Tag Archives: He’s Gone

Deadheads Are Everywhere

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I was on a remote road in California.

This was not a road that went from town to town. This was a mountain road with forest all around it. This road went past a couple of isolated campgrounds. This road went past a couple of hiking areas. In other words, this was the type of road one would only be on if one were going to a specific, out-of-the-way place. This was not a highly trafficked road.

I was looking for a waterfall. I never found it. The map I had made me think I’d see the waterfall from the road, but I never did. Upon looking at a more detailed map later, I realized there was a short hike to the waterfall. Apparently, there’s no sign announcing the existence of the waterfall or giving a trail number. Apparently, folks who want to see the waterfall need to already know where it’s located.

I drove up the road, well past where the waterfall was supposed to be. When I didn’t see the waterfall (and assumed it had dried up in the California drought), I drove back down the road.

There weren’t many signs on this road. The mile markers on the side were mostly blank. Had there never been numbers on them, or had they worn off? I had no way of knowing.

As I zoomed past one of the mileposts, my brain registered….What? Was that a Stealie? On a milepost in the middle of nowhere? How? Why? Had I really seen a Stealie? Or had it been some other red, white, and blue design, and my brain had filled in what I wanted to see?

Welcome to milepost Grateful Dead.

Welcome to milepost Grateful Dead.

I pulled over into the next wide space on the side of the road. My camera was already in my pocket, as I’d planned to take photos of the waterfall. I walked on the narrow shoulder, back to the the mile marker sign. (There was no traffic. I was in no danger.)

I really had seen Stealies! On the milepost, someone (who? when? why?) had stuck four Steal Your Face stickers. Deadheads had been here!

It’s so nice when the Universe tells me I am not alone.

According to http://gratefuldead-music.com/article/grateful-dead-symbols-de-coded-part-4-skull-and-lightning-bolt,

Designed in 1969, the logo was the collaborative work of Owsley Stanley and artist Bob Thomas. Owsley was inspired by a freeway sign he happened to pass by—a round shape divided by a bold white line into an orange half and a blue half. The general shape and colors stood out, and Owsley had the notion that a blue and red design with a lightning bolt with make a cool logo. He shared his idea with Bob Thomas, who then drew up plans of the design.

Originally, there was no skull face—the logo was simply a circle divided with the lightning bolt. The skull face was added on a few days later, as a way to symbolize the “Grateful Dead.”

The band first used the logo as an identifying mark on their musical equipment, and later the symbol appeared on the inside album jacket of the self-titled album The Grateful Dead. The logo later appeared on the cover of the album Steal your Face, and has been known as the Steal your Face symbol ever since.

Steal Your Face Right Off Your Head

Steal Your Face Right Off Your Head

I took the photos in this post.

Grateful Dead - Steal Your Face - Classic 3cm - Die Cut Metal Sticker Decal

World Smile Day

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Today is World Smile Day!

According to http://www.worldsmileday.com/index.php/article-index/item/373-about-world-smile-day, World Smile Day was started in 1999, by Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts who created the smiley face in 1963.

As the years passed Harvey Ball became concerned about the over-commercialization of his symbol, and how its original meaning and intent had become lost in the constant repetition of the marketplace.  Out of that concern came his idea for World Smile Day®.

The World Smile Day homepage urges each of us to

Do an act of kindness. Help one person SMILE!

I hope this post has brought a smile to your face!

She’s Gone

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And by “she,” I mean me.

On Friday, April 17, I finally found out the date I was expected to report to California for my training for my summer job as a camp host. The date? April 27. Yep, they wanted me to arrive for training in ten days.

I was told that the snow on the mountain had melted, and people wanted to be up there camping, so they had to get the camp hosts in. They were getting all the camp hosts for that area together as soon as possible to get them trained and on the job.

At first I was kind of pissy. I had originally been told that the job would start in mid May. How is April 27th mid May? (Hint: It isn’t.) I had a job making $13 an hour (with the chance for bonuses) that was scheduled to last until May 20th. I had a place to stay paid for through the end of May. By leaving before April ended, I was effectively throwing away $300. Also, I was not ready to go. I still didn’t have new tires. I still didn’t have a back slider window. I still hadn’t replaced all the rusty screws holding the high top to the van. I still hadn’t bought a Luci light or a bunch of food or the cleaning supplies I need.

And then I just got over myself. I was on my way out. Out of the hot, dirty city. Out of a job, which, while well-paying was numbing my brain and causing me to have ideas about how I could really work better if I could could just get a little bump of speed, not too much, just enough to perk me up. Out of driving twenty miles a day through streets lined with strip malls and stores, supermarkets, restaurants, shopping opportunities of every kind. Out of the beautiful yet brown desert. Out of the rat race. Out of the game.

I was moving into free. Free on the road, with the Grateful Dead and Lucinda Williams singing through one cheap speaker and the tiny, cheap MP3 player which doesn’t even let me set up playlists, but instead plays whatever it wants, whenever it wants. Free to sing along at the top of my lungs or shout or curse or listen silently, no one in the passenger seat to judge or disapprove or be offended. I was moving into the mountains, into the trees, into a place that shows up on the map as a huge expanse of green. I was moving closer to the area of the magical hot springs I visited with my boys two and half years ago, knowing when I left that I would be back someday, somehow. Moving into quiet and solitude, but also into people from everywhere that I will meet as they too come to visit the trees. Moving into myself. Moving into the trees.

I wasn’t sure how I would scrape together all the money I needed to do all the things I needed to do before I hit the road. (In my original plan, I’d have had four to six weeks worth of pay from scoring essays saved up before I took off to Cali. The way things actually worked out gave me 34 hours of pay on April 24, with another two weeks of pay coming on May 8th.) But then I realized, it was only money. I’d gone farther on less.

No sense panicking. No sense worrying. All I could do was do what I could do, then hit the road.

The title of my post is a reference to the Grateful Dead song “He’s Gone.” I’ll include a video here of them singing that song so you can listen to it if you like.

In addition to the always wonderfulness of hearing the Dead’s music and watching the band members interact, I greatly enjoyed this video because it includes Pigpen (the original dirty kid who died in 1973) and Bob Weir’s very tight trousers.