This is a great article about a common problem, in fact I found it when I went on the net looking for, well, ways to use up the zucchini.
And now ladies and gentlemen, the grand Finale.Â Four pictures into one!! An additional two or three that I just took little bits from, and the earlier Tongue Affliction picture.Â Of course MY camera decides not to work at all, so one of the residents took these pictures, and most of them were blurry.Â There was a lot of blend-testing,Â and it was minimally effective, but it was mainly cutting, pasting, and blurring.
First we start with the happiest resident ever.Â It was a âTrip to New Yorkâ [props to Brenda at Bonham Nursing in Stillwater, sheâs a pistol, and smart as a whip], and so this resident has BOTH a âfeather in her capâ and an American Flag.
Then there was the rest of the audience, which had to be attached to the happy resident.
Then there was Sal, bless him, he even got up and danced but of course we didnât get a picture of that!Â But we did get him clappinâ along.Â Youâll notice I flipped him.
The worst and most time consuming part of this was making the colors match.Â Itâs surprising how some pictures come out all in yellows and some pictures are all in blues.Â Cold and warm colors, donâtcha know.
Layer levels can be adjusted, it makes a new layer and adjusts the hue, saturation, luminosity, and any other attribute you can think of.Â This required a lot of playing around and now that Iâm getting more advanced there isnât a lot on the web to help me.Â Youâll be surprised to hear, there are many minimally gifted people who randomly post YouTube videos telling you nothing you really want to know.Â Besides, as one of my fellow students who is a graphic design MAJOR told me, tutorials are fine but you really donât learn until you fool around with it.Â What she didnât say is I would waste HOURS and DAYS on it!Â One of the files I saved was called âfeetsâ because that one lady with the red-striped socks, her feet took literally HOURS to position properly.Â And if you look close, they really arenât.Â I also spent a lot of time on that 60âs era floor, since the colors didnât always match.Â I found out the danger of cutting and pasting ad infinitum, because every time you paste something it creates a layer.Â I think 35 layers is too many, but I was afraid to âflattenâ them all because then theyâd be lost.Â Guess it depends on how left-brain of a thinker you are!
The only thing I took from this picture, to the left,Â was the copier or whatever it is on the right.
The main thing that is different from the old way of doing things [mainly with an exacto-knife] is that you CAN adjust the colors, hue, saturation, luminosity, darkness, brightness, contrast to make pictures look like they were taken at the same time.
And what, exactly, did I learn?Â That there are many, many hours in the day that theÂ youth of our nation can fritter away on the Internet.Â That if you think our politicians have more ways than ever to âspinâ themselves and their actions, you are right.Â That we are all children of advertising and therefore donât believe everything we see, even if it looks really, really good.
I still need 2 more pictures to complete my final project.Â However the one that I already posted was the only, well, acceptable one.Â But the solution is part and parcel of âPhotoshopââ¦just get an image off the Internet, and stick yourself in!Â I already knew how to do this from that aforementioned nice young man.
Easier said than done.Â Thereâs a finite amount of pictures of me, and it took a long long time to find one I would fit in to.Â Even then I had to flip it horizontally (under the âImageâ menu).Â There were other pictures but they were the wrong colorâ¦and yes, you can change thatâ¦or taken at facilities in Japan.Â I have been doing this performing at facilities thing for about 20 years and in all that time I have seen MAYBE two or three people of Asian descent.Â So those pics were out, too.Â This was the only one that even remotely fit, it'sÂ from Florida but it couldnât be helped. (How do I know itâs Florida?Â Well I donât, but I know damn well the elderly never EVER wear shoes like that, around here even if itâs 120 degrees).Â I had to cut myself out of the picture, trim my horrible neck area, then insert myself into the now-horizontally flipped picture.Â I actually succeeded in covering up dancer #2....dancer #1 just got cropped right out entirely.
I am really not satisfed with this pictureâ¦try & guess whyâ¦but even the Internet could not help me here.Â My friend Tyler says I should put someone, preferably creepy, at that window to provide the audience with a reason why theyâre looking there, and not at me!Â I did take a couï»¿ple of audience members from behind me, since they were kinda looking in my direction, and placed them up front next to the guy with the powder blue shirt.Â That's why that table looks so crowded.
By the way if youâre going to flip a picture make sure thereâs nothing written visible because it will appear backwards.Â This will make your viewers think you live in Bizzaro world.Â Which I assuredly do.
Here is photoshop project number three. On Monday I played a gig at a facility in Wilkes Barre. I had my friend come and take pictures of me, and the audience. Unfortunately she was in a hurry, that has to be the only reason why there was no good picture of me with the audience. In fact there were only 3 pictures of me, each one was worse than the one before it. So I chose this one, with the tongue affliction. And I chose this audience picture, believing I could stick myself into the audience picture and make âem look like they were actually enjoying the performance. I needed to cut and paste myself out of this one, itâs actually pretty easy, like I did with the garlic heads. Resizing is the biggest pain about this, because at first I looked like the Giant 50 foot woman playing my keyboard.
And speaking of my keyboard, that was really hard, because the right side of it got cut off in the Tongue Afflication picture, so I kind of had to create more keyboard with the lasso tool. I must have cut out 100 images, at first I couldnât get it to copy right, then it did but it never fit in once I moved my little copy over to the side of the keyboard. Youâll note it doesnât really look right even now, but itâll do. And then I had to literally turn frowns upside down. That was another Youtube trip, and some nice young man in Australia or New Zealand revealed to me âtransformâ under the âeditâ menu. Voila! Some of the frowns I literally turned upside down, but most of them I just took a sample of the corner and ârotatedâ âem a bit. Then the ubiquitous Blur tool, to make them fit in. I finally learned how to âLiquifyâ, itâs under âFilterâ and gently pushes things in. I wish there was some kind of tool like this in Life (yeah, itâs called dieting) but it took me several days to learn how to use it. Thereâs some kind of mesh underneath the picture and it compresses just those tiny squares of pixels. Another nice young man (how come theyâre always guys) on YouTube called it How To Make Fat People Skinny. Ha!
Hey folks!Â I grew some garlicâplanted it last October, dug it up this weekâand I took some pictures of it hanging up to dry, to show you.Â Then I got an idea, a terrible, awful idea.Â And here it is.Â How did I do this evil deed, you may ask?
Simple.Â I photoshopped the heads ontoâ¦the heads!!!Â And yes, âphotoshopâ is a verb.Â I tried the âclone stamp toolâ since I figured thatâs how you would copy something and paste it onto something else.Â Not so.Â I finally gave up after literally HOURS of trying to figure it out and put âhow to photoshop someone into a pictureâ into the search engine, and voila!!Â Youtube has a tutorial on every thing a human being can do, including this.Â The nice sounding young man taught me how to copy and paste, resizing the photos as you go, and it couldnât be simpler.Â First you take the âlassoâ tool and cut the thing out you want to put somewhere.Â Then it will acquire what my professor calls the âmarching antsâ around just that part of the image youâve drawn around.Â Hit edit, then copy, and go to the garlic picture, and hit paste!Â If it doesnât fit, resize the original image, under âimage sizeâ and paste again.
Stupid Dan had red-eye in his picture, because no picture exists of him taken anywhere else but a bar.Â So THAT was another hour, because despite the fact that my version of photoshop, CS2, is supposed to have a âred eye toolâ, it doesnât.Â Or, at least I couldnât find it.Â So I gave up and found another picture of him.Â Notice how heâs kind of transparent while the rest of us are solid.Â I used the âpolygonalâ lasso tool on him, and the regular lasso tool on all the rest.Â Hm.
Why is my head the biggest?Â Because itâs my picture.Â I call it "GarlicGuideHeads".
OK folks hereâs the new improved picture.Â I used the âAuto Levelsâ since Iâm sure the computer knows better than I do what the picture should look like.Â Used the âspot healing toolâ on the neck, makes me look 15 years younger, donâtcha think?Â Course if I WAS 15 years younger I'd be illegal.
More pics next week.
Iâm taking a Media Technology class this summer, and my Final project is to learn Photoshop. Perfect for a woman of myâ¦talents (and by talents I mean age}.Â I had a mini-whirlwind introduction from the professor teaching the courseâ¦stupidly, I chose something he is GREAT at.Â Memo to selfâ¦next time choose something he knows nothing about!
Anyway YOU, dear reader, are going to learn along with me.Â So here we go.Â To the left of the actual working area is the TOOLBAR, this is your God.Â Lookit all the stuff you can do!Â OK, so I don't know what half of it means.Â But I like the sound of "blur", "spot healing" and "slice."Â Sounds more like plastic surgery!Â I actually photoshopped this image--the words in that turquoise color are the ones I put in there.Â I tried to make the words black but gave up out of annoyance.Â I feel that this will happen often during my learning experience.Â The tool thingies with no word next to them, means I really didn't understand what it does so I left it blank.
Now hereâs the first picture Iâm gonna mess with.Â Yes, yes, I know, never take a picture with someone 30 years younger than yourself.Â Oh well.Â First thing to do is get that neck taken care of.Â Which tool, blur, stamp, spot healing?Â Tried the clone stamp toolâ¦thatâs supposed to take something from somewhere else, copy it, and put it where you tell it to.Â Didnât work, neck still awful.Â This is gonna take a long, long time. Â Iâll post the results in ten years when I figure this thing out.
By the way his name is Shane and he can really shred on guitar!Â Come see us, Sept 18, itâll be a Rock Mass at Gate of Heaven church in Dallas.Â And staytooned for the new, improved pic, once I get finished with it!
Bruce has released the text of his eulogy for Clarence Clemons he delivered on June 21st at his funeral in West Palm Beach. Here's the link...http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bruce-springsteens-eulogy-for-clarence-clemons-20110629
RIGHT NOW!!! June 3-5Â NEPA Bluegrass Fest, Tunkhannock
Coal Town Rounders
The String Band
Saturday June 18thHonesdale Roots & Rhythm Festival
Dave Alvin (from the Blasters)
Ryan Hartt and the Blue Hearts
July 8 and 9
Briggs Farm Blues Fest
Terry âHarmonicaâ Bean
Jimmy âDuckâ Holmes
Alexis P. Suter Band
July 30 and 31 Pennsylvania Blues Festival, Blue Mountain Ski Area
Lilâ Ed & The Blues Imperials
Magic Slim & the Teardrops
August 5,6,7Â Scranton Jazz Festival
The Four Freshmen
The Royal Scam
The Marko Marcinko Latin Jazz Quintet
August 5-14 Musikfest in Bethlehem
Stone Temple Pilots
Steve Miller Band
Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas
Straight No Chaser
Train with Gavin DeGraw
August 18,19,20,21Philadelphia Folk Festival
David Bromberg Big Band
Below you will find a list of all the CSAÂ farms I could find.Â But I forgot one and it really deserves your attention.Â it's called the Dancing Hen Farm and is located in Stillwater...on Toy Factory Road no less!...just between Shickshinny and Benton along Route 239.Â However they have regular deliveries toÂ Bloomsburg, Dallas, Danville, Drums, Forty Fort, and West Hazleton, and yes, these deliveries will continue even after the price of gas has reached $5 a gallon.
They also have eggs.Â And the share prices are quite reasonable.Â In addition theyÂ "share their harvest", with local churches and civic groups... If 10 CSA members pick up at your facility, we'll donate one full vegetable share to your orgnization. I have also found out through channels...well actually she emailed me...that they also start organic plants you can buy instead of getting them at the box store.
Check out their website...www.dancinghenfarm.com...the guy is holding a hen for Gods sake!!
OK so you may have heard my rantÂ on the air about Community Supported Agriculture.Â And you may wonder, what is it?Â Community Supported Agriculture, also known as "subscription farming" is a food system in which people pay to become members of a farm.Â In exchange for annual subscription fees (anywhere from $250 to $1,000, depending on how much you'll get and other factors) members get a weekly share of fresh, locally grown produce all season long.Â Members share the rewards and the risks of their farmers.Â If the eggplant crop is bounteous, you get a million eggplants.Â If all the tomatoes die (remember 2 years ago?), you get no tomatoes.Â
Once a week from the beginning of June to the end of October, members come to pick up their share.Â The closest one to me, Fertile Grounds, In Noxen, drops you share off at either the Lands at Hillside Farms in Shavertown, or in Downtown Wilkes Barre at the Farmers' Market on Thursday.Â Every week, each share includes 5-8 different crops, which vary depending on what's in season.
Why do this?Â Itâs SOOOO obvious.Â Youâre supporting your own community.Â Youâre buying locally grown, organically produced food. Â Itâs ultra fresh, often picked the day you receive it. The best part, in my opinion anyway, is that you get to know the person growing your food.Â You can take the kids to visit âtheirâ farm where âtheirâ vegetables come from.Â Maybe theyâll even eat âem!
Hereâs a list of the ones in our listening areaâ¦call the one near you IMMEDIATELY and sign up!Â Some have animals, too
Fertile Grounds Â Noxen, Pa, firstname.lastname@example.org or 903-8669
Maddie's Spring Maple Farms 7999 State Route 3001 Meshoppen, PA 18630 833-5998
Turtle Mountain Farmâ¦536 Thurston Hollow Road Tunkhannock (which is just off Keelersburg Rd, which is between Rt. 29 and 292) 836-5798 or http://icelandicsheepatturtlemountainfarm.com/
Chaos Acres 342 Carter Rd Laceyville , PA 18623Â 869-2631 www.facebook.com/chaosacres
Wild Lake Heirloom and Herb Co Â 16 Sechrist Ln Tunkhannock 18657 406-5931
Hopkins Farm River Road falls, PA 18615 Â 388-2858
Skoloff Valley Farm 727.3046 1944 Stevens Point Rd Susquehanna, PA 18847, or theyâll bring it to The Essential Eating Farmers Market in Clarks Summit
The Funny Farm Â 2479 Bennett Rd Hop Bottom, PA 18824 434-2367
Confluence Farm Â 596 State Route 167 Hop Bottom, PA 18824
The Ant Hill Farm 1114 Beech Grove Rd Honesdale, PA 18431 .Â Theyâll deliver for an extra $100â¦and the farmerâs name is Eusebius!Â Really!Â 253 5985
Yatsonsky Farm Market Â Â Owego turnpike Honesdale, 18431 Â Â 488-5683 www.socantel.net/~yatson
Broken Fiddle Hawley, www.brokenfiddlefarm.com, Paupack Blueberry Farm 108 Berkley Rd Paupack, 18451 www.paupackblueberryfarm.com 226-9702
Reminiscent Gardens 99 Maple Ridge La. White Haven578-0170 or www.reminiscentgardens.comFive Mountain Farm (formerly Lent's Organics) Â 346 Baer Road Shickshinny, PA 18655 706-6887
Pine Cone Homestead, Long Pond, Pa Â www.pineconehomestead.com 851-1582
Blue Bell Farm Â 54 Bell Rd Wapwallopen, PA 18660 379-2688
Mad Dog Farm 81-B Church Road Bloomsburg, PA 17815Â 394-3634 maddogfarm.com
Greene Garden 546 W. Third St Bloomsburg, PA 17815 greene-garden.com 570-784-4172
I got most of this information from www.localharvest.org which lists, like, every CSA in the known universe.
It's a million hours of work for, like, a quart of maple syrup.Â I mean, I knew this going in, that it took forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.Â But I didn't realize I would spend four entire weekends doing nothing but boiling sap, from sun up to well past sundown, all day Saturday, all day Sunday.
The thing you see the pots of sap boiling on is something everyone in Wyoming County has, a burn barrel..except most of 'em are made of cinderblocks.Â Perfect for keeping the sap boiling all day.Â However you have to have a pile of wood the size of the Wyoming Valley mall to keep the fire hot enough to boil the sap.Â Every FIVE MINUTES you have to throw in more wood.Â I collected and broke up every scrap of wood on my property.Â A lot were still wet so I had to dry 'em out on top, asÂ you can see behind the pots. Â I had 2 friends give me literally TRUCKLOADS of scrap wood from construction.Â Even one of the engineers here in the Mountain Cabin gave me an entire truck bed full of broken up pallets.Â It was the most exhausting thing ever.Â I can't wait to get back to the gym and rest!!
However, it is very very delicious.Â I'm going to freeze my 11 or 12 half-pints, and give 'em out at Christmastime.Â But will I do this again?Â Maybe, maybe not.Â I mean, I really like the idea of being able to glean something from stuff already growing on my property, but dear sweet Lord A-mighty,Â it's labor intensive!
Yes you too can tap the sap from your maple trees.Â Itâs surprisingly easy.Â There are a lot of good guides on the ânet, but the first thing you gotta do is get spiles, which are the little spouts you pound into the maple tree to access the sap.Â I did this all last Friday (the 18th) when it went up to 60 degrees.
This is the spile, another closer-up pic is below.Â You can see my high -tech maple sap gathering device (old milk jug).Â I will have to boil it down on the trash burning thing in my backyard.Â 40 gallons of sap makes one gallon of syrup.
See the sap just about to fall off the spile?Â I took a cordless drill, with a 7/16th inch drill bit (kind of big), drilled about a 3 inch hole, tapped the spile in.Â Because it was 60 degrees that day the sap came running out.
It's kind of hard to make out the jug on the side of this tree...this one is big enough, I put another tap on the other side.
I'll let you know how the boiling-down process goes.Â I'm still trying to find out if you have to can this stuff or since the sugar content is so high, you can just stick it in a pretty bottle and give it out at Christmastime!
Yes, it's ghetto. I'm not an engineer.
It's a hot box.Â Supposedly I will be able to plant spinach, broccoli, and other cold weather vegetables and grow 'em even when the rest of the ground is frozen.
I trash picked both windows.Â The wood is that pressed stuff, I have no idea how long it's going to last.Â A while, I hope, since this took me a whole day to build.Â I had also never used a circular saw...that turned out to be the easiest part!Â The hardest part?Â Digging the holes to put the wood in.
I only posted it up here because I realized it is the first thing I have ever built entirely by myself.
Impressed?Â You should be.Â You'll be even more impressed when I'm eating spinach I grew myself in FEBRUARY!!!
1. Gone With the Wind
2. West Side Story
3. Donnie Darko
4. The Princess Bride
5. Young Frankenstein
6. Rocky Horror
7. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
After #1 and #2, the order is subject to change depending on the mood I'm in. Right now I'm in a very Donnie Darko mood.
In fact the order of #1 and #2 may be because I saw both of those movies at a very young age. All the others were kind of during my so-called adulthood.
Once upon a time I went on air and talked on and on about how great it would be to shoot my own deer. I even posted a picture of a rifle one time after the deer had been particularly hard on the broccoli in my garden. So I got a gun, a 30-06, and bought some ammunition. I had a guy friend of mine offer to teach me how to shoot, and some gun and hunter safety. We took off for the REAL country, for his friend's house halfway into Susquehanna county outside of Meshoppen. The guy has 90 acres and has a bench and target set up just for shooting. The guy's daughter, and her 2 foster sons, came with us too. My friend even paid for breakfast at Purkey's Pink Apple (the buffet was pretty awesome, actually).
So we get to the site, and my friend took the first shot with my rifle. That was it for me. It was SOOOO loud! Like a nuclear explosion. I could see it had a hell of a kick, too. I had on swimmer's ear plugs AND those headphones you buy to cancel out noise. Wasn't enough. I simply COULD NOT shoot that gun. They all thought it was pretty funny (at least he wasn't mad!).Â I walked up to the house and sat and watched THEM shoot for hours.
In saying this I am telling y'all that never again will you hear me talking about shooting a deer. Unless I win the lottery or find a $500 dollar bill on the street, and go out and buy a crossbow. 'Cause that's the ONLY way it'll ever happen.
Oh, and if YOU get a deer, I'd sure accept some venison!
You know you're supposed to buy local and keep your purchases as close to home as you can. There are many obvious benefits to buying local produce....it'll be fresher, you know your neighbors have grown it, you'll help support family farms, keep farmers from leaving and selling the land to developers.. However there are many more things...in fact most things...that you should buy locally.
Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms -- this strengthens the economic base of the community. Locally owned businesses buy stuff locally, which requires less transportation.
Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future. Local business owners donate more to local charities than non-local owners.
I don't need to demonize the huge "box" stores or tell you why you SHOULDN'T buy there. Horrible treatment of employees, shuttering and boarding up of small town downtowns, Importing goods made in sweat shops to keep prices down. And despite all that, sometimes you just gotta shop there...it's hard to resist when something costs half as much. But try & minimize it. Even if you have to pay more, it's worth it in Karma dollars.
Local businesses I really try to patronize constantly:
The most delicious raspberries ever known to man.Â I put them in two years ago.Â Got about a dozen last year about 2 quarts.Â I also have tons of wild black raspberries all over the place, made lots of jam, pies, etc.Â And just this year I discovered the Mother Lode of blackberries, these wild berries have been left to their own devices who knows HOW long and are huge.
Here's my lima beans, and a shot of the expensive solar-powered electric fence that doesn't keep anything out.Â That equipment to the left is the solar panel that keeps it charged, and it sure shocks ME if I touch it. Not so much the groundhogs or deer.Â I have gotten out the Havaheart trap for the groundhogs.Â The deer will just have to wait until hunting season to die!
And here boys & girls, are the branches from actual trees that I cut while trimming the property last fall.Â However we try to save EVERYTHING and now they're the trellis for the King of the Garden limas.Â Â Just my way of keepin' it green!..and saving dough.
My tomatoes from the "Back forty".Â This is a piece of ground right by the creek, so I always risk flooding...nothing this year, though. The soil is a lot less clay-y, and the tomatoes are doing...OK.Â About 50 plants, there are lots of the paste kind for sauce, 8 or 10 beefsteak just for lunches during the summer, and I'm trying a new variety, Brandywine Red.Â The first tomato was one of those, and it tasted pretty darn good.
I started these pumpkins, squashes and melons pretty early but they didn't do well once they outgrew their pots...anyway they also didn't take well at all to being transplanted.Â Next year I'm using those jiffy pots.Â Hope to get SOMETHING, the large plant is a Big Max pumpkin (or Dill's Atlantic Giant, I can't remember which), the smaller one to the left is butternut squash.Â I also have some melons...
Look closely boys and girls, that may be the only melon I get.Â it's a varitey called Minnesota Midget, developed for far nothern climes (which we seem to be in) and they are supposed to mature very rapidly.Â Started these early, too.Â Actually that particular melon isn't even big enough for me to determine whether it was fertilized.
More pics next week!
The Last, and worst, day of my London vacationâ¦.
So we arrive at Heathrow terminal 4 after mistakenly travelling to terminal 1, 2, and 3. Our boarding pass didnât say which terminal we should go to. Our flight was due to depart at 4:20, we arrived at 3:24.Â The ticket agent immediately tore up our boarding passes and said we couldnât board the flight since it was less than an hour before departure.Â I said I hoped I didnât fall asleep at the wheel on our final car ride home, and she replied, âEven if I could let you board your original flight I wouldnât, now.Â You should have known which terminal you were flying out of since it was on your ticketâ (although she said, âtickeetâ).Â Not interested that we had very limited internet access and never really saw our âtickeetâ.
We were then shuffled off to another ticket agent whose name tag read merely âDiâ. She told us there was no other way for us to get home except to pay a $500 ticket change fee.Â I told her I had already paid such a change fee once, back in April, when the kidâs passport didnât arrive in time. Iâll admit it, I began to cry, thatâs when Di stated she did not want to take such abuse and called over some supervisor type. She had the same annoyed and unhelpful attitude.
We were then shuffled off to another ticket agent.Â I decided I would let my son handle this transaction since my emotional state was apparently annoying to the staff.Â No dice, I was required to stand before this agent, to identfy myself and hand over my credit card.Â She told us we would now be flying into JFK, not Newark. I asked about flying standby, to which she replied, âDonât take your bad day out on meâ and said there was no possibility of standby and the change would cost me $572.Â By this time I was so upset I couldnât really speak, and I didnât catch her name.Â I went to sit down on a baggage scale.
At this point she tells my son to please not swear.Â He actually hadnâtâ¦.This slip actually made me aware, on further reflection, that these agents were actually trying to generate an emotional reaction that would justify their bad behavior.
Another staff member named Shawna saw me crying and, seeming quite concerned, asked if I was OK.Â I explained my problem, she went over to the ticket counter, and never spoke to me again.Â However she did strike up a conversation with a nearby sky cap, about 4 feet away from me, that both of them found extremely hilarious.
Yes, the airlines are hurting.Â They will only have a $2.5 billion profit this year (thatâs all of them, not just Virgin, but stillâ¦)Â What a way to ruin what was a great vacation.
Sorry this took so long but my computer suddenly decided not to download pictures.Â So I'm using the one in the Mountain cabin.
Here's CJ and one million other tourists in front of the British Museum.Â It was awesome but we didn't get there until, like, 2pm and they close at 5:30, which is not nearly enough time.Â He's the one standing in between the pillars, in front of the steps, with that stupid Old Man hat on.Â
The British Museum really is a must-see, if only for that alone.Â But I still wish we had taken the tube to St. John's Wood to see the crosswalk.
These people have pitched TENTS and live in them opposite Parliament to protest taxation.Â And you thought the Tea Partiers were crazy!
We decided to go to Greenwich on the last day so we could stand on the Prime Meridian.Â 0', 0", you know.Â Kinda cool.Â Took a "Thames clipper" which is part of the public transit system, and even faster than the tube.Â Took the tube back, and didn't make it to Heathrow until 55 minutes before our flight left.Â THAT story next....
Me and the 20-year old.Â Arrived at our first destination, a charming medieval village called Lacock (pronouced Lay-cock), with an abbey originally built in the 1300's.Â About an hour from Stonehenge, which, as one poster said, is a bunch of rocks in a field.Â Sorry...I didn't get a vibe at all.Â Maybe it was the fact that there were, like, a million tourists and highway on both sides.Â Maybe it disrupts the electro magnetism.
2 nights there, then Cardiff.Â Yes, we went because they film Dr. Who there.Â Wanna make something of it?Â Yes we toured the tiny little Dr. Who Exhibit which costs 6.50 pounds (like, 9 bucks) each.Â Yes, we spent an obscene amount of money at the gift shop. But Cardiff was a great city, reminded me of Scranton since it's no-frills, except for Cardiff Bay, and very working class.Â Wish we had more time there!
First person to identify who (or what) I'm shaking hands with gets a free Cathy Donnelly CD!!
Contra Dancing is way, way cooler than Square Dancing, and way older as well.Â Sometimes called New England Folk Dancing, you can show up to a dance with NO experience and NO partner and have a rollicking good time.Â There are certain steps they'll teach you, but they're easy, and the tradition is to CHANGE partners each dance.Â There's live music, and people usually bring munchies for the breaks.Â There's usually no alcohol (something I appreciate, not being a drinker).Â It runs about 2 1/2 - 3 hours, but you can certainly sit out a dance if need be, or leave early, or come late.
Generally, a leader, known as a caller, will teach each individual dance just before the music for that dance begins. During this introductory "walk-through" period, participants learn the dance by walking through the steps and formations, doing what the caller says.
At most dances, nobody dresses up, or down, but you'll seeÂ "peasant skirts" or other full, lightweight skirts, even on men sometimes.Â Low, broken-in, soft-soled, non-marking shoes, such as dance shoes, sneakers, or sandals, are recommended and, in some places, required. However, dancing barefoot is also common.
There's a real sense of camaraderie without condescension here.Â At least, the dances I've been to in NePa.Â Everybody is extremely tolerant of newcomers; they know you don't know the steps and will call out encouragment and helpful tips (like the one about looking right into your partner's eyes when you spin, otherwise you'll get dizzy).Â They also know you're going to LOVE the whole thing and will soon become part of the group.
And I'm happy to report there's no correlation between the Iran-Contras and the Kingston Contra Dancers!!
The ones in Kingston are the first Saturday of the month (mostly), sponsored by the Chicory House. The next one is February 6, at 7.30 pm, at the Church of Christ Uniting in Kingston, Sprague Ave, Kingston PA (that's where they usually are). Admission to the dance is $9 for adults and $24 for families.Â Well worth it!
What say we show up next Saturday with a whole bunch of newcomers!Â See you there!!
Information on the dance: folkloresociety.org
Here's a video from a place I've actually danced at! The quality's awful but it'll show you what Contra dancing's all about Â Contra dancing in Glenside, Pa