Spirit Falls, Royalston, MA

I've never had the privilege of finding Spirit Falls, Royalston.  But it looks to be a happy cascade of water, at least in springtime, coming off Jacob's Ladder above Long Pond.

George. The Cool Beatle. Gorgeous Song.

How could lyrics be more simple. "Something in the way she moves me". Poise. Beatles, and George Harrison. So loving, this song--like many by George--will make you brim with love. Just sing it, think of someone you love, and I dare you not to cry. Thank you, George.


And That Really Hurts

Night by Elie Wiesel Book Review

From my 2008 Amazon review of the book Night by Elie Wiesel:

I just completed reading NY Times besteseller Night by Nobel Prize winning author Elie Wiesel and it's a stunner. An Oprah book club pick, this short, 120 odd page book, or as The New York Times describes it, "a slim volume of terrifying power", is a must read. There is even a Cliff Notes version of this copyright 1972 book which is newly translated by Elie Wiesel's wife.

The book is about the atrocities of WWII concentration camps, but what makes it different than most others is the first person narrative which makes the ugliness of one human to another radiate with reality. Without any spoilers here, the book tracks several weeks in the life of Elie's family as they are literally brought into the night of sadness and death.

What makes this book -- a quick read and very worthwhile -- even more unique is the very short, simple and yet eloquent writing style of it's author. The sentences are staccato, like a machine gun, with a "plain vanilla envelope" style that only adds to the books readability and believability. Like the reality of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, which is punctuated by his use of black and white grainy film and hand held cameras, Night sticks to basic descriptions that serve to move the recounting rapidly and realistically. Weisel, like Romero, understands that the power of our imagination to "fill in the gaps" with the most harrowing and vivid images could never be superceded by an author's bloated descriptions. He allows the reader's mind to live and breathe the horror.

Romero's movies are fiction; Wiesel's first hand account at the loss of his family is fact. The book's ending, and at several points within the book, displays the seething optimism and will to live that percolates through the core of every human being, even in the face of death.

I hope someone else will read this post and, looking for a quick and powerful read, choose this book.


The Cure -- In Between Days

Yesterday I got so old
I felt like I could die
Yesterday I got so old
It made me want to cry

Lead singer Robert Smith needs to lay off the cream cheese bagels and Dairy Queen Moo-lattes, but he's still as quirky as ever when singing this dark college anthem.

Vintage Hammocking, Riverbend Forest Preserve, Illinois

My hammock setup on a recent sunny Sunday.

232 Million Youtube Hits For This Video To Date

Charlie's laugh nails it!


The Cure -- The Blood

From the incomparable Head On The Door LP, when I first heard the Flamenco guitar on this tune from WFNX Boston, I couldn't resist it's charm. And of course, the album went on to multiplatinum sales, which include hits Close To Me and the all-time college anthem, In Between Days (which I'll play for you tomorrow). Here's a rare acoustic rehearsal of The Cure with, The Blood.

State Street, Geneva Illinois Sunset


I'm Wearing Helmet And Wrist Guards Now

I've posted this great (although low video quality) film before, and I will never be like these kids.  They are amazing. But, playing around with my Torker nightly in the driveway, I have already skun my knee last week, and tonight hamburgered my palms.  In the toy chest, I found my old Bell biking helmet and wrist guards.  I am going to add knee guards and shin guards when I get to the sporting goods shop.  Just practicing my mounts, and idling (staying put without moving forward), I have had the uni suddenly slide out from me and wind up face down on my kisser one too many times.  My brother, also a unicyclist, may be better than I am now; I'm wondering if he still plies the sport.  I can get a wonderful workout just going round and round in my driveway; that's one of the benefits of being flabby and out of shape. Anything is a workout.


Extreme Hammocking

The Town: Amazing Movie

Saw Ben Affleck's The Town last night, and even me, a harsh critic of movies in general, LOVED this flick. Edge of my seat the whole ride, but very realistic, Boston-based movie, with heart and soul. Memorable characters. Twisty but believable plot. Excellent acting, if not a tad bland on the part of director Affleck.  With a 93% critics "thumbs up" on Rotten Tomatoes, this movie should do well at the box office despite it's lousy movie poster and meaningless title. A+

My Favorite Ballad Of All-Time, Track 5, 1977


Blue Oyster Cult at Naperville Ribfest, July 4, 2010

A poor quality video from a BOC fan posted on youtube. My son and I were in attendance to this giant--and I mean giant--festival in Naperville, IL and saw this performance by Blue Oyster Cult. Thousands of people. We enjoyed BOC, but missed some other very cool performers, like Julianne Hough, Steppenwolf, and the "big dog", Sammy Hagar, the night before. Drats!

I'm burning for you. Memories of a great summer 2010.


Lay In A Hammock Diagonally

Lazy In My ENO Hammock By The Batavia, IL Dam

This is me, listening to the rush of water over the dam, with the old Challenge Windmill Co across the Fox River.


Biking In St. Charles and Geneva, IL

I don't know this fun loving family, but I enjoy their video of a sunshine-filled day on the Fox River Trail right outside my doorstep. These bike trails I have ridden all summer long, during this, our second summer living in the Fox Valley of Illinois. I was at the St. Charles Art Fair this year with Cathy and Jay. Like the family in this video, I invite everyone to pack up the bicycles, and the kids, and head on down to a gorgeous slice of Chicagoland, and the stretch of the Fox River park that is Geneva-St. Charles, Illinois. (as with every posted video--click the box of arrows lower right to expand and enjoy!)


Turtle Invades My Backyard!~

In August, this snapper slugged up onto my yard in the 100 degree heat, and only after a dousing with the garden hose, and help from a spade, did the beast with the 13 inch diameter shell get coaxed back into the water. You can see his size relative to the shadow of the garden spade.


Mayhem Festival, July 2010, Tinley Park, Illinois

Best show: Rob Zombie
Best Music: Lamb Of God
Most Intense Mosh Pit: Chiamara


The Geneva Folk Music and Storytelling Festival 2010

I went to a festival in Geneva today with Cathy, and while everyone else schlepped bag chairs and folding chairs, I had a simple large fannypack with my ENO hammock in it. Slapped it up on two trees near the center of the festival, climbed in there with Cathy, and listened to folk music in heavenly solitude. We spent all day--over six hours in the sun--eating at MichaelAngelo's Deli, walking on the Fox River and hammocking. The highlight was being at ground zero at the festival, with hundreds of people around us, while we cocooned in private splendor in our 'mock. A memorable day on the Fox River.

From The Daily Herald: How would you like to spend your Labor Day weekend watching and learning clogging and traditional dances? How about expanding your vocal abilities at a singing workshop? Or maybe you'd like to lay on the grass and listen to some of the best live folk music in the country.

If you like music, stories, friends, food and the great outdoors, come enjoy a Labor Day weekend vacation at the 32nd annual Fox Valley Folk Music & Storytelling Festival in Geneva.

Hammermill Laser Printer Paper, 100Brightness, 28 lb. The Best For Writers


Going My Way

The sight I see when I get home. A sign of "being there". Arriving. Sometimes I hit "4" and just lean back and feel relief. Stress ebbs. The familiar "ding" of the elevator, and I have arrived at my floor.


Stephen Covey's 8th Habit Stinks

From my review of Covey's 8th Habit:

Poorly conceptualized. Those are the only words to describe the Eighth Habit, a lengthy tome based on one principle that promises to be the "holy grail" of principles, but instead feels like a soggy loaf of day old bread. I am a disciple of Covey since 7 Habits first came out; own the CDs and listen to them, even now, yearly. They contain realistic, practical advice (not a "Cheerleader" like Tony Robbins et al) that allows you to integrate seven simple skills into your thought pattern. The Seven Habits are lively with example and crisp in its scope. The Eighth Habit, however, is more ethereal, more of a notion as to what the habit of purpose should be than it is a true guidepost on the compass of life (to use Stephen's analogy). Rather than climbing the ladder of success only to find that it is placed on the wrong wall--as Covey so eloquently professed in his milestone first bestseller- this book would preach that it can help you can find "the wall", a true purpose in your life. Therein lies the rub, as the mushy substance of the book does not allow intriguing storylines for example, and the essential notion of the book rapidly becomes repetative and lackluster. I strongly advise those who have not recently read or heard the Seven Habits to review now. For those hoping for a successful Eighth habit, save your money on this book/audio CD and spend it on a trip to the beach, in a sunset, look to the sky and ask, "What am I all about, (insert your god or goddesses' name here)?" and think.


The Proper Way To Hang An ENO Hammock With Slap Straps

I have to say, I felt the same was as you about the straps—still do if I'm using them for a couple hours or less—but now am with the other's on HF. There's even a slapstrap thread, which I am sure you've read. The many 'mockers on here are right, they are just too springy—especially if wet—and too heavy (unless your driving in your car, where it doesn't matter) when there are so many inexpensive, more lightweight and better alternatives. 

You'll see when you're in the 'mock for a longer stretch of time, as I discovered this summer, the straps stretch much more than you think, so you end up pulling them very tight to compensate “in advance” for the stretch you know will be coming, and then the hammock is too straight, not the proper and most comfortable hang angle. So, you jump up in there, literally, because it's stretched so taut between the trees, and mounting your Nest is like trying to jump into the top bunk bed without a ladder. Then you read a book and drink a Michelob, and when you get up to pee, you come back and try to puuuullll it back to the next loop one foot away, your arms shaking from tugging so hard to just barely make it. But you get it hooked and say to yourself, “See, I did it! This slapstrap are alright , and even though the slapstraps being the lousiest piece of hammocking gear is the universal mantra on hammock forums—hell, it's the one thing everyone agrees on—I must be the one guy that loves these bad boys”. And you leap back up into your hammock and do the same process over again. And again. Indeed!

Issue is, as many mention, if you're overnighting in it, doing this fancy ritual 2-3 times overnight and in the pitch dark, especially if you have to get out from under any tarp you have and stand in the mud, in the downpour—well, let's just say at that moment, you'd give your left nut for some amsteel rope and a couple polyester straps. I suppose if you have a dinky ENO tarp you won't mind adjusting the strap in the rain as much; you'll already be soaked. 

Slap Straps--Great for a couple hour siesta.  Better options for anything else.

Stones Like A Rolling Stone

It's been great fun rocking through summer 2010 with classic Stones. I hope you've all enjoyed the audio ride. And what a way to go out with a Dylan tune sung by--who else--the Stones. A song that plays like the "last call" at your favorite pub. Get one for the road, ladies and gentleman. Summer ebbs, autumn is around the corner, and we close this boozy chapter called summer 2010. SALUTE! Now go get your shinebox!


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