Man, am I out of shape!

Translation: Holy cow! How did I get so fat!

Answer: YER GETTIN LAZY! (and old and you eat too much)

Yup, I’m calling myself out.

Mirrors lie. Pants and cameras don’t. Scales, charts and recommendations are debatable but pants and cameras are brutally honest.

About 13 years ago, I was rapidly approaching 230 pounds. I didn’t feel bad and I was relatively active. I knew I was carrying a ‘few’ extra pounds but then I saw two images that hit me like a cast iron frying pan. The first was a photo taken while I was instructing an archery course. I looked like a frog. The second time, I was assaulted by Jabba the Hut staring back at me from dressing mirrors in a hotel bathroom. When I got home, I started walking. Then I jogged, hating every mile I put behind me. Jogging is not my thing, I pound, get shin splints and I’m just a hair faster than molasses. Then I remembered my bike.

My bike was a Sterling Sportlight SIS that I purchased in 1987 (still have it). I rode it for a couple of years, then I got married, moved, started a fishing tackle shop with my new and current bride and worked while my bike collected dust in the shed. I pumped up the tires and oiled the chain and took it for a spin now and again, but I was busy and I didn’t have time to ride regularly. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!

Anyhoo…I ressurected it once again and started riding. I used to live on my bike when I was a kid, right up through college, and then, well, you know. The more I rode, the more I wanted to ride, This was my thing. I started riding with groups and got better quickly. A friend I used to ride with in high school lent me his Motobecan racing bike that he had owned since then. It was a few years older than mine, but it rode so much better, it made my bike look like a booger. I rode that for a couple seasons and then I bought a used Specialized Roubaix. No way I could have afforded it new!

My steed, my friend

I went from the Flintstones to the Jetsons in two jumps. My riding improved, my weight dipped close to 190. Another ten and holy cow, I’d be back to my high school weight. Alas, that was not to be. Life changes and new work demands siphoned away my time and I rode less and less.

So here I am, a few years older, rapidly approaching 210 pounds, and tired of straining my waistbands. I had my bike serviced last week and road it yesterday for almost ten miles on it’s first journey of 2020. My performance was what I expected, poor to fair, but that’s okay. It was only my first ride of the year.

Now, come ride with me.

Get the lead out

Kit up
hop in the saddle
and take me for a spin
remember how you used to love 
the wind in your hair
the miles rolling 'neath my wheels
the purr of the chain on my gears
ride me like it's the last time we'll be together
rocket down a hill
feel the thrill
of speed
of danger
of trusting me
race along the flat roads
lean into the turns
not too much, your close to the edge
and gaining speed
power up the hills
I have gears enough
feel the power in your legs
you're starting to flag
draw strength from your core
you're almost there
almost there
almost
there
you can do anything for fifteen more seconds
you're burning
you're numb
you're gasping...
for...
breath...
aaaahhhhhh...
it's all down hill from here

(c) Tim Blodgett 4/3/20

I hear my bike calling.

One

That’s it! I’ve been trying to find an image of what the average human face looks like for almost an hour now. You know, an image that takes the facial characteristics of all ages, ethnicity, gender, etc, blends them together and gives the result, an every person, so to speak. I know (I think) that it exists, because I know (I think) that I’ve seen one.

I found average, typical images for women, men, Asian, European, pick a country, any country, but not an average HUMAN face!

My difficulty may speak more toward my incompetence or impatience in my search, I admit that. Therefor, I’ll invite you to do your own search and if you find it, please send it my way.

The reason for my search and ultimate failure may be what the following is speaking to. I wrote this specifically for a person who is young enough to not get it and old enough to straighten up and fly right. Who he chooses to be in the next few years will make a difference in his remaining years.

I think that if we are honest with ourselves, we will all acknowledge that we have had to learn some hard lessons over the years on our journey to the intelligent, enlightened, thoughtful, understanding people we have become. We must also acknowledge that we are still that average human struggling with the learned and instinctual biases that are part of who we are.

One

we are all the same
you and me
her and him
they
it matters not a whit
the color of our skin
the language that we speak
the faith that we hold
who it is we choose to love
we are all the same

we all struggle every day
to see
to be
good
but it's hard
when we feel alone
when we're misunderstood
when we can't find the words to say
or the courage to say them when we do
we all struggle every day

we must always remember
the pain we feel
the pain they feel
is the same
how you think about others
is how you think about yourself
the color of your blood
is the color of their blood
we are all the same
you must always remember

02/27/20 Tim Blodgett

I must find the courage to, in essence, speak out of turn and stick my nose where it doesn’t really belong, and give this to the person I wrote this for. It may be the ultimate display of hubris to think I may change the trajectory of that young person with a poem, but I believe there’s more beneath his story’s cover. I will do it. If I don’t, I will have failed to do what I believe is the right thing.

The Break-up Poem

So, I have this friend named Grace. She is part of the writing group that convenes weekly at the local Barnes and Noble. We call her ‘Giggles’, cause she does, a lot, and we love her so.

Says Grace; “My boyfriend broke up with me last night.”

Says I; “Are you alright? What happened?”

Said she; “We were up until 5am on Facebook and he said he thought we should end it. He was having a crisis and couldn’t deal.”

Then said I; “How do you feel about it?

And she replied; “Sad, a little confused and a little mad”

Me; “I’ll bet. Let’s write a scathing break-up poem about him!”

Her; Giggling, “Yes!”

What follows is the tragedy inspired chronicle of the end of a romance.

WARNING!!! Angst and ‘F’ bombs ahead!

And, Don’t mess with my friends!

Erasing Grace

It’s not you, it’s me
He said with self-deprecation
And heavy was his sigh
At least that’s what he wrote
In the text that he sent
Announcing the end of us
 
We can be friends
NO, WE CAN’T!
You’re special
FUCK YOU!
I’ll call you
DON’T BOTHER!
See you around
WHAT AN ASSHOLE!
 
The next day, I saw him
And we nervously spoke
Was that a glint
Or a tear
In his crocodile eye
Either way, he’s toast!
 
Is there a chance
NO FUCKING WAY!
I’m sorry
NO YOU’RE NOT!
It doesn’t have to be this way
A TEXT, A FUCKING TEXT!
I was a little scared
FUCKING LOSER!
 
What the hell did you want
When you asked me out
I’m not here to waste my time
If you ever grow a set
And stop acting like a teen
Call me.

Tim Blodgett 2/16/20

That was fun to write and Grace loved it. She doesn’t hate him so the ending is appropriate. Where there’s life, there’s hope. Boy is he lucky that she’s a nice person!

I’ve had a bit of a dry spell lately, sometimes you got it and sometimes you don’t.

Am-Jam wrap up

It’s been a long weekend at the Tattoo Expo and now it’s time to go home. My daughter Madison (Pie), met a whole lotta very interesting and talented people this weekend. She sold some T’s and artwork and made a few bucks. More valuable were the contacts and friends she made.

We were surrounded by busy artists creating works of art on willing flesh and the bee hive buzz of their machines ( machines, not guns!). In the booth next to us was Paul Roe, owner of James Street Parlour, located, where else, on James street in Syracuse. His website is http://www.jamesstreetparlour.com www.jamesstreetparlour.com

Paul hard at work. The banner is a picture of the tattoo on his wife’s back. Yes, that’s his work!

The fella Paul is working on is David who hails from Liverpool NY. David and his wife came to the Expo to have Paul cover an old tattoo that no longer met his standards.

The scorpion who lost his sting.
The old scorpion about to be buried.

David has been a client of Paul for a couple of years. He has a sleeve on his right arm that Paul’s working on that’s about 75% done. They had previously discussed how to cover up the old tattoo and today was the day.

Halftime.

It took about an hour to reach this point. You can still see the scorpion. It took another hour, give or take, to complete.

Finished!

No more scorpion! My last picture isn’t the best but David was very pleased with the results.

This weekend was an adventure, we’re all beat. I’m still a tattoo virgin, but I’m much better informed and will be able to make a better choice if I decide to take the leap in the future.

Pie, George, and I want to thank Jeannie and her crew for the opportunity and for making us feel welcome. You guys are the best!

I hope that you enjoyed the posts!

Day 2 at the Am-Jam Tattoo Exposition

Good arts!
Steve from Syracuse

Believe it or not, the tattoo Steve chose to be his first is the one pictured above! Who decides to get a full back tattoo for his first?????? Steve does!

He came to the Expo to have more detail added. I talked to him about it and he said he wanted to go for total coverage. No, he’s not crazy! He’s a nice guy and I appreciate him letting me take his picture and sharing it. Thanks Steve!

Oh my!
Brains and Brawn
And your little dog too!

This tattoo won the Best Sleeve category. She declined to give her name but her tattoo is phenomenal! The tattoo artist did an incredible job.

The Expo started at noon today and goes till midnight. That’s a lot of talking and by the end, you’re face hurts from talking and smiling. Tomorrow,  we’ll just frown and talk in one word sentences! Buah ha ha!

Anyway, Madison got a lot of positive feedback on her artwork and made a lot of connections with potential customers and other artists. She learned a lot from the other side of the table as a vendor.

We’ll be back at it tomorrow at noon. Good night!

Am-Jam Tattoo

The booth.


6:00 PM and the doors just opened for the 34th annual Am-Jam Tattoo Expo!

Keep your distance




We’re at the Ramada Inn, just off I 90 exit 35 in Syracuse NY. My Pie (the pretty girl in the first picture) is displaying her artwork, selling t-shirts, and taking commissions for custom work.

Just a taste
Another taste

There’s dozens of tattoo artists and piercing artists doing their thing this weekend.

The needles are buzzing and the ink is aflowin’!

You should see it from out here! It’s indescribably beautiful!

If anyone reading this is in the Syracuse area, stop in and say hello. You might decide to embellish yourself and you will definitely see things that can’t be unseen!

Incomparable

I heard about the passing of Neil Peart last Friday. I knew I would write about it, I just needed a few days. I’m not going to write a tribute piece about Neil Peart and Rush, into which I cleverly weave snippets of their lyrics, no, I’ll leave that for others. I want to express what a profound influence Rush’s music, and in particular, Neil’s lyrics have had in my life.

Neil Peart and his band mates, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, quite literally composed the soundtrack for my life.

Just what was close at hand

The Sphere A Kind of Dream

We can walk our road together
if our goals are all the same
we can run alone and free
if we pursue a different aim

Let the truth of love be lighted
let the love of truth shine clear
Sensibility
armed with sense and liberty
with the heart and mind united 
in a single
perfect 
sphere

Lyrics by Neil Peart
Hemispheres 1978

Copying those words brought a swell of emotion that I literally felt in my chest, my eyes, my skin. I feel my pulse and cold flush on my neck still. That short song, the final part of a larger story, speaks so close to me, how I feel, how I want the world to be, how I want to be, what I try to be…

Rush retired last year. I did not see any of their last tour, but I never missed them when they came to town and played at The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). I was always amazed at the crowd that attended their concerts. Three generations of fans, maybe four if they got busy early, took their places on the lawn or in the seats of SPAC. Grey hairs holding their grand children, moving in unison with the music, adding their voices to the roar of the crowd. The music was always perfect, if not studio recording exact. That would be impossible, even for them, but it was always perfect.

It was that music that caught my attention more than forty years ago. I remember being absolutely enthralled with 2112 when it was played on the radio, usually while riding in the family car, where, from the back seat, I pleaded for more volume and please, please, don’t touch that dial! I prayed silently that the disc jockeys would play the whole song, not just the ‘Intro’ and ‘The Temples of Syrinx’. It’s a great song in and of itself, but I was left wanting if they didn’t play the whole song. That one song enlightened me to what music could be, that it could tell a story, an epic story that fired my imagination. Not long after, or perhaps at that time, I started reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. If Rush wrote novels instead of music, they would have written Tolkien, The reverse is also true.

In fact, Neil’s lyrics told stories that were fantastic and mystical, real and true, spoke of human spirit and the search for meaning and truth (lots of ands, I know, I’m streaming now). He never failed to be topical, pertinent, timely and prescient. His words still stand. If you listen to, or read his lyrics, you will understand. I know that you may prefer a different kind of music than that played by Rush. All I’m saying is that his songs were poetry set to music, and played by himself, Geddy and, Alex as no other musicians could.

Through high school, college and all of my adult life, I eagerly anticipated the release of the next album and the new stories to be told. When I hear certain songs today, they bring back specific memories of where I was or what I was doing when I listened to them decades earlier. I won’t rank their albums, I like them all for what they individually are.

I can say, without reservation, that I would not be the person that I am today if I had not had Neil’s words in my life. I have sung along with Geddy (terribly, appallingly terribly) and memorized the lyrics (often incorrectly) of all their songs for over forty years. Those words, the images and ideas and feelings and adventures shaped me. Stories of youth and growth and wonder and love and understanding and …

I wish I could have met him, had a quiet beer, a conversation about stuff, just shake his hand and say thank you. According to interviews I’ve seen, how he was described by his friends/bandmates, he was a quiet soul who was uncomfortable with praise and didn’t want to be idolized. He was a perfectionist and always wanted to deliver his very best to the audience. In an interview I watched just days before the news of his death broke, Geddy said that they decided to retire because the physical demands of drumming were becoming to much for Neil. Drumming is hard on the body, and Neil’s drumming was some of the most technical and demanding ever performed. He simply didn’t want to deliver less than his best.

When Rush retired, and I knew it would happen sooner than later, I was sad that I wouldn’t be able to attend another of their concerts, but I was hopeful that they would still produce music.

Then, when I heard that Neil died, I was sad.

I was sad for myself

I was sad for his family and friends.

I was sad for music.

I was sad and still am.

I am the person, the dreamer, the writer that I am today, in large part because of Neil Peart and I will mourn his loss, probably forever.

I think the thing that I will miss the most is singing, unselfconsciously, and with feeling, with thousands of others, the song, ‘Closer to the Heart’ while the band plays onstage and lets us perform for them.

It will never happen again.

Goodbye Neil, and thank you for having been.

That was so inadequate, but it’s the best I can do for now. Thank you for allowing me to indulge.

Voice From The Past

Three years ago today, my family and I were numbed by the news of the the passing of a friend, a friend that we had shared Thanksgiving dinner with the day before. He (‘D’) sat at the table shared by his children, his ex wife (‘K’), with whom he still shared a strong bond, and friends including my family. It was a happy gathering. The news of his death the next day was crushing.

On April 29th. 2018, my wife read me a letter that ‘D’ had written to ‘K’ just after the divorce. For whatever reason, ‘K’ had not opened the letter and it was lost amid the various papers and letters of that time. ‘K’ was devastated when she discovered the letter. It was a beautifully written declaration of his love for her despite their divorce.

That letter inspired the following that I wrote between 4/30 – 5/2/18. I don’t feel like it wasn’t mine to write but it came out in a gush and it took me a couple of days to arrange it properly. Only two people have read it, both trusted friends who I’ve miss daily since they moved away. I’ve wanted to share this for a long time, now is the time, the third anniversary of his passing.

Is that you, is it really you?
I never thought I'd ever hear
your voice, feel your closeness,
your breath caressing my ear,
whispering words that fill me.
why did you have to leave?


i never left you, i'm still here
look for me in the faces of our children,
you will see me there,
gazing back through their innocent eyes,
longing to find my way back to you.
please, don't forget about us.


I will never forget, you are a part of me,
I'm incomplete, I will never be whole.
I yearn for you, every minute, every day,
more now that we will never again walk hand in hand.
You were my life, you hold a piece of my soul,
you were my best friend. Oh, how I want you back.

i cannot return, i'll wait for you,
i'll hold your soul piece, i'll keep it safe.
it reminds me of what we shared.
it reminds me of what we've lost, and,
when first you turned your gaze to me.
you were my best friend, you are my best friend...

my best friend
my best friend
my best friend



Tim Blodgett 11/29/19
originally written 4/30/18 - 5/2/18



I’ve kept this close for a long time and it still makes my chest tight when I read it, probably always will. My family is still friends with ‘K’, her children, her new love, and we still miss our friend ‘D’.

Old dog, new tricks

So, there’s this person I know, who never swallowed the bait offered by those trolling cyberspace for hits. He was pretty adamant about not wanting to have a ‘presence’ that could be searched and then be pestered by those who found it. He prefers conversations to be face to face or voice to voice. He’s not a proficient typist so it takes him a long time to say what he wants to say. He complains that by the time he finishes typing, he has typed something completely different than what he started type. He’s really old fashioned about computer stuff, and while he acknowledges the usefulness and utility of computers, he grouses constantly about the lack of, and the degradation of human connectedness (not sure if that’s a proper word, but that never stopped him from using words that fit) he perceives is happening. He remembers a debate he had with a friend, way back when he was in junior high (do they still call it that anymore?). It went something like this;

Other person – Computers are going to make life so much easier. They will be able to run our homes and cars and stuff.

Person I know – Computers are great and all, but I don’t think they should run our lives like that.

Other person – They will make our lives easier and we will have more free time to do the things we want.

Person I know – I don’t think so.

Anyway, the person I know still thinks he won that debate. However he has found a new use for the computer he has. He has discovered an amazing bunch of people using his piece of newfangled tech. He is constantly surprised, amazed, and overwhelmed by the talent and intelligence of the people he’s found and finding. Heck, he’s just getting started. Still, he wonders if he will flame out and hopes he won’t.

Geez, he sounds a lot like me. By the way, ‘Old’ is just a figure of speech.

This is for all of you, thank you.

   
To You
 
I’ve always kept my feelings close
And been afraid to show too much
For fear of ridicule or reproach
I kept my words chained inside
 
Speak I was told, you’ve much to say
So, I did though I don’t think I spoke well
For years my words fell on deaf ears
For years what I wrote simply darkened the page
 
And then I found you.
 
I leap and you catch me
I scream and you hear me
You don’t ridicule me for showing too much
You show me how to release my words
and
By your own brilliant example
You let me feel