Thursday, December 30, 2010

Road to Keeseville

Crystal-draped ledges loom over Route 9
The sun does not rise this winter morn
Blue-grey light diffuses slowly across the sky

A year winds down, grey and damp
A day brightening minute by minute
The North Country awakens to a new day

Deep in a valley swamp,
A mother moose lifts her dripping muzzle
And glances around to check on her young twins

Raven sits on a high branch and leans into a call
Brother crow wings across the wooded ledge
And dips it's black wings in recognition

Down to earth, deep in snow
A meadow vole shuffles it's well-worn path
And seeks new greens for nibbling

In a neighboring valley
Wood smoke curls from a fresh-stoked fire
Sweetly scenting the air with cherry wood

At last the sun does rise
Golden-yellow on granite and ice
As songbirds cheerfully greeting the new day

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Curse of the Gemini

I am cursed with thinking
Grey matter. Synapses firing
Trying to assemble the meaning of being.
Life random
The things gathered in our lifetime
Days and nights filled
Not so much why am I here
As it is why are you

By extrapolation
Each of us
A circle of influence in others' livers
Are we not, therefore,
All the more valuable to one another?

Family is given, an act of birth
Friends and lovers, on the other hand,
Are somehow chosen
From the pool of humanity in which we swim
Even years apart can not shred the warmth of familiarity
When old friends meet.

A good life is filled
With a cast of characters
Psychic links vibrating the spirit
Like a fly shakes the spider's web
The mind springing to alertness in the dark of night
Or resting pensive and still as arctic noon air

Your pain, I feel,
Across unmeasured units of time and space
The joy, not so much.
Sending prayers and
Warm waves of healing
In lieu of my touch

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Winter Eve

Snow squeaking underfoot
Laden pine boughs droop low
Sickle moon brightly shining
Through bare branches maples sleeping
Orion draws his bow
Against the silent gloss black sky

Thursday, December 02, 2010


Pines stand on the hill
Grey-green in the gathering dusk
Snow-covered branches dimly aglow
Winter sky a leaden backdrop of
Purple black clouds heavy with snow

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Message for the Season: Love Fulfills God's Requirements

Romans 13:8, 10 (NLTse)
Love Fulfills God's Requirements

[8] Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God's law.
. . .
[10] Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God's law.

Romans 13:8, 10-14 (MSG)
Don't run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along.
. . .
You can't go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love.

But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can't afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don't loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Martin Thanksgiving Dinner

Turkey, red cabbage cole slaw (from garden), mashes potatoes, pearl onions in cream sauce, sweet potatoes and prunes in homemade maple syrup, sausage stuffing, Grands buttermilk biscuits, homemade creamed corn. Not in picture: Michael's homemade blueberry pie, Huber Winery spiced apple wine.

Enjoyed by just us four. It was wonderful watching Em & M interact as young adults - a lot of sibling ribbing and levity.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Orion, String of Lights

Orion, string of lights,
Stretched across the Southeastern horizon.
Arctic beauty:
Strong, protective, graceful.
Piercing the night
In a cold, black, pre-winter sky.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Marcy Field - new TUNE

I am working on a new tune, entitled "Marcy Field" after the location where  it was composed. I composed this tune along the banks of the East Branch Ausable River across from Marcy Field, in the Adirondack Mountains. Marcy Field is a grass runway airport located halfway between Keene and Keene Valley.

You can listen to the tune with the music player below.

Marcy Field - copyright © 2010 Michael R. Martin - Adirondack resident and singer/songwriter.
(yeah, it's a little bit Muzak)

View Larger Map

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mid-September: Elevation 1750'

The last raspberry was shriveled but sweet
Enjoyed while last clippings of lawn clung to my feet
In overcast so solid from sky to ground
That a mist enveloped everything, swallowing sound.

First blush of color on the maple, cabin's corner
A bit as I imagine the thumb of Jack Horner,
Cheeks of young maidens fawning before knights,
And the breast of a Kingfisher winging in flight.

It is time to look close and appreciate the dew
When the glorious horizon is hidden from view
As it's best to remember the woodshed is full
When sunshine is naught and close feels the snow

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Banks of Lake Colby

Laying on a bank by Lake Colby
Dappled in sunlight filtered through a white birch
Surrounded by sound:
Wind in the leaves
Waves gently lapping the shore
Birds and insects singing
Cars passing slowly beyond the top of the bank.

Sleepy sounds of summer fading
Warmth and sunlight reflected off the water
Green grass and yellow flowers waving in the breeze

If I could only preserve today like the
Fresh maple syrup stores up mason jars
Fresh fruit frozen, or preserved as jams and jellies

Late afternoon worth capturing forever
To take out and enjoy when the icy grip of deep winter
Takes hold of your soul, and
Your frozen bones ache for thawing warmth

A crow calls
Breaking my reverie
I glance around once more
At sun and water
Green grass and yellow flowers
And I am up and off
To ride the warm afternoon wind
Forever summer
If but for a day

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Stormy weather

Stormy weather
What I see is how I feel
And nothing you can say
Calms the wind or stills the seas
Over such distances
Against such odds

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Yo deseo

Yo deseo, cómo yo deseo

Yo deseo, cómo yo deseo que usted y yo éramos uno.
Yo deseo, cómo yo deseo que éramos juntos siempre.
Yo deseo, cómo yo deseo que usted eran el mío, aquí y ahora.
Yo deseo, cómo yo deseo que era el tuyo, allí y ahora.

usted es mi sol brillante.
usted es mi vida, mi amor.

Usted completo me.
Tu amor completo me.

Todo mi amor,

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Amor Oscuro

amor oscuro
amor profundo
mi amor para ti
a nada es segundo

naranjas y pomelos
y dos onzas del ron
y soñaré con el día
usted y yo seremos uno

Friday, August 20, 2010

I wish . . .

i wish
i could see you now
in person
across the room
within arms reach
in my arms

i wish
i could hold you now
forgetting all
the world and life
shrinking down to a moment
just you & i together

i wish
i could fall asleep
wrapped up with you
and wake
to find you still there
warm in my arms

i wish
that i could hold you so close
that you could see the world through my eyes

i wish
we were walking
hand in hand
sunrise at the ocean
cool afternoon in the woods
dark night under infinite stars

i wish
you were here now
and forever

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thank you, Musician's Friend

At long last, the MF saga is over, thanks to Glenn Ray, Manager of Customer Service and Technical Support, who took a special and personal interest in this case. I was pleased to see someone finally taking a personal interest at Musician's Friend, since customer satisfaction ought to be priority one. Musician's Friend made a considerable number of concessions to me, together with a personal apology.

Thank you, Glenn. Musician's Friend is now once again on my shopping list as a supplier. Pairing top-rate customer service with your amazing selection of goods on your informative web site is a combination that is tough to beat.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I am Really NOT . . . . (the CONTINUEING SAGA OF my fun with MUSICIAN'S FRIEND

I am really NOT a mean SOB. Perhaps reading the Musician's Friend Posts you might think otherwise ( and I am generally reasonable, calm, thoughtful, considerate and caring. But when things go wrong due to the shortcomings of someone or some thing, particularly if that thing is a business or corporation, I like to let them know about it. First, I want them to know that they failed me. Second, I hope that they learn from the experience so that they do better next time.

I generally do this sort of thing on the down low, behind the scenes, typically via email. It is only when I get particularly frustrated by the bone-headedness of an institution that I take it to the streets, ie. my BLOG.

Musician's Friend, the online music store, is the latest in a very short list to earn my ire. There has been some dialogue, but it took a considerable amount of time before this big, nasty issue got bounced up to someone in management. Check out the comments on the more recent post to see the direction Musician's Friend is heading to prevent a reoccurance and to compensate me in some way for the frustration, missed opportunities due to equipment not arriving when ordered (should they pay my nightly gig fee?). Hey, I ordered in PLENTY of time to have what I needed when I needed it. And I payed for expedited fast shipping when necessary.

So far, I've got ANOTHER promise to personally walk an order to the door (which means what, seeing as how the warehouse is States away from the operations center -- occasionally bringing up some tracking number status on a computer screen?). It worked so well before.
       Come on, I am allowed to be a little cynical at this point. Go back and read the two prior posts.



Friday, August 06, 2010

A night for sleeping not slept - What souls do pets possess?

A night for sleeping not slept, as
I ponder: What souls do pets possess?

Finally, a night for sleeping
Cool and dry.
Through the window
A light breeze
Chirp chirp of a cricket
Steady low buzz of some other bug
Intent on finding a mate.

On the bed beside me,
Young dog sighs,
Nuzzles into my side
And soon snores, quiet & content.
Overhead, old dog paces,
Panting loud & steady as a racing locomotive,
And drags a hind leg from room to room.

Euthanasia, thy time has come.
No quietly slipping away while we sleep.
He's a good dog, family.
I feel like he helped raise the kids.
He cries not,
But his pain, standing, laying, rising, or climbing stairs,
Is unbearable to watch.

What souls do pets possess?
When we stare into their eyes,
Is it the infinite connection of all living things,
Or just a reflection of our own humanity,
Our longings, desires, need to be loved,
That we see?
If dogs don't go to heaven, I don't want to go.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Musician's Friend Continues to M F-up with my orders - WHY MUSICIAN'S FRIEND SUCKS! STILL! AND MORE!

  • Take a simple order. Ship it ground. Check. - Call this Order 1
  • Take another simple order to ship overnight. Ship by ground instead. NOT check. Call this Order 2A
  • Promise to stop order 2A and overnight a replacement (Order 2B). Stop order 1 instead. NOT check.
  • Promise to "walk that overnight replacement order" 2B out the door so it arrives by needed date. NOT check
For those keeping score, that is 1 error, 1 compounded error, and 1 egregious error (breaking a promise made "to set things right")

UPDATE (and more MF-ups at MF, the company)

Order 1 is now almost a week overdue. A check of the tracking information shows that order 1 was recalled back to MF again instead of being sent back out to me and the original order 2A is being sent back out to me instead of being accepted as a return. AS OF TODAY July 23, the package that was OUT FOR DELIVERY TO ME on July 16, literally an hour or less from my door until ERRONEOUSLY RECALLED by Musician's Friend, is now in Randolph MO! The UPS truck probably drove by my house several times that day with the order in back. A WEEK LATE, not moving in my direction,  AND MUSICIAN'S FRIEND HASN'T EVEN OFFERED TO SHIP IT BACK TO ME THE FASTEST WAY POSSIBLE. - OK they did offer. AFTER I called to follow up and was on hold for a long time while they tried to sort this mess out again. So, when it finally arrives, it will only be a week and a half late.

ALL of this mess was initiated by Musician's Friend. The correction for accidentally recalling order 1 instead of order 2A was to send order 1 back out to me after it reached the warehouse. Instead, order 1 is somewhere in Kansas and 2A is heading my way.

Score: Musician's Friend 4, Me 0
And we both lose.

I've lost all faith in MF, and I've spent not inconsequential amounts with them over the years (including a Gibson Les Paul Standard, multiple amps, etc.).

Musician's Friend loses one loyal customer, and the value of that goodwill in personal recommendations.
I'll never receive anything I ordered when I needed it. I may never even receive everything I've ordered. I am concerned that I'll never receive all the refunds and discounts I am due.

Fellow musicians, if you are listening. Take your business elsewhere. I recommend locally. Support the local shop and they will support the local music scene.

Musician's Friend, if YOU are listening, and I particularly mean MF CEO, President or other senior executive, hear me:
  1. your first error (ground instead of overnight), while it shouldn't have happened, was easy to make right so that I got my stuff and you retained my goodwill. 
  2. Your second error (recalling wrong order) was bogus since I specifically offered to provide the order number to prevent confusion, because your rep was clearly confused. 
  3. Your third error - WHAT! Now NOTHING would arrive on Friday?! REALLY?! And yet, as amazing as it sounds, your errors are continuing.

Mr/Madam President/CEO of Musician's Friend-

Why have order numbers if you don't use them to actually manage orders? Crap, forget about that. Just GET somebody with a brain to figure out how much money you owe me in refunds on merchandise returned (recalled by you intentionally and accidentally) and see to it that I get those refunds. I'd be happy to provide the order numbers.
On second thought, that is giving you all too much credit (no pun). Just refund my credit card for ALL my purchases in the last month. That way, you won't need no stinkin' order numbahs.
THAT, and a direct apology, will make it right.

Matter Resolved 08/16/10: See

Friday, July 16, 2010 are MFers

Here has been my experience with Musicians Friend over the past week, and why they really are MFers!

Here has been my experience with Musicians Friend over the past week, and why they really are MFers! Just wanted to know I will never order from you again & have am telling the world the best way I know how:


#SXXXXXXXX  07/14/2010 $128.89 INTERCEPT/RETURN to MF - REFUND -
        MF Mistake Ground instead 1 Day

#SXXXXXXXX  07/15/2010 $85.00 Next Day NO CHARGE because of mistake on first order

#SXXXXXXXX  SHIPPED 07/13/2010 Due for delivery 07/16
        (tracking says intercept/RETURN)

I placed an order on 7/13/10, shipped UPS GROUND, due for delivery today,  7/16/10 -- it included a cart to carry my heavy AMP for a GIG this weekend. I received an email on 7/13/10 thanking me for my order and the UPS tracking number indicated GROUND due 7/16/10

I placed an order on 7/14/10 paying $30 extra for OVERNIGHT SHIPPING due 7/16/10 -- it included a small amp for ANOTHER GIG this weekend.

On 7/15/10 I received an email thanking me for my order and showing shipping by UPS GROUND NOT OVERNIGHT. So I called and the idiot tried to tell me I asked for Ground and was getting Ground. I explained, NO, I had an EARLIER order that was ground but paid $30 extra to get this latest order 7/16/10. I OFFERED TO PROVIDE ORDER NUMBERS SO HE COULD SORT IT OUT. He declined.

After more than an hour on the phone, at 4 in the morning, this idiot and his idiot supervisor (Chris, I believe) agreed to send a STOP SHIPMENT AND RETURN on the recent order that was accidentally shipped GROUND instead of OVERNIGHT. AND they assured me that a NEW small amp would go out immediately overnight and still arrive hereon FRIDAY.

The next thing I know, I check the tracking and the first order, which was an hour away at  the facility waiting to be delivered to me was RETURNED TO MUSICIANS FRIEND. THE IDIOTS RECALLED THE WRONG ORDER. When I called about that, I was told SORRY, we screwed up (again) and nothing you could do about it.


CREDITS ARE WORTHLESS BECAUSE I DON'T WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOU IDIOTS. Not only that, you can't even INSTANTLY refund my credit card even though EVERYTHING was your fault due to your stupidity and stubbornness and refusal to actually pay attention to the problem I was describing to you.

Now they won't even let me post this complaint to their email support using my registered customer name.

Musicians Friend ARE MFers, plain and simple.

Matter Resolved 08/16/10: See

Thursday, July 08, 2010

My Upcoming Summer & Fall Gigs

Here is a schedule of my upcoming summer/fall gigs so far:

With The Whompers:
• Fri 8/6 - Saranac Lake TBD (BluSeed?)
• Sat 8/7 - TriTown Festival Parade, Brasher Falls 11AM (line-up 10AM)
• Sat 8/7 - private party, Brasher 4PM-8PM
• Sun 8/8 - Erin's Isle, Brasher Falls 4PM-8PM

Solo Acoustic/electric
• Almost every Sunday - Praise service First UMC, Saranac Lake

• Almost every Wednesday - Community Supper, First UMC, Saranac Lake
• Sat 10/2 - Rockin' for Rett 2.0, sometime between 10AM & 4PM; Tucker Farm, Gabriels - I should be able to play a longer set and show off some new originals - Great cause, Good Music

When Josie comes home . . .

This is a picture of a little dive in Madison, Wisconsin that I posterized.

Isn't this the awesomest sign?

Talk about your pure, funky Americana. Betty Beavers Fuel Stop - in THREE D ! Click to zoom in and check it out! (check her out?)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

On the road to the gulf coast

It is noon on Tuesday and I am on my way to the gulf of Mexico. I am driving through Pennsylvania on interstate 81. Green fields on rolling hills. Light blue sky filled with bright white clouds. Concrete roads and jersey barriers. Big rigs hauling tandem trailers. Road construction everywhere. Narrow, shifting lanes. Just 6 more hours to my first night stop. I'm looking forward to see my daughter, my sister in law and brother in law.

Note: this blog entry was dictated by using Vlingo on my BlackBerry Bold. I did not text while driving!

Friday, June 04, 2010


Mmmmm. I love the smell of motorcycle exhaust: an oily, metallic fragrance with a top note of something purely motorcycle in nature. It always reminds me of when I worked for Rockingham Security as a job in college. One weekend I had to stand guard in a Harley shop because the owners were in receivership or something. Every now and then I'd go from the showroom to the shop and start one of the hogs up, just to hear it roar. It was then I came to really know that distinct smell of an idling and revved motorcycle engine.

I'd been driving motorcycles since I was 14 or so but had never warmed up a bike's engine indoors and so missed that smell. Or perhaps it was just that my little Suzuki 250 and Kawasaki 500 just didn't have the digestive system to produce the smell. Certainly my big V-Twin Honda cruiser does it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Final 50 Wrap!

My big day ended in spectacular fashion. Marlene and the kids took me out to dinner, and we were joined by 5 of my closest friends. It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. We enjoyed a long, sumptuous dinner, cake and conversation. When we returned home, it was present time. I got a number of nice gadgets and things. The best was saved for last, though.

Shown here is my new Fender Vintage '60s Reissue Stratocaster, complete with tweed case and strap. WOW! I haven't had a chance to plug it in yet, but I just might. It's 1 AM but my amp is over in the office, above the garage and a separate building from the house. Hmmmmm. . .

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Birthday #50 Chronicles (Tales of an Aging Ponderer)

5/26/2010 09:26:15 AM •

My day started with a failed attempt at sleeping in. My phone kept beeping like a Star Trek communicator every time a friend posted a birthday wish on facebook. Not complaining. It is nice to have friends.

Dragged my butt upstairs and had a bowl of Luck Charms with "new swirly charms" or something like that, and skim milk. It was like eating a bowl of petrified pseudo-marshmallow with an occasional sweetened oat cereal.

Scheduled for ultrasounds and cystoscopy at 11:30 & 12:30 at the Adirondack Medical Center (hospital), I spent the remainder of my morning reading Terrence West's Fallen Angels on my iPod touch (book 1 of the Fallen Angels trilogy - something to do with Area 51) while trying NOT to dread the upcoming procedures or overthink pre-procedure preparation. But it is hard to read while you are trying to calculate the precise best time to shower so that you arrive fresh for invasive procedures without arriving damp! Things like this and a zillion other stupid and important things swirling around in my mind are the reason I don't sleep much.

I know: who schedules themselves for potentially unpleasant procedures on their birthday, right? I didn't have much choice. I had to fit it in when I could, not knowing when I might be called off to the Gulf to help with the spill ( And tomorrow I have to get up and leave at 6:30AM to make a follow-up with an entodontist so he can root around under a a new crown because his root canal didn't take. Hopefully third time is a charm!

I decided to shower at 10:30 so I can arrive at hospital* to check in 1/2 hour early. I've also decided to ride my motorcycle in. It is just four miles and I'm not donning all that gear and lugging it around all day. Just helmet and gloves. It'll be easier to find a spot to park, plus I can just lock the helmet to the bike. Brooom brrrooom!

(*I remember when I started hearing Americans begin to use "hospital" as do the Europeans instead of "the hospital." I can't say I like it. And I still can't say I'm going "on holiday." When I go on vacation I go on A holiday -- though apparently I am ok with going on vacation versus going on a vacation. Plain hospital and holiday sound so pretentious.)

My daughter, Emily, up from North Carolina for my birthday (and to see her friends), wished me a happy birthday this morning. A smile from her melts my heart and makes my day. Thank you for that, Em. Shortly after, she took off again - we don't see much of her when she is home anymore.

Rumor has it we are going out to dinner tonight. I had kind of hoped I could just go play guitar at the Community Supper and keep things low key. But, I think birthdays are really for the other people in your life and I will try not to ruin this for them by being my usual grumpy self. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

God, when did we all turn middle-aged?! I remember when the neighbor turned fifty. That seemed so significant. Now I am turning fifty and in some respects I am still that 17 year old boy skidding around in an old VW beetle. I've known for some time that we have some internal "age" that doesn't seem to change for us. But every time I reach an age milestone, I am amazed I don't feel different. Does this mean that 80 year old gentleman pillar of our community still feels 18 or 21 and just appears to us to be the wise, old man?

Maybe it isn't so much an internal age as it is an internal identifier or identity - our self-image formed at some point in our early life that doesn't change much as our bodies age around it. I'm not the first guy to turn 50, but does everybody ponder it as much as I?

"'Cause I'm the Ponderer. Yes I'm the Ponderer. I ponder, ponder, ponder, pondewr ..." - sung to the tune of "The Wanderer"
Hah! That right there just reminded me of the old Mad Magazines.

5/26/2010 10:20:41 AM •
»» Off to the showers - more later ««
Wish me luck (Not for the shower, dufus! The hospital visit!)


Back from my little expedition. Don't ask. Owooooooo-ooo-ooo-OUCH!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day's End

Sunlight gilds tree-filled banks
Across still blue water.

A horizon of water and clouds
Erupt in flames of orange and red
Set ablaze by the setting sun.

At last the sky goes pink to grey
And happy bats begin to flit about,
Far few to stem the insect tide.


"Loneliness is a fearsome enemy. Humans can stand any number of setbacks – poverty, starvation, the worst pain their bodies can inflict, homelessness, disaster, the moment before death, and the centuries upon centuries of life that remain once a loved one is gone forever. They can weather it and emerge from under the sledgehammer of it all as long they have one thing. Someone to go through it with them. Even if that person is not kind to them, they know at least that they are not alone."

"Maze of Trees"
by Claudia O'Keefe

Reflections on the Dawn

Early morning, late May
Sunlight in pure yellow rays
Streaming over the mountain peaks
Streaking across an azure sky
Striking new leaves fresh with chlorophyll
Stirring robins to sing in the new day

Leaves, freshly unfurled,
bathed in photon streams that flow unfettered
by their passage through cool, unsoiled mountain air,
glow lemon-lime as if illuminated from within.

Those who sleep may be better rested than I
but miss a spectacle so free and invigorating
that I shall rise running rings around them
in spirit if not in deed.

I do see a nap in my future.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Online TV to Watch | Fascinating World of Animal Attraction and Sex in Sundance's Green Porno & Seduce Me

Sundance Channel Original Online Shows on Animal Attraction and Reproduction. Funny characters illustrate the strange and unique world of animal attraction and reproduction.


Isabella Rossellini's award-winning series of very short films about the reproductive habits of marine animals. GREEN PORNO is scientifically accurate yet extremely entertaining. Produced by Isabella Rossellini, Jody Shapiro and Rick Gilbert.
Three seasons of Green Porno include Squid, Shrimp, Anchovy, and more


Directed, written by and starring Isabella Rossellini, these five two-minute portraits explore the unconventional seduction rituals of creatures ranging from bugs to cuttlefish. SEDUCE ME offers an entertaining yet informative look into the bizarre seduction rituals that often precede the mating process
Season 1 of Seduce Me includes Bed Bugs, Snakes, Ducks and Cuttelfish

Submitted by Ollie Owlfly (my Green Porno name)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

GEICO not so good to the OTHER Guys

And by other guys, I mean us. A Geico client rolled his car 40 feet down our yard and over our son's cherry '99 Saab, destroying it and four evergreen trees in the process. Our yard is strewn with glass and sharp body parts and pieces and we are down one vehicle, through NO FAULT of ours. Geico is refusing to provide a rental vehicle or clean up the yard until they can "get in touch with their client." Meanwhile, we have a safety hazard in our yard AND are stuck juggling vehicles.

So, here is what happens when an SUV does an endo over the backof a '99 Saab
At least they didn't find the body in the trunk. Oh! Bada-bing!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gulf Coast Post Now a Separate Blog

My Gulf Coast Post Blog is now up and running. Please check it out, and pass it along. In the days to come, it will have my first-hand accounts and on-scene photographs.

Gulf Coast Post: Set to Deploy

Well, as some of you know, I am still safely ensconced in my abode at Cedar Eden while oil continues to spew into the Gulf of  Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon site. All that is set to change very soon. While winds were out of the north, the oil slick remained off-shore and therefore my services were not needed. It is looking like the spill will make landfall in MS and AL sometime this week, at which time I will take off fast from here.

My gear is still packed. In fact, I have been living out of duffel bags for a week, waiting to deploy on a moments notice. I'll send a few quick posts as I travel and then expect frequent if not daily posts from the scene, with photos included.

Follow me on twitter as CedarEden as well as on this blog,

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Green Morning Reminiscing

The sky behind Whiteface Mountain is tinged peachy by the impending sunrise. The sun's rays, reflected and diffuse, seem to move slowly through the damp air. All of the colors go odd. The whole scene begins to look as if it is submerged in a fish tank of algae water.

The lawn has greened up so quickly these last few days of warm and rain. Covered in dew, the sloping yard has the look of fine velvet. The chill air, the dampness, the birds singing; all of these things combine to send me back, almost as real & true as time travel, to happy, youthful mornings. I would run outside with the chirp of the morning's first bird. Listening to the growing chorus in light growing from gloom to glow, I sensed my whole life before me. I sensed that anything was possible. And I made the best of each moment that I had, alone or with friends, cycling through the ups and downs of teen angst and puberty.

It always strikes me as funny how certain brief, little moments in life stay with me with such clarity. Skidding around a mailbox post while driving my VW packed with screaming friends, who I suppose they thought they were going to die, not realizing I knew how to coax a power slide out of that measly little 42 horsepower engine. Their relief when we stopped our slide and I stopped the car, laughing to blow off the tension and nerves, clapping me on the back and hailing me "Mario," a reference to famed race car driver Mario Andretti and NOT the Nintendo game character who came along much later.

Sitting at the piano at Tori's house, just noodling around and making some made-up music. And I remember Tori said, with some sadness, how I could play the piano so well without any lessons and she had been taking them all her life. Well, number one, it didn't sound all that good; and number two, she drove a Porsche to school while I drove an old beetle.

Speaking of beetles, what fun in the empty school parking lot, playing President's Secret Service Detail. I'd get the bug rolling in first gear and we'd all stand on the running boards outside of the car as it putted along. I think once I managed to kick it into second before climbing out and the thing nearly got away from us as it gathered speed.

I could go on. Through all the years of my life, for the most part, there are these little nuggets of sharp detail that sit around in the dark until some random thing in the here and now causes me to swing a flashlight across their forms. And the details come right back, brightly reflecting the light of my attention.

So bizarre.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Gulf Coast Post: Prepping for Trip, Testing Mobile Blog Posting

In preparation for my first 3 week trip to the Gulf Coast to help oversee cleanup, I am testing direct posting to my blog from my Blackberry to see how it handles pics & such. I may make some posts from the field but likely do my Hi-Res digital photo processing & posting in the evenings.

I've got a full day ahead of me: filling prescriptions, dentist & doctor appointments, rescheduling things, finding rental car close to Gulf coast & booking a flight there, backing up work data on laptop, packing all my gadgets & gear, packing clothes & personal items, and finally, hopefully, getting a little sleep before I catch the 6AM Cape Air out of the Adirondack Regional Airport (SLK), 4 miles from my home. And hoping that my new, untested TSA-Homeland Security Redress Number will speed my check-ins - seems my name is common enough that I've been on the No-Fly list for years, requiring a call to FBI every time I check in at a terminal.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Adirondack Spring Ride - April 07, 2010

I love the Adirondacks this time of year, kind of a pre-Spring this far north and at these elevations. Lately, we've had early ice-out on the lakes and snow-gone in the woods. Sure, it is kind of brown and grey, but with the leaves off the trees you can see the lay of the land, at least where it isn't blocked by stands of spruce and cedar.
Tupper Lake
First stop was Tupper Lake for wings at Guido's Pizzeria, locally owned for decades and home of the best, all-homemade Italian fast food: pizzas, wings, subs, etc. Heading out of town, I cross the Tupper Lake causeway and stop to admire the wind-swept water and pre-emergent wetland.

Hamlet of Long Lake
Stopped for gas at Kickerville Station, just outside the hamlet of Long Lake. In Long Lake, I stopped to take a picture of the little float plane Flying Service office and the one lone float plane on the lake. It was brown, perfect for the color scheme of this season. Come summer, there are three or four float planes.

Rain - Hamlet of Indian Lake
Turning towards Indian Lake, I pass the divide between the St. Lawrence River & Hudson River watersheds. Along the way, I see this cool jeep parked at a trailhead. About the time  I reach Indian Lake, it begins to rain. I don't mind the rain, riding through the central Adirondacks on my motorcycle. I'm mostly waterproof. All the colors change when wet. The brown ground shows a bit of green, the yellow dead grass and grey bare trees become brighter, almost shiny. It also causes interesting low-level clouds along the hills and small peaks.

And it reminds me of growing up in Gilmanton, NH. The spring rains always brought out the little red salamanders. They'd be all over the yard and woods, and we would hike around and collect them in buckets and coffee cans. We'd always let them go again, but it was fun to hold them in your hand - their little feet tickled a bit as they walked around.
So it rained in the hamlet of Indian Lake. I stopped at a Stewart's and had a coffee & banana split. A warning came through on my Blackberry for thunderstorms, heavy rain and high winds in southern Adirondacks moving north. Here in the store it seems like everybody knows everybody else, and many of them are related. There is a steady stream of customers, male and female, stocking up on beer for this rainy afternoon. The favorite choice seems to be light beer in a 12 pack. Glad I'm not stuck in that kind of life.
I decided to head home when I was finished.
Hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake
On my way home, I have to drive into the hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake. Years ago, I did a lot of work on this lake, including detailed watershed & water quality modeling to predict the effect of increased development within the watershed on lake water quality.
There isn't much here. At the intersection of Route 30 & Route 28, there are a few buildings and shops. It is here where you have to decide whether to continue on straight and eventually hit Old Forge or take a left and go through the hamlets of Indian Lake, Town of Minerva, and a few other small settlements. If you continue on straight, you hit the center of the hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake, as defined by the highest concentration of buildings on both sides of the lake and on the lake shore. You have a fire station, a performing arts center, and a handful of water/recreation-related stores and a collection of houses perched right over the water.
Saranac Lake
Near the end of my journey, I stopped at the Saranac Lake United Methodist Church. They were cleaning up from their weekly Community Supper, a free meal for anyone who wants it. They get from 50 - 70 people. It is a chance to not worry about making supper, reduce the food bill, save a few bucks. Also a chance to be part of a community for a night. A lot of nights I show up & play music, giving it a coffee house feel. They really like Johnny Cash.

Friday, April 30, 2010

OOOOOOOOOOOooooo! eBay SUCKS ! ! ! !

Oh, I'm sure a few of you remember when ebay announced that they were changing the way they handled their rating system, where buyers and sellers could rate the experience when purchasing or selling an item. They decided to NOT allow sellers to leave negative feedback. At the time, I though "eh, whatever."

Well, I just had the following experience: listed a brand new unopened Blackberry Bold 9700. Sweet! At the end of the auction, a bidder ran it up to $378 and won. Sweet! When I did not hear from him, I sent him an invoice. He wrote back and said "oh, I forgot I was bidding on two and can I not but yours." The asshole's ebay ID is hyungwooooo. Digging around ebay, they have a complicated process when this happens. In the end, I get refunded my listing and transaction fees. I have my Bold and no cash.

Then I tried to leave some comment so another buyer won't get screwed by this dufus. Nope. No way, no how. And here is what ebay had to say to me when I contacted them . . . .



Dear Michael,

Thank you for contacting eBay. To better serve our members, we're
changing the way we work with you when you have a question. If the information below doesn't answer your question, a Customer
Service agent can assist you more quickly by chatting with you online.
To chat with an agent about this issue, go to ask a different question, go to

With regards to your concern on leaving negative Feedback to a buyer.

Seller can't leave negative Feedback because the goal is to improve the buying experience on the site by regaining the confidence of buyers. A big issue with the older Feedback system was that buyers feared retaliatory Feedback from sellers, which made it harder for buyers to distinguish between good and bad sellers. Also, buyers who received negative Feedback in the past were less likely to buy again in the future.

By improving buyer confidence on the site, we hope to increase buying activity -- which is also good for sellers.

We have made some changes in our feedback system. An important change right now that affects your concern is that sellers are no longer able to leave negative or neutral feedback to buyers. Please allow me some time to explain this change well for you as this was made for the interest of both buyers and sellers. It will be best that you hold your questions until later, after I'm done explaining everything. Will this be okay with you?

We have found that negative Feedback left for buyers reduces buyer activities on the site. In the past, we have seen many buyers who would rather leave eBay than give accurate feedback about their transaction within the site since there is threat of receiving negative Feedback. Sellers then do not benefit when buyers leave.

With the new system, the eBay marketplace will actually be improved as a whole since both buyers and sellers will benefit from it. As buyers, they will increase confidence in bidding as they will be able to build trust in sellers. As sellers, this means more sales at a possible higher price since there will be more buyers who'll have confidence in bidding.

I'd also like to emphasize that sellers will also be protected from
buyers who violate our policies via the Unpaid Item system and other
means of reporting. All neutral and negative feedback given by a buyer will be removed if the buyer is found to violate our policies and thus become suspended.

It is my pleasure to assist you. Thank you for choosing eBay.

Kristine Al.
eBay Customer Support 
(emphasis added)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Moment, uninterrupted

It was a much slower time
When you had to wait until you got home to get a phone call.
You could live in the moment, uninterrupted.

Life didn't seem slow then,
But what did we know?
People wonder how we managed to get things done before smartphones and computers.
I wonder how we manage to get things done now.

The real funny thing is,
Life is life,
Proceeding at the same reckless pace as always.
The difference is that now, we just skim across the surface, cramming our pockets full of every worthless thing we can grab.

Would that we all could live,
In the moment,

Friday, April 02, 2010

Unlucky in Love - July 9, 1983

I feel like the little spider
In the lady black widow's web.
I'm wondering if I'll get of here with my head.

Sunset - July 20 1983

High Tide at dusk
Bluest of blues, tinted rust

When You Smile

Your face, when you smile, like the clouds at dawn
Illumin that comes from within.
Innocent and open, as warm as the promise
Of a new day about to begin.

Your eyes, when you smile, like swells on the sea
Cerulean deep in the sun.
Innocen and open, as warm as the promise
Of a new day already begun.

Your lips, when you smile, like leaves in the fall
Fresh fallen, fire on clover.
Innocent and open, as warm as the promise
Of the stars when a new day is over.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

NHL Management - 2 Tickets to . . . nowhere

I see this facebook sidebar advertisement,
"Get 2 free tickets to a NJ Devils game when you purchase a Devils retro jersey at Modell's (see participating NJ locations)." 
And  I think, "Which one of these two, the jersey or the seats, is way over-priced?" (Shhhh,  It's a trick question, the answer is C - all of the above)

In NHL Pro rinks across North America, the affordable seats are certainly not family-friendly (think nosebleed section OR picture the drunken hoser sloshing about). And the seats where a father or mother might pass on a passion for the game are certainly NOT affordable. I recognize and applaud the gestures made here and there - the New Jersey Devils, for instance, host a family night package on selected games that includes 4 tickets, 4 fountain drinks, and a pizza for one more modest fee.

I'm not asking for the elite, glass-banging first row seats*, and I am not directing this to all those wonderful individual players who are helping out with so many charities, not for the publicity but because they care. But surely, SURELY the National Hockey League takes in enough through endorsement deals, franchise fees, and contracts with the various broadcast media to let a little hockey love trickle down to the have nots.

I'd like to see the NHL, the owner/management of each individual franchises, TicketMaster, and season ticket holders stop trying to extract every last dollar from those unused, cushy seats up front and instead use them in a continental program to let the have-nots experience professional hockey in all its glass-banging, life-size, heart-pounding glory.

*turns out I WAS asking for the elite, glass-banging first row seats, but not ALL of them ALL of the time. And I have found row 6 pretty special, too, although it was on the visitor's side. This special treat still set us back, just for my son and  me, one-third the cost of a decent used car.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

I married my wife for her looks... but not the ones she's been giving me lately!

Time flies whether or not you're having fun.

Skydivers: good to the last drop.

We can learn a lot from people who keep their mouth shut.

Marriage means commitment. Of course, so does insanity.If God wanted us to be thin, food wouldn't taste so good.

Many of our ambitions are nipped in the budget.

A great many people confuse their lack of planning with an emergency.

If you're doing the speed limit, you're in the way.

Forget the whales, save the cowboy.

He's one person who would make a perfect stranger.

The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

The only people truly under the weather are buried.


Monday, March 08, 2010


Well, it was just exactly a year ago today that I told you my ridiculous tale of customer service crap dished out by to fraudulently bilk me out of money I do not owe them. The basics are this: I had service at $4.99/month. I stopped using their service and sent their customer service reps an email stating I was done with their service. They emailed back that for "security reasons" they couldn't close my account be email. Yeah, right, sounds like they want to put the thumb screws on to continue. So I wrote back that there is no reason why I should have to do anything but notify them through my registered company email address that I am canceling my account. And they spouted some fine print in some agreement somewhere.

Time went on. Every month or so I would get another bill via email saying I owed them an ever-increasing balance, and I would reply to that email address and their customer service email address that sorry, I canceled my service. PLEASE STOP SENDING ME INVOICES.

And then a bill would come just randomly show up. Finally, no bills for two or three months.

TODAY, I get an Collections Notice, saying they have canceled my account per my request. However, the credit card on file did not work on the near $100 they wanted to charge me for NOT using their service since December 2008! HA!

So, here is how it all ended. I called the toll-free number on the "Collections  Notice." I was referred to another toll-free number by a recorded message. I was placed on hold for over 10 minutes of the WORST and LOWEST FIDELITY hold music I have ever had to experience.

Finally, a non-native American from India and I tried to figure out what we were saying to each other. At last, it became clear that this was the phone line used exclusively for their ridiculous fake collections notices and I was quickly issued a confirmation code and could then disregard the bill.

THANKFULLY, over these past two years, I had discontinued use of the credit card I had set up for that account at the same time I stopped using Otherwise, they would have happily charged me $4.95 a month forever - or until I figured it out.

So, Moral is, always check your credit card bill. And, frankly, if you don't want to fricking call when an email will do, stick by your guns! Damn the torpedoes.

And, I STILL SAY (in my opinion) STAMPS.COM SUCKS!

Reference Post March 9, 2009 - - A REAL Pain in the Ass! - (one year  into this madness)

Magical Mystery House

I don't want to live in a house where messes get made,
yet nobody made them;
Things get lost,
yet nobody lost them;
Other things get broken,
yet nobody broke them,
Tools get used and left out,
yet nobody used them.

I don't want to live in a house
where the last one to use it is the last one to clean it,
And the one who emptied it isn't the one to refill it.

And if all of that means
I am destined to live
in a house by myself, then so be it.
Because I will fill it with plants,
and friends, and music, and love.
The doors will always be open,
a bed or a futon or a spot in the corner always free.

But the saddest thing might be
if I can only fill that magical mystery house
with me.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Fat Skinny Kid

Getting ready for church, my last performance for a month or so while CAN/AM Hockey is in town, since I schedule the "videotaping" (dvding?) Of up to 100 games Thursday through Sunday.

I stepped on scale to see I've ballooned up to a chart-topping 225 pounds, which is pretty fat for the skinny guy I was in HS. There is no hiding it, that is for sure.

It looks like it is time for diet & exercise. The thing of it is, I don't eat all that much in a day. Unfortunately, 80 percent of all the meds I take have weight gain as a side effect, so I feel like an overstuffed teddy bear.

But I haven't been moving around much either. So its time to cut out the candy & occasional bowls of ice cream, and the pistachios I munch on while watching TV & start doing my sit ups & push ups.

When I was 42 or so, I just started doing sit ups and push ups, then leg raises and leg bicycles and I got ripped. If I can do it at 40, maybe I can do it at 50. I don't have much time and I'm starting at a significant disadvantage.

Exercise now gives me migraines.
So, we shall see.
I got to run, time to blow them away with music at the Praise Service,
(I say with complete humility, Christ)

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Another day.
Another chance to love.
Another chance to do right by someone.

Why do we get angry with those we love
When they could be taken from us art any time?
Who knows how long anyone has?

Another day.
A chance to love the ones we love.
Another chance
To do right by someone.
Another chance
For a random act of kindness.

It is all God wants from any of us.
Love yourselves.
Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
And Love your enemies even more.

Love. Love Lost.

Is the desire for closeness,
Longing for that next touch,
Skin on skin.
Is aching for that next touch,
Desire that grows, day by day.
It is not the kind of love
Some people can sustain.

I've had that kind of love.
I've had that kind of love
I've had that kind of love
I've had that kind of love

And after all the love I've had,
The loves brief, the loves long,
After all the love lost,
I still believe in love.
Hopelessly romantic.
Only because I know
You are out there,
A love that could have been,
In other times, other situations.
A love that could be,
If you would only let it be so.

One hopeless romantic,
Burned by love & burned by lovers,
Still looking for that one love
That fits like a key in a lock,
That perfect embrace,
Head to toe,
Heart to heart.

fb "It's complicated"

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

My Favorite Third-Party BlackBerry Apps

My five favorite 3rd Party BlackBerry Apps:
• BerryWeather
• UberTwitter
• SplashID
• Beiks Bible Study
• QuickLaunch

Rounding out top 10 3rd party BB apps:
• MeterBerry
• Beiks Dictionary
• Google Maps
• Google Sync
• Vlingo

My least favorite BlackBerry app that I use the most:
• facebook

sent via UberTwitter
On Twitter:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

La Rosa Espinosa

Tu amor es una rosa,
Fragante y dulce,
Pétalos suaves calentado por el sol.
Pero es una rosa con espinas,
Afilada como una fría noche de invierno.
Tu abrazo es como esperar que la cuchillada.

Nunca más!
Mi corazón que ha atravesado por última vez.

Feliz día de San Valentín,
Perra con el corazón frío.