Day 31

I saw this building while driving around this morning.

I was driving around aimlessly after getting some blood work done this morning. I could lead you to this building but I couldn’t give you directions. But then, I doubt if you would want to go to this building. Still, the awning over the side door, the balcony across the front, and the flaking white-painted brick appeal to me. That, and the blue mattress propped against the wall, set it apart from other box-like brick buildings.

Today, while writing, I’m listening to Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water album. It just occurred to me that both of the copies of their album I purchased were bought outside the US. I bought my vinyl copy when I was in the army, stationed in Heidelberg, Germany. Then I bought the cd version when Cindy and I were in Manchester, England. She was there because she was presenting at a conference. I was there for fun. That was in 2003. We will have to get our passports renewed next year. That’s probably good because I look very little like I did 10 years ago. More of my hair is white while I have less hair; I no longer have a beard; I have also lost a bit of weight.

Getting back to the music, this is one of my favorite Simon & Garfunkel albums. I don’t believe they released a bad album in the years they were together, but each one seemed better than the one before. I recall hearing Paul Simon say that he would watch Art Garfunkel get standing ovations when he sang Bridge Over Troubled Water, and wonder why no one shouted “Author, author.” It struck me then as being petty, and it still does. His ego must have been very fragile. Armed Forces radio used to broadcast the Buddy Rich Big Band cover of Keep The Customer Satisfied regularly, and I was surprised when I got back to the states that practically no one had heard that version. That’s a shame because it is an excellent version. 

I’m not writing anymore about my visit to AT&T yesterday. I calmed down and want to stay that way.

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Day 30

Uncomfortable sculpture

I love the beauty of this sculpture, but I thinks it looks very uncomfortable. I must admit that I haven’t tried sitting on it yet, mainly because it looks like there are so many ways you could snag your clothes. If clothes are snaggable, I’m the guy that will snag them.

I really don’t like to complain about things, because it means I am not satisfied with something in my life. I want to be satisfied…and content. However, I just have to get some things about AT&T off of my chest. Up until a few weeks ago I have had no real complaint with AT&T and their service, but now I am dissatisfied. Under our plan I get 1 gb of data. Last month I was notified that I had reached 65% of that 1 gb and would be charged $10 if I went over that amount. I cut back on my usage and kept it below the max. This month I used the phone less than I had in January, but was again notified a two days ago that I had reached 65% of the one gb. I cut back, but was notified six hours later that I had reached gone over the 1 gb. I stopped using the phone for everything but calls, texts and emails. I stopped using it for Twitter and Facebook. Since then I have been notified many more times that I had exceeded the max. This morning I received 5 texts between 7:08 a.m. and 7:47 a.m. that I had exceeded 100% of the plan. In that time I had used the phone to respond to 1 email and update the weather once. I went to the AT&T store where we had purchased the phone to ask them to look into that matter and the fact that I had to charge the battery at least twice a day, even when I seldom had it on.

The lady, the same one who had sold us the phone, told me that as the phone got older the battery stayed charged for shorter periods of time. She said that her husband had the same make of phone and had to charge his every 6 to 8 hours. She recommended we buy a backup battery. I don’t know if she thought I was going to swap out battery every time it needed charging, but I’m not. I showed her the texts I was getting and she seemed surprised that I went from 65% to over 100% in such a short time, but tried to explain it by saying some activitymight not show up for a day or two. She looked up the account on her computer and said that I had used, so far, over 7 gb. of data. That would mean I had used 6 gb. since Sunday. I told her that was absurd, that I had barely used the phone since Sunday.

She said that I should have downloaded an update to the software, and maybe that was part of the problem…right…and proceded to down;load the update for me. When the download reached 97% she got a message on the phone saying that the battery was too low to continue. I should take the phone home, charge the battery completely, and download the update. Before I got home I received another message saying I had gone over the 100% again…I guess from the download that didn’t finish.

That’s all I writing today. I may finish this rant tomorrow, if I don’t cool off before then.

Day 29

Abandoned

Add to my likes of graveyards, old barns and silos, the occasional abandoned building. I always wonder why there was not a new use for the building after being left by the owner. It seems like a waste.

OK, so it is another beautiful, almost spring day. I’ve taken care of a couple of things, and yet I’m in a bad mood. I don’t know why I feel this way, but I’m doing my best to not snarl. Luckily for Cindy. She took the day off, but as in most of her days off she relaxes by cleaning house until she collapses. That’s not the way I relax, in case you’re wondering. I prefer spending my days working on my various hobbies. Later today I plan on cataloguing comic books. I still have a handful of Micronauts from the early ’80s to finish up. It wasn’t the best comic I ever collected, but it did have some of the finest art work. Michael Golden was the original artist and the Pat Broderick took over. There was no reason to complain about the change in artist, unlike some other changes that Marvel has made over the years.
 
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I had to take a break from writing, but now I’m back. While I finish today’s writing I’m listening to Harry Belafonte’s At Carnegie Hall album. Some music never gets stale. I remember first hearing a Belafonte calypso record when I was in fourth grade. My teacher, Mrs. Harris, would bring records in to play during recess on days when bad weather made it impossible to go outdoors. I don’t remember any of the other records she played, but the memories of Belafonte singing calypso has stayed with me.
 
I feel I was lucky to have a teacher who played Belafonte, and even luckier to have a music teacher, Mrs. Russell, who had us sing folk songs. Those days laid the groundwork for my lifelong love of folk music. I’m sure I’ll write more about that at a later date.

Day 28

Tagged and sitting on a siding

It was another beautiful morning, but I couldn’t spend a lot of time searching for something to photograph, errands to run, don’t you know. So I went to my backup list of things or places to get a photo of on days like this, when I don’t have the time needed to be more selective.

I’ve been listening to Diana Krall, Rosemary Clooney, Jane Monheit, Dave Brubeck and Joe Sample (in and out of The Crusaders) most of the day. Then I threw in some Fleetwood Mac for variety. I love to listen to female vocalists singing the standards. Great songs sung by women with great voices, not to mention Diana Krall’s piano playing, puts me in a mellow mood. Brubeck is my all-time favorite jazz artist. I’ve been listening to him since 1965, and have loved everything I’ve heard and/or watched. He is my personal jazz god. I like listening to Ellington, Basie, and others but Brubeck stands above them in my mind. Maybe it’s because the first jazz album I bought was by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, or because the first jazz concert I attended was the Dave Brubeck Quartet. He has consistently composed or interpreted other’s works at a high level. I never feel like he gives anything less than his best.

Tonight is Oscar night. I’ll be taking a pass on the show and finding out all (and more) than I need to know about it tomorrow. I have never enjoyed watching all of those egoists congratulating each other on their magnificence. The same is true of the Emmy’s, the Grammy’s, the SAG awards, the Tony’s, and a slew more that I couldn’t name or care less about. We live in a time of self-proclaimed celebrity. And now “reality TV” let’s the common, and in some casesvery common people show us what they are willing to do just so they can appear on a television screen. I understand why the television networks flood us with “reality TV,” but I don’t understand why anyone watches it. But that’s just my opinion.

Day 27

On the way to Crawfordsville this morning.

Cindy stopped the car and had me take this photo this morning. It’s a good thing she did because only one of the other still shots I took during the day turned out. I was able to get a few short videos though, and I’ll be posting them to Facebook later.

It has been a busy day so far. Our first stop this morning was at the Boys & Girls Club in Crawfordsville to watch Maely’s basketball game. At six, the concept of dribbling is just that, a  concept. Any time one of the kids feels pressured, they stop dribbling and just run  with the ball. Another act you seldom see is one of the kids passing the ball to a team-mate. Don’t try to tell these kids there is no “I” in “team.” They bring a whole new meaning to the phrase “run and shoot.”

Next we went to catch part of Mason’s swim meet at the high school. He was in four events, but we were only able to see one of them. We did not know at the time that we missed the first part of the meet because we were at the basketball game. He had already swum in two events when we got to the meet. We had to leave before the fourth event in order to be back in Lafayette before 1 p.m. The one event we did see was the 100 meter freestyle. While he didn’t win, Mason gave his all.

Next we went to the Lafayette Adult Resource Academy (LARA) Spelling Bee for Literacy. Cindy worked on stage again this year while I was able to sit in the audience and enjoy watching the spelling teams compete. There were fewer teams and spectators than normal this year, and that was disappointing. I hope they both increase next year.

Now I’m ready for a quiet evening if watching movies while Cindy plays poker.

Day 26

Barn & silo

I love wooden barns slightly more than silos and slightly less than graveyards. Expect to see more pictures of each. By the way, pole barns have no soul.

I think I started appreciating the beauty of wooden barns while I was on vacation, driving around on back roads in upper New York state around thirty years ago. I was somewhere within a thirty mile radius of Cooperstown. I was on a winding road when I came across a farm that had a wooden barn set in a field at the bottom of a small hill. There was a stream running through the field and you could see the road winding back around the hill. It was a warm summer day, and the scene was so pretty I stopped the car, got out, and took a picture of the barn with the stream and road. I loved that photo, and ever since then I have been taking pictures of barns. Some are still in use, like the one in this photo, but many of them are in disrepair. It’s a shame that they aren’t kept up, because there is a quality about wooden barns. Of course, it might just be nostalgia on my part.
 
This morning I was thinking about the stars of some television programs that I enjoy. From out of nowhere I started to think about the fact that most of the people on television are young enough to be my children, and many are young enough to be my grandchildren. When did I start to age? Heck, when did I start to think about aging? I know that from a temporal point of view my life is more than half over. I hope that I have many years of serious thought ahead. I also hope that there is a fair amount of frivolous thought and action ahead of me. I had better stop writing before I get seriously depressed.

Day 25

South of town on a rainy morning.

It was a light rain, so you can’t see it in the picture. Looking at this shot, it is hard to believe we are in the middle of winter. If it stays this way much longer we will have daffodils popping up and blooming.

 As I write today I’m listening to MP3s recorded by Shannon Lipps and Gordon Highland, together they are Winebox. You can check them out at GordonHighland.com. Shannon is a talented young woman in Kansas City, and she happens to be our niece. When last we saw her perform she was singing standards for the most part, now she is singing more contemporary music…at least it seems contemporary to me…my tastes are still pretty much stuck in the 60’s and 70’s. Still, I like the sound that Winebox is putting out. Give them a try, you might find yourself liking the music.
 
 I was disappointed yesterday evening because no one televised the IU/NCCU game live. I was afraid that I would be so bored that I would actually turn on the 20th Republican Presidential candidate debate. I checked out the Big Ten network and found out they were doing a delayed broadcast of the game at 10:30, so I filled in the time getting caught up on CSI using on demand, and then watching the Royal Pains season finale. I was able to skip the debate entirely. When you compare modern debates to the first televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon you can see why the modern debates more closely resemble Survivor or Big Brother. A couple of years ago Cindy and I saw a tape of the Kennedy/Nixon debate and were impressed with the knowledge and presentation skills of both men, not to mention the respect they showed each other. When did we as a country start tolerating and rewarding rudeness and mediocrity? It’s a puzzle to me.