What Else?

I’m so hyper focused on music right now that the world is passing me by.  What am I missing?

The New Hampshire primary was last night.  The top three places were all held by people I could reasonably see myself voting for on Super Tuesday.  Sanders was my pick last time around.  Buttigieg seems fine to me.  I’d like to see a little more grass roots and a little less big money, but policy wise he’s fine.  My step son has done some volunteer work for his campaign and I am bursting with pride over it.  Klobuchar was a surprise but I’ve liked her since the day she announced her candidacy.  I have this vague image in my head of her beating the living shit (figuratively speaking) out of the people who are making a bad joke out of the Constitution. I see her as someone who could clean up the shit show.

Warren has been my main focus and I’m a little disappointed at her showing so far.  I saw this primary as a Warren vs Sanders showdown with Biden kinda peeking in from the sidelines.  There’s still time for Warren to improve relative to the others, but if we have to settle for her as our esteemed US Senator, I’m fine with that.

Realistically, whoever ends up winning the nomination is getting my vote and at least a chunk of my money.  That nazi piece of shit in the white house has to go.  Of course he won’t.  The Senate has already approved his attempts at rigging the election, so the very concept of a legitimate election has already been flushed down the toilet.  He’ll rig it and he will win it.  Our democracy is already dead, I’m just clinging to the tiny shreds that are left behind.  Mostly just out of habit.

At least the Bruins are still doing well.  That awful dip in the standings prior to the all star break is going to bite them on the ass.  Their huge lead is gone and Tampa is right on their heels.  I was very pleased with their play of late, but losing to Detroit really grinds my gears.  We get the Canadiens tonight.  There are few things that could cheer me up as my country descends into a fascist dictatorship as much as watching the Bruins beat the holy hell out of Montreal.  No pressure though, okay Bruins.  You just go out there and have fun.

A week or so ago, Larry and I were having a discussion about various Quentin Tarantino movies and he made a joke about a scene in Kill Bill and it went right over my head.  I saw both volumes in the theater and had never re-watched them.  I thought they were both fantastic and I loved every second of them… I just never revisited them again.  I fixed that error over the weekend and watched both movies.  They are just so good.  The violence is way over the top and the story doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but every scene is perfect.  I forgot about so much.  In my memory the first movie is just blahblahblah Crazy 88’s and the second movie is just blahblahblah Superman’s disguise.  I forgot about all the other twistedly delightful stuff.  I kinda want to watch them both again, but instead I’ll watch the two movies I still haven’t seen: Hateful 8 and Django Unchained.

Note: I don’t think “twistedly” is actually a word.

Okay, I have to mention music again.  I can’t avoid it right now.  I did some recording this morning.  After being late to work on Monday because I stayed home a little too long, and late to work on Tuesday even though I left on time, I came up with something to try and keep me on track.  After I set up my laptop to record some voice parts, I brought up Waze on my phone.  I put in my work address as my destination and I left the phone on the table next to me.  As I worked through the two songs for today I kept an eye on the estimated time of arrival.  When it reached 8:45 I packed up and left.  It worked.  I was on time today.

Unfortunately when I was packing up I put my MacBook onto the stand on which it sits on my desk in the office (grammar, bitches), turned off the lights, and left the room.  A couple of minutes later I heard a bang.  What?  My laptop FELL OFF THE STAND!  It was still working okay, but it scared the crap out of me.  I managed to back up this morning’s work onto an external drive, but if my lappy is dead I might be in big musical trouble.  I know it’s not dead, everything was functioning within normal parameters… still… how scary is that.  BANG!

Friday is Valentine’s Day.  We don’t have any plans.  I’ll see if my beloved love wants to do anything after work.  It’s also a kid weekend so my step son will be around.  He went to a mock UN weekend last week and I can’t wait to hear about it.  Tonight will be the first time I see him since he came back.

I went to the gym last night.  I am planning on going again tonight and tomorrow night and as many days as I can between now and Disney World.  I need to build up some stamina for long walks.  I’m still stuck at the 15-minutes-before-my-back-starts-complaining point.  Every little bit helps though.

What else… I’m thinking about playing a little saxophone tonight.  If you hear crying it means I can’t pull it off anymore.  I was a music major and sax was my primary instrument of study.  I haven’t touched it in years, but normally when I start playing again a lot of the old skill is there.  What isn’t there is the muscles in my jaw.  I get a few minutes of solid playing followed by fatigue so bad I can’t play anymore.  My plan for the next week and a half is play a little, rest a little, repeat.  That’s assuming I’ve still got it.  Boy, do I hope I’ve still got it.

When you are 48 years old the phrase, “Boy, do I hope I’ve still got it” comes into play almost every day for a seemingly infinite number of topics, wouldn’t you say?

I Didn’t Think of That

Given that last season the Boston Red Sox were a painful disappointment, and that this past off season has seen them lose their President, their manager (in one of the biggest cheating scandals in league history) and their best player (to the friggin’ Dodgers in what is effectively an embarrassingly awful preemptive salary dump), you can probably forgive me for not being fully up to date on the day to day goings on in Red Sox Nation.

It turns out that today is the day that pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training, with the first practice scheduled for tomorrow.  We don’t have a manager, and we don’t have a Mookie, but it’s still nice to know that the official kick off to the 2020 season is here.

As I was reading a headline that mentioned the big news (as opposed to yesterday’s big news about the finalizing of the trade with the friggin’ Dodgers) I was struck by a revelation.  Light dawned on Marblehead, as the saying goes…..

I am going to be in Florida during Spring Training.

Oh.  My.  God.  After 40+ years of die hard Red Sox fandom, I will, for the first time ever, be in Florida during Spring Training.  Now we’re staying at a Disney resort so we won’t be renting a car, but maybe it’s worth researching a way to see if we could day trip down to Jet Blue park and catch a game.

Then reality set in.  I live in Massachusetts.  Massachusetts is a little tiny state.  You can pretty much drive from one end to the other in a couple of hours or so.  Florida isn’t a huge state, but it’s bigger than MA.  How much bigger though?  I went to Google Maps and looked up driving directions from Disney World to Jet Blue Park.  It’s about three hours.  It’s almost, but not quite, the same distance as driving from Fenway Park to Yankees Stadium.

The dream died then and there, but not before a question drifted through my tiny brain:

How much would an Uber from Orlando to Fort Meyers cost me?

Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Spring Training Baseball Dreams Shattered.  I’ll just have to settle for hanging out with The Mouse.

Travel

I’m still making my way through the audiobook version of Neil Peart’s Ghost Rider as part of the on-going Neil Elwood Peart Memorial Festival.  In this morning commute’s “reading” (was it in a letter to Brutus?  Most of the book is letters to Brutus) he mentioned Nantucket.  He didn’t go there, although I did get a mention of riding through Massachusetts today, he just mentioned it.

I’ve never been to Nantucket.  I have never been to Martha’s Vineyard either.  Growing up we used to take occasional weekend escapes to Cape Cod, but its been over 30 years since I’ve crossed the bridge.  I’d like to go back.  I’d like to see the islands.  Maybe this summer I can talk the family into making a mid-week escape.  Getting to the Cape on the weekends is hell on Earth, so it would need to be a mid-week thing.

Today’s “reading” also included a discussion of the Pacific Coast Highway.  Jen and I have driven on some stretches of that road.  Hearing about it today made me miss California.  It made me miss the Pacific ocean.  It made me want to go back to San Diego.  It made me want to stick my toes in the water again.  It made me want to drive through the mountains to the desert and see Julian.  Neil’s description of the Saltan Sea was far from favorable, but Jen and I drove out to it once and even though it was bordering on ghost town I wouldn’t mind seeing that again.  What about Joshua Tree?  What about Palm Springs?  We drove through that town once, but didn’t stop anywhere.

Our last few big trips have been to Florida, and our next one will be as well.  After that there’s another one on the agenda for next year too.  I love going there and I will never say no to an opportunity.  I just don’t want to get used to it.  I don’t want it to become common enough that it stops feeling special.  I also want to go to other places.

Ah, just ignore me as I fantasize about world traveling.  I just need a vacation.

Saws-All and Other Fun Topics

My foot still hurts.  It is more or less a non-issue when I’m barefoot, but it hurts like the dickens when I have shoes on.  I think I’m a little swollen, but not a lot.  It’s actually a lot better than it was last week, but it’s still an issue.  I really don’t want to go to the doctor for this, but my resolve is weakening.

I was discussing Plantar Fasciitis (hence forth to be known as Plantar Fascist-itis in honor of our nazi putz of a president) with a friend today who has had it in both feet, one after the other.  His suggestion was to just get it over with and cut the bastard off now.  I’m not that far gone, but it’s something to keep in mind (yup yup).  It actually made me think of something from a few weeks ago.  My father in law and I were in a store looking for a tool to help install our new door lock.  Right at the front door with a whole stack of potential impulse buys was a Saws-All.  I almost got it.  Why?  I don’t know.  Now looking back I think I should have picked one up.  It would be a perfect cure for my friggin’ foot.

Yuck yuck yuck.

In the immortal words of the evil doctor in Hellraiser II, “I recommend… amputation.  No anesthetic at hand… shame.”

Yuck yuck yuck.

I don’t think I’ve seen that movie since the late 80’s or early 90’s so I can’t remember for sure if those two sentences (complete with the dramatic pauses) were from the same scene or not.  Probably not.  That was the first horror movie I ever saw, and it lead to my becoming a serious Clive Barker fan.  Not just movies, but novels (stop what you’re doing and go read Weaveworld.  Right now.  I’m serious.  Do it right now) and short stories and even a couple of plays.  It was at Brian G’s house.  I can’t remember who was there exactly, but despite all of the awesome, quotable lines it had (and there were countless) the one phrase that will never leave my memory and will always come to mind as soon as I think of that movie was someone in the room saying, as the movie ended, “rewind to when Julia comes out of the mattress!”

I just took this picture while I was putting the finishing touches on our chicken and a side of quinoa dinner tonight.  I thought I’d share because… why not.

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The RPM Challenge is 11 days away.  I haven’t given it thought one.  My next gig is also 11 days away.  I have given that many thoughts, most revolving around how much practice I need.  Note: I am sitting at my desk typing this blither instead of practicing.  I had a day off work to honor a great American even though our nation is in the hands of fascist pieces of dog shit and did I practice at all?  No.  I thought about it, but I didn’t do it.  I even thought about asking the other guys if they wanted to try and sneak in a rehearsal tonight seeing as we wouldn’t have to wait for my endless evening commute.  Nope.  Nothing.  I’m still physically beat from having to deal with shoveling on top of all of the previously discussed pains.  I’m getting better.  Don’t worry.  It just sucks to be me today.  It will suck less tomorrow.

My step son, Harry had the day off from school.  This was a mom’s house weekend so he woke up here this morning.  Mondays are dad days though so I knew he’d be leaving shortly after he woke up.  I did something sneaky to try and get him to stick around and hang out with me for a little while.  I watched a Marvel movie.  He was still asleep when I started but I figured he’d wake up and watch it with me.  It was Captain America: Civil War.  Awesome freakin’ movie.  It worked, but not as well as I’d hoped.  When he finally woke up (teenagers and sleeping late, ya know?) there was only 30-40 minutes left in the movie.  He stuck around a little after it was over.  He had some breakfast and watched an episode of Phineas and Ferb because… why not?  (sing it with me, doobie doobie doobah, doobie doobie doobah, A-Gent-P!!)

Speaking of Harry, we had a seriously great moment on Saturday that I think I want to share.  My wife and my step son both have February birthdays.  My wife thought that maybe it would be fun to celebrate her birthday at Disney World.  We started making plans.  Then she decided it would be better to wait a few weeks and bring my step son with us.  We booked a room in the Yacht Club for a few days and made all the park arrangements.  We did not tell my step son.  My step daughter won’t be available due to college, and Jen has a little Canadian get away planned with her already, but we ran the plans by her just in case and she was okay with it.  On Saturday we had a mini-pre-birthday-birthday celebration for Harry.  We gave him two presents: His park ticket and his luggage tag.  He never saw it coming.  Awesome.  He says he is really excited about it, even though he’s going to be stuck down there with two old people.  He’ll adjust.  It’s going to be fun, and I can’t wait to go away and hide from reality for a week.

Here’s hoping my foot feels better by then because if not it’s Off With His Foot!

Yuck yuck yuck.

Vacation Picture Explosion

I figured I’d pick out a few vacation pictures to post. I meant for three of four. Instead, you get this absolute explosion of vacation snaps. Enjoy.

The best part of Montreal was the guy throwing soap bubbles around the square in front of the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal. There were gigantic bubbles everywhere.
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So… okay… I know that the enjoyment I take in snapping pics in humongous churches might make me a bit of a hypocrite… well, it does. Deal with it.
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Especially when I take pics like this.
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Can we get an organ like this in our house?
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Candles are the best part.
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I asked Jen, and she said it was okay if we took the red brick house with the green trim home with us.
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In 2007 Jen and I visited Mike and Tammy in Wisconsin and we drove to lake Michigan. On this trip, we stopped at my second Great Lake, Lake Ontario. We also drove across a bridge over Lake Eire. That’s three Great Lakes for me.
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Toronto was great. I would go back there in a second. I wish we could have spent another day or two.
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Here’a a little Blue Jays, Rogers Stadium art work.
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The view from the Canadian National Tower. Is this YYZ? Cue the music!
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The street musicians outside of Blue Jays games are… different… than those at Red Sox games.
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Obligatory blurry subway train pic.
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Toronto lead to Niagara Falls. Get ready for a billion pictures of falling water.
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The view from our hotel room was pretty spectacular.
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They told us the walk from Table Rock to the Hornblower would be 10 minutes. Ummm… no.
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It used to be The Maid of the Mist. It still is on the US side of the river, but on the Canadian side it is now called The Hornblower. The boats are bigger but they still make the same trip. Right into the mist on the Canadian side. Ponchos were supplied, and you did get seriously soaking wet.
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The view from the Skylon Tower was pretty spectacular too.
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Next door to a place we stopped for breakfast was a place called Gippy’s Place. I’m working that into 50/90 somehow. Somehow.
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This is something you don’t ever see in the US. Never, ever.
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On the Canadian side there is a little attraction called Journey Behind the Falls. Once again, ponchos are issued. There is an outdoor viewing area right at the edge of the water, and there is a tunnel with viewing ports that runs behind the falls themselves.
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These elevator things were out of order when Jen and I came here last year. They made the whole thing so much easier.
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The kids and I went for a walk. There was a water fountain that my step daughter saw from the 29th floor that she wanted to check out for real. I took the obligatory street lamp pic.
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I took a picture of the love of my life from the street. 29 floors and a steep hill and a couple of blocks can’t keep her away from me.
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This is the water fountain she wanted to see.
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The falls are lit up every night, but the fireworks show is only on Wednesdays. We watched it from the room.
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So we crossed back into the United States and celebrated by visiting the Hall of Fame of our nation’s pastime.
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There’s a George Brett display, complete with the Pine Tar Bat.
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Just a few of my favorite players…
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Tom Seaver spit on my brother once. True story. I’ll tell it sometime.
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Our next stop was Fort Ticonderoga on the shores of Lake Champlain.
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The troops were re-enacting a division from Pennsylvania who had just retreated out of Canada in 1776.
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Do you think this is authentic?
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Next to the fort is a garden called King’s Garden.
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Our last photo op was a ferry across Lake Champlain that connects route 74 in New York to route 74 in Vermont.
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And there you have it. A few photo highlights of a trip that took us through four states, two provinces, and two countries.