Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year 2020

I can't see what will happen next year - I don't have 2020 vision (yuk-yuk)!

We're having a quiet night tonight, me on the youtube and her watching drunk anchors on CNN, which I must admit can be pretty entertaining (Anderson Cooper doing Jager shots!).  I hope to see midnight, but I've already caught myself snoozing so maybe not.

Goodbye 2019.  Hello 2020.  I still have a little hope left.  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas 2019

I was looking back at what I've posted about Christmas in the past.  A lot of drivel, like this is, but I did once write out what Christmas was for me when I was young.  It was 2011, and you can read it here, or not.  Either way, I hope everyone has a great holiday.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Winter Solstice Fire Pit

I was lucky enough to have another one last night.  Second annual?  We'll see...

Wish you were here.  Happy Holidays, everyone.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Starkweather PFAS

A few days ago I posted about the new signs down by Starkweather Creek, which raised a few questions about PFAS.  A day or two later I was catching up on my newspaper reading and came across a December 11 article I missed that had some recognizable pictures of the sign and creek near our house.

Don't squint, you can read the (rather lengthy) Cap Times article here.

Basically, a mile or two north of here is the airport with Truax Field, home to the Wisconsin Air National Guard.  Adjacent are also two former firefighting training sites and a former sewage treatment plant.  The Department of Natural Resources has been after the Guard and the county to clean up the sites due to the high presence of PFAS, which are mainly from the firefighting foam that has been used in training for decades.  You can take from the article what you want, but it is the latest thing to get people excited and just one of many contaminants that has infiltrated our soil and groundwater.  Don't get me wrong, I agree that these man-made 'forever chemicals' cannot be good for us and I'm glad we have people such as the Friends of Starkweather Creek pushing for cleanup and reform, but I do not think they should try to get the public to panic.  And this is not just a local problem, this is everywhere.

This sign is one of about 30 that have been placed on Starkweather Creek at the beginning of the month.  It seems designed to scare people out of the water at the same time the city is encouraging its use, having added the steps and canoe/kayak slide just recently.

We've filtered our drinking and cooking water for a long time now.  We, as a species, have been poisoning our planet - knowingly or unknowingly - for a lot longer.  Yes, clean it up.  No, perhaps don't eat the fish.  But certainly don't panic or let this change how you live and enjoy your surroundings.  That's what I think.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Funeral Road Trip

We attended the wake and funeral for my mom's husband earlier this week.  I have a lot of friends and relatives that read this via email so I don't really want to discuss this a whole lot as I don't feel comfortable, other than to say he will be missed.  We have many great memories of him and are better for him being in our lives.  My heart goes out to my mom, whose life has just changed greatly.  We're here, mom, for anything you need.  RIP Dan.

The road trip to Dubuque is rather dull, especially now when all is brown.  There is the highway, hills and fields, over and over until you come upon the Mississippi River.  My wife, knowing I'd like the opportunity to take pictures, took lots of pictures for me as we came upon the mighty river.  Unfortunately both trips were overcast and dreary, as you will see.  I previously posted pictures of the Mississippi  a couple years ago under these blue words, and below are a few more of the scenic river as we crossed to and from Dubuque, Iowa, a few days ago.

And on the way back we get a view of the Platteville M, a large M on the side of a hill outside the city.  The M is for the old Mining School at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville.  It is climbable to the top along a separate staircase, and is just whitewashed rocks.  In my youth and when I lived in the area it was a place to go park and drink with friends as it's just across the county line so no police usually came around.

More Mississippi pictures after the break!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Canoe Slide, Fall Fire, More

Here I go again, letting weeks pass with nary a word typed.  Yes, we've been a bit busy, and there are things happening that I'm not sure how to write about yet or even if I'm ready to write about yet.  But I do have some things to say today and the rest may wait for a while.

I was out for a walk the other day and I saw some new signs down by the Starkweather Creek canoe slide.  A warning about possible PFAS in the water - in 3 languages - and a small sign with instructions on how to use the canoe slide.  I still haven't seen the slide used, and I'm sure I won't until spring rolls around.  You can see the creek is iced over already.  We've not had a lot of snow since late October and early November, but we have had the cold temperatures with highs ranging from a bit above to a bit below the freezing mark, more below recently.  I'll put closeups of the signs after the break.

The last two Friday evenings it has been dry with temperatures right around freezing - good fire pit weather!  I had to start the fires about 4 in the afternoon as the sun goes down before half past these days.  And I noticed that rather than sitting I tend to stand around the fire when it's cold.  Closer to the rising heat, I guess.  Each fire may be the last for quite some time so I've been taking advantage.  One snowstorm and it will be months before it happens again.

We have a funeral to attend very soon.  My mom's husband passed away this week from cancer.  Quicker than expected, but probably for the best.  We're well, thank you, and my mom is holding up very good, but things will be very different for her.  Oh well, maybe more on this later.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Thanksgiving Weekend 2019

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend.  We enjoyed a very nice, homemade Thanksgiving meal with my wife's family at our house on Thursday.  My wife is a wonderful cook and she awed again for this feast.  It was good to see everyone, and especially the growing nephew.  The cats behaved, well, hid, which is good enough.  Basil gets scared and Hamish gets pissed when we have people over.  Not sure why, they were around people as kittens.

Weather-wise has been gray, gray and more gray, but I'll take the time away from work!  The rest of the weekend will be pretty easy, with football games this afternoon and tomorrow.  Otherwise, I've been doing what a holiday is for - resting.  I'll need it as overtime starts again on Monday.  It will last until the next holiday week and then for at least a time after that (sigh).  But better stop that before I get started on it...

I don't have a whole lot to say, but I do usually post for the holiday and I've not done that yet so wanted to check in.  Again, I hope you are enjoying the time off and are thankful for that which you should be thankful.  Cheers!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

No Post November?

Hello everyone, and yes, I'm still alive.  My apologies for not posting anything in weeks.  It's been a pretty rough fall so far around here.  My last post was Halloween and it had snowed a couple times.  In the weeks since, we had a few more snows and even a week of bitter cold that is normally not seen until January.  Thankfully, I think it was the Wednesday after Halloween, I came home after a long day of work and cleaned the gutters and raked/mulched the leaves as it was supposed to snow that night again.  And it's a good thing I did as we've had standing snow and ice ever since up until a couple days ago.  If I hadn't gotten it done then I would have been doing it yesterday - and I did see others cleaning their gutters yesterday.  This past week it has finally gotten a bit more seasonable and the snow is almost all melted again, but the trees are bare, grass is dull and the days are pretty gray.

Last year my last fire pit was on the winter solstice, December 21.  Friday afternoon the conditions were well enough I had my first fire in a month and it very well may be the last of the year.  I already miss the quiet time sitting outside, staring into the fire.  But it's cold now and no longer ideal, yet if I get another chance I probably will.  Also, our grill is also out of gas but with the weather I've been in no hurry to fill it.

I've had a lot of thoughts lately about someone very close to the family that has been dealing with a terminal diagnosis.  I can't imagine the hardships they've been dealing with lately, but hopefully hospice care can help things become more manageable.  We will be making the short trip for a visit sometime soon in the coming weeks.  Until then, I hope they know we love them and are thinking of them.  Aside from grandparents I've not had anyone close to me die, so I guess I've been lucky so far, but that luck is running out.

Well, I don't mean to end on a downer but there's nothing else really happening around here.  We have the holiday season almost upon us, soooo, we got that going for us.  Yay.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Halloween 2019

We got 3 inches of snow a few days ago, then we got 5.1 inches on Halloween day.  While most walks had been cleared it was still below freezing with snow and leaves everywhere for the evening trick-or-treaters.  I wasn't really surprised that there were less this time, maybe two dozen or so, less than half of last year.  It just means we have waaaay too much candy left over.  Dammit, I like candy.  But I'm not used to eating a lot of it.  I may get a tummy ache!

This is the third year I've used the mummy in the corner window.  It was just a cheap decoration - two plastics sheets to tape in the windows - but I got a lot of compliments from the parents on it this year.  In fact, one said it was the most Halloweeny house on the street.  I think the effect from the corner windows is good, especially if you are walking toward it down the street.  I also got a cheap red strobe light that I put in the kitchen window, just for fun.  After dark it seemed like a nice effect, anyway.  Also cheap window decals went unused due to the cold glass.  I did have a new skull mask with a moving jaw, but I think I only answered the door in it a couple times and even then quickly removed it.  I guess I was apprehensive about scaring the younger ones.

All in all a nice, but slow, snowy and cold Halloween.  Almost felt more like Christmas out there.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Second Snow... and Meat!

Two days after the first snow we get the second - and this was a pretty big one.  Traffic was terrible all day until this afternoon when it stopped and cleared up a bit.  Here's a view of the freshly covered back yard from the warmth of inside.

Also this afternoon, thankfully after it was more clear, I went and picked up our fourth quarter cow.  It was a bigger cow than last year, we got about 132 pounds of meat at less than 5 bucks a pound, and that's for everything - steaks, roasts, ground and more.  Not too bad, and the meat is so much better than the local grocery store.  This will probably set us until early 2021!

That's all I can write for now, it's Halloween and the trick-or-treaters are starting to come around.  Boo!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

First Snow of the Season, 2019

First snows according to this blog - October 10, 2009; December 4, 2010, November 9, 2011; December 9, 2012; October 23, 2013; 2014 not noted; November 20, 2015; December 4, 2016; November 18, 2017; October 20, 2018; and today, October 29, 2019.

The unmelted lumps of snow in the driveway are on leaves.

The first snow of the season is something I've noted here before, usually, see above, so I shouldn't have been surprised as it's not too early for it.  I did see on the news last night that they were expecting 1-2 inches, but they also said it would melt during the day.  Oh, it's melted some, but there's still more than I'd like to see out there this afternoon, and it's been sunny all day.

The picture above is from before 5:00 this morning as I headed out to work.  At the time it was 30ºF and there was least two inches and likely more of the wet, heavy stuff - and still snowing.  Here, right, is the same view as I got home early this afternoon.  Roads, driveways and walks were mostly melted even this morning as the ground is warmer, but snow still lingers on the grassy areas.

Yes, the back yard is still mostly covered in snow still as it has only risen to 36ºF this afternoon, but the front yard is a more dramatic picture with the snow, leaves and drooping arborvitae.  Not surprising since this is the north side of the house.  Every winter I try to knock the snow off the bushes as soon as possible, which I did right after this picture, or it really takes a toll and they have a hard time straightening up again in the spring.  I did remember this year to give them a good, long drink of water before putting the hose away a couple days ago.  I forgot last year and the two taller ones are still a bit ragged in their bottom halves from whatever happened to them over last winter.

At least we finished winterizing the yard and gardens on Sunday.  Still left to do is leaves and gutters, but there are still leaves to fall yet.  The back yard gets mostly the black walnut leaves from next door, which are done now, so I mow to mulch back there.  The leaves in front will eventually get raked into piles and vacuumed up and mulched for the flowerbeds.  I see many people here have already raked several times, and they always put them out for the city to pick up.  While I have mowed to mulch in back, I refuse to rake the front until the leaves are done falling.  And I'm not putting them out for the city - ever.  I never really saw the sense in that when they make good mulch, if not for flowerbeds then just mow them into the lawn.  Putting them out for the city to pick up seems wasteful and inefficient, to me anyway.

It seems like I've said much of this before, so sorry if I'm being repetitive.  What do you do outside to get ready for winter?

Sunday, October 20, 2019

October This-And-Thats

With no real subject to write about and knowing I've not posted much of anything aside from the creek in some time, it's time again to sit down and start writing about whatever comes to mind.  You know the drill, now here I go!
  • I got sick for the first time this season, starting over two weeks ago.  I was so miserable, and for so long.  I think it was just a real nasty cold virus, but it may have been a bit of the flu - even though I got my flu shot less than a month before.  (Some say that's what got me sick, but I think they use a dead virus for the vaccine.  What do you think?)  I was off work for a whole week and it's been lingering in the week since.  At least my boss felt sorry enough for me that I wasn't required to do the mandatory overtime this past week.  Yay.
  • I was poking my nose around in blogger and I just happened to notice that Delcatto's comment on my last post was my 1,000th comment!  Doesn't mean much unless you're a numbers geek, and I'm sure about half the comments were me.  That's my random fact for today, I guess.
  • The trees are turning colors and some leaves are falling already.  It seems odd in places because some trees are almost bare while others are still green.  Some trees just drop their leaves earlier than others.  Also, it's time to clean up the yard and gardens, which I have a small start on but hopefully will have more done by the time this weekend is over.  This is not my favorite time of year, it is the time of impending winter to me.  I much prefer spring and the time of impending summer!
  • We just put in the order for our next quarter cow.  This will be the fourth time we've done this, and the meat seems to last us a little over a year.  It's nice to have all that meat in the freezer, and it's cheaper in the long run.  Plus, we enjoy it more than the meat from the grocery store.  Lots more, it's just a higher quality meat.
  • Without much else going on, I did enjoy my last 3 posts.  I enjoyed the walks and getting outside, and trying to get good pictures.  I'm sorry to have stretched it out a bit, but I was busy/had nothing else to really write about anyway/was in no particular hurry - take your pick.  I actually feel a little guilty if I don't post anything for too long, but it can be hard when not much is happening.  Even this post was pretty much put together over several days of wondering what I would write.
I can't think of anything else to say right now.  I guess that's why I've not posted anything recently.  Oh well, no news is good news, I guess.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Starkweather Slide Step - Part III

Yesterday afternoon the sun finally came out, so after the Badger game I took the walk around our section of Starkweather creek to get a closer and different look at the new steps and slide.  I've never done this short walk before and this seemed like a good reason to get out and do it.  I start at the end of our street and walk north, crossing the bike path bridge then walking south to the Milwaukee Street bridge, and then back north a bit to our street again.  All pictures in this post, and there's quite a few here, were taken on this walk.

Google reminded me that a year ago today I posted about the creek and the flooding and the progress of the water as it was going down a bit.  Things look a bit greener this year than last, you can take a quick look at a year ago today here, and all my flood-related posts here.  While the levels look a whole lot better than this time last year, all the lakes are still well over their set summer maximum levels.  The creek empties into Lake Monona, which is still much too high so the creek is at least a foot and a half higher than it should be right now, by my reckoning.  Lake levels can be checked and animated here, at least until Flash Player goes away.

But enough of that for now.  Come and walk with me around this section of Starkweather Creek - after the break, of course.  And mind the ducks!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Starkweather Slide Step - Part II

When I posted a week ago I didn't know it would be a whole week before I could follow it up with part two, but a busy week and required overtime and here we are.  I'll tell you right now there will be a part three because I do want to get out sometime this weekend to make the walk around and see the view from the other side of the creek to get a closer look at the steps and a different view of the slide.

But first things first, let's take a look at the completion of both projects, steps and slide - after the break!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Starkweather Slide Step

I mentioned previously that the city was going to put in a canoe/kayak slide into Starkweather Creek at the end of our street and, further upstream on the other side, steps leading down to the creek.  I also said that I would post a pictorial of the process, which I found a little difficult because I have a whole bunch of pictures and needed to pare them down.  In the end, I decided to go in date order, only of the days I made the walk down to see, of course.  There's still a lot of pictures, but date order should help keep them in context.

The project started later than expected, it was scheduled to begin August 12.  We received a letter from the city earlier in August letting us know of the plans and the schedule.  I'm sure other projects were delayed, you can't really depend on timelines for these kinds of things as they are at the hand of the weather.  And it seems the contractor concentrated on completing the steps before fully starting on the slide.  At least they did not limit our parking as we were told would happen and all in all it was no bother to us.

So let's begin - after the break!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

My Fall Vacation

Hello everybody, welcome back.  I hope you've been well.  I know I've been more absent than normal lately.  I had a vacation and, well, it was different for me so I guess I've just not been sure how to write about it.  But that never stopped me before, so here goes!

I took last week off as I've done for several years now.  Long after I had secured the week off my wife found out she was being flown out to the east coast for work for much of that week.  My first thoughts were that it would be kind of nice.  In actuality, I got kind of depressed and lazy.  Now, the weather had much to do with that, being overcast and/or rainy most of the time (despite the pictures I have here), and my back wasn't that good so I couldn't do much of what I had planned, but my mood certainly lifted when she got back home late in the week.

The weekend before was a pretty normal weekend, and I got up early Monday morning to take her to the airport.  That wasn't such a bad day, I made some rather large but necessary purchases (new bed and glasses) and grilled out brats for dinner, but scrapped plans for a fire due to impending rain.  Tuesday was much warmer and very humid, but the heat and humidity broke in the evening so I did spend a good amount of time by the fire that night.  Over the course of these two days I also got another piece of wood cut and painted for the cat box project downstairs, but with my back acting up I did not get any further on this project, disappointingly.  Wednesday was also hot and humid, even more so than the day before.  By this time I was sleeping about 10 hours a night and that felt good, but the weather was just so damn gloomy and if it wasn't raining then rain was coming soon.  I figured it was just a matter of time until water got in the basement, another excuse to put that cat box project off.  Thursday was pretty much the same, gloomy and wet, but the storms stepped it up a few notches that afternoon.  I felt pretty crappy that day, probably due to drinking too much and sleeping too much the previous few days.  I can see now I had fallen into a bit of a funk.

On Thursday night I was supposed to pick my wife up from the airport, but her first plane was delayed due to the weather in Chicago, then her next plane actually tried to get to Madison but the thunderstorms and lightning we were having here were too much and they had to turn back.  My brave wife ended up getting a rental car for her and her coworkers and made the drive from Chicago to Madison in the middle of the night and through the aforementioned severe storms.  The airline was of no help and the next plane was the next night so she didn't have much of a choice, unfortunately.  But thankfully she made it back safe and sound and the cats and I were very happy to see her.

All that, and before she could return the rental car and pick up her luggage on Friday a branch fell from a tree out front and smashed the rear window of the rental car as it was parked in our driveway.  Alas, just the icing on the cake of a very bad travel night and day for her.

Since then the weather got a bit nicer and I got a few more things accomplished, like power washing and water sealing the back steps and washing all the windows.  But the cat box project, the one I've been mulling for several years now and finally got a good start on, still stalled.  But that's okay, for now.  I have all the hardware, wood and paint that I need so I'm going to run out of excuses eventually!

So that was pretty much my week of vacation.  I wasn't at work and I got a lot of rest so it was still a positive for me.  One thing I didn't mention yet was the several walks I took up and down the creek as they worked on the steps and canoe/kayak slide.  It seems everything was completed on Saturday, so that will probably be my next post, with a pictorial of the process.  See you then!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sunday Pictures

I don't know if this is a new 'thing' for me or not, but again I'm tired and I don't feel like writing a whole lot tonight so here are a few pictures I've taken since the last time.

 I should have more to talk about very soon as there are things that I want to do very soon, but if I promise I'll jinx myself.  How's that for a cliffhanger?

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Labor Day and Packers

Tonight is finally the opening of football season with the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears - the oldest rivalry in the NFL - to start the NFL's 100th season.  The Packers played their 100th season last year, so they're older than the league, interestingly.  We've not seen much of what the Packers starters could do in the preseason, and they have a big challenge tonight playing in Chicago against the defending NFC North champion Bears.  After the off-season coaching change and all the speculation I just hope it's a good game that gives us hope no matter tonight's outcome.  Go Packers!

Last weekend we had a holiday fire pit with friends, only the second time this season we attempted this.  The first time was on Fourth of July weekend and only friends Terry and Becky came over and we didn't even have a fire because it was so hot!  Sunday night turned out much better and we enjoyed seeing friends that we hadn't seen in quite some time.  As summer wanes there will be more fire pit opportunities so we'll need to try and take advantage.

That should be all for now, I need a nap.  Since I get up at stupid o'clock every morning and it's a night game tonight I'll need to get some sleep.  Remember, the Bears still suck - Go Packers!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sunday Pictures*

The lamp, he is angry.
I take a lot of pictures.  With digital being so easy and storage so cheap, why not?  I don't see myself as some great photographer or anything, but it is a nice feeling when you get a good picture.

I don't feel I have a lot to say right now, but I do have pictures.  This is just a few pictures I took over the last week.  Let's see how this goes...

*Picture links updated, thanks BW!

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 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!