Archive for June, 2013

laconiaLaconia:  I’ve heard your pipes, I’ve seen your tats, boobs and bellies.  Your piercings and your paint jobs.   May I be excused from Sturgis and Daytona, please?

Seriously though, when we first got to Weir’s Beach, my thought was, this is it?   This is all Laconia and presumably Sturgis and Daytona are about?   White tents with cheap crap?  People jam packed into narrow lanes between vendors and bikes, looking at, being looked at?  See my colors? See my pins? See my scars?  I’m sorry.  I’d really rather be riding.

That was my trip to Laconia.  Now about the rest of the weekend.

We rode up on Friday and about 40 miles outside of town my bike went dark in the middle lane of bumper to bumper traffic on the tollway.  I pushed it across two lanes to the side of the road when an ANG halfback stopped to let me through and conveniently blocked the other lane.  It was an electrical issue that I was sure of, and I hoped if I let it cool off, it would fire up.  Sadly, no.

There I sit leaning on my bike, waiting.  A bus full of little kids goes by, and they all turn down their windows and yell, “Hi! Biker Lady!!”  Ok, that was pretty cool. Then a small car with what is clearly a grandma, a mom, and a little girl goes by, and the little girl calls out, “Hi!”  The grandma says something to the little girl and she turns back and says, “Are you ok?!?”  Yep, I’m fine, and tell your grandma she’s pretty cool too.  Then another car goes by and the little girl leans out the window and says, “Hi, BlackJayne!!” and I wave.  Then the car is in the breakdown lane in front of me and I walk up to the window to say, “Hey, no, it’s all good…” when I look in the window I realize it’s my neighbor. “Hey, how’s it going? Wanna take me into town to buy a battery for my bike?”

How undignified can it get?

The battery seems to fix things, my riding partner shows up after a long complicated set of maneuvers to get back on the tollway below me and headed in the right direction. We get up to Laconia about 5 hours later than we were shooting for.  Go to the bar, grab some food, hit the rack.

Saturday, we checked the bike, seemed to be fine. Start up, run, no funkiness.  For logistical reasons, we take the other bike to Weir’s Beach.  We get a good parking spot, we have a chance to enjoy the scenery.  Five thousand bikes parked on the road, in the boardwalk, at the various lots (some lots up to 5 miles away) at any given time. Another couple thousand give or take, on their way in or on their way out.

Yippee.  Can I go home now?

Sunday we ride the Kancamagus (Cank-uh-MAY-gus) over to North Conway and plan to ride the Daniel Webster Highway back around.  We ride the Kank.  (A really nice ride if you’re ever in the area; car or bike, Winnebago, bicycle you name it. Nice ride.)  Get to North Conway stop for a drink and a stretch. The bike won’t start. Not only dead, but D-E-D dead. Can’t find a new battery. Get a trickle charger from the Harley dealership a mile up the road.

Ok, this part sounds much funnier than it was. We sat in Dunkin’ Donuts for an hour and a half and played cribbage while we charged the battery.  Oh, yeah, living the dream there.

Get the battery back in the bike. She fires right up. We get out on the street and I hear “Puh. Puh, puh-puh. Gasp….” Awesome.  I push it into the Circle K parking lot.  We talk about our options, don’t really like any of them.  Cram all our shit into the other bike, go in and ask the manager politely, “Please do not tow my bike, I promise I will be back for it in the morning.”

We ride back to the hotel, which is about 40 miles away, back over the Kancamagus.  It rains. Hard. The road is still windy-twisty and beautiful. And wet. An hour and a half later, we’re showered, and in the bar again, looking forlornly at the menu which is not in the restaurant where we had planned to eat.

Our best alternative is to rent a truck. We have no vehicle to pull a trailer.  There is no service dealer anywhere within 100 miles, and truly? I want my guy to work on my bike, so I know what my problem is.  Not what some guy with HD plastered on his shirt wants to tell me.  I call work, “Sorry can’t be there tomorrow, I’m busy.”

Monday we get up, we ride the bike crammed full of ALL our stuff now that we’ve checked out, back across the Kancamagus.  Bright sunshine, twisty-windy, fresh air ..…small RV…..  young male moose, trotting across the road.… (Please god, please god, please god… do not let the RV hit the moose, it will mean bad things for all of us, and I have enough bad things going on right now, I’d like not to add a moose to my problems.)  I’m not sure how late it was before he saw the moose, but the moose definitely saw him and was happy to keep on moving before we all got there.

Pick up the truck, which is big enough for both bikes, so we put the one on, drive to get the other. Put the battery back in it (having trickle charged it over night) get it lined up to go up the ramp and in the truck. ….Last chance….  …breathe… fire it up and goose it just enough to keep the ka-pow from starting. Hit the ramp straight and enough speed to get it over the hump at the top. Screech to a stop narrowly avoiding the first bike. “Gasp, puh, puh-puh..” …sigh…  (I go back in the Circle K and tell the nice manager, “I have taken my bike, it has not been stolen, and thank you very much for your consideration of my plight.”)

We drive it all the way back to my guy.  He’s expecting me, having talked to me while I was sitting on the highway, and again as we came into the city. We take both bikes off the back, he keeps mine, the other heads to the U-haul place and I follow in the truck.   We drop the truck off, I pretend I wasn’t driving since I wasn’t on the list.  Something about tickets and suspended licenses and like that.  We again pack the last of our crap into the other bike, and ride back to the house.

I have never been so glad to go to work the day after a long weekend.

In the end, my guy replaced a fried voltage regulator and rewired some accessories that had been put on over the winter.  I really like my guy.

This is a trip I will probably remember for the rest of my life.  But not because I went to Laconia.

I recently reviewed Artie Cabrera’s “I’m Not Dead: the Journals of Charles Dudley” and the short fiction “Side Effects”.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with him online and this is the result of that interview.

Ten Questions: An Interview with Artie Cabrera

1.  What prompted you to pursue writing?

There was no conscious effort or plan to write a book in the beginning. The process started out as a way for me to stay busy and have a creative outlet when my personal life was in complete turmoil. It wasn’t until I had something that resembled a book that I started thinking about what I can do with it.  I only wanted to do a blog that consisted  of ten entries and leave it at that, but the more I wrote, the more the story evolved and unfurled just as I thought I was reaching that end point.

2.  Who has been your greatest inspiration?

I’m inspired by things that are different from the “norm”. I can appreciate something when it feels like it is genuine, and not a cardboard cutout of things you’ve seen done a million times before. Why would anyone care to see the same thing rehashed a dozen times? Some people are privvy to BS and when you’re feeding them nonsense. I’m inspired by art that feels progressive and by people who aren’t afraid to speak their mind.

3.  Where did Charles Dudley and his journal come from? (The story idea itself..)

Not to ruin it for the reader but the story itself is a metaphor of how I sometimes see the world and the people around me. You have your predators, victims, and people who stand aside and let things happen. They don’t get involved and live in this narcoleptic state.  I’m a horror fan, but I didn’t want to write the run-of-the-mill Zombie story. I figured if I was going to invest all my time in developing this story, I wanted my own monster.
Or monsters.
I wanted my own Pandora’s Box.
I wanted to dump out my toy chest and play with all of my ideas in this one sandbox.

4.  Who did you base the character Jerry on?

No one particular.  Jerry is pretty much a vessel of all my friends…male friends I mean.

5.  What comes after Dudley?

There are at least two more books after Side Effects, and a bunch of little ideas floating around.
I’m not sure if I want to continue doing little off-shoots in the Dudley-verse.
There’s a lot of ground I can cover. I can bounce around timelines.

5A.  No, after after Dudley.  What do you want to do when you’re bored with Dudley?

That’s a difficult question to answer because all I can see is Dudley right now.  The objective is to remain focused in the Dudley world because I can easily become side tracked and nothing will get done.
I have a million ideas running through my head for these books, it’s just a matter of herding them and having a strong build up leading to the end.

5B.  Do you keep any kind of idea-book (cheat sheet)?

Yes. I have a composition book filled with buzzwords, sentences, little quips, crazy little sketches, and rough paragraphs. I always keep the book by me, especially at night when my brain wanders.

6.  Do you prefer handwriting or typing?

Typing. I broke my right hand about four years ago which makes it difficult to hold a pen for long periods of time.

Learn to write left-handed.

6A. Did you ever prefer pen and ink?

When I was younger and writing music, I was jotting in notebooks all the time. This was before you found a computer in everyone’s home. And even then, writing in a notebook felt more natural to me.

7.  What are the optimal conditions for you to work?

It has to be completely quiet or I have to have loud music playing, nothing in between. I have a very short attention span so any little thing can kill the mood. I have to tune out completely. Writing Dudley takes a special kind of mood to pull off.  I have to go places that are not comfortable for me so I can’t just sit down and do it at any given time.

8.  What’s the hardest part of writing?

Worrying about what other people will think if you express yourself a certain that way that may be considered taboo.  But then if I didn’t do what felt like was crossing the line or pushing the buttons, I wouldn’t be happy. I’d feel like I was apologizing for being myself, and I don’t ever do that.

…certain way..not certain that way*….

9. Where do you see your writing in 10 years?

Don’t know, hopefully still around..hopefully someone’s still reading my stuff and appreciating it.

10. What’s your favorite kind of pie?

Pumpkin pie..anything in the custard family really.


The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby is an intricate and compelling story.  It details the tragedy of one James Gatz, and his desire for power, money and the love of one woman. It details the tragedy of power and desire.

The Great Gatsby exposes the human condition, in all its misery.  Two themes emerge in Fitzgerald’s narrative.  Desire’s ability to direct our actions; power and money’s ability to destroy both our desires and our selves.

James Gatz first attempts to invent himself as Jay Gatsby, first mate and chief steward on a wealthy man’s yacht.  But power and money take that from him.  Gatsby become a military officer.  With the end of the war, he attempts to reinvent himself by becoming a millionaire playboy.

Jay Gatsby’s desire for Daisy drives everything he does from the day he meets her.  He even admits he knew he had to make the decision between who he believed he was destined to be and his desire for her.  Desire always wins; otherwise it isn’t desire, it is some other, lesser human emotion.

Gatsby is swept away by war but his desire remains.  Her desire for him, or what he believes to be her desire, quickly fades and is replaced by her true desire for power.  With money comes power.

Upon return from the war Jay Gatsby finds it necessary to invent himself again.  This time he makes himself into a mysterious millionaire, with ambiguous business relationships and the wanton social life only money can bring.  But his desire is not for power or money.  It’s for Daisy. Everything else is a means to that end.

Gatsby uses the power his money brings to find Daisy.  He believes his money will give him the power to reclaim Daisy’s love and desire.   But the power money buys will never overcome the power of money.  This is a difficult concept to define and the novel does not develop the distinction very well.

The Great Gatsby is a story about old money and new money.  No matter how much wealth Gatsby might acquire, no matter how many times he invents himself, he will always be a poor white boy from the sticks.  Money simply isn’t enough to make him successful in Daisy’s world.  Doing everything possible to make himself acceptable leads directly to his ruin.

Although her motives are not examined in the novel, Daisy manipulates Jay Gatsby as military officer and Jay Gatsby as millionaire playboy.  Even in the beginning she knew he did not meet the requirements of her social standing.  She was indulging her rebellion in an illicit relationship with this poor military officer off to war.  She was toying with forbidden fruit, telling him that she would walk away from it, all for his desire.  She knew even then that would not happen.

When they are reunited she knows she will never leave her comfortable, cosseted life.  She also knows she can use the power of  Gatsby’s desire to manipulate him and her husband at the same time.  His insistence that she profess her desire, her love for him ends in calamity.  He discovers her desire is for the power of money, and not the power that money can buy.  She confesses that money and power are the object of her desire saying she will not leave her husband for him, leaving Gatsby lost and vulnerable. In the final act of this tragedy, those with the power and the money take everything he is, everything he has made himself into, away.

This is not a story of love. It’s a story of desire and power, and in the end, a tragedy.