Today, I got this letter from the Santa Clara Department Of Tax And Collections. It’s a nice letter, but I think they sent it to the wrong guy. Even if he has my name.

I thought that it might be a good idea for me to give them a call and let them know that I am not who they want me to be. 

So I did.

Unfortunately, they are not taking calls right now, but you can leave them a message.

So I did.

During their message to me telling me to leave a message for them, they suggested that I go to their web site with any inquiries.

So I did.

On their web site, they suggest sending them an email with any further inquiries.

So I did…

Greetings! 

My name is William Kammerer. I just received a tax lien notification # 2########6, apparently on an unsecured piece of property somewhere in Santa Clara County. 
It was originally addressed to a William Kammerer at 
                                                     William Kammerer Co Inc
                                                     1229 XXXXXX. Ste 210
                                                      XXXXXXX, CA   9XXXX
The year and assessment number are   91-XXXXXX-1  and the amount is $536.67
I’m guessing that’s the year 1991. Is this something you just noticed?
I’m writing to let you know that I am not the William Kammerer you are looking for. I have never lived, worked, or owned property in Santa Clara County, although I have driven through there a couple of times. I think I may have stopped at a fast food place there once, but I couldn’t swear to it.  
It appears that the document was originally sent in July 2019, but was forwarded to my address last week (4/27/2020). 
lien copy.jpg
I would like to say, though, that it might be fun to know how you came up with me as the recipient of this notice. And my wife wants to know a couple of things: “Is it a nice property?” And “If we pay the $536.67 can we have it?” 
My cell number is ###.###.####. Our home number is XXX.XXX.XXXX. I would give you my wife’s cell number, but I really don’t need another piece of property. 
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Regards,
The Wrong William Kammerer

Victory Is Mine!

April 18, 2020

“Today.

Today is a day that will live forever in my mind, heart, and soul. For, today, I achieved a victory, not to be taken lightly. A victory so momentous, so stupendous, so unimaginably grandiose, that one would have to go back centuries – perhaps millennia – to find it’s superior or even its equal.” – The Very William H. Kammerer, Jr., Esq. (Not) April 18, 2020

Yes, it happened. And it was really pretty much a shock – completely unexpected.

It happened like this…

(Begin fade-in-dream-sequence music)

As we are accustomed to doing on any given Saturday afternoon, Judy and I exited our home to make our weekly trip to the grocery store. We had a shortlist of needs and planned to be out of the market within about 15 minutes to give us time to retrieve the take-out order of Spaghetti (for Judy) and Calzone (for me) from one of our favorite Italian restaurants. They, of course, are not open for sit-down business during this time of social distancing, but they are taking orders over the phone. 

In order to speed up our shopping process, Judy and I split the list. I went one direction and she another, agreeing to meet in the ice cream aisle when we had acquired our assigned items.

I was headed for the milk/cashew milk/coffee-mate section of the store when it occurred to me that I hadn’t yet had my weekly disappointment in the most popular aisle in any store since the current pandemic began…

Yes, the paper goods aisle.

As I approached that section of the store, I noticed the usual bare shelving units, completely devoid of even dust at this late time of the week. 

Except for waaayyy down at the other end of the aisle. Down where the paper towels are located. Except across the aisle from the paper towels. 

Where the baby diapers reside.

For some reason, I decided to take a detour and head that way on my way to where I needed to go next. 

As I approached the baby diapers, I looked more closely at the blue and white packagers (about a dozen, or so) and realized that they weren’t diapers, but appeared to be paper towels.

I stopped.

I looked a bit more closely because I didn’t recognize the brand of paper towels. 

I, literally, put my face to within about six inches of the package, trying to discern, purely out of curiosity, how many towels there were inside the package. We are accustomed to getting them in packages of eight rolls, and these seem a bit like a two roll package. I began calculating the price difference between the four packages of two rolls of this brand and one package of eight rolls of our usual brand (Bounty) and figured that the larger package was the better buy.

But something didn’t seem right. Something was off…

I picked up the package I was inspecting and looked at it more closely. I noticed that, If I held the package at just the right angle, in just the right light, and with just the right side facing me, there were more than two rolls of paper towels contained within. There were, in fact, six rolls of paper towels! But they were each only about one third the width of normal towels. 

My first thought at this realization was, “Boy, these are totally useless,” so I started searching for a description of what sort of function they could possibly serve.

I found things like, “Ultra Clean Care,” “Strong Cleaning Ripples,” “Texture Resistante,” “Papier Hygienique,” “Une Proprete Rafraichissante,” and “Debarbouillettes Jetables=.”

I was thinking, “What in the name of all that is Holy is this stuff?” None of this made any sense to me.

And then, just as I was about to place the package back on the shelf, one of my eyes – I’m really not sure which one, but one of them, for sure – caught some fine print that both of them had previously missed. 

I stood there, staring. Something wasn’t quite computing, but I knew that I had to be patient, if for no other reason than I had already wasted more of my fifteen minutes than was safe to admit to Judy, so I kept glaring at the letters assembled before my uncomprehending eyes, waiting for the correct translation of whatever language they were attempting to communicate in. 

And then, as if struck by lightning, it hit me! The letters were speaking English – and they were saying:

TOILET PAPER!!! 

I actually bobbled the package and almost dropped it to the floor!

How could this possibly be? Wasn’t toilet paper illegal any more? I mean, when was the last time you saw toilet paper in any store or online or in your bathroom?

Once I recovered from the initial shock of my discovery, I immediately ran to the ice cream aisle, where I found Judy. You should have seen the look on her face when I waved the TP in her face and placed it into the basket!! I could tell that she was excited, too, because she immediately asked me, “Where’s the milk?”

Victory Is Mine.jpg

 

 

Almost…

April 16, 2020

I almost shaved yesterday. I know I’m going to sometime. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon. And for the rest of my life…

A few years ago, Judy and I were driving home on Hwy. 41 when I noticed a tarantula on the upper corner passenger side of the window of the car. Judy rolled the window down to try to get rid of it and it got sucked into the car.

I continued driving and she was trying to see where it went, but couldn’t find it, so we thought it had blown off, outside the car.

A few minutes later, I felt something crawling up my leg under my jeans, and looked down – there was a lump moving up the inside of my pants leg…

Yep – it was the tarantula inside my pants. I quickly pulled over at the first opportunity, got out, ran to the other side of the car and jumped up and down while un-doing my pants until the thing (the tarantula, I mean) fell out onto the ground.

It really freaked Judy out and I wasn’t too happy about it, either. But it was super hilarious after it was over.

She doesn’t open the window to shake bugs off the car anymore…

Hearing Aids…

July 7, 2018

For years, the first word out of my mouth when addressed by my wife was, “Huh?”. This was usually followed by a repeat, on her part, of whatever it was that I didn’t hear the first time, and completed by the words, “will you PLEASE check into getting hearing aids??!!

This went on, as I said, for many years. More than a decade, actually. 

Then one day a little over two years ago, I decided that, maybe, I should have my hearing checked and I contacted the VA medical system to set up an appointment.

It was all pretty painless and after two visits – one to get tested and measured and one to pick them up – I walked out with a brand new pair of electronic ears. I commenced to wearing them over the next several days to get used to how they work. 

These particular devices are built so that they fit into your ear in a fashion that makes them almost invisible to the naked eye. AND you can control them with a device that hangs around your neck and connects to the aids via Bluetooth technology. 

AND that’s not all! you can also connect to your cell phone the same way! 

But, after a few days of wearing out the novelty, I stopped wearing them on a regular basis. Oh, I didn’t just let them rot for six months at a time, I would throw them on every so often when I could see Judy becoming frustrated with the word “Huh?”, but I kinda let them rest for weeks or a few months between required usages. 

As time went on and the TV volume grew in inverse proportion to my hearing ability degradation, Judy began to start moving further from the living room when I was observing whatever show I was enthralled with at the time.

I believe the camel’s back finally ruptured when I discovered The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. The show seems to fit in well with my level of sophistication but it is not a good match for Judy’s tastes. 

And there is the fact that, by now, the volume is up to about 79. 

Well, being the perceptive and loving husband that I am, I decided, yesterday, to give the old hearing aids another shot… 

I am happy to report that the situation has improved a lot since the day before yesterday! 

And today I figured out how to connect to both my computer and the TV! I watched a whole episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Judy couldn’t hear a thing!

Grawesome!!

With these little buds in my ear canals, I have the hearing of Superman! I can hear EVERYTHING!

And I mean everything. I can hear so much that, depending on what’s going on around us, I am now having a bit of a challenge hearing Judy when she talks to me…

So, what can I hear? I’ll tell you…

In addition to Judy’s voice and friends talking to me, here are some of the things I can hear with my hearing aids:

  • Dog talking to me
  • Flowers in the garden talking to me
  • Ants crawling on the sidewalk
  • Every breath I take
  • My heartbeat
  • Blood circulating through my veins
  • Me in my “outside” voice
  • Me breathing
  • My hair growing
  • My finger and toenails growing
  • Me scratching my head
  • Toothbrush – sounds like a train
  • Eyes blinking – mine and everybody else’s
  • Teeth grinding
  • Joints cracking
  • Everybody’s thoughts
  • Dog’s breathing
  • Dog’s tags jingling
  • Bird wings flapping
  • Electrons running through wires connected to outlets
  • Vehicles driving along three miles away
  • Cookies, chips, watermelon, crunching so loud when I chew that NOTHING else comes through
  • Ice cream melting in my mouth
  • People staring at me
  • Sunlight
  • Paint fading

The only time I can’t hear any of this stuff is when I’m actively connected to the phone, computer or TV. (And when I say “any of this stuff,” I also mean the human voice…)

Unfortunately, all of this racket is going to drive me nuts so I may have to use the aids somewhat sparingly. Or figure out how to filter some of this stuff out. 

But at least I can turn the TV volume down to zero…

And after taking the garbage out today, I’m really glad that there’s no such thing as smelling aids…

I had a Senior Year once in high school. Now, I mostly have senior moments… – The Very William H. Kammerer, Jr. Esq. (not,)

 

Living At Home…

August 29, 2017

Here I am, sixty-six years old, and I’m still living in my kids’ parents’ house…

Continued from part 5…

Or click here to go back to the beginning…

And then…

We emerged to this…

The last four hundred feet of the hike up Half Dome is pretty much vertical. You pull yourself up using cables. Unfortunately, those cables are not visible in this shot because, at that time, the rock was situated inside a cloud. 

2011-07-15_07-38-56_930

View from the bottom of the cables. This is what it looked like at 7:38 AM, July 15, 2011 when we arrived at this point…

 

If you look closely you can see the cables as a dark smudge looking thing running up the center of the rock.

278231_235613109802436_100000612455805_778176_7159218_o

Here we are getting ready to go up the cables. Donna has a better camera than I do…

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Preparing to make the ascent up the cables…

Once we were all gathered at the base, we were ready to go up. (By the way, the reason I did this hike the first time is that I hate heights. I don’t like high places. I figure if God wanted me to like high places, He would have made me an eagle or a mountain goat. But He made me another kind of animal. He made me a chicken. I did it to conquer my fear of heights. I still hate high places, but I did get over the cables on Half Dome.)  

The trek up was uneventful. I didn’t faint, fall or throw up. Once we got to the top, we could relax. Here are some photos…

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Shawn letting everybody else know that he made it to the top.

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Somebody else let everybody else know that they made it to the top.

me halfdome 1

Man of Action letting everybody else know that he made it to the top.

2011-07-15_09-07-38_990_2

Every body letting everybody else know that we made it to the top. L to R: Nicole, Shawn, Man of Action, Megan, Brian, Lauren.

278835_235613443135736_100000612455805_778183_2907333_o

Everybody else letting everybody else know that they are either very brave or very stupid.

IMG_0841

Shawn convinces Man of Action that he should let everybody else know that he is either very brave or very stupid.

At one point, the cloud began to dissipate and some pretty spectacular scenery began to poke through. Unfortunately, the camera couldn’t begin to capture the power of the moment, but here it is anyway…

2011-07-15_09-11-27_9

View of peaks across the way through the cloud.

Then the cloud dissipated rather quickly…

2011-07-15_10-02-47_742 2

It was right about here that the first indication that something was wrong with me made its appearance in the form of three major charley horses in my legs… 

2011-07-15_08-52-36_700

Breakfast time!

I managed to get the pain to settle down and go away. Walked it off. 

And then it was time to start back… 

2011-07-15_09-19-19_837

Headed back down the cables. This is the relatively flat part at the top.

The trip down the cables was also pretty uneventful, other than two people who had started up when we were almost down at the bottom who turned around and decided that the climb was not for them…

We reached the bottom and headed back down the way we came, passing a couple of rangers who were asking for ID and checking us off the list of permitted hikers. (In order to do the hike, the National Park Service has instituted the requirement that you register several months ahead of time and reserve the date(s). They want to limit the impact of too many hikers – not a bad thing, I think, and they want to know who’s body they are looking for if you fall.)

We all stayed together until we came to a stream. Shawn had a filter system, and we all filled our water bags. This is a good thing.

Then we all took off back to camp. After a few miles, I, as is typical for me, fell a bit behind. Fortunately Shawn stayed with me. I say fortunately because I would still be up there somewhere if he hadn’t.

Seriously. 

And that’s where we’ll pick up next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I originally posted this 12/1/2016 on my Facebook page. Thought it fit… 

NBA Friends – Merry Christmas! Some of you will remember this and some of you won’t. Some of you will know some of the people in here and , maybe not others. If you were there, you know what a blast this was to do. If you weren’t, try to imagine… And eat your heart out! LOL
Back in 1994, the Beach Boys played a concert after a Padres game at Jack Murphy Stadium. Channel 8 decided to put together a contest and asked for people/groups to submit videos of them performing Barbara Ann. The winner(s) would perform the song on stage with the Beach Boys at the concert!
Retired Corporate Mom, Barbara Brumfield, thought it would be fun for us to submit an entry, so she showed up one day with her movie camera and asked for volunteers.
Nobody wanted to do it (yeah – right!) so we got some ideas together, wrote down the words and shot three takes. Then we had to get back to work.
They get better as the the number of takes increases.
The third one is the one we submitted.

Did we win? We were sooooooo close! 

Who won?

Well… It was some drunk guy. Knee deep in the Pacific Ocean. Wearing a straw hat. Playing a ukulele… Really.

And then he never showed up for the ball game or performance!!

Oh well – we had a ton of fun doing it!  

Anyway, enjoy…

I’m going to start out by admitting something that has been rolling around in my head for a week or two.

For a long time, I didn’t think I was getting any older, and the thought that I was not getting any younger never made it’s way into my head. However, that has changed, and I am ready to go on record as believing that I am, in fact, not getting any younger. 

At first, I was disappointed that I was not aging in reverse, but after some consideration, I have decided that that’s not a bad thing, and here’s why…

When I thought about it, I realized that time only moves forward, never backward, and the only way one can expect to be around tomorrow is to move forward with it and get older. When you stop moving forward with time and, therefore, stop getting older, you die (not necessarily in that order). The only way that anybody who is younger than me can catch up with me in years is if I stop aging (die). I figure it’s pretty much the same for all of us – you included. 

Once I figured that out, I realized that failure to get younger is not a bad price to pay for waking up tomorrow. And once I realized that, I was able to embrace getting older with a modicum of grace.

Moving forward in age is actually pretty cool. It presents us with a whole new set of things to think about when making plans for down the road.

One of those considerations is retirement…

Some day, in the next several years, I hope to retire (it’s either that or work until I die, and I much prefer the retirement route for as many years as possible before I finally bite the big one – but that’s not up to me, and I’m working on being ready when the big one gets bit), and when retirement day arrives, I’m gonna need something to do with whatever time I have left on this Earth. 

Up till now I haven’t actually given much thought to how I’m going to spend that time. Oh, I have considered volunteering and hiking a lot. Take up photography. Find some other frustrated musicians and start a 60s rock band (60’s meaning our ages, not necessarily the brand of music we would play). The usual stuff, I guess. 

But as far as serious activity plans, just about nothing has come to mind. 

Until today…

Yes, today. And, as is the case with most of my best ideas, it came to me in the grocery store. This time I never even got to the checkout stand before it hit me. This time it happened in… 

… The magazine isle. Yes, the magazine isle…

Judy was looking at some magazines in the magazine isle, and I was biding my time (being the patient husband) while she perused through publication after publication. Waiting… Waiting… Waiting. 

After approximately two weeks of wait time, I decided that if she could peruse then so could I.

And so I did…

Peruse… Peruse… Peruse until –

 – Whoa! I had perused myself through all sorts of works having to do with how to have the greatest marriage in the history of marriage, how to have muscles in places that do not currently exist on your (or anyone else’s) body and how to acquire millions in the house flipping industry –  when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a nine dollar rag with my future right there!

Yes, my quest (you know – the quest upon which I had not yet embarked) had been successful, and all I had to do was to go to the grocery store! 

Oh yeah – and wait patiently. Good things come to those who wait patiently. 

I was astounded at how easily I had patiently waited my way to revelation! Seriously, folks, forebearance really works. We should all try it sometime…

Anyway, back to my story…

At the exact moment that my eyes landed upon this magazine cover I knew that my life’s plan had been revealed to me. One look at the guy on the cover and I was thinking, “Holy cow!! That’s me! That guy in the picture is my doppelgänger! This is what I am supposed to do!” All I had to do now was to convince Judy that allowing me to make the nine dollar investment required to obtain the document that I would use to map out my future retirement activity program and I would be all set…

It took some doing, but after agreeing to never again go shopping with her after we are both retired she permitted me to spend the money. 

And so I did.

By now you may be wondering how I am going to spend my golden years. Well, here it is…

 

 

What to do on my permanent vacation

 

Yes, that’s right! I am going to become a modern day pioneer! I have already started reading up on skinning and selling furs and searching Craig’s list for classic guns and powder horns and leather leggings and jackets with fringes hanging down everywhere and other great backwoods companions! (I already have a couple of cowboy hats so I figure I’m off to a great start!)

I think I’ll probably start small on the “furs” thing. We have a couple of squirrels living in the back yard, and I can practice on them when I get my musket, slug making gear and Bowie Knife. 

Man, I’m totally stoked that I have finally found my true calling in life! I only wish it had come to me three or four decades sooner! I could already be living the good life climbing every mountain, fording every stream and following every rainbow until I find my dream… (Hmmm.. I wonder if there’s a song in there somewhere… Nah – it would never catch on…)

Anyway, I have bids in on ebay for some bear traps, whiskey and a fur hat for Winter trapping trips, and I want to make sure they don’t get away so I am going to sign off. 

But just one word of advice before I go. 

Guys, If you’re not the patient type when you are shopping with your wife, you may be missing out on opportunities that might not come your way again. Make the occasion a time of searching for that one thing you are missing in your life.

You will probably find it in the magazine isle…

 

 

Bio – Chapter 26

March 2, 2011

Would You Like Mustard With That Foot, Sir?

Posted 3/2/2011

The loudest machine on Planet Earth is the Saturn 5 Rocket.

The loudest machine, pound for pound, on Planet Earth is the motorcycle.

The advertised loudest animal sound on Planet Earth is the call of the Blue Whale. (Some would dispute this and say that the loudest animal sound is the Tiger Pistol Shrimp, and gram for gram that might be true, however, if you go here, you will see that, in real terms, this is simply not true.)

The actual loudest animal sound on Planet Earth is the 2:00 AM “feed me” call of the one month old human infant.

And the loudest group of four or five human beings on Planet Earth is a rock band… It’s just the nature of the entity – it can’t be helped… Rock music, generally, employs things like electric guitars, amplifiers, drums, electronic keyboards, etc., and this was no different in the 60’s.

This is common knowledge among most Americans. But, as we were to learn on this one fateful night, not ALL Americans were aware of this fact… One example of this might be the Amish, who don’t use anything really modern to any great extent (cars, televisions, electricity).

But the Amish are farmers in remote parts of states like Pennsylvania and far removed from more modern society, so They would have no reason to know that rock music is really loud.

But you might be surprised to learn that, in 1968, there was a group of people in Los Angeles, CA who were somehow unaware of the decibel potential of a four man rock group…

We got a gig to supply the music for a dance.  This was not unusual.

The dance was an “experimental” event sponsored by a church for their youth group.  This was unusual (the ‘experiment’ part, not the church youth group part).

It was experimental because the organization had never had a dance, and the adults in the congregation were suspicious of ‘Rock Music’. I think they may have allowed themselves to be talked into it by the kids in the group.. (After we left, I doubt they ever had another one. And it was probably my fault… Sorry about that.)

The evening started out wonderfully. We were cheerfully greeted by the adult supervisors  as we walked into the auditorium. They were very nice and thanked us profusely for agreeing to play for their teen-agers. Really wonderful people.

Then we set up our gear, and turned it on..

Soundcheck…

“Excuse me, I wonder if I could get you to turn it down a bit.”

“Oh. Sure, no problem.”

“Thank you.”

Further sound check…

“Excuse me, again.”

“Yes?”

“Can we turn it down just a bit more, please?”

“Uh – sure, OK.”

At this point, we decided to forego any further sound checks and commenced to tuning out instruments, behind the curtains.

Finally, the kick off time arrived. And we started our first number, “I’m So Glad”. To the chagrin of the chaperones, “I’m So Glad” is not a quiet song. Especially the way we played it.

We were somewhat dismayed when our theme song did not receive the positive response that we were used to . It was sort of negative, actually..

“What do you think you are doing?”

“Pardon me?”

“I had respectfully requested that the sound be turned down, and here you blasted us halfway home!”

“Oh.. I’m sorry. We didn’t realize it was so loud.”

“Well, please lower it more.”

Of course, it wasn’t loud to us – in fact, it seemed pretty tame. But in the interest of making the customer happy, we pulled back a few notches more..

We proceded with a couple of numbers that were a little less rambunctious, and things seemed to be moving along more smoothly, if not quite to our own liking.

I think, though I could be wrong, it was “Born To Be Wild” that brought out the noise pollution police again. This time, however, it wasn’t just the volume, but also the lyrics that caused another visit to the stage.

At this point, we got fed up and turned off the amplifiers and sang the rest of the dance (thankfully, it was only a one hour deal to begin with) at vocal levels just a tad above a whisper.  It was a sort of “take that!” thing to do, but we did it. Really – we did.

And it gets worse…

(Keep in mind that we were all brought up to be respectful to our elders, and polite to everybody in general, so this was a major breakdown in our usual etiquette.)

Interestingly enough, the complaints stopped, and the chaperones actually started to look like they were enjoying themselves.

Eventually, the dance was over the curtains were closed  and we were behind them taking down our gear. The normal vague ‘after show’ chatter was heard on the public side of the curtain, when suddenly there were a bunch of “shushes” and “hold it downs”.

This is where it gets worse…

I, in my youthful exuberance and desire to make a point, decided that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to let my true feelings be known to the world. So, in my very loudest and most sarcastic voice, I let out the phrase that still rings in my ears today –

“Don’t break his ear drums!”

Silence.. Muffled voices..

I then stuck my head through the curtains and heard the audience’s words:

“…Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven…”

Boy… That was fun…

______________________________________________________________________________________

NextWho knows?

If you would like to start at Chapter 1, just click here…

Click here to hear actual non-church related songs by Bill Kammerer

Click here to hear actual songs by Bill Kammerer with a spiritual emphasis,

Click here if you’d like to see some of my favorite Youtube music videos

And if you want to start this whole thing from the beginning, just click here…

If you would like to contact me directly, just click on the email address below, or send me an email from your own email account. my email address is:

billk@sti.net

I’m down a few things with six strings..  Bummer.. At least nobody got hurt, so I’m good…

After the fire... One guitar left, but all family members are still here, including Max...

…The Flag Was Still There…

The one thing in my office that didn't burn - there were three of them and they all survived.. A firefighter stuck this one in the wall during mop up...

Is There A Downtown Moorpark?

Posted 8/7/2010

There are times in everybody’s life when something you say doesn’t have the desired effect – it just doesn’t come out right.  This even goes for me.  And it, at least once, 40 plus years ago,  also went for Scott…

Meet Scott Mclane, bass player in a 1960s era small time rock and roll band looking to make it big in a beach town somewhere in Southern California – land of meteoric rises and even faster crashes; where success and failure often intersect and occur simultaneously in a fleeting moment of time when somebody should have kept their mouth shut…

The band, Glad, has just finished a successful opening act in a place that exists outside of normal sensitivity; a place where a sense of humor should be included in the price of a movie ticket, and where the popcorn should be worn inside the ears of anyone who cannot take a friendly joke…

A place known as… “The Moorpark Zone”….

I don’t remember a lot of the town, but I’m pretty sure I remember a lot more of it than Scott does.  That’s because my view of Moorpark was enhanced by the fact that I was seeing it through glass windows in the car.  Scott’s view of it was somewhat impeded by all of the carpet and underside of upholstery that one would see if one were hiding as far under the back seat of a 1941 Ford as one could squeeze one’s body in order to avoid detection by the crowd carrying torches and pitchforks…

“What was he doing down there?” “Why was there a crowd carrying torches and pitch forks?”, you ask.

I’ll tell you…

It all started when the management at the Moorpark Theater wanted to enhance the Friday Night movie experience a bit and decided that a pre-movie concert might be a great way to increase the take at the ticket window. I’m guessing they put out some feelers and let it be known that they might be interested in hiring a band to perform before the main feature on a given Friday night.

I don’t remember anything about what got us there or the run-up to the gig date… It’s a complete blank to me.. (I suspect that Daamen’s dad may have gotten wind of it and got us in there.)  It’s like time started with the first note of the first song… We didn’t audition, we just appeared there and started playing…

And that’s where my memory begins…

I have friends who have opened for monster bands and acts, and in fact, who have actually toured and played WITH these guys. What a great experience that would be, just one time.

The only other time we had opened for something was for the opening of the apartment building back in chapter 13… That one didn’t go well…

(It should have been an indication that things were not going to be completely wonderful that the film for which we were opening was “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”.  If you have never seen that flick, it’s just about the most depressing film I have ever had the pleasure of suffering through… I highly don’t recommend it, especially if you are in any way suicidal.)

We showed up and started playing.

We got well into the show and things were going great! We were all right on in everything we did.

We finished to rousing applause.

We took down all of our gear and packed up.

This is where we screwed up – we should have just gotten into the cars and left, but we didn’t.  We stayed for the movie…

After the movie, we were standing around talking with some of the people who were there, making friends.. After a bit, some of us left to load up the cars while Scott stayed behind as our good will emissary, chatting and influencing people.

At some point, he must have run out of things to say and shifted into humor mode. He inquired as to the location of Downtown Moorpark.. Scott was a great joker, and that’s what he was doing here – making a joke..That fact was lost on the group he was addressing…

And THAT fact was lost on Scott, so he followed up with “IS there a Downtown Moorpark?”.

That question didn’t elicit the expected laughter, so Scott decided that he would go ahead and throw the Hail Mary pass and go for the touchdown by saying “Did you know that Moorpark spelled backwards is Kraproom?”.

Sadly, this question was met with a highly negative response by a couple of the more hot-headed students from the local high school, and a push or two took place…

It was time to leave…

Most of us had missed these festivities because we were loading up, so we didn’t know about the joke-a-thon put on by our bass player. We just hopped into the cars and went home, excited that we had been so well received by the crowd.

A few days later, we received a call from the theater management requesting a return engagement! Way cool!  And this time there were RADIO commercials on all over the county advertising our “sure to be triumphant” return to the Moorpark Theater! The management LOVED us!

But the management hadn’t heard the rumors going around Moorpark High School that we had attacked one of their own, and caused him bodily harm (apparently he had actually faked some injuries with a false sling and some glue applied to his face and arms painted to look like cuts scabbed over).

So two weeks later we returned to the field of our great victory, excited because we had a full house to play to! Really – the place was stuffed with high school humanity and we were ready to rock!

But… And it’s a big but…

Just before we went on, someone who knew what was really going on came back stage to warn us about the crowd.. It was at this point that we heard about the rumors that the kid had spread around the school.. And it was at this point that the we learned that the house was full because they wanted revenge.  And it was at this point that we learned that the guy they wanted was “The Big Guy” with the four string guitar..

Great… We went on knowing that the crowd wanted to kill us – or at least Scott…

It was stressful… Our concentration was shot… The crowd was not appreciative of our efforts, to say the least, and threats against Scott were coming from the gallery between each number, with explicit descriptions of what they were going to do to him…

We finished early, packed up as quickly as we could – except for Scott.  He bolted immediately after the last song… We didn’t see him again until we opened one of the cars to load up and found him on the floor in the back seat…

He stayed there until we were well out of town…

Never to return…

Did I mention that “Moorpark” spelled backwards is “Kraproom”?

______________________________________________________________________________________

Next: I eat my own foot… In front of God and everybody…

Click here to hear actual non-church related songs by Bill Kammerer

Click here to hear actual songs by Bill Kammerer with a spiritual emphasis,

And if you want to start this whole thing from the beginning, just click here…

If you would like to contact me directly, just click on the email address below, or send me an email from your own email account. my email address is:

billk@sti.net

Bill’s Bio – Chapter 24

January 27, 2010

Chapter 24

A New Guitar Player, An Old and A New Guitar Player

and

An Old Guitar Player

You’re probably reading this relatively soon after you read Chapter 23, which means that you are expecting me to pick up from right where I left off…

That’s all well and good, but while you just read chapter 23, I wrote it about 8 months ago, and I have to get back into the swing of the story… Give me a minute…

I have a cat.  My cat’s name is Panther… Here’s a picture…

Hello! My name is Panther... I have killed coyotes, rattle snakes, cows and bears... You don't want to mess with me...

The reason I bring this up is that my son, Billy, and his wife, Lacey, have a dog. His name is Monkey.

Hello! My name is Monk. I have made friends with a mouse, another dog, and various forms of wild animal excrement in the back yard... I wanted to be friends with Panther the Vicious, but she didn't see it that way...

I know what you’re thinking… So what?

Well, Here’s so what…

Billy and Lacey decided to go to Alcatraz a couple of days ago, to see Shawn and Megan (another set of married Kammerer boy and wife).

OK – to be truthful, they weren’t going to Alcatraz to visit Shawn and Megan, they were going to visit Alcatraz WITH Shawn and Megan…

Anyway, the point is that they were going to be away a couple of days, and they needed a Monkey-sitter. That turned out to be me, for the most part… And Panther…

Monk is a very HAPPY and FRIENDLY doggy, and is really a lot of fun to be around.  But he is still a very young pup, and has not yet learned that some animals do not want to be friends with him.

Panther, who is ten years old and has had many an encounter with coyotes and other wild animals, and so is a master of feline self-defense, just sees Monk as another potential way to leave the earthly life of a cat… She is wary of poor Monk…

So, when Monk came into the picture on Monday night, Panther was understandably nervous…

Things weren’t all that bad, actually.  Panther spent most of the next day perched high above the floor staring down at Monk and Monk spent most of the day perched low below the ceiling staring up at Panther.

This arrangement worked well until two things happened…

  1. Monk ate something and had to go out for a “walk” in the backyard.
  2. Panther took advantage of the missing dog, came down from her perch, ate something of her own and visited her litter box.

These two event’s were pretty much mutually exclusive until I decided that it was time to bring Monk back into the house… Through the “mud” room…  Which happens to be the exact geographical location of the litter box… And Panther was just finishing up…

Not surprisingly, this led to a, somewhat, tense encounter between the two…

No violence actually occurred, but there was a sort of stand-off / stare-down, accompanied by some meaningful circling around the kitchen floor.  It was really quite educational…

After the stare-down / stand-off, Panther just jumped up to her high perch and Monk resumed his spot on the floor…

Later that night, Judy brought Monk back to Billy and Lacey’s…

And all was back to normal…

I had, of course, let the rest of the guys know that I was coming back to town.

The rest of the guys had, of course, not let me know that I had been replaced by a new lead guitar player. I wish I remembered his name, but I don’t.  I know, I’ll just refer to him as “Monk”…

The first practice after I got back was awkward, awkward, awkward. Yeah, that word comes closest to fitting the situation, though there’s a certain amount of tension and stomach illness that isn’t quite covered with that term…

After introductions were made, there was a lot of “er-ing” and “uh-ing” and avoidance of eye contact going on.  Except between Monk and me… We actually looked at each other a lot… No violence actually occurred, but there was a sort of stand-off / stare-down, accompanied by some meaningful circling around the garage… But we got through the practice..

(I should interject here that Monk really was a better guitar player than I was.  But this wasn’t a talent dispute – it was a territorial dispute – and he was invited to encroach into my territory and he did so, willingly…)

The real fun came when we had our first gig together… That was a real hoot…….

If you think there was nervous tension during my first practice with Monk, you should have been on stage while setting up for the first gig… Not a lot of talking going on, just quietly going about the business of setting up.

Sound checks, Lighting checks, tuning up, etc.

Then we started to play…

Things were going OK.  And then for some reason Monk decided to take a break in the middle of a set.  He just put down his guitar, left the stage and went to the back of the hall to stand all by himself.  I thought that was a bit odd…

While he was back there, we went into a song with a long guitar solo part in the middle.  It came time for me to do my solo and it was going well.  So well, in fact, that Monk came running back up to the stage, picked up his guitar and joined in the solo…

After a minute I realized that people had stopped dancing and were just standing there… Looking at us… No, they weren’t just watching – they were looking amazed and I couldn’t figure out why…

I started listening to what we were doing… Wow – that sounds pretty good!  In fact, it was AWESOME! We had found a new sound and it was really good!  In fact, I think that Monk and I connected during that solo – all the tension had disintegrated into space… We were playing off of each other like we had been doing it for years…

I became amazed!

I decided at that moment that I could live with another guitar player…

Then it came time to come out of the solo and there was supposed to be a change of beat… And Mike lost his timing on the drums… And it all went away…

And so did Monk… Yep, right there in the middle of the set, he just stopped, packed up his stuff and we never saw him again…

And all was back to normal…

______________________________________________________________________________

Next… Chapter 25 – “Is there a downtown Moorpark?”

Chapter 546

Skipping Ahead A Bit

Posted 5/1/09

I know that the previous chapter was Chapter 23, and you are probably wondering what happened to chapters 24 – 545.  Keep in mind that Chapter 1 started more than half way through the seventh grade, and Chapter 23 is the beginning of my senior year in high school, and that was 41 years ago.  Allowing for some really short chapters, none of which have yet occurred (unless you count Chapter 21, of course), I’m just taking a shot in the dark and guessing, off the top of my head, and without incorporating the number 17 (see chapter 19, where I explain the derivation of the Third Fermat Prime Number – see footnote at the bottom of this page) that right about next weekend, Chapter 546 would be rolling around…

Hence, Chapter 546…

Knowing that, I think I can correctly surmise that, you are also probably wondering what next weekend is doing in my biography, especially considering that it hasn’t even happened yet…

Well, to repeat what I said in the addendum to Cow Facts 3, I’m glad you asked…

This will be an adventure full of Firsts (good ones, I hope)… It will have, as do all future events, things that have never happened before…  Sweat that has never been perspired… Pictures that have never been taken… Stories that have never been told… Food that has never before been eaten… and even people I have never met in my entire life (and one who I met “once…  long time ago…”)…

And it has the benefit of being in the future, so I can take a week off from writing, to recover, without feeling all that guilty about it…

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls – Children of ALL ages – you are about to witness biographical history in the making!

I’m not absolutely certain of this, but I may be the first human being to actually biographize events in his life that haven’t yet taken place.  (I am fairly confident that I ‘m the first person to use the word “biographize” in a sentence relating to life not yet lived, though.)

That behind us, I shall now proceed to regale you with history not yet existing…

One week from this Saturday, I will be embarking on a journey that, frankly, I have made three or four times before, though not in the past few years…

I have been invited by one of the many the sisters, Lori, of my friend, Koni (who will be appearing in future – or is it past? – chapters of this seemingly endless history of my musical life), to join her and some of her friends and hike the Upper Yosemite Falls trail in Yosemite National Park.

For those of you who have never hiked this trail, take my word for it when I say that it’s not an easy trek.  It’s about three miles with an elevation gain of a little over three thousand feet…  that’s about a thousand feet per mile, which roughly works out to about a 20% average grade… And it’s fairly rugged… And I hope I have at least one more in me…

I invited my son, Shawn and daughter-in-law, Megan, to join me and keep me company…  These people do ALL of the trails in ALL of the places they can get to – and they do the Half Dome trip a couple of times a year…  When I invited them, Megan responded “I hate that hike”… that’s how tough it is… I agree – it’s one third the miles of Half Dome with two thousand fewer feet of elevation gain, and it’s at least three times as tough as Half Dome…

I have warned Lori that I will not be keeping up with the group (who, after seeing some of their pictures on her Facebook page, I truly believe probably have some mountain goat in them – that’s not a slam – that’s a testament to the shape they must be in), but she has implored me to “suck it up” and I have made the mistake of saying that I can do exactly that…

I had actually challenged one of my many brothers, Tim, to this same hike last September, and, in preparation for that, I went to the park several weekends in a row, and trained by seeing how fast I could get from the valley floor (the parking lot at Camp Curry) to Nevada Falls.  I actually made, what for me, was pretty good time the second weekend out – I got out of my car, made it up the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Falls, and then to the top of the Nevada Falls, ate lunch, Stuck my feet into the water, came down the John Muir Trail and started my car for the trip home in well under four hours.

Unfortunately, the September trip never happened… Then winter hit and my training skids got equally hit…

In the winter around here, I tend to be a bit sedentary.  Not too many trips to the park to hike (slide) around the valley floor, so I’m not in the shape I usually would be in for something like this (although, as they say, round is a shape), so…

Over the past week (we’re still in the past, and the here and now), I have decided that I should start to train for this adventure…  It’s weed-whacking time in my neighborhood (that’s exercise, isn’t it?)… I also took the trash out this morning (well, OK – I loaded it into the back of Judy’s car so she could take it to the bottom of the driveway on her way to work.  But I carried the empties back up the driveway, and that’s 364 feet up hill, so I actually did the hard part)…

OK… Here we go… Here’s how I see this going down Saturday after next…

Sometime early in the morning, I will arrive at Lori’s camp site, or maybe at the trail head, at Camp 4 and hope I don’t look too much like I’m not a rock climber… At any rate, we’ll all meet up to start the mosey up the hill…

At this point, I will refer to the group as Group Zero – when we are all together…

** Note:  I consider a person to be part of a group if they are within the length of my driveway, or three hundred and sixty four feet, of that group.

Approximately twenty minutes up the trail, we will diverge into two separate and distinct groups:

·    Group Two, the lagging behind group, will consist of me
·    Group One, the lead group, will consist of everybody else

At about the time that Group One hits the middle falls, Group Two will be hitting Columbia Point, and pretending to stop to take a picture.  Then I’ll pretend to take about thirty more pictures from different angles.  When I run out of nature to shoot, I will open my backpack and take a picture of my lunch…

After shooting my lunch sitting on a rock, and my lunch sitting on a fallen tree branch, and my lunch sitting on the ground, I will take a picture of my lunch back in my back pack.

Then I will continue on…

Sometime later, Group One will reach the top of Upper Yosemite Falls.  They will take lots of pictures of Yosemite Valley, three thousand plus feet below.  They will eat their lunch.  At least one of them will read War And Peace while relaxing in Nature’s wonderland… Cover to cover… The more fearless of them will leap over the guard rail and onto the ledge below to get a closer view (I know they will do this because I once had to follow (chase) my youngest son, Steve, out onto the same ledge to make sure he didn’t do something stupider than jumping over the guard rail onto the ledge).

***  Note:  Steve is why I don’t mind being slow when we hike together… I figure that by the time I get to where he is, he will have either already done the stupid things I know he is doing or has killed himself attempting to do them… Either way, I don’t have to actually watch…  He is our “Envelope Pusher”… I, on the other hand, have to work hard to drag the envelope behind me…

Groups One and Two will eventually converge and become Group Zero once again.  This will actually happen twice on the hike… This first time will be at the “seven eighths of the way up the hill” point as I am on my way up, and they are on their way down.  We’ll stop, exchange pleasantries, and I will tell a story or two of the magnificent wonders I have encountered along the way.  Then, in an effort to stall for time and rest awhile longer, I will show them the unbelievable pictures I have taken along the trail…

“Look at this one of this rock!  Isn’t it spectacular?”

“Oh, and here it is again, but the lighting is a little bit different, and there is a nice tree in the background!”

This will go on for as long as I can stretch it out, until they can’t take any more… that’s when I’ll pull out the BIG GUNS –

“And here’s my lunch, sitting on the nice fallen tree trunk – check out the way the peanut butter is starting to slime over the edge of the bread crust…  Oooooo…”

At this point, we’ll, reluctantly, bid each other “See you at the bottom of the trail”, and I will be forced to continue the struggle upwards alone…

And three hundred and sixty four feet later, I will be back in Group Two…

By the time I actually get to the top, Group One will be back down as far as the Middle Falls, and may take a few minutes to frolic and put their hot, tired feet into the soothing, ice-cold water.

I, finally at the top, will NOT jump over the rail this time.  But I will take the opportunity to take some more pictures – the view really is spectacular – and maybe even get one of myself with nothing but air behind me..

Then I’ll pick a spot by the water (above the falls) and eat my oranges, trail mix, and my lousy peanut butter sandwich…

Then, rested and refreshed, I’ll begin the long walk down…

This is actually the hardest part of the journey…

About half way down, I will don my favorite Knee braces (assuming I can get them back from Shawn before the trip – I know – maybe he will mail them to me!  That would be nice!), adjust my shorts and prepare for the loose and crumbling (that’s why they call it “decomposing”) granite along the trail.  This is one of the many places my official Yosemite Park hiking stick has literally saved my life in past years – I’m not kidding.  Shawn and Megan got Judy and I the telescoping “ski pole” type of sticks a few years ago – One of mine doesn’t stay telescoped any longer, so I won’t bring them with me.  If I rely on them, I’ll be dead before somebody has the opportunity to carry me down the hill.

About three quarters down the trail, I will trip over my own two feet and start cannon balling down the path.. I will gain speed and, at last, the second of the re-convergences will occur as I bowl my way through Group One… this will change the entire dynamic of the hike – Here’s how…

As I roll down the hill toward the other Group, I will eventually come within three hundred and sixty four feet. At that point, there will no longer be two separate groups, but only one – Group Zero.

They will hear me singing “Climb Every Mountain” at the top of my lungs (I have to get something musical in here somewhere) and, perhaps a bit startled, or perhaps unwilling to take another look at the pictures of my lunch, will get out of the way and let me pass.

At some point, I will, once again, break the three hundred and sixty four foot barrier and we will become two groups again… BUT…

Did you notice?  What happened here?  Think about it… It was actually quite subtle – almost insidious – a metaphysical phenomenon…

And it puts me in my rightful position…  I will have become…

Group One…

Yes, ME – Group One…  Buahahahahahahahahaha – I’ll teach them young whippersnappers a thing or two about hiking the trails in Yosemite….

Buahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…

So Lori, what’s for dinner?

__________________________________________________

Footnote re: the Third Fermat Prime Number…

Back in Chapter 19, https://billkammerer.wordpress.com/2008/09/ I discussed the importance of the number 17.  And I explained, in careful detail, the Fermat number:
In mathematics, a Fermat number is a positive integer in the form:   f_{n}=2Ù {2Ùn} + 1
where n is a non negative integer.

Some of you thought I was pulling your leg… Not so, and now I have absolute proof…  Because I own my web site, I have access to statistics… Somebody actually was directed to my site by looking for an actual Fermat Prime Number!  Here’s a screen shot from my statistics page:

Proof that Fermat Numbers exist... So there...

Proof that Fermat Numbers exist... So there...

So there you have it… I truly am some sort of genius… Or, at least, I can use Wikipedia…

Addendum #2 – Actual footage actually shot by me at the top of the falls during the above described adventure…


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