Category Archives: Play

Great Birthday

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. – Chili Davis

Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children. – George Bernard Shaw

I’m sixty years of age. That’s 16 Celsius. – George Carlin, Brain Droppings, 1997

Well, it was a great day for me! Phone calls from friends and family. Some really cool gifts and lots of fun.

I didn’t have to work today which was an added bonus. So, I started off really slow and just stayed relaxed for the rest of the day. One of my favorite parts about birthdays is the calls from friends, family and this year B-Day messages on Facebook. I’m very fortunate to have the friends and family that I do. They are a great gift!

The kid in my really comes out on birthdays. I just want to do things that are fun and really fun.

Erica took me out to a great restaurant in Providence and then we went to see Cirque du Soleil, specifically their Alegria production. Alegria means jubilation in Spanish and let me tell you, this show was full of it. I can’t describe what I saw, but I didn’t know the human body was capable of some of things I saw tonight.

Cirque du Soleil was unbelievable and a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Thanks to everyone for calling, sending me messages or texting me. It made for a special time.

Michael

Rhode Island Air Show

Today Erica and I went with some friends on their boat out in Narraganset Bay. We wanted to watch the Rhode Island Air Show from the water because a lot of the planes would be flying right over us and around the bay.

The weather was perfect; partly cloudy, not too hot and only moderate waves. Wow! What a show. I have never seen planes do the things we saw yesterday. Maybe it’s because I don’t keep up with the latest stunts, but regardless of that, these pilots were extraordinary and crazy at the same time. We saw planes stand on their tails seemingly weightless while others did somersaults one after another all thousands of feet above the ground. From small single engine stunt planes to high performance fighter jets, the aerial entertainment lasted for several hours

The Canadian Snow Birds put on an unbelievable show with 9 planes in perfect formation. They criss-crossed back and forth across the sky in perfect symmetry. One stunt involved four planes, each pair heading towards the other at breakneck speeds. Moments before a mid air collision they make a slight adjustment and pass within feet of each other avoiding collision.

The show ended with the Blue Angels captivating the crowds of people with one perfect movement after another. They seemed so close that their wings appeared to be touching.

Overall, a fantastic time on the water; relaxing, fun and exciting. The only issue I had was trying to take photos of a plane traveling hundreds of miles of hour while in a boat bouncing on 2 – 3 foot waves. :-) I’ll post a link of a few goods ones a little later.

Michael

Thursday Funny

I saw a funny video today of a young child who had just come out of oral surgery, but that’s not the funny part. His dad filmed his son still under the influence of the anesthesia. I thought it was quite funny. I hope the kid will not be embarrassed by this video after he grows up. :-)

Here’s the link:

Little Kid After Dentist Visit

You just never know when and where something funny will happen. This came at a perfect point in my day. I needed a little comic relief.

Enjoy.

Michael

The Band is Forming

If it sounds/feels good, you must be doing something right. – Unknown

It seems that the better you get, the more you see the importance of fundamentals. – Unknown

No matter how many chords, scales or modes you know. What matters is what you do with those things. – Unknown

Playing music is becoming more and more fun. We got together again today for about 3 1/2 hours. Our duet has now grown to a trio as a drummer has joined us. Very cool! It’s starting to feel like a band. We are currently looking for a bass player and another singer. Hmmm. Maybe it is a band.

After four sessions of playing together, we comfortably play about 16 songs and are working on several more. The goal is to have a good 50 – 60 songs in our repertoire. Our focus has solely been on working out our acoustic sound together. There is something about two acoustic guitars playing together that is quite special. We really are enjoying the blend of sounds. The drummer added an entire dimension that I hadn’t experienced before but now want more.

One of the things I love about playing music with others is how the creative flow works. Many times you get completely in sync with the other player and positive things happen that are unexpected. Today with the addition of a drummer that expanded to three dimensions. Our first session for the three of us was a great success. What’s exciting is that it is only the beginning and that all three of us are playing together because it is so much fun.

It was very fulfilling afternoon! I can’t wait until we get together again next weekend.

Michael

Wii'd Out

Erica bought a Wii last week. In case you’ve been living under a rock for a year, the Wii (pronounced We) is made by Nintendo. The game uses wireless technology. The cool thing is that to play the game, you use normal motion. In other words, to play tennis you swing like you have a racket in your hand. The Wii sport package includes tennis, baseball, bowling, boxing and golf.

I’m quite amazed with the Wii system as it really feels similar to doing the sport since the physical motion is very close to the real thing. It’s a lot of fun. Plus, I’m finding that I’m better at bowling, tennis, baseball and golf on the Wii than I’ve ever been in real life. I also like the fact that I don’t need the bumpers in bowling. :-)

Erica and I had a tournament tonight, bowling and tennis. I’m sure that my daughter, niece and two nephews would have found it amusing. Hopefully, Erica and I laughed enough at ourselves to cover them. But, all in all, we did fairly well. More practice is in order though.

It was nice to take a break and just play a little. We should do more of that. I’m making plans now.

Be more like children and go play!

Michael

Deep Freeze!

It’s easy to complain about the cold (we’ve been down to -18F in Chicago today). But, I just read in the New York Times that the canals have frozen in the Netherlands for the first time in 12 years. This is a very big deal for the Dutch, who think of skating, according to the story, as “part of our soul.”

I’m thrilled for the Dutch, who have rushed out by the hundreds of thousands to skate on the canals, an old national tradition. Older Dutch are euphoric to relive their childhood memories. For many children, of course, this is a new experience. I imagine how happy, how full of wonder and surprise they must be to see their parents and their grandparents bursting with childlike excitement. How great to learn to be a child from your elders.

Just this morning I told friends that I have never really minded the bitter cold, at least on a sunny day, but that I don’t love it as much since I stopped having the chance to skate outside. And now I’m reading about a country able to skate outside, in spite of water pollution, in spite of global warming.

Can’t you imagine it, the wind pushing freezing tears from the corners of your eyes, your skates ripping into the hard, rough ice, the warmth returning to your feet in your skates as you work your legs and arms. If you are lucky, you hold a small child in front of you with both hands, feeling him feel the ice, the startling lack of friction and weight, as you glide untethered away from shore.

God bless winter.

Something new

Leaving work tonight, I walked out with a coworker whom I barely know. Because it has been raining hard here for two days, we complained about the rain. He told me it was particularly annoying for him since he’s building a new house and the rain makes the job site really muddy. Then he went on to tell me about the geothermal heating and cooling system he is putting in.

For some reason I thought this type of system only worked when you are located over hot springs, like the ones in Iceland. Not true, it turns out. My colleague explained to me some of the basic principles of this system for using the earth’s natural temperature of 55 degrees to warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I was fascinated.

On the way home, I called Michael to observe that, when I am in a great mood and really in tune with whom and what I really like, I notice that fascinating information comes my way in every unexpected conversation. Learning new things from casual social contact is one of the great pleasures of my life. It gives me a sense of the wide range of wonder this life is able to give us.

The whole ride home I wondered about better ways to heat our house. Great fun.

Small Adventures

The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams. – Oprah Winfrey

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure. – Joseph Campbell

I had decided today would be a day of hiking, geocaching and adventure. I left mid morning and headed to Conanicut Island where Jamestown, RI is located. There were many areas in the south central part of the island I hadn’t explored.

Fort Wetherill State Park was my first destination. I explored the many trails in this park. I found some strange geological formations in the form of very long quartz veins running through the rock on the coast. I discovered that this entire area was once part of Africa over 500 million years ago. The fort has history all the way back to the American Revolution. The views across Narragansett Bay were stunning.

After a short break for a snack and water, I drove north a few miles and discovered an historical cemetery. I then proceeded south again to Fort Getty State Park. I discovered huge coastal estuaries harboring many species of birds and animals. I walked the rocky coasts exploring the nooks and crannies.

Finally, I drove around almost aimlessly and found new beaches, new bird sanctuaries, harbors and more interesting history.

The point is that adventure is a close as you want it to be. I experienced all of this in a day and it was only 20 miles from my house. You don’t have to fly or drive long distances. All you have to do is get out of the house and ask yourself, “What’s around the next turn?”

Change your routine. Go have some fun.

Michael

Was It Vacation?

A little bit of silliness for a Monday.

Last week, I went to visit my daughter. When I got back, everyone was asking me if I enjoyed my vacation? Of course, I said it was a fantastic trip. It was good to see my daughter. We saw some incredible scenery.

After that I started thinking. Was I on vacation? I’ve been off work for a month. What was I taking a vacation from? My time off. My busy daily schedule. My rest and relaxation at home. :-)

From Dictionary.com – vacation: a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday.

Maybe it really was a vacation. I did suspend most of my activities for the week I was gone, replacing them with other fun, somewhat restful activities. I did travel and take a recess.

I did so much during the week that I was actually quite tired when I got back home. Did that disqualify my time away as a vacation? Hmmmmmm.

Well enough philosophizing about vacations. I should get back to my busy schedule.

Have a great day!

Michael

Tufa Sunrise

Tufa Towers Pre-Sunrise

Around 4:45 a.m. this morning, I dragged myself out of bed to drive from Lee Vining, CA to Mono Lake which is only about 10 miles. For a long time now, I had wanted to take sunrise photos around the tufa towers of Mono Lake. In my excitement about this opportunity, I woke up about 45 minutes too early since the sky didn’t become light until about 5:30 a.m.Oh well!

Tufa towers are composed of calcium carbonate that forms unusual shapes typically underwater. The reason that some tufa towers at Mono Lake can be seen above water is simply due to the fact that the lake level now is much lower than its original level.

Coming to the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve feels like being dropped onto an alien planet. The towers are so unusual that one cannot stop staring at them. Many birds use them as perches. In fact, I was able to see two ospreys that were tending to their nest on the top of one tower.

Tufa Towers at Sunrise

Tufa Towers at Sunrise

I feel very fortunate to have come here. Nature is never anything less than fascinating for me. I am continually amazed at how life adapts and thrives in harsh and seemingly unsuitable environments. The ecological balance in the lake is based on a very simple food chain. Bacteria and algae use the minerals and sun to proliferate. Brine shrimp and alkali flies eat them. 80 species of birds eat the brine shrimp and flies. That’s basically it in a nutshell.

I was the only human in this vast natural place on this very early morning. I enjoyed watching all the birds and other species (jack rabbits for example) go about their morning ritual of feeding, talking and generally hanging around.

I plan on visiting here again in different seasons. Mono Lake is ever changing naturally but new legislation in California will now help to restore the lake level to 6392 feet elevation. This is not as high as 1941 but it is a good balance for the wildlife in this region. Please go to the Mono Lake Organization website for detail information about the restoration.

I feel fulfilled and elated. Time stood still for a little while this morning and that’s a good thing.

Michael