But oh my, we sure don’t LOOK young anymore, do we?
We were at Madison Square Garden last night rocking out to Jimmie Vaughan and Eric Clapton. Oh I LOVE the Blues. Although I was so excited to hear Clapton, I’m a bit sorry that Jimmie Vaughan’s set was so short.
We missed the first few minutes, unfortunately. I also was not yet into the automatic “take a video” mode. So all I have are some very poor quality photos and 3 second videos which are really “live” photos. What can I say? I was enjoying the music and getting into it. In other words – EXPERIENCING IT LIVE rather than viewing it all through my phone. 🙂
Clapton opened with God Save the Queen (or should I now be writing King???) which he has been doing since Queen Elizabeth’s death several days ago. I haven’t seen him perform live in several years, but I don’t recall him wearing a suit & tie to perform. Black suit, black tie.
The guitar playing is still amazing. Is it generational or does every age love to hear those guitars singing out, weeping, rocking, pounding, loving?
It was a long night transportation-wise. We did take the train in, but it had a pause around Newark because of “police activity ahead”. We got to Penn Station about 75 minutes before the concert.
We thought we’d get fast food at the station before going upstairs but the problem with that plan is that there is nowhere to SIT anymore. All seats were removed years ago to deal with the issue of homeless sleeping in the station.
To our great delight, there is a restaurant/bar right in the station – Kabooz. We got a table for 4 in their “outside” area – outside meaning not inside their site but in a fenced off area on the floor of the station. 🙂 “Outside” is a relative term. The drinks were VERY strong and the food was quite good. We were already mellowed out by the time we got to our seats.
Coming home was much more of an adventure. The concert ended about 10 minutes before the 11:06 pm train home. That meant a midnight train home getting in after 1:00am. Ouch. But when we got downstairs we discovered the 11:06 was delayed. Very delayed. We made the 11:06 which left at about 11:35pm. Even so, there were sooooo many delays. My guess is that there was a lot of rail work happening. When we got to our station we were on the Northbound track (we were on a train heading south), and had to climb down the steps to cross the 2 southbound tracks and then go up stairs to get to the platform. We got home somewhere around 1:00am. Although we are sooooo tired today, it was worth every moment!!!
Saturday was a beautiful fall day. I wasn’t in the mood to do chores. I wasn’t in the mood for college football. I can’t make up my mind about college football – should they be playing, should they have cancelled the season. I think that probably the majority of the people involved with college football want to be playing, so I guess it’s a good thing. I’m just glad that no one I care about had to decide whether or not to participate. ANYWAY – it was a beautiful day so my sister and I decide to walk and talk.
We had only gone a few blocks when we encountered a trio playing cool jazz in the driveway. They had chairs set up, and there were perhaps 10 people or so scattered about listening. We smiled and thought “well, that’s another great way to spend this lovely afternoon.” We listened a bit and then walked on. Several blocks later we came upon another group playing outside. This group (Axelband) was playing rock. There were between 15-20 people gathered here in chairs, standing, and perched on the low stone wall opposite the group’s driveway. We started thinking that this might be a “thing”. We did some searching and discovered posts about 2 other groups playing. It did not appear to be sponsored by the town. We don’t know if it was something the musicians set up on their own, if it was spontaneous, or if it will be happening more weekends. It was a great idea and certainly livened our walk!
I’ve been reading a LOT, although mostly books that do not challenge and are not edifying and ARE an attempt at escapism. I’ve watched more TV in the last 2 months than I have probably watched in the last 5 years combined – I’m NOT a big TV watcher. I haven’t been able to work in the garden and see the neighbors working in their gardens or folks taking walks. I confess – I was lonely. What do you do if you are lonely and want people and music and company but you are practicing separation and isolation? You go home to SecondLife.
I know that a lot of the folks who follow this blog started following long after my SL days. You seem to enjoy my musings on my cats, my garden, life in general, work, the weather and all those other aspects of what is also known as IRL – “in real life”. This blog started as a chronicle of my adventures in SL. It was a marvelous time. I was privileged to not only enjoy SL in my private life but could work and build and develop as part of my professional career as well. But time moves on, people take new jobs, people die, get new interests, have other obligations. *rueful smile* Gaming laptops age. All of those things happened and I stopped going into SL. It took me a few years to surrender my land. I was paying around $40 a month, I think, for something I never used. I was never able to convince myself to give up my premium status, however. I was paying $72 a year for that until this past payment when it rose to $100/yr. Even so, I could not make that break. I had a zillion rationalizations for why I should keep the account.
I’d been chatting via social media with a friend from those good old SL days and we agreed to try to meet inworld. She had a new avatar, a new life, new friends, new everything there. Last night I went ‘home’. *laughing* Good grief, I’d forgotten SO MUCH. First, my pool with my ducks was making SO MUCH NOISE it was making me crazy. Why did I ever think pool sounds were a good idea? I knew I had to open the item, find the script that made the noise and stop it, but could not remember how to do it. I’ve also realized that at some point when we moved from our home on the water to our treetop home, Drake dyed his feathers yellow. He used to be white. I had 2 white ducks and one yellow and now I have 2 yellow ducks and one white one. I asked Drake why and he said he needed a new look for a new home. Bill, as usual, was totally oblivious to everything.
I did a little better at moving around and getting my panda, Bamboo, to come back and join me. Thank goodness my friend came inworld and helped me remember how to stop scripts, manage sound. Wow. Did she look different. I knew she had a new avatar, but avatar structure and movement have improved immensely since I was there last. Her fingers MOVED! My fingers are very blocky looking. We sat and talked and talked (yes, talked, we both went to voice, not just text chat). She promised to meet me again and take me shopping for a new body, new head, new hair and lots of new clothes!!!! I’m so excited! 🙂
While we were talking other friends logged in and saw that I was logged in. I got several IMs saying hello and *hug*. I accepted a TP from a friend to a performance going on by one of the musicians I always liked – Grace McDonnough. In this case TP means Teleport, NOT toilet paper. 🙂 I had a great time talking to my friend there, and hearing Grace’s singing. From there I headed over to Prim Economy to hear Komuso Tokugawa, who is one of my top 2 favorite performers in SL. I still listen to his music (which I had downloaded). I made a new friend there as we shared conversation about horses and shoes. The inworld versions of both have apparently improved as much as the avatars. She says that when you are riding a horse inworld you actually have the natural movement of a horse (you used to simply move forward with no rise and fall). I’m extremely excited to try riding in SL again. My good friend Calli was inworld. I managed to get over to Tribeca to catch the very last song of her set. Since it was Friday, and it was Tribeca, of course the closing song was “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. It’s ALWAYS Hallelujah. Last night’s rendition was by Jeff Buckley.
I went back in on Saturday, too. This time I remembered how to adjust my draw rate (how far away you can see items) and quality of detail. Slowly but surely some of the tricks are coming back. I caught up with another dear friend from the “old days”. I also got to hear Noma Falta live. I swear she gets better all the time. She was rocking it out at Smokestack. That venue was new for me. I like it. Had good seating, good dancing scripts, lots of people there. I did see one or two familiar names in the audience. It was another lovely evening. I sat there sipping my wine, listening to great music, chatting with my friend, catching up on all that has been happening. I was home. 🙂
Oh wow, you do NOT want to be wandering around NYC in August when the temps are in the 90s and the real-feel is in the high 90s. But that’s where you could find me yesterday. My cousin was in town for a few days and I went in to the city to meet her. She was traveling with a friend who’d never been to NYC. Normally I’d say let’s cram in everything we can but I knew the heat and humidity would knock us out. We agreed to go to a museum (air-conditioned) and then we’d go stand in the line at the TKTS booth and see what else we’d do. I wasn’t planning to stay in the city for an evening show, but hanging out at Times Square in line can be its own amusement. It’s a great place for people watching. My goal was to see my cousin Robin so I didn’t really mind what we did as long as I was not pounding the pavement all day.
We agreed to meet up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I always say I don’t like museums but I’m realizing that is not true. I do like museums. What I don’t like is having to look at paintings. When my son and I were in Venice in the Doge’s Palace, I finally cracked and told him we had to leave. I simply could not look at one more painting of a duke riding out to greet a pope. As long as we could look at architecture and artifacts I was fine, but the endless paintings broke me. I don’t spend much time staring at artifacts, either, and only read the placards if the item is unusually interesting. I’m sure there are those who would call me ‘heathen’ and they are probably correct. 🙂
I was able to catch a train around 9:00 am, which got me into the city around 10. I’d normally have walked from my house to the station, about a mile, but I had a late start. I had already decided I should drive because I had no idea how much walking I’d be doing and I figured I might need to conserve all that foot and leg energy for later. My cousin and I texted while I was on the train. They were walking to the museum. *smile* I usually walk about midtown when I’m there. First, it’s very expensive to take a taxi. I have no problem with the subway but it doesn’t always go where I want to go. In fact, walking is often the fastest way to get anywhere, assuming you are not traveling great distances. I have no problem with walking 40 blocks or so as long as I’ve got the correct footwear. I don’t think, however, that they had grasped exactly what it is like to walk over 40 blocks in NYC (I believe they started over on Lex and 49th).
Robin and her friend were thinking of having breakfast someplace and then going to the museum. Based on their progress at the point when my train got in, I figured I’d meet them up at the museum. Penn Station is at 33rd and 7th, the museum is at 83rd and 5th. That is about 3.5 miles. I decided to break with family tradition and take a taxi. My mother NEVER took taxis. When she and her friends got up in years, she was always offended when they’d insist on taking a taxi. I don’t think my mother even took the subway much. She WALKED. I could imagine her scorn at my indulgence, but at that point it really seemed the fastest and coolest way to get uptown. Even if I took the subway I’d end up walking across the park to get from the Museum of Natural History to the Met.
I got in the taxi and asked him to take me to Madison and 82, figuring that Robin would be breakfasting somewhere near the museum and I wouldn’t have to wait for the taxi to make the 2 left turns to get to the museum. That bit about the left turns might sound odd to those of you who have never traveled in the city, but trust me – when the cross town streets get crowded, trying to get around a block can take a significant amount of time. While we were still heading uptown on Madison, Robin told me that they’d gone into the museum. At that point I told the driver to take me there directly.
There was no line to get in yet so I cruised in and met up with Robin and Kevin. I’d enjoyed getting a half-price rail fare because I’m a member of AARP (thanks to my husband, who signed me up WAY earlier than I could have joined on my own *grin*). There is no AARP discount at the museum nor was there any reciprocity with my membership in the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Full price time. Neither Kevin nor I had had any breakfast at all so we headed straight for the American Wing Cafe for coffee. Ahhhh. I needed that. 🙂
We decided to wander about instead of taking an introductory tour. The American Cafe is directly behind the Temple of Dendur, which is a “must see” if you are at the museum. We started there. Next we headed to the Arms and Armour exhibit. I’d actually been to both places only 18 months earlier, when my husband and I had been in the city for the day and dinner, but they are both well worth multiple visits. I wanted to show them the Astor Chinese Garden Court. Although we had maps, parts of the museum were under renovation, so we kept getting directions to the elevator to get to the Asian Art exhibits. I kept insisting we could walk, so we ended up wandering through other exhibits as we attempted to get there.
I’d never been to the musical instrument exhibit before (galleries 680-684). Having just toured the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix 2 months earlier, I found the instruments more interesting and intriguing than I might have in the past. There are so many different ways that people make music. The materials and the shapes and the combinations – absolutely fascinating. If you look at the map (the link above) it APPEARS that you can walk from the musical instruments area to the Asian Art wing. Appearances can deceive. I finally gave up and we took the elevator to the Asian Art.
We must have gone up only a 1/2 floor. We barely moved, and then the doors on the other side of the elevator opened and we were in Asian Art. As we stepped out we saw/heard a tour in progress. The docent was describing the glass deer (well, that’s MY term for it) by Kohei Nawa. I’d seen this deer last trip as well. It is a taxidermied deer, covered with glass balls of varying sizes. I find it both attractive and a tad repugnant (because it seems disrespectful of the dead deer).
But at last we found the Astor Court. I LOVE this spot. I know that there are no chairs there/places to sit, because if there WERE, the place would be packed with folks sitting there in serenity. My memory told me that when I was there in January, there had been flowering plants. There were none there at the moment, but when I checked my photos I saw that for once my memory was right on target (unlike my memory of walking to the Astor Court *grin*). We all loved the garden and spent a little time there simply enjoying it, and watching the koi.
We made sure to wander through the Gift Shop on our way out, but we all nobly restrained ourselves from buying anything (and we each had things in our hands at one point so you know it was difficult).
Next on the agenda was heading back to midtown to wait in the TKTS line so Robin and Kevin could get show tickets. It was 2:30, and it was hot and humid. *smile* We all opted for a taxi back down to Times Square. Ahhhh. Air conditioned. No walking. We got there about 10 minutes before the booth opened. It’s become so efficient and modern since I last stood in the TKTS line. In MY day, sonny, they only took cash at the window. You didn’t know what was available til you got to the counter and could peer behind the agents. Now everything is computerized, there are sign boards out front, they take credit cards. 🙂 Ahhh, technology. While Kevin and Robin waited in line, I sat on the big red bleachers and watched the people. They joined me, waving their prize – tickets to Tootsie!!!
I decided that they NEEDED to see Rockefeller Center (I have a sentimental attachment as I used to work at 30 Rock, back in the days when it was the RCA Building). We walked over there and took photos. I had NO IDEA that in the summer they put in a SANDBOX in the middle of the promenade! You know I went straight over and sat down in a chair and wriggled my toes in the sand! From there we headed over to The Playwright, a restaurant on 49th. As it happens, I have fond memories of this restaurant as well, as my son and I had dinner here one day when we were doing a day of TKTS – matinee in the afternoon, show in the evening. 🙂 We hung out drinking and eating and chatting for about 2 hours. Then I headed for the train home and they headed to the theater. All in all, a lovely day in the city, despite the heat and humidity.
There really is a difference between hearing music live, and hearing recorded music. I’ve mentioned in the past that I love being in high-energy crowds. Whatever is the music equivalent of a vampire, I am that. I feed off the energy. Yet getting to the crowd is often complicated enough that I pass on the opportunity.
Back in the spring on a day I was feeling a bit low, I saw an advertisement for an upcoming Heart concert. I clicked through and saw it was scheduled for a venue about 90 minutes away, it was a double-bill with Joan Jett, it was my birthday week, and I love Heart’s music AND Joan Jett’s music. I had no idea who’d want to go with me, but I bought 2 tickets. Not only 2 tickets, but I made sure they were center seats, under the roof (it was a pavilion venue – BB&T Pavilion in Camden). And then I pretty much forgot about it.
Well last week was birthday week (as well as kidney stone week) and the concert was Friday. I invited my sister to use my other ticket and join me and she agreed. Outdoor venues are tricky – you never know if the weather will cooperate or not. Even if you are under the roof, it it’s raining the air is uncomfortable. I’d never been to BB&T so I tried to get as much information online as possible. Well. I guess it’s true that mostly cranky unhappy people post reviews. “Too Expensive” “horrible view” “traffic was ridiculous” “I’ll never go back”. Oh dear, too late for ME – I already bought my tickets AND my VIP parking. I’ve reached the point that if I’m going to treat myself, I’m going to treat myself and I’m not going to park a zillion miles away and hike in.
The more I looked at the pictures, however, and read reviews, I realized that the complaints were nothing more than what I consider to be realities of concert going. Yep, the prices for EVERYTHING at a venue are outrageously expensive. Part of how they make their money. Yep, trying to get hundreds of cars (if not thousands of cars) out AFTER the event means you WILL be sitting there for a good 30 minutes or more before you should even try to start your car to move. That’s why you bring enough food to tailgate before AND after. 🙂 (And of course you go in your red convertible which makes everything better.)
My brother-in-law packed us a fantastic tailgate: home-grilled seasoned chicken on home made flat bread, and his delicious macaroni salad. We each brought our drink of choice (vodka & tonic for my sister, wine spritzers for me). I had brand new chairs-in-bags and a brand new pop-up table in a bag. My cooler is always stocked with paper goods, plastic wear, cutting knives and napkins. I always have my Swiss Army knife. I packed a cooler of ice cubes and a bag of limes. We were good to go!
Getting down to Camden was not a problem – no traffic on the NJ Turnpike for a change. Our biggest issue was finding the correct place for VIP parking. We waited in a parking line to get into the venue parking, only to be told we were in the wrong lot. We needed to go out and go right-right-right to get to the VIP parking. 🙂 We found the lot and asked WHERE the venue was in relation to the entrance to the lot. The attendant pointed over to her left, said we could park anywhere. I headed left and there were LOADS of spots. This concert was obviously NOT a sellout. We picked a spot next to a no-parking area so we’d have room to setup our tailgate. It was lovely. The online descriptions of the lot indicated it was across the road from the venue. The “road” was barely a road – it was more a driveway. It was a very short walk, probably the closest we have ever parked to a venue. (Yes, it was expensive, and yes, the people parking for $10 less were parking in the same huge lot we were but on the other side of the orange cones. So what – it was one less worry for me in my planning.)
We had a lovely tailgate and then headed in to the venue. It was very much like the pavilion up on the Garden State Parkway in Holmdel, NJ, where we’ve gone many times. This one was better, however, because the concession stands were INSIDE, which meant air-conditioning as well as protection from the rain if necessary. The drinks were extremely over-priced but of course I indulged in the summer cocktail special. It came in a BLINKING GLASS!!!!!! How could I resist? Obviously I couldn’t. 🙂 The only disappointment was the lack of anything that could be considered dessert – we’d forgotten to pack any cookies. 😦 They won back those ‘points’, however, at intermission when they changed the men’s bathroom into one for the women and directed the men to the facilities outside. *grin* They said the ratio of women/men was so skewed they knew they had to address the matter. 🙂
The music was, of course, fantastic. Despite stating that I wouldn’t take any pictures because they never come out well, I took pictures. 🙂 I took videos of some of my favorite songs. The opening act was Elle King (you know – EX’s and Oh’s). The sound crew did a poor job. My sister and I both stuffed tissues in our ears because it was so loud and almost distorted. (Ah yes, we ARE getting old, how tacky of you to mention it.) Joan Jett and Heart both had much better sound quality and no tissues were necessary, thank goodness! 🙂 There were many open seats in front of us so we had great sight, except of course for the couple 2 rows ahead of us who NEVER sat down. *grin* We shifted over so my sister could see something besides their backs. I love the light shows. 🙂 The music is great without a light show but I do like bright shiny glitter and light shows are that and more. There was also a bubble machine at one point.
Leaving WAS a bit of a nuisance. We did sit there the expected 30 minutes waiting for the line of leavers to lessen. Once we joined the departures it was probably only another 15 minutes of moving forward slowly. The annoying part was the inability to get back on the road we used to get there – Rt 38. We were blocked from that direction and had to keep going south onto Rt 676. I have to say that I absolutely loath trying to drive around Philadelphia and Camden – it’s a real form of torture for me because the roads are terrible, they all merge, the signs are terrible, I don’t do enough driving there to know the secrets and you just can’t get THERE from HERE, no matter the ‘there’ or the ‘here’. We ended up driving south for easily 15 minutes or so before we could finally hook up to the road that would go north. I find that annoying. I suppose it’s possible that as far as TIME goes, it took the same amount of time as I’d have spent on Rt 38, but it’s the PRINCIPLE of the thing, you know???? I want to go where *I* want to go. 🙂
All in all it was a great birthday present – great music, great company, great food, AND a blinking cup souvenir!!!
I had planned to go to the office today but my back had other ideas. I don’t know how I manage to damage my back, or my neck, or my hip, while I sleep, but I seem to have a talent that way. Anyway, I’m working from home. This week I have had the most delightful companion when I’m working from home. There is a bird sitting in the huge rhododendron bush outside the window. It is singing. A lot. It’s wonderful. It makes me happy.
Here, for YOUR listening pleasure, is Bird in the Bush (worth 2 in the hand that DON’T sing).
The best part of this video is that when I play it to test it, the bird outside starts chirping back. *grin*
I headed out to my Arizona vacation with only a vague itinerary. What I knew I wanted to do: hang by the pool, go to the spa, meet my son’s friends, see the desert, get to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s desert home. That left a lot of unplanned time. My Super Shuttle drivers had many suggestions for me. They suggested the Phoenix Botanical Gardens, a trip to Sedona, hiking to Devil’s Bridge in Sedona, the Musical Instrument Museum and Taliesin West. They told me that it was a shame I was there then, because I should have come earlier when the botanical gardens (and all the plants actually) would have been in full bloom. They felt that I’d not get the true flower experience. Ah well, I got there when I got there. The point of the trip was escape, and that happens when it happens. 🙂
My son agreed with all of my plans and with the drivers’ suggestions. He’d also asked his friends for hiking suggestions for us. We woke up Friday morning and decided to have a comparatively relaxed day because we knew we’d be going out at night to meet up with his friends. Apparently mead and gaming are a winning combination. There are a lot of gamers in Phoenix and now there are meaderies as well. Yes – multiple meaderies. The Scale & Feather Meadery in Avondale (part of the greater Phoenix area) is brand new – just opened in May. Jumping ahead to the end of our day I will say it was great fun to meet ‘the gang’ and taste the mead. There was live music and the place was full and it was a lot of good energy. I doubt I’ll ever be a mead aficionado but it was an interesting taste test. 🙂 There is another games & brewery right next door and there was a lot of back and forth traffic between the 2 businesses. I felt young again. *grin*
Okay, so we needed to have a non-strenuous day so I’d be able to hang with the gang. We opted for a nice big breakfast at Chompie’s. This was actually a bit of an ironic choice in a way since it prides itself on being a New York deli. 🙂 Our meal was delicious and perfect for what we wanted. We headed from there to the Desert Botanical Garden. As we approached the entrance we saw huge lime green cacti rising up ahead. My son kept saying “those can’t be real” and I said “who knows – plants are weird”. We got closer and saw that my son was correct. The cacti were beautiful Chihuly glass sculptures. We paid the entrance fee and headed in. We realized that we had hats and sunscreen, but no water. You can’t go anywhere in Arizona in the summer without water. We stopped at a vending machine and got ourselves supplied. We wandered off to see the sights. I have to say that despite the pessimistic predictions there were still many, many flowers blooming.
Even had there NOT been flowers, the plants were fascinating. The layout consists of different garden areas – some are herbal, some contemplative areas, native american habitats, and more. Of course there are the wonderful surrounding mountains as well. Had NONE Of that been there, it would have all been worthwhile because I FINALLY saw a hummingbird. I do not think I have ever seen a hummingbird. Or if I have, for some reason I have been unable to retain the image in my memory. In one of the very first gardens we viewed, there was a hummingbird!!! I managed to take several photos. I was so excited! There were other birds and there were butterflies, and we saw a toad camouflaged among tree roots. For me the hummingbird was the star of the show.
There was also a possessed fountain. Oh sure, there will be those of you who are going to think I’m crazy, or that I have a vivid imagination. But I know what I saw. I didn’t take video, but I took photos. I’m telling you that it wasn’t really just water in that fountain. There was something alien and it was aiming at us. You want an explanation? We sat down in the shade, on a stone bench, near a lovely fountain. As we sat there, the water began to flow over the top of the basin. It hadn’t been overflowing before we got there. It was a perfectly normal fountain. We sat down, chatted, took some photos. And the water came over the top of the basin. It began to trickle down along the bench, following the arc of the bench. It was aiming at my son’s foot. We moved down the bench. It followed. It kept coming. Right at us. Oh I’m sure some of you would say “what is WITH you???” But I have seen B movies. Everyone in the audience KNOWS that you don’t go in the empty house; you don’t sit in the deserted area; when the insects are buzzing and all else is quiet, you don’t stay. And when the mysterious liquid starts seeping towards you, following you, that is the time to FLEE!!! So we fled. I turned back to look. THE WATER HAD STOPPED FLOWING ALONG THE BENCH!!!! It KNEW we had left. I was right. We went to another garden. No mysterious alien water is going to touch us!!!
From the gardens we headed to the Musical Instrument Museum. My coworker had suggested this place before I left, saying that it was fantastic and well worth a visit. Since the shuttle drivers had felt just as strongly about the museum we figured it should be on our list. I have to say – it is great. We got there in time for the next tour. It’s about 45 minutes and it’s set up to orient you to the museum structure and presentations. There are also audio guides which trigger automatically as you near an exhibit. It was very interesting to see the same kind of instrument being used in cultures all over the world. There was a good exhibit on the electrical guitar – so much I hadn’t known/realized and so much that triggered happy memories. The museum is worth a post for itself, but I didn’t take any photos. I was starting to fade a bit (probably from the heat in the garden and the 3 hour time zone change). We made it to the daily performance of the Orchestrion – a mechanical machine that plays music and is designed to sound like an entire band or orchestra. As it was the day after June 6, commonly known as “D-Day” in the US, the gentleman running the demonstration played a selection of military songs. I played the piccolo in our high school marching band, as well as in the marching band from our temple. I’ve marched in blazing sun and pouring rain, at football games, in holiday parades, in celebratory parades and there is one thing they all had in common – at least one song by John Phillip Sousa. Of course my favorite is Stars and Stripes Forever, where you can hear the piccolo above everything else. So for your listening pleasure I bring you the Orchestrion from the Musical Instrument Museum of Phoenix, playing Stars and Stripes Forever. (and a little bit of The Battle Hymn of the Republic)
I live in a fairly small town. I’ve spent the majority of my life in this town. My immediate family is/was also in this town. We have street fairs, parades, festivals and, of course, a July 4th celebration. Oddly enough I don’t remember taking part in the 4th of July festivities very often, if at all. July 4th was my parents’ wedding anniversary, and I used to throw a BBQ for them. That evolved into a BBQ with friends (all of whom lived in town). We’d wander out into the street after dark to try to glimpse the fireworks, or we’d all traipse down to the river to have a good view of the fireworks. In the last few years we loaded ourselves into the car and drove to a bridge to watch the fireworks from there (with many others who also pulled over and parked on the bridge for just that purpose). But we rarely headed down to the park itself to join the town celebration.
This year I’m a little tuckered out from busy weekends and sweaty weather. I made no plans to entertain, figuring we’d do this long weekend in the ‘spur of the moment’. Early in the week I asked my husband if he’d go down to the park with me and he agreed. You may not understand how momentous it was for him to agree. He isn’t really much into doing things outdoors in the heat. He gets devoured by mosquitoes. He has fair skin and burns in the sun. He’s not really overly fond of crowds. Opposites attract, right? I LOVE being out in the hot sun. I often think I am a form of vampire, because crowd energy is food for me, and I suck it right into my soul.
Once he agreed I started planning (some might say obsessing) with how to make it palatable so that (1) he would follow through on his agreement, (2) we wouldn’t have to leave early and (3) maybe we could do it again next year. 🙂 The park is on the other side of the town from us – about a 20 minute relaxed walk. The police were going to shut down the streets next to the park and block parking as well. I figured we’d want chairs for fireworks viewing so I needed to figure out how to have the chairs there and ready and not have to shlepp them and carry them about while we ate, and saw whatever sights there were to be seen. I arranged with a friend to leave my car, with chairs-in-bags, parked in front of her house, which is about 5 blocks from the park. I drove the car over early in the morning and left it there so that I had MY SPOT all set before the crush for parking began in the early evening. I knew also that at the end of the evening we would not want to be hiking up hill all the way back home. We are at the highest point in town and the park is at the lowest. I was also hoping that I’d parked on the road that would have less pedestrian traffic as that road did not lead directly into the park itself. Now you see why some folks describe my planning as obsessing. 🙂
Came 6:30 and it was time. We coated ourselves liberally with insect repellent, long pants, sneakers and socks, and headed off to our car. We were obviously ahead of the crowd still and I saw a BETTER SPOT on the next block down so I moved the car. *grin* It’s PLANNING, really. 🙂 As we reached the entrance to the park we met our friends who were unloading passengers and chairs. A propitious omen for a good time. We wandered on down into the park, perused the food vendors, grabbed food and headed to the lawn to park ourselves in our chairs. I’m pretty certain my chair is broken. It sits VERY low to the ground and closer inspection seems to indicate that a bolt might be missing.
We were sitting and enjoying the periodic cool breeze, the beautiful sky, the musical attempts from the stage. We saw some friends we’ve not seen in ages, as she and I both exclaimed “Oh I’ve been meaning to CALL you!” I loved watching all the people. The children with their bubble machines (everybody wins at the carnival games there – play til you pick your prize). Did you know that if you aim your bubble machine at the ground you can make a mountain of bubbles? Everyone has a different idea as to what one wears to the 4th of July festival in the park. There was a lot of happy and energy and good vibrations. Hey – we even met the mayor. *grin* My sister and her husband came down and joined us and soon it was TIME.
The fireworks were fantastic. I wasn’t really sure how good they’d be. I mean, fireworks are never BAD, but some are merely fireworks. These were FIREWORKS!!! They were beautiful and constant and they lit up the sky. People were oooo’ing and ahhhhh’ing and clapping and cheering. My husband thought that the finale might have been the best fireworks we have ever seen. They were truly stupendous. Absolutely great show and I’m so glad we went.
It was a perfect small-town 4th of July celebration. Not a single bug bite. Seeing friends. Eating festival food. Perfect summer weather. Even joining the exodus from the park went smoothly (yay for air-conditioned cars). As my brother-in-law quipped “Our tax dollars at work!” Worth EVERY penny.
If you’ve read this blog from its inception, you know it began as a chronicle of my adventures in Second Life. Although I still maintain my (premium) account, I’ve not logged in for well over a year, maybe even longer than that. But for several years Friday night meant hanging about in SL, and listening to live music. I could always count on hearing Komuso Tokugawa, Von Johin, Taunter Goodnight, Keeba Tammas, Euterpe Queller, and Noma Falta. I loved them all but 2 of my best buds were friends with Noma. Friday nights would find me hanging with them for an hour, rocking out with Noma, who covered a lot of the strong women rockers, with a lot of Melissa Etheridge’s work. I loved my Friday nights filled with music, whether the live performances or hearing my favorite DJ Calli spin the tunes.
It’s been a very long time, as I said, and not only do I not get inworld anymore, I rarely get out for live music in the RL (is that outworld?). When my husband asked me a few weeks ago if I’d like to hear Melissa Etheridge I couldn’t say YES fast enough. Last night was Melissa-night.
We headed out for dinner in town first. We love catching an easy meal at the bar of one of the local restaurants. We love the bar (I mean the physical tangible wood, shape, look), the bartender (we’re on our 2nd bartender there), and the bar menu. I’m less thrilled with the dinner menu – the chef is enamored of pork in all forms and I don’t eat treyf. We were in luck all night long. There was room in the parking garage with a spot right near the exit door we needed. We walked to the restaurant and it wasn’t too cold nor was it raining. Given the weather lately, that was extremely lucky. There were seats at the bar (often come the holiday season the bar is full). When I told Matt (the bartender) I wanted something that would be warm and comforting he mentioned they had hot mulled red wine. PERFECT!!! My husband and I both ordered our favorite selections and sipped our drinks, chatted with each other, with Matt and had a great dinner.
We headed up to the theater and although it seemed like it might start raining, it stopped after just a very light sprinkle. We were warmed up from our meal so I have no idea if it was cold or not. *grin* Funny thing happened as I went through the bag check. The usher was looking in my bag and saw my lip gloss (really a lip moisturizer). She saw the brand name and got all excited saying she had wanted to try that brand, how did I like it? *laughing* So I stood there discussing cosmetics with her before being waved on through.
Perhaps my memory is faulty, but I seem to remember that when someone went to a concert there was no food or drink allowed in the theater, people listened to the performance and being there was about enjoying the performance, NOT about having conversations and wandering all over the theater. Times have changed. I admit I like being able to take a drink to my seat. But I noticed the gentleman in front of me reading recipes on his cell phone (I was standing, he was sitting and I happened to glance down). Really? Melissa is rocking the joint and you’re reading your cell phone?
I’m old enough to remember folks lighting cigarette lighters or matches as appreciation for the artist. I do not find folks holding up their cell phones to shine that light to be anywhere near as intimate and compelling as the fire. 🙂 I also marvel at the people who spent most of the night filming Melissa instead of putting down the phone and WATCHING her DIRECTLY and moving to the music.
It was a great night, don’t mistake me. Melissa has such energy, such passion up there. As my husband said on our way out “she has energy like Bruce” and I agreed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone who has Bruce’s energy but she may have come the closest. Oh really, you need me to tell you who BRUCE is??? Shame on you.
But there I was, rocking out to Melissa Etheridge on a Friday night. It was like SL, but better. 🙂
I have been determined to get inworld and visit some of the great seasonal sites as well as catch up – again – with friends. My day had been somewhat up and down. A VERY good up was news from my surgeon about my foot. *smile* His words were music to my ears: Push it Ahuva – USE that foot, wear shoes. At this point you’ll do more harm by NOT using than by OVER using it. Yes! Since I’d already managed to get into a pair of boots with 2.5 inch heels, that was both reward and incentive. *laughing* Those 2.5 inch heeled boots are my “flats”, btw.
Logging in I got more UP day. Hunter was on and we chatted for a bit. I don’t remember the last time we both were on with a few moments to relax and catch up. While we were saying “bon apetit” in parting, Patricia Anne logged in. Oh my, I don’t think PA and I have talked since perhaps the summer. Maybe even the spring. It seems like years. We had a great time chatting and catching up on both RL and SL. I’d been listening to Taunter while I chatted. She was singing at a formal attire venue so I had a chance to take one of my gowns out of inventory. 🙂 The risque brown one that would never ever work for me in the material world. Was lovely, as always, to listen to Taunter sing. When she was done, I headed to Fogbound, my home away from home when it’s NOT Friday night. (Then home away from home is Tribeca, of course.)
Once there, I saw more friends – Mae and Yanik. *smile* Bob was playing great Blues and the mood was perfect. Y joined me shortly after I arrived, so I got up to dance! We also had a LOT of catching up to do. I guess that’s true for me for all my friends. Since the last time I managed to get in was nearly 2 weeks ago, there’s a lot to cover.
As we danced I did the usual cam-around-the-room. I noticed a great looking pair of red boots. So nice, I thought I might like to find a pair for myself. I clicked on a boot and checked the object profile and took a screen shot for future reference. For the record: N&N City boots by candice OHare! I IM’d Alessandra, she of the lovely red boots, and told her I thought her boots were great! She said thank you and I said you’re welcome. I smiled, thought no more on it, and continued chatting with Y. Well. I saw an incoming box and checked. Alessandra had gifted me with a pair of the boots!!!!!! So generous! A simple compliment generating such a thoughtful gesture.
Yes, there may be griefing. Yes, there are trolls who announce unpleasant things in the local chat. Yes, SL has its share of not so pleasant beings. But SL also has the beautiful lovely people who reach out and make the world a happier place to be. Thank you SO much, Alessandra! You are a star!