Dave's Journal, May 2014

May ! May ! What's not to love about May?

So far, so good.

After leaving Debbie an angry message for misleading me about where her favorite tire place is (she'll put her counter-argument on Facebook, but I don't read Facebook, so who cares, huh!), I had new tires fitted to her car. Then an oil change and inspection sticker.


With my "Debbie-Do's" behind me, I set out to the local park, watched two swans aggravate some turtles on a log, came home and started baking chicken. Which partially explains why my Nikon smells like olive oil, garlic and oregano.

I'm rubbing the chicken with seasoning (mentioned above) when two deer (deers?) start walking across Doyle St. (This does not happen a lot!) I dropped the chicken, grabbed the Nikon (that's the rest of the camera smell story) and popped a few shots through the window. This re-proves the old adage that "the lens on the camera is always the wrong lens", but hey, this is a web blog, so who worries about "image quality".


The Battle of Lexington / Concord (1775)

I had to get out of Sharon's way today, so I trek'd to Lexington and walked along Battle Road - the last leg of the route taken by the Brits in 1775, up from Boston to destroy the rebel ammunition depot in Concord.

Today, it's a pleasant (but boring) walk.

There are still a few homes there, renovated over the 250 years so they are in good cosmetic shape (did not go inside them). The landscape has change in spots from farmland to marshland, so boardwalks have been built to get walkers and tourists over trhe marsh fields.




Here's the short version of how it all started .......

The year is 1775. Unrest has been growing in the colonies. The Boston Massacre that took place just five years earlier is fresh in the memories of many. The protests regarding taxation reached a new height in the form of the Boston Tea Party. Colonists are clamoring for the right to run their own affairs, some going as far as to call for independence from the mother country. The stage is set for an historic conflict.

The Crown decides to put a stop to this. Early in the morning of April 19, 1775, a long column of Regulars starts its march to Concord. Their orders are to destroy muskets, powder, cannon, and other provisions being stockpiled by the rebels on Colonel James Barrett's farm.

The column approaches Lexington as dawn rises to find the militia formed up on the town green. Their goal is not to engage the troops, but to show defiance to the Crown. The British officers are indignant at their risky move and order them to lay down their arms and disperse. Most men disperse. Some do not hear the order and stand fast. None lay down their arms. Suddenly a shot rings out, discipline breaks down, and more shots are fired. When the smoke clears, two militiamen are found shot dead, several more are wounded. The column marches on to Concord.

A few hours later, the Regulars enter Concord. A detachment is sent to secure the North Bridge. The militia had already formed up on the far side of the Bridge, consisting of men not just from Concord, but many nearby towns who had come to defend their homes and lives. Smoke rises from the center of Concord. The militia believes the Regulars are out to burn down the town. The order comes to load their muskets. The men advance towards the Bridge in fine order to the astonishment of the Regulars. The rebels were advancing on the British army! Retreating off the Bridge, the Regulars form into firing positions. As in Lexington, a shot rings out. The Regulars fire. Militiamen fall but they continue their advance. Then the order is given to the militia: "Fire, fellow soldiers, for God's sake fire!".
............The American Revolution has begun.

My footnote: I once saw the re-enactment of the British column marching in step down the road. Rock steady pace, no matter what happened or who fell wounded (from rebel sniper fire out of the woods) the column maintained its steps in cadence. It was more impressive and fearsome than I ever imagined. Like a living unstoppable machine - no matter what happened to it, it kept moving steadily forward. When I see this in movies now, I understand how it must feel to face that kind of relentless machine, coming to kill ........ you.

Well, this morning, Mike sent me looking for an animation of the battle. Here's a good one to follow. (Using it is kind of klunky. It stops after each of your clicks to give you time to read the captions at the top. So after you've read the caption above you click the "play" arrowhead again.) ..........Battle Animation ......... I found it easier to just click the little boxes along the bottom, one at a time.

Yikes.... Pandora's box has been opened wide !!.. Check out this page of animations of the American Civil War. Also note that they have other war & battle animations listed at the top of their page.

After you played with those minor historical skirmishes, watch what the future has waiting for us ......

Cousin Pete (a sci-fi & model expert) says that below is the most accurate model so far of Godzilla2014.


Jamie and The Teddy Bears

(That sounds like the name of a '50's DooWop singing group!)


Jamie came to visit. Tried to make friends with Lexie, had only moderate success. Abby hid under the bed, as we expected. However, the teddybears LOVED him so much, they went home with him !!!

Pictures of Emma Heading to the Prom

Okay, you have seen the rest,
now see the best ....


The Man Who Saved the World

This is an absolutely must-watch PBS documentary. For you guys who remember the "Cuban Missle Crisis", you never knew how close we came and how one (ONE!) man (a Russian sub commander) made a decision that literally saved the world.

The Man Who Saved the World

No one, not Kennedy, not MacNamara, not our Navy commanders, no one in the US knew about this. It was revealed in a 2002 interview with some Russian sub officers. Fantastic documentary.

"Art people piss me off", is what Dave has to say this morning.

His morning espresso in hand, Dave logged into a FineArtAmerica discussion about the language that art people (mostly it's the "critics" not the artists) use to comment on pieces of art. "It's not a simple subject, but it does piss me off in some ways", Dave said. When we asked him to elaborate on this, he kindly took the time to do so .....

Language can be pompous BS and (on the other hand) language can (should?) be as complex as the artwork.

The real negative is that the language turns non-artist people away from art. The pictures themselves are enjoyable on non-intellectual levels, but people stay away from art mostly because of the verbal BS it is wrapped in (from their viewpoint). They feel stupid if they "just like the picture" but can't verbalize their analysis of it.

Thanks, Dave, your wisdom, as always, has made the morning better for so many of us.

Francis, you know, the Saint Guy

Truth be told, I think that Francis (the "saint") of Assisi was an exceptional person and a real hero. I give him a lot of flak (see last month) mostly to get snickers in my journal pages here, but, if you dig into who he was, he was a wicked cool guy. A radical. "Out of the box". A hippie born 600 years too soon. A save-the-world militant 600 years before it was cool to "save the world".

Read up on the guy - he fought "The Church" hammer-and-tong, and they threw him overboard. In the battle, he won a huge following of people who agreed with his earth-friendly / anti-church mindset. Then he died ! ....... and "The Church" had a problem - all those people who loved Francis hate us !!! Now what ?

Well ....... We can't beat him ? Let's Join him - they made him a "saint", so all his followers , umm... followed his sainthood back into "The Church".

I am imagining that his soul accepted sainthood kicking and screaming. Way too cool to be a "saint".

Art ("Art" ? ) is Where You Find It


Took the public library pass for free admission to the botanic garden. It's too early for the flowers, I knew that, but it was a good afternoon to do this after grubbing in the back yard and working to clean the pond.


The place was swarming with elderly tea-time widow chicks and old retired guys with their cameras and mega-zoom lenses (they tapped their 401k's to buy this stuff, same as i've done. ), and two buses of tourist and one bus of little kids. Truth be told, the kids were very well behaved, but the widow chicks kept giggling and pinching my butt and the old camera guys of course were into "my lens is bigger than your lens", but it really was a pleasant hour or so.

Back home now, I have to face Erryn's statistics final exam prep (next week) and (my new job) Emma's algebra/geometry end-of-semester emergency crash grade-recovery program. I asked Emma's teacher for some course info and she basically jammed up my computer with a painfully detailed map of the swamp that I signed on to drain in the next few weeks.

Having fun with my time-lapse camera and Open-Shot video editor. Not too sure that Mozart piano music was my best choice for the background, but it's a start .....

Iuri slept in a hammock in Mike's yard last night, to test out his gear before a real camping trip. It was foggy and drizzling all night.



Short hair, back row, second from the left, tattoo on her left arm - my grandaughter, Rebekah. (There's another picture of her in the mirror a few paragraphs above this one.) Mike posted this video on his leotree 'blog , and I just had to swipe it and post it here too.

I think this is a protest to either save the whales or to prevent Molly Cyprus from making any more music videos.


I cleaned and filled the pond. Asked Debbie to get out of the lawn chair so I could take a picture, but she left her empty beer mug on the arm.


Godzilla / Gojira

Well I saw it today in the theatre. Understanding that I heard very very little of the dialog, I'll say that it was "okay". I give it B- / C+ grade, pending a change after I "read" one with subtitles.

The Good:

Special f/x are outstanding. Really outstanding.

Bryan Cranston has a 15 minute role and he took the movie up to another level. (Then they killed him off.)

I think that I actually saw Bryan Cranston say "Gojira" not "Godzilla" ! ! AT LAST !!!

The scenes with the Navy ships tagging alongside G from Japan to San Fransisco are really really excellent. In fact all the scenes with ships in them were excellent.

There's the great scene (missing from the previous American Godzilla movie) where G's spinal spikes light up and he / she blasts out the famous fiery breath that torches everything in it's path !!! Go G !!

There is the scene where G kills one of the two bad monsters .... very cool technique.

The Bad

Godzilla has a small-ish role here. Maybe 20 minutes out of 120 minutes ! There are two other monsters (that I did not understand who they were) that were in the movie much more than G was.

They need to cut 20 minutes of personal drama scenes out of this movie - save it for the soap operas. Though this has plagued most of the post 2000 G movies (except that Godzilla 2000 had a very cool script for the personal drama storyline).

The lead actor (Aaron-something) is a joke. His skills need about ten years more of acting school. I mean, sh#t buddy, you're an actor - try pretending at least !!

Similar to Ben Afleck's role in the movie Pearl Harbor, our hero is everywhere, gets involved in everything from saving little abandoned boys to disarming nuclear bombs to parachuting / air gliding out of a C5 at night into a burning dowtown filled with skyscrapers in ruins to shooting a 350 monster with a 9mm handgun. WTF???

Some of the scenes are technically absurd. In one, G has destroyed one main cable of the Golden gate bridge and is ripping apart the other cable but the bridge deck and the cars and school buses are not even shaking ??? Really ?

Julliette Binoche is an outstanding actress and they killed her off after she voiced maybe 50 words.

The end. The end of this movie is missing a huge very important scene. How did G go from being dead, buried under ruble to showing him on the TV news being just fine swimming out of San Fransisco harbor ? With the news caption reading "Godzilla saved our city" ? My guess is that Toho,Co. saw the original script with G being dead and said "There is no way that you Yanks are going to kill off G in this movie". So they added a final scene of G swimming off into the sunset.

I am going to add the DVD to my collection, and will update my review as necessary. Possibly my root complaint is that this movie was filmed as a fairly serious drama. In my opinion, when it comes to G movies, drama holds third place, following (1) monster action and (2) tongue-in-cheek humor.

Hey, we saw Lucia yesterday! Had dinner at the Pradella's. Lucia looks, and is doing very well. Funny as ever !!! Great family vibes everywhere !!!



Time-lapse video at the Lacasse's taking pictures of Elise .....

(was that exiting, or what ???)

And ....... here is ...... Elise

May.28 - not much going on. Raining, chilly weather. Been playing with the video capabilities of my various cameras. Decided that the Nikon with one of the older manual lenses (we call them "legacy glass") and some artistic filters are the way to make cool movies. (See the B&W image of the fan light down below here.) Now all I need is a storyline, a script, some actors, a lot of cash, wardrobes, etc. etc. etc. and I'll be up and running.

I am still reeling from the movie "Blue is the Warmest Color". It really really knocked me over. Can't get it out of my head.



Jees, it's June tomorrow. Summer cabins up here are open for the season, garden nurseries are stocked to the fences, everything is green again.

Deb was at a baby shower today, so I put Mike's ancient 50mm manual lens on the Nikon and trek'd outbound. Weird weird weather last two weeks - 30 minutes of sunshine, 30 minutes of rain, all day long. Clouds went by so fast they were outrunning airplanes !! I hit the wildlife reserve and then the top of Mt Wachusett. Here are some pictures.

On the porch now, working up my next short, very short, story, inspired by a conversation we had a few days ago. Stay tuned to my June notes for the public release of this very hot item !!