Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The tornado was about 5 miles away.

In fact there were four tornado's in New England. I was home during the storm and it did get quite intense. It was over in about 20 minutes, then the sun came out. I didn't find out about the tornado until later watching the news. It could as easily happened here as it did in Revere. They are rare but not unheard of around here. The next two days have been perfect. Mid to high 70's with low humidity.

So what else is going on? Nothing really. Even though I am semi retired I feel the need for a break. True I had a vacation 2 months ago but I am getting weary. Instead of working 40 hours I work about 30 with 60% of the money. It's not the money, not that I'm independently wealthy, it's things haven't changed all that much. I have 4 weeks of vacation in the bank so far and I think I will make use of that time soon. Since Arlene and I work for the same company we could line up some off time in the near future. This also depends on other peoples vacation requests. Still it shouldn't be hard to do.

So Wednesday I took my little camera with me to work. I videoed bits of my drive in and then again back home. I was well behaved and said nothing as I drove. Nary a cough or clearing of the throat was heard. I had music playing almost all the time. Well there was one little incident where I forgot the camera was running. I was trying to get through Harvard Square on my way home. It wasn't as bad as it can be but it was still congested and fairly crowded. Early in the morning there's traffic but it moves right along with the lights. In the afternoon, at best it's a crawl with little spurts of speed. Some gentleman in an s.u.v., who I have named (Mr.) ****head, cut me off, then cut back to the left, then got back in front of me. Then he signaled he was going to merge into the right lane where the road splits. Does so, gets ahead of me as the traffic moves, begins to try to cut back in front of me then darts back right to take the split. Well that really torqued me off. Now if he had been an out of state driver, of which there are many around here, I would have been more forgiving. I love this area but the road layout and the congestion can be awful. So in reaction to his last maneuver, I uttered a rather colorful compound phrase that I will not even attempt to hint at. By the time I got home I had forgotten about the incident, however when I watched the video clips, there, (TA DAH!) it was. Cutting through the music, traffic, and engine noise. Needless to say I cut it out of the video but you can kind of tell when. it happened but the way I accelerate as I went left

Ok to wrap this mess up, here are two videos. One going to work and one going home.



 I'm outta here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

This blog will go where it goes.

Not a great title, but though I am writing this now, I don't know what I'm going to write by the time I get to the end. With one exception. It's a bit of a rant. I work in Cambridge Ma. (part time, semi-retired you know) Cambridge is only one city away from my city. It's not all that far at all. Driving in early in the morning is a breeze. I pass Harvard every day and that leads right into Harvard Square. Harvard Square is a funky bustling place. During the summer it is especially crowded. Lot's of tourist, tours, students, locals, shoppers, cars cabs, trucks and so on. Normally, though congested, my route is pretty straight forward. A couple of lights and I'm on my way. Coming home it's roughly the same route reversed. Well now there's lot's of roadwork going on in the area. I was stuck behind a young woman in a Prius. Every time the traffic moved I had to toot my horn because she had her head down. No doubt staring at her little hand held device. As I sat in traffic I watched the herds of people crossing the streets and walking down the sidewalks. A good chunk of them were off in their own little worlds. Ear buds in, walking with a transfixed gaze on a little screen like some techno zombie. Let me say here that I think these devices are wonderful. It is truly amazing how things have been miniaturized and how such a small device are capable of so much. But there are a lot of distracted people out there. Some have stepped off a curb before looking to see the traffic situation. I've seen that more than a few times. Another amazing device that kind of irks me are the little phones that are worn on the ear. It is  amazing and yet what does it say about the person? I'm so busy that I haven't got the time to pick up or reach into my pocket for the phone. I'm that important. Maybe in 100 years everybody will have some device implanted in their heads.

So now it's early Sunday afternoon. It's raining at the moment. I was up early today and took a ride into work to get my schedule for next week. I could have phoned in but that can be a bit of a nightmare too long to explain. I had mentioned above that I go through Harvard Square to and from work. Well as I left the store this morning I found my little camera in the bin in my car. I stuck it on my dashboard while sitting at a light. It's somewhere between 7 and 8 A.M. The square is not crowded and it's overcast. I took a couple of brief videos. Believe me it's no academy award winner. They're quick and as I hit home I decided to visit a graveyard in the center of town. It dates back to pre revolutionary times. I stopped and took some pictures. Once again things like this are literally in my back yard and I take it for granted.

So I stuck the two video clips and the pictures together. Please excuse the music on the clips. It was stuff I was playing at the time. You don't get much of a shot of the Harvard front gates, but the whole thing was spur of the moment while I was driving.

It's been a busy week and I haven't had much computer time. I started this blog on Friday, continued it on Sunday morning and hopefully finishing it up tonight, Sunday evening. This afternoon I was invited next door as it was Arlene's brother's birthday. It was a nice time. They fed me and we had cake! I haven't had a piece of cake in two years (my choice). So now here I sit trying to wrap this thing up. Hey! I have an idea!
That's it for now.
I'm outta here.
    

Monday, July 21, 2014

Saturday.

Saturday I was invited and happily attended the 40th wedding anniversary wedding anniversary celebration, including the renewal of vows, of friends of mine and my sister. I know many of my sisters friends and she knows mine so it was a wonderful day of meeting some people who I haven't seen in 20 to 30 years including my God child Erica who I last saw in 1986 when my sister and I flew to Maryland to visit Erica and her parents. Erica is now 40 and had just given birth to twin baby girls 11 days before. Her Parents, my friends, weren't there. They have since divorced. Her dad, David, still lives in Maryland  and her mother Karen lives in Virginia. I would love to see them both again as we were all very close. My younger sister Enza went to school with Karen's sister Kathy. We've all know each other for years and the whole group of friends was large, maybe 20. All in all about 60 or 70 people attended. Just a guess. It was held at the Concord Rod and Gun Club in Concord Ma. I may have been through Concord in the past but I have never actually checked out the historic sites. It's about 15 or 20 miles from here. Shame on me for having such places in my back yard and never visiting. I have been to the Lexington Green where the "Shot heard 'round the world" happened. Every year they re-enact the confrontation between the British red coats and the patriots. I have not seen this personally but hope to go in the near future. This is not my picture.
   
Back to the party, because that's what it was and a good time was had by all. Kathy and Dennis have lived in New Hampshire for many years now. Every year they hold a big cookout and invite all their Boston friends up. I went two years ago. They have a good chunk of land up there and Dennis built a log cabin style home over a period of years. As soon as the house was finished they sold their house here and moved north. It's just beautiful with mountains as a backdrop. This year, for whatever reason they turned the cookout in New Hampshire into a celebration of their marriage back in Massachusetts. That certainly saved a bit of driving, though time wise, it wouldn't have taken too much longer to go to New Hampshire because it is almost a straight shot, highway drive north. There are no straight shot highway drives to Concord from here. That can be blamed on the age of the road layout. Most of the roads pre date the automobile. Anyway here are some shots from Saturday.
Left to right, My God child Erica (What a beauty!), Dennis and Kathy. The head in the foreground, unknown.
 I have to say Kathy and Dennis are wonderful, generous and kind people who have made a very good life for themselves.
   
 
Left to right, my other friend Dave, my brother in law Jim, Marie (Dave's ex-wife) and my sister Enza.
 
Left to right, me (I look like I really had to pee), Erica, Enza and  Jim.
 

My sister and Marie dancing up a storm.
 
 
 As always Marie was the life of the party. Marie is one of my dearest friends. I don't see her very much anymore. She has personality plus with a quick wit and a sharp mind and she's a sweetheart. Everybody loves her. After hanging around with her and Dave for 19 years, they divorced in 1989, and Dave had a heart attack as well. It was difficult times for them and for me as well. I was around before their daughters were born and watched them grow.                                                                                                                         
The whole time Saturday was quite enjoyable. Kathy and Dennis are wonderful, down to earth, hard working people. They chose to move out of an urban area to live in a very rural area, New Hampshire. New Hampshire is a beautiful state, for the most part rural. Greater Boston has about 4.5 million people. New Hampshire has about 1.1 million people. The Greater Boston area is roughly a 20 mile radius of the city. There's a lot of people here in a small area. It's a whole different world where they live. They planned, worked hard and are living quite nicely. Dennis is fully retired though he is about four years younger then me. He was obviously much smarter than me with his money. He used to repair furnaces, here, where I live and lived here as well. He repaired my parents furnace twice. Kathy is a no nonsense sweetheart. She to grew up here. Look out if her and Marie get going, they are a riot. I have been fortunate to know such great people in my life.

So that was my Saturday. Sunday was a very relaxed day. Arlene and I went out for dinner and polished off a bottle of red wine in her back yard as her niece and boyfriend played badminton until their dog Chip, would grab the shuttlecock. They would chase him around and he made a game of it. The dog was clearly having fun.

I haven't heard anything new regarding Beth yet. She is in my thoughts. Please send your good wishes her way.

I'm outta here.  


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My friend Beth

I have known Beth since the days of Spaces. Spaces was fun while it lasted. I got to meet and talk to people from around the country and the world. From the California, Washington, Utah, Philadelphia to, England, Singapore, Australia and so on. Then MSN announced the closing of Spaces. A good chunk of my friends came over here to Blogger and as time passed people stopped blogging or stopping by my blog. Well that's life. But Beth has been a loyal friend from the beginning. And now Beth is under the weather. Of course that's just a euphemism for being ill. I don't know what's wrong. All I know is that she informed us in her blog that she has medical issues. Well I for one hope all is rectified quickly. Blogger is not the same without you.
Hurry back Beth!    

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 Quick rainstorm. More silly tunes.

A few days back a storm cell headed our way. As it traveled west to east tornado warnings were issued. Tornado's are not common here but have happened. By here I mean in the state and New England but I don't think they have occurred in my area, but I could be wrong. Anyway. It was 91 or 92 degrees with partly cloudy skies. By 5 p.m. the sky was grey cotton, with rumbles in the distance.

They talked about this storm all day. By 6 p.m. the wind was gusting to 60 mph and the skies let loose with water.
A couple of nights before I had tried to photograph some lightning. It ain't easy looking out my bedroom window trying to guess where the lightning bolt would be. This time I just took some video.



I have found a disc with more of my own tunes. I was getting into recording because basically it just gave me a chance to play. In my younger days I would play bass because the other guitar players were much better than I. Bass is ok. I like playing bass. So, I buy this 4 track cassette recorder. I eventually got a drum machine. I would make up songs usually inspired by something stupid or silly at work.

It's 1985 or 86... not sure, there was a guy named Bob. I'm guessing he was in his mid to late 50's. He was a miserable sort who worked in the bake shop next to us. He had a loud, nasally voice and was fond of saying, "Hey! Whatever!" and "Go to hell!" Ah such inspiration. Especially on the day he smashed up his gigantic 1975 Cadillac. He also inspired a Christmas tune out of me. "No one's gettin' nothin' for Christmas!" It's a quote.

So first you'll hear a bit of Hey! Whatever!, then No one's gettin' nothin' for Christmas. The third snippet (late 80's, 1990) is about a different guy who also worked in the bake shop. His name was Leonardo. He was a good guy but spoke and understood limited English. Just the person you want in a customer service role. A lady came up to him and asked if he could frost a cake for her. He understood that and said, "I do."
As he frosted the cake she asked if he could write something on it. He replied, "I don' do."
She says, getting a bit agitated, "You can frost the cake..."
"I do!
"...but you can't write on the cake!"
"I don' do."
Ah Spanish inspiration! So of the things I tried didn't work so well. It's sloppy and I don't like the tone of my guitar during the break. Still all the above were fun to do and my co-workers got a kick out of them. Some of the others that are much more embarrassing to me with stronger language and some just real bad. But what the heck it was fun.
video


That's it for now.
I'm outta here.



Monday, July 7, 2014

Blogzilla Update. No whale sightngs except for the ones in line at Country Buffet.

Well first of all I did a lot sweating, which I will probably do again today. Yesterday, Sunday was actually a beautiful day. It was warm but dry. Today on the other hand, we will return to the hot and sweaty. This is a great time for an air conditioner to fail. Yup it's d.o.a. Not only that but the one in my car, though still working has a problem as well. One that I thought I had fixed several weeks and several hundred dollars ago. I have owned the car since 2011 and mechanically it has been perfect. It's comfortable, quiet, accelerates and handles well. The first problem was of my own creation when I scraped a wheel, those very expensive wheels, causing a slow leak as the tire was not sealing against the rim properly. That has been "fixed" 3 times this year. Now I don't know if I still have a leak because they all look fine but I am getting that little annoying icon on the dash telling me I have low air pressure in one of my tires. It could be an electronic problem. The second problem that I have had "fixed" is water leaking into the cabin into the passenger side foot well. Though the air conditioner works somewhere along the line water is condensing under the dashboard and when you make a left hand turn it pours onto the mat. Fortunately I still have my  large winter mats on the floor. This is what I get for dealing with the dealership. Years ago, 1982, when I bought my first and only new car, I dealt with the dealership and as usual, they never did the job right the first time or even the second time, but I was still under warranty. As soon as the warranty was up I found a local mechanic and I have been with him ever since, up until I bought this car which had a 3 year warranty as well. I still went to me regular guy for oil changes, but when these particular problems happened I went to the dealership. My warranty was up in May as I was about to go on my vacation. We ended up Taking Arlene's car to Martha's Vineyard and when I returned I brought the car back and had the problems "fixed" again, this time to the tune of $600.00. Well as of two days ago they emerged once again. I will go back one more time to see if they can rectify the situation and whether they do or don't it's adios to the dealership and back to Andy. A guy who has treated me well and done the job. He's not any cheaper but he's a one man repair shop and his reputation means everything to him. I have been going to him since 1983. His shop isn't as close, in fact it's about 20 miles away but I have followed him from the town next to mine all the way up Rt. 28, 20 miles away. If he has to keep the car there's an Enterprise Car Rental store a minute walk from Andy's shop. If my car wasn't drivable I would just have it towed up there because I have Triple A. As far as I am concerned they are the best bargain on the face of the Earth. You pay the yearly fee which most of the time is cheaper than the cost of getting your car towed once, and your covered for the whole year. Call them up and they tow your car where ever you want. I have not had to use them in about ten years, but I used then quite a bit when I owned a 1991 Ford Taurus SHO. This was a high performance version of the regular Taurus. When it work this car was a blast to drive. Unfortunately it had a myriad of problems and was notoriously unreliable. Triple A was a blessing.

 I don't mean to knock the Ford Taurus because  my next car was also a Ford Taurus. A regular one. This car gave me 11 years of reliable service and I was sad to see it go when I got my present car. It was still in good shape save for a crumpled right fender. This happened on the way to work when this woman in front of me, right turn signal blinking, decided, at the last second that she was not going to take a right but a left. She had already begun to go right  then suddenly looped left right into my path. Fortunately nobody was coming in the other direction. I cut left into the oncoming lane trying to avoid a collision but I didn't. The car was in good shape up until that point. A paint job would have made it look almost new. I drove it for another couple of years  then decided it was time for another car before the Taurus began to really show it's age. It was a 1998 and I bought this present car in 2011. The 1998 Taurus and my first car, a 1964 Plymouth Belvedere, were the best cars I have ever owned. The Plymouth in particular was nearly indestructible. It wasn't the fanciest car but it never gave me any mechanical problems aside from a muffler and new tires.

Without trying to sound snobby, what I own now is a 2008 Lincoln MKZ (whatever that means). In reality it is a gussied up Ford Fusion. This is not to say that the fusion is a bad car. In fact it's a very good car. Arlene has a 2012 Fusion and it has a few more doodads than my car has. The MKZ is just Fords attempt to make the fading Lincoln brand viable again. My car cost me less than it would have cost me to buy a brand new Fusion in 2011. It was the right time as I had finally cleared up my bills and could afford to buy another car. I had done my research on the car and found it reviewed well by Consumer Reports and other entities who review and report problems with cars. It pretty much was the same all the way around. They all found it a comfortable, smooth riding, good handling car. All reliability reports were good. The one area where there had and have been reported problems is in the electronics. As I said earlier this little icon telling me my left rear tire is low on air, could be an electronic problem. The tire looks fine though I'll keep an eye on it. Just like you did in the old days. 

Another problem that has cropped up is the sun/moon roof. One day a couple of months ago I went to open the roof and it began opening and closing on it's own. It wouldn't stop. I pulled over and timed the closed position with shutting the ignition. Fortunately it remained closed. The other recent problem, the cd player. It won't eject the discs and it's full, including one the belongs to my friend. These two problems will have to wait.   

It's a very nice looking car. It has a stately, reserved, formal looking front end. It has an attractive wedge shaped profile and almost every car has that now, and though it looks good my car is difficult to back up because of it's big ass butt. You can't see the corners of the car. You have to keep shifting your gaze from the rear window to the side windows to the rear window. Car designers are now styling out safety and replacing it with electronic alarms telling you you're close to something, but you really don't know how close because you may not be able to see that something. Plus the beeping sound is annoying and creates more stress, than simply eyeballing the situation. It's like, having someone in the car saying, "You're getting close....getting closer...closer...CLOSER...CLO...AGHHH WE'RE GOING TO DIE!!!" Who needs it.

Ok I've written another book length novel instead of a blog entry. This was not initially what I was going to write here but in mentioning what's been going on lately, mainly that I have continued to go through old stuff and getting rid of some of the things that accumulate over the years that you I really don't need. I supposed I could have said clutter and eliminated half a paragraph.

I am also doing this digitally going through old cd's. Saving what I want and eliminating what I don't. Why did I save a picture of Hillary Clinton in a sombrero? It's not that funny, in fact now it's not funny at all. I also found recordings I made back in the 80's and 90's. Playing the guitar and bass. I had a small keyboard with some hokey sounding drums pre-programmed. It was just an excuse to play. It's crude and not very well recorded. I had bought a 4 track cassette recorder. I could record at least four different instruments. Drums, bass, rhythm guitar and lead guitar. There's no singing. It's just a basic blues rock beat. This is just a snippet of it. The guitar solo. On the whole it's crude, boring and sloppy in parts. It was also the first recording I did. If it wasn't for the solo I would have erased this. I surprised myself. I wish I could play like that today. It's around 1985.
video

So that's it for today's entry. Time to get on my horse and ride.
I'm outta here

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Whale watch pt. 2. Me teeth part 2, and a very wet 4th for us.

Yes it's going to rain muchly on the 4th so the Boston Pops concert and fireworks will be on the 3rd. If I was a loony I could hang around work after my shift ends at noon on Friday and wait a mere 9 hours and watch the fireworks just up the road a piece as I work just the other side of the Charles River. It would be a very good spot to watch from. Fortunately I am not that much of a loony and should be grateful that I am "outta there" at noon. I have been to one Boston Pops 4th concert back in the '70s. Due to very bad planning we never got anywhere near enough to really hear the music though we had a good spot for the fireworks.

I had a preliminary look at my dental issues. So far I have just taken one baby step with two more to follow. Then we get down to the nitty gritty. I can certainly think of many other things to be doing than what I may be doing over the next several months but what must be done must be done.

The Whale watch was a lot of fun. I would do it again someday. It wasn't always easy to get a good shot because you never knew where a whale would surface. Following the seagulls were a good indicator. You would see a burst of  small bubbles that turned the water a very light green and then the whale would breech the surface soon after. It could be anywhere around the boat. I luckily did get 3 shots of a whales head but I didn't know it until later.
  
  There were a lot of pictures. I gathered a good amount and made a slideshow. I am not totally pleased with the way it turned out but then again it's just a bunch of pictures. I set it to music. It isn't nautical in any way. It's two tunes by Eric Clapton. The guy who became my guitar idol in 1967. He's one of the '60s rock stars who, after a tumultuous life, has managed to age gracefully. I went through a time in the70's and 80's when I tuned him out until Live Aid in 1985. He can still play a mean guitar in his 70's.
Okeydokey. I gotta move on.
I'm outta here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Whale watch and problems with me teeth.

Hi! Remember me? Well it has been a busy few weeks for me. Let me get the tooth issues out of the way. Saturday I was at work. Two days before I notice that a bridge that I have had on the lower right of my mouth was causing me a bit of discomfort. It seemed a bit loose. The back tooth was my own molar, the next tooth was a fake, and the one in the front of the other two was a molar that had a root canal. I knew I had to have it looked at very soon. So Saturday, while I was working my six hour shift I saw a piece of American cheese a little bigger than an inch square. I plopped it in my mouth and after two chews it pulled all three molars out. I cannot chew on my right side and I don't have much to chew with on the left. Not only is this a bad thing to have happen, it's a bad week to have it happen on the week of the 4th. I did manage an appointment for Wednesday at 3 p.m. but not with my dentist, with an associate of hers. He probably won't be able to do anything for me but at least I can get an assessment. Essentially I am looking at oral surgery and implants. I may be looking at that, but I'm not looking forward to it. Other than that I am still on a big "lighten my load" campaign. Essentially getting rid of things that I've had for years including cd's (for computers) that I have collected plus other related and non related things. I did this seven years ago and I feel the need to do it again. The proverbial seven year itch.

Alrighty then. All that aside, in 2009 Arlene and I went on  a whale watch except there were no whales. Last week I suggested we go again. We both had Monday off so off we went into town by train. It has been and is hot and sticky, and not the good kind of hot and sticky. So a day on the ocean sounded pretty good  This particular pier is right next to the New England Aquarium, next to Quincy Market, tourist trap, Faneuil Hall, historic building. Now it is a tourist trap but it's still a pretty neat place. It was packed. Besides all the souvenir shops and venders there are plenty of places to eat and drink. By the way this is also next to the North End. Paul Revere's house and the old North Church. People were everywhere. There were jugglers, magicians and even a guy in a straight jacket. Perhaps I should clarify, not an escaped loony but an escape artist.
     

Just inside the entrance from the harbor side.

 
 
Above is Faneuil Hall (1742). It was a market place, a public meeting place and a place where politically charged speeches were made, especially by Samuel Adams just after the Boston Massacre. More or less planting the seeds of revolution. Aside from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, this is the most historically important building in the country.
 
 Just outside Quincy Market, a peek into the old North End.
So I started this whole thing out by mentioning a whale watch Arlene and I went on. Monday was hot and humid with hardly a cloud in the sky. It cools down considerably when you are zipping along on a catamaran at 50 or 60 miles and hour. It was a three hour trip. I can hear all of you singing the Gilligan's Island theme ("a three hour tour").  Did we see whales? Yes we did. Did I take pictures? What are you nuts?! Of course I did. Did I take video's? You bet. There are quite a few pictures but I haven't finished checking them all out. I may just make a slideshow out of the pictures after I've sorted through them. I wasn't as successful at getting videos of whales. Mostly because of the crowds and the difficulty of seeing what I recording on that stupid screen on back of the camera. It's totally useless in the bright sun. I did capture one whale. Mostly it's a video of the trip out, the whale, and  the trip back in. There were around ten sightings during the hour we were out there.
Here's a teaser.
  
After we arrived home we decided to get a bite to eat at a local restaurant/tavern. Much to my delight it turns out on Monday, late afternoons and evening local people who own vintage cars meet there. There weren't a lot but there were around ten or eleven.







By the way the above picture was the 5000 picture I have taken with this particular camera.

Ok, the video. Once again I apologize for the infernal hair-like line in most of the video. It only happens with one particular lens.
Ok it's time for me to find something I can chew.
I'm outta here.