A Few Good Winos

A few of us are getting together this evening here at Bookends Cottage for a little wine, food, and laughter. Very impromptu, very casual, not a party, which is my usual M.O. As much as I like hosting parties, it's also nice when my closest friends pop by bearing a bottle and a dish. Very mellow. Bring it on.


Going to Seed

The only thing harder than saying goodbye to Lynette at the airport yesterday was getting up at 7:30 in the morning to drive her thereit's an hour or so from here by interstate.

Except for the few pre-DIA years that I lived in Denver, I've always lived an hour from the airport. In California I had to confront the LA freeways, which, really, was no fun at all at any time of day, but especially trying early in the morning. Due to traffic, I often had to leave four hours early so that I could spend at least two of them sitting at a standstill at the junction of the 101 and 405 freeways. Fortunately, I haven't lived there since 1999, so I never had to add the time for TSA security checks. I imagine these days one would have to leave Ventura at midnight for a 10:00 am flight...


A Busy Week

What a busy week it has been. Around here, it's a case of all or nothing at all, and I'm ready for a little nothing. Besides two web jobs, I've been helping Jacey with the final illness and death of her mother. Truly, I didn't do all that much, just wine and sympathy, and making CDs of music for the memorial service and wake, which are this afternoon. Poor girl is too young to be handling everythingher mother was younger than I am.

The good news is that Nettl leaves on Monday morning for Bordeaux, where Lauren is ending a year at university. The trip was a surprise gift from Lauren. A friend asked me if I was jealous and I said no. How could I be? Besides not being the jealous type over things like this, Nettl really deserves something fun to happen. She works hard and doesn't complain. Besides, I know she and Lauren will have a smashing time. All I want out of it is that they really enjoy this time together.


Review: Clapton: The Autobiography By Eric Clapton

I’ll probably fling myself into the outer darkness with many of my Sixties and Seventies compatriots when I put into print that I never was a big Eric Clapton fan. I liked Cream and other bands of their ilk, but they never really impressed me much until 2009 when I began researching Beyond The Bridge. I’ve never followed the slogan, “Clapton is God.” I’ve always believed Rory Gallagher to be the best electric blues guitarist. I admired Clapton’s style, though, and in the early Eighties, with his live concert LP, Another Ticket, I began to warm up to him...

Hitting Bottom and Its Benefits

If I've been a bit haphazard in my posting lately (and we know that I have), it's because I've been battling with one of those cathartic moments that comes along in my life about once every 20 years or so.

Like the birth and death of anything, the leading up to these crisis points is always harder than the actual passing through. I have a deep need for security, something I've really never known since getting out on my own, and I had to finally realize that security, like control, is only an illusion. It's something we set up for ourselves, but in the end what is it really? We take nothing with us when we leave here...


Picture A Day - Day 18

Day 18: A picture of someone you miss.

My dad. He looks pretty serious in this picture (which was taken on board The Queen Mary when his band, The Aristocrats of Dixie, played there), but I seldom ever saw him without a smile on his face.


The Week that Was

Well, that certainly was a week. Last Friday night's party was the kick-off to a six-day stretch that I wish never to repeat. I didn't say much about it either here or on Facehugger (as my son Joel calls Facebook), but I'm very glad it's over.

Hashimoto's has forced me to learn not to get overly excited about anything. Adrenaline, whether created from positive or negative stimuli, really messes me up. Some things are worth throwing common sense to the wind over, however, and some aren't. Parties, for instance, are. When I throw one, I know in advance that the excitement alone (never mind the wine) will put me on my ass for a couple of days.


Armchair Cirumnavigator: Vardø, Norway

I think most of you will remember how fascinated I am with remote places on planet Earth and that I often fly around in my Google Earthship looking for locations. There's something about standing on a street corner (using the Street View feature), looking around at buildings, streets, and people I never knew existed that turns me on. Sometimes, the Google cameras catch interesting glimpses into the life of a small town. Clothes hanging on a line, flower pots blooming on a front porch, a bicycle parked outside a back door. To be able to see these small scenes of every day life in places I've never heard of continues to capture my imagination.

Vardø, Norway
70° 21' N., 31° 02' E

Vardø is the easternmost town in Norway. The port of Vardø, on the Barents Sea, remains ice-free year round due to the effect of the warm North Atlantic drift. Vardø is usually referred to as Norway's only mainland town in the Arctic climate zone, although this is not strictly correct since the town is in fact located on an island about 1 mile off the northeastern coast of the Varanger Peninsula. In July, the average temperature is 48 °F, while the January average is a modest 23 °F.

 The Vardø area is well-known in birding circles for the great variety of bird species that can be seen, particularly at the Hornoya Nature Reserve, an island just outside the harbor. There is a single tree in Vardø, a rowan, which the residents protect each winter by building a house around it. Fishing and seafood processing remain Vardo's major economic sources of income.

Fortress: The Vardøhus Festning is a fortress dating back to the late 13th century, although the present structure dates from 1734. From the Google Earthship the fortress presents and interesting landmark.

Tunnel: In 1982, Vardø was connected to the mainland by Norway’s first underwater tunnel, nearly two miles long.

Local Boy Makes GoodJohn Norum, from the Metal group, Dokken.

Around Town: When I flew into Vardø, I landed at the corner of Grønnegata and Meyergata, an intersection just east of the main street. I like the way the boy with the bicycle and the guy by the dumpster just stand, looking at the Google camera car as it drives past. Up the street a man shovels snow. I'll bet they do a lot of that in Vardø.

This is on the main street, Strandgata. It is one of a handful of eating establishments, and the only bar I could locate. A woman pushes her pram on her way to somewhere. I was surprised to discover that the town has a Thai restaurant. Unfortunately, no pictures were taken of it.

On the left you see the town's bank, while up the street is the local church. I'll bet kroners to kippers it's a Lutheran church.

Farewell Vardø, and thanks for letting me drop in!


Picture A Day - Day 17

Day 17: A picture of somewhere you’d love to travel.

Madurai, India. Called the Temple City and the Athens of the East, Madurai has been a major trade and festival center for over 2,500 years.


No Fools Like Old Fools

Friday's impromptu April Fools Day party was a smashing success... with emphasis on the word smashing. Or maybe smashed better describes it.

Spontaneous get-togethers  are best, don't you think? There's no time for false expectations and, often, people's moods attune to each other much quicker than if they have time to get in the spirit. Our party came complete with silly songs, laughter, jokes, people spending the night sleeping on the couch and under the table, and spending the next day hanging out, napping, and eating leftover party fare.

With that wild hair sufficiently pulled, I can now get back to Book Two and finish the first draft. Thanks to my Bohemites for making the party a genuine schnozzwangler to remember.