Monday, April 30, 2012

A Concert Story - Tom Petty At The Last Minute

Late spring, 1980. I was just finishing up my sophomore year of college, and headed back to Pittsburgh for the summer. I didn't realize it then, but it would be the last time I was a "full time" resident of that fair city. But that's a different story.

In the spring & summer of 1980, the music world was all about Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Their smash album Damn The Torpedoes was released in the fall of 1979, and had spawned TP's first 2 major hits (Don't Do Me Like That reached # 10 in February, and Refugee reached #15 in May). The album reached #2, where it stayed for 7 weeks. And eventually was named to Rolling Stone's list of the top 500 albums of all time.

And I was a big Tom Petty fan.

It would've been mid May when I got home.  And Tom Petty was to be playing at the Stanley Theater on July 10th.  One of my favorite bands at one of my favorite venues.  AWESOME!  Except that by the time I found out about the show, it was sold out.  Un-awesome.....

Fast forward.  If Iremember correctly on the morning of the show, they announced on the radio that a limited number of seats had been added, and would be at the door.  So I ended up, with one of my friends, sitting on the sidealk in front of the Stanley Theater.  I don't rememeber exactly how early we went down, but we were the first people there.  And (of course, scored our tickets).

I expected to be behind the stage, or in the lobby, or behind the last row of the balcony.  As it turned out, they placed folding chairs along the main aisles, and we were probably 10-15 rows back from the stage!!  On the left side. That's pretty close to perfect.

And the show was awesome!  One of the best I've seen.

When researching for this article, I found a site that says TP was touring with Tommy Tutone at the time.  But I don't remember any warm-up band, and I think I'd remember Tommy Tutone.  this was before their hit (Jenny 867-5309) but right after their fisrt album came out (which I had).

Granted, this was 32 years ago, and some of the details may be imprecise.  But hopefully not plain wrong.  .  Maybe My friend can confirm / clarify...  JT?  UPDATE:  My friend remembers Tommy Tutone being there.  Why don't I???

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Only A Northern Song...

From the Archives:

This is from March 2002, my first (and so far only) trip toAlaska.  Naturally it was a business trip.  We went to Juneau (AELP) and Ketchikan (KPU).  I was a little worried when we sheduled the trip, March in Alaska????  But the weather wasn't bad at all.  The temperature was teens to twenties, and it was bright and sunny the whole time.

During the Juneau portion of the trip, we managed enough time to run by Mendenhall Glacier.  After our work in Ketchikan, we had a little time before catching our flight home, so we headed south on a scenic drive.  There's another version of this photo, with location, here.

This really pushed the limits of my humble Kodak DC210 digital camera.  I had to stash it inside my coat to get it warm enough to work, after a few shots it would freeze up.  The last couple of shots, the battery was low enough that the internal clock got reset.

The title is from the Beatles song (of course)...  "It doesn't really matter what chords I play, What words I say or time of day it is, As it's only a Northern Song"

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Slice Of Life #4224

A little something from a Saturday afternoon.  Well, it's more a little "nothing".  My wife needed something from JoAnnes, My son and I went along for the ride.  But we didn't go in.  This is something I found crusing arond the parking lot.

From The Archives - Colors / Dance

Another inage with extensive (excessive?) use of the BuzzSimplifier.  I was trying to get a very abstract feel.  this is from Silver Lake Park in Highland, IL, one of my favorite luchtime spots when I worked out there.  Taken early fall, 2003.I really, really liked this one when I first created it.  This was back in my "Betterphoto" days, it never got much recognition there.  I'm not quite as fond of it these days, but I do still like it.

The title is from a George Winston song.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

From The Archives - Stairway To Heaven

Lake Arrowhead, Georgia.  On the outter edge of Metro Atlanta, in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains.  My in-laws lived in this community for a while.  This photo is from July 2002, during a visit.  One of the few times we went out in my Father-in-law's boat.    It has been several years since they lived there, but it was a fun place to visit.

From a technical standpoint, this insn't a very good photo.  I was getting pretty discouraged with the limitations of the affordable digital cameras back then.  But I look at this with a parent's eyes, seeing the potential beyond the reality.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April Tree

After struggling around with macro yesterday. I grabbed a quick "Tree Shot".  I really liked how the clouds kind of mirrored the sweep of the left branch.....  But maybe you had to be there.  I played around with PSE effects a bit, trying to replicate the BuzzSimplifier filter.  Not too bad, if I say so myself.  On the other hand, perhaps this would be better cropped more square, rather than 4x6.  Cut out some of the distracting background.  Maybe like this:

Comments welcome!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Honeysuckle Rose

Yeah I know, it's just plain honeysuckle.  But I wanted to use a song title. 

Playing with macro during lunch today.  I never seem to quite get the hang of it.  I took a dozen or so shots of honeysuckle blossoms at Pleasant Ridge Park.  This is the best (or perhaps the least bad).

Actually, the is pretty good, considering that it is my pocket camera, which is held together with scotch tape.

From The Archives - Dock Of The Bay

Let's just neglect the cheap Otis Redding reference (in the title)....

This is Weedon Island Preserve, in the Tampa / St. Pete area.  Taken January 2004, on a business trip to Tampa.  I flew in the day before the conference started, and spent a little time exploring the area.  I saw a "brown sign" and follwed it to this wonderful little spot. I went back at least one evening during the course of the conference, and took quite a few photos.

The location of this image is here

Monday, April 23, 2012

From The Archives - Summertime Dream

"Let's steal away in the noontime sun, it's time for a summertime dream" - Gordon Lightfoot

This photo was taken in Cades Cove, the the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.  Not sure exactly when this photo was taken, but it is post-digital, and pre-DSLR, which would make it early to mid 2000's.  It features faily significant use of a 3rd party effect, BuzzSimplifier.  Buzz was a fun little filter, but easy to overuse.  Sadly, the company that made it went out of business back around 2007/2008, and I lost access during my last computer upgrade.

Meanwhile, Cades Cove is one of my favorite places. Even though I've only been there a handful of times over the past 30 years.  Sadly, last time I was there (2007?) it had gotten pretty congested.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Regional Jet?

I rode this plane from Minneapolis (MSP) to Spokane (GEG) last week.  This little plane.  Cooped up for a seeming eternity, across 2 time zones and 1,200 miles (straight line).  Once upon a time, these "Regional Jets" were only encountered on short haul flights.  Now it seems that at least 50% of my flights are what we used to call "Puddle Jumpers". 

Fortunately, I don't travel all that much any more.  But as I've otten olderr and grumpier, I seem less tolerant.

From The Archives - On The Palouse

I (semi) randomly select photos for the "From The Archives" series.  It is kind of interesting that this came up now.  This photo is from my first trip through the Palouse region of SE Washington State.  And I just returned from my most recent trip to the area.  This was Spring of 2001, IIRC.  This was taken with my firsth digital camera, you can tell by the rather mediocre image quality.  It was a pretty good camera for the time, but technology has improved pretty dramatically.

The story behind this shot:  I had been to the Washington State Univeristy Hands On Relay School, as part of my job (with a previous employer).  We led the lab sessions associated with our company's products and supported the "Suppliers' Showcase".  All good fun.  The best way to get in and out of Pullman Washington (from St. Louis, at least) is to fly into Spokane, and drive 80 miles south.  When I have any spare time on the drive, there's plenty of opportunities for short excursions off the main road.  Which is how this photo came into being.  This is along the road from Rt..195 to Steptoe Butte, from the south.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April On The Palouse

I had to make a trip to southeastern Washington State last week.  This is a snapshot out the rental car window, headed south on Rt. 195.

From The Archives - Watching The River Rain

Potomac River,  near Great Falls, MD

This was taken back in the 80's, when we lived in the Washington DC area.  Sometime between mid, 1983 and early 1987.  Great Falls National Park.  This was in the latter of my darkroom days, and before I had kids.

Slippin' And Slidin'

Our church had a yard-sale today, to support the upcoming youth-group mission trip. Now, I'm not generally a big yard sale fan, but I do try and support the church. So I took my son and we headed over.  He found all sorts of fun junk, and I found this:

For thise youngsters out there, it's a Pickett Model N-531-ES slide rule.  The "scientific calculator" that predates calculators.  Looks like it is from 1960-1962.  Complete with all the documentation, and original box.  A wonderfully geeky find for any engineer.

Now, I'm not (quite) old enough to have ever been a slide rule expert, but they did teach us how to use one in middle-school.  Probably just to make us suffer, as scientific calculators had already taking over.  My cheap plastic one is long gone.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

From The Archives - Deep Woods Pondering

Digging DEEP in the archives, this is one of my really early photos.  Pretty sure this is summer of 1975, a few months after I got my first SLR.  As some of you know, I was born in West Virginia, and lived there for the first 10 years of my life.  For several years after we moved to Pittsburgh, I stayed in touch with my best friend, Ned Rugeley.  Either I'd bo visit him in WV, of he'd come visit in Pittsburgh.  This photo was taken during one of those trips to WV.  

Specifically, this is in / near Beckley WV.  Ned's family had a place down there (or access to a place, I don't remember), we went down there for a couple days during one of my visits.  Naturally, we spent a good bit of time tromping around the woods, where we found this cable-and-plank bridge across a stream.  This is a staged shot, one of my earliest attempts to be "artistic"....

I haven't heard from Ned in years, beyond the occasional Christmas Card.  Since I'm horrible at getting Christmas cards out, that's faded away too.  Wonder what he's up to?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Music Story - Uncurl

A quick story from back in my days as a Rock-N-Roll Star ™.  Granted "star" is rather an overstatement, but humor me.  It was the summer of 1979, and we were The Reallys.  And we were From Pittsburgh.  We played New-Wave, or Power-Pop, or whatever label you would add.  A mix of originals, and wound up versions of 60's pop.  It was fun.

Anyway, we did an interesting thing one time to try to catch people's attention.  Maybe even get ourselves remembered.  Our singer/guitarist (as opposed to our guitarist/singer) had a box of bright orange buttons, bearing the simple word UN-CURL.  We wore them, and (more importantly) passed them out to folks in the crowd.  And people would ask us "What does Uncurl mean?"  I'd like to think that we came up with clever responses, and I'm sure some of the guys did.  I probably said something like "What do you think it means"...    I thought the whole thing was absolutley brilliant.  On the other hand, it's not like we became the next Rolling Stones.  Or even the next Eddie And The Hot Rods.

I still have one.  Wonder if I should wear it with the Church Praise Band?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Into The Beach

Spring is sprung, the sap is riz.   And summer won't be far away.  Time for many folk to start thinking about the beach.

This photo is actually from January 2011, taken near St. Petersburg FL.  This woundn't be a bad photo, except for the umbrella coming out of the guy's head....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Good Day Sunshine

I was messing around at Pleasant Ridge Park the other day, and took this photo.  Looking at it later, I decided I needed to do something with the foreground.  Some bright and sunny words to match the bright and sunny day seemed appropriate.  Thanks to the Beatles.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Music Story: Purloined Poco

It was 1982. I was a young engineer, working in Washington, DC and living in Silver Spring, MD.  My first real job, which had led to a brand new Volkswagen Jetta. I loved that car. And as a young guy with more money than sense I splurged on the high end stereo. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before somebody acquired my pricey stereo. Without my permission, of course.  And with predictable damage to my car. When I filed the police report, the helpful officer’s coment? “That’s what you get for parking at the subway station”. Nothing like a little insult added to the injury.

After the shock and sense of violation, one of the things that upset me most was the loss of the cassette tape which was in the tape deck that day. It was a tape of Poco, with the album Cantamos on one side, and Rose of Cimarron on the other. I had recorded from a friend’s record collection, shortly before we left for our respective colleges. And it just offended me that some stupid crack-head stole my music! And still does.

Poco was (and is) one of my favorite semi-obscure bands. Former members of Buffalo Springfield. Future members of the Eagles. Jim Messina (Loggins & Messina). But, for whatever reason, Poco never really broke through to the masses. From 1969 through 1977, Poco released 10 albums which ranked between 38 and 89 on the Billboard Album charts. Poco tasted some success in 1978 with Legend, which spawned two Top 40 hits (Crazy Love at #17 and “Heart Of The Night at #20). But then faded faded back to mediocre sales.

It’s a shame, because they made some really great music. And Contamos (the stolen tape) was my favorite Poco album. For several years I’d occasionally bemoan the loss of that tape. And I’d fondly remember the songs. But I didn’t replace the album. Then CDs took over from vinyl, and I never came across Contamos.

Fast forward several more years, and I was relating the story in an internet forum (probably AOL, actually). And some guy responded that he had a Japanese pressing CD of the album, and would be happy to rip me a copy. And he did! And it was a very happy day indeed. (Later on, I picked up a used copy of the album).

I saw Poco in concert in 1976, with the Stills-Young Band. But that’s another story.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

From The Archives - God's Acre

This is Moravian cemetery at Old Salem, in Winston Salem, NC.  Several of my kin are burried here.  My mother's family's Church used to have their Easter Sunrise service there.  I was always sruck by the uniformity (we're all equal in the eyes of God)....

This photo was taken, when I was in high school.  Pretty sure it was 1978, my senior year, but it might have been '77.  We went to NC for our spring break that year, which happened to span Easter.  I didn't make the sunrise service (C'mon, I was 16 or 17, I didn't see too many sunrises back then). 

Anyway, this photo always makes me think of Easter, so it seemed appropriate to post today.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

A Concert Story – “NO” Eagles

I went to a lot of concerts in my youth. I only remember one show that my parents forbade me from attending.

Back in the summer of 1976, the Eagles were coming to Pittsburgh. Also on the bill was Fleetwood Mac. And apparently Boz Scaggs (though I didn’t remember that). But The Eagles were the draw for me. They were nearing the peak of their popularity, just a few months after releasing their massive Greatest hits album (but 6 months before Hotel California). Their first tour with Joe Walsh on guitar. Likewise, Fleetwood Mac was exploding. This was between the Fleetwood Mac album, and Rumors. I wasn’t a huge Fleetwood Mac fan, but they were certainly worth seeing.

A huge concert, and a huge venue: Pittsburgh’s 3 Rivers Stadium. Most important, my best friend had access to one of the “corporate” boxes. So we wouldn’t be subjected to all those hot & sweaty folk. We would have a great view, and a great time.

But it was not to be.

Six weeks before the Eagles show, ZZ Top and Aerosmith played at 3 Rivers Stadium. And it was a mess. The front page headline the next day in The Pittsburgh Press was "250 Fans Injured at Rock Concert". There were reports of mobs pelting police with beer cans, along with “drugs, alcohol, nudity, vandalism and destruction”. Six weeks. Right about the time we were looking to buy tickets for the Eagles show.

I was just a few days short of my 16th birthday when the ZZ Top debacle took place .  So I needed parental approval. And my mom predictably freaked at the headlines from ZZ Top. No matter how much I stressed that the Eagles were “different”, or that we would be safely ensconced in the corporate box, or whatever other reasoning…. She was adamant.  It was not to be.

The timing was perfectly wrong. And I never did make a show at 3-Rivers.  Nor have I seen the Eagles.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Then And Now

It's amazing (and depressing) what 33 years will do to you....

Late summer, 1978.  My first public appearance on bass, playing at the Vibrator's Corp club in McKees Rocks, PA. That's my brother on guitar.  The Readymades. 

That was then....  This is now:

Playing "swanky sounds" with TimD. (keyboard) and WayneK. (drums).  Last fall at Sweeties in Glen Carbon, IL.  My first (and so far only) experience playing jazz.  Or at least pseudo-jazz.  I wouldn't equate anything I was doing with jazz. Tim and Wayne?  Absolutely.  But me?  Hardly.  But it was fun.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


I am an abysmal typist.  Really bad.  Pure hunt & peck, no more than 1/2 my fingers involved. But, I'm not too slow.  Just imprecise.  Certain words are consistently mis-typed.  Most common:  Thanks.

For whatever reason. I most often transpose the "A" and the "N".  Thnaks.  Pathetic, really.  Thank goodness for spell-check.

In honor of my spelling, one from the archives.  This is from when we lived in Washington DC area. 

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Gracie - 04/01/2012

My oldest daughter turned 25 Friday, a quarter century since I first became a "dad".  She and her husband brought my granddaughter down for a visit today.  She's just shy of a 11 months old, and quite the bundle of energy.  Always great having them visit, and I manged a few fun shots of Gracie!

From The Archives - At The Cross...

A little something for Palm Sunday... 
At the Methodist Camp at Lake Little Grassy, in Southern Illinois. (37.633479,-89.155211).
Taken at sunrise on a visit back a decade or more.