Saturday, July 22, 2017

Road Trip, Bicycle Style

My wife had things to do during the day today so it was up to me to keep myself busy.  After staying up late and jamming to concerts on YouTube last night, I had to be up before 9 to receive the grocery delivery.  Ordering groceries online and getting them delivered for free is just sooo easy and convenient, I don't think I'll ever go to a grocery store again other than for a few odds and ends.  We've been doing this for over a year now.  If you spend a hundred dollars it's free delivery, and my wife usually takes her father to the store during the week so if anything is out of stock on the delivery order she usually can pick it up then.  But this is off the topic...

After the groceries were put away and several small chores completed, I set out on my bicycle.  I didn't pay attention to the time, but it was sometime before 11 this a.m.  I had an idea of what and where I wanted to go but no set plans, and when getting on the bike it is nice to have a destination in mind.  Last night I considered heading downtown to the capitol square, probably a 20 minute ride for an experienced bicyclist, but what was I going to do when I got there?  Setting out earlier in the morning I could have hit Madison's large farmer's market on the square around the capitol building, but otherwise I didn't have a real destination there.
I wound up riding on the bike path down behind Olbrich Botanical Gardens, another place to stop and visit - but not this day, then down along lake Monona where there is the Olbrich Park Biergarten, a beer garden that just opened this summer in this city park.  It's bigger than I thought it would be, the fenced in area, and I stopped at the end of the parking lot (before a huge puddle) and had to take two pictures to get the length of it.  This looks like it will be a future destination for us, easily.

20170722_114023From here I worked my way up (hill!) and around the top of the lake over to the Atwood area and stopped for a rest break at the Harmony Bar and Grill, one of our favorite local establishments.  Here, I considered following the bike path down the isthmus to the capitol, but instead I headed back on the bike path northeast towards home.  I was still making it up as I went along, however.

20170722_124547When I got back on the streets I veered west and headed toward Dexter's Pub but first I had to cross East Washington Avenue, a very busy street running into town northeast to southwest, toward the capitol, of course, the center of Madison on the center of the isthmus.  Probably why it keeps getting mentioned now.  My wife fears ever crossing this road on foot or bike as there's usually at least one pedestrian death a year on the street.  When I came upon it I had the green light so was able to ride straight across in my bike lane easily.   From there it's just a few easy blocks to the pub.  They had a great Rodenbach on tap; expensive ($9.50 for 10 ounces), but one of the best beers I've tasted.  From Belgium, it's one of the original Flanders red or red/brown sour ales.  We enjoy a bottle of Duchess De Bourgogne every Friday evening.

20170722_124722While here I considered my next moves.  I wasn't quite ready to go home yet, so I went north just a bit more then headed back east, to go over the pedestrian/bicycle bridge across the aforementioned East Washington Avenue.  I hadn't been across it yet, and it was built just before we moved into the neighborhood.  I figured I would have to stop and walk my bike up, but the grade was slight enough that even out-of-shape-me was able to make it all the way up in first gear.  From here it's just a short jaunt down the path to the street we live on, recognizable by the street painting at the corner.  (I hope the neighborhood group repaints it this year - see prior link - I'll plan to help out this time.  I wrote about it when it happened here.)

20170722_125028Coming down on the east side of the bridge is Starkweather Creek, looking very full after all the recent rain.  Still, very picturesque.  By this time it was well past the lunch hour and I was ready to head towards food.  I didn't feel like ending my ride yet so I rode past the end of our street, to another bridge, and turned northeast toward another of our favorite bar and grills, Brother's Three.  This was pretty much the end of my journey.  I was hot, super sweaty, hungry and needed a rest.

I hung out for some time and chatted with the staff, letting my sweat dry and my body temperature regulate.  They know us well here as we are frequent visitors.  I had a drink and cooled down and after a while my wife showed up to meet me (I had texted her) before she went to check on a cat for friends that are on vacation.   I stayed and had some food before taking the short bike ride home and mowing the lawn, now that it was dried out some from the rain we had the day before.  After that I took a bunch of pictures for the garden blog, go take a look here!

I hadn't planned on a blog post about this bike ride today or I would have taken more and better pictures.  Still, I don't do things just to post about them.  Live life first, then share what you want when you want and if you want.  This is why I don't 'do' farcebook, people seem to need to report on their lives too much.  I prefer to think of this blog as my sort of online journal that others can see, and only if they wish.  If you made it this far, thank you.  I very much appreciate you reading.  I do like to write, but this is a lot of words for this instant-gratification society.

Full size versions of almost all the pictures I took today are after the break!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fire Pit, Headlights

DSCF5714We enjoyed another fire pit with friends last night, some we don't get too see very often anymore.  It was nice and relaxing, and cooled enough by sundown that we could actually start the fire.  The yard spray pretreatment kept the mosquitoes mostly at bay and the rain and thunderstorms held off until later in the night.  My wife made snacks and grilled up some hot dogs that we got with our quarter cow and, boy, were they delicious!

DSCF5697My project yesterday was restoring the clarity to our older car's headlights.  There's lots of YouTube videos on the process, I mostly followed this one.  I've been thinking of doing this for years now, but I would just do the temporary fix with toothpaste.  This time I invested the 20 bucks or so in materials and just did the permanent fix.  And I have plenty left over for several more cars, perhaps I can sell the stuff to some poor, dull-yellow-headlighted person.
Overall, they look much better now than they did before.  In the first picture the yellow doesn't seem to nearly come across as it really was, but they are sure cloudy.  Next is during the process, I have the lenses completely sanded and ready for the clear coat.  Last is after the final coat and not yet dry, yet you can see they are much clearer than they were before.  Later today I will wax them and see if they get clearer yet.

DSCF5706I need to start thinking of new projects to keep me busy.  I have all sorts of tools and lots of wood, I can take the time and enjoy the process.  That's really what it's about many times, the process.  I can work at my own pace, listen to music and hang out in the garage - which is one of my favorite things.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Unfortunate Reminder

I found this video on a music site today as just released, a song called 'F***ed Up,' and now I can't get it out of my head since I first watched it earlier this evening.  It describes my feelings at work recently, yes, this is where I'm going with this.  I can't adequately describe the position I'm in at work without going into too much detail to explain.  And it certainly is not the end of the world, for my position, anyway, but other heads should roll and I expect they will eventually.  This is what happens when, um, never mind.  Anyway, ever forward.  This song itself is therapeutic in it's aggression and expression, but right now I'm in a good position to relate to it, also.

Josh Todd and the Conflict - F***ed Up

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Ahh, Summer


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Holiday Weekend, Friends

20170702_153103Happy Fourth of July weekend, everyone - or Brexit 1776, as I've heard it referred.  I hope you had time off and spent it wisely, or not so wisely, however you prefer.  I managed to get a lot done around the house and yard and still see friends and family.  Some of the big things I managed to get done are power wash the whole house and garage and install a pulley system to store our bikes in the garage.  Plus many, many more little projects and I still had plenty of time to relax, stay up late and listen to music - though I have several new things to listen to yet.  That's one thing about music, there's always more that I haven't heard yet.

Another highlight of this holiday weekend is that I got to visit with my old pal, Mike.  He was in Wisconsin for the weekend from Michigan visiting a former, and now current again, girlfriend.  We drove up to Wisconsin Dells, about the halfway point, to meet them for dinner Sunday night and then hung out by the Wisconsin River and talked over drinks.  She seems to be nice and they seem to be happy together so I hope it goes well for them.  It has been over 20 years since they last dated, and I do remember meeting her back then.  We had a very nice time, I only wish we could do it more often.  We also texted Gary, another old friend, to let him know we were thinking of him.  The three of us did a lot together in our youth.

But as all long weekends go, the end comes and it is back to the work week.  We will be seeing other friends tonight but can't stay very late because we have to get up early.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Latest Listening Pleasure 27 - Rammstein

I first heard of the East German band Rammstein long ago when I heard the song Sehnsucht on the radio.  I had no idea who did it or what the name of the song was.  I even tried looking in a database in the music area of a local big box bookstore to no avail.  Eventually I figured it out and got their cassette tape.  After that they kind of disappeared from America for many years after two of the members were arrested for indecency for performing a part of their stage show.  Look up a live video for Buck Dich and you'll see what the prissy Americans were offended by.  Europeans are much more open-minded.

A few years ago there was a lot of hype for their new DVD filmed in Madison Square Garden called Amerika.  I did not order it then, but I did have other music releases of theirs and, of course, there's always my go-to site, YouTube.  Recently there was more hype for another live DVD, Paris.  All right, I'm in.  I pre-ordered Paris and ordered Amerika at the same time.  What the hell, they have a great live show and feature pyro, staging and props unlike any other bands, even Kiss.

Now, I've always loved the live stuff, CD, DVD or YouTube.  The live sound and feeling brings across an energy that studio albums don't have.  Amerika is like this and I enjoyed it greatly.  This band does put on a very good stage show.  Paris is also taken from a couple live shows (filmed in Paris, of course) but is highly doctored with all sorts of effects.  Not that it's bad, just different.  I've seen interviews when they and the director talk about all the work that went into it.  It was filmed in 2012 and released just recently, over 5 years after it was filmed, and you can tell it took a lot of work but I think they overdid it.  Camera angles jump around too much and too many special effects have been added for it to feel like a true 'live' show to me, the opposite effect of what they wanted.  But that's my opinion, I just love the live stuff, even the one camera concerts on YouTube.  In fact, I just finished watching a full Ratt concert before writing this.  (I saw most of it last night before dozing off.)

Another thing that came out recently was one of those 'Elders React' videos featuring Rammstein.  I like these videos, they're quite funny at times.

Previous LLP Posts...
LLP 1 - Pain
LLP 2 - Nightwish
LLP 3 - Die Antwoord
LLP 4 - Pain part 2
LLP 5 - Andrew Bird LIVE
LLP 6 - Nightwish part 2
LLP 7 - Paramore
LLP 8 - Newsted
LLP 10 - Nightwish Imaginaerum Movie
LLP 11 - Kiss
LLP 12 - Rick Springfield
LLP 13 - Hyrax
LLP 14 - In This Moment
LLP 15 - Faster Pussycat LIVE
LLP 16 - Sebastian Bach
LLP 17 - Cradle Of Thorns
LLP 18 - Amaranthe
LLP 19 - Lindemann
LLP 20 - Halestorm
LLP 21 - Garbage LIVE
LLP 22 - Arcade
LLP 23 - Nightwish LIVE
LLP 24 - Ace Frehley
LLP 25 - Darkc3ll
LLP 26 - Dementia
LLP 27 - Rammstein

I've been trying to make the print above smaller, and I can, but the line height stays the same.  I may have to redo the links or put the list in the right column.  I'll have to play with it some more and maybe have this resolved by the next LLP post.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June This-And-Thats

I'm overdue to catch up on things so once again it's time to start typing and let it all out.  Well, not all.  I've not posted lately mostly due to stress.  My work had become, and still is, more stressful than it ever should be.  I'd like to elaborate but I really can't without giving too much detail.  Ever see that cartoon with the birds on the branches of a tree and the lower birds are getting shit on?
    20170611_123212 b
  • I did take a vacation a couple weeks ago.  I didn't have any big projects but I did have a lengthy to-do list.  I managed to get most of it completed, including building an umbrella stand that my wife wanted to hold my grabber and the walking stick I got in Jamaica when we got married.  Just a small project, but I like making things out in the garage.  I'm certainly more of a rough carpenter than a finish carpenter, but I seemed to manage with this and my wife is happy.  The time off was mainly spent getting my head back and learning to deal with my job status and what I need to do if I want to change that.
  • My wife has been healing well recently and has a few more weeks off work.  Basil hasn't had it so well, though.  He completed his round of antibiotics but it still didn't fully clear the UTI so he had to go back to the vet.  He now has more medicine and special food to help clear up the crystals in his urine and the infection.  We also found out he has a bad tooth that is causing him pain so we will have that taken care of as well.
  • On a related note, I've shampooed the carpet in the computer room several times now.  Kate's friend Terry lent us her machine, and it has worked very well.  We've not found any spots where he's peed in quite a while but I kept smelling it so it may still have been happening, especially since we find he is not quite over the infection yet.
  • Weather-wise we have been hot.  Hot and humid and sometimes very stormy.  Today is refreshingly comfortable, finally, and is the first time in a week we have been able to open the windows and enjoy the breeze through the house.  Now, if my wife would hurry up and heal we could go bike riding together!
  • We've had our first fire pit of the year, the first of many, I hope.  I've been considering putting in a permanent fire pit in the back yard, I feel we would use it more often then.  I have enough cut wood for probably two more fire pits before I'll need to cut up the scavenged branches I have on the side of the garage.
  • A Night Out for Goodman, a beer and chocolate tasting at the local Goodman Community Center was a lot of fun out with some friends.  I didn't manage to get a taste from all the vendors but as many as I could!  There were a dozen or so local bakeries/chocolatiers and maybe fifteen local breweries/distilleries giving out samples of their wares.  It was a beautiful evening with also a band and games, and all goes to charity.
  • I've also not updated the garden blog in several weeks.  I plan on taking pictures today and posting over there another tour of the yard.  We lost one plant that I really like in a storm, but my wife brought in the flowering stalk and we've had it inside for almost a week now.  Something, either squirrels or rabbits, has been nibbling on some potted plants.  I moved one into the area between the gardens and it is still getting eaten so it must be squirrels there as rabbits can't get in.  And I've missed the full bloom of the lilies as all the petals have now fallen, same for the peonies.  But the day lilies are blooming now and the garden is looking very well.  I'll link it here when I post pictures over there, probably later today.
That's all I can think of for now.  There are a couple things I'm thinking of for an LLP post, but I need to find the time and gumption to do it.  After typing on a computer all day at work it's not exactly what I feel like doing in the evenings.  Oh, and we have another quarter cow coming real soon.  Well, I have pictures to take and I think my wife and I are going to get out for a bit now.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Recent Health Issues

We've been dealing with some health issues in our family recently, and for once it's not me.  First up, our cat Basil, and next is my wife Kate.

20161210_202904A few weeks ago Basil took a pee on the carpet beside my desk chair.  My wife got it cleaned up quickly and we kept an eye on him.  A week later he peed again behind my desk chair.  Okay, time to make an appointment with a veterinarian, we suspected he had a urinary tract infection and would need an antibiotic.  My wife found a nearby clinic and made an appointment.  On the day and on the way to that appointment he got so scared he peed into the towel in the cat carrier, useless for lab tests.  They sent her home with a small, expensive packet of water resistant litter and a kit to get a pee sample.  We had to get a little box for that litter, separate the cats and get Basil to pee in the new box with a small amount of strange litter in it.  Simple task, right?

Twice we kept Basil in the basement all day and twice he was out when we got home.  Both times with his brother Hamish's help, we're sure, one to unlatch the weak-latching door and the other to push the door, two cases of soda and a litter box out just far enough to squeeze through.  We were never going to get a sample like this.  Or if we did force it to work they'd be traumatized more than they'd already been.  In the meantime, every few days he would pee on the carpet again and we would scrub it up if we could find it.  Thankfully it was nice enough out that we could open the window some and air it out, too.

20161210_202935Finally, we arranged to take him in to the vet clinic and leave him until either he peed or they could extract a sample to verify the UTI.  It didn't take more than a couple hours, and even then he peed in fright not knowing those humans, but they were able to confirm the infection and issued antibiotics.  He's been on them for several days now and thankfully he seems to feel better.  He was pretty upset and hissy with Kate for a day or so after dropping him off, he blamed her and he let her know it.  I'll wait a few more days to be sure and then rent a carpet cleaner this weekend.

As for my wife, well, she's had ongoing issues for years and had surgery to correct this last week.  She said she doesn't mind what I say here, but I have my reservations.  I've had my own surgeries - 3 since I started this blog - and told my stories here but I don't feel her story is for me to tell.  Just know that she is doing very well.  Her post-surgery pain is less than she had before and she is raring to go - having taken zero of her prescribed painkillers.  She will be off work for some time yet so I think her biggest problems will be dealing with boredom and holding herself to her temporary limitations.  She is pictured in the bottom right of the pictures above, the back of her shoulder anyway.