My Faithful Co-pilot and Companion

This post starts by going way back. We don’t often see how the things we love actually impact our day to day life. We’re not looking for reasons. Their impact is simply there, with us, a part of ourselves. If we’re lucky we become mindful of our thoughts in a way that kind of ties it all together.

I have loved the world of Star Wars for a long time now. Back in “the band” days I had my 1971 Dodge Demon. I loved that car and so did most anyone that rode in it. We could fit our guitar rigs in there PLUS the drum set. It was quite the workhorse yet, more importantly, it was big, ugly and white. This gave it the nickname of Millennium Falcon. She didn’t look like much but she had a loud, strong motor. I made many modifications to it myself, just like Han.


One mod I was particularly proud of was installing plastic racing bucket seats in the front. This allowed me to unbolt the passenger’s side seat by undoing 4 bolts whenever I needed to take on more cargo, mostly for the aforementioned band gigs. At some point I learned George Lucas was quite the hot-rodding fan. American Graffiti would have a big influence on me, further fueling my love for musclecars and big V8 motors. I was never much of a mechanic but I sure got my hands greasy back then. If only I had a hydrospanner…

The band was no longer a part of my life and the Falcon was soon gone. I hardly drove it as I had a company truck now. Selling it felt like the right thing to do. A father bought it for his young teenage son and he seemed so thrilled I hardly felt bad about it. I never lost my passion for musclecars though.

The 1970 Plymouth Barracudas and the 1970 Dodge Challengers were my top favorites. Fast forward through a whole lot of life and I was now the owner of a 2010 Plum Crazy Dodge Challenger.


Fast forward some more and I found myself in a very different place. I made some bad choices and things were pretty bad. Somehow, I eventually emerged from the chaos. Certainly I can’t discount how valuable other persons in my life were, but, I also know that my faithful companion Pepper pushed me through scores of tough days.

One day, I’m looking over at Pepper and I realize – This is it! This is my new life and this is my new and improved Millennium Falcon. It’s better than the old one. Sure, it’s not raw and loud like my 1971 but it’s simply a better car, hands down. No more scary brakes and foggy windshields. Those things are only fun in drunken memories. It’s a better life now. The best part? I have my very own Chewie! I call her Pee-a-Bacca when she’s in the car as she is part Yoda, part Chewbacca. She is always there, to my right.


I’ve always been young at heart and I find myself embracing it even more now. Go ahead and talk to yourself. Go ahead and sing. Do a funky chicken dance. Why the hell not? Rob Lowe recently did an AMA on Reddit and I really liked his words on youth.

Well, being youthful is an inside job. Think about what youth is. It’s kids, kids are enthusiastic, energetic, interested, optimistic, engaged, and curious. If you’re not all of those things, you can have no lines on your face and a 32 inch waist, and no one is going to call you youthful.

When I’m backing out of the garage with Pee-a-Bacca I pretend like I am engaging some complicated ignition sequence. It helps that the Challenger has a console mounted on the headliner. The switch to open the garage door is located there. I definitely channel Han when I push it and the “hangar door” crawls open, making its Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr noise. Then, I futz around with the diagnostic screens, checking various pressures and temperatures before backing out. Us boys love our buttons ‘n’ switches and I use as many of them as I can, as often as I can. If I’m feeling especially nerdy I look over to Pee-a-Bacca and tell her to make sure she has programmed the navi-computer. After all, we don’t want to end up in an Empire construction zone and be late for work.

When I’m working in the garage at night (probably detailing the Purple Falcon or organizing my tools) I will open the garage door and pretend it’s the Hoth hangar. Pee-a-Bacca faithfully keeps a watchful eye for Wampas in the alley.


As the night progresses I have to break the news to her, “Sorry Pee-a…we have to close the shield doors now.” She looks on with resignation moments before I hit the switch.


I seem to recall the Buddhist philosophy being an influence for George Lucas. I can’t say I’ve ever studied Buddhism but I find myself using “calm-Jedi-face” many times throughout the day. If I feel myself losing control I kick in to this calm state and start breathing. It works. It really does. I picked up this Buddha at Ross one day and I have several Yodas so this happened:


My mom actually made those little hats for Pepper but her Force was too strong for them so they ended up here. You can’t help thinking a happy thought when you pass my little altar. (Keen eyes will spy Shadow photo bombing these Jedi Masters.)

Here the Purple Falcon flies low across the Arizona desert.


It doesn’t stop at Star Wars either. Sometimes I imagine Pepper having a little silver helmet like Merlin in Excalibur. Then, I tell her it was her love that brought me back, just like Arthur told Merlin once before.

I really need to stop now. Next thing you know I’ll start talking about Blade Runner. It’s 2 in the morning and I am fading…what was I trying to say? Oh yeah…I love Star Wars, I love musclecars, I love Pepper and I put them all together as often as I can.


Goodbye CC.

CC was an outside cat. Feral would be a more accurate description but that always sounded so cold to me. Earlier this week I had to come to terms with the fact that she’s not coming back. I won’t see that sweet little face again.

CC was one of many outside cats I have had the pleasure of caring for over the years. She was very special to me for many reasons. Before she was trapped and spayed with the help of Lifeline for Pets she had at least one litter, possibly two. She outlived all of the other outside cats in the neighborhood, including her own offspring! Life is tough for an outside cat but CC was tough as nails. She is probably the mother to my very own Shadow who lives with me now. I was able to rescue Shadow early but CC and the others could not be handled. Eventually I was able to pet CC while she ate wet food. It was a treat for both of us. On the whole, though, she was pretty wild.

Somehow, though, she managed to be a very personable cat. She was pretty vocal about her mealtimes. Sometimes she just wanted to say hi. Here she is being silly in the morning as I left for work. Is that a plant? Looks like a bed to me!

I don’t remember a lot about where she came from. She was just kind of there one day. My girlfriend at the time and I just started to feed her and her kids. They needed a home and we were willing to provide food, water and shelter. There is one thing that could never be forgotten about those early days, though. One of her back legs was sticking out in the most horrid manner.

When she went in for her spaying, the vet informed us that the leg could not be saved. It had already set. The best thing for her was to amputate it. Hence CC. Cripple Cat. We never called her Cripple Cat. It’s just where the name came from. It just stuck. She certainly didn’t let it stop her from climbing over the fence and catching birds. Kids passing by were fascinated by the three-legged cat.

CC would leave me with an everlasting memory in a very difficult time in my life. Early in 2012 I was moving out of the home I had lived in for over 10 years. This was her home too. I still wanted to take care of her but she was wild. I couldn’t take her with me. I decided that I simply had to ask my landlord to continue caring for her. He agreed. That was a relief! It wasn’t easy to hand her over like that. I felt like I was abandoning her. It turns out I didn’t need to worry.

There was a most fortunate detail to all this. I lived directly across the street from my parents’ house. To make the transition easier I moved many things there before moving them over to my new place. After all was said and done I reluctantly took over her food to my former landlord and thanked him for agreeing to care for CC. He wouldn’t have to feed her one single time.

CC followed me to my parents’ house!!! This little wild cat somehow knew our time was over in that old place. She transitioned over from one day to the next. She never crossed the street back to our old house ever again. It was the most incredible gift. I was so happy. It was unbelievable. My dad is not a cat person but I think even he was a little touched by what she had done. My parents didn’t have too much of a problem caring for her while I transitioned over to my new place. Of course, I visited her often and did what I could to keep her comfortable.

She was an old girl now. I bribed her with that wet food and cut off all her matted fur one day. I am very grateful that, during what would be her last days, she was seen escaping the rain under the porch, on top of her crate that I had just cleaned up for her. I had shaken out her blankets and made sure there were no spiderwebs to bug her. This was one of the last shots I captured of her:

It should also be noted that she was quite the pal with my baby Pepper. Here they are doing their thing at the old place (you probably need to be on Facebook to see this video):

CC and Pepper frolicking

Pepper gets a little impatient there but believe me, they were buddies. Sometimes they would chase each other around the yard. CC would always seek Pepper out and butt her head against her. At my parents’ house I would play ball with Pepper and CC would come out to hang out with us in the sun.

What happened to her? I really don’t know. My mom informed me that she had simply disappeared from one evening to the next morning. She fed her on a regular schedule and knew exactly when she went missing. Like her daughter Little One, I still haven’t been able to find her body. My heart tells me she is gone.

I hope she has crossed that Rainbow Bridge. I hope she is resting peacefully. Thank you for all the wonderful memories CC. I miss you.

A Missing Angel

The flyer below kind of says it all, or does it?

I currently live in Monterey Park, CA. It’s close to East Los Angeles College (ELAC). This is very near the “East L.A. Freeway Interchange” that the local news loves to mention in their traffic reports. This is the neighborhood that Boo went missing from.

“Boo” is actually my neighbor’s dog but she spent a LOT of time with Emily and I. My neighbors are cool but, they have a totally different mindset when it comes to caring for their dogs. Boo would spend what seemed like days at a time with us and stayed the night often. We fed her, bathed her and showered her with affection. All of a sudden, Boo wasn’t around anymore.

I asked my neighbor what happened. She was not too forthcoming. She muttered something about temporarily going back to the breeder she came from. It didn’t make sense. About three weeks passed. To my surprise, Boo returned sometime in mid-October. I was ecstatic but my happiness was short lived.

She disappeared again. The last time I saw her was October 25th. On that night, I did hear her inside my neighbor’s house. This was atypical as she was usually with me in the evenings (for 4 nights in a row at that point in time). I figured they finally missed her and were going to keep her in for the night. I was wrong.

Now here is where I F’d up. I assumed they took her back to the mystery breeder location. I was also bitter that they would take her back so soon like that so I didn’t communicate with my neighbor again. Weeks later, my neighbor drops the bomb on me…”Hey, have you seen Boo? I haven’t seen her since around Halloween. I thought you might have had her. I hope she comes back.” WTF?!?!?!

I am completely crushed, feeling guilty and missing Boo real bad. She was always waiting for me when I came home from work. She was Pepper’s playmate. They enjoyed many playful romps and naps together. I’ve done a lot to find her with no success.

I canvassed the neighborhood with a picture of her in hand. I visited local shelters. I have posted many flyers. My gut tells me someone grabbed this little angel and took her away. Who could blame them? She had no collar and was roaming the streets. She could be anywhere in the county by now.

Please spread the word people from Los Angeles! At this point I just want to know that she is alive and well. I would understand if whoever has her now would not want to give her back. I really need some closure with this.

Vital specs:
about 8 months old
about 6lbs
very slight under bite
white and tan with tan spots (like a cow) on her white belly

Boo's flyer

Boo and Pepper