I love my knees, I kiss them every morning, if I can. Before I roll out of bed I lay on my back and pull my knees up to my chest, wrap my arms around my legs and rock back and forth to loosen up. Then I lift my head up and try to kiss my knees.

If I haven't let my gut get too out of shape, that's normally not a problem, but before I started my recent daily regime of 30 minute fast paced treadmill at the gym, diet and exercise, I couldn't do it.

This has been my litmus test for years now and when I'm really in shape I can bury my face between my knees. Kissing them is just a way of telling my body that I love and respect it, and promise to make it better each day.

Got stuck briefly this afternoon behind an Amish kid driving a wagon on a narrow road. It just goes with the territory around here...

Sure different then where I came from...

↑ Steph's coworkers from the Teton Valley News, at the Grand Targhee Ski Resort, Wyoming.

It seems I'm surrounded by anti-vaxers, bless their hearts. I understand, I used to be one, never had a flu vaccination in my life, but something clicked in my brain with this one.

Watching people my age dropping like flies around the world, I chose to double vax on the Moderna.

Side effects? Basically none, a sore arm for a week or two, second shot more so.

Benefits? Immense, I blow off mask requirements now when I enter a place with a mask sign. I carry my card in my wallet and I'm just waiting to flash it if confronted. My sense of well being has improved, I can travel freely, and I just feel great about it.

So to my hesitant friends, and family, here I am still alive and healthy with absolutely no regrets. Yea there are sporadictic reports of fully vaccinated people around the world still catching it, but if I have no side effects and it offers me freedom and peace of mind, why the hell not?

Is it some insidious government plot to take over our bodies? Man, if that's true, then we're all fucked, and you might as well just enjoy the societal benefits of the vaccine, until it's over.

My new neighbor across the creek built some steps down to it yesterday with his young son. We chatted from across the water and he told me the creek was the deal closer for him.

Here they are in relation to the tree.

Steph and I had what we called a creek, behind the Driggs property. In reality it was a farmers irrigation ditch. This is the real deal and I love it.

Daniel needed to go to the Amish store up north off the highway this afternoon, and invited me along. Great store, been here a few times and he ended up talking me into buying some pickled okra.

Then we went for a drive deep into Amish country on a perfect afternoon in the south and it was spectacular. We stopped at a family farm and they were all out working in the fields while we poked around in their store. Pastries to die for, fresh baked bread, chocolate and pickled okra.

I bought ocra and some chocolates and I put the money into the cash drawer they had sitting on a table. No checkout here and no photos, they don't allow it.

Then, we headed to the Old Natchez Trace original trail which I had never seen. It's a narrow dirt road and it took us down to the main parkway.

When we got back we did an okra taste comparison and both gave the ribbon to the home grown.

My office window looks down on a large grassy area along Shoal Creek. I see a lot of wildlife from here but there's one big elusive bird that comes soaring along the creek occasionally and all I see is an eight foot wing span and a long curved neck.

Today he stopped to visit. He landed in the water and was so tall his head was above the bank. I knew if I ran out and tried to get a shot he would be gone so I grabbed my camera with the zoom lens and took a shot from a hundred feet away, through my window screen.

As soon as I snapped it he extended his huge wings and disappeared down the creek. Using my art tools I was able to get a defined image of his head and if anybody knows what this is, hit me up!

Here's the shot:

Update: It's a Whooping Crane, the largest bird in North America (5ft) with a wing span of 7'5".

I was sitting on my front porch this afternoon, soaking up rays with Piper at my feet, when a familiar sound came rumbling down our very quiet dead end street. It was the Crocket Shoals Tubing bus pulling the main trailer with three tubes in it, heading down to the creek.

The owner Ricky smiled and waved as they drove by so I walked down to see what was going on. Turns out they were doing the first float of the season, armed with a branch trimmer and checking out the creek for a Memorial Day opening.

Driving the bus was my job last summer and Ricky came right out and offered me the job again, which I respectfully declined. I actually have a new job, it's called getting my ass in shape for Belize in six weeks!

According to the Belize Tourism Board:

Non-vaccinated travelers:

[ Must continue to present a negative COVID-19 test to enter Belize. Belize will accept a PCR test taken within 96 hours of travel or a rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours of travel. Those who fail to present a test will be required to undergo one upon arrival at the airport at a cost of $50 (payable only in cash). Travelers who test positive for COVID-19 at the airport will be placed under a mandatory 14-day quarantine. ]

Vaccinated travelers:

[ Need only to present a vaccination record card, with full inoculation completed at least two weeks before their arrival into Belize. ]

Which means, if you're not vaccinated and you take a few days off from your work to enjoy Belize and you test positive when you get there, they can detain you for two weeks in lockup and your job back home is screwed!

Damn...

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As part of my new fitness regime, I've started a new diet. I eat one bluebird egg a day, sometimes fried, sometimes hard-boiled. Sadly, just before eating my egg, I decided to take this picture, and broke it. Guess I'm going hungry today, oh well, off to the gym!

Piper loves to sleep on my lap when I'm watching the big screen and I don't mind her fat old body one bit, but her new flea collar stinks.

It's a chemical smell and we both hate it, but damned if I'm going to let those little bastards crash our house again!

The recent heavy rains took a tree down across the creek and it lodged itself perfectly into another tree. It looks walkable, I think...

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It's funny how one decision can change everything. My dad returned from the Navy after the end of WW2 and wanted to swoop my mother and my brother and I up from California and move us all back to Texas to be around his family, where I would have grown up completely different. My mom chose not to go, they got divorced and she ended up marrying Paul Hamilton, from which I gained a sister.

In 46 days I'll be down on a Belize island sitting on the beach with my sisters son, his lady, and maybe my grand-daughter Shelby. As I was power walking around the creek this morning, getting in shape for the beach, I realized that if the divorce had never happened, I wouldn't have a nephew, my son, or the many grandkids I've got, and love.

The truth is, every decision we make, changes everything. I've decided to quit abusing my body, shed 18 pounds, and work on my abs. I'm glad to be alive and to be here now.

I've been backing up old photos and saw a bunch I wanted to share here, but just settled on four.

I've gathered up an analysis of the water coming out of my tap. Click the chart below to see it.

Here's the link to the data, and under Menu is a zip code input for finding your own water stats.

Grandkids Shelby and John in Oakdale, CA having a vibrant conversation.

I was playing around with all of the mapping code I've developed over the years, trying to capture the condos I'm staying at on a Belize island. I happened on Vue, one of my favorites, which I can't even remember when I wrote it, and it grabbed a stretch of sand right in front of the condos, which you can navigate in both directions.

To run it, click the image below:

I will have been here for three years when August rolls around. When I first got here I was drinking water right from the tap because that's what I was used to. We had well water in Idaho and I was the guy who dove under the house to change the filter regularly so I know it was clean and great. I didn't like the taste of this water and assumed it was just typical city bullshit water, and started buying bottled water and setup a large dispenser. A significant amount of my grocery budget has been going to water.

Then last night my neighbor Daniel who was born and raised here and is the utility guy for the entire school district tells me that the water here is great. What?

We were watching a YouTube video of the Jack Daniels whisky plant down the road where the water was pumped out of a limestone cave, and he said that our town water was pumped up out of a well and filtered through limestone. The reason it tastes funny is because the city is mandated by the feds to add chlorine to it. He just fills a jug and lets the chlorine evaporate naturally before drinking it.

So, I got out some paper cups and we did a taste test in my living room. The water I've been buying was so filtered down it had no taste, where Daniels aerated tap water tasted like water.

I'm now going to fill my two big jugs of store bought water with tap water and let them sit for a bit. Thanks buddy!

And this photo has nothing to do with water, it's just the space from which this blog springs.

I like watching the sunrise through the trees at David Crockett State Park.

What an interesting time as Steph and I packed up our possessions in Kent, WA and headed East, with Riley on our tail in the Mazda. I was the transit supervisor, across two large King County outfits, stepping down for an opportunity to unwind in Teton Valley, Idaho and Steph was the mother of two, scattered across dimensions and tagging along with love.

We lived there twelve years, in a beautiful log home. The first year I took a local job as a paratransit driver and ended up doing that until we left, three years ago. Steph mastered everything she touched from the Teton Valley News to Tolbert's Hardwood Flooring and Suburban Propane.

Now, here we are in Tennessee. Steph wipes down baby asses and works at the Dollar General. I have this blog and spend most of my time yelling at Piper to keep her tail out of my fucking drink.

But, I have a passport, a double covid card, and a June hotel reservation for Caye Caulker, Belize. I'm just an old guy moving through life, until I don't. Please wish me well.

I just booked a beachfront condo for a few nights on Caye Caulker island off the coast of Belize. It's right next to where Brian and Nadia are staying and we arrive on the island the same day. Stoked!

This just takes a minute...

I've been taking the same little drive every morning to uncobweb my head. It's actually the ride between the place we dropped tube floaters off last year, and the pickup spot. I know it well, it bops through downtown Lawrenceburg and some cool little spots and ends at Shoal Creek west of town.

As I drove it yesterday I conceived the idea of filming it today. I swapped my bigger tripod to my Sony and straped it down in my backseat with bungee cords. It worked amazingly well, it's one second under six minutes, watch when you can :-)

I just put new plugs, points and fresh synthetic blend into my truck and she's purrin...

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I dug through all of my tools today and consolidated them into "ride with the truck" and "stay at home". You need to be prepared to leave your old vehicle by the side of the road, and hitch on home, always. Hopefully you get back to get it, and sometimes you do, otherwise when you leave you carry everthing of value with you in a backpack.

Morning update: These are actually my emergency tools, most are not making it into the travel bag. And those cool hammers on the left are my grandfathers and I don't travel with those. I think I'll take the seatbelt cutter, the tool between the hammers and tripod, and that small prybar thing with it's head near my remote. Also, I don't carry when I travel.

Took my custom hand rig down to the creek this morning to brush it off. Adding the hand-grip with an adjustor at the top and a badass small tripod to the bottom under my Sony A6500 mirrorless with a Sigma 16mm lens, made the rig balanced, easy to carry and I could set it down on things. I also use a Sony 18-135mm zoom lens.

A phone call got me up last night, but that's fine, I accept real calls anytime of day. It was my nephew Brian calling from Jackson, WY telling me that he and his lady Nadia need a little help in Belize and he want's to spring for the flights if I can make it down there in June. What's the job? Having fun. I'm always up for that so I said hell ya!

I spent a day there on my recent cruise, click the Belize sign below to see my excursion to town:

I have a sex drive but by consciously choosing to remove sex from the life equation, I'm able to focus more clearly on the important things: Booze, Pot, my Truck and my Cat.

My past becomes clearer the longer I live and I move forward in life knowing every breath might be my last. I have FOSDD (Fear Of Suddenly Dropping Dead) syndrome. What would become of my remains and my massive estate? Who would quietly shut down all of my stupid internet domains? Who would rub my cats fat belly...

The best cure for FOSDD is BPTC.

I recently created an amazing webapp called RideQue.com. Some late nights last winter I literally blasted out of bed with a brilliant solution to a block of code. Now I lift each leg out, carefully.

My whole life is in front of me, and unburdened. I ain't financially or emotionally holdin to nobody, with a little money in the bank. Maybe it's time to change the life equation?

Thirty years ago I lived in Kent, WA and one day I handed in my apartment key to the office and moved into the field next door. Borrowed a tent from Dave for a roof, flat broke and only had a few possessions, homeless.

I did have a little transistor radio though. The first song that played once I set up camp was Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn. I always associated that song with that moment in my life, and now I'm living less than a gas tank away from Memphis, watching the original video on my giant TV in my small place at the end of a little dead end street in Tennessee.

So, in honor of the anniversary, I'm going to Memphis. Check that, maybe not, reviews are sketchy...

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Behind my monitor, way above the ground, birds chirping, creek flowing, home...

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The old asshole is back, and I almost bought the domain oldasshole.com this morning, but bailed. The very last thing I need is another website.

I had an interesting day yesterday and decided to share it here. At 0800 I dropped Piper off at the Vet for a bath and board and kept on going north. Through Nashville, straight-pipe roaring loudly in the slow lane. Into Kentucky with visions of Paducah ahead signs blasting through my shades. Window down, arm out. Clean shaven, hair cut, the cool new hat my neighbor gave me, I must have been quite a sight in my old truck.

Just blindly following my GPS as I hit Illinois. As I was going up some freeway on-ramp, a hitch-hiker appeared on the side of the road, black backpack in one hand, and the other had it's thumb out.

We locked eyes and we both knew instantly that I was going to stop and give him a ride. He let go the backpack and raised both hands in the air like a touchdown sign, as I pulled to a stop right in front of him.

The guy has been on the road for the last thirteen years. He has no ID but he has a cellphone which he continuously played like a maestro as he video chatted with friends while snapping selfies of the both of us as I drove down the road. Mid thirties, dark red goatee, infectious smile, nice guy.

I told him I was in Illinois to buy a little sativa, a bit of indica, and a box of blunts. I invited him to hang while I made the purchase and I would brighten up his day. He tried to raise his arms again, but it's a low ceiling. We stopped at a Wendys and got us some lunch, then I left him sitting in my front seat while I went into the dispensary without a single worry. When you've been around as long as this old asshole you develop a sense about people, and I liked this guy.

We drove up on a hill that overlooks Marion Illinois, and smoked a blunt down to it's filter. We determined that our next moves in life were in opposite directions, literally, I was heading East he was going West, but I drove him six miles in his direction to a place he had hitched before. As he stepped out of the passenger seat he reached back in and extended his hand, and his shake was real and strong. A great life encounter and I feel honored to have met him.

Hey, hi! Thanks for dropping by oldmanjim's blog. You landed here because you chose to and I am honored. I suppose you're wondering what's going on in my life so here's the straight shit:

Unfortunately, I'm pretty fucked up. I'm existing in a small place on a dead-end street in southern Tennessee. I have two friends here: my next door neighbor Daniel and Steph up in Summertown. I have a fat old cat who is both a godsend, and a pain in the ass.

My goal is to get the hell out of here. I came here three years ago thinking I could enjoy a family but the kids I had come to love were wrenched from my life, and my heart is broken badly.

I'm very depressed. That's not a good thing for a man becoming 75 in July, so I'm working on it. Wish me well...

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