maandag 12 december 2022

Uh.... wait... where did 2022 go?

All of a sudden it is December 2022. Scary how fast time goes, as we get older. To Bas Bass it seems time was going slow until his 40th birthday, after which each year seemed to be shorter then the previous one.

Much has happened in this year. During January, Bas got messages from his family that his father was not doing so good. But, since his first stroke in 1999 this was always the same message. Dad always confirmed with me that although he had an irregular heart, the doctor told him it was allright. This time, it wasn't. My younger brother called me at the end of the month, and told me to book a ticket, since Dad had to go to hospice. He was dying, now for real. I got my ticket, and Ilene brought me to the airport, after we had taken our vaccines. We found out that also in this terrain there are villains, dressed as doctors, with an official looking office and staff, taking people's money while the Biden government offers free jabs. These people must be trump voters: uninformed, throwing money at problems instead of informing themselves, and letting crooks get away with it. If you are or were a trump voter, we hope you have learned that he is NOT the solution to our problems; he IS the swamp he was shouting about. He IS casino mafia. It all comes out now, so we are not afraid of any court cases from the trump organization, nor the hitler jugend.

Anyway, Bas went to the hospice just in time to hold his dad's hand. Dad looked really really old, his breathing was rough, he didn't eat or drink, and the nurses, who were very nice by the way, told us he'd had no water in days, refused it. It was hard to look at Dad this way, and I had to smoke, after which we got in the car and drove back home. The next day, we got a call around noon. Dad had passed over to the next phase. Bas and his family had to organize the funeral. At this stage, the family decided that it was good if Ilene came over too, for the funeral. 

Dad's grave at the Mook Cemetery.

Although a professional undertaker was hired for this job, who made sure all necessary phone calls were made, and that there were enough cards, envelopes and post stamps to write invitations for the funeral mass and coffee table, it still was a lot of work: not forgetting important friends, or family feuds, which we luckily don't have. Organizing the church mass, choosing a coffin, a spot for the grave, text for the grave, what kind of stone, all of these things we push away while we don't have to deal with it. Finding songs Dad really liked, and going through family photo albums to make a dia-show outlining Dad's life, it all took a busy week, after which we got to watch light hearted movies with mom 'I am a widow now' or going to visit old friends. 

In August, we decided that we needed to take the bottom work on our 59 year old wooden ship serious. We found the last person who still did this work, Ramon from Diablo Boat Works in Bethel Island, and after three months of hard work, we could splash her, and feel more secure about waking up dry.


Jeannette and her family bringing a visit to us in Tiki Lagoon marina, July 2022. Ilene checks for fish.

Galt Music Exchange, where we teach

About the Covid shit, and gigs: in 2019 it was getting clear that the more stages closed, the more bands were cut throat, the previous year a band connected to the sacramento blues society already stole one of our regular gigs. The gigs we did in 2019 and early 2020 were fun, but our drummer problem wasn't solved, as Eric moved to San Diego, and our other regular drummer chose to play with other bands he used to sit in with. There are about six other acts with a woman singing the blues, and they all want 100% of the attention, some even need thirty internet radio stations for this, we're glad we can be happy with no internet radio at all.

 

Ilene now works with an orchestra and Bas has his own band and other projects, they teach at home and in a music school. Bas likes to work as a gardener as well, and plans to give sailing lessons in the summer of '23. Computer programming and web development courses also are in the pipeline.

The Freewheelers wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and New Year!

Our new marina makes us happy!

Sailing Talisman over the San Joaquin River

woensdag 22 september 2021

SAIL THAT BOAT!

 After discovering that we've paid already 18 months rent over the sailboat without ever being able to use it, I realize we're in for almost the same amount we paid for the ship. I'm about ready, btw, to just go out and sail her, without ever after being forced to pay rent to a bunch of ultra rich mofo's (i still don't understand why we let this all happen; well, it went day-by-day, each day a little more, exactly how frogs let themselves be cooked).

First I hoped to get her inboard motor running, the previous owner thought that the problem was in the transmission. Well, when I finally got the guts to get in there, I found out that the prop shaft wouldn't allow me to take the tranny out anyway. After disconnecting it from the tranny I discovered that the prop shaft didn't like to turn except with brute force. 

So I guess that must be the cutlass bearing just in front of the prop. Which also is rusty, and has 3 blades, but not folding ones like in the Albin O22-R. We just have a normal O22. Ilene, 50% owner of the ship, won't allow me to try to do the work when she's in the water (i've seen excellent examples in where just a plug was just to plug up the prop shaft opening, and the rudder I can take off easily; I'll do it all by myself, and plug it in myself, however it would be a lot easier if someone could help me). 

So I had to go find an outboard, which my wife found first, and bought from what at the time said to be a friend, an old Evinrude, that her ex-mechanic husband 'always had kept in good condition', well, when I brought that engine to a local repair shop, they didn't call me back in half a year. Only to tell me eventually the entire engine was shot, not worth putting more money in. At that time I'd already installed new reed valves, and a complete new CDI and impellor. Checking the engine however would've cost me more then the total value of these new parts, so I simply decided to let the motor go.

Then I bought a Johnson 9.9hp from 1975. Actually, the same engine, so that I could take parts from one and build up the other. It ran when I bought her, had electric start, so I worked hard on getting a fitting mount and installed an on and off switch, that operated a solenoid, that connected to the outboard wires.

A dude who said he was an 'outboard specialist' helped me a little bit, he even gave me a grinder, etc, then took off the hose connection which he dropped in the water (I went back in and found it), after which he disappeared again. He was with a small woman painter, but slept with another woman (the crazy one who sold her houseboat to the girl I worked with in the shop) and as soon as the new owner of the Tollycraft discovered they actually were staying on his ship without being allowed he kicked out him and her. I must say, these crack meth heads are pretty good liars!! They believe in their own lies...


Anyway, this Johnson worked fine in 2020, but in 2021 it decided not to spark anymore, ever after, so I've thrown away more months again, trying to get it to work, then in the hottest July and August ever, didn't even go to Talisman, for which I found guilty. Now that it is September again, I'm not going to wait any longer, I'm just going to buy a BRAND NEW OUTBOARD! 

Reliability also is important, and money in my bank account is depreciating as we speak anyway.

Bas Vossen-Hound Dog cover with the Haven Acres Jam Band (Jeramy Norris & David Tanner) pre-covid.

woensdag 8 september 2021

Good News

 Dear music lovers,

Yesterday, Ilene went to her routine cancer screening, and heard that she is completely clean, no more fear of it coming back, five years after the notorious disease stuck her while she was working for Deliver-It in Sacramento. She still thinks the on and off movement with the safety belt helped it to grow. Luckily it was detected in Stage 1, so she didn't need radiology or chemo (thank God!).

She had a bad year, as in early February she started doing jumping jacks, and while jumping she also turned, causing a hair fracture in her left underleg bone. This pretty much crippled her, and I'm walking our dog Elly since that moment. She needed a cane to get around, luckily her son Jeremy had one saved that once belonged to his Grandma. Ilene liked it, and slowly started healing, but had not taken pictures until March or April when she thought it was possible more then a Nothing.

After the photo's revealed her fracture, she'd a valid and legal reason to not walk too much. Yet she still went to the music school in Galt (the one in Concord only does Zoom meetings), twice a week. 

One day she helped her friend Sandy cleaning up her nice home, and broke her pink when closing a tiny plastic drawer. From that moment I completely stopped even Thinking about our band performing. It is possible, with Aliens, Real Pay and real Audience, somewhere in the Ultra Far Future. 

Yes, dear reader, you may arrive at the conclusion that Ilene should be strapped in, day and night, to just protect her from herself.  

To make matters worse, last month she decided to put on flip-flops, and walk over the old, wooden docks, to water her plants, which I've been doing for quite a while. 

For reasons that will remain unclear to me to my last breath, she decided to step over a frame of an old Puch MS50 moped that I was sanding at that moment, and of course, one of the flip-flops decided to stick to a frame part, making her fall so hard on the dock that she broke her knee-cap. 

OUCH!

She understands that she needs to find another hobby. To see what that is, go to Instagram and find 'Alldolledup62'. 


In case you would like our band to perform, alas, you are TOO LATE! 

(we've lost our interest and appetite in hauling amps etc etc over the docks here). 

We hope you will find another band that does what we do, or better, and we wish you all the best and thanks for all the fish!

vrijdag 18 december 2020

 Well, there is hope. 

This is the end of 2020. We have not had such a long period without playing for audiences, ever. All musicians are worried about the future. Some have even sold their instruments, and bought Bitcoins. 

I did so too, when Ilene; and I had to move to the US ASAP in 2009, I had to sell my beloved oldtimers, and get tickets. I sold guitars, effect pedals, amps and a drum kit, so that we could buy a 30 foot 1987 RV with a V8 so big we hardly could afford to move it. But we had a roof, without having to pay rent in our time (we think actually in our time rent and mortgage are WAAAAAY OVER PRICED!!!). 

As life still cost us money, and the crisis didn't give us any option to make money, I had put my hope in a new development, electronic money, or: the Bitcoin. This was hot news around 2011, and I thought that buying them would help me make some profit. Via a company that at that time, magazines and experts said was the most reliable in the field, BTCNext, I bought the electronic coins and put them in an electronic wallet, which I saved on my harddisk. This was on a laptop that I had gotten from my aunt, since I helped her to use and understand it, shortly before her passing away. 

Unfortunately, this laptop crashed. The usual blue screen shit, it appeared that the motherboard had a bad memory chip or something; there was No Chance that I could get my wallet back. There also was a 'pass phrase' going with it and I was so stupid to actually completely forget about it. So ByeBye Bitcoinmoney.

We, at that time, were putting all our efforts in SURVIVING; which means, finding a place better than the walmart parking, to have our RV, finding places where we could perform and make some income, finding a way to fly to Europe to attend my parent's birthdays, keep our paperwork current etc etc. 

We also had a little 3 legged dog, Otis, to take care of. We had also planned to live in Spain; there we have a camper and a car. Both always need lots of TLC. Meanwhile, we love ecologic gardening, walking in nature, visiting hippie communes and eco villages and so on. Eventually, we discovered an ecological camping in Vinyols, near Salou, where we could perform twice a week and live in our old mercedes camper called 'Elvis'. Then, Ilene's son married his longtime friend, and we decided to move back to the US since Spain still is in a crisis (up to this day). We realized that for countries like Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal, the construction of the EU has to be changed a lot. Northern EU countries have used all kinds of tricks to attract (foreign) money, investors. For example, the Netherlands and Luxemburg are known as tax heavens. The book 'Moneyland' finally opened up about how easy it is to start anonymous companies. A year later, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (www.ICIJ.org) published their 'Panama Papers', an enormous amount of research data that pointed out how companies and rich people (including royals and heads of state) used these kinds of constructions to avoid paying tax.

Of course, as soon as the world's population, which has suffered hard after the financial-economic crisis of 2007-2013, saw how the top 1% richest people in the world has abused this situation, they wanted governments to take action. 

Meanwhile, this 1% had organized with the Trump organization AKA republican party and their think tanks, to avoid being taxed. They had first arranged to win the 2016 elections by making the Democrat party choose the rather unpopular Hillary Clinton as presidential candidate, and paid Eastern Europe and Russian troll farms to influence the elections. Then, they devised a plan that made sure Trump would win the next, 2020 elections, and in the years between 2020 and 2024 he would have been able to use the media to tell the people democracy wasn't in their best interest, and thus, there wouldn't be any in 2024, establishing an American dictatorship, the first since the US was founded. 

Now this plan has failed, all Trumps crooked friends are buying Bitcoins with their exuberant amounts of money. At this point there's more money to be made by investing in Bitcoins; my best advice is, to put your digital wallet on a USB stick you put in a safe, including the pass phrase. Make sure you can cash in, anytime. 

Happy Christmas and a successful 2021!