Monday, July 21, 2008

Newsflash from the Gulag.....

We are preparing the T-shirts to commemorate the Cachagua Gulag.....in cooperation with a local agency which will remain nameless.

We will sell them to support our brothers and sisters in Big Sur.....who experienced actual financial and physical loss. We were just inconvenienced.


Here is the image of a sweet fundraiser this Saturday in Big Sur. If you have never heard Nico and Rushad.....well, you might be stupid, and are certainly uninformed....but this would be a great chance to catch up. The kind of artistry that Big Sur represents in so many worlds: literature, sculpture, photography, film.....is well represented in Nico and Rushad's music. If you can't go.....buy a CD on Amazon, and send a check.

We will have a challenge rematch in Cachagua. The Fire has made it clear to everyone that Cachagua and Big Sur are...... at best, five miles apart.

And........Here is the latest satellite image.....which does not match the report from Bear, or the glorious mushroom/pillar I caught on my way in this afternoon. Where was my damned camera!


Talk about performance art!

What a rush it must be to be able to create such a massive thing of beauty......a big crimson column piling and piling on itself and climbing in dead still air. Wow. I don't know how successful the backburn was in technical terms.....but in aesthetic terms it was a winner. Too bad the artist can't sign it!

According to Bear, the backburn and resulting pillar of fire was the beginning of burning up from the Dam along Hennickson's Ridge.......the route of the late Hennickson's Ridge Runners and aka Spaghetti Ridge. I don't see it on the satellite, but maybe the image precedes it.

They are going to burn on up to the top to solidify the main firebreak there. There was no mention of proceeding past Johnny Kinder's on the break and on to the Nason Ranch......but who knows. I just hope Johnny and Rogelio got some good fotos. By and Connie should have a front row seat as well.

Laurel Springs Road is closed......but not evacuated. The road closure should be short. Interesting that with the fire only hundreds of meters away there is no evacuation and drama......while residents and businesses as far away as Rancho Sin Frenos (some nine miles off) still have to show permits, and are denied the joy of the company of their friends and customers from down the Valley. In fact, even a Hiroshima sized A-bomb detonated at the dam would do nothing in terms of fire to Sin Frenos.....but would certainly up the stakes in the mushroom cloud competition.

We continue to be waved right past the CHP checkpoint at Sleepy Hollow with our visitor passes. I dummied up a blank one on my scanner and filled it out in the name of "Kurt Cobain". No one has checked my license. Amanda and I switched cars back last week and forgot to switch permits. Despite dire warnings on the permit of horrible punishments for using someone else's pass.....we have continued to scoff the procedure many, many times a day......un-noticed. Some Gulag. Only the customers are being turned away.

When I worked in New York City as a kid I had a job in the P&S Department at Smith Barney on Broad Street. We were in the New York Stock Exchange building itself. This was decades before anything electronic.....and my job was filing little pieces of paper about problem trades. In my second summer on the job I refiled the entire system by alphabetizing everything by the second letter instead of the first.......Fuckers should have paid me more than $64.50 a week.......

Anyway, also on the 10th floor was the place where the messengers brought giant checks. In the days before punks on bikes as messengers we had old, disheveled Italian and Yiddish men in funky overcoats........carrying millions of dollars in even funkier briefcases. They shuffled from Merril, Lynch to Smith Barney.....from Smith Barney to Bear, Stearns, etc and delivered big checks that closed out major summations of daily trades.

After generations of everything working fine with the little old guys shuffling off the elevator and sitting on a bench waiting their turns in a little lobby.......some genius on his way up decided that there was a security risk. After all, millions were at stake. Mostly it was just paper checks.....but there were bearer bonds from time to time. And, after all........these old guys drank a bit, smoked a lot, and smelled......a walking security nightmare.

Ignore the fact that short, smelly old foreign guys with hook noses might have trouble cashing $25,000,000 checks at the OTB or the local bodega.

Oh.....or the fact that no checks had ever been compromised in the history of Wall Street.

It looked bad.

There was a potential problem.

So.....architects were called in. Security consultants. The NYSE. Over a weekend, everything changed. There was no a secure checkpoint when you got off the elevator if you wanted to go anywhere near the money area. Us P&S guys making $64.50 a week were outside the secure zone.....as were the little old Yiddish and Italian men. Everyone important had a nifty plastic security clearance. A hierarchy we had not been aware of suddenly ruled our little workplace. Ahhhh......security.

Then it rained....as happens from time to time in New York City in the summer.

When it rains in New York....as if by magic the streets are filled with Senegalese vendors of umbrellas. Why Senegalese? Where do they come from? How do they appear so quickly and efficiently.....and where do the umbrellas live when it is dry? What do the Senegalese sell the rest of the time?

No matter. On the first rainy day after the security checkpoint was installed, we all arrived with our raincoats and our new shitty Senegalese umbrellas. The little old men came in covered in crappy plastic raincoats that did little to dispell the sheepdog aroma of tobacco drenched, thrift shop wool. We all cued up for the coat room.....

Which was inside the security area.

There was chaos. The multi-billion dollar business of Smith, Barney ground to a halt as the infantry foot soldiers in the financial army tried to figure out new and different ways to store a thousand Senegalese umbrellas, and a hundred stinking overcoats.

A solution was found, though....by one of the generals, probably the same genius who created the secure zone in the first place.

Solution? Issue everyone a security pass. So they could hang up their coats and umbrellas. And, we all got shiny new passes we had to show to the new security staff that protected the coat room.

Now....we had a new layer of bureaucracy, new employees to enforce the new rules, new architecture, new procedures that cost time and money......

And nothing had changed.

Except......there was a lot of chuckling in Yiddish and Sicilian.....and Senegalese, probably.

And.....don't get excited if you see Kurt Cobain in the security logs in Cachagua, Sheriff.

Oh, sorry. You won't see him......since no one is checking anything but the color of the paper on the dashboard.

Fucking putz. You too, Dixon.

2 Comments:

Blogger pendoodles said...

We drove into Salinas from Pacific Grove yesterday the 21st July. We could clearly see the plume of smoke from the Salinas Valley but not from the Monterey Peninsula. With the windows down you could occasionally smell wood smoke. Yet it seems much less smoky than the weeks past. If anyone like me has COPD they well know how hard this has been on many folks to breathe. I looked at the current GeoMac map and it seems the fires are contained to a small area. I he the prediction that the fires will continue to burn to the end of this month are in fact wrong and will be fully contained sometime this week. Thanks again for keeping us updated. :)

9:34 AM  
Blogger mb in Port Angeles said...

I am trying to break my addiction to reading fire news and keeping a part of my mind in your neighborhood. My connection to your part of the country is 30 years in the past, and I am very far away. But I wanted to say that it's been a real pleasure to check in on your blog several times a day for the past few weeks. Best wishes to you and your neighbors.

3:55 PM  

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