picture above.

The Westberg’s weren’t able to make a return visit until last week, and this time they noted that Judy was very unresponsive and they were very concerned. I am hoping that they just caught her at a bad time of the day. When I had visited last summer I first stopped by at dinner time, and at that time she was also very out of it, but when I caught her early the next day she was in much better condition. The difference was like night and day, and I hope to be able to get out there in a month or so to see for myself. In the meantime, please keep on sending that love and healing energy their way.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Morning, July 31, 2016

As usual, my Sunday routine started with riding my bike to George’s 50’s Diner for breakfast. It is another of the places where I am known and welcomed. I have a usual spot at the end of the counter, and on at least one occasion I saw Helen, the waitress, actually reseat someone who had had the nerve to sit in my place when she saw me coming! The cooks are already making up my mushroom and cheese omelet before I even take my seat. There was a minor crisis, however, as my Kryptonite bike lock was refusing to unlock, but an application of WD-40 provided by the staff solved that problem, at least for now.

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I am now at another of my coffee shop regular stops, DRNK Coffee House in Bixby Knolls, where I get my Sunday morning caffeine fix. It’s a big day for the DRNK family as the wedding of DRNK manager Mildred and her girlfriend Michelle will be happening later this afternoon. That is an event that has been eagerly awaited for months by DRNK staff and friends!

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In a little bit I will ride back home, shower, and then it is off to the highlight of the day, class with my yoga muse, Ramona Magnolia Tamulinas at Yoga World Studio!

 

North Commerce Lake, MI, July 20, 2016

I am now enjoying the hospitality of my great friend Don Tujaka, CEO of Data Image Systems, at his house on the shores of North Commerce Lake northwest of Detroit. I have known Don since our days as graduate students at Michigan State University, which I attended from 1975-1977 as a student in the Ph.D program in Mathematics. Don is pictured below with his long-time girlfriend, Sharon Dolega on the deck of his house.

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Don is one of the members of a select fraternity, having earned the designation of Master of the Physical Universe (MPU), awarded by me to individuals who have demonstrated over time the ability to get things done no matter what the obstacle! Don is equally at home building a deck for his house, tearing apart and rebuilding a motorcycle engine, debugging complex electrical problems, or running a very successful business. He and Sharon are also seasoned adventure travelers who will be leaving in just over a week on their next adventure–a two week excursion in Africa, traveling through Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe on a motorcycle.

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Last night Don, Sharon, and I had the pleasure of dining at the home of the president of the Lake Erie Chapter of the Antique Motorcyle Club of America, a meeting convened so the three couples attending can plan an excursion to the Isle of Man next fall for the motorcycle racing there. Above you can seen some of his collection, somewhat obscured by the cloud of smoke caused by the attempts of he and a friend to start and run his latest acquisition, a 1937 250 cc BSA that apparently needs a bit of work. Also advisable would be an exhaust fan for his garage! To the right you can see his 1945 Indian and a 1945 Harley.

The weather here in southwest Michigan has been beautiful, and on the agenda for tonight is yoga in the park, followed by a cruise on the lake in Don’s pontoon boat. Tomorrow we will be heading to Ann Arbor for the Ann Arbor Art Fair. More to come later!

 

Raven Cafe, July 9, 2016

It is almost 9 pm, and Jeremiah and the Red Eyes just finished their first set at the Raven Cafe. As expected the sound here is awesome, thanks to the efforts of Jacob the sound man extraordinaire. The band (only Jeremiah and Matthew Magener, the drummer, made the trip) is ripping it up. In the featured image above you can see Jeremiah and his flying fingers captured, and you can see some videos that I have posted on my Facebook page.

Above on the left is Jacob, and on the right you can see the sound booth above and the stairs that Jacob has been running up and down dialing in the sound. Jacob does have a complaint–he also has to do gaffer’s duty using the special tool, the BFS2.0** (a replacement for the BFS1.0 which snapped), and the management will not spring for any gaffer’s tape for him. C’mon, Raven, he works hard, so make his life a bit easier!

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Tomorrow I will be taking a morning yoga class, and then it is off to Albuquerque on the next leg of the trip.

** Big Fucking Stick 2.0

 

Starbucks, Prescott, July 9, 2016

I am now at Starbucks in Prescott, rehydrating with a Passion Fruit iced tea after taking yet another class at Sutras Yoga. Today’s class was a donation class taught by rotating teachers, and today’s instructor was Jason. A couple of the questions I had yesterday have been answered. First, the extensive preparation for class (setting out mats, blocks, bolsters, blankets, etc.) that I saw in both Cristina and Jason’s classes are indeed idiosyncratic to those two. As Jason put it, he and Cristina are kindred souls, and he knew that when he found out that she practices at home on a pink mat, just like he does. I also found out what services are available in the dedicated Healing Room…

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Last night I had dinner and entertainment at the Raven Cafe. Dinner consisted of their salmon dinner along with a pint of porter, and the entertainment was an outstanding blues performance by the R. D. Olson band as this was the occasion for their CD release party. I was pretty close to the action as the piano (and saxophone) player was practically sitting at my table. The food and beer were good, the music was great, and I was particularly impressed by the sound man at the venue. One of the places I used to like to go in LA when I got out more was Genghis Cohen, and one of the reasons I liked it so much was the sound was always great due to the efforts of their sound man, Terry. At the Raven the sound booth is upstairs, and to get from the booth to the front requires going to the back of the store, down the stairs, and then up to the front, and the Raven’s guy was literally running back and forth in order to work out some problems with the console next to the stage.

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Tonight I am looking forward to returning to the Raven to see one of my favorite LA area bands, Jeremiah and the Red Eyes. Jeremiah is back on the road following a rather nightmarish solo tour last month that left him stranded in Flagstaff. I guess he never learns, but that’s all to the good as far as I am concerned.