"Meanwhile, Back at the Karma Flux Center..."

If you’ve never been to Santa Barbara...Go. It is one of the most scenic and spiritually beautiful places on earth. Here, the mountains meet the sea with the handshake that is SB.

 Today, Mac and I traveled down Rt. 101 then took the scenic and mountainous Rt. 154 without incident...except for that nasty car fire thing that was narrowly averted. All I have to say and this is particularly directed to the engineer(s) who design the interiors of automobiles: If your going to put an ashtray in the car you’d better make damn well sure that no spaces, cracks or openings are any larger than the diameter of a (burning?) cigarette...Look it up!!! Remember: safety is your first concern--always. Enough said.

 I Love this place. I haven’t been back in some time but this used to be my home. For seven wonderful years I lives within the city limits of SB. Went to school here and met some of my favorite people. I met Toxic Bob and Old and Haggard Karl in a calculus class at SBCC. We all eventually wound up living together on Victoria St. at Garden St. The house was an old Victorian which we referred to simply as “The Vic”. I think the best way to convey the Bobness about Bob is to repeat something he said to me pretty early on--before we were the “Jon and Bob Show”-- he said “Jon, let me get straight to the point...I want to do as little as possible for as long as possible” By “do” he meant do work. We always had something else, besides work to do...walk down to the beach...do the State Street Shuffle (Joe’s, Beautiful people bar then sling shot up to Mel’s with whatever money was left), the Seven Falls Hike, Mono Dam Water Slide, Big Caliente Hot Springs or sometimes we’d just take good ole’ Pokey--his 1964 Ford Falcon Van down State St. and wave at the kids and tourists.

"The Jon and Bob Show"

By the time that I had moved into the Vic Bob had already discovered the Karma Trail. It started from the Vic and ended on the other side of the Karma Flux Center. I won’t describe the whole trail but the Karma Flux Center is an infinitesimally small point in space directly above the center of the floor in the archway of the SB Clock Tower...I expect its height is the midpoint between the floor and the zenith of the archway. It is believed, by many, that in order to maximize your Karma absorption, you should travel through the very center of the archway with your arms spread out and produce the Karmic Resonant Frequency with your voice...Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

The main idea is to have as much of your body’s surface area perpendicular to the Karmic Flux Lines that emanate from the Karmic Flux Center. As you’ve probably guessed, the Karmic Flux Density is greatest at the center of the archway which is exactly where the Karmic Frequencie's Resonance is greatest...WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

 Good things happen when you walk the Karma Trail.

 One of Toxic Bob’s favorite Karmic examples occured at a point in time when he was broke. Now, for Bob to be broke means NO MONEY AT ALL. It has been observed by many that Bob can live for a month on a dollar or as Old and Haggard Karl once put it, after hearing someone call Bob “cheap” Karl said "Cheap!?....Cheap!!??...Man, you've got to actually spend something to be cheap!!!" So Bob’s broke and trying to figure out what to do. He decides to walk the Karma Trail and see what happens. We did that a lot when we lived at the Vic...and, by God, something good ALWAYS happened. So Bob walked the trail--right through the Clock Tower and then, as usual, kept on walking towards SBCC. Down towards the underpass something on the ground caught his eye . It was a crumpled up dollar bill...Yes!!! just enough for a month. As he opened it up to put it in his wallet the fifty that was wrapped inside the one fell out. Not bad.

 He probably headed to Maria’s Mexican restaurant, immediately, and purchased a #40. Bob knew that at Maria’s he could get a “meat” burrito, a salad and all the tortilla chips he could eat with as much red AND green salsa that he desired, plus live Mariachi music and a bottomless glass of ice water for one dollar and forty-nine cents. Thank God for the number #40. I can’t even estimate how many #40’s I ate as a poor student. Bob had a talent for sniffing out the #40s in the world but even he would say that nothing ever topped the original.

"The Bob and Maria Show"

Sitting here with Bob and his friend Maria and Mac at the State and A, I am again reminded what an affable chap he really is. Bob is friendly and hanging out with him for so many years has been one long friendly adventure. His friend Maria can’t stop laughing...and the stories just keep coming.

"The Santa Barbara Solstice Parade"

We are here for the Santa Barbara Solstice Parade. I’ve only missed a few of them in the last ten years and here’s why: It is among the most colorful and exotic home spun parades in the world. Just see for yourself:

***Santa Barbara Solstice Parade Picture Spread***.

We ran into Plain Wayne at the parade--another one of the “Vics’ Mix”...he’s the guy with the pig nose in the picture-spread of the SBSP. He lived at the Vic after Sara O’Hara moved out. He put a whole new spin on the Vic with his large pack of LSD ingesting mathematicians...Boy, we had some parties. There’s nothing like a head full of acid to help you get to the kernel of the Green’s and Stoke’s Theorems....really. Wayne teaches math, now, at SBCC and just loves it. Bob, Wayne and myself tutored mathematics at SBCC and it would be hard to estimate who, among us, enjoyed it the most but it looks like Wayne is enjoying it still. Good for Wayne!!

 Maria doesn’t drink so she has generously volunteered to be our wheels tonight when we rip this town to shreds. The Parade will end at the park just a few blocks for where we are. That is where the REAL percussion density begins to build. You see, most of the float have an impressive array of drums and other percussion instruments in there own right but as more and more floats arrive at the park, the resulting massiveness of the collective beat begins to go critical. It becomes a whirling twirling sea of rising then falling beats. Just as soon as you think you’ve got your ears around the whole of it and its complexities another percussive cadence will begin to emerge. As it does, it affects all the other voices and soon a wholly new percussive life form is born. If you let it...and I do...it will bring you into itself and let you become a part of the ever changing tided and eddies. It really can induce an altered state as you begin to mesh into the percussive flux. God, I love this town.

Well, we went to Joe’s and I ordered an Omaha--which, by the way in now on the menu--didn’t used to be. It’s a prime rib dinner with all the fixins and plenty of horse radish. MMM...MMM...GOOD. Joe’s makes the best drinks in town and besides Mel’s is where you’ll probably find me when I am out on the town in SB. There’s no live music at Joe’s, no flashing red disco mirror balls, no bloody saccharine sweet “oh welcome to Joe’s” bloody smiling face and now...no smoking......That’s Joe’s Reality. Just great mixed drinks and people mixing. Joe’s gives great conversation and the drinks are like tits: one is not enough and three is too many. Now Mel’s....Mel’s is a completely different story.

 Bob brought me to Mel’s one day after school, before I had moved into the Vic when we first started hanging. “Man, I gotta show you this place...it is just a DIVE.” He told me. This was long before there was any stinkin’ Santa Barbara Mall or as Bob and I refer to it “Disney Land.” Back then, lower State St. was pretty sketch. Some of the places along lower street were such dives that your ears would pop just walking into them. Places like the “Office Lounge” or “The Noise Chamber.” Places that had “early bird” drink specials at 8 am.. These were the bars where only the most serious drinkers...the aspiring Charles Bukowski protégé’s would frequent. Places that scared even Toxic Bob.

When we walked into Mel’s there were only about four or five people--I should say men-- drinking in the dimly-lit smoke filled front room. Bob turned to me and smiled like a kid that had just discovered a hidden tree fort “isn’t this place great.” It was. Not a hint of pretension in this place. All contrivances will please be left at the door and as they say at Mel’s: If you drink to forget...please pay in advance.

 Bob stepped up to the bar and emptied all of the change out of his pocket and looked over at me to do the same...so I did. The woman behind the bar heard the coins drop onto the bar, turned to face us and smiled. "Bob! how you doing...I not see you lately." “Yah Sonny, been really busy” said Bob, adding “Sonny, this is my friend Jon and this is all the money we got.” Sonny looked at the change, did a quick appraisal and then fed us drinks--all night long. When Bob and I did what came to be called the "State St. Shuffle", we would usually end up at Mel’s for the last drink of the evening, purchased with whatever was left in our pockets. Sonny is still there and tonight she won’t even take our coins...boy are we in trouble...good thing Maria is here. What Fun....Thanks Sonny!!!

 This is a great town but for Bob, Mac and myself it holds even more beauty...contained in the countless memories of great times and the guarantee of future fun whenever we happen to converge here. We own this town baby.....heading south tomorrow with Carlitos in mind. Mexico remains a possibility.

 Until then...this is Jon Pedestrian...Lovin’ Life...God I Love this Town.