Sunday, November 4, 2018


I had to bury my dog yesterday and it sucked.

He seemed like he was recovering but it was not the case. I was wrong.  We all were. Yesterday after Grace got home, he seemed okay.  That was the thing.  He was wagging his tail and had some life in him, but he was still in pain. So Jamie sent me to the store to pick up some more gas pills along with a few groceries.

I was already upset because he wasn't in the best of health and he needed some medicine.

Once I got there, i had to move quickly and get to the pharmacy to get things paid for and back home fairly quickly... but them Jamie called and she was bawling.  She told me that he had died.

There are a few moments in life that things just jar your soul, and this was one of them.  I broke into a cold sweat and just listened.  Fudge was gone.

I paid for the groceries and my medicine at the pharmacy.  I had to put his medicine back as it wasn't needed. That was a really ugly feeling to have to experience.  Then when I got back out to the truck I realized I had to fill up at the gas station.  I was just flat out angry, upset, and pissed at everything around me. It was a coping mechanism, not just for Fudge, but other areas of my attitude as well.

When I got home, the first thing I did was greet Grace to hug her. She was bawling, and so was Jamie.  I went to hug her too.

It isn't every day you lose a pet.  Especially an adorable one with such personality.  Kevin, my brother in law found him at first, and he just came up to him, charming as ever, wagging his tail and looking for a bit of food and companionship.

Soon after we took him home.  There were very few times that tail wasn't wagging.  Anyhow, t was Grace who named him.  I came up with name ideas like Duke and DJ Dog, but she was 2, and said Fudge.  And it stuck.  Since then Grace has been the namer of pets. She named Flower and Skittles when she was 5, in early 2013.

Fudge was also a strong little guy.  Put a leash on him and go to the park, he would be the one walking you. 

He had a thing for varmints too, which was pretty awesome.  If there was a rabbit or squirrel, he was on it! He would also howl along with Flower in happiness when we got home sometimes. 

But back to yesterday.

When Jamie called to say he had died, I felt a feeling that only happens a few times in life. It was massive and really sad... and as a guy that's one of the worst experiences we have to go through, because when we are shocked and hurt and upset, we still have to keep things together.

After the initial shock I had to see him for myself. It's comforting in a way to know that Jamie and Grace were here to be there for him as he passed, because he needed that.  When I got home, it was too late though.  His tongue was sticking out.

In lieu of tears at that moment, I had to mourn by digging his grave.Which I'm not in shape so much, but still.  The ground wasn't friendly.  Once it was ready though, we were all on the same page.  We buried him in his favorite blanket and with a tennis ball, because he was the first dog I ever had who played fetch. And the first dog I ever had for a lifetime... who passed as my dog.

We always gave away pets before because things changed enough to where we couldn't keep them. Those times were heartbreaking, but this was terrible.  Fudge was Grace's first pet. He was also the only companion dog that Flower ever had. He was there when Flower came here as a puppy.

Love your pets, they're family.

Love your family too, they're just as beloved to you as you are to them.  When the clock runs out, all you have is memories.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The MC Paperclip Podcast

Hey Everybody!  After just over a year, I'm back on the blog. There's much to catch up on!

I'm going to start out with the podcast announcement.

Over the last several months, I've been making plans to set up the home studio in order to record new music.  There are a few projects in the works such as the new 10,000 Lakes album and the new Dr. Tissue album.  These have been on the back burner for a while, so I decided to get some of the technical matters sorted out ahead of time. The first two items were the mixer and the recording software.  These are now both set up, but there is still quite a bit of testing and rehearsal to work out before laying down full songs. 

Once the cables and cords were counted and sorted out, I started to revisit another side project that has been on the back burner for a few years, actually: a 10,000 Lakes rarities compilation album. I had several songs in mind that were recorded as either unused bonus tracks, album tracks that didn't make the cut, and a few on the spot songs that didn't fit other categories.  There were a few live songs made in 1997 that I wanted to include, but I couldn't find the tape.

This is where things took a bizarre turn.  I started looking for this mystery tape.  The search went on and on through various tapes.  I hooked up my sweet Sony Dual Tape Deck to the mixer, got a couple of the rarities songs transferred to mp3, and began to go through these older recordings. Folks, there's a giant pile of tapes in my house.  And I've been going through them to cull out blanks, old mixtapes, and other various audio.

I still haven't found it.  But, I've found some gems.  Copies of albums made by and with friends, some spoken word stuff, and some generally random unused stuff. 

This is what it looks like in here right now.

This is roughy 10-15% of the tapes I've reviewed and labeled (if they weren't already.)

Eventually this processed developed into a need to archive all the tape recordings and do something with them.  So sometime last night, the MC Paperclip Podcast was born. 

The general theme of it, so far, is to highlight these recordings as well as create something new and equally weird. It began with this tape:

So that's Episode 1.  A brief intro, and then side 1 of this tape.

If you'd like to check it out and or subscribe, the official home of the podcast is here:

Episodes will also be on my SoundCloud page:

There may be a Facebook page for the show coming soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

License Plates and Stuff

Wow, so it's been about seven months since the last entry.  I've really gotta get a handle on this blogging thing once again. 

So last time I wrote, I had just gotten a new truck and had some interesting times with the allergist.  The truck is doing well, and as for the allergies, the shots and my body did not agree. So it's prescription allergy stuff and other prescription allergy stuff that's keeping my health in a fairly decent spot.

Also, I'm gradually quitting cigarettes.  Wait, that actually doesn't sound right.  Maybe I should back up a little. 

A little over a month ago, I took Grace to see my dad and stepmom in Arkansas.  I had a day to bring her there, a day to hang out there, and the next day to come home.  Now my stepmom, she smokes too, but does not smoke in the car at all.  On a long trip it's difficult for me to stop and get out so often, so I smoked on the way.  She could tell when I got there and gave me a stern but well deserved talking to about it.

A few weeks ago, right after school started, I was off work for a week.  Jamie's grandpa had fallen the prior week, and was not in good shape.   It was looking like he would not make it.  That Saturday morning we got up early and headed out there, about 100 miles or so drive. 

When we got there it was clear that, well, the end was near.  Much of the family was there, and we were all trying to get through our feelings, and just visiting.  At one point one of his friends from the church came by to offer comfort and a prayer involving all of us.  We all held hands and he led the prayer.  As we said Amen, Poppaw passed on.

We all stayed for as long as we could, and we all saw firsthand the inner workings of what takes place with the rest of the family and uncomfortable details when a person passes away.  It was an emotional seastorm. 

I'll admit, I don't ever remember him smoking, but I know for a while he dipped. That's not really what I'm getting at.  What I'm getting at is that when you're right there and someone passes away, there is a lot of perspective that begins to show up, all around.  Not right away, but it comes on.

I decided soon after that it was time to stop smoking. Poppaw lived to almost 92, like Grandma.  It made me reevaluate my own life.  It's pretty hard to smoke like I do and make it to a strong 91. 

So I'm on the patch.  Every so often at night I will smoke a cigarette, but not 9 or 14. I don't smoke at all at work.  That's the patch.  I took one off too early last weekend and it was back to how it was.  So it's going to take some time.

That said, there are some creative rumbles happening in the ol' noggin.  Last year I got the idea to make a new 10,000 Lakes album.  The Dr. Tissue thing is stirring around too, but 10,000 Lakes is the nearest and dearest of the music projects. 

Procrastination is easy for the busy and distracted.  That's where it's all at right now.  But, the seed is planted.

The last complete 10,000 Lakes album I recorded was in October of 1999.  Cat Hospital.  There was an EP, Basketball Donut, in 2000.  A bunch of random one off recordings in the 2000s that went nowhere, and then the Pots, Pans, and Ceiling Fans EP in '12, which was really made between '06 and '08 but not fully produced.

So I decided it was time for something brand new.  The software is mostly in place, there;s a new keyboard and guitar pedal, it's just a matter of writing.  The inspiration came from some of the earlier lyrics about random objects, so the new album is called "License Plate." It fits.  I took a picture of a Minnesota license plate from many years ago on my brand new Chevy, and it's gonna make a decent album cover.  Song ideas are now beginning to pop up like they used to.

The last several months have been an absolute beast at work, and that has been a huge drain on creativity.  In ways, I feel like I'm scraping bottom creatively while handling all the other challenges in life.  Life is just too many handfuls of too many things at one time.

It's going to take time to get there to make this new set of songs good.  And, honestly, some healing. 

But, writing is a part of that.  It's good to be able to share a slice of life with anyone in the world who actually feels like reading it, even if no one actually does.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

It's A Ride!

So, for the last week or so, I've been sick.  Mostly it's been bronchitis, but there are a few other things going on also.  Mostly it's the pollen count aggravating my allergies.  It hasn't been much of a fun time actually.  Getting past it is pretty wonderful.

Late last year I did some serious allergy testing at a local clinic here in McKinney, to find out that I'm allergic to just about everything. I've got the pics to prove it, but I'm sure you don't want to see them.  It was a comprehensive test.  There were 65 things I was tested for. 

The categories of allergens were divided into eight different allergens per block.  Grasses covered two blocks, mold one block, etc.  Since my allergies were so bad I decided to go for the most comprehensive, which was eight blocks.  I also added bananas as a single test.  After the test, I'm pretty much allergic to everything except pets and most molds.  And not really allergic to bananas.I'm actually allergic to the birch family, which is, in a molecular sense similar to bananas.

That test taught me a lot about myself, such as why I was so sneezy and itchy during my years in carpentry.  I love woodwork, but the environment kicked my ass.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I'm off to allergy shots.  I spent a whole day getting it started just to get the immunity built up.  A once or twice a week visit to the clinic, and it's shots and a half hour to make sure there's no reaction, and then bam, off to work.

Early in January, I couldn't do it anymore.  My body was reacting.  I had an EpiPen but thankfully never had to use it.  The positive side was I wasn't having allergic reactions to anything.  The negative side was I was fighting myself and probably went into it too quickly.  I called the doc one morning in some discomfort and we agreed the shots had to end for the time being. 

It's amazing how the body works, enough of something gets attention. 

So there I was with two prescriptions to manage it, and that was all I needed to get back to a comfortable and normal state. 

Comfortable and normal are two things I can say I don't have much familiarity with.  Over the last several months I was in a high stress position at work, having to manage something larger than I had to manage before. I was also driving in a dangerous vehicle.  Normal didn't exist to me at all.  I was flying by with whatever life handed out. 

Work has gotten much more sane since about November.  It was then I noticed car problems.  I owned a 2005 Ford Escape with about 100k miles on it, much fewer than my '99 Ranger that i traded for the Escape back in '14. 

Last year, I had to replace the alternator in the Escape, because it started dying on me randomly while driving.  Not just at low speeds, but while doing 65-70 on the highway. So I got the alternator, but after reading the instructions on its replacement, I realized it was above my level.  It was all "remove your front axle" and stuff like that.  I was like HELL NO. Luckily we found a guy on Nextdoor that could hook that up.

That didn't fix it.  There was another part that could've been the culprit.  Bought it and put it in easy.  A week later, it was dying again.  I had to milk that for another month. It was like driving in a death trap.  For yet another month I kept going.  Somehow.  That on top of the work stress and changes got to me.  I started furiously researching vehicles on AutoTrader, in an attempt to find something affordable. 

I was way underwater on the Escape, and had to find a damn good deal on something new in order to make a trade that wouldn't break us financially.

One day it happened.  I saw a new '16 Colorado with ridiculous rebates and awesome financing.  I had to go to the dealer's website just to make sure it wasn't a typo.

It wasn't. 

That day I drove out to the dealership in Decatur, which was about 50 miles away from work and 65 away from home.  After a couple hours, it was done.  I was driving in something awesome and safe.

It's been about three weeks since, and there are some big payments in the future, but I'm thankful for the new ride.  It's safe, it's a truck, and it's just now dawning on me that I can relax a little bit and take control over so many things that not too long ago, I was just hoping made it so that I could survive. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mountainside: Part Two

“Do you have my location?”
No answer.  After another long pause, “Location?”
“Yes.  We’ve got you sixty meters from the entry point.”
Arlo looked at his surroundings.  There wasn’t much room to maneuver the side of the cliff.  He took a good look at the mountainside and determined the location of the entry.  He had two options.  One was a straight ascent up the cliff and a difficult lateral path.  The other was a more jagged diagonal climb to the point. 
“Do you have a strategy, A-1?” said a voice from his communicator.
“Yeah Furmin, 63 up 12 over.”
This was not going to be his path.  Any time Arlo gave any information to the Pacifics he made damn sure to give some misdirection. He had little trust in them, even though they saved him and his crew.  Something didn’t seem right.  He did enjoy the equipment he was provided, though.  A nice Chamo suit kept him invisible on the ascent.  The body suit he was wearing blended him into the cliffside perfectly, and his communicator was cloaked with ancient radio frequencies that could easily be encrypted and hidden.
Arlo moved up the jagged mountain carefully and inched his way to his target.  Three hours into this careful mission, it was a game of patience and a journey of tiny moves.  He knew he was off his planned course, and within seconds…
“You’re off course, A-1. “
“This takes time and care, Furmin.”
Furmin was the communications and tech officer back at camp.  Her real name was Minnie Furlong, and she made it her personal mission to be Arlo’s pain in the ass.  Her bob-and-shave haircut immediately made him groan the first time they met at the rescue of his ship, the Fenix. 
“Be careful, A-1.  Watch out for kickers.  Furmin out.”
Arlo was relieved at this.  Micromanagement had been a part of his life for so many years, and it was nice to hear the queen of nitpicking had let him do his work.  Arlo estimated there were about forty five meters left until he reached his goal. 
Minnie was right, there were probably kickers in the mountain he needed to watch out for.  He had never seen a kicker in real life, but had heard some stories from the Pacifics and some of his fellow officers.  One soldier had stepped on one during a mission to Tokyo and blew his leg off.  Another climbed a mountain in South America and accidentally tapped on one when he was nearly at the top of a waterfall, only there to get intel on the area from an elevated perspective. 
Arlo noticed a spot on his current path that looked tampered with, and not exactly natural.  He activated his glance goggles.  They indicated to him a kicker charge, but could not detect the strength of it. It was five meters to his left and one meter up.  Go under it, he thought.  Give yourself a couple meters leeway.  He analyzed it, and if this was the only kicker within ten meters, he could scoot under it and then ascend directly.
“90 minutes, A-1. We have to plant and roll.”
This irritated Arlo.  He was not one to be reminded of the situation constantly, nor did he need play-by-play.  As careful a mission as this was, he just needed some silence to get the job done. He proceeded to do a lateral climb and give himself two meters of free space so as not to trigger the kicker, or any other item.  He was aware security measures such as cameras and radar were all around, and the only equipment keeping him hidden were the radio, Chamo, and his own careful movements. 
There was radio silence for another forty minutes, and this is all the time Arlo needed to get to the designated entry point.  From here, it was no longer a matter of careful steps on a cliff, it was about planting the bomb and timing an escape that didn’t result in death or disaster.  Arlo took a deep breath and prepared.  The Chamo went down the side of the mountain, the communicator was set on fire, and the glance goggles were turned off and buried in a pile of debris at the entry.  Arlo was only left with a dressy outfit, and the destruction of the communicator was a signal to the Pacifics that he had reached his destination safely.
The last radio transmission came from A-1. “I’m in. Let it go.”

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Late 2016

It's been an interesting year, folks.

We've all experienced this year in different ways but in large part have seen what's happening around the world.  So here's how the last bit of it's shaped up in the land of Paperclip.

As you know it's been a busy year in my life.  Getting my old job back was an absolute blessing.  As soon as I had the busy times down it got much much more difficult.  That was six months ago.  It is just now beginning to get manageable.  As it stands now though, I am closing out an old platform, so it isn't going to be heavily busy with that until it's time to switch to the new system.  Then it's a learning curve complemented by almost the same chaos.

I started this year with a few different ventures.  Getting my old job back was the beginning.  Also I became a minister and performed two weddings.  That was awesome.  Spending time doing the logistics and getting the feeling and performance aspects correct were both challenging and very awesome.  Helping join people together in marriage is one of the coolest things I can ever say I experienced.

For now, in the somewhat less crazy period of my current career, I've been able to do a few other things that help my creative side as well.  A few months ago, I had one of those early-morning dreams. You know the kind that are chaotic and bothersome, and move so quickly that they wake you up.  I woke up about a half hour before the alarm, and was furiously thinking about how much I like hot dogs, and making a website or something just dedicated to hot dog recipes, ideas, sausage makers, etc.  It hit me like a frying pan that morning... It was an instant brainstorm, and it led to the idea of a hot dog recipe/enthusiast site called Weinerly.

I reserved the .com and started a facebook page that morning.  Haven't done too much with it since, but after peeing on the proverbial fire hydrant, I did manage to get a free hot dog roller from work and make an initial video.  I've got a couple recipes, and a couple of my friends have some good ones too.  I've got a vision for where it could go, but I'm not saying too much here.  Surprise is important.

I've also been really craving listening to and trying to get good at creating music again.  It's hard to do with an unpredictable and difficult schedule, but it is possible.  It's just coming really slow.  Being busy is important because it means the bills are paid, and that home is taken care of. It also takes precedent over creative ventures and projects. Maybe that's why the ideas are piling up but the action on them don't get too much of a shot.

Such is life, though.  I'm pretty happy with how things have turned out so far.  I guess at this age, it's the priorities that count, and there's still got to be a little bit of energy left for the sandbox when there's time for it.

Mountainside: Part One

An except from a novel I'm writing about a futuristic sabotage mission:

Flyer 23 silently glided west, cloaked, on a thousand click pace nine miles above Earth.  The scenery was beautiful below, only a few clouds floated above the Balkan Mountains, and the swift flight made them look like gentle hills to those who observed.
“Arlo, you ready for this?”
“Yes Minnie. Boomer and Shale made sure I got all the details down.”
“You are quick to act, I’ll give you that, but getting into the Peak is going to take a little more than witty gusto.”
“Something you’re very good at, I might add.”
Minnie frowned at this.  She knew what was at stake, and didn’t think much of Arlo stepping in on her brand of wit.
Minnie replied, “True, but you’re the one going into the hole. You know they don’t mess around at The Peak.  One careless move and you’re done for.”
“You really think I don’t know this?  The only reason I signed up is because you got us out of the mess in the Pacific.  We just needed a ride.  Not a mission.”
“Well, now you’ve got a ride, and a mission.“
Arlo looked through the window again and looked at the hills below.  Dammit, she was right again, and wouldn’t let him forget it.  Flyer 23 had him and his friends at their disposal, and though their story made complete sense, there was still something uncomfortable about joining them and becoming part of an adventure.  What if their story wasn’t the whole story?  Sure, everyone knew there were some secrets at The Peak. Everyone knew that the East and West weren’t quite ready to mend fences.  The non-participants of the world sure weren’t going to take any sides.
Minnie was still there, as if waiting for a response.  Arlo simply nodded in acknowledgement.
“Arlo, do you have everything you need? We have forty minutes to the drop.”
Reluctantly, Arlo acknowledged again.
“Yes.  Chamo, com, and both my packs.  And the payload.  If I have to let it go at the wrong time, I’m sure you’ll get the signal.”
“I’m sure we will, hotshot.” With the word “hotshot,” Minnie pressed the com into Arlo’s sternum.
Thirty-six minutes later, Flyer 23 prepared Arlo for his solo drop just south of The Peak.


I had to bury my dog yesterday and it sucked. He seemed like he was recovering but it was not the case. I was wrong.  We all were. Yesterd...