This movie did not scare US at ALL

 

We fell for it.

The previews with the old cool songs we hadn’t heard in years. The rave reviews saying finally we have a new horror film maker!  We couldn’t wait to see the new thriller US. Probably because we wanted so badly for it to be truly inventive and scary. The genre needs a good kick in the pants and we are ready for it. We bought the soda and the large popcorn with extra butter. Scare us Jordan Peele!

Sigh…sadly, it did not scare US.

But that has not stopped the advertising machine telling everyone on the planet this movie will give you nightmares!! Its making millions at the box office!!!

Well it did give me nightmares. I’m still waking up sweating and mad that we spent $50 at an IMAX on opening night only to end up rolling my eyes so hard I might have sprained one.

Come on Jordan! “Jason” is the kids name and he wears a mask and doesn’t talk much???? Jaws t-shirt at the beach??? Nod to the genre you say? No that was lame and obvious!!!

People living under ground coming up to grunt at US? Mr. Peele are you serious? What is original or even scary about that idea except people were paid extraordinary amounts of money to make this nonsense!?!?

The minute Lupita #2 in red opens her mouth and grunts “they are Americans”, the audience in our theater giggled!

WHAT?!? This is a thriller!! we are supposed to be scared of a sore throat croak????

I’m still making fun of that performance days later and think we should all do a #lupitagrunts challenge.

Fuck the Police. Great song. No shit. Yawn.

Your lame movie “family” CALLED the police! So whats your point?

MAYBE, since you had the whole cliche “white wealthy family” (dads a douche, mom drinks wine and gets face lifts, daughters are bitches…next) die from our staring black family, covered in their blood, responsible for their gruesome demise, you should have actually LET the police come and have your family try to explain. NO Officers! these dead folk aren’t really who they appear to be. They are the TETHERED! We are allowed to mutilate them.

That sounds dumb too huh?

Because it is! The whole story was dumb. Certainly not scary. Tell me, if all of these red jumpsuit wearing crazies are supposed to be lined up holding hands across America ( laughing still that THIS was the center of the story!!) then why are they able to kill everyone? Their hands were full!

The end shot of helicopters seeing the red jumpsuits across the land was so far passed idiotic I think that’s when I dislodged a contact eye rolling so hard.

Mr. Peele, go back to good old fashion story writing. This story was just dumb. It didn’t work for US.

 

 

Love Celebrated

To my younger ones in love, I want to share something with you.  Something that I want to help preserve. Something that I don’t want you to miss.

Traditionally friends and family would throw rice at a newly married couple as a symbol,  “showering” them with blessings of love and support as the couple started their journey together.

Styles change. Ideas change.

Rice, deemed no longer a safe option to wildlife, was replaced by confetti. Glitter and plastics created colorful and magical visual effects rice could not compete with.

But soon it was realized this type of “shower” was hard to clean up, a hassle, destructive to nature. No longer seen as a symbol of spreading blessings, confetti became banned at many places. No longer necessary as part of any celebration.

Now  everyone is  told to simply use digital celebration instead! It’s easier! It’s quicker! An emoji. A heart or two. A horn. No mess. The warmth is simply not there. Real. Tangible feelings.

LOVE is an energy. It is so powerful it has demanded that those of us who do know, remember and understand what it feels like and looks like to actually “shower love” with rice or flowers or leaves, find a way to celebrate it properly and responsibly once again.

Love is a gift. Love is shared. Love radiates.

Seek it. Cherish it. Emit it. Flow in it. Spread it. Speak it.

There is nothing wrong with feeling so wonderful in someone else presence that you are simply happy they were ever born!

YES! Celebrate the love that’s bursting out of you! Live in that moment that feels like forever! Throw flowers in the air and yell I love you! Stare into the eyes that meet your soul and don’t question it!

It is THAT feeling I can’t imagine we let slip away. Feeling so full of love and joy for another that we would toss flowers in the air!

Why is that pure emotion being suppressed ? Another rule, another limitation, another stipulation to what defines love? Give up on creating or finding that better way? Never.

I’m too rebellious to tolerate watching something  pure and good get sucked away into the land of it doesn’t matter anymore.

I saw an abundance around me and knew it was there for a reason. I felt it in my soul that this gift was not a blessing if not shared.

Celebrate love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My #uck it list

The Crested Saguaros in Tucson. Winchester Mansion in San Jose. The Redwoods. Bald Eagles in Alaska. This starts my fuckit list.

My list is long.

I turn 50 in December. I rushed through a lot of my life to get here apparently. To ” retire”?

It wasn’t that long ago some of us children were taught to get that one “good job”, work it for 20 or 30 years then “retire “. I started working before high school. Retirement equaled a lump of money, a Hawaiian shirt and a motorhome.

But not long after that retirement was dinner at 4:30 buffet then Jeopardy and bed with a glass of water…?

Retirement?

On a recent trip to Gettysburg I saw bus loads of “retirees” slowly making their way with the herds. It didn’t make me wish I was with them. It made me question what retirement really looks like in 2018.

I know plenty of older people who ” retired” only to go work again out of boredom. Welcome to Walmart folks!

I ” retired” after 24 years as a Cosmetologist and was nowhere near done working in this society! I just saw a Betty White tribute and at 96 she makes me feel like I’ve never worked a day in my life!

So why wait for a bucket list ???

“Oh we vacation.”

I hear that a lot. To different places or the same spot ? Going to “the river” or “the lake “every summer till I die isn’t appealing to me. Going to ALL the rivers or lakes ? Now we are talking.

Its exciting to me to experience new foods and sights and smells and people and ideas. How do you ever know you have had the best pizza if you never travel?

Some people are fine with a limited roaming area. I’m not.

What if I don’t make it another 20-30 years? Nothing is guaranteed except it WILL end.

So the excuses are always :

Money.

Say it.

Money.

Fear.

What if…?

Yeah exactly…. what if?

What if I said really loud …

I HATE BEING THE DOG TIED TO THE TREE!

I am that dog who started out nice but grew meaner as time and lack of a friendly safe face or a place to wander wore on.

I once was willing to let a stranger close but now snarl because I no longer trust . I no longer wag my tail as you approach with that sing song tone. It makes my empty stomach turn.

I wait because…I’m forced to. Told to. Wait, it’s for someone’s twisted visual comfort because that’s where the dog has always been.

See, over time the rope gets worn, the friction and the heat frays….one final angry yank forward breaks off into tumbling freedom!

Run…

Run….

Run…

Fuck it. Why not?

Especially when you are, like me, running right next to your pack, your road dog , your fellow fed up, hard working, hard digging, shade mate who shared that bowl of warm water under that fucked up tree when no one else was around. Who’s rope snapped at the same moment and yelled “don’t look back!”

My life partner, my real, my everything and I are ready to head out to explore our combined fuck it lists.

Not seeking approval. We granted it already.

That just happened

 

Less than 24 hours after Jay and I hosted our first, and by all accounts, incredibly successful Open House for that tiny charter school we have tried to help for the last year, we both no longer have jobs. So surreal I’m still in a state somewhere between shock and numb.
Estimates were over 150 people came to see the school, eat from the four happily sold out food trucks, check out the local car club, fill a room listening to live acoustic music by recording artist Brutha White.
Kids ran around with football sized multi colored shaved ice playing ping pong and test out the new putting area for our new golf team.
Students dragged parents into my highly decorated room, the true antidote for the muted, sterile, office like environment they had been forced to go to try to learn in for the last 5 years, to share the excitement for the new STEAM Program I was volunteering to set in place literally for free.

Donations had poured my way giving me more than the determination I needed to watch a fledgling project grow with no money in my pockets. The kids faces and smiles were the fuel. The parents sighs of relief that someone like me had come into their child’s world was the reason why.
Jay and I both made friends during Open House. The community came to support us and we felt it.
The next school day the kids were exhausted from the night and shared what flavors of shaved ice they had. My interviews for student council were wrapping up and all 8 council members had projects and partners to move forward.
We knew the school was hurting. With 22 enrolled that’s not much in terms of funding.
We also knew the ” principle” was not at school all of last year as she was ” retiring ” leaving only 2 male teachers, no front desk, no nurse, no aids. No fire drills.Nothing.
By the end of last year things were so unstructured and messy that I stepped up and said I would volunteer. The need was so great and so obvious there was no choice.
I promised those students I had started to bond with that over the summer serious change would happen just trust.
They did.
Jay and I worked tirelessly over the summer break bring a warmth and personality to those basic and empty rooms allotted to us.
The ” bosses” “owners” whatever the hell you call 2 “educated” humans that choose to barely put attention to a school they created in a strip mall and pretend to be teaching at. Well those two individuals spent their summer in Hawaii.
No they brought back no gifts. Nothing. Hardly a story to share. Certainly no enthusiasm for the children about a place literally erupting new life.
Weekend before school starts they go away again.
No effort towards the school. None.
Jay and I developed two sport teams, concept learning around the 100% computer learning the students had been forced to do and could now manipulate, created 3 new STEAM based extracurricular classes with parents permission slips signed ready to go.
We painted the game wall blue for the never seen school colors of blue and gold. We found out we were the Bears and eagerly sought help getting shirts in the works for the students.
Those owner people again did nothing.
I was able to get free advertising in the newspaper , internet, local monthly and the radio station the Wave spoke about us almost daily for Open House. Flyers were posted in local businesses.
Yet those two horrid people were more concerned about money and that Autistic children are ” worth more” in terms of funding.
They suggested using basically dime baggies filled with rocks and their business cards dropped at driveways in a local gated community as a way to drum up business.
Yes, we are still talking about a free school open to the public.
So out of touch, so insensitive to the students and what hell they daily call school, when the bills mounted and the landlord still wanted rent, it was Jay and especially me that had to go!
My exceptionally popular brand new room and program was being shuttered to rent out that “useless” space so it could make money. Possibly a pizza place I was told. The sting still rings from such a smack in the face along with the light nervous giggle that accompanied such deceitful news balls my fists.
Yes Stacy, your wildly popular program that can and will bring the school to life, empty that room please. We didn’t get 10 or more new recruits or any Autistic students in less than 24 hours since Open House so you are gone . Jay, we can’t pay you. Tops is 20k. Told otherwise barely a week previous he was still getting salary with a meager 2 k raise over last year.
Those people, those outwardly ” nice” people had screwed us hard with no kisses or lube. Hard.
I made a conscious decision at that moment to not have police called on me for kicking someone’s ass. Hard.  I’m 50 and have no record which is pretty damn surprising if you know me.
Anger spewing inside hotter than any lava flow , I saw red. They were hurting kids but not in the hitting or abusive way. They used them for profit. Dollar signs on their heads.

Do the bare minimum. So what if they play video games all day? Just shhhhhh. Sit on the computer from 8-3. Here’s a snack.

It couldn’t be real. They were nice people, good salt of the earth Midwest people weren’t they? Soft spoken. Educated. White. Don’t cha know ?
I’m the mean edgy one . I’m the one with the bad mouth and tattoos and snakes. I’m the lightning rod for drama or attitude. Yet I am the one who donated everything to kids I’m not related to. I cried with them , hugged them, encouraged, and gave my heart to those who really needed to be heard. Me and my husband gave our money and time to help support a tiny community school of kids ignored by its surroundings. No parks, not welcome to live in certain ” communities ” no sport team or field and a school so sterile and pale no one cares if you only attend 3 days a week. You matter so little in terms of personal growth or happiness they actually encourage students to come only three days a week.

The emotional pain this will cause the students is yet to be seen. Monday the band aid will be ripped off.

The pet lizard is gone. No council, no classes, no teams, no more laughter and fun. Nothing to look forward to. Mrs. O is not coming back nor is Mr. O. Rent , money and horrible adults have decided your happiness and your future doesn’t matter to them. Their bank notes do.

Sent from my iPhone

Take a Trip to Bearizona

Drive an hour or two north from PHX and you can escape the boiling cauldron that is the “Valley of the Sun” and into the promise land of rolled down car windows, fresh cool air, red rocks and pine trees.  IMG_1897.JPG

Drive another hour or so further and the crisp air has a slight chill (for a desert dweller like me anything below 80 causes an involuntary shiver) the altitude change is noticeable, the Grand Canyon is within reach and if you stop just outside of Wilson, you can drive next to bears. 

So… we did. 

Jay and Stacy did Bearizona. IMG_1851

Now, I have to catch you up on a few things.

Jay and I have been married 20 years. From the day we met it was instant attraction turned almost immediately into love and grew from there.  Far from perfect or easy, growing in to an “adult” through 20 years alongside another human, no matter how much you love them, is hard. Life is hard. If you don’t understand that sentiment read no further. 

I have called Jay “my bear” for most of our 20 years for various reasons, but recently “bears” have been prominent in our life, more so than ever before.  

The little school Jay started teaching at last year and that I now volunteer at as their resource/librarian are called the “Bears”.  As we continue growing this new little school  by building golf and table tennis teams and science programs, the word “bears” appears over and over again. 

So, with school out for the summer, a good 3 +months in the desert with no rain just triple digit heat and our anniversary month at hand, Bearizona needed to happen. 

Coming from Gold Canyon thankfully, and not downtown PHX, gave us the instant opportunity to take a more scenic and much less traveled route up north. Sadly, we did see the effects of the drought in certain hard-hit areas as we drove alongside what were once campsites near smaller lakes now diminished or entirely evaporated. A sobering reality when you live in the desert continually hearing about months of no rain, 3% humidity and looming fire danger. IMG_1902.JPG

The fact that AZ has such a wide variety of plant and animal life specific to our desert that can thrive in such extreme climates is awesome.  If you can drive through untouched areas covered in Saguaros and not be awed by them

A: you have no clue what you are looking at 

 B: you need to learn that what you are staring at is possibly 100-200 years old, can weigh over 3000 lbs and took 10 years in the first part of its life to grow 1 to 2 inches hidden by a protector plant, those “arms” drawn like cartoons take more than 50 years to appear and Saguaros only grow in our desert. 

C: you are not in my car 

 

Wilson sits just outside of Flagstaff. High Desert Country with beautiful mountains that do see snow, Wilson is a wonderful stop over to launch from if you want to explore or head to the Grand Canyon or go to Bearizona. Literally 10 minutes from town, Bearizona opens daily at 8 am.  

Having worked for the PHX Zoo I knew first thing in the A.M. was the time to go. The animals would be up and getting fed or waiting to be. Either way makes for great viewing. 

Sure enough, we were not disappointed. 

Now again, having worked around wild animals and around worse, the creatures that come to see those wild animals, I knew better than to  “expect” anything. Animals do what they do. Food motivates them just like it motivates me. I get it. Don’t bug a wild animal when it’s eating. Period. Take pictures all day long just don’t touch it, harass it, poke it yell at it or be an ignorant human at it and 9 and out 10 times all goes well. 

Also like me, once we get a full belly we nap. Who cares that we just got up a few hours ago! Full belly equals naptime. Same goes for animals. 

Our first drive through Bearizona was everything we could have asked for. All enclosures were clean, well maintained with relaxed, healthy appearing animals. We saw no stress, just a lot of mid-way shedding and velvet antlers and a few infants depending on the species. Bearizona houses more than just bears and half of their animals are rescues. 

IMG_1622IMG_1651IMG_1706IMG_1718.JPG

The bear portion of our drive was intense, exciting and everything you probably shouldn’t be doing that close to that many feeding bears. Bearizona takes no responsibility for you or your car once you pay to drive in. They give good sized, free roaming bears, treats like oranges along the sides of the roads of their large habitat to encourage viewing.IMG_1759.JPG

If you are completely stupid you could get killed in seconds by getting out of your car. This is no joke. There is really nothing to stop you except signs warning you not to do this combined with your own common sense that’s hopefully better than God gave a Goose and a normal persons will power to not be mauled by multiple bears while on a two day road trip.  IMG_1728.JPG

I videoed just how close bears were to our car and my door and just how easily it could have been a horror show in seconds. IMG_1724.JPG 

Would I do it again?

Hell yes I would! We drove around again immediately!

Also not a huge surprise, after we made our first drive through and went in for lap two, the experience was entirely different. Now fed, the animals were heading off to regular nap zones away from the continual drive bys. No signs of any snacks, bears had their full.  IMG_1734.JPG

There was only one straggler bear trying to bother the gate attendant by acting like a bear escape just might happen on this watch. It didn’t.

Inside Bearizona is more of a zoo experience with again natural enclosures that felt large enough for who they were housing. The only animal who had any obvious signs of “stress”, if you call it that, was a younger male bear new to his enclosure debating if escaping via the moat was worth the attempt. IMG_1793IMG_1796

Again, having worked where I have, I simply asked a keeper. Oh yes, that male is a handful and now housed with a sibling. We laughed knowingly, yep, seen my share of animals who only sort of cooperate with their keepers. 

We enjoyed Bearizona. 

Is it family friendly? IMG_1826 I would say yes for the most part. If you don’t want to risk your car or feel like that is too much intensity for your family, they have free bus tours. Inside, the walking portion was clean even though obvious construction was adding new attractions. IMG_1833.JPG

Is Bearizona safe?

Who knows. The freeways to get there weren’t. The 17 has more wrong way drivers than what seems even possible. We saw mayhem on the 60. I take my chances everytime I get behind the wheel. Bears made no real change in that fear but upped the excitement and adrenaline factor for sure. 

 

I Blame the Jetsons

In 1962 we met George Jetson… Jane his wife…his boy Elroy…daughter Judy… We watched George fly from his skypad apartments off to his job at Spacely Space Spockets. His maid was a robot. The family of the future as seen through the eyes of Hanna-Barbera.

We wanted it.

The generation that knows these cartoons and can sing the opening song is now living it. But Hanna- Barbera gave us the cartoon version.The reality isn’t as fun.

I don’t recall George crashing his flying car/saucer drunk, wrong way or even purposely driving into a group of people because he could, though in one episode they did clone him.

I don’t remember his daughter Judy glued to a device that  incouraged her to ignore her family, take a million pictures of herself, distract her driving or told her it was time to walk.

I don’t remember  floating trash or pollution in the air.

The robot maid Rosie was close.

I volunteer at a school. I see kids with computers, phones and head phones, all the latest technology. I see what 8 to 10 plus hours a day on a computer or phone or internet is doing to our kids.

Its not the Jetsons thats for sure.Image result for the jetsons

I see less and less motivation. I see kids who don’t want to read further than a sentence before they scroll let alone pick up a book. I see less and less interaction between the kids. Less laughing. Less playing outside. Just more time staring at a screen. I see boredom. I see and hear how little they truly care. I see numb.

For all that this technology has brought in terms of good and advancement, it has brought bad.

Did the Jetsons have to know someone or even see them in person to say something horrible? OUR computers allow it so it must be ok.

The Jetsons world was sterile. Pure air, clean everything. Touch a button and its yours.

Elroy didn’t have active shooter training.

What was Jane doing? She had a robot maid. She was pretty? I don’t remember anything else.

We all assumed that given advanced technology our society would become smarter. Yet I see more and more kids born into a world with technology everywhere. Covered in it, smothered in it , consumed by technology and yet struggle to achieve.

Constant advertising. Consume Consume Consume. Sit there longer. Play more games. Eat more processed snacks for the next few hours. Talk to others online only and have no empathy or concern unless they entertain you. Watch images of death and horror as long as you can stomach live by helicopter. Ride in a self driving car and let it run someone over. Fake Fake Fake. Lies lies lies. Do whatever it takes to get yourself on that screen so everyone can see… even if that means taking a life. Fame is now more important.

So, Jetsons of 1962, let me introduce you to The Jetsons  2018.  What does the Jetsons of 2074 look like?

 

 

 

 

 

 

nothing shocking

I can skin a rattlesnake. I own a giant hairy scorpion and a big curly haired tarantula as pets. I have photographed my face next to a rotted Javelina carcass. I can do all of that and still not get the shock that I do when I say I enjoy golf.

Golf?!? Wha?? You golf? Since when???

I guess it’s more believable that I am spiritual and weirdly sensitive to energy or that I’m slightly off and who knows what I’m up to. Everyone seems good with that. But the visual of me on a golf course, for some, is as foreign as me in snow.

The high desert in CA where I grew up was not a hotbed of golf courses. I’m not sure there were maybe one or two local courses at the most. I don’t remember him playing or owning clubs yet growing up, golf was on T.V. every Sunday with my Dad holding the remote hostage. I knew all the top players’ names. I learned the scoring. I heard the whispering announcers tell us to watch in silence from our living rooms in another state because one peep could ruin the final putt for the win!

I hated it.

So, what changed? Why golf now? Why would someone like me choose a sport like golf?

Roughly 20 years ago I met Jay. The day we met I was coming home from Disneyland, he was coming home from golfing. He loves the sport. His addiction for golf took up where my Dads had left off.

With Jay now in my world I was again hearing the familiar sounds of the hushed announcers, but with new names and faces. It still didn’t make me run out and buy clubs. I did start playing here and there with whatever club Jay handed me but would rather be driving the cart.

My father had never encouraged me to play golf. Jay always has.

See, back then, my “why I was playing” was different. I wanted Jay to be proud of me out there. I wanted him and probably others to be impressed. My expectations where grossly misguided from years of only watching pros and never having watched real humans golf. It discouraged me horribly when I sucked at this very expensive “game”. Intimidated by the beauty and size of a real golf course and the very real water hazards in front of me, I felt embarrassed and extremely self-conscious.

Truth be told, most golfers hit balls everywhere and so do the pros. That’s why they yell “Fore!” But the T.V camera angles change your perception of what it’s really like to be out there. My head was so full of “watch the ball- stand like this- swing don’t miss-ohmygod are people watching” I surely didn’t enjoy it. Golf was frustrating, awful and long.

I wish I had known back then that Golf was exactly what my brain needed.

I’m creative. My brain goes all over the place randomly. As I have aged, and my hormones have started running amok, my brain and body have seen some not so enjoyable severe highs and lows. Oh sure, you can add chemicals to the mix and see what works or helps but meditation does not come in pill form. Meditation and exercise are top on any list of ways to help yourself heal.

My brain isn’t going to allow me to just sit idly and clear my thoughts. Oh no, it’s going to beat me up about not doing anything while I “just sit”. I have that mental issue that I think I have never done enough. Never good enough. My brain wants to be in constant motion to keep happy.

To play golf you need to be able to clear your mind. Shut out distractions. Focus. Visualize. Be the ball. Multitasking and golf do not go hand in hand. Life’s other bullshit cannot be anywhere near your brain.

The game of golf itself is simple right? Hit the ball with the metal stick into the cup. Go. You’re on your own. No one even keeps your score. It’s up to you to be honest.

I have good hand eye coordination yet can swing and miss a ball right in front of me. If I get mad about it, my swing will automatically become worse. If I can focus and find that small spot I can hit the ball. If my body relaxes it will flow and swing. If there is stress and tension my body will hit the ball wrong or simply miss altogether. So sure, it’s a “simple” game.

There is even Tai Chi for golf to help with the flow.

Honestly the minute I stopped playing golf for a score but rather for my peace of mind it all changed. The minute I accepted I was new and learning and took off all the expectations, my swing improved. My goal was no longer trying to impress. My goal had become much more personal. Golf was a tool I was using to make me feel better not to become famous.

Putting areas are free. I can practice whenever I want. I have my own driving range and mats at home or can go to any of the courses nearby to practice. I am outside, fresh air, green grass, walking, moving, and most importantly playing. I’m playing. It isn’t anything more than that.

Keep it simple. Don’t make it harder than it already is. Visualize where you are going. Don’t rush, you can walk there. The tranquility and the beauty of a golf course gives me a setting where challenging myself feels less like I’m under an attack.

I was only under attack before in my own mind.

Not so shocking that I golf.IMG_2214.JPG

Tape it Like Bubba Round Three Grip Rippin’

 

Now that I had an old set of clubs to play with it was time to take off the old crusty grips and begin my “tape it like Bubba” experiment. These grips are obviously factory and never been replaced. I’m curious if there is any tape underneath them at all. Did previous owner “Old Guy” even know? Were these the right size grips for him or did he, like a lot of golfers do, take what was already on them because they were new? Did he suck at golfing because of it and thus the clubs ended up in his closet? If his old score cards I found were any indication…

I grab a club and lock it in place. I slide the curved blade down the shaft and find no tape. The grips seemed to be adhered only in one spot almost midway down and they are dried and cracked making removing the grip as a whole impossible but not horrible to get off. Tiny bits of scraping and I have my first club ready to tape.IMG_8917

Jay surprises me out in our shop “I thought you were going to do my clubs?” Nervously I tell him I have no clue if I can really get a grip over mounds tape without messing up the grip itself but he’s convinced I got this. My interest in this tape nonsense has him intrigued. I’m finding he’s not so set in his ways that he won’t try something new with enthusiasm. This attitude alone gives me confidence to go ahead.

We decide on using a few of his irons from Callaway. On his 8 iron I put one piece of Double sided tape then add another 6 layers of regular masking tape on top for what I am calling 7 layers. I only use solvent around the opening to get the grip in place then with the help of my air compressor the Mint grip slid right on over it all! Next was his 7 iron. I did the same with the tape except added 8 layers on top of one double sided for what I am calling 9 layers.IMG_8925.JPG

Filled with pride that I could do it I handed them off to Jay for a test swing. He could tell they felt different immediately but was it good or bad was yet to be determined.

Never one to let me coast through life, Jay turned to me and said, “Now take these off and put Star grips on.”

Star grips are made with some seriously strong rubber. They come with a three-year guarantee not to do anything bad except be a grip. Mints have a much softer rubber. Still a good grip but not near as intimidating to play with. Jay knew that was a hurdle I had no choice but to get over if I wanted to really do an experiment like this.

With the help of my compressor, the Mint grip slid right back off. Tape still in place. I just needed to slide a new Star Grip on. I felt my chest tighten. This wasn’t going to be that easy.

I add a little solvent to the opening and slide the grip into position. The compressor’s blasts of air opening up the grip, pushing back at me as I guide it along, squealing over 7 layers of tape!

It didn’t rip! It didn’t blow me back into the wall!

Ok…time to try 9 pieces. The same. With an air compressor and a little solvent, I was able to slide the grips on. The feel obviously different. Star Grips with their strong rubber made the shaft feel like a baseball bat in my hands! But what will it do for Jays swing? His overall game? Will my game improve? IMG_8941.JPG

Tape it like Bubba Round Two “Go Old School”

I’m at a local yard sale and see a set of golf clubs leaning against the wall. Nothing fancy, certainly not new, but looked as though rarely used. I bee line over to them but can see out of the corner of my eye Jay lightly shaking his head and rolling his eyes at me. I ignore him. I know what I want this set for if I can get it cheap enough.

“Spalding Futuras” Old guy says. They been sitting in his closet for years. It showed. The faux leather brown on brown bag was still looking cool, old school style, but with rusty zippers. Bulging pouches full of golf balls plus God only knows what else. A few extra woods not part of the set thrown in for good measure along with a ball retriever and metal cart.

Jay has now positioned himself next to our car like he’s ready to leave in a half- hearted attempt to stop whatever deal I am trying to make, but, says nothing. I smile at him like the Cheshire cat.

Old guy likes me so much he gives me all of it. Clubs, bag, all his nonsense. Insists I take everything including the old rolling cart. I didn’t tell him what I had planned for these clubs, just that I was excited to take ‘em off his hands and clean ‘em up. I think he was under the impression I was very new to golf. Wonder where he got that idea from? (Insert Cheshire cat smile here)

Using free clubs also makes it easier for me to justify ripping off grips and wasting supplies just to see if I can put new grips over excessive amounts of tape like Bubba Watson. It’s my math logic. Paying for newer expensive clubs to try this seems silly. I’m not trying to impress, I’m trying to grip.

The book “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect” by Dr. Bob Rotella talks a lot about the thoughts you have as you play your game. Positive thoughts tend to produce positive outcomes. Its part of the puzzle that creates a winner. Practice and natural ability of course are huge parts of the equation as well. So, my positive outlook on old clubs is this: when these clubs were made they were considered good to play with. Yes, we have better materials now blah blah blah but honestly, I refuse to make the excuse that my bad shot was my clubs fault. If I were to hand one of these “old clubs” to a scratch golfer I’m going to bet tons of money he could hit the ball with it.

I’m more than happy to try my “tape it like Bubba” experiment out on a set of older clubs. I want a set of clubs that I can put different layers of tape on random clubs of my choice. I do not want all the same thickness otherwise I won’t be able to tell. Again, my logic.

I took the bag home and dumped its contents all over the floor. Some really old, crispy golf balls came tumbling out along with nasty cigarette butts, matches, tobacco unused, score cards, tees…the usual suspects.

Warm soapy water and some scrubbing gave me a shiny set ready to be regripped. Now all I needed was to decide what tape, how much and on which clubs?

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Tape it Like Bubba

Round One

“How Much is Enough?’”

The other day after I finished reading an old article about unique golf grips, my next suggested reading option that popped up was about Bubba Watson. I’m not a Bubba hater, he’s just not one of those golfers I tend to go out of my way to read about on purpose.

This article happened to focus mainly on Matt Rollins, Pings PGA Tour Rep who personally installs Bubbas grips, so I was a little more enthusiastic to read on.

Bubba was using Ping’s 703 Gold grip by Golf Pride. It’s oversized by one 32-nd of an inch. On top of that, Rollins was installing 10 layers of tape on the top half of the shaft and 12 layers of tape on the bottom half with one complete layer of tape over all. For Bubbas lob it was 13 and 11.

“Damn, Bubba…picky much?!?” and “Why?” were my first thoughts.

Supposedly it’s because Bubba fears hooking.

Now, this article was from 2012 so it’s possible all these specifics have changed, but at that time, this set up was giving Bubba the game he wanted.

I was intrigued.

In the article Rollins says the only other Pro he knew of doing anything even remotely like this is John Daly who comes in second with 6 layers of tape.

So, just for some light fact checking, I went on to look up and read a few more articles that all said basically the same thing except having Daniel Udd, Pings Master Technician working on Watsons equipment exclusively not Rollins. Safe to say whoever has the honor of gripping for Bubba is among Ping’s best of the best installers and are at Watsons disposal doing whatever Bubba wants because that’s how Bubba likes it. He’s a damn good golfer. You can’t argue his tape situation works for him.

Most of the articles I found also highlighted the fact that stretching over that much tape was busting the cords on the grips they were using. At some point Bubba switched to a cordless style. The feel of the cords outside must have mattered less to him than the bulk he wanted underneath? I doubt Bubba switched grip styles just to make it easier on the installers. He doesn’t come across as that kind of giver.

This just led me to even more questions.

Is the feel that much different with 10 pieces of tape instead of one or two? Five or six? Can you really tell? Does it change your game that much? Is it mental or superstition? Does Bubba just THINK extra tape is better so therefore it is? Why doesn’t Ping make a Bubba inspired grip that is internally thicker? Would that still not feel the same? Why are females supposed to hold smaller grips? I have never played with anything but men’s clubs and grips because that’s all that was available to me for the longest time. I want a decent grip to hold onto, not a pencil. Smaller grips just make my hands tired by the 3rd hole. If Bubba can play with a caveman club sized grip why can’t I?

Now Bubba has me wanting to put 10 layers of tape under my grips!

Most clubs come standard with either one piece of tape or none. How would the average golfer even know if just one more sliver of tape is going do the trick and not just switch grip styles or brands all together?

As someone who installs grips, my curiosity went into overdrive.

All the articles mentioned how it was not easy for these top installers to get grips over that much bulk. It also sounded like it was done by hand installation and not compressor, but I could be mistaken. None the less, the best installers Ping has ripped grips and popped cords in the process. If I was going to try this myself I was already being warned there would be casualties. For Bubba and Ping it was roughly 20 grips for 13 clubs. For Stace and Mint…?

I’m pretty sure Bubba or Matt or even Daniel isn’t going to take my calls and tell me all about where they are at currently in 2018 with his tape set up or give me any pointers on application. If I really want to learn anything about the differences extra tape makes or how it improves your game, I’m going to have to do it myself along with the help of some golfing friends.

Our business GoldCanyonGrips.com carries Star grips and Mint grips, so I have access to plenty of different styles. Both companies suggest using compressors to install their grips and I do. The first time I tried manually installing Star grips over standard double-sided tape, 4 out of 6 stuck midway up the shaft no matter how much solvent and cussing I tried.

Oh, I got them all off eventually without cutting or damaging the grips themselves and installed properly but not until after more cussing and literally solvent dripping down my arms.

Jay videoed my reaction the first time I used a compressor to install my Stars. That first grip slid on so easy I wanted to kick my whole set up for the abuse it had put me through earlier.

So, for this tape thickness experiment I have in mind, I’m chosing to play with Mint grips. Mint grips are good quality at a cost that won’t hurt so bad if 7 or 8 end up in ruins on the floor like the Ping article suggested could be the case. They also have a softer rubber that makes them easier to install in general. I’m a fan.

There is one obvious problem with this little project of mine and it is that I am not a consistent golfer.

Two days ago, at the driving range, standing all alone at the end stall, I smacked two shots with my driver so far to the right into the trees you would have thought I had purposely aimed at the poor ball attendant hiding behind his cart trying to take a leak!

I don’t even call myself a golfer. I like replacing grips and selling tools like practice mats that help fine tune a player’s overall performance. I see myself more as a mechanic for top race car drivers. I’m happy in the shop, dirty, music up loud, tinkering with the equipment. For me personally, every swing I take is simply practice. I play golf for the mental peace it gives me, not for the scores. I measure myself against all other golfers as I should…by height.

So, to really learn more about how extra tape could work for or against a player I’m going need avid golfers and their feedback.

I need to ask Jay first to see what he thinks.

Jay’s a good golfer. He’s consistent, practices almost daily and is always working toward lowering his score. Detail oriented, disciplined, a Marine, he is the one who taught me how to install grips. I do all his taping and gripping so I know I am trusted. But Jay, like most golfers, has worked hard to make his grip comfortable and natural in his swing. And like most golfers, over the years he has become particular about what he believes works best for him. Asking to mess with his grip, possibly his game and his score is most likely not going to be received with the same level of enthusiasm I have for conducting this random test. He is going to notice the difference immediately, but will it be for better or worse? Would he be willing to play with a new grip if it meant shaving off numbers from his average?

There was also the other problem… I can’t ask Jay or anyone else for that matter to try this experiment with me if I can’t prove I can get grips over that much tape! No one asks for 10 or 12 pieces of tape in the real-world, Bubba! At most it’s 2!

So, what clubs am I practicing on? How much tape will I waste and how many grips will I rip before I admit defeat? What is Jay going to say if he watches me mangle a few grips before I get it down? Will that image alone mess with his confidence?

Am I regripping all of his clubs or just a few? With how many pieces of tape?

I had better have some answers before I go and ask…IMG_7244.JPG

lost balls

41 golf balls found in just over an hour as we hiked our way through the desert by of one of the local courses. The other day, the count slightly lower at 22.

The cost of a box of Titleist Pro V 1 golf balls? $48 ish give or take depending on where you shop. That’s $4 a ball. For some golfers that’s simply one bad tee shot lost, left to magically disappear into the desert. Who cares. Buy more. Drop another and swing.

But the awful truth is it takes a golf ball anywhere from 500 to 1000 years to decompose naturally. An estimated 300 million golf balls are lost or discarded in the United States alone every year.IMG_5876

I’m a desert kid. A self-proclaimed lizard who gets cold below 70 degrees.  Besides the obvious eco part of clearing trash from the desert, the enjoyment of collecting lost golf balls comes from the hunt. I see collecting lost golf balls as a scary desert version of an Easter egg hunt. Reaching into a dried-up shrub for a ball can get serious REAL quick. I grew up trying to catch lizards. I’m older and somewhat smarter now but the enthusiasm’s still the same. Just now I use a walking stick.IMG_4643

My husband loves golf. For years he has been collecting lost golf balls. To be honest, at first, I thought he was slightly crazy. He would ride off on his bike and return with bags full of balls. Then I woke up and realized if one person can collect that many in an hour, what kind of an impact can we make if I helped too?

Do you really need a brand-new ball every time you play? I’ve watched enough average golfers and that answer is no.IMG_6091

Recycle. Reuse.

 

 

 

 

fastfood

Been watching the storm roll over the Superstition Mountain out my living room window all morning trying to take pictures as the clouds dramatically change with each passing minute but there is no way to capture just how beautiful the view is in person.IMG_3728.JPG

A quick glance over my shoulder and see I have a coyote pack on the path to the house. They are moving with that slow, controlled pace that tells me we are hunting something.  I grab for my phone hoping to not make any sound or movement that scares off what I’m watching.IMG_3734.JPG

In a blink the chase is on! The target, a bunny who is now going Mach speed because it’s life truly does depend on it. My brain registers it’s a bunny, but I only saw a blur. A blur and coyote tails.IMG_3737.JPG

I want to go outside to see what happens and hopefully video it but also know this is not a smart move when you have hungry coyotes trying to grab breakfast, so I wait until the coast is clear then slowly creep out.

The bunny has made it safely off into the desert somewhere I’m assuming because I heard no scream and the coyotes are still here. Seems the chase has caused the coyote pack to run straight into the lumbering javelina herd making its usual morning procession down the lower driveway and over to the wash.

Now, I can’t speak on behalf of all javelina, I just watch these guys all the time, but I can tell you having coyotes running at them, disrupting the normal routine was not received well. Nope. Not. At. All.

Poppa Javi bristled up and spun around in true WTF fashion and was like “oh hell no you aren’t”. See the Javi family has a youngish one. Poppas not playin’ and lets not even get angry Momma Javi involved!

A terrified bunny is not the same breakfast as a bristling crazy male Javelina. ( not actual bunny but local none the less)IMG_6441

Taking on that beast was not in the game plan. As if to say “ it’s cool..it’s cool…” the coyote widened the buffer zone as they trotted off. Now remember coyote are cool so they didn’t RUN away from Poppa Javi, no they more or less trotted away like “ yeah it’s okay this time… but watch your babies…”

go local

Yesterday we took a trip over to Chandler to tour the Star Grip factory. For me it is important to know as much as I can about a product I might be selling or endorsing. I need to have confidence in the product itself and to know what lurks behind the scenes.

The further away you are from the source I feel like you care less. That’s MY opinion. It’s what allows me to eat a hotdog. I know nothing about what goes into making one, never seen the process and I certainly didn’t have to kill anything for it…just eat it. I’m innocent in my ignorance.

When it comes to business, integrity is everything. As our own business continues to grow, we want to rep for a local company we can proudly support but we weren’t sure that was even possible. The golf industry is dominated by names every household knows whether they play golf or not. Nike. Titleist, Puma to name a few.

Retail works like this. Labels get put on all kinds of products that are produced out of the same factories, especially when you are talking equipment that mass produces. Companies hire factories to make their products, slap a label on it, ship it out. Then there is the fight for shelf space in a major retail store. When you are talking about literally two or three shelves or racks dedicated to a sport like golf, NO smaller company will ever be seen. Period. They can’t afford to fight Nike off a shelf. Nowadays they just hope to be found on the internet.

Some of those “smaller” companies out there are making really good products. Some under their own names and some for a name you may have already heard of. You pay for the name. The less hands a product touches to get to you, the cheaper it can be. We wanted to find good quality without the big name. We wanted local, made in the USA.

Chandler is in AZ. Star is making grips so good they have a 3 -year warranty. The owner showed us around the factory, introduced some of the workers and spent a generous amount of time explaining the process, even giving us samples. Sharing personal stories as we walked along, I knew we had found the right company for us.

Do your homework. Seek fairness and honesty. Go local.

Stepping away from the Herd

“To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.” Sun Tzu

I take pride in the fact I am different. Something inside me refuses to follow the masses. What a strange feeling it is to see so many others comfortable, happily going along and yet every part of my soul screams to run as far from it as I can.

If I was a wild animal this attitude would get me killed. Safety is in the numbers. Camouflaged by the blur of colors and movement so not as easily picked off.

But I risk it anyways. Simply too miserable striving and toiling for those who already have so much and yet lack the generosity to share the wealth. The herd does it. Why don’t I see a comfort or safety in this like they all seem to?

The categories so limited, I don’t see a title that fits me. The entertainment produced for mass consumption I barely find amusing. The food prepared for the herd is filled with chemicals and modifications I don’t understand.

Communication within the herd is sometimes so unfriendly to the point of hostile. Perhaps just ignored all together, leaving members left to feel alone while still inside of the herd.

I don’t like not knowing who is leading the herd. I have no clear picture of who or what drives it all along or why. I have no idea where I’m being led, no decision in it. Just keep going until you can’t anymore. Make sure you have everything everyone else does. Try not to get trampled when you can’t keep up.

But when I move away from the herd my soul takes deep breaths of fresh air and starts to relax. It feels the energy calm and allows the sounds of the birds to enter. I can see the herd up ahead in the distance but I don’t care if they go without me. I rather they did.

Though vulnerable and alone in such an enormous world, stripped away from the anonymity the herd provides, I am happy. I look around and see no reflection of myself.

I am reminded of panning for gold. The sifting and shaking and unsettling it takes to filter through all the dirt and mud and earth to find the tiny flecks of worth. The water rinsing away all that is not needed or wanted, leaving the rare nugget behind.

I am also reminded of what most moms seem to tell their children as they grow, “If everyone jumped off a cliff would you do that too?”