Halloween Will Soon Be Here

Blogs or Posts, D's Writing, Videos

So I went out walking/running this morning as I usually do and I was thinking about Stephen King and his great novel, The Stand. If you Google a list of Stephen’s novels and try to determine which one is at the top this one comes up on a regular basis. And I have been reading it on the Kindle. Because you can easily read on the Kindle if you are standing up and walking around if you have restless legs. As I do. But thanks to Strattera it is in abeyance and I have hope for the future. Beware, young people, the things that await you in the middle aged world and beyond (if you make it that far).

We are now in October and there are some really nice things coming out on FB. Lots of goolish things. Are you going to a Halloween party? It’s all about your fantasies and good luck with that. Mine have been captured by “The King” lately and so I was out walking and thinking about the dark man in his novel this morning. Yes, I was focusing for a few moments on that close disciple of Satan and then, with a shudder, I continued on down the road and put him out of mind. It was a good walk. The sky is dry and sunny. The temperature was perfect. We got home without any close encounters with cars although several drivers wanted to park along the road and appeared to be trying to run me over for just a second or two.

When I reached home I looked down at the smartphone to turn the stupid thing off and there it was. . . You have walked 6.66 miles in a little over 90 minutes.

I had thought it was a pretty good workout. Until this moment. But had your faithful blogger summoned a response from the dark man? Could it be that he is having a little joke with me?

I hope not. We try to be anonymous as we drive the roads and hike along the mountain paths. We do not worry too much about drivers who are out of their gourds with alcohol or bears that need a next meal, desperately.

But it is October. And Halloween is just around the corner. Rest easy my fellow passengers on the lightship Earth. We will make until Christmas and the birth of our savior. Or, at least, most of us will. . .

 

Keiko Matsui At The Richmond Jazz Festival / Maymont Tries / Kim Waters / Cirque Du Soleil Dralion

D's Writing, Favorites, Music, Richmond, Videos

We had a lot of entertainment around our little city this past weekend. There was the Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont Park where you would have found me on Saturday listening to Maestro J, Kim Waters and Keiko Matsui. Kim Waters was a lot of fun with his verbal commentary along with some amazing saxophone riffs punctuated with awesome high notes that probably had birds flying for miles in the woods. At one point he introduced his daughter (whose name I do not remember) who just graduated from Howard University and sat in on the keyboards. She did a great job and I could see Dad standing in the background with a proud smile on his face. He had audience members walking up to the stage and giving him drinks before the set was finished. It was all very cozy with some very cool music and the sun came out too!

Earlier it was raining quite a bit but no matter because Keiko Matsui was in the house and I made my way up to the stage to sit near her and feel the amazing vibe her music brings to the world. So very beautiful. Afterwards I went to the Meet and Greet (which I never have felt impelled to do) to talk to her and touch her hand. What a delicate, powerful, spiritual force she is!

On Sunday Betsy and I went downtown to see Cirque du Soleil Dralion and experienced the wondrous combination of color, dance, music and athletic accomplishment that is their trademark.

Our little city did itself proud and once again I was appreciative of it as a place to live without big city problems but still able to attract world class entertainment. We have the mountains (where I will be going soon) and the ocean (also on the list), DC is a couple of hours up the road and there is so much history all around us.

I didn’t get any photos either day because both places said not to bring DSLR cameras. Maymont said not to bring umbrellas either but when it started to rain hundreds of umbrellas sprouted in the air. I, of course, sat there is the rain but was wearing some nylon hiking and running gear that dried quickly. It was so warm out it really was nice in the rain! And there were lots of folks there with pro cameras there also! Maymont did not impress in this regard. Also, they encouraged the patrons to walk through the lovely park and see the exhibits while we were there. But then they locked the bathrooms! If you were somewhere outside the festival area and needed to go you were out of luck! Check with the bears ( I guess) if you had a problem. They know what to do in the woods.

So now I have loaded some Keiko Matsui music in the smartphone and will take her on walks for the rest of my life. Because she is a dream and we need those as we go down the path. Next year, if she returns, I will be there (with a camera!) and get a photo of the amazing artist and the blogger (in a blissful trance). Please return Keiko! Here she is playing the music that brought the inner sun out in the middle of a rain shower. Truly, the heavens opened up on this day.

 

 

Interview with Keiko Matsui

The Early Morning Walker Reflects On His Way

Blogs or Posts, D's Writing, More Photos, Videos, Walking And Losing Weight

Early this morning the air was cool and a bit dry (for a change).  It made for a nice walk although I only did six miles because my blistered toe started to hurt again.  After walking I took a look at it and the blister was greatly enlarged.  My idea that it would be good for it to simply have contact with air was not correct.  So I drained it again and added some sterile dressing.  Then I wrapped the three toes together with tape so they can’t rub against each other and cause friction.  It feels much better.  Dr. Thomas has left the building.

 

But, getting back to the dry air, today marks the first day where there is a slight hint of fall.  Last month was the hottest month on record in the U.S.  Not the hottest July but the hottest month of any month since we have been keeping record.  So this morning’s weather was a blessed event and one that was deeply appreciated (even if accompanied by annoying pain).
 

My tooth feels better too.  The dentist had to shave more of it off to make room for a new crown after the old one cracked.  The root of the tooth felt “insulted” and has been protesting ever since this happened.  But I left it alone and it has relaxed a bit.  I told it “Whatever does not kill you will make you stronger” and it apparently agreed.  In general, my teeth have been doing much better since I started walking.  My dental hygienist has remarked that my gums look much better and she couldn’t find any cavities for the second time.

I feel stronger on a daily basis and love to walk.  I have to walk in the early morning to feel good.  I sleep better.  I deal with these little adversities more effectively.  This morning I went out and saw someone walking towards me from a distance.  When he was quite near I looked up to say “Good morning” and was surprised to see our next door neighbor.  He looked better than the last time I saw him in a white t-shirt and shorts, slightly soaked in sweat and with a smile.  He’s a few years older than me and has had some more serious health problems.  So the walk started on a high note.  I hope he stays with it.  He won’t regret it if he does.

It may just be my imagination but I seem to be seeing more people walking in our neighborhood as time goes on.  But it makes sense that folks would see the parade happening in the a.m. and decide to join the fun.  It’s not unusual to see ten walkers and joggers in a two hour span.  And there are always a few bicyclists as well.  I wish them well and worry about their futures.  We have had a few deaths in Richmond recently from road accidents.  The crazy drivers run them down.  You will never see me on a bicycle.

Today while I was walking I wondered about the future and how it will feel a few years from now to be walking along these roads.  How will my body feel?  Will a be able to run comfortably the way I walk now?  What will I have learned about my body?  It is teaching me things now about so many things; the foods it needs, the repairs it requires, the strength I didn’t realize it still has on a daily basis.  What will it feel like to be 65 or 70 years old?  Can I evade the scary things I see happening to older folks (and younger ones too) all around me?  Where is all this leading? 

I know it is leading somewhere.  But I can’t see clearly where it is going.  It is an adventure. And today I look forward with great anticipation to the colorful foliage falling on the road in just a few weeks, warm breath condensing in the cold air, the smell of piles of leaves and grass and the sounds of the geese moving out in formation towards a distant home.

And a toe that is healed along with the body it steers around potholes and other potential problems. 

 

One Year Anniversary Of Walking / 1750 Miles / There’s Always Someplace To Go

Blogs or Posts, D's Writing, Meditation, Richmond, The University of Richmond, Videos, Walking And Losing Weight

So it has been one year this week since I started walking and in that time I’ve done 296 workouts, burned 175 thousand calories and walking 1750 miles around the University of Richmond and our neighborhood. I lost 55 pounds and I’m sitting here eating some B and J’s cookie dough ice cream with chocolate sauce for breakfast. I realize that’s not a good thing to be eating but it tastes good. Sometime soon I’m going to start moving towards foods with anti-inflammatory properties in hopes that they will help with the restless legs.

I don’t see any reason to ever stop walking in the morning. Old age can be scary and it seems like regular exercise could be a way of persuading it to tread lightly on the aging corpuscles. Having restless legs or any other chronic condition gives one some invaluable insight into the dark possibilities that potentially lie down the road. So, let’s walk people. It’s easy, convenient and after awhile, even pleasurable. Why not explore the world of good habits? Lord knows, some of us have spent enough time exploring the other ones.

Laramie, Wyoming is about 1750 miles from Richmond, Va. so I didn’t make it across the US in one year! This is not a problem, however, and I’m thinking we definitely can do it next year!
 


 

There are also some exciting events coming up soon. More organized activities like the Maymont X-country Festival that includes an 8 mile run along the banks of the James River! And then there’s the Richmond Marathon in November (again). This time I’m going to do it with proper footwear. You can mess up your feet pretty easily doing these things. And you can mess yourself up hiking up mountains without replacing electrolytes too! As I look back on this past year I feel fortunate to be here. I didn’t get run over, die from dehydration and get bitten by a rattlesnake. But can’t we all say that no matter what we are doing? You can run out of luck sitting in front of your computer and not getting exercise.

But it’s a good idea to LEARN from these experiences and try to be safe, use the right equipment and be cautious. Good habits are the way to go and willpower is the engine that will take us there. And this engine will run quite easily if we are able to remember during those weak moments what it is that we really want. Do you want ice cream? Or do you want to fit into those stylish jeans? Well, you can have both! But you need to exercise every day. You need to put one foot in front of the other and go out the door. It’s really not very difficult. Take your favorite tunes, say good-bye to your problems and give yourself a break.

There are things I would like to give up completely and that’s a different story. I still want to drink vodka and smoke Marlboro’s every day but I can’t walk and have them too. I’ve learned a breathing technique recently that helps with this. When you want something you can’t have spend a couple of minutes focusing on your breathing. Try to slow it down to 4 or 5 breaths per minute. I find that the craving is gone after a couple minutes doing this exercise.

I need to spend as much time every day meditating as I do walking. The next step is meditating more. A SRF lesson suggests breathing in while counting to twelve (while walking). Holding the breath for a twelve count. And then exhaling for another twelve count. Do this twenty five times. Apparently you can do both things at once!

There are always more steps. There are always places to go. That’s just the way it is. And, if you don’t believe this, you have possibly started to become old. I was old when I was 25 years old and now I’m getting younger! You are dealing with a contrary kind of person and a blogger who will share things you won’t get anywhere else!

Enjoy your day.
 

National No Bra Day / July 9, 2012

Blogs or Posts, D's Writing, History, More Photos, Videos, Virginia Beach

The bra was invented around 1888 by [[wiki:Herminie Cadolle]], a French woman, who built a thriving business around the female anatomy. So, back when the America was being settled and women were traveling in covered wagons westward through the mountains and over the prairies they didn’t wear bras!

And through most of human history they didn’t wear them either. So are they really a good idea? Maybe they’re just an aberration. I can remember reading The World Book Encyclopedia as a young person and admiring the clothing styles of Egyptian woman back when they were building the pyramids. Some of you know what I’m talking about because their notion about dressing the female torso was 180 degrees from ours!

They had it right and we have only gone downhill from there these many centuries. But all was not lost even in the pioneer days of this country and it was only before the dawn of the 20th century when France (who would have suspected them?!) completed the subjugation of the female form.

Well, some people need support and that’s fine. If you need a cane, eye glasses, back brace or special shoes you should wear them. But if you are young and in shape and don’t need an item why should you be forced to wear it?

Because there are crazy people out there! That’s why. There’s no other reason. Unfortunately we have to gear up with our pepper spray and ninja shoes when we go out. But today the brave ones may be out there celebrating and I’m thinking maybe it’s a good time to go out and take some photos. Except, it’s hot and the students are on holiday from their campus activities.

So my only suggestion would be to move the date! Next year let’s have National No Bra Day in October when there will be much happening at the U and the air will be cool next to the skin and the evenings full of excitement!

 

 

Rihanna Is Hot / Weekly Photo Challenge / Fleeting Moments / The Washington DC Scene

Artists, East Coast Travels, Memes!, More Photos, Music, Videos

 

Man it’s hot out today! It’s 101 according to the Weather Channel here in Richmond, Virginia and that is DOWN from earlier. It’s cooling off! The heat is a problem but nothing like what they are enduring out west. Hell has erupted in Colorado. We have all been praying for rain and I saw a report earlier that rain has been a factor in the last day or so. Keep up those prayers. I put a word in with my alien buddies and they are apparently not too mad at me anymore. Come on guys! Just because I’m not ready for a committed relationship?!! You freak me out! But let’s be friends! Make it rain out there and put out the fire.

The heat does things to my brain. I’ve been watching Rihanna on Youtube and Where Have You Been. It’s one of those things that gets into your brain and you can’t shut it off. No wonder 68 million viewers have watched the video. Rihanna is in the stratosphere when it comes to popular artists in 2012.

 

There’s an interesting article about [[wiki:Rihanna]] and her life and achievements (so far) in Wikipedia. 
She has sold more than 25 million albums and 60 million singles worldwide since the beginning
of her career in 2005, which makes her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

It’s so very hot out there on the streets of DC but people are taking it in stride. So is Rihanna. And so are we, hopefully, while staying indoors with the AC and our Youtube favorites.

Miranda Lambert At Virginia Beach / No Kerosine Please / Patriotic Festival

Artists, Blogs or Posts, D's Slide shows, More Photos, Videos, Virginia Beach, Walking And Losing Weight

Miranda (I think) telling the boys how it’s going to go down before the concert.
 

 

It’s a Virginia Beach weekend, boys and girls! We are here to enjoy the festivities which include several free concerts. It’s the Va Beach Patriotic Festival with the Blue Angels. Miranda Lambert will be in concert tonight and I see her bus down below near the festival site. Somebody is cooking up some grub on the grill out back and taking it into the bus for the sultry (or sleepy?) songstress. Hopefully, she is in a good mood and doesn’t take out of there with her kerosine can!

 


 
I walked 12 miles this morning because the breeze was nice and it’s a straight, level shot down the boardwalk and back. Did it twice. Never did that before. Last year at this time would have had a hard time doing it once.

I joined a local photography group and plan to meet with them tomorrow and try to get some shots of the Blue Angels. Part of the plan to “live the good life” is to meet new people, find some friends and learn to be a better photographer. Introverts have a difficult time with these issues, sometimes.

So the light was really nice last night and I took a few lenses and tried to play with it. I bought a new lens and am really pleased with it. It does really well in low light. The AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1:1.8 G. The aperture opens up to 1.8 and does nice things. It’s very light too so I can use it on the Nikon D-40 (which is also very light) and take it on walks. I took it on the 12 miler this morning and didn’t even notice it. Here’s a photo from this happy combo.

 
Yes, there is a huge, very fast speedboat parked on the boardwalk. I have a few more photos of it below. Hopefully, we will get to see it do its stuff this weekend.

So, as I was saying, the light was really cool last night. You really couldn’t see the horizon at one point. Everything was just a mellow shade of blue and the new lens had a chance to show what it can do in the fading light.

Much more to follow. Everyone have a great weekend!

 

http://www.smugmug.com/ria/ShizamSlides-2013072402.swf

Google Analytics / Filtering Out Your Posts / Harvard Prof’s Wife Busted / Blogging Is Sexy? / Camels And Camera Critters

D's Writing, More Photos, Videos

I am trying to do several different things this morning and it’s starting to make me crazy.  So I may have to stop.  Or not.  Let’s try to get through it and then go for a six mile walk.  All will be well.

In the past hour I have been trying to fix blog posts that include a blockquote with a nice, gray background  and not so nice bright orange type.  This will make you crazy and I realize it needs to be fixed.  I never should have used the orange color in the first place.  But I didn’t know I would someday use the gray background in the blockquotes.  So I have to go through 1800 posts and fix it.  I was back in 2010 somewhere and hit a broken link.  Now I can’t find the location.

I have been able to speed up the blog quite a bit and am working on reducing photo size to make it quicker.  Once again, we are talking about lots of posts.

I heard on Imus this morning that there is a report out from Harvard that indicates bloggers enjoy talking about their lives because it has the same effect as eating dessert or having sex.  So I tried to find the report and all I could come up with is a news item about a Harvard professor’s wife who was busted trying to bring marijuana into Bermuda.  She recently went on a weekend getaway with her husband and had the stuff stashed in her underwear.  The drug dogs found it.  No surprise there.  But she did leave the TSA in the dust!

Maybe she should consider blogging as an alternative to trying to have fun in Bermuda.

The photo meme today is Camera Critters.  And I just happen to have a portrait of a great looking camel to share.

Isn’t he cute? I wish I could figure out what he is trying to say. It’s probably something like, “Hey, Mr. Blogger. You should slow down this morning and smell the roses. Or, take a camel next time you go out!”

That’s no doubt a lot better than having a camel since I gave up smoking. And I’m not attracted to camels, either.

And, finally, on a more positive note, do you count your own stats on Google Analytics because you can’t figure out how to eliminate them? It is not the easiest thing to create a filter and get a more accurate count of readers and their behaviors. I found this video on Youtube and it does an excellent job of straightening things out. So, if you are in this boat and have suffered through this post, you hopefully will feel rewarded. Good job! And here it is:

 

And now it’s time to go walk and clear out the brain. So I can come back later and continue wiping orange type from old posts. Uggh.

 

Camera Critters

Mother And Daughter Crying / Verizon Commercial / Crazy Commercial Of The Week

D's Writing, Television, Videos

The most annoying/craziest commercial of the week award goes this week to the mother and daughter who wander into the Verizon store crying pathetically about the notion that the daughter will soon be leaving.  I think she is moving up the street or something.  It’s difficult to tell they are blubbering so much.
This commercial is so bad I’m not going to put up a Youtube video of it.  It’s not a good idea to tempt your reader(s) to shoot your blog and damage their own computer monitor in the process.  As one person commented about this travesty:

“if i was rich i’d shoot my TV every time this came on.”

Right on, brother.  What gets into the minds of television types that they are able to think of things like this?  Never mind, I really don’t want to know.  I’ve already seen way too much of what goes on in their minds.

There’s also a guy in this sad and sorry adventure.  I think I recognize him from the last time I was in the Verizon store and started to ask questions about how to use my smartphone.  Do they give Verizon employees some kind of training to make their eyes open wide while they just sit there and wait for you to leave the store?

This mother and daughter also reminded me of a farewell appearance of Naomi and Wynonna Judd some years back.  On one level it is very touching that they can be so close but can you imagine ever trying to date someone like this?

Me: “Hi Dear, I’m home!”

Me: “What’s the matter, why are you crying?”

Did you ever walk on some ice in the late fall that you knew was not quite ready to bear the weight of your big, hairy butt?  Well, of course you didn’t!  Because you don’t have one of those!  I was just projecting, as they say, because I was obese awhile back, like one- third of all Americans these days,  and I will never forget the sound of ice starting to crack.  Just a little bit. It’s just like the sound of someone shooting your blog!

And that’s what it would be like living with someone like this poor little girl.  Or her mother.  Don’t even think about the possibility that you would have both of them living with you.  Together!!

Which brings up the question, where’s Dad?  Doesn’t he need a phone too?

Oh, no.  Dad doesn’t need a phone even though he threw his brand new Iphone off a cliff while he seriously considered joined it on a peaceful journey to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  So where’s Dad?  Dad’s not here, man.  Dad’s down the street at Applebee’s having ten vodka tonics during happy hour.  Or, maybe, he’s just off camera coming into the Verizon store with a machete dressed in tribal gear he picked up while on his latest solo vacation to Arizona.

Maybe that’s why the Verizon guy has such wide eyes and excuses himself to go to the back of the store in such a hurry.

Maybe there’s a part two to this commercial?  Next month.  Or in the fall.  Maybe they will bring them all back on December 22 when the Mayan calendar expires.  It will make it so much easier to deal with the end of mankind knowing that these crying fools and Verizon, too, have reached the end of the line.

Here’s the commercial if you insist on going there.  But please don’t shoot my blog.  Close it first.  Thank you.

 

 

Man’s Eternal Quest/ Sarah Brightman/ Deliver Me/ I Cannot Fly Today

Blogs or Posts, D's Poetry, Videos

“So the body exists for the use of the invisible man, the soul, not he for the body. However, the physical body must be in a certain condition for the invisible self to remain there. What a pity that this invisible self is tied to the body! If it were not, we could go walking on the water and fly in the sky and come back into the physical body again.” –Man’s Eternal Quest.

****

I cannot fly today
Yet perhaps last night
We flew between the stars
Who can tell?

Tomorrow will no doubt
Be like today
But not always
Not everlastingly so.
I sew the scenes
Of our escape
While sitting here tonight
Sleepily concealed
In this weighted room
And happily involved
In inward visions
Of eventual flight.

Please pardon
My distraction.
I am so immersed
In a solitary search
For solar satisfaction.


 

NBC12 New Cover Photo Contest / Vote! / Bringing Us All Together

American Idol, Blogs or Posts, D's Writing, More Photos, Television, Videos

So the local NBC station, NBC 12 decided to have a photo contest for their Facebook page and picked out eight photos to be finalists.  One of my photos is one of them but it’s not winning.  There are a couple other photos that have more votes.  Maybe they are better.  Probably so.  I was surprised to get 75 votes because I don’t have that many family members on FB.

 

It may have something to do with karma too.  Because I never vote after watching American Idol.  These young people get up there and sing their guts out in front of millions of people.  Sometimes they are humiliated by the judges and have to keep on smiling.  They hold up their fingers so we can figure out how to vote for them.

And, apparently, millions of people do vote.  Although they did something last week that looked phoney.  One of the best singers in the remaining group was voted off!  Jessica Sanchez, who is a very nice talent, got the fewest votes!  Apparently.  So the judges rushed up on the stage and saved her.  One of the other contestants,  Elise Testone,  had a funny smile on her face through the whole process.  She didn’t look worried at all about going home.  Maybe she knew something ahead of time?  Because last week she looked very unhappy after a poor performance.  The girl doesn’t know how to hide her feelings.

I don’t think there’s much chance she will become an actress.

Whatever.  Maybe the whole process is rigged.  It wouldn’t surprise me.  But it would really surprise me if I won the NBC12 new cover photo for their FB page contest.  And it would really, really surprise me if I end up rich and famous because of photography.   Or anything at all!   My best bet is probably to figure out some way to write that is actually very interesting.   Think of [[wiki:Jack Handey]], for example.   Jack Handey said,  “It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man”.   That’s just genius in action.

And maybe a good agent, too.  But the point is he became somewhat rich and famous by writing sentences!  Not books.  Not even pamphlets. Writing sentences isn’t too hard!  We all can do that.  But how do we make them really interesting, funny and then get them in front of millions of people?   Ah, there’s the rub.

Maybe I could do a sitcom!   It would start out being a blog and the daily ramblings of a blogger.  But then, at some point,  this blogger and his readers would all end up on NBC12!  Cool!   Right now I’m watching American Pickers on the History Channel.  We all know it’s about two guys and their search for really exciting junk that’s been hiding out in old barns for a long time.  So anything is possible if not very likely.

One thing that I have noticed is that our local NBC channel has done a good job of interacting with folks on Facebook. They start discussions about things like Tom Brady’s new mansion out there in California and they ask questions like this. . .”If you were the lone winner of tonight’s Mega-Millions lotto Jackpot. . . So let me ask you – is it true that money can’t buy happiness – or is that just something people of modest income say to make themselves feel better..?”.

They post pictures and ask us to add captions. They’re nice. And I’m starting to feel like we are all in this thing together. Although I’m still not feeling like my pic is going to be their new cover photo. It has been fun to be included though. And it’s fun blogging as well. Ten years ago it would just have been an old guy with his big television box being fed media nonsense.

Now he can interact! And send nonsense back to the world! He’s much less isolated (as are we all in a way) and using his imagination. He has even learned to talk about himself in the third person! What’s next?!

Maybe he should make a Youtube video! It worked for [[wiki:Justin Bieber]]!