Sunday, August 30, 2015

More Free Firewood

This is the carnage we woke up to this morning.  Sometime during the night a branch fell, making a small mess and a hole in the lawn.
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Although we had our big old silver maple removed this past Spring, there are still lots of big trees nearby.  It's nice to live in an old neighborhood with large trees and tree-lined streets.  But trees grow up and gravity pulls down.  My neighbor lost a bigger branch last week.  The larger trunks of it are still out by his shed.  I've got a feeling he's going to ask me if I'd like it for firewood, and if so I will take it.  You wouldn't believe the price of a small bundle of wood at the stores around here, that's why I save all this free wood.  I just hope I'm never pulling some out of my roof.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

I Dare You...

I Dare You To Watch This Entire Video

Haha, reminded me of this site:  Do Nothing For 2 Minutes

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Latest Listening Pleasure 20 - Halestorm

I used to brush off Halestorm and Lzzy Hale as radio rock, not to be taken seriously.  I didn't like the look - I felt she was trying too hard to be girly, and I didn't care much for the sound - it seemed too run of the mill, poppy rock to appeal to me.  Until I finally got a copy of their latest album, Into the Wild Life.  They've had, I believe, 5 'hit' singles, many off this album.  The latest, Amen, was what got me to finally listen to the full record.

Yes, I posted the official video above, but I've been more a fan of watching their live stuff on Youtube, as I always am.  She belts it out with the best of singers.  You can hear it on the album but it impressed me more seeing it in live videos.  That is what drew me to them most, her voice on these recent songs.  Of course I have gone back to their earlier stuff to see if I had been missing anything, but no, I had not really missed anything.  Like I mentioned, I did not like the look or sound of Halestorm before this album (okay, except for maybe one or two songs).  And actually, the old man in me doesn't care for the 'Lzzy' without an 'i.' But I do like that she has a more natural look now and the band seems to have a lot of fun on stage.  They have talked about how recording this album was different and heavier than their earlier stuff, and I would have to agree.  I have the album version with 16 songs and most of the songs are very strong, indeed.  I would not be surprised if they get a few more singles off this album.  Of course, that could lead to overexposure and burnout.  But I don't listen to radio often - what do I know?

I didn't plan on Halestorm as my newest LLP post, but that is how it goes.  I can't really plan on the next thing that hits my ears sideways like this did, but I will roll with it and enjoy the ride until the next Latest Listening Pleasure comes along.  This next song, I Like It Heavy, may be my favorite off the latest album.  Here they are doing that song live in London earlier this month:

And I know you may not even play the singles I posted so I will just link to this; a full Halestorm concert from Atlanta earlier this year.  If you like them as I have recently then you will enjoy this show.

*I've had more email readers recently.  This is to remind them that videos do not show in the email, you must click the link at the bottom of the email to go to the actual site to see the videos.

Previous LLP Posts...
LLP 1 - Pain
LLP 2 - Nightwish
LLP 3 - Die Antwoord
LLP 4 - Pain part 2
LLP 5 - Andrew Bird
LLP 6 - Nightwish part 2
LLP 7 - Paramore
LLP 8 - Newsted
LLP 9 - U.D.O.
LLP 10 - Nightwish Imaginaerum Movie
LLP 11 - Kiss
LLP 12 - Rick Springfield
LLP 13 - Hyrax
LLP 14 - In This Moment
LLP 15 - Faster Pussycat
LLP 16 - Sebastian Bach
LLP 17 - Cradle Of Thorns
LLP 18 - Amaranthe
LLP 19 - Lindemann
LLP 20 - Halestorm

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Friend Then, NOT Friend Now

So far this month my posts have been about looking back into the past, seeing old friends and the class reunion.  Turns out that I'm not done yet, I have one more tale to write of someone I used to know.  For the sake of this writing, her name is Sammi.

Sammi and I became friends around 1991 or 1992.  We had known each other a bit from mutual friends and from hanging out at the metal bar in town.  I had recently broken up with my girlfriend, a hairstylist, and needed someone to do my hair.  Sammi was a hairstylist.  I got an appointment and had my hair trimmed with her.  Turned out it was her last of the day so we wound up going to get food or a drink or something.  From then on we just became great friends, best friends.  We started doing everything together.  No hanky-panky at all, just friendship.  We each had short term partners come and go but we always remained friends.  We even had to start telling people we were brother and sister so they would get it - that nothing was going on between us.

bobbi blackedoutI can't recall the exact timeline of things back then, Sammi and I drank a lot.  But she wound up getting married around the same time I started dating my wife now.  My wife was my date for the wedding.  Around that time or shortly before is when we started being not so close as before.  And it was perfectly understandable.  We were both growing older and involved with other people.  We remained in touch, then she got a divorce after about a year or two.  We had been in touch less and less and then one day my number for her didn't work anymore.  Suddenly I had no way to reach my best friend of the early and mid nineties.  And it remained that way for somewhere around 16 or 18 years.  Until 3 weeks ago.

See, Sammi also attended my other friends' wedding that I referred to a couple posts ago as another friend's date.  When I was going through those pictures I was again reminded of her and mentioned her to my wife.  So my wife looked for her on farcebook - and found her!

I have looked for Sammi on and off over the years with no success, and now there she was on my wife's phone.  My wife sent her a message that day.  We waited a week with no response so I wrote up a short note with my contact information and had my wife paste it in a message to Sammi.  Again, we waited a week with no response.  So yesterday I again composed a short note, expressing my confusion and hurt but I would respect her wishes.  And again I had my wife send it to Sammi.  So that's where it stands.
BFB Capture
Or actually, that is where it stood.  I just took the liberty of glancing at farcebook under my wife's account on the off chance Sammi replied.  There was no reply so I glanced at Sammi's page and saw this, the screenshot on the right, posted a few hours after I had my wife send my last note.  Nice big 'YUP' right there.  I don't know why she feels that way.  I didn't think we were ever on bad terms.  I'm just, at a loss for words, so there will be no more words.  I hope we never meet face to face again, now.  Wouldn't that be awkward?

A long time ago I lost touch with a friend, but now I have truly lost that friend.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

HS Reunion Recap

Yes, well, good thing I went in with low expectations.  Actually that is incorrect, I went in with no expectations.  Either way, I was not disappointed.

Of what I'm guessing was 120-130 graduates, there were around 20 in attendance:

The core group should not have come as a surprise if I would have really considered.  It was the jocks and the cheerleaders, of course.  They did all seem nice enough - and I recognized many, but not most.  And that was the same for me, few recognized me, most not.  But everyone was very cordial to me and my wife.  It did kind of seem like many of these people were still friends and had seen each other at least somewhat recently.  Well, we had made the trip so I felt I should also make the effort, but, um, do you know that feeling when your talking to someone who is just... elsewhere?  Someone who is trying to be nice but is just not interested?  I got that a few times.  And I can't say I blame them because I may have been that way, too.  At least everyone's cordiality recognized the effort made by the other.  But when it comes down to it, I had barely talked to most of these attendees in high school, we don't have much to discuss now.  At least at not this time and place.  Never rule out paths crossing.

The co-valedictorian (the other co- is deceased, I believe) and the salutatorian were there.  The former and spouse also were the most likely to tell you every detail about who they've worked for and where they've lived and every intimate detail you never asked about.  I had to extricate myself from her and her spouse's one-sided conversations first, then once somewhat established elsewhere go back in and rescue my wife from their never ending conversation-about-themselves tag team.  My wife was a sport about it.  The latter was rather nicer, and easier to deal with, but he still had his agenda.  He had to let me know things I didn't ask, dropping company names and cities.  But I was actually more comfortable with him than others there.

And then there were a few guys that seemed like regular dudes.  Given time and a different atmosphere we would probably get on well and do what guys do.  That would also have to include my friend Gary, that I enjoyed seeing last week.  It was nice to see him once more while he was here in Wisconsin.

The girl who organized the event is a grade younger.  Her sister is in my class, though.  She knew my Mom and praised her for something or other (I was still trying to figure out who the hell she was!).  Gary did tell me some about it earlier in the week, and showed me pics from farcebook, but I still had a hard time wrapping my brain around the long forgotten names and the faces that went with them. The organizer also knew a good friend of my Mom's who, I guess, just happened to be dining at the restaurant.  She told me to say 'hi' to my Mom but I forgot her name.  One of your Rah-Rah Sisters, Mom, and she was tiny.  There you go.

So that was that and off we went early, I think the first to leave.  (When we left the DJ was playing to an empty private room, poor guy.  Still gets paid though.  After eating we had all moved out to the bar area.)  We never intended to stay too late in the evening, I always like to get home sooner than later.  Though I'm sure others who had rooms may have had fun for a few more hours.  That could have been interesting, staying late and watching all loosen up with the refreshments!  On the other hand, I was glad to get home and stay removed from that part of my life.

On a final note - Yes, it has been pointed out to me how my hair looks much the same in the then and now pictures in the last post.   I even thought it kinda odd/funny.  But since then I have cut it all off - twice - and had other, if transitional, looks.  Everything comes full circle, and I do like my hair long.

So, that's that, then.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Friend Then, Friend Now

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Although it did not work out last Saturday, my friend Gary was able to come up on Wednesday evening for a visit.  It was great to see him, it had been a long time!  Probably more than 10 years.  It was kind of last minute, yet expected.  I called him from work that morning and he stopped by shortly after I got home from work.  I introduced him to sour beer, we went up to the MaltHouse for another, came back and ordered food,  and just visited.  He's had a hell of time this past year and more - I had mentioned that he lost his lovely wife - but he seems like he is doing well.  We didn't run out of things to talk about but I did notice us get quiet once when the TV was on so we moved to the computer and played with music files.  He stayed the night so we had filled the old air mattress for him, and he left the next morning when I had to go to work.  It seemed to go by so fast, but I will see him again tonight at the class reunion before he goes back to Texas on Monday.

Mike, Me and Gary
Since Wednesday I've dug out some old pictures, trying to find old pictures of me and him, and I also dug out my old yearbooks to remind myself who the heck was in my class.  I went through the yearbook for a while this morning.  Wow.  Before looking I may have been able to bring about a third of the classmates to mind even if I couldn't remember the name.  Looking at the yearbook reminded me of people that I have not ever thought about in 30 years.  I guess I'll find out how many will be there tonight.  I foresee many, many re-introductions.

1993, Gary's Wedding.  His brother Greg on right.
In the old pictures here (and I can't believe I'm actually posting them) there is a third, our good friend Mike.  Mike is in Michigan now.  The three of us did lots together, especially the last year of high school, and kept in touch for a long time after high school.  For the most part we have always been in touch, but it has been tough the last 10 years.  They've been married, raising kids, and making a living and our paths have led in different directions a bit.  We're still in touch now, that's what matters.

Very early 90's at the Black Bear Lounge.  Figured out who the ham was yet?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Old Friends And Classmates

This has been one of those Summer weekends that I'll wish I had back come October or November.  It is hot and sunny and I have been pretty lazy yesterday and today.  I did get a couple small projects done, then headed straight back in to the air conditioning.  When I'm running out of time outside before the snowfall this Winter I'll wish I had this time back, but rest and relaxation is important, too!

An old high school friend, Gary, came back to the area from several states away this week.  He has a family reunion, some business and personal matters to attend to and then our class reunion is next weekend.  We originally planned for him to come by yesterday afternoon and spend the night last night but plans changed, and understandably so.  I've seen him only a couple times in the last 20 years and am looking forward to seeing him again.  Unfortunately, he lost his lovely wife of over 20 years late last year so he has some things to take care of while he's in Wisconsin.   I know I will see him at the reunion but hopefully we can get together some evening this week. I think it would be nice to spend some personal time together catching up before dealing with old high school classmates.

We also have a classmate/old friend, Lane, that lives right here in Madison that I am not normally in touch with.  Actually, we may have bumped into each other once or twice but other than that he's never returned my calls or emails whenever I happened  to reach out to him.  I called him from work one day last week to once again let him know that Gary would be in town and to try to get the three of us together.  Gary was better friends with him than I in high school and was hoping to see him, too, so I had been trying to facilitate and had called and emailed Lane with no response.  When I left a message this time I ended by saying that "you never respond when I try to contact you so I'm not calling again."  Then I deleted his number and email from my phone.  Guess who called later that night?  Oh, it was good to talk to him finally, and I will try to get us all together this week, but I'm pretty much done with him for good after this.  No response - especially repeatedly - is disrespect, in my book.

So next weekend is the 30th class reunion.  As I've mentioned, I have never been to a reunion of my class.  Most all of those I graduated with I have not seen since - and haven't missed.  So, why am I going?  Well, I already paid the fifty bucks.  And it has been 30 years now.  I did not grow up with these people, having moved to town for the seventh grade, and I've always felt like an outsider with them.  I expect I will feel much the same at the reunion, but I don't have anything more than that 50 bucks and my time next weekend invested in this.  I will go, smile a lot (hopefully genuinely), shake a lot of hands and make it back home long before I turn into a pumpkin.  So, besides wanting to see Gary, I guess I am going for the novelty of the occasion.  My expectations are purposely low so I shall not be disappointed.