Monday, December 31, 2007

Today is the finale of 2007. Greetings from Doe Bay Resort on Orcas Island!

Froseph and I made it over multiple abominably icy Rocky Mountain passes yesterday afternoon and met up with our companeras, Tiffany and Casandra, in Seattle. From there all four of us boogied north to the ferry, arriving with only a minute to spare. Upon arrival at Doe Bay, we promptly stripped down and soaked with other weary revelers.

I arose at 5:30 this morning and strolled to Otter Cove, where I watched the moonset/sunrise. Now the french toast . . . I'll need nourishment for tonight.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Part 1:
Dad picked up Froseph at the Amtrak station in Stanley two days ago. What is a Froseph? Webster's defines one thusly: 1. a dark rainbow, 2. an avalanche of cheer, 3. potential blood beneath the tractor. I'll add a supplemental description: a Froseph is a free-thinking anarchist scavenger with cherubic features and long dreadlocks.

Indeed, my friend Froseph makes your average citizen do a double-take. When Mom took him to the Buckskin Bar for pizza, they were greeted with a friendly but gender-inaccurate Western welcome: "Take a seat, ladies!" Froseph's attire consists of the traditional black anarchist garb plus his own signature pink scarf. He was something perhaps never seen in person by Dunn County eyes. It was as if Chief Sitting Bull's most flamboyant son had nonchalantly walked into General Sully's Army camp prior to battle and helped himself to the slushie machine.

Part 2:
Froseph and I are hurtling west at at 35 miles per hour along icy I-90 like two Jedi pilots navigating through starry snow. We are following behind a snowplow, because the left lane is filled with five inches of powder. We haven't even begun our ascent of Lookout Pass and the roads are as bad as Bryan Adams (Froseph's metaphor, not mine). We are debating whether to pass the plow. The good thing is that at this speed we probably won't get into a serious wreck if we slide off the highway. The bad thing is that we're in a huge hurry to catch the 6:30 ferry out of Anacortes tonight.

Parts 3 & 4:
Days are blurring. Two days ago on my birthday I woke up in Vancouver, British Columbia (auspiciously the city of my birth), and unloaded 10,000 pounds of live fish.

Shawn, my boss/co-driver, recently confided to me that he has trucked over five million miles in his 25-year career. That equates to driving to the moon and back 10 times! By the time I reach Orcas Island tonight, I'll have traveled 5,000 miles in five days.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Silent day, holy day. I've seen not a soul in the last 24 hours. The parents and grandparents are in South Dakota celebrating Christmas with the Spearfish Sands.

Last night I was invited to the Fischer's (my friend Lacy's parents) for walleye and lefse and about 25 other edibles. Delish!

I wake up tomorrow at 4 a.m. to leave for a five-day super adventure. It will culminate with a ferry ride to Orcas Island on January 30th. Once there: music and hot springs.

Monday, December 24, 2007

What child is this, you ask?

Meet Jefferson "Little Bear" Sand, son of cousins Kirby & Megan. Cute!

Merry Christmas, 2007!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Just returned from Vancouver, BC, this morning. Off to Calgary in about 5 minutes. See ya when the days start gettin' longer!

Monday, December 17, 2007

I let go of Excalibur today. Took him to Rummel's Wrecking Yard and got paid $75 by Mr. Arnold Rummel himself.

I'd purchased Excalibur from another wrecking yard, in Salmon, Idaho, three years ago (which is where I turned my silver 1984 Subaru, 319 JOE, loose). Excalibur, like Joe, was a fine automobile. He took me thousands of miles and, against all odds, never let me miss a show or left me stranded somewhere I didn't want to be. He gave his all, no doubt, and for this I give a HUGE thanks.

And a song:
Exalibur is a mighty fine car
And a mighty fine car is he.
He'll rock it to the east and he'll rock it to the west
From the north to the south country.
He knows how to travel, he can ride on the gravel
He can ride on the super highway.
When a maiden's in trouble, he'll arrive on the double
With a whoop and a yippee-ki-yay!

Excalibur is a mighty fine car
And a mighty fine car is he.
918 is his license plate
He's a Buick Century.
If he runs out of gas on a mountain pass
He'll take it to the very tip top.
And then he'll coast, to the town most close
On the vapors from the tank's last drop. Boom!

(Farewell, old friend.)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I, like most trucking troubadours my age, wallow in existential agony 99% of the time. At any given moment we're either angry, depressed, worried, confused, apathetic, isolated, or achy--usually all at once. It's hard on a body, I say.

I have empathy for food inhalers, sleepwalkers, TV zombies, suicide rockers, cutter queens, bank drainers, adrenaline junkies, porn pilgrims, whiskey drifters, runaway brides, et cetera.

Everyone needs escape.

But then there are those who appear to fit in well on Planet Earth. The pure ones. The tranquil ones. The selfless ones. The steadfast ones. The independent ones. The eternal ones. Ones, ones, ones, ones . . .

Ones & zeros. Bums & heroes. Nuns & Neros. Scums & Cheerios.

The world operates on a spectrum system; it's neither black & white NOR shades of gray. There is right and wrong, and there is truth. But it's every color, every combination, every emotion, every texture. It's all-encompassing, messy, & wild. It's up for discussion. It smells like roast beef & diesel. It's something I'll probably regret writing about tomorrow morning.

Welcome to the world-as-I-feel-it: Sandland. A place where blogging is meditation sans destination. A coyote cave littered with skunk bones. My home away from home when I'm already home.
Just returned from another wild Canadian fish chase. Starting next Tuesday, I'll do three consecutive runs with only a day off for Christmas. Then, the day I return (December 29th), I'll have to somehow get back to Washington for a New Year's Eve show at Doe Bay on Orcas Island.

Here's the promo write-up they posted on their website last spring:
Come and shake out the old year and ring in the new with one of the best and most unique acts to be seen on either side of the Hundredth Meridian. Package details to be announced in June. Drinks, desserts, a brunch, and the superlative soundings of Sandman make the year start off with a hipster twang of joy and cheer.

P.s. This is a small trucker's prayer I created to calm my nerves while driving:

Lord, teach me to feel that Thou art the power behind all internal combustion and the stopping ability behind all air brakes.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy 60th Birthday, Dad! I love you.

I dedicate this song to you, written by Gene Autry in 1932.

Back when your hair was golden brown.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

This driving 1,000-miles-a-day business does strange things to a human body. It's as if magic highway dust enters one's bloodstream like an anti-depressant. The moment the wheels stop rolling, though, you feel lost. Your bones ache.

What a winter this will be--different in every way than anything I've known! Filled with financial gain, icy terrors, roadkill, and celibacy. What kind of monk am I becoming?

As for music: I'm Mt. Rainier, waiting.

And as for the documentary: I'm the gander, not the geese.

As for women: I'm Neil Young, circa 1971, and I just wrote "Heart of Gold."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

We take off at 5 a.m. tomorrow for another Renville, MN, to Vancouver, BC, flying fish adventure. Protect us.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Can't think of what to write this week. A lot has happened, but I'm not too inspired to write about it.

It was pleasant to visit Canada. Unloading live fish in the Chinese district of Vancouver, B.C., is something I'll be doing a lot over the next year. I was impressed watching Shawn navigate a 64' tractor-trailer unit through 48 city stoplights (I counted). It takes plenty of skill to weave through those hilly, narrow streets during morning rush hour.

A batch of Minnesota tilapia were fed some bad pellets and perished, so we're unsure when we'll have our next load. Had to cancel the Calgary run on Friday and might lose our Vancouver run this week, too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yesterday Shawn Goodall told me, "No pressure, but you're passing your test. I don't have any drivers lined up for Vancouver tomorrow night, so you're gonna pass."

"I'll rise to the occasion," I assured him. I didn't feel so confident, however.

Today he called me minutes after I'd passed the test and asked, with a hint of trepidation, "Did you get 'er done?"

"Yep," I said. "Got 'er done."

I could almost hear his mental air tanks release about 120 pounds of pressure per square inch. His voice cracked slightly when he finally said, "Good deal. Congratulations."

And let me say--the test was even harder than I expected. The last two students failed, so I'm feeling very thankful to a lot of people and to God for helping me survive this. Getting a Class A CDL has been the mother of all challenges. Now, at last, I'm a certified tractor-trailer operator.

I'm genuinely relieved.

Shawn will pick me up at 3 a.m. (six hours from now) in Dickinson, and we'll haul 12,000 pounds of live tilapia to Vancouver, British Columbia. I'd better sleep a bit.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Funky Bangarella

Last night, chirping sounds in the tank.

Hibernation, or . . . withdrawal of something . . . grief at the loss of a pet.

If a hermit loses its legs, one by one, isolate it from others & attempt to keep it as comfortable as possible until death.

Morality hammers the shell. Morality puts the hammer down. Morality drops the shell & then floats the shell.

Jesus loved Lazarus, but I love, only, a crab.

I think I'll name her . . .

Funky Bangarella

Friday, November 23, 2007

South Dakota Thanksgiving 2007 was just right. Lots of family, food, and fun. My aunt & uncle, Josh and Coral Sand, have a ranch outside of Spearfish that is perfect for housing family guests. In fact, it doubles as Sand Creek Bed & Breakfast during the rest of the year.

A few highlights from my stay there (not counting culinary delights) include, 1) sledding with my sweet little cousins Hannah & Liljiana, 2) watching Grandpa play a waltz on his harmonica while waltzing with Grandma on the evening of their 65th wedding anniversary party, 3) viewing the wonderful 25-minute digitized slide show that my cousin Jenny created by scanning hundreds of photos of Grandma & Grandpa--and their offspring--throughout the years.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks, gracias, tuk, domo, danke, grazie, merci . . .

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm off to Spearfish, SD, with my parents and grandparents. We'll be celebrating Thanksgiving with uncles, aunts, and cousins. We'll also be celebrating Grandpa & Grandma's 65th wedding anniversary and a slew of birthdays.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I'm back in Killdeer. I painted ol' Williston town red last night, and I have a headache to show for it. The last day of trucking school was uneventful. I've learned to back up, finally. In fact, I've almost backed myself into a steady rollin' job as a fish hauler with Goodall Trucking. All I need to do now is pass the driving test on November 27th, and I'll have my first Commercial Drivers License. Life is fixin' to be radically different very soon.
The picture above is courtesy of Mark McGinley, the feller I stayed with in Williston. He put me up for two weeks, washed my clothes, fed me, and regaled me with multifarious stories about sundry West Dakota characters. He's a good guy, yes sir, and a Norwegian Irishman to boot! Thanks for all, Mark.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Last day of trucking school update: shifting is good, knowledge of tractor-trailer components is good, backing has greatly improved.

Groovy, man.

Miracles can happen.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'm ready to be done with trucking school. Williston's an alright town, but I miss Dunn County.

My crotchety old instructor asked me today what a "spy in the sky" is. I told him I didn't know. He said, "It's a bear in the air."

When I told him that his cigarette smoke was giving me a pain in the brain, he grunted like a pig in the rig and blew smoke down my throat.

Two more days, and I'm outta here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I bought a toy tractor-trailer assembly yesterday in order to practice backing. I spent my Sunday morning doing what I should've been doing 30 years ago--playing with trucks in my pajamas on the carpet.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Norman Mailer died today at age 84.

I really know next to nothing about Mr. Mailer, yet he's always fascinated me. He seemed brilliant yet nuts, radical yet conservative, life-affirming yet lost, and a bunch more scary contradictions.

To me, he resonated equal parts Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Sean Penn, and O.J. Simpson.

He wasn't a saint (he stabbed somebody once), but to borrow a couple of Yiddish words, he was more or less a mensch and he had chutzpah. He was also, obviously, a good writer.

Here's to Norman Mailer and his complicated life.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Trucking school update: Five days down, seven to go. I drove a lot today and yesterday. Trucks are a whole different beast when it comes to shifting. I'm starting to get the hang of it, finally. Backing up is tricky business, too, but I'm pretty sure I'll have that down before long. The thing that kills me, as I mentioned a couple days ago, is what's called the "pre-trip inspection," where you're required to know what every part on the tractor and trailer is and what it does and if it's damaged or not.

This amounts to hundreds of items: s cams, glad hands, sand pads, slack adjusters, wet tanks, bulkheads, torque rods, lock jaws, leaf springs, the pitman arm, the drag link, the kingpin, all the gauges on the instrument panel, all the filters, hoses, clamps, wheels, fan belts, all parts of the engine and drive line and braking system, all the steering components, the light circuitry, and also every last cotter pin, castle nut, and type of lubrication used to keep the thing rolling safely down the highway.

I hate that part very much.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Day two. Done. I'm bad at anatomy, and I'm a lousy mechanic. Having to memorize all the parts of a tractor-trailer and how they link together is tough. I'm the dumb guy in class, for the second time.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Day 1 is complete. Class went well. There are only three other students in the class.

Our teacher, Mr. H, is a character. When reading from his many powerpoint presentations, he often replaces phrases with more colorful concoctions. For example, instead of "biological clock," he'd say, "a bottle of pop." Instead of "sobriety," he'd say, "soberality." "Stop light" was always "stop sight."

I'm being sincere when I say that listening to Mr. H gives me new insight into the English language.

Nov. 6th additions--and I didn't make any of these up: atmosphere = "atlas-sphere"; "pallbearer" = "pallburier"; "axle halves" + "axle shafts" = "axle shalves."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Friday, November 02, 2007

Grandma whupped me & Gramps good at three-handed Pinochle tonight. My luck ran muddy all evening. I just sat there, like an Egyptian bullfrog waiting for rain.

Now I understand a little more about the Great Depression that Grandpa & Grandma lived through.

As for the Queen of Diamonds, she was purrin' like a kitten in a creamery.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

This was Grandpa & Grandma's old ranch cat, Blacky McGee. Bobcat got 'im ten 'alloweens ago. They 'eard an 'air-raising shriek at midnight, and found 'im skinn'd alive the next day near the corral. 'Twas a bloody, gruesome November morn.

'Ere's to the ghost of ol' Blacky McGee
'E paid the price for cur-i-os-o-tee
Prowlin' around & actin' shady
Gittin' fur balls from Mr. Bobcat's lady

Poor ol' Blacky, yer ramblin' days are done...

Monday, October 29, 2007

I had a full day today: fencing, roofing, and well digging. Shawn Goodall just called and needs me to help him pick up fish in Philip, South Dakota and Renville, Minnesota. We leave at 10 tonight.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

These three photos were recently taken on Killdeer Mountain, near where my parents live.

Cougar at night.

Black Wolf.

Baby mountain lion.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Most people, unless they're saints of some kind, fail to fully envision God's equal and infinite love for ALL people. And I imagine that I lack about as much sunshine as the next rappin' cowboy.

Fortunately, there actually are a few saint-like people in our midst--prophetic voices that echo the teachings and actions of Christ, the Buddha, Harriet Tubman, Gandhi, Rumi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and others.

Just as Dr. King challenged injustice during the Civil Rights and Vietnam War eras, so does one man I know shine a similar high beam onto the current state of affairs in this post-9/11 era. His name is Dr. Omid Safi. Twice this week I drove to Dickinson to listen to him speak.

Dr. Safi is an Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of North Carolina. He specializes in Islamic mysticism (Sufism), contemporary Islamic thought, and medieval Islamic history. He's what might be referred to as a "progressive" Muslim. That is, he plants himself firmly in the soil of his tradition, and he also welcomes inspiration from other spiritual and political movements. He's severely critical of violence done in the name of Islam or any religion.

He's not a religious apologist. He writes: "God doesn't need any defenders. It is humanity that needs help, especially the oppressed, the downtrodden, the marginalized, and the all-but-forgotten who desperately need champions and advocates."

Before his talk last night at St. John's Episcopal Church, I had the honor of performing one cowboy poem ("Typical") and three songs: "Laborer," "Scapegoat Song," and "Folk Legend (MLK)."

Today, I believe, he heads back to his four children and wife, who live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I looked for arrowheads by moonlight this evening. I found a four-point buck antler and a wild turkey tail feather, but no Indian artifacts.

Today's temperature was 70 degrees. Ladybugs, flies, box elder bugs, and hornets swirled around my head as I worked on the well house.

Even though I'm tired of framing houses with Dad (I'd rather be digging holes, or something), it was a good day.

Monday, October 22, 2007

For almost ten hours on Saturday I helped rebuild a section of a mud-and-thatch roof that had eroded off an old farmhouse in the Hutmacher Farmsite here in Dunn County. It was labor-intensive work--my forearms have been cramped and swollen since then, like Popeye's.

What's particularly neat about this stone-slab house and all the other buildings on the property (a cellar, the ruins of a barn/granary, a summer kitchen/butchering shed, a poultry barn, and a garage), is that the construction materials were, and still are, locally available. These include sandstone rocks, clay mortar, flax straw, cottonwood, animal blood, manure, scoria gravel, and badlands cedar. In my opinion, the work to restore these buildings is more of an art than typical construction work. It's also reminiscent of making a kid's fort.

If anyone out there is interested in helping to reconstruct these buildings next year, let me know, 'cause there will be a lot of opportunities.

See also: Preservation North Dakota.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Roses are red, violets are blue,
Mary Margaret Theresa Herak Sand is 62 . . .

Happy Birthday, Ma!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

As promised:!!!

(Created by Giles O'Dell/"Timezone LaFontaine.")

Factoid: (return to) . . . the blackhole (of outerspace), though one of my longest CDs, took the shortest time to record. Giles and I laid down every track, except "Highway Man," in one long afternoon. I showed up with a folder full of oddball raps, and he happened to have, on his computer, a flock of freshly-made beats. How these joints came together so elegantly is due 100% to Giles. He cropped and crunked them until a cogent narrative of epic heroism emerged. His souped-up soundmounds make Martians boogie down like stoned-on-seratonin space breakers. It's fab, man. Buy it now, but only if you really want it, 'cause it's not for everybody. You can scope it on iTunes, too.

Fyi, it's been called by Hip Hop Cosmonaut "the soundtrack for Halloween, 2007 . . . ghoulishly randy."

Friday, October 19, 2007

For two years I've kept a secret regarding an obscure yet breathtaking website that contains vital documents relating to my career as an undercover astronaut. It even reveals a letter from the President of the United States warning me not to take a certain mission to explore a certain black hole. It was a mission I chose to take, and, indeed, I have since suffered the inevitable consequences of remote-controlled striptease dream torture by government-sponsored robot nurse clones.

It was the journey I took with Mixmaster Timezone Lafontaine in late February of 2005, to explore and penetrate a star that had became so dense with gravity that nothing, not even light, could escape it.

(Note: We'd been near it once, in 1984, but did not have the courage to enter.)

Scientists warned us to abort the 2005 mission, but we went anyway. And we survived. Barely.

We documented our odyssey, word for word and beat for beat, on a compact disc titled: (return to) . . . the blackhole (of outerspace). On said compact disc, there is a hidden message that no one has yet deciphered. We have given cryptic clues, but the code has remained uncorked, uncracked, and uncrunked.

That is, until tomorrow.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Alone on the mountain tonight.

The pale, bare trees. Bobcats, coyotes, & wolves rotate. Aspen leaves like coins in the flood. Acorns.

The bearded bandit boils water in stolen pot. Thinks: Charlize-Theron-in-a-black-mu-mu.

Thinks: Johannson. Johannesburg. Jolie.

And . . . Barack-Obama-is-not-Dick-Cheney's-eighth-cousin.
And . . . Bettie-Page's-religion-is-not-your-business.
And . . . all-people-are-good, etc.
. . . including, Mahmoud, Coulter.

"Well met, well met," says he.
"'Tis all for the love of Thee."

God. Guru. Ghost.

Alone on Mountain, tonight.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

There will be no rest for the wicked. Dad has me back at work building things. It's probably for the best, though, because otherwise I'd be wallowing in post-tour depression. Every time I take a trip, especially to Olympia, I get on an adrenaline high. It's work, play, record, party, drive around, visit old girlfriends, and then boogie home and crash. And each go 'round gets a little more exhausting. It's good to be home.

Being on Killdeer Mountain is the remedy for anything, I think. Even though it's cold and my muscles ache, I feel happy today. I look forward to visiting my Killdeer and Dunn Center friends soon.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The North Dakota State Library in Bismarck just ordered six of my CDs. That's a first.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

All I want to do for the next three days is to sleep. The heavy hand of October has descended. The icy pheasants of my thoughts are dropping from the sky like dead . . . pheasants.

I used the word "surreal" five times last night during my campfire performance at Dale's. Indeed, the last four weeks have not been normal! For unless it was a dream, I just spent 29 days getting documented by a New York City film crew of two. I enrolled, attended, and then dropped out of trucking school. I had loaded weapons pointed at me by a madman during a radio show. My entire bank account has become depleted.

I have an eerie feeling that life's going to get a lot weirder before it gets back to normal.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Back in NoDak. Pearldrop made the drive without a glitch! Tonight I have a 7:30 show at the Spring Creek Ranch. Thanks Earl, Susan, Vinnie, and Emilie for the supper-bed-and-breakfasts along the I-90 . . .

Hi, Elizabeth and Rachel. Welcome back to the Big Apple!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Letter from Pops, received this a.m.:
Hi Son,

We are reading tonight. I heard you are talking to Williston re: trucking school. Do they know you have your permit? Does that make a difference on the cost and the time required? I hope it works out for you.

I am looking at a dump truck with a plow that is for sale. I think my Power Wagon may be too light for much snow pushing and hauling. I think I can get more for the PW than I would need to pay for the bigger truck.

The well is not working, so am getting pipe tomorrow and will put a sandpoint further down the well. We can frame up the well-house soon. I ordered the air powered flooring nailer.

Pardner got out thru a break in the fence. I got him back, but we need to run some good wire across the creek by the spring.

I hope the car gets fixed soon and carries you safely home.

Love, Dad
Pearldrop should be out of the shop by tomorrow afternoon. The fee for replacing a rear differential is $1005.00. The fee for going to trucking school for seven days I'll not talk about. I am broker than broke again.


I do, however, own plenty of intellectual property. If I could just figure out how to transfer some of it to cash. Someday I'll figure this financial game out . . .

Are there any venture capitalists out there? I need a shot of love.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Being a dropout has its benefits. I can now have fun in Olympia. I went from trucker to sucker in one morning. Strange days have followed. My car remains at the mechanic's, I've become reacquainted with former flame Natalie, my money has evaporated like dog water in July. And yet, filmmakers Lawrence & Vine have remained undeterred by these derelict maneuvers. Steadfastly, they document every step and misstep I take.

Headlines read: Little bat flies into the thick fog, followed by a $4000 camera.

Fortunately for me, I tend rely more on sonar than eyesight. I'm pretty sure everything's gonna work out fine. However, I feel rotten for temporarily letting Shawn Goodall down. I need to get back to NoDak ASAP and get my business straight. Maybe there's still hope for me getting my CDL before month's end.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The biscuits done fell off my gravy train. Illness, car breakdowns, and bureaucratic bugaboos have ruined me. The film crew & I will be hightailing it back to North Dakota Sunday morning minus the CDL that I came here for.

I am a trucking school dropout.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The filming of Roll Out, Cowboy, continues to be a surreal experience. Elizabeth and Rachel are enjoying their time in Olympia; they may be having even more fun than I am. As I mentioned yesterday, I'm having bureaucratic issues with the Washington Department of Licensing. And now my little Subaru, Pearl Drop, is broke down and stranded on a side street. Last night, while driving up the 5th Avenue hill to see a Moustache show, we heard clunk-clunk-grrrrind, and that was it for going forward.

As helpful as this documentary and the Roll Out, Cowboy website could be for giving my music more exposure, it also promises to shine light on some unflattering character traits and my sometimes embarrassing past. Oh, well. If a good, artful, and inspired film is created, I will be pleased.

Thus I respectfully say to filmmakers Vine & Lawrence, "God speed, young madams. I, Sir Sandman, vow to remain in your service with artistic integrity and anguished, undying honesty. All I ask in return is this: do not spill iced coffee in my car's console anymore, nor flatten my black cowboy hat with your suitcases."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sweet September Saturday in my sleeping bag. Granted, I did arise early to take my Department of Licensing CDL General Knowledge test. Alas, I couldn't take it because I can't prove that I've lived in Washington over the last six months. I missed that requirement, and, honestly, I'm worried. If I can't prove my case, then I can't get my Washington driver's license . . . which means I'll need to return to North Dakota and find another trucking school as soon as possible.

Hopefully things will work themselves out, and I'll take my D.O.L. tests before Tuesday or Wednesday. Otherwise, I'm a jackass.

In other news: I'm staying in my friend Tiffany's spacious basement, joined by Ladies Vine & Lawrence. We have access to a sauna, wireless internet, and other luxurious amenities. We're very grateful to Tiffany, her house mates Blas, Heather, and Ariel, and her dog Ivy.

Last night we three drove to Anacortes for a show at the Back Porch Cafe. The Roll Out Cowboy blog has more on this. I'll make one correction to Rachel's kind assessment, though: I did not put on a good show. Anacortes always shows me love, however, and I made a lot of dinero.

Highlights from the show include:

1. The Spoonshine Duo sat in with me for half the set, Jacob on guitar and Bill on stand-up bass. These guys are two of the best musicians I've ever played with. Amazing! (On top of that, they gave me their share of the door money. Saints, I tell ya.)

2. The after-show Casio Rapman dance party. Anacortes consistently cranks out some of the coolest kids on planet Earth.

3. Merch sales! I sold at least 10 leather belts, 5 jacket/hat combos, 3 antique hotel soap bars, 2 snap-up flannel shirts, and 1 white lacy thong.

4. Performing "Persian Den of Sin" with beat-box extraordinaire/barista, Anna Starr.

5. Seeing Bret, Denise, and Louisa Lunsford. I love this family.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Day 4 of trucking school and all's swell. I'm beating back my cold with vitamin C, naps, and saunas. This week has been intense, and it's not over. I thought my time here in the NW might be a vacation, but it's not. True vacation will be when I start working for Shawn Goodall next month.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Friday night I have a show on one of my favorite islands--Anacortes!!

Sept. 28th, 7 PM @ Backporch Cafe w/ Spoonshine! $4.

Anacortes, WA
1717 Commercial Ave.

(All ages with Beer & Wine)
Tomorrow I'll be cutting out early from my trucking school classes to perform on a Seattle radio station.

For details visit:

You'll be able to listen to it as a podcast.

Above: Andras Jones, host and creator of The Radio8Ball Show.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm hangin' in there . . . barely. This cold is kickin' my butt and making it hard to be in class. Sniffle, cough. Yuck.

Don't forget to check out:

Elizabeth & Rachel write more than I do. They make me look like more of a rock star than I really am, but it's fun to pretend.

Ok, off to my dorm cell in Lakewood.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The first day of trucking school went fine, but I'm a little under the weather. I have a cold. I am staying tonight in a dorm room the size of a large cardboard box. Ladies Lawrence & Vine are in Olympia staying with my friends Candice & Lucinda.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hallo from gorgeous Livingston, MT. The Rocky Mountains are snow-capped, the sky is crisp and blue. We stayed with Earl & Susan last night. I soaked in their outdoor bathtub, this morning, and got interviewed in the buff, by Ladies Lawrence & Vine. The dames and I are now off to Basin, MT, for another hot springs soak, supper with Aunt Bryher, and a show at a haunted brothel. Hopefully I'll sell some merchandise, so that we'll have more real estate in "Pearl Drop," (my new Subaru). We three are currently crammed like canned oysters.

It's a circus, I tell ya. I feel like a monkey on stilts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm so tired that I can barely write these words. Nevertheless, we head to Montana tomorrow morning, and I have a lot to do tonight to get ready. Then again, I think I'll sleep instead, and worry about it in the morning. I'm useless, toothless, I make music with toothpicks . . .

Until then.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Usually I have to go on tour to collect so many interesting adventures. It's been a nice change of pace to have the adventures find me this week. You can follow these adventures here, courtesy of Ladies Lawrence & Vine.

Jonah & Alice left for Montana this morning. It was great to have 'em. Yesterday, up on the mountain, I threw a dehydrated gelding turd, about the size and weight of a hollow goose egg, lightly at Jonah's gut for him to catch. Somehow it caught the wind just right and swerved down into the tender spot of his left testicle. This caused him to drop onto the prairie grass, in fetus position, and puke up some cereal. It was cinematic gold, but we didn't get it on camera. No pun intended, but getting the choicest film imagery is a crap shoot.

On a related note: A biologist was recently hiking just north of our mountain property and spotted a rare black wolf and snapped a picture or two.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The video cameras are rollin', and I can say with authority that being documented takes concentration. It's challenging to act like oneself for so many hours in a row. As Buck Owens sang,
"They're gonna put me in the movies
They're gonna make a big star out of me
. . . And all I got to do is act naturally"
Fortunately, Elizabeth & Rachel are professional and groovy to hang out with. I'd better pace myself, though. Their Canon HDV XHA1 will be my extroverted robo-pal for the next four weeks. Think Luke Skywalker + R2D2 on Planet Ayahuasca.

Also visiting this week are my awesome friends Jonah & Alice from Seattle. We five stirred up much Dunn County mischief today and will continue tomorrow. Don't forget to check out Rachel & Elizabeth's daily blog.

Jonah & Alice. (Photo by Vine).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A cold Canadian airmass has moved in and there's a freeze warning in effect for tonight. This will sweeten the buffalo berries for Saturday's harvest.

The brrrr factor has been tempered by the arrival of "two sassy film broads" from Manhattan. Their names are Elizabeth & Rachel, and they've created a website, with a very active blog, of their journey. They named it after my first CD, Roll Out, Cowboy. It's (Note: as of Friday morning, it appears to be down for maintenance . . . check back.)

They have this as their mission statement: to hog-tie that elusive cowboy known as The Sandman and dish the dirt on his rappin' western ways. As the duo track their prey, they'll hit up hot springs and hotter nights, kicking up dust along the trail and leaving nary a saloon standing. Yee-haw!

My mission statement: stay sober.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Curious. I live 45 minutes from the small city of Dickinson, but I've never explored the south side of town. Until last night. My friend Dale and I were looking for a place to eat and, since we weren't too hungry yet, decided to cross the tracks and search for historic houses. (Dale's the Director of Preservation North Dakota and is a building geek.) I'm guessing that the south side of Dickinson is where the Ukrainians and Bohemians live. The houses reminded me of those in Pittsburgh or some working class corner of Chicago. My favorite store was Rosie's, an old convenience store that had an area in back for foosball, Pac Man, and Asteroids. They sell fishing bait and tons of Polka cassette tapes. You have to see the music racks to believe it.

Also on the south side of Dickinson is undoubtedly North Dakota's most amazing Thai food restaurant. It's small--about the size of my bedroom--and is called Upin. It's been open three weeks. The woman who runs it is originally from Chang Mai, Thailand, and makes everything from scratch--pickled eggs, curry, pad thai, egg rolls. She even grows her own chili plants, and they double as decoration. Oddly, she has decorated the walls with big pizza posters (or more likely has not yet taken them down from the venue's previous incarnation).

Whoever thinks that Dickinson is boring needs to drive south across the train tracks.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I just lost my Baseball Fantasy League playoff game, and with it the dream of a $450 jackpot. It was a cruel defeat, as it came down to my opponent's good fortune in his last player's final at-bat. C'est la guerre. It's better this way.

Weekend Report: Rode horses with Gramps and Dad today for an hour; found a nice flint hide-scraper and knife along a dirt path; canned 12 jars of wild plum & chokecherry syrup with Mom; my sweet Aunt Christi & Uncle Ken, from Colorado, visited; attended the outdoor western wedding, yesterday, of my childhood friend Todd Bang and his wife Talia; found a box full of antique soaps; wrote a new song. Plus, it rained a good 3/10ths of an inch yesterday. The hills have greened considerably. The ticks are long gone. Feels like autumn.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Last week, on the side of a Killdeer backroad, I saw the granddaddy snapping turtle of them all. I wanted to herd him across the road and into Spring Creek, but he hissed and charged as I approached, so I let him be. He was at least 40 lbs. and prehistoric looking as a triceratops.

For an interesting article on North Dakota snapping turtles, click here.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

"Lord, protect our fish." That's the new official road prayer.

I just returned from a 36-hour drive with Mr. Goodall. We filled up with young tilapia in Phillip, SD, and then drove to Renville, MN, where we dropped the load and picked up a school of full-grown floppers for Calgary.

Lots is happening in Sandland. A documentary is in the works. I don't want to reveal too much, but . . . two New York filmmakers will be here in one week to start shooting. They will follow me working on my house, hanging out with friends and relatives, hiking in the badlands, and silk-screening pillow cases. After a week of North Dakota shenanigans, we'll pile into my new 1997 Subaru and head to Montana for a few shows, hot spring expeditions, thrift store raids, and more visits with friends and relatives. Then we'll continue west to Olympia, WA.

I will then begin a four-week truck driving course in Lakewood, WA (30-minutes north of Oly). After each day of study, and on weekends, I will record songs with various producer friends. Or not. I think spontaneity should play a key factor in this documentary production. On a lark, we all might climb Mt. Rainier, take in a Seattle Mariner baseball game, or watch whales.

Lord, protect our fish.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Good news: My Fantasy Baseball team has made it to the playoffs. I award Magglio Ordóñez my team's MVP. He's been amazingly consistent all season: he led all batters with a .359 batting average and, so far, he's contributed 99 runs, 25 home runs, & 116 RBIs. John Smoltz gets the team's Cy Young Award honor, due to his team-leading 155 strikeouts and 3.06 ERA. Ryan Braun snags Rookie of the Year.

I predict that in three weeks I'll be the champion of the 2007 Prozac Fantasy League World Series. And then, I guarantee, I will never play this absorbing and time-draining sport again.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Earth eclipsed the moon
But the clouds eclipsed the view . . .

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The fish truckers have returned. We arrived in Killdeer last night around midnight. I'm thinking that trucking might be right up my alley . . . once I can figure out how to properly shift. Driving a big rig with 18 wheels and 18 gears is exponentially more difficult than driving a car with 4 wheels and 4 gears.

My first adventure with Goodall Trucking began Wednesday evening, when Shawn and I cruised ten hours to Renville, MN, to pick up 11,000 lbs. of live tilapia. From there we drove 16 hours to an alligator farm near Alamosa, CO, where we dumped the carsick pescados into large holding tanks. (Note: Any dead fish, known as "morts," are fed to the alligators and crocs. Ninety-nine percent of the fish usually survive, though, and are re-sold by Colorado Gators farmers to Asian restaurants in Denver.) After the unloading, we were given a generous tour of the facility. There are some famous and large alligators there, not to mention many other exotic reptiles, birds, amphibians, and mammals.

Friday evening we made it to the home of Shawn's brother and sister-in-law in Denver. After a satiating supper cooked by Kim, the Goodall boys and I drove to Coors Field and watched the Colorado Rockies whip the Washington Nationals in dramatic come-from-behind fashion. The Rockies were down 1-5 in the bottom of the ninth, and came back to win 6-5.

Yesterday morning we boogied home. I drove for a total of five hours. The rest of the time I gandered at roadside scenery, watched two movies in the sleeper cab, and slept.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My first drive with Goodall Trucking starts tomorrow evening. We'll go to Denver. There's a chance we'll attend a pre-season Bronco football game Friday.

All my drives will be with Shawn Goodall, who's pictured above with his Belgian team. His horses' names are Ram & Rod.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Two of my friends came out with new music videos this week. I highly recommend both.

1) Willie Wisely just sent this one: "Through Any Window." It has a lengthy cameo by Jenna Fischer, who plays Pam in the NBC sitcom The Office. Willie produced my 2005 CD, Live & Suspicious.

2) Giles O'Dell, aka "Timezone LaFontaine," made this video to go along with the first single from his new CD, The Slink: "Real as the Slip of the Tongue." He can do anything, it seems. He's the producer and beat maestro on my 2006 CD, (return to . . .) the blackhole (of outerspace).

Friday, August 17, 2007

Finally, I have some news. Kirby and Megan had their baby last night. They named him Jefferson Paul Sand. He weighed 10 lbs. 4 oz. and was almost 2' long. Giant Sand! He's the first of Grandpa and Grandma's grandkids that will carry on the "Sand" surname, which means I'm off the hook.

Well done, Kirb and Megan! I'll be sending a full-sized Trailblazers jersey instead of a onesie.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

By Jove, last night I saw Jupiter and four of its moons through a giant telescope that was set up at the north unit of Teddy Roosevelt State Park. I also saw the Andromeda Galaxy, a supernova, a planetary nebula, and several meteors.

Hendrix: Original Cosmonaut.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Still no baby news from Kirby and Megan. In fact, there's not much news to report at all. I haven't even started training for the CDL driving test.

I've been living in my late Great-uncle Chris' double-wide trailer, 16 miles from Killdeer, drywalling by day and reading Lonesome Dove by night. My right shoulder and neck are sore, but I'm livin' good. I haven't felt this at peace since the early '90s, when I lived in a van and now-and-then hitchhiked around the country--when gettin' to some Idaho hot springs or writing folk songs and raps were all that really mattered.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My cousin Megan must've swallowed a watermelon seed, 'cos it looks like she's got a sandía in her belly.

The baby's due date is tomorrow. It will be Grandma and Grandpa Sand's sixth great-grandchild.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Grandpa and Grandma are in Medora this weekend for the 2007 North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. Grandpa's accepting the award for old-time bronc buster and rodeo entrepreneur, Sam Rhoades, who died in 1963.

Life is gettin' simpler. I've been camping on the Mountain and working with Dad this week--and will be for the next three or four months (when I'm not hauling fish). Currently there is no computer, limited cell phone, and lots of isolation from everyday distractions. The chokecherries are ripe for picking; frogs are abundant; and the dragonflies, like Utopian micro-copters, are gunning down gnats that the frogs miss.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I'm on my way to getting hired on with Goodall Trucking out of Killdeer. Earlier today I took and passed the State Permit exam in four testing areas: general knowledge, air brakes, combination vehicles, and tank vehicles. In a couple weeks I'll take the CDL (Commercial Drivers License) skills test. Once I pass that, I'll soon be hauling tilapia fish to Vancouver, Canada, twice a month with my friend and future boss, Shawn Goodall. We'll be burnin' gas and makin' cash. I'll soon pay off my Visa debt.

It reminds me of a Bob Dylan lyric from his song "Visions of Johanna":

The fiddler now steps into the road
He writes: 'Everything's been returned which was owed'
On the back of the fish truck that loads
While my conscience explodes . . .

It might sound backwards--shipping fish from the center of the continent all the way to the west coast--but that's the way it is.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I submit to you three fascinating YouTube videos:

1) Indian Elvis Dances
2) Indian Superman Part 2
3) Indian Tomb

"Indian Elvis" has good music. "Indian Superman Part 2" is just strange. Both get repetitious, so you may just want to watch the first minute. The third video, "Indian Tomb," is worth watching all the way through.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I've started a new merchandise line: hats. I've already collected around 50, and each one is different. Now when I go into a thrift store or come upon a yard sale, I look for groovy pillow cases, snap-button western shirts, leather belts, unique t-shirts, and hats. I've thought about expanding to coffee mugs, towels, fire starter kits, aprons, and homemade herbal cigarettes that have a "fortune" wrapped into the filter. Past merch items that didn't work were cowboy boots (too bulky) and women's thongs (too tacky).

Making a living as a rubber tramp troubadour takes more creativity than you know.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A friend has given me a 1956 Hammond chord organ. It was in an old house he bought that was filled with furniture, tools, and musical instruments. One of the instruments was the organ.

Turns out this same organ was once owned by the previous owner of my Dunn Center house. Neighbors Alice and Loman remember its eerie sounds well.

Somehow the dusty beast has found its way back, perhaps searching for its former master.

But there's a new organ grinder in town.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Drove ancient heat-spewing tractor today for three hours during the hottest part of day (107 F). Should've drunk more H2O.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Yesterday's luau at the I Don't Know Bar in South Heart was interesting. There was a touch of Girls Gone Wild goin' on and lots of tequila and cigarette smoke. People weren't sure what to make of my music, but by the 47th song I'd officially won most of 'em over.

And may I say that tonight's moon looks exactly like a slice of tangerine floating in syrup?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The night is humid like Santiago, Guatemala, 1991, the year the 13 martyrs were shot in my backyard.

Like Nashville, 1998, when I surveyed storm water for Davidson County, when I fried fish, when the cicadas hatched, when I asked Nina to marry me.

Like Liberia (1968), where Mom lived with Peace Corps friends, where torrential rains fell each hot afternoon, where women covered their legs and not their breasts.

Like India, with her ecstatic saints and poor children. Like Viet Nam and Cuba. Croatia and Morocco.

Come firefly! Sing frog! Prowl panther!

The night is young and eternal, and God sleeps in the wet grass.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dad and I are finding our work rhythm and we're getting a lot done. We've been insulating and drywalling. We've found time to recreate, too.

Two nights ago he, Grandpa, and I rode the horses to see the recently erected oil well east of the Diamond C Ranch. I rode the pinto, Shorty. I wish I'd had a camera, 'cause words cannot describe it: the green, sloping hills; the rugged limestone buttes; the setting sun; the air fragrant with sage and mint. At one point, three whitetails with big racks bolted from around a bend and bounded out of sight.

Dad rode Partner and led Grass Dancer on a halter. When he saw an eagle launch off a boulder, Dad headed up the mountain for a closer look. There was a precarious moment when Grass Dancer's halter rope got looped under Partner's tail on a narrow, rocky ledge. Fortunately, Partner stayed calm until Dad could free the rope.

Grandpa rides and looks great for an 88-year-old horseman. His shirt was tiger lily orange.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

While working to get the old Dodge pickup started today, Dad ignited. He was pouring gas out of a plastic bottle into the carburetor when a flame jumped up and lit the bottle on fire. Intent on trying to put out the fire without throwing the bottle on the ground and starting a prairie fire, he didn't notice that flames had jumped onto the back of his clothes. When he felt and smelled the flames burning his backside, he did throw the bottle down, which did start the grass on fire. Soon, though, both fires were subdued. Dad came out singed but unharmed.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Pig Roast/Luau
Saturday, July 21st, 2007
I Don’t Know Bar
South Heart, ND

Supper begins at 5 p.m.: Pig, beans/wieners, potato salad, cucumber/tomato salad, and fruit/watermelon.

Cost is $10 per plate with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. Come check out their balloon fundraiser and more!

Featuring entertainment by Sandman the Rappin' Cowboy. Music starts at 9 p.m.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A friend of mine almost died in a car accident yesterday and another friend did die of breast cancer. I'm feeling sad. I may not blog for awhile.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Last year had 6/6/06. Next year will have 8/8/08. This year we have 7/7/07. Three sevens means you hit the jackpot.

God rested on the seventh day. In Islamic tradition there are seven heavens. In Buddhism, Buddha walked seven steps at his birth. The Hindus have seven great saints. Seven Lucky Gods exist in Japanese mythology.
"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?'

Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.'"
There are seven dwarves, seven chakras, seven seas, seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and seven virtues that correspond with seven deadly sins. The United States declared Independence in the seventh month of 1776. There are seven openings into the human head. Most mammals' necks have seven bones.

My post office box is #7.

For even more trivia visit the homepage for Seven Magazine. You'll learn among other things that the common ladybug has seven spots; the opposite faces of a dice add up to seven; and that wool is the gift traditionally associated with a seventh wedding anniversary.

Time for my doctor-recommended seven hours of sleep.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Looking for a unique experience? How about helping to restore a Russian immigrant homestead in western ND?

My friend Dale Bentley, who is the Director of Preservation North Dakota, is having a volunteer week (July 14-21) open to the public, to begin the preservation effort. There will be a variety of projects to fit all age levels and skill sets. Stop in and lend a hand!

Visit the Preservation North Dakota website for details.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Calvin Johnson
, the fellow pictured with phone above, is a long-time friend from my Olympia days. He's legendary in the Indie rock world and an inspiring person to know. He's probably one of my top ten favorite musician/songwriters of all time.

Luke Graner is one of my new favorite musicians. I have yet to see him play in person, but I've listened to a lot of songs on his website. I read an article about him in the Bismarck Tribune and tracked him down last month and asked him to join the bill. He not only agreed but also found us a Bismarck show, made the poster, and did a lot of promotion.

These promise to be tremendous shows and I hope some of you can make one or both!
Today I tore my porch apart. The floorboards were rotten. Then came the Dunn Center 4th of July parade and potluck. And then came playing Pinochle and 31 at Alice Goetz's guest house. And then came the rodeo, which I missed. And then came Lindsay and watching fireworks in Killdeer. And then came three bars. Uno, dos, tres. And then came midnight. And then came midnight. And then came midnight.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

If decades or centuries down the line, when (and if) a monumental U.S. revolution occurs and a new country gets born out of the ashes of "old" America, I wonder what it will look like. On what date will these new Founding Fathers & Mothers choose to celebrate their new day of independence? And what will they name their new country? And will the citizens remember us fondly? Or will they judge us like we judge Great Britain?

And will there be fireworks? Rodeos? Baseball games?

Life is a trip.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I just received an email from my brother Ray, who lives in Zimbabwe. He says he's missing home, especially with the 4th of July coming up. He sent along a 15-second dance video that he choreographed last week. Click here to view.

It works best on Mozilla (Explorer cuts off the image). Be sure to turn the volume up!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The firecrackers are grating on my nerves today. Time to head out to the country.

Here's another family reunion picture:

Grandpa rode Dude into the campfire circle.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Last weekend my friends Dani & Lacy entered a women's fishing tournament at Lake Sakakawea.

They tied for 1st in the biggest Walleye competition. Their fish was 4.6 lbs.
Oy. Lots of things to report, but the days are too nice and long to spend time at a computer. The family reunion is over. Great times there. Now I'm going swimming with Lindsay at Lake Sakakawea.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I have become another piece of history at Dunn County Historical Museum. My days as Curator are over as of today. I'm mostly happy, but feel a twinge of sadness, too. It was a good job.

In other news, there is a Sand family reunion going on this week on Killdeer Mountain. I'll write more about it later, but for now here's a picture of Hannah Joy getting baptized, earlier today, in the spring.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Today I played a fun outdoor show at the Rhubarb Fest in Washburn, ND. The performance took place at Fort Mandan (the fort that served as the winter headquarters for Lewis & Clark's Corps of Discovery during the winter of 1804-05.) My friend V also performed, interspersing a few of her songs during my set. V is a bona fide cowgirl from Wyoming. She sings some of the most authentic "Western" music I've ever heard.

My pal Alex from Winona, MN, surprised me by showing up towards the end of the show with his Grandma Alma and Aunt Ardie. According to Alex, Alma has been a Sandfan since 1999. It was sweet to finally meet her.

The folks at Fort Mandan are a class act. They fed me lunch, supplied a sound system, paid me well, and rallied a nice crowd. The only negative of the day is that I ate too many rhubarb desserts and acquired a mild stomach ache.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Every day when I walk to work, I see a rabbit and a mourning dove communing amorously beneath a solitary juniper tree. Interspecies love is not uncommon out here. My neighbor had a cow who birthed a clamb (calf-lamb). The neighbor's ram purportedly rammed down the gate and finessed his way into a Hereford heifer's heart.

This same neighbor claims she caught a fish once that was half pike and half catfish.

In the 1940s my grandparents had a female cat that lived in one of their sheds. During a cold spell in December of 1946, a rangy jackrabbit seduced this feline. For an unusual winter, the mammals shared a woodshed and, come spring of '47, an offspring. The grandparents called it a "hop cat."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy summer solstice. The longest day of the year . . .

Bittersweet, indeed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

When I lived in Nashville in the late 90's I had some brushes with country music royalty. At one honky tonk I witnessed Hank Williams III get drunk and rowdy to a packed house. Midway through his set, a middle-aged woman squeezed in next to me. At some point she let me know that the inebriated singer was her son. I asked if she still got along with his dad, Bocephus. She cussed his name and let me know what a skunk he'd been as dad to Hank III.

A nicer Nashville father-son story, though, was when I was dating an Australian singer/songwriter named Sherry Rich. One night, at some downtown bar, we ran into her friend Bobby Bare Jr., son of legendary Bobby Bare. Bare Jr. spoke warmly of his father. Here's an endearing duet they sang in 1973.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Upcoming shows:

June 23 - Washburn, ND @ Rhubarb Festival. 2 p.m. Free.

July 9 - Minot, ND @ 62 Doors Gallery (11B S. Main) w/ Calvin Johnson & Luke Graner. 7 p.m. $3-$5.

July 10 - Bismarck, ND @ Stringbean Coffee House (on Divide & Grandview) w/ Calvin Johnson & Luke Graner. 6 p.m. $3.

July 10 - Somewhere in western North Dakota.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

On this Father's Day evening I had supper with my folks and grandfolks up at the Mountain. I took Dad candy bars and Gramps some raspberries. After supper Grandpa entertained us with harmonica tunes. Grandma told me that she's heard through the relatives that I sometimes perform "dirty" songs. I had a hard time tryin' to explain that one, let me tell ya, but I think she appreciated my explanation.

I'm lovin' these long nights. I hiked to the beaver dams after supper. A white-tail doe snorted fiercely at me. I saw a baby bunny and a beady-eyed beaver, too.

Yesterday morning I swam in Lake Sakakawea with Lindsay. In the afternoon she joined me in Manning for a covered-pit outdoor barbecue feast. I played guitar and sang and got two suppers in trade, plus a succulent hunk of roast wrapped in denim. We had the roast for supper at Grandpa and Grandma's tonight, along with other good things. For dessert Grandma served vanilla ice cream covered in blueberry-rhubarb syrup.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The tidal wave of life has swamped Sand Land, USA. I'm pretty much under water at the moment. I gave my two-week notice of resignation at the Museum. I'm considering driving for Goodall Trucking out of Killdeer. My friendly old license plates "HIY 918" were stolen. I replaced them today with new ones--they assigned me with the unfriendly "HTE 092" (which sounds to me like a Nazi skinhead radio station). The grass outside my house is almost three feet high! My neighbors are disgusted with me. Allergy season has started. My Fantasy Baseball team is slumping. Brother Raymond cussed me out for writing about him in my public journal.

But besides all that, I feel pretty darn good. I've got a date with Lindsay Danger tomorrow evening for one thing. There might be some fishing involved.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Last night I had supper at Lindsay's parents' ranch. They served elk, walleye, and catfish, along with other finger-lickin' fixins and dessert. As I was driving home, Shawn Goodall called to invite me to float with him and a couple others down the Little Missouri River. I met them at 6:00 this morning and we put in at the Long X Bridge north of Grassy Butte. We paddled 52 miles (10 hours) to the Lost Bridge, where we pulled out. Along the way we saw 1 owl, 2 elk, 2 buzzards, 3 deer, 6 beavers, 11 pelicans, and a host of other birds (mergansers, blue heron, Canadian geese, hawks, songbirds). The buttes and badlands were greener than Al Gore. The Little Missouri was muddier than McKinley Morganfield.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

This is my brother Raymond. He became a minister a couple years ago and recently moved to Zimbabwe. In his day he was a rowdy rodeo athlete, but now he lives a quiet life of service and meditation. He's 40 and has never had a girlfriend. Mom thinks he's gay. I asked him about it once, and he said, "I'm only gay below the waist. My torso and head belong to God." Ray has a strange sense of humor.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Grandpa Sand turned 88 today, and Grandma Edna Sand turned 87 last month.

Grandma Viola Herak turned 87 two weeks ago.

Happy birthdays to all three of you!

Monday, June 04, 2007

In the middle of the road of my life
I awoke in a dark wood
Where the true way was wholly lost.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Astronomy 101: Last night's full moon was the second one of the month. This only happens once every 2 1/2 years.