Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wedding Receptions: 2

I had a wonderful conversation with the couple below.  I hadn't met them before.  But, they were relatives of my neighbors (whose son was the groom).  I was impressed with him.  He had done well in his career.  And, when the economy tanked, he suffered and lost his business.  Rather than mope around and wait for someone to help him, he moved, got a job, and started a new career.

He doesn't yet know whether this will be his long term career. But, he enjoys the new job even with the long hours often away from home. 

He didn't sit around with his hand out.   He found a job.  

Nicely done, Sir.  Nicely done.

Here he is with his lovely wife and his most recent grand child!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Wedding Receptions: 1

I had a number of wedding this year.   In fact, I think more than I have had in total over the last 5 years.  I have posted a few photos from a couple of them.  The upcoming photos are just a few of those taken at a reception.   I have known the groom for 20+ years.  He grew up with my son, the Big B.  So, it was a delight to celebrate with him, and his family, at this event.

The people photographed were at, or near, my table.  I didn't ask for names. With the music and the crowd, it was a bit difficult to do.  So, with just the exception of a few images, I don't know who the people are.  Just enjoy the photos of delightful and charming people who were celebrating with us!

Meet Phil! 

Phil has been my neighbor for 15+ years.  We've shared many a Christmas sherry, glass of wine, and an occasional beer over a number of conversations.  And, as you can see, he has a wonderful smile and sense of humor.  Well, he keeps laughing at me, at least!

Thanks Phil.  Thanks for being a great neighbor!   And, I need to borrow your light stands and umbrellas. 


Sunday, December 29, 2013

McCabes Guitar Store: The Crowd gets to Play

I actually have no idea who this gentleman is.  He was in the crowd and was playing a few guitars. 

But, he was having fun.   And, you can tell!

My sincere thanks!

Friday, December 27, 2013

McCabes Guitars: Wrapping it Up.

I couldn't pass on a photo of these.

Guitar porn.

Walnut top, I think.  VERY VERY VERY nice.

And, another resonator guitar.  This one is new. 

OK..maybe you don't like them.  But, I do! 


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Post Christmas

The gifts have been given, paper picked up, hugs and thanks have been shared.  Waking up Christmas morning, we could tell that Santa had been there.  The cookies were gone and he had given the carrots to his reindeer.

Santa never disturbed the box of ornaments sitting right next to the chimney.  Santa is that good.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.   It is soon back to the real world!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas 2013

To my few, but mostly loyal readers, may this season be filled with warmth and love in whatever manner, and holiday, you celebrate.

Sometimes it is a quiet, wintery Christmas village that brings peace and joy late at night.

Sometimes it is just a leg lamp that captures the imagination of things to come.

And, sometimes, it is just a toy train that captures the imagination and begins an adventure filled with super hero's.

Whatever it is, it forms the basis for hope for the future for all of us. 
Be safe and warm.  And, be kind to one another.   We all need that once in a while.  Except me, of course. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

McCabes Guitars: The Crowd Gets to Play

Meet Stephen!

It was after the Taylor presentation and I was wandering around looking for people to photograph where I would not interrupt them.  I was up near the stage and looked at the back of the room and saw Stephen.

I LOVED the look with the glasses.  So, I approached him and introduced myself.  We had a wonderful conversation and found that that he was from my neck of the woods!   We probably grew up about 100 miles apart.  Which, when you consider that he currently lives 1800 miles from me, is pretty close!

Thanks Stephen!  Keep playing!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

McCabes Guitar Store: The Crowd

Meet Marlin!

He was in the crowd listening to the Taylor presentation.  At this moment, he is getting lost playing a new Taylor.  

Nicely done, Marlin!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

McCabes Guitar Store: Post Taylor and Time for the Crowd to Play

One of the nice things about a guitar show is that once the guitars have been presented and the show wraps up, the crowd is encouraged to pick up the guitars and play them.  The rep is there to answer questions.
Think about this.  That meant that 30 people could pick up any number of guitars that cost between $3,000-$5,000 and play with them.  

I have no idea who the gentleman above is.  But, he was playing some beautiful blues.   He was gracious enough to let me take his photo without interrupting him too much.

I wish I could play like that.   But, I guess I have my own style.  Mary had a little lamb...little lamb...little lamb.....Mary.......

Friday, December 20, 2013

McCabes Guitar Store: Taylor Night

Meet the Taylor rep:  Eddie!

His job is to introduce the player.  And, introduce the guitars and talk about them.  Eddie knew a LOT.  It was fun to listen to him.   And, I did notice his hair.   Since I am a bit short in that department, it was fun to see!  It was an awesome night.

Thanks Eddie!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

McCabes Guitars: Taylor Night: Wayne Johnson

Meet Wayne Johnson:  Guitar player extraordinaire.   OK, the extraordinaire part is strictly my editorializing.  But, he was amazing.

I can play.  And, I am no slouch at it.  But, I need it written down.  And, I don't....feel it ...if that makes sense.  At least, not in the same way.  There was a freedom when he played that was so refreshing. 

The typical guitar show like this has someone from the company introduce the professional...and he/she then plays a number of guitars and talks about them.   They talk about wood, body style, electronics, etc.
I am not sure my ear is discerning enough to pick up the subtleties.   I just know Wayne was amazing.  He is why I picked up my guitar again after a couple of years.  And, why I played publically last week for the first time in 2+ years. 
Thanks Wayne.  You were a wonderful source of inspiration.   I needed that kick in the backside. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

McCabes Guitar Store: Taylor Night Prelims

Guitars are beautiful.  The artistic workmanship is amazing to me.  And, the engineering and tolerances are incredibly tight. 

Think how much tension is on a guitar neck with 6 or 12 strings at tune.  All wood.  Most guitars now have a metal brace or truss rod down the neck so that it can be adjusted. 

I just like the wood.   The grain is amazing.  And, the mother of pearl inlay is stunning.  

So today, sit and rest a bit.  Listen to some nice, quiet music.  The world will still be there when you are done.  I promise.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

McCabes Guitar Store: The Free Market

Nice music. 

I found myself rummaging around the stacks of music.  It never ceases to amaze me how much talent there is in the world.  The free market system works amazing well.   People with the talent decide to market it.  And, they find supporters.  There isn't a collective that decides what music we should listen to.  A collective that determines what is "appropriate".    But, I recall when the Beatles first came to the US.  I never understood the fascination, and scandal, with the length of their hair.   What a silly thing to focus on. 

OK...no political message intended....well..not much intended.  Just a casual observation.

Getting back on track.

This is an old resonator guitar.  Its made out of metal and has a very distinctive sound.  It is awesome!  But, it isn't my sound.  I can appreciate those who play it and who like the tone.  I didn't think we should ban it just because I didn't like it.  It is, or at least was, a free country. 

Damn...I appear to be a on political kick. 

Read a banned book.  Listen to people with whom you disagree. Talk to them.  And, remember, the most important speech to protect is that with which you don't agree. 

Carry on.


Monday, December 16, 2013

McCabes Guitar Store: Taylor Night Prelims 1

It has been a long time since I've wandered around a guitar store.  Frankly, for a while I was too busy playing to bother with new toys.  And, then I got busy and decided there were other bad habits hobbies that would consume my dollars. 
But, I had the opportunity to fly to LA for business a few weeks ago.  And, while there, met a good friend who is also a guitar player.   Since he knows the area, he invited me to a Taylor Guitar night at McCabes Guitar store in Santa Monica. They have a HUGE...did I say "HUGE" selection of acoustic instruments from a variety of manufacturers.  And, you can always walk in and hear someone playing.
It's been there since 1958.  And, anyone who is anyone has been there.  It was my second trip, I think.  The first trip was probably in 2000 or so.  This time I came prepared with my camera.  And, I had a great time.
Before the Taylor show, I wandered around taking photos of the various guitars and decorations.
I had to smile when I saw this. 

It was near the front door, next to the cash register.    I am not sure it was meant as a warning.  It was more of a .......I have no idea.  But, I liked it!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tracing the Evolution of Humanity

Surprisingly, one can trace the evolutionary process on the beach.  I know!!!   Typically examples and artifacts used in archeological discoveries are in deep caves and under layers of dry soil. 

So, who knew you could see so much at the beach! You just need to pay close attention.

For example:  Footprints of something small. 

Footprints of something larger.  These prints were made by something that happened to have wings and feathers.  So, I am guessing they were birds!  But, that is, of course, just a scientific hypothesis and someone else should verify it.

Something even larger. Curious...only one print.  I suspect, whatever this was, just hopped about on one foot.  That's my hypothesis given this empirical evidence.

Then, evolution brought the one legged, one footed monopod above to two legs...or maybe one leg with two feet.  Can't be sure from the archeological evidence. 

All of this culminating in the tracks of a Ford F350.  

See how easy that is? 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Beach 1

I liked these guys.  They were sitting on the beach for a few days as our paths crossed. 

They were gracious enough to let me take their photographs.   But, I can't for the life of me find any notes about who they are!

Meet the two guys at the beach!

I hope you traveled safely back home, gentlemen!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Seaside 3

They have mermaids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How cool is that?   I was trying to figure out how to bring her home and put her in the living room.  I was not getting a lot of support for this incredible idea.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Seaside 2

Wandering around Seaside I ran into Margie. 
Meet Margie!

She was working at one of the local stores and was taking a break, enjoying the warm sun.  Her favorite activity is walking her 14 year old dog , Mac for a walk at sunset.  He is a very majestic Havanese. 

Thanks Margie!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Seaside: 1

In October, I had the occasion to be in the Florida panhandle for a bit with the kids and grandkids.  It was a lot of fun introducing the grandkids to the beach.    Imagine, if you will, grandkids, laying in the sand making angels.   Yeh...baths every night.    But, they had fun!

I had not been in the Seaside area before.  In fact, I had not heard of it.   But, it is a very nice community and has some architectural significance with the layout, certain buildings and other structures.

I thoroughly enjoy water structures.  So, larger fountains catch my eye. 

And, this was outside of an small shop featuring different art work.  This is of Seaside.  It featured the beach, sand, the clock tower, the pavilion, etc. 

I really liked it there. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Candles, Smoke, and Late at Night

I like candles.   And, I like having quiet time at the end of the day.  Typically, I need it just to unwind.   And, if I am not too tired, I try to think of something creative and fun.

So, a few nights ago, after I woke up on the recliner and it was very still.  I blew out the candles and noticed the smoke plume. 

I lit the candle again and got the camera, tripod, and a lens that is built for low light situations.  The images below are taken only with the light of a single candle about 12" away from this one. 

All in all, I liked this.  I may want to tinker with this again.  Of course, it will need to be late at night after a nap and after everyone else is sleeping.  That's when I do my dangerous experiments.

Beauty and grace is all about us.   You just need to pause long enough to see it.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Magic House and Duck Hunting Season

One of the areas outside of the Magic House consists of a large, shallow flowing stream.  It is perfect for kids drawn to water.  They tend to wade right in with mothers close behind worrying about shoes getting wet, etc.  The kids don't care about that.  They see the magic of the water. 

So, I was a bit dismayed when I noticed what appeared to be ducks flowing with the current.

Yes...ducks.  But, something was wrong.  They weren't moving!

OMG!  It had been duck hunting season and someone blasted the poor little duckies!!

The children were sobbing.  It was so sad.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How Many Squares Do You See?

I am announcing a contest.  Every time I do this, I get a headache...and a different number.  Will someone PLEASE tell me the right answer?

Please....for the love of god......help me!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Kids Museum in St. Louis: Gravity and the Standard Normal Distribution

I deal with probability and risk in my job.  So, I really like introducing the grandkids, and older kids, and adults, to probability issues.  I know, I am weird that way.  I am not exactly the life of a party. 

But, I found this display just delightful.  It consists of the sign, and about a 6' display that you could turn.  The display consists of small ball bearings and a "maze" of sorts where they will fall when the display is inverted.

I turned the display upside down so all the ball bearings would go to the top...THEN, turn it upside down again and let the ball bearings fall through the maze.  The result was a predictable Standard Normal Distribution.  

The grandkids did not want to know about standard deviation and probability of +/- 2 standard deviations from the mean.   So, I tried later that night during a bed time stories to tell them about the power ranger called Standard Deviation and his power of doing statistics.  They were not impressed and wanted some mutant ninja turtle thing instead.  What the hell is a mutant ninja turtle?

I need to work with them on that.  I will also admit that I did this experiment 3 times and took nearly 15 minutes of everyone's valuable time to watch gravity work it's magic.

I am weird that way.  And, I heard about it.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Kids Museum in St. Louis: 1

When I go to St. Louis, I try to find fun things to do with the grandkids.   There is a wonderful place called the Magic House in Kirkwood (a suburb of St. Louis).   The kids LOVE going there.  And, even the old Papa enjoys it.  But, it is hard keeping up with them!

They have an amazing assortment of things to capture the imagination and curiosity of children...and old guys.  I really liked this small mouse door.  It was about 4" high.  I bet a dozen kids ran to it, lay on their stomachs, and opened the door to peek in.  Inside was a small table with a mother mouse, a kitchen, a table, etc.  I didn't notice any mouse traps, though.

And, I smiled at this.

Why, yes I did know this.   Yes I did.   And, that is a GOOD thing!  Exhausting....but GOOD!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Business Trip Visiting Friends to the North

I travel for business.  Certainly a lot of people travel much more than me.  But, I am traveling a lot more than I used to.  And, generally, I like it.  It is an adventure to go someplace new, find your way around, meet people, talk to them, tackle problems, build positive relationships that have the potential to last a lifetime.

A few jobs ago, I was asked as part of the interview process if my passport was updated.  I assured them it was.   The day I started the job, they informed me I would be flying to Paris and Brussels in two weeks for 10 days.  I thought, "I LOVE THIS JOB!"  On the next job, they didn't ask about my passport.  There was no need for international travel.  But, a month into that job, I drove to Fargo.   I sort of got a tear in my eye.

There is a fine line between tragedy and comedy.  And, there it was.

But, in this new job, I get to travel more.  And, I get to travel to more interesting places than Fargo (sorry to anyone from Fargo). 

I recently made my second visit ever to Winnipeg.  The first visit was over 25 years ago.  So, I didn't remember much.

But, I had a great time visiting co-workers, seeing the city (a beautiful, clean city), and sampling the local cuisine.  Fortunately, co-workers could point me to their favorite places.

This was facing me as I drove into a parking lot for another restaurant.

It was a painting on the side of a building.   And, I thought it was stunning.

Late at night, just outside the hotel:

I have those same wild grasses at my house!
And, a nice view of the outside of the hotel.   It was nice to be welcomed!

I hope to get back to Winnipeg soon.   Well, it is winter.   Maybe......yeh, I want to go back.   I heard there is a Voyageur celebration sometime in February.  I may try to hit that on my next business trip.  It should be a wonderful photo opportunity!  And, I actually have a connection to the Voyageur's.  In my youth, I guided canoe trips into the BWCA and Quetico Provincial Forest for 3 summers.   It was a wonderful time.  And, for a long time, I had a small Canadian flag on my label.

Maybe I'm part Canadian on my Mother's side, twice removed.