Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Walkin'

Flashback this morning-
Sometimes songs, people, events just come rushing back out of the blue. Where they come from and why at a particular time, I do not know

Exhibit A- I'm looking at this image, taken on East End Beach last week, and all I'm thinking of is the Shangri Las hit "Remember, Walkin' in the Sand" recorded back somewhere around 1965. The Shangri Las were one of those slutty girl bands that that guys were pulled towards.  Not me , of course, but some guys (insert laugh track here). Although they dressed kind of pretty, I imagined they'd fit in perfectly with the greasers in the teen classic, The Outsiders. They could hide switchblades in their poofy hair! When I heard "Leader of the Pack", I knew I had to see what these girls looked like. Saw them on American Bandstand, Hullabaloo and the Lloyd Thaxton Show.
Like a comet, they flashed across the sky.
Blonde lead singer, Mary Weiss, is still performing.
That's my musical update today.
Remember...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dance Hall

This room brought back memories of dance halls of an other era. The Rug Factory, Serenity Hill, Presumpscot Grange and Frye Hall were all regular venues that pulled me in for one reason or another. Some for the good and a couple for the...  well, let's leave it at that. 
The last couple weeks here's my playlist: Lou Reed, Talking Heads, Grateful Dead, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Rosanne Cash, Steely Dan, Classical, Lucinda Williams, Queen, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Beatles,  Bob Marley, Radiohead, The Four Seasons, Springsteen, Brad Paisley, Buckwheat Zydeco, Jimmy Cliff, British Invasion music, Steve Miller Band, Dave Clark Five, Hall and Oats, Dropkick Murphys, Dwight Yoakum, Saw Doctors, Moody Blues, Cher, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Pretenders, Four Tops, Warren Zevon, Dylan, Oscar Peterson, Patsy Cline, Miles Davis, Chris Isaak, Dire Straits, Dusty Springfield, Dean Martin, Clapton, Allman Brothers, BB King, Van Morrison, Stones, Kinks and a few more.
As you can see, my musical tastes run all over the place.
Music plays in my world.
Who have I left out that needs to be on my rotation?  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Two Couches

I like over-stuffed couches. I sampled both of these the other day, and I'll go with the blue one. Why do they call them over-stuffed? Most used furniture seems pretty much beat up and worn. If you are heading for one at a bar or coffee shop, you'll find cushions that have been dealt their u-shaped form by years upon years of big butt use. I can deal with the ill-formed cushions. However, it's the seats that exhibit that musty, peculiar aroma that you just can't place. Can't place, but you know it's not a good place. Both of these were free of such a malady.
These couches have stories.
I haven't read them yet though. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Beach Grass

I went to the beach last week. It was sunny, but a brisk breeze was coming off the water. It always does this time of year. I walked towards the water along a small wooden pathway. I was looking left and right for the sights and sounds of nesting birds. Piping plovers nest here from the middle of April on. I saw none. I heard none. Too early, I guess. I'm not a birder, so don't get me going on that activity. Ok, you twisted my arm... Now, counting different birds at certain times of the year? No problem. Makes sense to me, even though it seems a lot like the herding of cats to me. But manning high-powered binoculars and scanning bushes and the skies and just looking to identify birds and talking about their migration patterns seems kind of boring to me.
Maybe I'm missing something.
It won't be the first time.
You go you plovers!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mailboxes

Different is good!
I like to think I'm different, but in a good way. I like to think I'm a bit unique too. I was thinking about this the other day. Yes, different is good, but each day you live a different way, don't you become in a kind of a sad, boring way the SAME? Maybe I'm thinking too much this morning.
Gotta go get a coffee. 

*Hey, check this out. I've been included this morning.
http://asthecrackerheadcrumbles.blogspot.com/2014/04/fridays-sites-to-see_11.html

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Not Camo

This is not a replay of yesterday's jacket sidewalk shot. I was grabbing an afternoon coffee yesterday and perusing a couple of 'weekly rags', when I looked to my left and saw this tree literally dressed from top to bottom in lichen. I can't believe any tree covered in this fungus could be in good shape. Excluding a couple of relatively minor physical issues, I'm in better shape than this young tree. After stating this, I'm just letting you know I might might have to 'delete' another comment this morning. It won't be a crazy, religious spammer though. I'll probably be someone closer to home.
That said, I'm thinking it's getting close to a spring trip to the beach and a rack of fried clams and beach fries.
I'm just saying.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sidewalk Camo

It's not only animals that use camouflage to to escape their natural enemies. We do too. I don't hunt, although I live in a state where hunting is a large draw. From what I have seen lately, fashion has become a big part of the hunting game in and out of the woods. Don't believe me? Stop by any of the large or small outdoor gear stores. Check out the hunting sections of large businesses like LL Bean, Kittery Trading Post and Cabelas and sample the clothes' racks. I must admit this jacket is a eye-catcher on a local sidewalk. I wouldn't buy one, but I do see why others are attracted to jackets, hoodies and other outdoor wear clothes. To each his own, I say.
I'll leave it at that.
Not getting into the hunting debate here.
Not even going to go any further battling the pros and cons of fashion either.
However, Heidi would look stunning in this number, with or without the spiked heels.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Past or Future

This looks like a fall shot, but it was taken yesterday. Is it a glance back at a murky past or some sort of slow clarification of the road ahead? Take your pick. With apologies to 'chairman of the board', regrets, sure I've had a few. Mistakes/? There is a long line of those, but I really must say that I've learned quite a bit from those experiences. Embarrassments? Yes. Loss of face? Sure. Vows that that will never happen again? Many, many, many. Like most, I like to think that I've learned from all of those miscalculations. I'm not a habitual offender. Screw up big time, and I don't want that feeling again. I steer clear. At least, if I look back with my memory, it reflects back that way to me.
My memory seems a bit foggy at times though.
Perhaps Elenka might be a better judge.
Learn from mistakes.
Then turn the page.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Maple Fingers

Here we are today. The stubby fingers of our maple reach to touch the sky. It looks a bit different from yesterday's photo. Below a few lines from Gerard Manley Hopkins on the topic of spring. My journey, as an English major, crossed paths with Hopkins in a Victorian Literature class. Our professor was a 'Hopkins' nut', who did his best to showcase the English poet's daring creativeness.

Spring
By Gerard Manley Hopkins
Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –         
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;         
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush         
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring         
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
   The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush         
   The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush         
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Snow Maple

Don't panic!
This image was not taken this morning. I took it about 3 weeks ago after our last snowfall (I hope). It's the maple tree at the end of the driveway. Spring has finally sprung. 
Boing! Boing! Boing!
There. Did you hear it. 
We've got a stretch ahead, about 10 days, of 50+ temperatures headed our way. I saw about 20 robins hopping about a field on the way home from work last week. Maybe baseball fields will be showing brown grass in another week or so. Bright sun greeted me at the backdoor, as I let Molly out this morning. The driveway remains wet, and that always a good sign that the garden area is melting. Still significant snow remains piled on the deck, but I digress. Crocuses are blooming. Elenka tells me there are daffodils ready to explode on her way to work. More birds are chirping, as I shove off to work each morning at 6:30. There is plenty of dirty snow around, but I just divert my eyes. 
"Look away, it's hideous!"
So, this better be my last snow shot, but I'm not predicting anything.
I had Michigan State winning it all tomorrow night. They are long gone in the Madness that was March.
We've had snow mid-April too.
Never in May though.
Whoops!
I shouldn't have uttered those words.
Boing!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Grind

I don't consider work a grind. Never have. I enjoy it. I'm intrigued each day at at what I might find. I've been at it awhile, and I'm not jaded. I've seen others, younger than I, fall by the wayside, angry and crestfallen. The job's not easy. No one has ever said that. Not me. Not yet. You say, I might have found the fountain of youth. I'm not that lucky. Not yet. It's a cliche, but I take each 24 hours as it comes. Perfection in all I touch? I haven't found that 'island' yet either. I'm not searching for it either. I must say finding 'little gems' in my day helps. Every day is different. Stumbling upon these 'little sparkles of light' often shows up when I least expect them. I think we all do,  and not always at work either. I've driven by the Grind for many years but never stopped. I've always seen it as a difficult spot to park. The other day, while waiting for a car repair I had 30 minutes to kill. I got dropped off here. Lots of coffee choices. I settled on a coconut-flavored number (love anything coconut) and sat back on an over-stuffed couch among magazines and some local weeklies, and time flew. It was a warm spot on a chilly March afternoon.
No grind involved, other than its name.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Storage

Sometimes it's lonely being by yourself.
This looks to be a very economical storage alternative behind the Amtrak station. I bet it beats the heck out pricy marinas located around the harbor. Own a boat? Storage is a big ticket item to consider.
Storage for me comes down to energy storage. Unlike a fine friend and coworker next door, who is always eating to feed the metabolism, I pass on breakfast and make it to lunch before I partake. My lunch these days: cottage cheese, plain yogurt, raisins, almonds, blueberries, sliced bananas, a few grapes. It's a mess when I stir the concoction together, and yes, I get strange looks at my lunch table and a few laughs thrown in, but from my end it's delicious. 
As George Costanza says, "It's all pipes; what's the difference. It all ends up in the same place."
Storage of energy is a very good thing.
Now, that's food for thought.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Inside SALT

The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies offers courses in writing, photography, radio and new media. It's always a  fascinating stop on any Friday Art Walk, or really any day you'd like to get a taste of what is happening in the documentary arts. It's an engaging room. The walls are always lined with compelling photo essays and the room to the right usually is playing interesting video storytelling projects. The Institute has grown quite a bit from its formative years putting out a simple magazine in the 70's.
It seems like lots of changes... for the better.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cluttered branches

As you can see by this recent photo, spring really hasn't burst around here yet. It's really difficult to find any budding breaking out. It's coming, but still seems delayed. I noticed yesterday on the news that Hadlock Field is cleared of snow and ready for the Portland Seadogs home opener tomorrow. Portland currently has a lot less snow cover than in my backyard this morning. I get a kick each year when they interview Seadog players from 'away' about playing, the game they love, in April in Maine. I attended a home opener  of the 'Dogs back somewhere in the 90's. It was some cold, brother. I passed on a delicious Seabiscuit though, the frozen ice cream sandwich, that I seem to always sample attending a game on a July evening. Even though we were dressed for winter, we vacated our seats in the seventh inning... Frozen!
See, I experienced the newest Disney movie long before it hit the theaters this past year.
FROZEN... solid.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Theme Day: Triangles

Today, April 1, 2014 is Theme Day across the CDP (citydailyphoto) community. Sometimes things just fall into your lap. J's sculpture "Rusted Triangles" made it into the spring USM juried art show. About two weeks ago, I'm wondering what  the heck am I going to have for a photograph for April. I had some pretty weak ideas: photographing in math books, a Pink Floyd album cover, a folded American flag. What was I going to do? Then I recalled that sculpture that I 'lived' with off an on in the house last spring, as it reached its completion. It has lots of triangles with an unusual rust finish that is not a glaze. It gives the appearance of rusty metal, but it's ceramic.
His professors loved it.
The judges admired it and talked to him at length about what he had done.
Even this Dad can be impressed with art.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Dustin

Baseball is back!
Today is the official Opening Day in Major League Baseball. Reigning World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox open the year visiting the Baltimore Orioles at their beautiful park, Camden Yards. The Portland Seadogs, residents of Hadlock Field, pictured here, are on the road to begin the year too, later this week.
There's something about that phrase, 'hope springs eternal', that rings so true for baseball. This morning, with most teams looking at 162 games ahead, all 30 major league franchises believe in their hearts that they have a chance to win it all and hoist the trophy in October. To me, that signals an exciting summer ahead. At this time the Seadogs have had 10 current Red Sox who have worn the 'Dogs' logo. For a relatively small city like Portland, that's a pretty cool thing. To see Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Will Middlebrooks, Dustin Pedroia, Junichi Tazawa and many others on the way to the bigs and before they were big stars for about $5 a ticket is amazing. 
Well, for baseball fanatic like me it is.
So it all begins today.
Who will win it all?
Cards? Yanks? Rays? Nationals? Tigers? Dodgers? Angels?
Can the Sox go back to back?
Time will tell.
Play Ball!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fendered Bike

This bike looked a little lost the other night in the gentle rain. I'm not lost in the rain. At times, I welcome it. You see, it all comes down to the 'hair thing'. A light, showering rainfall complements my curly, brown hair, whereas it's the enemy of Elenka's hair. At least that's what she tells me. I guess you could say my hairstyle is haphazard at best.
On first seeing it, you might say, "Hey, take a chance and run a brush or comb through it." You might even wonder it I attend it at all, or do I just roll out of bed and head off to 'conquer my world'. 
Now to say I'm meticulous with it would bring laughter so I won't go there, but honestly, I do occupy a mirror with it in the morning. And I must say I do apply some 'product' to sooth the somewhat 'violent nature' of it.
The unruliness of it---
I guess you could say, it's one of the crosses I bear.
To tell the truth, I like it. It's me. Kinda crazy. Kinda unique.
Right about now, you're wondering. Will we get a look? Come on, enough with the teasing.
A photo will have to wait.
Got to shower now and get IT ready to meet my day.
So you see, light rain, I like it.
Sort of a natural spritzer, without the wine. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Blue

"Wooden Ships"
"Doctor My Eyes"
"Superman"
"Sweet Melissa"
"Stormy Monday"
These were just a few of the cuts on the setlist of of Mick and Jay and friends at BLUE last evening. BLUE is a intimate, live music venue in the West End of the city on Congress Street, that often features Irish music and Jazz nights. Mick is a friend I work with and have been meaning to take in one of his shows. While enjoying the music, I settled on a couple of Laqunitas Pale Ales and Elenka  a glass of merlot. The food menu is very limited, so after the show we dropped  into Boda, advertised as a 'very Thai kitchen', across the street for dinner.
Great tunes.
Fine beverages.
Delicious food.
Can't beat that for a night out.
Hey, and Blue is my favorite color!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Train Time

"It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry" has got to be my favorite all time Dylan title. I bought Highway 61 and played it over and over. I'm so surprised the needle never made its way through the vinyl. Trains never kept me up at night, but I always heard their whistles sounding as they raced across the Morrill's Corner tracks. It was probably about that time winter nights, that I sadly realized  the hot-water bottle that had kept me comfortable and cozy earlier was now solid cold. But the bed was warm, and I just rolled over. Once, apparently, I did not secure the stopper at the top and the water leaked out. I woke with everything soaking wet, PJs, sheets, blankets-- everything. I think it was a night of tears. Of course, my first reaction was that I had had an 'accident'. I had heard about bed wetters and I was a scared. Then I remembered the 'bottle'. Mom came to the rescue that night.
Hey, I just read that hot-water bottles were called just 'hotties' by some.
Wait a minute!
I slept with a 'hottie' when I was an early teen?
If I only knew.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Blight

Ok, I'm not a neat-nick.
For those who know me well, I'll wait for the laughter and guffaws to subside. I tend to exist around clutter. I'm comfortable here. However, I know it's not right, and I really do try to organize every once in awhile. Growing up, I kept my room clutter free. Ya, Cub Scout merit badges helped out, but I learned fast that 'bad things' would happen, if I didn't clean up after myself. This is Congress Square, a prime slab of real estate in the city. To me it is not only prime but an iconic piece of Portland with a long history. My beef? Sheesh! Just take a look. It's been like this going on five years now. I don't even know what all that sidewalk crap is all about. What's up with the painted windows? Is it better than graffiti? The jury's still out on that one. Lots of promises. Little action. The latest test balloon floated out there was that a VERY upscale restaurant was taking down the plywood, putting up lots of glass and pulling in the masses.
Excuse me, if I'm not holding my breath on this one.
This is an embarrassment to the city.
My plea... please get 'er done.
Do something!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Park

These days I actually try to stay out of trouble and do what I'm suppose to do. But there are times... Most signs, I find helpful, but this is one I put in the confusing category. Is it pointing across the street? Perhaps, proceeding forward for awhile is the way to go. Yes, there is 'free' parking ahead, across the tracks about 50 yards or so on the grounds of the old Union Station, a building the city fathers HAD to knock down in the early 60's to create parking and ugliness of a strip mall. But I digress. How about this. Paint a large nose here, replace 'park' with the word PICK and leave it at that.
Each time I travel this way, I smile, and wish I had a can of white paint and some art talent.
Otorhinolaryngolist on duty here! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gated

I always wonder about gates and fences. Are they there to keep people in or out. This one is found on Cumberland Avenue, just up from Maria's Restaurant. Given the local, I'm thinking it's there to keep the unwanted out. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few iron gates in this area, and they've been around awhile too. I know at the restaurant, you need to be buzzed in to enter the eating establishment. That's not a good sign to me. 
I think Frost had it right in "Mending Wall" though, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Monday, March 24, 2014

B-Ball

Blistering sun, ice and snow and sometime in a driving rain, we played  either in our driveway or at the Morrill School's outdoor court. Sometimes, on Saturdays we'd sneak into the Stevens Avenue Armory and play in our stocking feet till the janitors threw us out. We even had fun at the Nelsons' seven foot basket, showing off that even little white guys could dunk.
I think, it's still 'king' in the state, with high school football fast-approaching. Back aways, the NIT  (National Invitational Tournament) played at Madison Square Garden was big too. Maybe as big as the NCAA's. In the early Sixties, Providence College had quite a run, reaching the finals 3 out of 4 years, as I remember. They won it in '61 and again in '63. Dad went to PC for two years, so those games were always on our TV. 
But I digress. How are your brackets doing after 48 games?
I'm a pretty sorry 31-17, but my Final Four is still intact.
Elenka? She's in my rearview mirror at 21-27.
So much for Mad Science!
   

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Rimshot

Growing up, I waited every Sunday to get home from delivering papers to spread the colored funnies across the livingroom rug. I had them, and I was not to be disturbed. I laughed and rolled along the carpet. Where do I get chuckles these days. Try the cover of a recent Men's Health. J subscribes; I smile. Here are the headlines streaking across a recent cover--
Get BIG Fast!
The NEW 300 Workout: Build Muscle, Shed Pounds, Chisel Abs. 
SHE Wants You to Watch!
WIN Free Steak for a Year!
Strength Secrets!
Your #1 Health Threat... Beat it!
Inside: They polled their readers about humor.
Here are a few tidbits: 
39% of men think sarcasm is the funniest of all humor.
77% The number of men wish they could land just "one good joke".
56% of men would rather hear a woman say, "You're hilarious" than "You're hot".
58% of men think they are funnier after a few drinks (3).
1 in 3 have played an April Fools' prank at work.
Pretty interesting huh?
Then I dug deeper and came across a Rolling Stone cover with the Pope smiling.
An icon of rock 'n roll information featuring the Pope?
Be still my heart.
I'll tell you one thing. He ain't my kind of rockstar!
Rimshot!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lil' Bit

Little bit of everything this morning. Yes, there's still snow, but a March rain and the color green, coming through this screened window, keeps me believing. Took this shot out a back window at work yesterday. I'm looking into a Shakespearean garden with crab apple trees, scattered birdhouses and loads of flowering plants come June. I'll miss this little respite, when I pack it in. When the papers are piling up, the meetings are running me ragged and the hum of the building has me seeking 'an island', it's nice to be able to break through and enter this 'little world' for 20 minutes or so. The smells of June and birds swirling around me building nests make for fine company away from the craziness. Soon it's back to reality, but those idle moments seem to rejuvenate the spirit.
Can I ask for anything more?

*on the 'March Madness' front--- the world has stopped spinning recklessly. It's reality, baby. Young Elenka tumbled to 5-11 for her second day. Making her two day numbers read 16-16. My science went 10-6, for a combined 22-11. Not great, but it'll get me some braggin' rights today.
I hope!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wet Walk

Not a lot of tears yet!
Day One of March Madness is over!
My scorecard shows a respectable 12 wins and only 4 losses. Pretty good for a guy who followed the NCAA Basketball season just on the peripheral this past winter. However, the other evening as I was studying my choices and trying to determine the possible winner between THE Ohio State University and little University of Dayton, Elenka, who's lucky if she can determine the difference between a basketball and lacrosse stick, grabbed a bracket and vigorously filled in the blanks. I studied the wins and losses, a team's RPI and conference wins and losses and made my logical choices. As I said above, I'm happy with my opening 12-4 results. Well, until I saw Elenka's brackets. She selected teams on whether she had ever visited the city or state, and whether she enjoyed her visit. After the first 16 games, she's at 11-5, just one game off my pace.
Favorite cities?
Where's the scientific research here?
Maybe I should be crying.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Back Deck

I'd like to say that I'm going to throw some burgers on the grill for us, but the deck just isn't quite ready for the grill and deck furniture. There is no trick photography here. This is how the first day of spring breaks here. Well, no not exactly. You better add a couple more inches of fresh stuff that fell last night. A little rain and then later the sun will hit to rid us of the new snowfall; however, this pile is still weeks away from vacating the deck.
So, the burgers and potato salad will be delayed.
Happy first day of Spring!
So sorry.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Wave

My new rock band is ready to hit the road, but we really need a new name. Lowell has even added a few of his catchy numbers to our set list.
Here are a few of our band names, but we have not settled on one. We need some more choices to add to these:
Kittens Amuck
Tiled Dreams
Steeples Cutting Sky
My Secret Shoes
Nightmares Moving
Blind Puppies
Driving Insight
Unleashed Babble
Sensitive Daughter
Overheated Rooms
Blue Fragments
Table of Contents

Help!
Please send yours along as soon as you can. No suggestion too lame. As you might gather from the above.
Rock on!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pigeon Social

Ten pigeons sunning on a fence (ya, there's one just off the photo), with a bunch crap in the background, doesn't make for any enticing photographic opportunities for me, but I took it anyway. They were just 'sitting on a fence' probably hoping that someone might buy them a Guinness at RiRa's next door. We stopped there Saturday late morning after a Mass that celebrated the passing of my cousin Paul. We raised some Guinness, Smithwicks, Powers and a few Tullamore Dews and remembered a gentle man.  Any Irish bar that has an advertisement that reads: RIVERDANCE My Arse! can't be all bad.
Bet these pigeons would agree.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Wolfhound

Yesterday, at our St. Patrick's Day parade, I caught these three walking the route. I'm not really up on my dog breeds, but I think this looks to be an Irish Wolfhound.
I can be intimidated by large dogs. I trace it all back to that early morning run in with a huge German Shepard while delivering papers. He got his teeth into me good! A few years back, I was introduced to my friend Gary's shepard up country. That dog came tearing down a dirt driveway at me, spiting up all kinds of dirt and rocks. For a split second, I didn't know, if he was just glad to see me or if he envisioned me as his evening meal. Luckily, other than his hot, barking breath on my fingers all was for naught. This wolfhound, yesterday, looked friendly enough, and if I had any issues I'm sure this little gal, decked out in her greenery, would have come to the rescue. 
As you can see too.
I was a rather brisk March day.
Happy St. Paddy's Day to all!