Thursday, January 29, 2009

Play With the Toys You Already Have

Was it just me, or did everyone else hear this from their parents as a kid? Seemed like I was told this very frequently, probably because I felt that the old Sears "Wishbook" was just a giant notepad so my parents could keep track of what I wanted. (Because of course my desires were their first priority. :) I'm slightly embarassed to admit how little things have changed, and lately the mailorder nursery catalogs are my "wishbooks". This first catalog from Plant Delights is one of my favorites, their selection is always amazing! The folks at High Country Gardens have lots of plants for dry climates, including some wicked cool hardy cacti!
And my other favorite "wishbook" is Song Sparrow Nursery right here in Wisconsin. They have a particularly large selection of peonies, including some cute rock-garden types. However, in this nerve-wracking economic climate I find myself taking a new approach...


....and sticking to the catalogs selling items I can better afford-seeds! This is a new favorite, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They have tons of interesting (and frankly bizarre) seeds of all kinds, foods and flowers.


This catalog from J. L. Hudson, Seedsman is loaded with an ecclectic mix of common and rare seeds, as well as very detailed germination information. They even show you how to correctly pronounce the latin names! However, I must get back to the point of this post....

....and focus on actually using the seeds I already have. (I've acquired even more since taking this picture!)
So for me, this will be the spring of "look don't touch", and play with your own toys already!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rock Show

Since I totally missed January Bloom Day (no blooms here & I was sick) and nothing's going on in the garden, I'm gonna give you the "rock show experience". This was January 12th in Milwaukee, the band is Metallica. If you've never been to a rock show, this is what it's like.......you gotta be dedicated fans to wait in sub-zero temps like this, and we are! The view from our seats in the "nose bleed" section (the tickets were won in a radio contest, so they were fine with us).

Some NBA pride going on here...I didn't realize that Kareem-Abdul Jabbar played for the Bucks. Heh, I was in first grade when he started for them in 1969.

Here's how steep it is looking down from our seats! Good thing I'm not drinking, I'd be afraid to take a header all the way down!

The stage setup is interesting...I like those coffin-shaped light banks! Well, this is the "Death Magnetic" Tour for their latest LP (I guess that's called "disc" now...boy am I old! :)

My partner in crime, giving us "concert cheese"...we both really dig metal music!

They even have some cool lights between the rows of seats!

Testing the "smoke machine"...the stadium is really full now! There were two warmup bands that were okay, but we want Metallica!

The lights go down! Dude here is showing his support with the flame of his lighter, and I was pleased to see that some people still do this. It was the thing in the 70's when I went to shows at the Notre Dame Athletic and Convocation Center (they call it the "Joyce Center" now, but I digress).

Wow, looks like a city! Very exciting...

....lights come on, the crowd is really roaring now....

...lasers! This is waaay cool! I haven't seen a decent laser light show at a concert since Kansas in the 70's!

Lots of different colors, too....

...oh wow, I'm really digging this! Still opening music and lasers, but no sign of the band yet... ...the lights get more intense, and there's James Hetfield on guitar!

Then they turned up the house lights to get a look at us! Very cool!

Hard to get good pictures on my camera from where we were sitting, and you're not supposed to take pictures anyway. I snuck in my camera though, risking being evicted. (In fact, I did get yelled at once, but luckily I got to stay.) Honestly, I don't see why I can't take pics with my little camera from way up here. It's not like I can sell them or anything! Now if I had an SLR with a foot-long lens, that's a different story.

Most of my close-ups looked like this...


...and of course my clearest shot is of the back of his head!
The sound quality was pretty darn good, especially for a sports arena...

.....and then came the pyrotechnics! I liked the layout of the stage, it really made all the seats "good ones", with a decent view. The guys really moved around and worked the whole area, too.

More pyro! I swear we even felt the heat from those flames in our seats! I don't know how the band didn't singe their hair!

Those cool coffin-shaped lights were lowered ominously over the stage several times as well for an appropriately menacing effect...

This is the "actual size" of the stage from where we were, but I don't mind. It's just so cool to be there, and often it seems the sound is better when you're farther away from the speakers, IMO.


I even got this video clip, and you can hear the audience singing along...the band really likes that!
video

Building up to the big "finish" with a guitar solo on his knees...

...and the crowd goes wild!

They say their "goodbyes", but the crowd cheers on and on...


...back for an encore! After the last song, these cool black Metallica "beach balls" fell from the ceiling! Nice touch! (Unfortunately, none came down above the "nose bleed" seats where we were...bummer!)

What a show!

The band told us, "We love you Milwaukee! You motherf***ing rock!" And of course, we do! ;-)

We hung around a bit as they tore down, I like to let the bulk of the crowd get a head start so we can mosey out later. Some people actually leave the show early to "beat the crowd", but this never made sense to me. I mean, I came for the show, not to get a head start driving home!

There's one of the light show operators riding down on a coffin light...I always thought it would be cool to be way up on the catwalks doing that stuff (except for the fact that I'm afraid of heights).
Okay, so the show was terrific, but the ride home was bloody hell! Along with the sub-zero temps, we have blowing and drifting snow...

.....drifting even worse as we get farther north...

....with a bonus "icy sheen" here and there, too. We passed four cars in the ditch, one was on its' side! So it wound up taking five hours for a three hour trip...

.....but look at my cool t-shirt!


Definately worth it, don't you think? :)

What's That Man Holding In His Hand?He Looks A Lot Like A Guy I Knew Way Back WhenIts Silly Willy With Philly BandCould Be . . . . . Oo-Ee . . . . . .
What's That Man Movin' Cross The Stage?It Looks A Lot Like The One Used By Jimmy PageIts Like A Relic From A Different AgeCould Be . . . . . Oo-Ee . . . . . .
If There's Rock ShowAt The ConcertgebowThey're Got Long HairAt The Madison SquareYou've Got Rock And RollAt The Hollywood Bowl,We'll Be There . . . . . . Oo Yeah . . . . . . .
The Lights Go Down - They're Back In Town O.K.Behind The Stacks You Glimpse An AxeThe Tension Mounts You Score An Ounce Ole!Temperatures Rise As You See The White Of Their Eyes
If There's Rock ShowAt The ConcertgebowYou're Got Long HairAt The Madison SquareThey've Got Rock And RollAt The Hollywood Bowl,We'll Be There . . . . . . Oo Yeah . . . . . . .
In My Green Metal Suit I'm Preparing To Shoot Up The CityAnd The Ring At The End Of My Nose Makes Me Look Rather PrettyIts A Pity There's Nobody Here To Witness The EndSave For My Dear Old Friend And Confidante - Madamoiselle Kitty
What's That Man Movin' To And Fro?That Decibel Meter Doesn't Seem To Be Reading Low.But They Was Louder At The RainbowCould Be . . . . . Oo-Ee . . . . . .
If There's Rock ShowAt The ConcertgebowThey're Got Long HairAt The Madison SquareYou Got Rock And RollAt The Hollywood Bowl,We'll Be There . . . . . . Oo Yeah . . . . . . .
If There's Rock Show . . . . . . .
If There's Rock Show . . . . . . .
If There's Rock Show . . . . . . .

Rock on, garden peeps!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Fever

Although I didn't get to watch the actual inauguration, my co-worker pointed out a really cool site where you can make artsy images like the picture of President Obama: www.obamaicon.me , and here are some of the ones I made. First my son and his girlfriend...
....daisies I wish I had outdoors right now...
...my son's newest cat...


...my son's other cat, reacting when they brought the newcomer home...
...my cats (that's Gizmo on the bottom, putting Bentley in a headlock)...
...more flowers I'd like to see ASAP...
...fun stuff!