Those that know me well, and there are only a few of you, know that I always carry around a pale blue ceramic cup as my primary drinking utensil. I've had that cup for many years, bought it off Amazon and it was all hyped up as the best long lasting ceramic coffee mug you could buy. They were right.

I've just added a new guy into my hand: sexy and black, shorter and squatter, same pedigree, and I'm going with my red straw. Meet my new cup!

That's all condensation btw, the cup is smooth.

Walked down to the creek to reflect on life.

The Scale is missing some obvious categories which I will try to address as Saturday unfolds.

Health

I have to say that my health is amazing for a 74 year old guy. I still take no meds, period. No pills, no liquids, no nuthin. I eat healthy, only consume meat when I'm desperate for protein, yet currently concerned about my 162 weight which is ten pounds over my ideal. Need to walk more.

I have Parkinsons but it's not getting me down, I just deal with it. My stomach muscles are sore, which is weird since I'm not working out. From the web: Stress and anxiety can cause stomach soreness or muscle pain that feels remarkably like the soreness you'd experience from overworking your stomach muscles through exercise. Your nervous system connects your brain and your gut in ways that scientists don't yet fully understand, and stress or anxiety can slow down your digestive system, especially in particularly sensitive people.

Health score: 8

Motivation

This is a tough one for me to quantify. What should be my motivation as an old guy, another trip, another job? I know most folks my age would just simply say stay alive, but I need more than that.

Motivation score: 7

Social

How do you share yourself with the world? I started dumping my soul to blogs that few people read in June 2011 and haven't stopped yet. I have a few close friends and family that I text with, I have a neighbor who likes to come over and drink, and Steph and I get together on occasion. So, not much going on.

Social score: 3

Mental Clarity

It's important to see everything around you clearly and honestly. I have the ability to do that, and more. Sometimes I see people beyond what they present to the world, which is my secret skill that is no longer secret now.

Mental Clarity score: 8

Empathy

I consider this one of the most powerful human traits. Do I have empathy towards others in need, most definitely. Do I respect, and avoid taking, the life of all other animals? Strongly. Do I think insects have a right to exist? Hell no.

Empathy score: 8

Integrity

This is what you define it to be. For me it's honesty, character and doing what you say you're going to do. It took many decades of drama to learn what it meant and a couple of decades to get it right. I ain't perfect yet, but I'm getting better every day.

Integrity score: 8

My current overall Scale average, rounded down, is 7.

I need to expand on that secret skill. It usually happens after talking with a person for a bit, they move sideways, always facing to my right and offer me a profile of their face and then bam! It's like an acid trip where I've slipped into another dimension outside my body. Their face lights up and I see their true self, like all the veils have dropped away and the hidden persona emerges.

A few examples:

Steph and I had Piper at the vet ten years ago. As we were leaving and chatting with her she turned and I saw a face emerge that was contrary to her demeanor. She wanted nothing more to do with us and wanted us out the door. Got it.

One time I was standing in our Driggs kitchen having a drink with Karen, my bus driving partner in Teton Valley. She was chatting with Steph and she turned right and there she was: my wonderful, proud, dyke friend. Glowing brightly with her new dyke haircut she emanated gay pride, and I was proud.

Then there was the time I took my regular old senior to her lunch at the center. She was ninety, the embodiment of sweet old lady and everybody loved her. As she was going up the ramp with her walker I told her I would be a little late picking her up and it happened. What emerged from that kind old face was the face of a witch, the kind you see in movies, as she demanded to know why I would be late.

Sometimes I wonder if it's a skill, or a curse, but it is out of body and it's real.

The Zero to Nine Scale project:

This is a work in progress and open to category suggestions.

Happiness

Hard to quantify, affected by everything. I guess the only way to measure it is to compare this moment in time with other moments in your life and when you're my age, that's a lot to compare. I've been to zero and back more than a few times and I've probably approached nine a time or two.

Happiness score: 7

Ego

Your ego presents your self to the world. How do you feel about yourself? Are you proud of your positions and do you defend them. How pleased are you in what you present?

Ego score: 8

Sexuality

Have you ever thought about your sexuality on a scale? I guess the question would be: are you happy with who you are as a sexual entity, do you accept who you are, and is your sexual appetite, if any, being satisfied.

Sexuality score: 5

Speciality

I wrote my first computer program in 1969 at Merritt College in Oakland, CA at the age of 23, and I wrote my last one a few days ago at the age of 74. Fifty years writing code and I've covered most of the big languages and a lot of the small ones.

I created complete IBM-PC applications back in the eighties using pure assembly language. Trust me, It don't get much nerdier than that. There were also years in there that I didn't write a single line of code, just trying to stay alive. Now I just dabble in web stuff using Visual Studio Code.

Specialty score: 9

The Moment

You have to be able to factor in the now. This afternoon I was sitting in my blue chair on the porch of my little place on a quiet street with only one exit, surrounded by lots of open grass and a cool creek, buzzed and stoned with my cat asleep in my lap, and I was content.

The Moment score: 9

What is it about life, that makes you land where you do. We live it as destiny but I believe our path is being influenced by loved ones on the other side. Our souls remember life and love and become part of the big family collective when we cross over. Souls have identity and influence here. I feel them around me all the time.

Sum your entire current existence, everything that defines you, everything you love and everything you don't, into a one digit number (that would be 0 to 9). I'll wait...

Now, does the other side treat you differently based on that number? I believe so. The higher the number, the more they just kick back and smile. If your number is low, they get to work and try to help you get back up.

And sometimes they present themselves! Nothing like a midnight drive through the heartland of America under endless stars, with the window down...

Where am I? Well, since I'm using a zero based scale with 9 highest, I'm going with a solid 7. You?

btw: The formula is: why(0 - 9) = zero is real, single digit

I've been handling a big piece of metal all morning. The new rear end is installed and I hauled the old one back to Alabama and got my $40 core deposit back. I could barely drag it along the bed of my truck but a couple of good ol southern boys handled it like it was a hocky stick.

One hundred mile round trip and the new axle is purring like it should. I tried to get some pedigree from the salvage guy but all he could say was these things are getting really hard to find. Ok, I'm really happy I'm able to give my truck continued great life, and as a consequence, my own. It all is what it is and welcome aboard Axle, join the ride known across the land as the Jim & Jill Show.

My truck is up at a little shop, with a guy I know nothing about, getting a new rear end. I decided that I was not going to sit around and stress over someone else's work so I got a little buzzed and made a video. I'll be at his place first thing in the morning, whatever the result.

I stripped the bed and baseboard out of my truck yesterday so I can transport my old rear end back for a core refund. I had no other place to put it so I plopped it down on my bed, and slept on it last night.

My neck is turning red and I really need to do something about those cans out in the back.

There is nothing quite like a northern Alabama junkyard. My first impression as I wandered into it was huge. I tried to keep up with the guy driving the large machine flipping cars around trying to find a Mazda B2200 as he faded deeper into the huge yard, but gave up.

Maybe because I drove an old school bus around this summer, I was drawn to an area of buses and metal, and took some shots.

The rear-end on my truck is shot. It came on out of the blue yesterday and I've been scrambling to get her fixed. I found one at an auto salvage place down in Athens, AL for $106 bucks. Everyone knows the place and it has a good rep.

Steph drove me down today and we got it. My regular mechanics couldn't get to the job for a week so I'm going with a small little shop on the main drag right up from my house who quoted me $135 for labor. Damn, $240 total is less than the shipping charge a big parts house wanted for shipping from Oregon.

We unloaded the rear-end there and I'll bring the truck up at 0800 tomorrow. I just might have a fixed truck tomorrow afternoon and I shudder to think what would have happened out on the road. She waited till I got home.