Sunday, March 18, 2007

Needles



Spent the night on my way to Arizona.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Los Angeles

I love this town. I know you don’t believe me, but I really do.

I stopped in when I got here to visit Kyle McCulloch who is still recovering from back surgery. We sat on the porch and were treated to a visit from the flock of parrots which migrate daily between Eagle rock, Echo park and Highland park. When I stayed at Kyle and Mary’s house for a month last winter I would hear the parrots every morning at about nine o’clock. It was the perfect thing to wake up to.
Kyle and I walked down Figueroa and got great fish tacos (2 for $2.99 Wednesday special) and I got a side of beans and rice as well as a medium jamaica agua fresca, which was sour and dark and not too sweet. The fish tacos were so good and crispy that it inspired me to ask about their grease and a guy took me out back to show me the container which happened to be empty, but he told me they would be changing the oil the next night and to come back at 9 pm.

After my visit with Kyle I had a quick nightcap with Darin Klein and then parked by his house near Hillhurst and Prospect. I woke up the next morning to the sound of a jackhammer and thought “Please tell me they only need to do that for a minute” and they did! It was over right away!

In the evening I had dinner with Brenndan’s sister, Molly McGuire. She made fried veggie potstickers with green beans and peas and soba noodles and it was the best meal I have eaten since I was in Vancouver!

Afterwards we went to see the show that Darin Klein organized at the Billy Wilder Theatre at the Hammer Museum. I knew enough to expect to be amazed by what I was to see but I was truly dazzled by the whole show and the venue and the huge crowd of people lined up. I especially loved the performance by the New Energy encounter group. I’ll be reprinting the script in the California issue of my zine. Wow, it was amazing and hilarious.

Next it was time for a drink so Molly and I skipped the scene at the Eagle. You can only see a dude getting his ass whipped or dancing onstage in his tightie-whities so many times before it gets old. We proceeded to my new favorite bar called the Three Clubswhich was virtually empty, had a good jukebox and the bartender bought us a round! Wow! LOVE this town!

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Ventura



I fueled up with a few gallons of diesel in Lompoc and then headed down highway one towards Ventura. Coming down the hill a few miles from town the van stopped moving and then stalled. I was able to start again and get over to the shoulder but not able to get moving. It was stressful, stuck on the highway, I climbed down to the beach and called AAA, I knew there was a chance that I was out of fuel but as great as AAA is, they don’t carry diesel so I had to get a tow into town. Luckily, Steve put me in touch with Lynne in Ventura and she called around to see where I could take it. We found Molnar brothers, European motor specialists and Paul took a look at things for me. He wasn’t too familiar with the conversion system but he took a look at my diesel fuel line and found fuel in it, which would indicate that I didn’t run out of diesel. Basically we flushed the system with diesel until it started running again. It was a little mysterious but I was thankful that it wasn’t more serious.

Last time i was in Ventura a year ago I ran out of money and almost ran out of gas but I knew where the hot springs were in Ojai so I parked up there for a couple of nights while I waited for some money to go from my paypal account to my bank account. I read the copy of the Painted Bird that I found by the LA river and soaked in the hot spring. Turned out to be a good thing in the end.



After I left Molnar Bros. I went to Lynne’s place, aka the Art Barn, to use her shower and meet Steve for dinner. We stopped in for a beer first at the local brew pub and I inquired after their grease. The manager directed me to the dumpster in the back. Steve and I had dinner at a Japanese restaurant and the owner said “No.” to my request for his used oil. Seems that they may have had a problem in the past with people leaving a mess.

In the morning I went back for 15 gallons of grease from the Brew pub while wearing my favorite new green sweater from Savers in Salinas.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Winters

I got up at 6 am to take pictures of the sunrise. I parked next to the river surrounded by citrus and palm and willow trees. Magical. The van ran great using the vegetable oil and I didn’t notice anything unusual. I spent a couple of hours with Andy and Anita and a variety plate of delicious cookies. They were a little shy and not really sure why I wanted to talk to them but I think it went well. I drove back to Berkeley for Nico’s first birthday party and to meet Will and Sid to move my furniture over to Mike Taffet’s House in West Oakland. I waved to Mike’s Neighbors as I left the dresser in his yard and they waved back.

I took a quick tour of my old neighborhood and met these girls when they asked if “that thing really runs on vegetable oil”.

I went to the city and met up with a few friends at the Latin. Mike Taffet had just returned from a 105 mile bike ride from San Luis Obispo to Solvang. Gibbs Chapman came out for a quick beer. Jovi Schnell and Christine Shields joined us for a drink and a chat. I played two games of pool with Ray and he won both. He was getting me back for Sunday night at the Make out Room. As you may know, the Latin is my least favorite table for many reasons, too close to the wall, no light, some jackass spilling his drink on you. We played a third, which I won. When I gave Ray, of all people, a hard time for not trying hard enough he said “I love you, I need you to get what you want though” Wow. How does he DO that?

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Sonoma

Arrived at Chateau Vallejo just in time for dinner! I even got to have some left over birthday cake after. Mmmm..Princess cake with marzipan frosting for Keda whose new teeth are coming in and turned seven on March fourth.



The next day I was invited for lunch at Bob and Sosi’s house in Santa Rosa where we had a lovely carrot ginger soup and fresh greens. Bob told me that the local brew pub, Russian River Brewing made a beer for his other band, Huge Large called Huge Large pils. I went there after lunch but they didn’t have any so I asked for their grease, which they don’t even use.

The next five restaurants I asked had either already promised their grease to someone or couldn’t let me access the underground grease trap. It seems that a lot of the grease is being collected by a local co-op. There was a Japanese place on Fourth that showed me to the barrel in the back of the restaurant. I used my hand pump to take about 9 gallons away. It looked really nasty and I wasn’t sure if it was clean enough but I had nothing to compare it to so I took it.

I was finally able to get going filtering the grease so I left it out in the back yard in 5 gallon containers. It was foggy when I arrived but the sun came out the next day. I needed to take a trip out to the beach so on Friday I went North to Healdsburg for a trip to the world’s largest Sally Ann. Five separate buildings of Thrift on a big acreage with a men’s rehab center and boats and cars for sale and everything.

Found a few things and then took Westside road and Skaggs Spring Road to my former home town of Guerneville. A quick stop at the health food store for 2 eggs and some baby bok choy then La Casita for beans, rice and tortillas. La Casita has new owners since I lived there and they put up a new sign on the counter and took away the self serve salsa bar.


Took the bohemian highway to Monte Rio and then the other road west, to Duncan’s Mills. Made a quick stop in Jenner for the water that I forgot to buy in Guerneville. After that I went to south over the Russian River to Goat Rock Beach and made some tea and and my first hot home cooked meal.

I talked to this guy, who kept putting his hands together and bowing while we were talking. After the beach I watched the sunset from a bluff above the beach and then headed to Bodega where I had decided to look for a parking place.

The Casino in Bodego was open and since I had never set foot in there when I lived in Occidental, I decided to check it out. I bought a Miller high life for $2.50 and spent my change on a game of pool with Merle.

We played a few games and then played as partners against the most obnoxious guy in the bar and his girlfriend. All in all we had some good games but I still hate playing teams. It’s impossible to maintain any kind of rhythm and flow when you have to wait for someone to quit being an obnoxious asshole and get on with the game. Merle and I made a good team but it was more fun to play against each other.

The next day I woke up around the corner from the surf shop. I already knew that the owner of the shop is a grease car driver so I stopped in to see what resources are in the area but he wasn’t there. I took Coleman valley road back east over Irish hill. Coleman valley is just about my favorite drive in Sonoma County. Usually I would take it west and then take Bodega highway back but this time I started out going up hill through the eerie fog, through the trees and up to the part that looks like the English Moors. The road winds 8 miles back to Occidental, where I took a detour through my old neighborhood on Deer meadow lane.



When I got back to Boyes Springs in the afternoon I started filtering the grease with the electric pump into the five gallon containers. The end product didn’t look much different from the clean sample Thaddeus had shown me. I was able to start using it when I left that night for Winters to interview Andrew and Anita Anderson, married 70 years. Andy Anderson will be a hundred years old in April and Anita will be 91 in April.

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Sunday, March 4, 2007

San Francisco


Woke up this morning in my usual spot on top of Bernal hill. It looks like there is construction going on up here during the week so I don't think I'll be parking up here tonight.

I came over Siskyou pass yesterday with clear blue skies, running the van on vegetable oil, cruising up the hills most and down all of the hills in fourth gear. I arrived in Berkeley just in time to see Bermuda Triangle service perform at the Starry Plough, Carolyn Mark and Amy Honey played afterwards.

I found someone getting rid of grease on Craigslist and picked it up in Daly City. Afterwards Bill Daniel helped me start filtering it by straining it through a seive. It's hard for me to tell if this is going to be good grease or not. It looks pretty sludgy but the grease that Thaddeus showed me at his place looked pretty nasty too, before it was filtered.

I stocked up on much needed organizational supplies in Japantown at Ichiban Kan, the Japanese Dollar store. What a great selection of stuff that you need for living in a small space. Where would I be without the Japanese? I stopped in at Benihana to ask for their grease and they showed me a nice, full container in the kitchen and said to just ask for the manager when I come get it.

Who knew it could be so easy?

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