Sunday, April 29, 2012

So how you doin'?

Yeah I've gone for about a week. Gone from Blogger that is. I have been in charge at work and it has not been fun. My boss is off visiting his sweetheart in North Carolina. He does this every six weeks or so. Pretty expensive way to date. So it's been a long week. I have been continuing my purging of things that I have amassed over the years. A friend of mine has been doing the same thing. He sold a concert poster from a concert I went to. Back in 1968 the rock group Cream broke up. They were at the height of their popularity selling 35 million records in 2 years. They were rivaling the Beatles in popularity. This is the band that made Eric Clapton an international superstar. A few months later Eric and the drummer from Cream joined Steve Winwood and an unknown bass player to form a "supergroup" called Blind Faith. There was all kinds of hype including a spread in Life Magazine. Long story short they recorded one album and had a disastrous tour. In 9 months they were history. Their opening act was a husband and wife team called Delaney and Bonnie who's back up band later became Eric's band called Derek and the Dominoes producing the hit "Layla". The upshot of all this is Eric would hang around with Delaney and Bonnie instead of his fellow superstars and when Blind Faith dissolved Eric continued touring with Delaney and Bonnie. I went to this show when they played Boston at The Boston Tea Party, a club that still exists under a different name right behind the left field wall of Fenway Park. The upshot of all this useless information is that my friend took one of the concert posters off the wall and ended selling it on eBay. You'd be surprised how much people will pay for memorabilia. He asked for $400.00 for a poster and was offered $300.00. He countered with $324.00 to cover his pay pal and shipping expenses. This got the bidder mad so my friend ended up taking the $300.00 offer. He couldn't understand why the guy got upset. I told my friend that he was just offered $300.00 for a piece of 42 year old paper about the size of common printer paper with no pictures just words. He should be pleased.
One the left is a picture of the poster. As I said I went to one of the shows (I wish a still had the ticket stub.)with another friend of mine. He had a camera and took pictures. I've got a set of them. I recently found them again. Making a reasonably long story a bit longer, I have had an offer of $40.00 dollars each. There are 14. 13 of them are of the Clapton show. They are all pretty much the same.
Eric is on the right.
Bonnie Bramlett went on to have a role on the Rosanne Show.
Also in the set of pictures was one picture from another concert at the same place. The Who performing their rock opera "Tommy" From Nov. 1969. You know "Pinball Wizard". Well maybe you don't know, but it was a big deal back then.
There are other things that I will consider selling once I find them. Some of these things could be worth big money. Particularly some very old comic books that I have but that is in the future as there is a lot involved in selling them.
So it has been a busy week. In fact as soon as I finish this blog I am out the door.

The time passed quickly  last  week. My thoughts now, more often, turn to my pending week getaway to Martha's Vineyard at the end of May. My first week off since last September. I should be more attentive to my Blogger duties this week. As soon as I am done with my little side trip this afternoon I have planned a whole lot of nothing for the rest of the day.
See you 'round the ranch.
I'm outta here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Soggy end of the weekend...

...but we got some much needed rain. As I begin to write this at 7:30 Monday morning a light rain still falls. We are 8 inches below average so we are finally closing the gap. Since the writing of a blog has become more of a weekly endeavour for me I suppose I should sum up the previous week. I got up and went to work, ran errands, got a hair cut, found a small brick house on the National List of Historic Places while walking off a serving of ice cream. Heard the sound of fighter jets screaming over my store location for the second time in two weeks.

The house I mentioned above is one at tiny side street off a main drag in a hilly area of the city. The Jonathan Wade House is a brick house on the National Register of Historic Places. I won't go into detail of who Johnathan Wade was but lets just say one reason this house is listed is because it's old.
This is not my picture. I found it on the web. I wouldn't have cut off the top of the chimney.
Above you are looking at a three quarter angle shot of the front of the house. The curious thing about this house is that above the front door is the date 1683 suggesting the original construction date yet if you go around back of the house there is another door. The back of the house also looks like it could have been the front of the house at one time with the date 1650 over the door. I have found no reference to this second date, only the first. I should go around town and take pictures of all the places on the National List of Historic Register around here. I'm not talking Boston but my home town just north of Boston. I may have mentioned this in the past, but until I got my first digital camera I never really appreciated the things that surrounded me. Whether it was my home town, Boston, Massachusetts or New England. I had nothing to do with being born here. That was the result of some decision made long ago, 4000 miles from here. It's taken me about 50 years to get goose bumps when I realize that I could walk out my front door, walk for about 15 minutes and pass the location of a tavern where Jingle Bells was written and stand near or on the spot where Paul Revere stopped to wake Issac Hall to gather the local militia because the British were coming. That house is still there, though it's now a funeral home.

The Issac Hall House.
The house now. In the past they would recreate Revere's ride and he would stop here shouting for Issac Hall to wake. Hall would then look out a second floor window to acknowlege the call to arms. Revere would then continue on to Lexington and Concord.
Chalk it up to getting older. Hitting a certain age. To me New England is a special place. I don't mean to sound Like a homer, it's just that I am just beginning to really appreciate life on a different level. It's not about just working and material things. At this point I am  happy to be alive and  to enjoy living as best I can. By the way the ice cream I mentioned earlier was  a simple small cup of chocolate with chocolate sauce and walnuts. The walking around started after the ice cream to ease the guilt of eating the ice cream in the first place. It's the only way I can keep myself from pigging out.

It was the home opener  for the Red Sox on April 13th. I work in a location about 2 or 3 miles from Fenway Park. In recent years the home opener is marked with a flyover by fighter jets. I was working at the time when I heard the scream of 4 fighter jets passing over the store. I couldn't tell you if they were approaching the park or had just flown over it but they were fast and low.
Flash forward to 3 days ago and it was the 100th anniversay of Fenway Park. Can you do that? Flash forward into the past? Another flyover was scheduled before the game with the much hated New York Yankees. This time it was a fighter jet and a vintage WW II fighter. I happened to be outside on a break when I saw them fly by the store. It was pretty neat to hear the sound of the vintage planes prop engine. The flyover was timed to be at the end of the National Anthem. I wonder how they do that? Here's a YouTube video by someone who was at the game.

I toured Fenway back in 2008. I know I posted the pictures back in the days of Spaces and there still there on the Windows Live photo album deal. I don't remember if I posted the video clips I took. So I put them together last night. They wouldn't allow us on the field on that particular day which was a dissapointment. Still it pretty neat seeing what we did get to see. After the tour we stopped to get something to eat and perhaps an adult beverage when the skies opened up.

 So here we are at about 12:15 on Monday. Videos can take a while to upload. It has stopped raining and we are supposed to see the sun at about 3 this afternoon. While I was waiting for the video to finish I have cleaned my bathroom and packed some glasses and cups to give away. Who needs 40 coffee mugs? This is part of my ongoing effort to lighten my load. There are still glasses and dishes to be sorted through. I don't need dishes for 36 people. I live alone. I will never be hosting a fancy dinner party. I have two more target areas for today. Then I will call it quits. I have opened a can of worms and I have to see it through.

When, as I do, manage about one blog a week, ideas tend to back up and the blogs get a bit long. Sorry about that. And though I don't have much of a readership I still enjoy putting a blog together and I DO appreciate those of you who do comment.

OK I still have some cups to pack then some paper to shread. A bit of cleanup in the kitchen and then perhaps a snooze. Tomorrow it's back to work. Who knows, perhaps I will encounter the woman who likes her cold cuts "slicely thinned".

I'm outta here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lazy Sunday, scorching hot Monday

Yesterday (Sunday) was a gorgeous day. And even though it was my first day off in a week I didn't feel like hanging around. My lady friend and I had tossed around the idea of doing something or going somewhere. The two most important guidelines were, it had to be cheap and it had to be relatively close, which of course ties in with the cheap aspect of guideline number one. We are all dealing with the price of gasoline.

So to make a long story boring, a fort, dating back pre-revolutionary war, on the coast of Maine was agreed upon. It was about an hour north of here in Kittery Maine. Fort McClary sits on the mouth of a river who's name I can't accurately recall at the moment. It was a Native American word and rather than mangle it I'll leave it unnamed. Hey it's only a blog. We're not talking the History Channel here.

It was a beautiful day and after a filling breakfast at The Lighthouse Cafe off we went.
Driving north first you hit New Hampshire then Maine. This is the closest point between Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. We arrived in about an hour. The Fort was eventually re-named Fort McClary after the highest ranking officer killed at the Battle of Bunkerhill. It's not the most beautiful setting I've been to. Still it's always nice to be close to the ocean. Located at the mouth of a river the Fort looks out to the ocean. In the distance there were light houses on either side of the entrance to the harbor. It was low tide.
This is the view as you walk up from the parking lot. The fort is on the right out of the shot.
 The fort was last used during WW II as a lookout for planes and ships.

Today will be a hot one hitting close to 90. It's also the day of the Boston Marathon. I used to work at a downtown Boston location which was just about on the finish line of the marathon. You had to be at work early enough before they closed the street. All was said and done by about four in the afternoon. I have to admit it was kind of exciting. The local television coverage is on as I write this though the start is still less than two hours away.

I'm hanging in today. As always there are plenty of things to do. I will do some. Just to contrast the predicted near 90 degree heat today, here's a picture of my house (not really mine) from Jan. 2011.
Well that's it for now. So as I am apt to say at this point,
I'm outta here.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring cleaning/Taking stock of things

Yes I am still spring cleaning. I am still throwing things out, which is not as easy as it used to be with all the restrictions on what will and will not be collected or recycled. I am looking for places to donate kitchen items. I am a single guy with enough dishes for 24 people. I have about 35 coffee mugs. There are all kinds of things that I have never or will never use. I collected comic books at two different times in my life. I have some very valuable books. It's also a very large collection. I have about half of it with me now and that about 3000 books. I also have books that aren't very valuable. The challenge will be going through all the boxes and separate the good from the not so good. I need a price guide and find out what the lesser ones are worth and just sell them off to a dealer. The rest will have to be professionally graded and hopefully I will be able sell the at an auction. This will take some time. A year. Two years. I really don't know. I could end up with a very nice chunk of change.

It's time to rid myself of things. The comics that I bought as a kid of 10 or 11 were bought because I liked them. I started collecting again later in my 20's, after a "nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon" visit to a comic book convention. This was in 1975. I saw all kinds of people from young kids to people in their 40's+. Then I got a look at some of the prices the dealers were asking for some of those books. I saw a book I had with a $300 price tag. That same book in near mint codition is worth today somewhere between $30,000 and $40,000. Alas my copies are not in mint condition, at least not the very early ones. Still, even with inflation, not a bad return for a 12 cent investment.

As I said I am ridding myself of things. Things that I don't need. Things that might make me some money. And as I go through things that I have carried with me, for whatever reason, all these years, I realised I am really reassessing my life at this point. It's like the previous segment of my life is coming to a close and the next one will be opening. My homes is a bit chaotic at the moment (well messy is what I really mean) because it took me about a week to find out where I should begin. After a few fits and starts I decided to start in the one real big closet that I have for storage. I have cleared space in the last two weeks. Then there's the problem of what to store in the newly liberated space. I guess it's the same point I'm at in my life. I also guess that it's more obvious to me that I have retirement coming in the next several years. In other words I'm getting older. That really doesn't upset me. Hey I'm not dead! There's no future in it. I'm in good health. I'm still working and I have to admit I have a pretty comfortable life. That could quickly change these days.

So I suppose I'm getting ready look at my working life in the rear view mirror. On the other hand I'm not scared of retirement. I would do it right now if I could, but I can't.

This whole exercise of cleaning up some clutter and reorganizing things in my home is liberatting. There's a lot more to do but I can't stop now and that's a good thing. I have already filled up the recycling bin. Our trash is collected on Monday. As I sit here and write this it's 12:07 AM Wednesday, the 11th of April. I filled it in two days.
OK it's now morning and I'm off to work.
I'm outta here.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Republishing this mornings post. I put the wrong video clip in.

It's been about a week since I've been around. Nothing bad happened. It just seemed that there was some task for every waking hour in the day. I have many more duties in my present work location. I am not always dealing directly with customers these days, but today I found myself doing some counter duty. That all went fine except for one woman, who I will say up front, was very pleasant but a bit confused. She started by asking for chicken breast "but not that ever roast kind. I hate it."
I have never heard of ever roast chicken nor do I think the name "ever roast" implies a positive selling point.
After asking her if she wanted a plain or flavored chicken she does the classic pointing at the item that I can't see and says, "This one."

Instead of just telling me what it is she makes me walk around.
"Oh that's the plain oven roasted."
"What do you mean plain?"
"No extra flavor is added like this one. It's BBQ sauce flavored."
"Oh no! Not BBQ!"

Heavens No! Not BBQ Sauce! Too many bad memories. She had a second cousin drown in a vat of BBQ Sauce!

"OK. How much of the chicken breast would you like?"
"Chicken? I don't want chicken. I want turkey."
I went right for the house brand plain roasted turkey. I'm not asking any more questions.

"Are you sure that's the turkey? I don't want chicken."
Normally this type of customer is OK in small doses and admittedly I did not deal with many customers today (Friday) but after all these years in the business it gets easy to pick out the pain in the ass in the crowd. I just hit 41 years of service on April 1. It has a cumulative effect. At this point you just want to zip through the order. No muss. No fuss. "There you go! Thanks so much for stoppin' bye!"

She started to walk away. Stopped, turned and said. "Oh! One more thing."
It was like dealing with Lt. Colombo. This woman's order was turning into a mini series. The next "thing" was cheese. That didn't go so bad apart from asking, "Which cheese is better for sandwiches, provolone or swiss?"
At this point in the blog I could insert some kind of smart alecky comment about that question, but I won't.
I can't think of one.

Last Sunday my buddy Dave and I went to the World Of Wheels exhibition being held down town. It's an auto show featuring, hot rods, customized cars, vintage cars and trucks, motorcycles and a few concept cars from the past. The place was packed. It's a very guy thing to do though there were plenty of women there. Here's a slide show.
So here it is Saturday morning. I work the late shift today. Tomorrow is Easter which I will be spending with my family. Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate. Monday I have to bring my car in for servicing. This is the first time I have gone to a dealership for servicing in about 25 years. I have never had a good experience in a dealership. As soon as my servicing deal is over I'm going back to my regular mechanic. The car will probably be tied up all day. I see a bit of walking in my future.

I'll try to visit around tonight when I get home from work. It's going to be a long day. Time for breakfast.

I'm outta here.