Monday, March 27, 2017

Computer dead. Wait! It LIVES!!!

I was going to go next door to Arlene's. It's Friday night. I was going to bring my laptop and we were going to view some videos of us driving around on the Island. It cheers us up. The weather has been particularly crappy so I bought a bottle of wine, gathered up my computer paraphernalia, shut down the computer and headed next door. Long story just a little bit longer, I set the computer up on her dinning room table, went to turn it on and it was dead. I changed plugs, took out the battery and it was still dead. Naturally I was upset, still it was ten years old and I got much use out of it and as George Harrison said, "All things must pass". I decided to check out some new laptops the next day. I went to Staples and Best Buy. I was not thrilled with Windows 10. I had to decide whether I should attempt to have it repaired and if it could be repaired would it be worth repairing a ten year old machine.

Now I'll leap forward to Sunday morning. For old time sake I gave the old girl another shot and whaddya know? It turned on just like old times. It's amazing how much I depend on my computer for so many things and how I missed it even though it was only out of commission for a day and who knows how long it will hang in there.  Anyway I'm glad I didn't have to purchase a new machine and I think I should research some Apple machines.

Now as a subplot to all this, a trip to Staples is pretty much a straight shot from here. However getting to Best Buy is another thing. I don't know if you have rotary's where you live but here there are quite a few. They can be tricky but none are as notorious as Santilli Circle. Mileage wise Best Buy is not much farther than Staples but you have to negotiate practically the entire circle to get to the store. Well there's a lot of construction going on around here particularly in this area. They're building a casino about a mile from the Best Buy so there's roadwork and lane shifting, lane closures. If you're not in the right lane for your destination, guess what? You're going someplace else. Ya know we people from Massachusetts don't have a good reputation as drivers around the country. Maybe a bit aggressive? Well there are reasons.  Places like Santilli Circle are a very good reason why you become aggressive. And putting a Casino on Boston's doorstep seems like an insane idea. How are all these people going to get around? There are supposed to be a lot of smart people around here, but they weren't too smart when they laid out the road system.  I love/hate living in the Boston area. There are so many of us crammed in a small area. Below is an areal view of Santilli Circle. All the arrows are mine. Pay no attention the black line. The red ones are supposed to be my drive to the store. The blue ones are other cars entering the rotary and the yellow arrow is the direction I ended up taking because I couldn't get in the proper lane to take the exit to the store. And notice that as soon as you approached the exit for the store you had better hope nobody is entering the rotary as you try to exit it.    

 I had to drive almost two miles up the road to find an intersection where I could turn around and head back. There is also the possibility of getting stuck in the innermost lane of the circle, orbiting for an indeterminate time until you can make your break or die trying.  Oh do I feel bad for out of towners.

Well that ride from hell didn't result in a new computer and hopefully my old buddy here will keep kicking for a while yet. Now it's time to start thinking of supper, but then again I always think of supper.

I'm outta here.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sitting Around

It's been about 11 weeks since I said goodbye to my working life. As I have said a billion times it's an adjustment. I am officially a member of the senior set. As I have watched some daytime television I've noticed all the ads aimed at the senior set. Life insurance, final expenses (if you know what I mean and I think you do), all kinds of medications, lawyers for those who took medications with adverse effects and want to sue and of course everybody's favorite, incontinence. I found myself watching some shows from my youth. To Tell The Truth, What's My Line, The Rifleman, Gunsmoke, Bonanza and so on. Arlene still works part time for the school system so day trips are out of the question until a few weeks into June when we plan a trip to you know where. We went two times a year until last year and I'm not sure we will be able to go twice this year but we are grateful that we have this lovely place close to home and that we can go at all.

I hope we can finally say goodbye to winter. It was pleasant yesterday and the same for today though tomorrow it will be cold again. I hope it's the last of scenes like this.

While I was at my sisters this passed summer I took some pictures of my fathers paintings she had hanging up. They were framed behind glass so there is some glare from the flash. She has a whole bunch that are not framed and some day I will take pictures of all of them.

So that's about it for now. All I have left to do a last load of laundry then I'm off to buy a bottle of wine for Arlene and I to share this evening. Cheers!
I'm outta here.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

OK! So it snowed!

They have been talking about this storm for the last several days. And indeed it is snowing at this time, a little passed noon. One thing I am eternally grateful that I'm not working, particularly when there is a snow scare. Arlene went to the supermarket on Monday and mentioned how insane it was. She heard a women in the checkout line say that we were going to get 30 inches of snow! I first heard 8-12, then 12-18, then back to 8-12.  The wind is blowing and it's pretty nasty out. I remember people panic buying when I worked. Some people just picked up a couple of items others had a wagon train of shopping carts. Jammed parking lot, jammed store. Don't miss it at all.
I had gone shopping a couple of days prior to snowmageddon and I asked Arlene if she needed anything and she said no. Come  Monday I'll bet she had wished she had said yes.

It is now Wednesday afternoon. It's cold but sunny. Last night I went out about 5pm to do some shoveling. At that time it was turning from snow to rain. Now I'm not sure how much snow we got. By the time I got out there it looked like 6-8 inches had fallen and it was heavy because the temperature was rising and the rain. It took me about an hour and 45 minutes.

You would have thought it was the end of the world. All four local network affiliates were on with continuing coverage of the storm from 4:30 am until 6:30 pm. Here are some of the clips I took straight off the television at various times during the day. I'll warn you in advance, this is no academy award winner.

So that about wraps it up here on the Wild Willy West Show. Until next time,
I'm outta here.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Tales from last century.

Who doesn't like junk mail? Ooo Ooo! I KNOW I KNOW! I don't! Back in 1971 I attended the Berklee School of Music. The year before I went to a community college which was really just an extension of high school. I always liked music. My father was a natural musician as well as a natural artist. I didn't inherit his artistic talent at least not to his extent. I could cartoon but I wasn't very good. I did inherit his musical talent at least to a degree. I learned the guitar by listening to records and figuring out the songs. Most of my friends played an instrument or thought they could and it was a lot of fun to get together in somebody's basement and make a lot of noise. So I made the big decision to go to music school. While I enjoyed the atmosphere of the school I was in over my head. There were people who were much better musicians than I was. They could play rings around me and there were people who barely hold their instruments. Clearly the school made a good chunk of their money from people who lasted a semester or a year or just never graduating with a degree. I don't say this as a knock on the school because business is business.

Reading music was not my strong suit. Actually a good skill to have when attending music school. It was easier for me to read for piano than it was for the guitar and that was my main instrument. Just me and a bazillion other guitar players.
 I had a class called ensemble. There were six or seven of us, all guitar players. The teacher handed out the music. We were to play a piece of music and we all had different parts of the arrangement. The teacher gave the downbeat and we started to play. It was awful! We all started to snicker because it sounded so bad. The teacher, who had a thick accent, from where I didn't know, listened for about a minute or so as our laughter grew louder. Suddenly threw his hands and shouted, "I CANNOT STAND IT ANYMORE!" and stormed out of the room.

Why do I bring this up? After 46 years and 6 or 7 moves, Berklee found me again.  I received mail from them and what do you think they want? Money. Well they ain't gettin' any from me.

The line up of people who attended and those who actually graduated is pretty impressive. Many write movie and television scores. Well known jazz musicians. Dianna Krall, Quincy Jones, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Mellissa Ethridge and Tony Bennet and so on. By the way I paid for it myself. Back then in 1971 it cost $1,000 a semester. Fortunately the company I just retired from had a store two blocks up the street in the ground floor of  the Prudential Tower in downtown Boston. After school I would walk to the store and work until 10 or 12pm. Those were long days.

Let's see, what else is going on? Oh yeah...I'S FRIKIN' COLD! It was 9 degrees when I woke up this morning. It's been cold for several days now. Coupled with the wind it's been below 0. Then we have our special guest star on Tuesday, a blizzard! It looks like we will get about 12 inches of snow. Last week the temperature hit 70 degrees. Hopefully this is winters last gasp.

So that about wraps up this entry. Arlene is going to make me linguini and meatballs this afternoon. Then in two days I see shoveling in my future. 

I'm outta here.   

Monday, March 6, 2017

Old favorite restaurant, old favorite place

The video below doesn't mean anything to anyone but me. Back in the 80's a friend of ours moved from here to Marblehead Ma. It's about a 28 mile drive from here. Going to visit her introduced us to a restaurant which we all instantly fell in love with. Over the years I went with friends, took dates to Rosalie's. It was always packed. Rosalie and her husband learned to recognize us as the contingent from just north of Boston just because we went so often. It was northern Italian cooking and to describe it in one word, OUTSTANDING!" The restaurant closed in 1995 though Rosalie is still around online, in magazines etc. Anyway it was neat to find this commercial for Visa that was shown during the Super Bowl in the mid 80's and it brought back a flood of memories of good times and just unmatched northern Italian cooking. My favorite dish was Vittelo Alla Giorgio which just means Veal by George. To this day I still use Rosalie's as the benchmark by which I measure all restaurants. Wonderful memories!      

In my last blog my old friend Carole had mentioned how we had both thought about Beth recently. She also brought up how I had shown pictures of The Mt. Auburn Cemetery back in the Spaces days. I worked at that particular store from 2000-2011. I had never gone into the cemetery until 2006. It took a guy I worked with from Wisconsin to get me to cross the street. This place was established in 1831 and set the standard and is credited with starting the American public parks and gardens movement. It's rolling landscape with trees from around the world is peaceful (duh) and particularly beautiful in the Fall. I shown some of these before and I'm going to show 'em again. These were taken between 2006 and 2014.



 Views from the top of the tower.

Looking towards Boston.

As I write this it is around 30 degrees which is downright balmy compared the last several days. The sun is shining and it looks lovely outside but aside from going next door to Arlene's tonight and possibly enjoying a glass or two of wine I'm not going anywhere except possibly to sleep.
I'm outta here. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

So where have I been?

So where have I been? Right here! The one thing, among others, that I have noticed is that I have a lot more time on my hands to do a lot less. One thing I do more of is go to the supermarket. I noticed that you have to if you want to keep eating. Apart from occasionally accompanying a friend or a family member to do some food shopping, I never went food shopping because for 46 years I worked in a supermarket. Below is the view from the parking lot of my favorite store and the store that I worked in the longest. I still have many friends there. I worked there a total 18 years including 2000-2011. I also remember seeing Julia Child in there a couple of times as she lived in the area. She was tall! She always drew a crowd. I never personally never had to deal with her. I just couldn't see her coming to the deli counter and asking for "a half pound of baloney and a quarter pound of American cheese."
Across the street is the wonderful Mt. Auburn Cemetery. This place draws tourists from around the world. 170 or so beautifully landscaped, rolling acres. It is stunning particularly in the Fall. If any of you ever make it to Boston this is a must see.  It's the first cemetery of it's kind in the country.

I know I've mentioned the store and the cemetery before and I've already mentioned before that the above store used to be another chain before Star moved in the 1950's. Back in 1860 this building was a carriage house and stable for public transportation (horse and carriage) and later as a maintenance, storage and turn a round facility for electric trollies. Electric busses still travel up and down the street.
Now back to our story...

I do have much more time on my hands and about the most strenuous thing I've done is grow a beard. I only grew one because I couldn't while working with food though that's not completely truthful. I could grow one but I would have to wear a snood. A snood is basically a hairnet for your chin. No thanks.
I don't mind getting older, especially considering the alternative, I just don't want to get "old". 

The weather has been typical New England. Last Saturday it was nearly 70 degrees, this Saturday (tomorrow as I write this) it will be single digits at least early on. We could even get some snow. It does amuse me how some people act when they hear it's going to snow. Like it never happened before. This spring I would like to explore my hometown. It's a old as Boston, whose border is only about 4 miles from here. There are 4 roads here that date back to 1630, one originally called "the highway to Boston".

Arlene has recovered well from the procedures she had about 2 months ago. We have talked about future vacations more than likely to you know where, though New Hampshire is a possibility as the state line is only 20 something miles from here. Arlene is more familiar with New Hampshire than I am.

It's been a while since I've been here. I started a couple of blogs but they went nowhere. I even thought about shutting it down but I can't do it because it's been part of my life for about 9 years. I do miss some friends from the days of Spaces. There are only a couple left and of course I miss Beth. I still have the last few emails she sent me and the birthday cards. She told me about the fascination she had with the Zakim Bridge that was built during the notorious "big dig' here in the Boston area. I miss that dear lady.
At least Arlene and I can laugh at ourselves and we have been doing that. We caught ourselves going out dinner earlier and earlier. I then realized that I used to make fun of the older folks going out to dinner on the early side and now we do it. Mostly because of parking. For me it has nothing to do with getting to bed early. I still am and always have been a night owl. And due to all those years of working, I am still an early riser. If I make it to 7 a.m. I've slept late though that may change in the coming months.

So all in all I'm doing fine. Arlene is doing fine as well and to contradict what I wrote in the above paragraph we are going out to dinner this evening but it won't be until around 7p.m. Hmmm...I'm leaning towards Italian.

I'm outta here.