Sunday, August 18, 2019

August This-And-Thats

Things have settled in to late summer around here.  Flowers are past their peak, football is starting and I've not been posting much of anything recently.  These are the times this kind of post is made for - with a twist this time.  This will be a more visual This-And-Thats than just a normal bullet-points rundown of different thoughts.  Just a few things I've been up to, so, with that, let's get on with it, shall we?

  • I found the spider that had been making the massive webs between the garage and the porch.  After that picture in the last post we saw him working on another web, pictured here.  And the other day I happened upon his lair when cleaning up, so he had to go.
  • A few weeks ago there was guano under our bat house behind the garage.  Our first sign of a bat using it since it was installed.  There's been none since, unfortunately, but I am encouraged as we are seeing more bats and more often this year than last in the evening skies.  This is a short video from Friday night by the fire showing some bat activity in the area - with an appearance from a plane taking off, of course.

  • Yesterday I finished the edging of the walks out front.  Now, I know it's been a few years since I've done it, but the sod had already crept several inches over the pavement again.  It doesn't help that the walks in this older neighborhood are generally lower than the turf, especially for us.  Still, it was very gratifying to clean it up, even if it won't last forever.

  • While taking pictures of the edging I took an inadvertent picture of the house.  This reminds me that I trimmed the arborvitae last weekend, and also swapped out the front light bulb.  The arborvitae has grown quite a bit in the last 10 years, and while I think it's kind of a pain to have I do like that it gives some character to the front of the house.  My (OCD) fear is that as it grows bigger it will get harder to keep looking good.  And for the light I got one that is LED and is supposed to not attract bugs, but what I really liked about it is that it has a sensor so it turns on and off at dusk and dawn by itself.  As for the bugs, it does appear there is less bug clutter on the front of the house now, but time will tell.

  • August 20 will be one year since the great deluge of rain that gave Madison and western Dane County, especially Black Earth, all sorts of flooding issues.  The Yahara chain of lakes is finally closer to "normal" levels - except Waubesa - and still way too high for all, but that's where they've been kept for several years now.  If we receive any sort of deluge like last year the same thing would happen again.  I do know there are plans being made to help prevent all that rainwater being diverted straight to the lakes, and other plans like dredging to ease the flow of the Yahara River between the lakes.   Link for below screen capture is here.  Interesting article here, I've read it once quickly so I should re-read it soon.

I think that's more than enough for now, I've had my say.  Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Fungus and Spiderwebs

Just a couple recent and interesting pictures I happened upon.  First, the little ceramic gnome we've had for years holds a little ceramic mushroom in his right arm.  Here he is surrounded by a few other forms of fungus among potted plants showing signs of late summer on the large, rotting tree stump.

Also, when I went out to the garage the other day I almost ran into a rather impressive spiderweb, going from the garage to the ground and all the way to the house and/or porch.  I tried to get several pictures, but it's hard to get a spider web without a dark background.  I held my arms up high to get this one.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Atwoodfest 2019

Dancin' in the Street!
Last weekend was Atwoodfest, the largest of Madison's near east side festivals.  My wife and I spent about 4 hours wandering the streets, watching bands, eating foods and perusing the merchant's wares (and I got my 2019 Atwoodfest shirt!).  We got there relatively early in the afternoon, about 2 pm, and watched as the place soon became more crowded.  The weather forecast during the week called for Saturday to be in the mid-90's with scattered thunderstorms, thankfully that had changed by Saturday to partly cloudy and mid 80's.  Still plenty warm but not as hot as past years, though a cooling shower would have been welcomed a few times.

Believe it or not, I didn't take a whole ton of pictures like last year when I took way too many.  But I did get many interesting sights at the festival and along the way.  The bike path was repaved earlier this year, Goodman Community Center's newly refurbished Brassworks building is completed, Goodman's cow (by the Ironworks building - both locally historic) has been re-painted with an interesting design (my wife laughed at where the raccoons are), there were beautiful wildflowers and community gardens along the path, and that bike display that was new last year in someones front yard was still there, now with a basket of flowers and night lights.

Follow along with the pictures after the break as we walk to the festival and back.  It happens on the last weekend in July every year - make your travel plans now!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Planes, Trains and... Cicadas?

Earlier tonight I had a fire for the first time in a month, since June 29.  It was around 80ºF, which was the lowest temperature and/or driest opportunity on a weekend night since then.  We've been mostly very warm and humid this month, but for the last several days which we enjoyed open windows again.  And the next couple days will be very warm and humid with scattered storms again.  I won't complain, I hear the UK just had record-setting temps around 100ºF yesterday.  Anyway, though I was tired I built a fire and sat by it watching the Brewers game on my phone for a couple hours tonight.  Always enjoyable, but I did have to shower off the lovely combination of sweat, bug spray and smoke when I came in for the night.

While I was out there the opportunity arose for a short video featuring a plane and train, and the automobiles are in the background din even if you can't tell with the other two - circling back to a prior post. There's also a fourth noise here as the cicadas have been out in force lately.  The train tracks are a few blocks south and east.  We don't seem to get lots of trains, but I may just be used to them now.   And freight, not passenger, usually with lumber or coal or box cars with who knows what else.  Short video below.



An then there's the back fence.  Tell me, does it look terrible?


I've been trying to get some estimates lately on replacing it.  I researched online and found 4 places I wanted to get an estimate from.  I have two similar estimates in hand, one supposed to be emailed soon, and one place that I left a message and they never called back.  So far the two estimates are very similar at over $2000 to replace what we have with the same but new.  It's only 40 feet of fence, that's over 50 bucks a foot, is it worth it to replace it yet?  Affording it isn't the issue, I just thought that seemed a lot for only 40 feet, even for cedar.  Yes, right now the tops are dry rotting and it being a squirrel highway erodes them more and more every year now, but can we get a couple more years out of it or does it look that bad now?  Replacement would have to be in early spring or late fall as to not destroy the hostas, so I guess it comes down to how long do we want to wait to replace it.

A few more after the break.  And this weekend is Atwoodfest!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Latest LIVE Listening Pleasure 35 - Alice Cooper

It's hard to say why I've not seen Alice Cooper live before now.  He does tour a lot, so perhaps I always thought there would be a next time.  In fact, there almost wasn't a this time.  Alice Cooper played Wednesday night at The Sylvee here in Madison, but I had tickets for a show I especially wanted to see on Friday, two days later.  That show was cancelled a few weeks ago so I decided this was the time to see Alice Cooper.  After all, he is 71 years old now, how many more tours can there be?

Not wanting to stand and jockey for a good view I bought one of the seats that surrounds the balcony, giving me an unhindered view of the night's show.  More expensive, but at my age I can afford these comforts when available.  I wound up on stage right, front row, second from the end farthest from the stage.  I still had a bit of taller rail in front of me since I was by the end and the stairs, but the rail that separates the seats from a forty foot fall seemed so low, and there is nothing but a short cable tray that runs below it to stop anyone from falling.  Me, being tall and clumsy, definitely made a note of that for future.

There was no opening band and the show started a little after 8, so I knew it wasn't going to be a terribly late night but I still took off the next day from work.  The stage was impressive with a castle-like structure that was used to its utmost.  The songs were mostly all classics with 14 of the 20 songs being from the 1970's, many of the hits.  The band, featuring three guitarists including the acclaimed Nita Strauss, was tight and entertaining.  And the special effects were limited to lights and fog, but there were several fun props used during the show including a giant Frankenstein, a giant baby and, of course, the guillotine.  He does a dramatic show with these little playlets that make things lighthearted and fun to go with the music, as you will see in the video below.



I'm disappointed that my original plans this week were cancelled, but I am very glad I went to see Alice Cooper.  Now to see what's next!

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 9 - U.D.O. LIVE
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
LLP 28 - Marilyn Manson LIVE
LLP 29 - The Harp Twins LIVE
LLP 30 - Diamante
LLP 31 - Steel Panther LIVE
LLP 32 - Scum Of The Earth
LLP 33 - Marty Friedman LIVE
LLP 34 - Buckethead LIVE
LLP 35 - Alice Cooper LIVE

Monday, July 8, 2019

Sunday on the Lake

On Sunday we got out on the lake for the first time this year (thanks Terry!).  It's always nice to be out there on the water.  It was a tiny bit cooler Sunday than it had been all scorching week prior, still with the sun shining hazy but bright I got more color than intended - well done but not quite extra crispy!

It was a lot of fun, but I took lots of pics and some video - more than I intended - but at least three quarters of the shots are no good due to the movement of the boat and not being able to really see what I'm shooting because of the brightness of the sun.  Still, I got some good pics but next time I think I'll leave the camera in my pocket a lot more and spend more time having fun with the people I'm with.  We don't get as many opportunities to get out on the lake as I'd like so I guess I get enamored with trying to get the perfect picture, which is practically impossible on a moving boat anyway.

The lake levels are still higher than they should be, for any time of year.  Technically not flooded like I showed in this post last year, yet currently at or above the Summer maximum set by the local authorities (screenshot taken from here) and all it would take is another rainstorm like we had last year and we'd be in the same, um, boat.  Why do we not learn from past mistakes?  Because boating is big business and it would cost people money to extend their piers if the lakes were a few feet lower.  Baloney.  These overly inflated lake levels aren't worth the risk.  Set the lake levels where they should be and make the rich snobs in the fancy houses adapt, I say.

After the break is lots more pics and a (n unlisted) YouTube video of boat cruising for a few minutes, just to give you a feel for it, I guess.  Never mind the background banter!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th of July 2019

Happy 4 day weekend 4th of July!

Everyone has a 4th of July, but it's Independence Day here in America.  A day for grill fires, explosions and missing digits.  We don't plan on going out for fireworks tonight, but we do plan on grilling out later today.  Mostly a day for chores and errands, though.  I hope to get a bit further with the cat box project, make a run to the hardware store, and get the chain saw out and cut the wood I've had by the garage since last year.  It's supposed to be very warm and very humid with scattered afternoon thunderstorms today so hopefully all will get done and we'll still have time for relaxing.  Tomorrow night we're going to have a couple people over for a fire in the evening, otherwise no specific plans made for the rest of the weekend yet - but I always have a list that I can work on.

Be happy, be safe, and enjoy the holiday, everyone!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Plants and Flowers






Saturday, June 22, 2019

Ends and Odds

I was looking at old posts a while ago and came across this video I posted 10 years ago, and I still enjoy it.  I didn't know who it was then, but it's At The Bottom Of Everything, by Bright Eyes.



I actually had this as a draft and scheduled to post on June 8, exactly 10 years after I originally posted it, then must have forgot to hit 'publish.'  Somewhat relevant as I just posted about airplanes, and I came across it today so here it is.

I also had this cartoon that I saved some time ago, I forget from where, because I liked it.  I don't mean to offend anyone who believes in religion, but I don't, obviously.


I did some more work on the long-fabled cat box area project today, still a long way from being done but it'll get there.  I have everything I need now but the good back for it.  After a couple weeks without one, I may have another fire tonight.  Gif below is from last night.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Planes, Planes, Planes

We live on the near east side of Madison, Wisconsin, just a couple miles south of Dane County Regional Airport and Truax Field, home of the 115th Fighter Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard.  The main runway is in line with a few blocks to our west, so we get a really good view of the air traffic.  The amount of traffic can vary at times, actually rather busy as I type this, and consists of very small to medium/large passenger planes.  Depending on the day and weather we either get take-offs or landings.  I like the landings as we get a better view of the planes, while the take-offs can be louder because planes are accelerating but they are also getting higher and can veer off to either side.

We knew about this aspect when we bought the house ten years ago, and it wasn't a concern then and it still isn't now as we really love our house, our location, and our proximity to work and local businesses (and the bike path though we need to take more advantage of it).  I've even grown to really like watching them - in fact, I think I always have liked it.  Sometimes the jets can get real loud, but they are somewhat fascinating as well - and nice to know we are so protected here in the upper Midwest.  And they almost always go in twos, so if you hear one, get ready for another one coming.  They also usually advertise when they will be doing extensive training, but that doesn't seem to stop some idiots in the neighborhood from complaining on the neighborhood farcebook page (I'm told).  Once, we even saw a military transport plane taking off over us - it was so big and so low it felt like I could throw a rock and hit it!

Pursuant to a conversation with blogger friend Blue Witch in the comments a few posts ago, I thought I would try to get some video to share to show what we see daily.  Now, I may hear scores of them go by on a single day, but I'm not usually in a good position to capture it on video.  In fact, the first one I took after that conversation may be the best of them all.  It's the first one in the video compilation below, in the evening with the plane's lights on.  Over the last week or two I've tried to get video and found it's not as easy as I thought.  First, I've not had a fire the last couple weekends so I've not spent that much time out in the yard and ready to record.  I've tried running out when I hear one coming, but to very mixed results, as you will see.  And I always seemed to miss the bigger ones, and the Frontier ones where I can try and make out the animal on the tail.  I've no video of the jets yet though I'll keep that in the back of my mind for future, but they're not just loud - they're freaking fast!

Total, I got over a dozen videos, 11 of which are compiled below, one of which I would take out if I wanted to spend more time on it.  Only the last video is of a take-off, this afternoon and right overhead.  I used Windows video editor for the first time to make one video out of all the clips and spent very little time on it.  Sorry, but it's good enough for this purpose.  It is posted to my YouTube account, but it is not listed for the moment, it's only posted here.



Yes, we have noise in the background here on the near east side; airplanes, street traffic, even and railroad tracks a few blocks away.  I've noticed this more than ever during this recent time of trying to get video of airplanes.  I do remember once several weeks ago, later at night out by the fire, hearing a plane, a train, and the traffic all at once and thinking that would be an interesting thing to capture.  Planes, Trains, and Automobiles!  We'll see, maybe that opportunity will arise this summer.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Basil's Vet Trip Today

Basil has not had a good year so far.  He's had crystals in his bladder and urine, blockages, several trips to the veterinarian, and eventual surgery in late March.  Since that surgery and spending a month in a cone things have been going relatively well until recently we noticed him leaving little pink dots on the carpets.  He had a urinary tract infection, which he is more prone to now since the surgery.

Today I took Basil to the vet.  For as many trips out of the house this year as he's had, he still gets seriously stressed.  We prepared by not letting the cats see the carrier and then separating them with Hamish in the front of the house and Basil in the back, like we had to do for several weeks after the surgery.  He did not want to get in the carrier, but we got him in and he only howled a bit as I drove the few blocks to the vet's office.  My wife, meanwhile, had a family event to attend at that same time.  Once Basil and I got to the vet he was quiet and eerily calm, even letting me pet him in the carrier - until they tried to take him out of the carrier.  He didn't overtly attack as they had a good hold of his scruff, but he hissed and screamed bloody murder a lot.  He peed himself in the carrier, pooped on the table, briefly had is teeth looked at though he showed them to us lots, got a rabies vaccine and generally did not have a good time.  But they got enough pee out of the carrier to test and confirm the UTI.  We left with antibiotics, Gabapentin for his hyperesthesia (twitchy butt) and pill pockets.

He was quiet on the way home, and I could see the hope in his eyes when I got the carrier out of the car.  Once inside, he exited the carrier immediately (more poop in the carrier) and ran for a quiet corner and started cleaning himself.  I got out treats right away and he was right there eating them up, which was a good sign, so I gave him the first antibiotic in the pill pocket.  I let Hamish out of the front of the house and the cats greeted each other, but Basil did get hissy.  Since then, Basil has cleaned himself more and they hung out on the porch for some time and I only heard a few hisses since.  I think we'll be okay now.

Some time ago I mentioned that I wanted to write about Basil and how he'd been doing.  At that time I thought we were done with this kind of thing, but he got hissy with Hamish that very night.  Over the last several weeks things have actually been pretty good, the only issue is mornings and evenings when we give them wet food.  When they are about to get fed, Basil gets jumpy, defensive and is easily startled - leading to more hisses and running away.  For a week or two now he just stays out of the kitchen and we bring his bowl outside the kitchen door and put it on the inside front door mat and he seems happy with that.  Hamish, meanwhile, has shown more patience with his brother than I originally would have thought.  It can't be easy having your brother act weird and hiss at you a lot, but I think he could tell his brother was not well.

So, Basil's saga continues, poor thing.  At least we're back on track and hopefully he'll feel much better again soon.












Sunday, June 2, 2019

Fire And Ice (Cream)

I don't think I ever saw an ice cream truck when I was a kid, but I knew them from books and TV.  Now I see them every summer - well, we mostly hear them.  I don't normally see them go down our street, but it kept getting louder as I sat by the fire last night.  I should have had my money ready!


Monday, May 27, 2019

Holiday Fire Pit Views

Happy Memorial Day, everyone.  Though today is rainy, the last two days have been wonderful.  I did as I said and sat by the fire last night.  I also took lots of pictures because I just enjoy taking pictures and I'm still loving the fire pit.  Sit a spell, enjoy the view.  Wish you were here!

Panoramic view makes the yard look bigger.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Plant Day 2019


Yesterday was our annual 'Plant Day,' the day we get plants and fill pots.  Normally I do this on my own, but my wife helped this year so we got it done faster than usual.  And more hands was certainly a big help when potting.  We filled the stump with pots, planted several different ones in the big planter out front, and got the usual two hanging pots, one for by the front door and one for the back.  We only planted one perennial, out front by the stairs, coral bells or something, and the hanging plant for out front is a smaller one this year.  I liked the clean look of the smaller white pot and simple yellow flowers.  On the other side of the stairs out front we decided to, sometime this summer, dig up the bulbs that are there and return the area to lawn.  The soil and lack of sun just aren't ideal for flowers and we find it rather unnecessary at this time.


We've had two beautiful days in a row (for a change), but tomorrow will bring scattered showers and storms again so the time was now.  I wanted to get this done when I was on vacation but that never happened, mostly due to the cool, wet weather at the time.  I think we got a good selection and we look forward to watching them grow.  Oh, my wife also got a couple pepper plants and some herbs for the garden.  We may not be the best gardeners, but we haven't given up!  The garden blog is a different story.  I just don't have the time or energy to keep up a separate blog for the garden stuff, so if I post anything about the garden from now on, it will be here.

Soon I'll post a full yard tour because I want to show more than just the potted plants, I just don't want to take the time tonight, honestly.  And I have work to do on those plants yet.  The arborvitae out front really took a hit over winter and are looking pretty shabby, and the burning bush out back did not come back this year.  It was very old and very overgrown, and only has a smattering of leaves this spring.  I'll have to take the chainsaw to it eventually, and it will seem very bare there until we replace it with something.  My wife has suggested a lilac as our other lilac is also a very old bush and this could happen to it any year now and we wouldn't be surprised.  There's only a couple blooms on it this spring, I think.

Not sure what else to say but I wanted to get this posted sooner than later.  Right after I post this I'll be going outside and sitting by the fire pit and watch the day fade into night.  Maybe I'll try posting a fire pit picture from my phone, or maybe not.  I also want to post about the cats soon, just to explain further how they have been getting along and how we've been trying to get things back to normal after Basil's surgery and all that comes with that.  Plus, cat pictures are cute!

A few more interesting pics from yesterday after the break.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Vacation Wrap-Up

It was nice while it lasted.  Tomorrow morning I will be getting up at stupid o'clock and going back to work.  But I still have today.

Since my last post I've gotten a few things done, but not much as my back required me to take it easy for a few days.  And the weather this second half of the week has been much cooler and wetter than I had hoped for.  I never did get out on the bike, which disappoints me, but we've had a rather cool and wet spring overall with just a few very nice days here and there.  Even today they're calling for rain most of the day so I'll be mostly staying in and catching up on videos and articles that I never seem to be current with.

Friday afternoon I tested my back and knees by walking to our local bar to have a few drinks, and my wife would show up after work and pick me up.  On the way I got a picture of Starkweather Creek at the end of the block, picture taken from the Milwaukee Street bridge.  The water is a bit high as you can only see the top layer of rocks along the side (at the end of our street, further up from this bridge view), and a check on the lake levels shows all 4 lakes at (what is currently set as) the summer maximum.  I've not heard anything about the lake levels lately, but they need to be lowered to prevent flooding issues like we had last year.  Unfortunately, it seems we may not have learned a thing from it.

Also during the walk I passed more community gardens along the railroad tracks.  There doesn't seem to be much activity yet, I'm sure due to the cool, wet spring so far.  We are behind compared to last year.  I hope we still have some time with moderate weather, rather than go straight from heating to air conditioning.  Open window weather is very nice, and we've only had a few opportunities so far this year.  After the walk we grilled out brats and I must have been in a picture taking mood as I took pictures of flowers and some of the trees over us.  I'll include some after the break, along with another picture of the cats, this time they're getting tall on the back of the computer chair.

Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.  I had also planned on getting plants, but sleeping in late and a dreary day and forecast postponed those plans.  Also, recently it occurred to me that I have an acquaintance of over 30 years that owns a jewelry store, so I got my wife a rather nice anniversary gift and we went out for a nice dinner at a more upscale restaurant in town.  I know being married to me can't be easy, but I do try and I love my wife very much.  Cheers to you, Kate!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Vacation So Far

So far it's been a good vacation, mainly because I've not had to go to work, but also because I've been getting lots of things done.  And that's despite coming down with a pretty nasty cold on Friday.  I didn't do much Saturday or Sunday other than lay around and be sick, but I steeled myself and powered through it on Monday and Tuesday, and finally started feeling like myself again yesterday.

First project was getting the basement steps painted, and it took two days because I did it in halves.  If anyone knows a better way I'm willing to listen for next time, but no, I did not feel every other step made sense as I know I would step on one I shouldn't while it was drying.  They had to be painted last at least several years before we bought the house, and we've been here 10 years now (yesterday).  I knew I wanted to paint them but didn't know how badly it was needed until I saw the side by side.  Drying time was mostly while the cats napped so there were no issues with them wanting downstairs.  I had a baby gate to keep them out and a temporary litter box upstairs if needed.

Aside from the stairs, I power washed and water sealed the back steps, washed and waxed the car, got lumber and hardware for the cat box area and did a plethora of smaller projects and tasks around the house that either needed to be done or I wanted done.  It feels good to mark things off my list, but unfortunately there's still just as much on the list as I've crossed off of it.  Mostly things that are not urgent and will not get done this week but I do want to keep them on my radar.

Yesterday evening my Mom and her husband Dan came up to see us.  It was a beautiful day yesterday, maybe the warmest day of the year so far as it made it up to the low 70's F.  We spent the hours around the fire pit talking and ordered out pizza and ice cream for dinner.  It was very nice to see them - and finally exchange Christmas gifts!  Yes, it had been too long as we didn't make it down there on Easter.  Thankfully, both seem very well and happy and it was a very nice visit.


Today is a different story.  I got a few things done early, then the rain moved in.  It should be gone by midday easily though there is a chance for more later in the afternoon.  In between the rains it's supposed to get even warmer today, into the upper 70's F, and my guess is it will also be very humid.  That leaves me to do a few inside chores today, but also a lot of resting as all the early week projects have left my back needing a break.  I've had some issues with my back recently, but thankfully not near as as bad as this time last year when I thought I'd be getting another surgery.

Tomorrow and the weekend looks like a few more showers expected, but hopefully I can get some more things done.  I don't plan on any projects over the weekend other than my wife and I want to get plants and fill pots on Saturday.  I've always enjoyed my spring 'plant day,' but it does get to be a little much so it will be nice having her help.  There are a couple other things planned, as well, but that's for a different post.

There's some more pictures after the break - with a little bit of captioning. ;)

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Latest LIVE Listening Pleasure 34 - Buckethead

In keeping with my resolve since I turned 50 to get out and see more live music from touring acts that I would enjoy, I went out Tuesday night to the Majestic Theater to see Buckethead perform.  Buckethead is a very respected guitar player who has made several lists such as top ten shredders and top 25 weirdest guitarists, among others.  He has performed with many other acts but is probably best known as being a guitar player in Guns and Roses from 2000 to 2004, and his work was also on their 2008 album, Chinese Democracy.  He is also famous for wearing a white mask on his face and a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head.

He performed with no opening act and no backing band, but played to a track most of the two hour show utilizing lots of effects most of the time, but did play pretty clean guitar at times as well.  I have some of his releases, but I don't listen to them enough to recognize any of his all-instrumental songs.  And he is a very prolific guitarist, having released 307 albums overall.  I had decided to go to this show due to the lack of other shows coming that I wanted to see.  I do enjoy his style of play and I am glad I went, but I also came down with a miserable cold starting Friday that I probably got from someone in that crowd.



Overall it was a good show, though.  Aside from his guitar playing he also does a mean 'robot' and even performed with nunchucks at one point before handing out what looked like dollar-store gifts to the fans in front.  Always handing them out carefully, never tossing or throwing into the crowd.  (That video is here, and a there's a couple more on my YouTube channel.)  Even as he left the stage before and after the encore it was with just a little wave as he was led off by his roadie.  His odd behavior reminded me of autism, but I've not read a word about him being autistic so I gather it's just another part of his act.

I'll be back at the 600-person capacity Majestic in July for a show that I'm really looking forward to - Diamante is coming as opener for the band New Years Day.  (There's a third band playing first that I'll have to look into later.)  I like both, but I'm a much bigger fan of Diamante.  Enough so that I even bought an opera box for the show.  Now I could just use a friend who likes the same kind of music to go to shows with!

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 9 - U.D.O. LIVE
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
LLP 28 - Marilyn Manson LIVE
LLP 29 - The Harp Twins LIVE
LLP 30 - Diamante
LLP 31 - Steel Panther LIVE
LLP 32 - Scum Of The Earth
LLP 33 - Marty Friedman LIVE
LLP 34 - Buckethead LIVE

Sunday, May 5, 2019

May This-And-Thats

I've not written anything for two weeks as things have been a little unsettled around here.  I'm tired and don't really feel like writing, but there are a few things to mention so it's time to start typing and see what happens.

  • A week ago there was another cat fight between Basil and Hamish.  Brief, but nasty, and my wife got bit on the ass.  The first was a few weeks ago and we thought we had moved on.  They've had issues since the cone came off Basil.  We had them separated all week, trying here and there to get them back together and finally yesterday afternoon they have been able to be around each other.   Hamish misses his brother's company, but I think he was the cathole - if you will.  Basil is still defensive around him, hissing and growling at times.  Meal times still seem to be an issue, as well.  So we are tenuously existing with doors open at the moment but things have gotten tense at times.
  • Since my last post we got snowed on again, also last weekend.  They called for 5-7 inches but we only got a couple, it stuck around overnight but melted by midday the next day.  Thankfully no plants seem to have been harmed, and that better be it for several months.
  • I think completing a cat box area under the stairs is a grand plan for my vacation, but a bit unrealistic.  I need to paint the stairs first, so that and several other chores are making my vacation list.  Among them are power washing and sealing the back steps, replacing the dryer vent hose, and there will probably be a day of filling pots with plants.  This is better than putting too much pressure on myself for one big project.  It's supposed to be well-needed rest and relaxation, after all.
  • I've not gotten the bikes out yet but that will change very soon.  Probably on my vacation as the next week is supposed to be rather dreary.  Again, grand plans until the time comes.  Sigh.  I want to spend at least one or two afternoons getting out and about riding on vacation.  Hopefully the weather will agree.
On the right are the same tulips, on April 25, the morning of April 28 in the snow that's left, and yesterday, May 4.  Well, I can't think of much more to say at the moment.  I'm sure I'll post something sooner than two weeks next time as I do expect a bucket of fun coming up this week - but more on that later.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter, Yardwork, Vacation Needed

My wife and I were supposed to go to my Mom and Dan's today for Easter lunch with them and my sister and her kids.  I bowed out last night, after working extra lately I was exhausted.  Yes physically, but much more mentally, either way rest is what I need.  It's my own fault for agreeing when I knew I've been in need of time off from everything to relax, and 4 hours driving is not relaxing.  So, my apologies to Mom and the family, I'll see you next time.

After another very long night's sleep I got a bit of yard work done today instead.  I moved the rock line along the back fence out another 6 or 8 inches and did a bit of garden repair.  The rocks always disappear when the hostas come in so I moved it out so maybe they'll still be visible and allow more room for the hostas and a better sight line in the summer months - and while mowing.  This was one of those jobs I really wasn't looking forward to, but I had it done within the length of the latest Slash CD.  I think I escaped without messing up by back, so I hope it's the last time I move those rocks.

Yesterday Kate cleaned up the stump area and gardens and planted lots of seeds.  The plants all around the yard are growing and starting to bloom.  But around the gardens the wood is starting to fall apart.  I knew they would have to be replaced eventually, I just hoped for longer than 10 years, I guess.  I staked the bottom right corner of the west garden by the door so it closes again and the wood doesn't fall out.  This will need to be addressed too soon, perhaps this fall and/or next spring.  I'll have to do some research this time before rebuilding.  And, for that matter, the back fence will also need replacing soon.

All in all, I only spent a couple hours working in the yard and have been pretty lazy most of the afternoon.  I need my batteries recharged for the upcoming overtime-mandated work week.  Soon I will be on vacation, I just need to make it a few more weeks.  But I'm tired.


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Hanging Pot Rack

A few posts ago I mentioned a hanging pot rack that I was making and said I would post about it later.  Now is later as I completed it yesterday and, thankfully, my wife loves it.

When we got the new stove with the double ovens we lost the storage space under the old single oven so we needed a new place for our frying pans and some pots.  We looked at several online, but my wife wanted a wood one and we had very limited space.  In fact, the only feasible place was against the far wall of the kitchen in front of the window, and we didn't like the hanging ones we saw.  We settled on a wood kit from Amazon that I sanded, stained and finished so it would blend in better with our woodwork.  I also had to get much bigger brackets than the ones that came with it to place the rack out from the window a bit.

It came together rather easily, but when it came time to fasten the wood to the rack I ran into an issue.  The brackets had a hole near the end that I was going to use to bolt the wood rack onto, but the holes lined up with the end rods that hold the wood rack together.  It just barely fit as it was with the brackets right next to the window.  I couldn't move the brackets so I had to think of a different way to fasten them together.  What I came up with was a 1/2" screw to go into the wood but not hit the metal rod.  Now, the screws alone I'm confident would hold for normal use, but just to be sure I took some black zip ties and fastened the wood to the bracket towards the back of the rack.  Maybe not the best solution, but effective and you really can't even tell they're there.


This project was drawn out due to the winter temperatures and staining and finishing, but is finally done.  Now I need to start coming up with a plan for my spring vacation project.  I've talked about creating a cat box area under the basement stairs for a long time and I think this is finally the year.  In the next few weeks I'll have to come up with the plans and get the wood, paint and other needed hardware so I'm ready to go.  This will be a lot of fun for me to do, and I do really need the vacation.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Um, Spring?..

...You're not doing it right!

Monday, April 8, 2019

10th Blogday!


A full 10 years of this now.  Huh.  How about that?

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Basil Update, A Truly Spring Day

Wednesday was one week since Basil came home from the vet after surgery.  It seemed sufficient time for the cats to see and smell each other, and any hissing had seemed to end, so we reintroduced them.  Things went very well, there was only a hiss or two, but the brothers were back together.  Of course, we need to watch when we leave the basement open because Basil is still not to go down there even though he really wants to use his regular litter box.  He does not like the litter he has to use so we bought puppy pads to place outside the box and he has been using them, though still reluctantly.  The carpet in the back bedroom will definitely need a good cleaning after this.

In a few days Basil will have his stitches removed, then we'll have to find out from the vet how long until we can take the cone off and also how long until he can use regular clay litter.  The sooner the better on both accounts to get our house back to normal.

Yesterday was the first day it thoroughly felt like spring.  The day started overcast, but the sun came out in the afternoon and the temperature rose.  I managed to do several things outside that have just become possible.  First, I got the garage organized a bit by putting away snow shovels and salt, swapping out the snow blower for the lawn mower, and giving the whole garage a good sweep.  With a clean garage and dust settled, I was finally able to apply the finish to what will be a hanging pot rack in the kitchen.  I'll write a bit more about that once it's complete.

I spent the late afternoon/early evening breaking in the fire pit.  The ground was solid enough that I hung out by the fire for a few hours, just watching the flames and enjoying the weather and relaxation.  It never gets old.  Just after sunset, as I let the fire pit die down, I fired up the grill for our first grilled burgers of the year.  I thoroughly enjoyed this first day spending so much more time outside than I have in a very long time.

More pics after the break!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Basil's Surgery, Promotion, More

Apologies for the lack of blogging lately, we've been busy and somewhat distracted for several reasons I hope to touch upon here.  Basil needed surgery, I'm getting the overtime blues yet moving up at work, and with spring comes chores that need to be done.

My last post had Basil feeling better but, alas, it was temporary.  A week ago Sunday morning we had to take him in to the emergency vet again because his urinary tract was blocked once more.  We had talked about it, and if this happened again we were going to go ahead with the surgery.   Basil stayed at the vet, surgery got bumped on Monday due to another emergency so he wound up having surgery on Tuesday afternoon.  The surgery was to shorten his urethra so when he forms crystals in his urine they don't get caught in the bend or near the tip.  Now he'll pee like a girl cat, essentially.

After the surgery, they let him come home midday Wednesday, but he has to wear a cone, take medicine and use a special cat litter until he's healed.  We also needed to keep the cats separated, which has not been easy.  He'll have to wear the cone for two weeks following surgery, then he'll have the stitches removed and have to wear it for at least several days still after that.  My wife has been able to get him the medicine in food and pill pockets.  And our home has been divided into three segments; the back bedroom and porch where Basil has been sequestered, the living room and kitchen (and basement) where Hamish has been kept, and the neutral zone - the area in between that has our bedroom, the hall of doors, and the bathroom.  At nights we've had to include the neutral zone in Basil's territory so he can sleep with us - he wouldn't have it any other way, as we found out the very first night.  We've also been moving that barrier so the cats can see and smell each other but not physically interact.  There's been some hissing and batting under doors, but overall it does seem to be getting better so hopefully we can have them together soon.  But Basil does need time to heal without worrying about Hamish coming after him for smelling different.

Weather-wise it is definitely spring.  Most of the snow has melted and plants are starting to come up.  I got outside yesterday to get the yard raked but it's still a bit early for cleaning up the garage and getting ready for summer, though I could get the bikes down and give them a once-over at any time.  Soon it should be consistently pleasant outside, but for now we still have temperatures bouncing up and down, above and below freezing.  There has been regional flooding of some rivers and some communities but we have not had any issues with our lake system like last summer, and hopefully we won't at all.  I should get down to the creek and get a picture, but maybe in a future post.

Work has been keeping me busy with mandatory overtime, but every few weeks they have to give us a break from it, so just regular hours the next couple weeks, thankfully.  Also, I've accepted a promotion that will be effective tomorrow.  I've only been back in this department since July, but they've seemed to be grooming me for this ever since.  Although I'm not in a supervisory position (and do not want to be anyone's supervisor), it is a leadership position and I've already had to tackle many challenges thrown my way.  I've also had to undergo several background checks to varying degrees - including a high level government background check.  This had me being grilled interviewed by a federal agent because I had neglected to mention something rather inconsequential that happened almost 30 years ago!  The government takes things like this very seriously.  Hopefully soon all will be settled.  I have nothing to hide, after all, and this will certainly prove it once again.