Greetings Paneristi! Havent talked to many of you in a few days.
Id like to say Ive been lurking, but the truth is, Ive run into a little bit of a setback regarding bandwidth and all.
In fact, you wouldnt be reading this if not for -- through a one-in-a-million touch of fate (or luck or strange Karma) a big bolt of lighting zapped my soaking-wet iphone and gave it a bit of last minute charge.
I imagine it will go poof at any moment, so I will expedite this tale as quickly as I can (which, for all of you who have met me in person and understand my pension for verbosity, understand the challenge I face).
You see it all started at work. I was bored with my job.
Wait. I dont look like that at work. In fact, that is the only picture Ive ever seen of me wearing a tie.
There. Thats better.
Anyhow, I actually love my job, but really felt like I needed a bit of a break.
So I decided to look for more of a summer job. Something to keep me busy for a month or two. Something mindless. Something that would let me open my lungs and breath in some fresh, clean air.
I decided to check out craigslist. Who would have thunk it could be so easy?
Next thing you know, I was off to Indonesia...
to herd ducks. Yep, ducks. Hey, somebody has to do it!
Actually a few days of duck herding was doing the old soul some good. I was loosing a few pounds, letting my whiskers run wild. Even the hair on my head was growing back. Felt a good 15 years younger.
But, I was homesick for the wife and kids. I decided that, since I was going to stay awhile and I hadnt been able to teach any of the ducks to fetch, I would get a pet.
Since dogs were on most of the local menus, I knew Id have to go elsewhere to find a fido. So I asked my duck herding boss, Theodore Frito Bandito the 4th (or Bandit as I had affectionately nicknamed him) if he knew anyone with a boat. Sure enough, his cousins had a small boat and they they agreed to give me a ride to the next island -- Komodo.
So I packed a few belongings in a knapsack (can you sense the foreshadowing), and off we went!
It was a cramped ride, but as soon as I landed I instantly spotted a Komodo Dragon.
Although I was hoping to find a black lab, there was something incredibly cute about this particular reptile. He reminded me of my pup, "Chuy" back home
especially when he stood on his hind legs begging for food.
Seeing as he was a stray, I decided to bring him in. Soon, we were all back on the boat and heading north to Bali. But, wouldnt you know it we ran smack dab into a huge monsoon.
I bet you wondering when we were getting to the monsoon, didnt you?
It was a wild ride for sure. And I honestly dont know how I survived, but the next day I awoke washed ashore with only my knapsack, on a small deserted island.
My companions? Well, they were
In fact, the only sign of any past or present life on the island was this
and I had thought that ball was purely product placement!
And with that said, I now present my remaining 10 possessions.
2 VERY SPECIAL WATCHES
While some of you have fantasized about being stranded alone with a
201, 203, or perhaps 302/A I am dealing here with sharp naked reality (or at least I think so), and I only have 3 watches that I own that I truly care about. So picking 2 out of 3 was pretty easy.
We will start with my 27C.
Im not going to bore all of you with my 27 history as I have many times before but the 27A was my first Panerai.
It is what brought me into this fold. Introduced me to the history. And, most importantly, introduced me to so many great friends. While I no longer have that original watch (Robert Dickman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), my newest 27C was brought to life by Kevin Rogers...
...and it will always remain a symbol of this community to me.
My second watch is my 38 Special.
The 232 is as close to Panerai Nirvana as I will see in any near future. It may not be a collector piece. Or that rare of a bird. But it sure does look like it. And, every time I strap mine on I feel like Im wearing something very special.
If Im going to be stranded on this god-forsaken island very long (did I just hear barking dear?), Im sure Ill be able to kill at least a few hours a day staring into the gorgeous brown face of my 1938.
2 SONGS DEAR TO MY HEART
Oh brother. This could take a long, long time. I cant deal with only 2 songs. Ive loved music since I first heard Mogli sing The Bear Necessities in Disneys The Jungle Book. Hell, I almost brought that one along!
Since then Ive had intense relationships with Miles Davis, Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald, Peter Gabriel, Pete Townshend, Elvis Costello, Jay Ferrar, Jonathon Richman, Bob Marley, Macy Gray, , The Mills Brothers, and many many others
But I did tour with the Grateful Dead for over a dozen years, and saw them play live maybe 150 or so times. I was at Jerry Garcias last show in 1995 at Soldier Field, and when he died a part of me died with him. Thats because the Grateful Dead was more than a band. The band was simply the protagonist a conduit for the creation of a tribe of like-minded souls. Today, the only way I can explain that experience or find a little piece of it is through Panerai. It sounds funny, as hippie music and Italian watches seem so far apart. But, in truth they are quite similar. They bring people together from all over the world that share a common passion.
Ahhhh, there I go, rambling again it happens A LOT when one is deserted on an islandback to Jerry.
My first song is NOT a Grateful Dead song. It is a Bob Dylan song, sung by the Jerry Garcia Band. To me the combination of Dylans powerful words, coupled with Jerrys soulful guitar and voice create a sound that transcends this world. No matter what is going on my life, I can turn this song on and check out to a place full of empathy and emotion.
Of course, the title and lyrics are quite apropos to my existing state of beingA Simple Twist of Fate
Even if youve never been much for the Grateful Dead or Dylan, just listen to the guitar in this excerpt. Jerrys been known to do 20 minute versions of this, so here is just a little slice of my heaven
The 2nd song Im choosing is probably not in my top 10 favorites in regards to musicianship, but it means a lot to me. To me, this is my family song. When I hear it I think of hanging out in the backyard pool with my wife and kids. It is one of the first songs I can remember my kids loving to hear and actually requesting me to play.
It is a song that cheers me up no matter how blue I get. And, again, it is quite fitting. Because, although that nasty weather has landed me on this wretched island (did I hear a deer bark again?), I am not going to allow myself to be depressed. As the Jayhawks like to say, I Will Save It for a Rainy Day
If you went this far, but skipped over that last song please back up that truck and give it a listen. The Jayhawks are truly one of Americas best kept musical secrets. Theyre from Minneapolis, so they dont get much play. But the music is true Americana. And they have a catalogue of at least 8 albums that are all wonderful.
1 LIFE-CHANGING BOOK
I was born Jewish, but didnt really get into the Patriarchal heavy-handedness that came with the Good Ole Old Testament. A little too much screaming and punishing for my liking. So, I opened up Part 2 of the Testament and looked into Christianity. Same Dogma, different training method. Then, Buddhism, Hindu and any other religion I could learn about.
I had just returned from Kathmandu in 1992, when I was turned on to Joseph Campbell. He had spent 40 years teaching religion at Sarah Lawrence College and had upped his game and written a few books about Heroes and Mythology.
It took him a lifetime, but he had discovered that Religion and Mythology are one-and-the-same. Mythology is just Religion few people believe in anymore. And, Religion is just a guide to how we should live our lives.
Before he died, Campbell sat down at Skywalker Ranch and did a 6-hour interview. He knew he was dying, and it was OK with him. In fact, he almost anticipated it, as he knew it was not the end of life, but part of the journey.
The Power of Myth is the transcript of that conversation.
I love to pick it up and read random parts when I need a little spirituality. It reminds me how imporant life is TODAY. To me, it is a guide to living in the PRESENT. To being a Hero to yourself and the world. By the way, it would remind any of you immediately of our friend Alan. He IS the Hero with a Thousand Faces. He was a Hero before his accident a great friend, mentor, drinking buddy, bank of knowledge, passionate father and husband. He is a hero now a fighter, a true spirit, a man who somehow reaches beyond his body to something deeper, a person who can find the good in even the most terrible of times.
If we could all believe what Campbell has taught me and act like Hammer, the world would be just hunky-dory.
Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.
1 MOVIE THAT SUMS IT UP FOR ME
Again, so many to choose from. For comedy, it would have to be Monty Python and the Holy Grail Silliness heightened to art form. For contemplation, Big Fish (my relationship with my father). For stark American reality, nothing tops Glenngarry Glen Ross. But, since Im on this little spiritual binge, the movie I simply like the best would have to be Defending Your Life. Not a big movie, but a truly wonderful perspective on life after death with an amazing cast and by far Meryl Streeps best role ever.
1 PHOTO I COULD STARE AT FOREVER
Well, my wife is very, very funny about me posting pictures of my family on the Internet. And, to be honest, shes met some of you blokes and that has only raised her suspicions. But, seeing as shes thousands of miles away, and will probably be at least somewhat happy that Im thinking of my family in this oh-so-dire predicament, Im going to risk it. Besides, Ive posted this picture many, many times before.
It is of my children. Taken a few years back, but the expressions on their faces each capture their personalities brilliantly. My wish in life for them is that they never forget the feelings they were feeling when this picture was taken. They are so full of life! One look at this photo brings me a combined sense of pride, love, empathy and a wee bit of mischief.
1 TWELVE YEAR MEMORY
Of course, the first time I met my wife, my wedding day, the birth of my kids those are always the most important memories. But, for this lonely moment on this lonely island, I will say, again, it was the years I went on tour with the Grateful Dead. So many great friends. Great times with my wife. The music. The community. And, since no man is an island I go back to this for comfort.
Yep, thats me in the corner, in the 3rd row of the Buckeye Lake Show in 1985. My girlfriend (later my wife) was in the picture as well -- but she requested to be cropped out. Wonder why?
1 MEAL -- MY FIRST, MIDDLE AND LAST
Nothing Fru-Fru here (sorry Eddie).
Right about now I am seriously jonesin for an extra large Rubinos Pepperoni Pizza.
If you are ever NEAR Bexley, Ohio, you have to stop in. Ill stack it up against New York, Chicago or even Firenzes best!
1 VERY, VERY SPECIAL PERSON (AND HER MINI DUPLICATE)
Well, the only thing worse than posting pictures of my kids, is posting pictures of my wife. Especially when Im on the road on business or lost on an Indonesian island.
So let me preface this picture by warning each and every one of you that if this post drives you to some maniacal desire to come knockin on my door, we own a pet that is so vicious so incredibly violent that even the slightest suspicion that you would harm our family in anyway sends it into a ravenous rage that only ends in raw flesh and rivers of ruby red blood.
Heres a short video.
Now that we all understand each other, I can carry on with the photo.
Ive never understood this, because she is absolutely gorgeous. Thank goodness she doesnt know it, or Id be out the door pretty damn quick. This is a picture I took of her with my daughter last year. I love it because it fills me with love. I see my wife. My lover. And the greatest mother in the world. And, I see my wife through my daughter. And there isnt anything cooler than that.
Well my friends, thats about it. Im hoping this is just a DID and I will awake Monday morning in my comfy bed.
Was that a barking deer I just heard or was it my dog, Chuy, ready for his nightly 2AM pisser?
Thanks to those remaining stragglers who actually hung in there for this narcissistic rant. You know the rules. Post below and I'll pick someone else to relieve me of my duties...
-- and I will return to the life I love!
M8TES is GR8TE!
232, 27, PVD 113
"If you don't go, you can't come back."