Monday, February 27, 2012

And now for something completely different.

A bit of silliness that still cracks me up.
I must say feel good and never really think about myself getting older until I get a reminder.Last night (Sunday) I went out with an old friend. We went to a "private club" as in a bar where you have to ring a doorbell to get in. No membership card or the like. Just ring the doorbell. It's not what you would call "exclusive". Still it was a very friendly place. It was still just a bar. There are no bars in my city and I do not go to bars to hang out. The reason I went was my friend's grandson was playing in the band. The child of my friend had a child that was legally able to be in a bar! Hello! That wasn't my 1968 Plymouth I parked out in the street. I have known my friend Dave and his ex-wife since before his kids were born. Now his grandson is old enough to play in a band in a bar. Just a suttle reminder of the passage of time.

I don't want anyone to think that I am depressed about getting older. It was just a brief reality check. I'm doing fine. I just had my yearly medical check up and everything checked out well. I actually had a good time, not at the doctors office, at the "club" I got to see Daves daughter for the first time in 19 years, met her husband and son. I got to talking about guitars with a couple of guys in the band. Who's your favorite guitarist. What guitars do you like. Favorite bands and so on. The band was pretty good. It looked like they were having fun. There weren't many people there. Sunday night is not a big night out. It was an open mike situation, meaning you didn't get paid but you got a chance to play in front of people. It was a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and they even asked me to sit in for a tune or to. I declined because I haven't played in a band situation for a long time. I'm rusty. You can play on your own but when it comes to playing in the confines of a group your timing and phrasing have to be sharp. This doesn't rule it out entirely. I would rather be playing my own bass or guitar and I would have to be up to it mentally but I'm not ruling it out. I knew some of the songs they played and could have faked my way through a couple of other ones. All in all it was a fun night. I did drink 3 beers between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. so I was not "under the weather". Though I do enjoy a beer, I have little capacity and 3 is a full night of drinking for me. It was a 26 mile drive home which was great because there are few if any car on the road. I arrived home at about 1:30. That's the latest I've been out in 30 years or so. Fortunately Sunday night was not a school night for me and I snoozed until 8:45 this morning.

Well I do have a couple of things to do but nothing pressing. I am just going to relax before I get to go back to retail hell.

I'm outta here.   

Monday, February 20, 2012


Above is a picture I took on Sunday. I could say yesterday but I don't know if I will get this published on Monday. Anyway this is a picture of the Old South Meeting House or later on The State House until 1798. You do get a feeling of history as first see it. In the picture above you see a kid standing on a light grey area on the sidewalk on the right side of the building. That's the site of the Boston Massacre. My lady friend and I took public transportation in. Believe me driving is not a good option though it's just 5 or 6 miles away. We weren't really sure  where we would emerge from the subway. It turns out it was the first  thing we saw as we walked out to street level. Sweet! This 299 year old building is positioned between buildings built the 1800's, 1900's and 2000's yet it's clearly visable amidst the skyscrapers of the financial center. From this building Samuel Adams (I do like his beer) and a group of rebels made their way to the nearby harbor to toss some tea into the water. This was the first place in the English speaking world where regular citizens could hear their leaders debate issues and speak their minds. This is where the Massachusetts Constitution was written on which the U.S. Constitution is based. Ben Franklin lived a minute away from here and was baptized as this was also a place of worship. The Declaration of Independence was read aloud to the citizens of Boston on July 18th 1776 though it was read first in Philedelphia on July 4th. John Hancock also lived next door. It's a beautiful building indoors, well preserved.
You can see all of the pictures here.

Once we left we made our way towards the North End which also happens to be the place where Paul Revere's House and the Old North Church are. Been there done that. The reason for the 20 minute walk was for one thing, food. The North End is one square mile with 44,000 people, and 143 restaurants, bakeries and sandwich shops. Mostly restaurants though. To there you pass through the Quincy Market/ Fanuel Hall (another historic building). Quincy Market is a total tourist trap but a lot of fun anyway. In fact I look like a tourist in my own town walking about with a camera snapping pictures.

So when you,re in the North End what do you eat? Italian of course! You will not have a bad meal anywhere. I suppose that's a ridiculas statement as I have only been to four of them. But all the restaurants always seemed to be packed. Both with locals and tourists. There was a French couple sitting next to us though they could have been from Montreal.  You won't have a cheap meal either but one taste and you don't care how much it costs. That's mainly because we were ordering from the dinner menu. That's what we were given. We ate at Picolla Venezia (little Venice) This was my choice taken right from the menu.  
Here's a picture of my partially eaten meal. I almost finished it.

OK here's the inevitable video of my day Sunday
Alrighty then. This whole blog has taken the better part of a day but what the hell it's my day off and I had nothing better to do except housework, laundry and  bill paying. Small potatos. I'm done.

I'm outta here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A beakthrough

I have to mention something I saw on the local 6:o'clock news Tuesday. A researcher at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston is successfully growing a heart. Granted it's a rats heart but the implications are astounding. They showed the growing cells and they were beating on their own. Growing an entire human heart is still in the future but not necessarily that far away. Imagine the person waiting for a new heart wouldn't have to wait for someone else to die. Pretty fantastic stuff.

You know there are times when I think about shutting this blog down. I find myself busier and busier every month. Just what I don't want as I get closer to retirement age but as a certain coach for the Patriots always says, "It is what it is."

I started this blog on Tuesday and at this point it's Saturday night. It's been a long week. I probably won't finish until Sunday night. Today I spoke to my friend in California. She is having a rough go of it. I won't go into detail but it was an emotional phone call. She is a sweetheart and I care about her well being. I do miss her and would like to go back but that's not going to happen anytime soon. This put me in mind to look at the pictures of my trip and then I found a slide show I made set to the song California Dreaming by the Mamas and the Papas. I uploaded it to YouTube and it's there but I can't get it on my blog but I have included the link below. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's the song and copyright problems but I gave it a shot. The first couple of shots were taken from where I used to live. Not the fall shot. I never lived at the lake. There are a couple of shots of a pretty bad snow storm we had in 2005 as I tried to match the pictures to the song. There are shots of my friend and a couple of shots of me that she took when we visited the Fender Guitar Museum which was a big disappointment. The trip itself was wonderful. I had a great time. There are a few pictures of the time that we went to see a dog that she raised but had to give away three years earlier. The dog went nuts. He remembered her and immediately went and got his dish. He obviously remembered her and loved her. It was really touching. There are also some shots when we went to visit her dad and his wife. They were very nice to me and treated us to lovely meal.They had a beautiful home and it's a trip I will never forgot. Maybe someday. Hopefully the link works.  

Tomorrow I am going into town, Boston to visit a historical site that I have never been to. It's taken me a lot of years to appreciate all that I have around me. Shame on me but better late than never. It's the old state house. It's 300 years old and played a pivitol role in the revolution. It's also where the Massachusetts  Constitution was written. The U.S. Constitution is based on it. I recently learned this and I am constantly amazed at my ignorance and want make sure I take advantage of what I have. I am fortunate.

I think I'll end this now. I have gone on long enough and besides I want to watch Saturday Night Live.

I'm outta here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

1.We're # 5!!! 2. Assorted thoughts as they occur to me. 3. A medley of some of my songs, silly or otherwise. And...that's it.

I know I talk up Boston a lot but in the interest of fairness I have found a list on several websites and they all say the same thing. Boston is one of the rudest cities in America. In fact we're #5. Here's the top 10 list.
  1. New York
  2. Miami
  3. Washington
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Boston
  6. Dallas/Fort Worth
  7. Atlanta
  8. Phoenix/Scottsdale
  9. Baltimore
  10. Orlando
I have been to the top 5 cities and Baltimore.I once landed in Dallas on my way to California but an hour in the airport is no way to judge a city. I can honestly say I saw any real difference in the people in all those cities. Of course they are all large population centers and when you cram a large number of people in an area in a relatively small area I think you tend to be more wary of people just because you come in contact with so many.

I have been to New York a few times. Two times in the last 7 years. Both for concerts at Madison Square Garden. The last time 2 or 3 years ago. I have to say as you are approaching the city proper the skyline is most impressive. Despite the fact that I am a Bostonian (though I actually live 5 miles northwest of the city) I like New York. What can you say? It's the Big Apple.
I have been to Miami twice. It's a beautiful city. I don't know if I could live there in the summer though. The humidity here is bad enough. I wouldn't mind a few trips down there in the winter though.
I loved Washington. Granted I only went to all the tourist traps but they are pretty impressive. The Smithsonian is a must and the Viet Nam War Memorial is an emotional experience.
I have been to Los Angeles. It's everything that you've read. It's a huge, sprawling place. It sure has lots of attractions but honestly I didn't really care for it. This is just my personal opinion of course. In fact I really wasn't impressed with Southern California. If your looking for natural beauty you can forget it. Without all the landscaping and colorful buildings all you really have are a bunch of brown hills with splotches of green vegetation. You see a ton of palm trees. A very exotic plant to a New Englander but like most everything else in So. Cal. it's not native to the area. As we drove down to Sea World, which I loved, I commented to my friend Lee, "This place is ugly." To which she agreed and sighting one reason why she moved back, "Yeah but I can do landscaping year round here where as in Boston landscapers have a relatively short season and in the winter many of them contract with the state or city to do snowplowing." And this year so far has been a bust. Around here we've only had an inch or two. Lee's parents have Massachusetts roots and they lived here until the early to mid 80's. Here are 4 pictures of the scenery from southern California. 
This was taken on our drive to Sea World.
Isn't it Gorgeous?
I think this is Laguna Beach looking north towards Los Angeles. It's behind that haze.
Actually the landscape reminds me a lot of Sicily. Same climate and terrain.
 I know I've gone on a bit, as I am want to do, but I do have reasons for wanting to go back and it's not the terrain. On the plus side the coastline is gorgeous. The beaches are huge and beautiful. I had a blast in Sea World and I really liked Venice Beach. It's one funky place.
If you're interested here's a link to my old photo album of my trip on my old photo albums from the good old Spaces days.   
Boston. Yeah I've been there. Nuff said.
Dallas/Fort Worth. Just in the airport for an hour though I would really be a fish out of water trying to live there. The mindset is just different from around here.
I've never been to Atlanta or Phoenix/Scottsdale.
I've been to Baltimore and it's, to me, quite similar to Boston in both size population and history. I liked Baltimore.
I have been to Disney World in Orlando. That was great but all I can say about Orlando and Florida is it's very flat with lots of Oranges. That's not a knock. That's all I saw on the 4 hour bus trip from Ft. Lauderdale to Orlando.

Boy I've turned into quite a wind bag. Sometimes I just start writing and get carried away.

Here's a medley of some of my tunes that were either unfinished or just a quick representation of some of the things I was fooling around with or finished but wouldn't subject you to in total.
The first one is called Slimy With Your Love. Beautiful donchabassy tone. Next we have me fooling around with  string sounds on a keyboard. I should have used something to keep time as it does get sluggish and keeping time is not one of my better attributes. Short blues thing is next. It was one of the first things I recorded. I just surprised myself with the guitar solo. I don't know where it came from. It just happened. Sometimes you just get in the groove. And finally we have I'm Very Sorry. A guy I once worked with just continually apologized for anything and everything. On top of that he had really poor hygiene and breath that could, pardon the expression, knock a buzzard off a shit wagon. I tried to imitate him but it just comes off as a bad Richard Nixon.

Well that's it. No wait! Today a lady asked me if we had Buffalo chicken cheese. I didn't know chicken in Buffalo gave milk. And besides how do you milk a chicken? I'm sure there's a dirty joke in there somewhere.

I'm outta here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A bit of silliness and something about a football game.

As I attempted to clean up and organize my computer room I came across some old cassette tapes of "songs" that I did back in the 80's and early 90's. I had a 4 track recorder which allowed me to put down a drum track, rhythm track, bass track, a lead track and a vocal track. I know that's 5 tracks but you could combine two tracks into one if you had to, Crude but fun. First of all I'm no singer. The drum track came from a small keyboard that I had. It was nothing more than a time keeper as it really sounds cheesy. Anyway it gave me a chance to play the guitar and attempt to write a song.

I have a program that allows you to clean up old recordings and transfer old lp's to cd's. Well the first one I worked on was a "song" inspired by somebody I used to work with. He was an older guy. He wasn't a bad guy but he had  a real nasal voice and he said "hey" quite a bit. So that was the inspiration for one of my first "songs". I put songs in quotations because it's not a great song and not particularly original. I make no great claims as a musician, song writer, or a singer! In fact I don't sing. I simply say hey hey hey. The recording isn't good. There's a lot of hiss. The "drums" are buried and can be heard more as background ticking good enough to keep time. The only people who have heard it were the people I worked with at the time. About 1986. I turned it into a little video with sub titles in case you have a problem following the lyrics. It's totally silly and amateurish but it was a lot of fun doing it. So I now present the Internet debut of "Hey Hey Hey". By the way there are more of these as I continued to record up until the year 2000 when the old recorder just gave out. I'd like to begin to record again so maybe in the near future I'll purchase a new recorder because it was a fun, creative hobby and a great way for me to practice the guitar. With a bit of embarrassment I present "Hey Hey Hey".

 OK. There's a game today. The Super Bowl. As you can imagine it's a big deal around here. What makes this a little more special is that The Patriots opponent is from New York. You'd have to live hear to understand. Boston is always in the shadow of New York. It's a much larger city and more important stuff goes on there. We are the closest large city to New York so it's a natural rivalry. Boston was a city in decline until the 1960's. Our tallest building was about 20 stories. Starting in the 60's the area began to rebound. A major highway was run through the city and a building surge changed the look of the city. This has continued right up to the 2000's with the infamous "Big Dig". Boston has been transformed into a world class city. We will never be New York. It's in a class by itself however Boston has nothing to be ashamed of. I am proud to call this my home. Few cities or states if any can match Boston or Massachusetts in the number first that occured here including the begining of America. Boston, New York, I am jaded, but there isn't a greater sports rivalry in professional sports. Am I excited? You bet! If the Patriots win it will be there 4th champinship in 10 years. Not too shabby! Patriot fans are in the minority in Indianapolis. First there are the Giant fans. Then there are the Indianapolis Colts fans who hate the Patriots for the many beatings they have suffered at the hands of the Pats. This would make a win all the more sweet. Do I sound smug? Maybe a little but you can't help it. After years of being a laughing stock in the pro sports world, Boston teams have won 7 championships in 10 years. A remarkable record. Do other sports cities hate us? I'm sure they do. Still if you are a sports fan around here, how can you not love it. Nothing lasts forever and this will all end soon enough. Until then I am going to enjoy and relish this until it's over.
Go Pats!
I'm outta here.