Tree Of Life

As you know, I am not a religious person. Actually, I despise what organized religion does to civilized society because it promotes hate and judgment against those who do not follow the teachings of the Bible, or whatever ancient papyrus scroll somebody pulled out of the dirt. However, I do believe in Mother Nature, especially when she takes it upon herself to set the record straight about who has control over this planet and based on the pictures below, it sure as hell isn’t religion!

TREE01

Following a fierce wind storm, a mesquite tree fell on a Tree Of Life Ministries vehicle, smashing its windshield and holding it captive under the tangled weight of her branches.

TREE05Oh the irony…

TREE02

My Imagination

Far north blogThe story – In a land far away lived the secret society of the Nautical Goths. Once powerful and vast they controlled all of the land in the northern hemisphere…until that terrible day when the evil of the Far North sunk their fleet of powerful ships and exiled them to spend eternity hidden beneath the sea. Held captive by sharks and imprisoned by ice the quest for freedom began.

Suck It In!

Gloria and I spend many quality hours on walking adventures. It’s food for our souls because we leave the stresses of the real world behind us when we spend time together. We’ve known each other for decades, which gives our friendship the unique ability to withstand personal banter and sarcastic playfulness without missing a beat. On this day, we explored Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs. (See comment below for distance walked.)

(If this video stops and starts, click off the HD feature on the play ↑ bar.)

For more park information click HERE.

A Boy’s Letter

I gave this letter to my mother when I was just a boy, complete with a hand-drawn bouquet of flowers to express my undying love for her. I enjoyed reading this letter because it gave a glimpse into my overly dramatic emotions and into my mother’s “gambling” habits. Haha

mom01mom02

My reference to puppets is because I collected marionettes, which I loved more than anything else. I spent all of my spare time creating plays and building stage sets for the puppet shows I would put on for my family. At one point in my early teenage years I actually landed a job performing puppet shows….but I will leave that story for another day.

Tangled Web

LoriLori Colston-Noyola. She was an odd spirit that never quite fit in and always stood out. Our friendship was uniquely resilient because she would disappear for days, weeks, months, and even years on end, only to resurface briefly with extraordinary stories of her life in the fast lane. She mailed this hand-drawn card to me years ago and it was the perfect reflection of her emotional and artistic personality. Sadly, Lori passed away quietly in her sleep on April 15, 2011. Even though she fought a lifetime of demons, she never gave up hope of a happier tomorrow.

Lori's card

Robbed

gaming - 300In 1993 I was employed by Anchor Coin Gaming Company (now defunct) and worked swing shift (3pm-11pm) in the money vault. I mostly worked all alone except when a service technician’s shift ended and I collected and counted their daily cash banks. It was a difficult job that required heavy lifting and tedious hours spent calculating spread sheets. I was the money guy. All cash transaction began and ended with me.

Each night, before I closed the vault, all currency had to be counted and locked away in a large safe that was located in a separate room we also used for coin storage. There were three alarms to activate: the coin room, the vault, and the main building. Once the alarms were set, I was free to leave the property. Unfortunately, Anchor Coin did not have a security guard on staff to monitor suspicious activity and that is how my nightmare began.

One night, as I walked across Anchor’s dimly lit parking lot after my shift ended, two individuals wearing American President Halloween masks and brandishing firearms approached me from behind. One of the men pointed a gun at the back of my head and demanded entry into the building. They wanted the money in the vault….ALL OF IT!

Luckily, I was not alone that night because I had offered a service technician a ride home. It was a good thing he was there because the new “emergency” alarm code for the main building, given to me that morning, was invalid and my co-worker quickly jumped in and used his code instead. The new code was supposed to notify the police of an emergency if we added a few extra numbers to our normal alarm code sequence.

actual vaultFrom there it was a typical robbery. I was forced to deactivate two more alarms and open the cash vault. Once the thieves gained access, they forced us to lie face down on the floor while they loaded up their bags with cash. The thugs even took money right out of our wallets! After that, they tied our hands to our face with duck tape and lead us into a nearby bathroom, locked the door and fled the scene.

We were lucky to be alive. The worst moment of that night came when I was lying on the floor, gun pointed at my head, wondering if I was about to be shot and killed. It was a horrible feeling of helplessness and fear. I spent many months after that incident looking over my shoulder for suspicious strangers. The culprits were eventually caught and it turned out to be an inside job by an employee, who recruited two teenagers to carry out the robbery.

The entire incident infuriated me (including all the blame given and denied between my bosses) and I refused to return to work until they hired an armed security team to protect us. Shortly after the incident, I sketched this drawing depicting Anchor Coin as a beacon for would-be criminals. I hung it in the breakroom until the trial was over and those involved were convicted.

Robbed

Turtle fiasco

Anita - Cover

I love my friend Anita Kim Klipfel (aka Carlotta Cream, Bubbles, Nit-Nit, or any combination of the three.) They say birds of a feather flock together and in some ways that was true with Anita and me. We met in 1979 as shy and artistic high school kids. That created our bond and everything else fell into place as we became inseparable best friends.

Memories create themselves as we share life experiences with our friends. Those memories then become embarrassing stories that are retold at parties and reunions, year after year, until old age wipes the mental hard-drive clean. One such story that Anita and I share is the Turtle kidnapping fiasco. Well, I prefer to call it an unauthorized adoption, but in the end it was me who suffered the most for getting involved with that little reptile in the first place

I don’t remember the exact year this tale began, but I do know we were new adults310GX and thought a road trip to the Laughlin, Nevada casinos would be a great way to spread our wings and have some fun. We were dressed in our 1980’s mod hip couple outfits, me wearing tight white pants and Anita wearing sexy black elf boots with five-inch heels. Our long hair blew all over the place as we drove with the windows open in my newly polished 1979 metallic blue Datsun 310GX. At that moment in time we were two of the coolest shy kids in the world. So we thought.

About half way through our trip the highway passed over a mountain range that transformed the road into a steep and twisty roller coaster ride. Rocky hills on one side and death-defying cliffs on the other. Suddenly we spotted a large rock in the middle of the road. I quickly maneuvered the Datson around the object using my youthful reflexes and stopped on the shoulder of the road. To our surprise it wasn’t a rock at all. It was a Desert Tortoise.

Of course we had to save it from the oncoming vehicles, so I jumped out of the car and grabbed it. Whew…not only did we save a life, we risked our own lives by rescuing it. Feeling very proud of our accomplishment we happily continued on our journey, singing, laughing, talking, or whatever young mod hip 1980’s youth did.

Once in Laughlin, ready to party, we decided to leave the turtle in the car where it could enjoy the comfort and safety of its new surroundings. As a gesture of reassurance that we’d return, I picked up our new friend and rubbed its head gently with my fingertip and in return it pissed all over my tight white pants.

Looking back, I should have just drove over it.

Anita’s Scrapbook

Jamie

Little mementos mean so much more as the years and decades pass by. I met Jamie shortly after graduating High School and we hit it off instantly. I was fascinated by her English accent, which was as fake as George Michael’s straightness, but her hilarious sense of humor and warm personality kept me coming back for more.

Scrapbook-Jamie-615

The 1980’s were great years because we were new adults and still believed our dreams would come true. Life is exciting when every experience is a new one and Jamie and I certainly shared a few.

Like the time we drove up to Mt. Charleston at 1:00am and got scared by a drunk, bruised and bloody guy running out of the forest seeking help because he rolled his car off the road. Or the time Jamie left me for dead in the hallway of my house because we drank a bottle of tequila so fast I got sick and passed out. But mostly, the late night hours we spent sitting in my car, smoking pot, listening to music and talking were some of the finest hours of my youth.

Jamie is part of my spirit and no matter the distance or time between us, we always seem to pick up where we left off, making new memories and having new conversations that always leave me better than I was before (with the exception of the tequila incident.)

To sum up our friendship, it all comes back to this story; Once upon a time, on a sunny 1980’s afternoon while out driving around town, we stopped at a street light and a car pulled up beside us. The male driver rolled down his window and motioned to get Jamie’s attention. When she looked over at him he said, “Baby, you is QUALIFIED to get in this car!”