Monday, October 27, 2014

It's been a while... R.I.P. Jack Bruce

It has been a while. There's nothing wrong personally. I've been busy. I had places to go, people to see. I'm in demand baby! Well maybe not. I'm working much more than I wanted to when I semi-retired. Four days instead of five days a week for considerably less money than before. The money is not the issue except that every two dollars I earn over a certain limit, I get one dollar less on my social security check. I have a good boss and I've explained it to her. We have a good relationship and I just to work a bit less.
This Friday I will be having oral surgery. I am getting dental implants. Originally I wrote, "I'm getting implants" but I decided to change it just so you won't think I was having two medical procedures instead of one. Besides I'd have to get an all new wardrobe. After Friday I'm taking the next two weeks off and I'm not looking forward to a diet of mushy things. I have plenty of vacation time as I worked full time for a quarter of the year earning time off every week. I've only taken two weeks off this year and have been accruing hours off all along. I have three and a half weeks in the bank at this point.

Last weeks weather was less than desirable. One day the wind was gusting to 50+ miles an hour. It brought a branch down in my next door neighbors yard. That neighbor happens to be Arlene.
A swing set and a hammock were ruined but apart from that there was no other damage. For some reason my computer is working better now and I have spent many hours looking at all our vacation pictures because Arlene mentioned that she would like an actual photo album to look at. I've already printed out one and I have enough different pictures to make another. It's taken quite a while but it was alright because I enjoyed looking at all of them. It's a place we have fallen in love with and have not had enough of yet.
So that's where all my computer time has gone and I'm not quite done yet.

On a sad note at least for me and his family, friends and fans, I mourn the passing of my favorite musician. Jack Bruce. He hit it big in the late 1960's with the group Cream. From early 1966 to Nov. 1968 they were huge. At the height of there fame they broke up. They sold 35 million records in two in a half years including the first ever platinum selling album. It's the group that made Eric Clapton a superstar. They were in Beatle territory. They were the first rock band who could really play.

Jack Bruce was the singer and principle songwriter for the group. He like his former band-mates were considered the best musicians in popular music. He was actually a jazz bass player and a classically trained cellist. He gave Rock a try and he hit it big. He never attained his former popularity but went his own way. He was a very good pianist and also played the guitar and harmonica. He's best know as a bass player, A great bass player. He played almost any style of music, be it jazz, rock, classical, blues, folk. He had a distinctive tenor voice and wrote songs in almost any style. He was a uniquely gifted musician. A rarity in Pop music. He died Saturday Oct. 24. He was 71 and in frail health. He had a liver transplant in 2004 and was still active in the Spring of this year, releasing his last album. He was distinctive because of all he could do. Here's a little video I made featuring a few bits of his music with pictures  of Jack and three of Cream. A familiar snippet of Cream, the song that launched a million guitar players including me, then a bit of a song from his early solo career and one of my favorite Jack Bruce songs featured complete. A Latin flavored number that he wrote sang, played the piano and bass. It's called the Consul at Sunset. A wonderful song.

I was fortunate enough to get his autograph in 1980 when he played here locally in Cambridge. I got to see him in my home town when he played at Tufts University and I got to see him one more time in 2005 when Cream reunited and played at the Royal Albert Hall in London and then at Madison Square Garden in New York, the show I attended, though my friend went to both shows in London and New York. They were two different bands, a studio group and a live group who brought a jazz sensibility to Rock with long improvisations. No other group could touch them instrumentally. A Jazz drummer and bass player with a young Blues guitar hero. Few groups if any have tried to emulate them because they couldn't. Cream was just that good. Thanks for all the music Jack. You were brilliant.

Need a laugh? Who doesn't?! Friday night Arlene and I watched the movie Bruce Almighty with Jim Carrey. God makes Bruce (Jim Carrey) God and Jim has a little fun with his new position. He works at television station and decides to have a little fun with the news broadcaster while he's on the air. We laughed till we cried over this scene.

So that wraps up this little adventure in the blogging world and though I am off today I do have things to do, not to mention laundry. Until next time...
I'm outta here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Once again, "Are they nuts!"

OK I know I whined about this last June, they are once again talking about trying to get the Olympics here in the Boston area in 2024. On the one hand it's a nice feather in the cities cap but realistically, where are you gonna put it? Sure they could have events at the T.D. Garden where the Bruins and Celtics play and then you could hold events at  and then there's Harvard Stadium and Fenway park and Gillette Stadium where the Patriots play, but where are you going to board all these people from around the world? Big Dig or no Big Dig it's still congested around here with some streets that go back almost 400 hundred years. On top of that they are in the process of putting in two or three gambling casinos around the state. Two sites which are being considered would be about five miles or six miles to the east of here which would be close to the ocean. There's got to be 300,00 people living in that area alone. It's not real big around here but it's crowded. The traffic is at a snails pace for a good potion of the day. Where are you going to put all the extra cars? I certainly remember what it was like between 1994 to 2005 while the "Big Dig" was happening. All the detours. I will admit that it did improve the traffic a bit and we got a nice looking bridge out of the deal, but those 21 years of extra hellish traffic are not easily forgotten. So both propositions, while on the one hand would be good for the area, on the other would be a nightmare.

As Arlene and I looked at the pictures of our trip a couple of weeks back we even thought about moving to Martha's Vineyard some time in the future. Realistically I don't think we could afford it but it is a pleasant thought except with putting up with the tourist season but that's part of the deal down there. Then there moving to Cape Cod. Now I do have a place in my heart for the area. My uncle Sam had a place right after Plymouth called Manomet and as kids we used to love going down there. I remember one summer my  sister went down for the weekend and stayed all summer. Then I have memories of my friend Jim who married and moved to the lower Cape, a few miles away from where we catch the ferry to the Island. From the late 70's to the end of the 80's I made frequent weekend trips so we could go trout fishing on one of the many ponds in the area. Once again the summers can be tough. Then there's the western part of the state. Apart from two cities with populations of 150 to 160,000 it's all small towns and quite rural. A whole different world from where I live. Here are some shots from when we went out there back in 2009. These are the Berkshire hills.

The computer has been giving me a hard time. At the moment it's working but it has had it's moments. I have wanted to take some foliage pictures but we're not quite at peak here though it should be in about a week. In the mean time here are some shots from 2008 and 2009 locally. It was a good year Then some shot from the Mt. Auburn Cemetery from 2011 also a good year. This place is magnificent.

Mt. Auburn

So to wrap it all up, I think it's a bad idea to bring the Olympics here and of course I say this for purely selfish reasons, how is this going to affect me? It wouldn't bother me if it was in the western part of the state but it might bother those people or maybe it won't.
As far as the casinos go I'm not against casinos per say. We have plenty of gamblers in this state. Our lottery is one of the most successful in the country so I don't think they'll have a problem attracting customers. I'm really annoyed about all the extra construction and traffic. May be someday we will move to the western part of the state.
Alright I've taken up enough of your time.
I'm outta here.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Back to reality, the dentist

So here we are, home again. We talked about this trip for months, we blinked and all of a sudden it's in the past. The weather wasn't the greatest. If it wasn't raining, it was overcast. Still despite all of that sounding like complaining, it was still lovely and we were away from all of the city nonsense. Oh there's laundry to do, a bit of food shopping, but I'll do that tomorrow when I go back to work. Here are three videos and a slideshow that kind of sums the week up. Meeting people from around the world was very interesting. It's hard to explain the allure and charm of this place but it apparently exists. Arlene and I had a laugh as we entered our room for the first time. As happened the last time there was a bottle of wine on a tray with two glasses and a little card.

This time it didn't just say "welcome back" it had us married.

This morning I had a dental appointment. I will eventually getting some implants. Today they had to take impressions. It's not the worst dental procedure, but it's still not all that pleasant. There's the gag reflex, then there is the drool flowing over your lower lip like some kind of mini Niagara Falls. So it all ends. The young lady gives me a paper towel to clean up. She informs me that I still have some of the substance on my mustache and around my mouth. So I'm sitting there cleaning up and making my next appointment. I don't have a mirror to look in. Imagine that? No mirror in a place where they replace teeth for both vain and practical purposes. I throw the paper towel away and walk back to my car. I glance into rear view mirror and I look like I just finished participating in a cake eating contest. I had clumps of this white stuff in my mustache and around my mouth. How could they let me walk out looking like that. I looked like I had just won a cake eating contest. Perhaps this is the way they get their chuckles in the wild world of professional dentistry. Still it was all over in less than an hour.

So I'll finish up my laundry, and get back into the swing of semi-retired life. I do have four days of work ahead of me, all part time, though I admit I am spoiled as I haven't worked since Sept. 25.
So that wraps up vacations for this year. I am grateful that I can do this. It's a relatively inexpensive destination that's easy to get to, as long as you travel at the right time. Boston may have had the "Big Dig" to alleviate the traffic congestion, it really hasn't. Maybe it just organized it a bit better. Still leaving my driveway at 6 a.m. and driving off the ferry on to the island at 9 a.m. is not too shabby.

OK to wrap this extravaganza are the requisite videos and a slideshow.  Arlene has pictures and I'm looking forward to checking them out and I may still have a few clips and pictures as well.

I'm outta here.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Weather was iffy, internet access iffier.

Hello! Remember me? Yes for the first time, the weather for the majority of our stay has been less than ideal. The first day was indeed lovely. Things went downhill, with rain and wind. Internet access was only available on the first day. And this is the first time I've been able to get online since the 29th. It has rained off and on since last Monday. This has not been the best, but then again since 2010 we have been extremely lucky in the weather department. We did have some rain here and there but it was only a matter of a few hours. Still we weren't home, the ocean is a two minute walk from the hotel and we met people from all over including two different couples from Australia. I say different because they weren't traveling together and one had left before the others arrived. In fact I thought this was the busiest time we have seen here. We always come in the off season specifically to avoid the big crowds of the summer. Now these folks didn't come directly to Martha's Vineyard from Australia. They were both retired and a bit older than we were. We became friendly with them as we sat on the front porch on wine and cheese night. I know that really sounds pretentious. I like wine and I like cheese but I'm not someone who would go out of my way for a wine and cheese night if I was home but hey it's that last time we are going to sit on this lovely porch, at least for now.

So as I said the weather has been mostly wet and cool. I may or may not finish this tonight (Friday) tomorrow,until Sunday but we're leaving Saturday. This is the longest we have ever stayed down here and who knows if I'll be able to afford this next year. We obviously love this place. Apart from Australia, there were people from England, Scotland, California, Washington D.C., Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Kansas. I won't mention the other New England states because in a manner of speaking they're sort of local. I never realized the appeal of this place. It's hardly exotic, but it is nice, and I have be grateful for gut busting laugh we had to suppress when the woman took the van driver literally when he told her to "go around the van" to get in and the woman literally circled 360', passed the double doors, back to the driver.

So I am home now. Wasn't that quick! Ahh modern technology. There are little movies to look at and a few more pictures to check out. We didn't go everywhere we had planned. It was the longest we have ever stayed there, and if and when we go back it won't be for quite as long. Of course if the weather is nice that could change. The drive back was uneventful until we were ten miles from town. The instant we got a glimpse of the city skyline, traffic slowed to a crawl, then a stop. At 1 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon crawling the last ten miles after eighty miles of smooth sailing. That was the worst of the ride but it is what it is. I've got clothes to sort and wash but for now I'm chillin' out. Back to the real world on Monday.

I'm outta here.