Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Night Already......
Geez, how'd that happen?

I guess those 2 extra days at the beginning of the week threw me off. I've been as busy as a One Legged Man at an Ass Kicking Party the last couple of days and just missed the time going by.

I spent a lot of years missing things and wasting time. I don't like to do to much of that anymore. Having entered a statistical group where everyday above ground is a good one, I feel like I ought to be doing SOMETHING everyday. Doesn't really matter if it's all that important.
I figured out a long time ago that I'm probably not gonna go down in history as anything special and will, like most everyone who has ever walked this planet, be completely forgotten by the time my Grandchildren are gone.

I'm ok with that. Very few folks are ever remembered in the history books and 1/2 of them are remembered as jerks.

I figure a life well lived and being an ok guy is a good thing and nothing to be ashamed of.

OK. That's enough philosophical Horseshit for one day.

The weather here has been absolutely beautiful the last 2 days. Mid 80's and low humidity. Damn, I'd like to see a few more (9-10) months of that. Supposed to get hot and humid again tomorrow.
Screw it. I'm gonna be working the next 2 days so I guess it doesn't matter.

We'll hope for the best Monday.

We're entering the busy harvest and preserving season now and things are gonna get busy around here as we kick into canning mode big time.

The tomatoes are really starting to come on now and the wife will be making sauce, etc and putting that up soon.

The Pear tree had such a big crop it decided to break a big section off because of the weight the other day. This wasn't just a limb hanging down from the weight of all the fruit, it was a BIG section that was growing straight up. No way to prop that up with poles.
Self Pruning I say. Look at the bright side.

The good news is that there is enough wood holding on that the whole section hasn't wilted up. The leaves are still green and not curled up and the fruit is ripening well. Gonna have a ton of them.
QueenBuffness makes an ass kick Pear Jelly and cans the hell out of them. Hmmmm. Good stuff come February.

Trying to save on electricity an not use the dehydrator, I set a couple of screen door inserts across some horses and spread shell beans on them to dry. Perfect weather for it. As they were already dried pretty well on the vine I think they're good to go as is, but will probably spread them out there again tomorrow and give them another day to make sure before putting them up in jars.
We got close to 20# of beans from the two 4x12' beds. Not bad. Not as much as I'd like for storage but I will need to have more room next year.

Still have Black Beans and Great Northern Beans coming on and the second planting of Green beans sometime in the middle of September for canning. As you may have guessed, we eat a lot of beans. I love 'em and there are just so many ways to enjoy them.

My buddy with the Apple orchard says there's Apples ready now and told me I should get over there and get started on them. Another friend wants me to come over Monday and pick Peaches that are just going to waste.
I'm leaning towards the Peaches. Mine didn't do to well and Apples will be available for another couple of months.

And there's not much better in this world than a fresh Peach. Yep. Peaches it is, Monday.

As you can see, lots of food gathering going on now. It's amazing how much food you can grow, gather and collect for next to nothing. With the cost of everything going nowhere but up, it would behoove all of y'all to get going on raising some of your own. Plan now for next year. Think long term and get trees started first. Yeah, plant then this Fall. Figure out a way to scrape a $100 bucks together and order some trees.

The Arbor Day Foundation would be a good source. Pretty affordable when compared to other places and if you become a member it gets even cheaper. They do good work too. So giving them cash is doing everyone a good turn.

Win - Win as they say.
Since I've had such crappy luck with getting Nut Trees to grow lately, I'm gonna order some from them this Fall. Gotta be better than what I've been getting from the places I've been dealing with the last 2 years.

Probably more Peaches and Apples too.

Face it. How can you have To many fruit trees? Yeah, that's what I thought.

OK. That's it for tonight.

Gratuitous Picture for a Friday Night-

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dee Snyder Looks Back...............

And does a little compare and contrast.

I love it.

Gratuitous Picture for a Thursday-

Beats a Poke in the Eye With a Sharp Stick...............


I just returned from the Eye Doctor after....................... Poking my dumbass in the eye with a sharp stick while cleaning up around the house.

Of course, it had to be my GOOD EYE too!
Kind of ironic that.

Break time for now and we'll see how it goes later so I can finish this job up.

Gratuitous Picture for a Thursday Afternoon-
Seeing Eye Chicken.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Summer She's Coming On Strong".........

Damn, that's a great song. I had this song stuck in my head all afternoon as I was out in the garden picking beans & figured y'all should enjoy it too.

As a young lad, I saw this band many years ago and have never forgotten how good they were.

But the Garden is coming on strong and, tired as I was today, I still dragged my ass out there under the hot sun and picked beans. These aren't green beans, but soup beans that you'd buy in a bag at the grocery store, dried out already.
I really don't know the official name for them. I always have always heard them called, Cranberry Beans.

I call them Michael's Beans because my friend Michael Boone gave me the starter seeds for these several years ago.
They are a very prolific and easy to grow bean.
I got a huge pile of them today. Filled one of those big ass, Tupperware style boxes. I'm still gonna have to shell them out and dry them a little bit more, but that's all good. I've got a bunch of 1 gallon jars that we'll put them in after they're dried out nicely.
Good eating fer sure.

The Blackberries have just been crazy this year. I only got through 1/2 of the patch tonight and here's what I got-

That's a big ass bowl, by the way, as you can see by the hat there for comparison.

It's been an everyday thing to get at least this many berries. I figure there's about a week left on these things.

Good enough and I'll take it. QueenBuffness has been cleaning them and sticking them in the freezer for now. Jelly will be happening as she gets more time. She made an asskick pie from some earlier today.

Damn, Summer IS coming on strong!

Tomatoes are coming online now and in a week or so it'll be, full speed ahead on canning them.

QueenBuffness has really gotten the canning thing down and kicks ass on processioning all of the things that come on from the garden.
Yes, it's a lot like work.
But damn if it's not worth it.

There's no question about how it was grown or where it came from.
There are no Illegal migrant workers shitting out in the fields and passing along and sharing their own special blend of E-Coli to us. I like that.

That's about it for today. I'm still recuperating from the 4 day day stretch.


Gratuitous Picture for a Wednesday Night-

Damn I'm Tired...........

Had an unexpected couple of days work thrown at me Monday & Tuesday and four 12 hours shifts of non-stop ER Zombieland has worn my poor old ass down to a nub.

Getting old is not for the faint of heart I guess.
But people are sick & have sick family members and when my boss asks, I try to help her out because she's good people and the kinda boss everyone wishes they had.

That I forgot to schedule the weekend off for the upcoming Indianapolis Moto GP Race next month has nothing to do with it.

I've only had a year to do it and still forgot. But she got me covered even though I'm an idiot so it all worked out.

Made some much needed cash too so that's a good thing after all of the crap that decided to break down here in the last few weeks. So it's all good.

Of to bed now to sleep like a welfare whore if I'm lucky.

Gratuitous Picture for a Very Early Wednesday Morning-

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Morning Coming Down............

With apologies to Kris Kristofferson for stealing that line.

Full Moon Madness accompanied by the intense heat we're having has a special way of bringing out the crazy.
Of course, since it's the end of the month, all of the Zombie narcotic users are running out of meds and showing up in the ER for us to provide them a fix, too.

There are days when I long for an Old Testament type Plague to thin the herd somewhat. There's no hope for this country the way it's going. There's not gonna be anyone working to be able to support all of these parasites before to much longer.

Oh well. I'll keep doing my part while hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. About all a guy can do I suppose.

Gotta go. Animals to feed and water before I go hit the ER for 12 more hours of Fun With the Zombies!

Gratuitous Picture for a Sunday Morning-

"Wear Your Spare!"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Afternoon and All is Well..........

All things considered It's all good.

Quite a week here at the "GrumpyUnk Command and Control Bunker". This has been an expensive and at times frustrating week. But hey, it can always be worse. Lots of expensive things broke this week and I'm officially tapped out till who knows when.

That's frustrating but there's really nothing much to be done about it so I'll quit whining now and move on to other things.

Must have picked 6-7 gallons of Blackberries over the last week or so. I'm still waiting for that Cobbler the wife promised though.

Picked and canned 24 quarts of green beans and put in a whole bunch more for a Fall crop. Should have 60+ quarts from this planting. Like I said, I put in a bunch more.

The Tomatoes are finally coming on. That took longer than expected but are worth the wait.

Peppers, of which I should have planted a lot more of are coming in nicely and I pulled several dozen onions yesterday and have them setting out drying.

The damn weeds have about overtaken every place in the garden that wasn't mulched down heavily and I've spent way to much time out there in the heat pulling and cleasning the place up this week.

Still looks pretty shabby yet and that upsets my, Teutonic Sense of Orderliness.
Hey, what can I say, it's in the genes. It's gonna take me a few more days to get it back in shape though.

The weather folks on the news said it was 98 degrees today. Odd. Yes it's obvious that it's hot out, but it seems a hell of a lot more tolerable out there today. Less humidity and a nice breeze. It ain't bad at all if you're in the shade. I spent a few hours cutting grass after I worked on the weeds this morning and don't feel any worse for wear.

Temps in the 90's seem to be the way it's gonna be this Summer. I could take it a better if the humidity stays down like this. Don't know about global, but my little corner of the world has been plenty warm this Summer so far.

I can't speak for other places but this hot weather has been pretty good for boosting beer sales locally.
Thinking about that............... See ya later. I gotta make a beer run.

I WON'T be buying any of THIS BEER- "Beer to be sold in dead animals"
Not that the little Beer Store where I go is gonna have any of that anyhow.

Gratuitous Picture for a Friday Evening-

No fast food though.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This is How They Do a "Drive By" in the Country.............

I came home from work the other night around midnight and upon getting out of the little blue truck I heard Ducks.

I'm thinking, "Oh Shit. The door to their pen is open and all the chickens will be dead by morning as soon as the Coyotes figure that out!"

No. Not so much.
I was the victim of a "Drive By Duck Dropoff".

I had stopped at a friends house earlier in the week just to see how he's been doing and noted that he had some ducks running around. He asked me if I like ducks and I said of course and I didn't think much of it from there.

Well, maybe there was a bit more conversation about them, but it didn't occur to me that I was gonna inherit 4 more ducks in a few days.

But sure enough, he came by and dropped them in the vacant dog pen, told my wife that he'd "Brought over those ducks that, Unk wanted" and hauled ass!

I really don't remember showing that much interest in his ducks but I should have paid more attention to that look in his eye. Seems those ducks have been tearing up, both his and the neighbors gardens and he wanted rid of them bad.

So he did a DriveBy on me and I'm now the proud new owner of 4 fat white ducks. They're cute as hell and I moved my 2 others in with them yesterday to make 1 big happy family.

No pictures yet but I'll get some up in the next few days.

Hopefully after I get this computer sorted out and working right again.

Off to fight the Zombie Hordes in the ER today.

Gratuitous Picture for a Wednesday Morning-

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday Computer Crash..........

Some kind of virus got into the computer earlier today and has seriously screwed things up. Still not sure how it got past all of the security shit I have running, but damn if it didn't.

It was some kinda fake anti-virus shit that kept trying to redirect my browser to some porno website and wouldn't allow AVG antivirus, SpyBot, Windows Defender or the other website scanner that's supposed to catch these things before they get in to open at all.

I disconnected the modem and shut shit down and went out and pulled weeds in the garden for a few hours and came back and opened up one of the other profiles and got avg to work and scanned the whole computer. It found it but wouldn't delete it or quarantine it unless I did a "Power User" option, which I did.
Now the damn thing won't open my profile when I try to log on.


Don't know what the hell I'm gonna do now.
It appears that all of my files, pictures and what not are all there, but I just can't get logged on to my area.
It's gonna piss me off if I lose all of my bookmarks. I haven't backed that shit up in a month or two and I'm not sure that I can figure out how to get it back up anyway.

I'm not the most computer savvy guy out there.

Oh well. I fixed the damn plumbing and refrigerator problems this morning, so I should be glad of that I guess. Gonna have to find me a Geek to help me sort this problem out.

I'm thinking maybe there ought to be a bounty or letters of Marque let out on dickheads who do this shit.

Gonna go call a guy who may be able to help me fix this crap.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just a Quick Thing.......

Via Doug Ross, This -

Think about this, Kids.
No. Seriously, Think about this.
This is the war that isn't finished yet.

Night all.

I Don't Like Mondays.......

Maybe not that much. But that was probably as good a reason as any for doing what that little girl did and as good a reason for writing a song, too.

I was pretty close to blowing a gasket myself a short while ago. The wife, QueenBuffness, tells me that there is some water leaking around the refrigerator. Hmmmmm, not good. I pull it out and investigate and can't find anything wrong.

Shit. Sometimes it's better to find something wrong so you can fix it. Nothing.
I'm wondering if maybe it's because the friggin' Air conditioning, which was dicked up all weekend just raised the humidity level enough to screw things up with the fridge.


Shit, I still don't know. Of course, the Queen wanted the fridge put back where it goes, while I wanted to leave it out and see if I could see where it was may be leaking from. You all know how that went, right?

While I was pushing it back in place I must have pushed a little to hard -

Yeah, "Don't know my own strength." I snapped off the water line to the ice maker on the fridge.

Right BELOW the shutoff valve!

Oh shit!! This is where things kinda took on the, Three Stooges- I love Lucy effect. Would'a been funny if it was some other sorry SOB's problem.

I made a mad dash through the garage, picking up a couple of tools on the way and ran out to the front yard and shut off the water main to the house.

I must say I got this done in record time. But Damn! There was a fountain spewing all over the place the whole time.

What a friggin' mess. Must'a been 10 gallons of water on the floor when I got back in the house. So we got every towel, T-shirt, Rag, etc and began slopping up the damn mess.

Worst part is - I have ALMOST everything I need to fix it on hand.


And of course, It's 5 minutes to closing time for anyplace that has the one fitting I need and we're 25 minutes from town.
Shit again!

So, no shower for me tonight. Thankfully, we keep a supply of water handy, so coffee will be available in the morning before I run into town for the part I need.
It's good to be Prepped.
Wish I was just a bit more prepped for Plumbing supplies. One piece short.
Story of my life.
There's a joke there but I'm gonna let it go. Family sorta site and all that.

Anyway, y'all can laugh at my shortcomings tonight.

And I still don't know where the original water leak was coming from. I damn sure hope it wasn't something expensive wrong with the fridge. I've spent a ton more cash than I really can afford this week fixing shit around here.
Just about tapped out.

Oh well. I still have a job and that's a damn site better than a lot of folks these days so at least I will be able to get things fixed as needed and still have a house to stay in.

Sometimes ya gotta focus on the positives. That's a little easier now that I have all that damn water up off the floor.
I have to say I was getting quite creative there for a few minutes when it came to the use of swear words.

It's a gift I guess.

I guess I'll go lay my nasty ass down now without a shower and fix this in the morning. The good news is I can fix this and have the water back on pretty quick.
Hopefully, there's nothing seriously wrong with the fridge because I don't know shit about fixing that.

Off to the back yard to take a piss now. Damn it's good to live in the country!
Gratuitous Picture for a Monday Night-
(Click picture to embigginate)

Monday Roundup............

Was away from this place for a few days there. Sorry, just a ton of shit to do around the compound.

Picking and processing Green Beans and Blackberries right now. So here's a few interesting things to read while I work my old ass off in the hot Sun-
Starship Troopers stuff here. Sci-Fi to reality.
US Army trials Iron Man super-trooper exoskeleton
"A powered exoskeleton suit designed to let soldiers march and fight carrying huge loads of weaponry, equipment and armour is to enter testing with the US Army."
Cool shit there.

Uncle Ted Nugent on the "Department of Injustice"
"With each passing day, common sense and the free market take a beating by big-government Marxists and the Mao Zedong fan club in the District of Clowns who believe feeding the bloated, ineffective Fedzilla is the right course for America. If Thomas Jefferson were alive today, he surely would call for an armed revolution."
I can't argue with him.

Interesting take on the Obama VS Arizona lawsuit here. Law of unintended consequences maybe?
HARTWELL: Obama lawsuit invites fortified state militia
"Arizona has enacted a law that enables state and local police to support fed- eral immigration en- forcement, in a care- fully circumscribed manner. This moderate statute is under vicious attack by the Obama administration and assorted amnesty advocates. Yet Arizona and her sister states in the Southwest could take dramatically stronger actions to bring order to the border. And they would have both history and the Constitution on their side."
This could get interesting.

Stormbringer reminds us once again
Why Thomas Jefferson was so great
"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."
Seriously, you gonna argue with that?

This Shit makes me wonder just when we can start building gallows for some of these treasonous bastards?
From Wired comes this-
"U.S. spy agencies, the State Department and the White House had a collective panic attack Friday over a new Washington Post exposé on the intelligence-industrial complex. Reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin let it drop Monday morning.

It includes a searchable database cataloging what an estimated 854,000 employees and legions of contractors are apparently up to. Users can now to see just how much money these government agencies are spending and where those top secret contractors are located."

Hey! Remember how it was such a Big Fucking Deal when Bob Novak outed Valerie Plame?
Once again, the fucktards in the media endanger lives and security.
It's getting close to,Nut Cutting Time for some of these assholes.

Gratuitous Picture for a Monday Afternoon-
Geography. If you're lucky, there will be a test.

(as always, click to embigginate picture.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hot Fun in the Summertime.......

Gotta love, Sly and the Family Stone.

Gonna be hotter around the "GrumpyUnk Command and Control Bunker" today.

The A/C took a dump. I could live without it but the wife wouldn't be to keen on the idea.
Well, looks like the savings account takes another unexpected hit.

We'll all have to get used to not having a lot of luxuries like A/C when the Cap and Trade taxes kick in.
Remember when our Dear Leader said this? "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket." (January 2008)

So keep that in mind and watch how that never gets mentioned in the upcoming push for, Cap and Trade.

Let's just go back to Sly and the Family Stone-

Hell, here's another great Summertime Song that brings back all kind of memories-

Great Band.

Gratuitous Picture for a Thursday Morning-

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Battle of Britain.......

This is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

I just found This Website That is running a day by day account of that battle and wanted to share it with you. If you're a WWII junky like I am you should enjoy it.

I just went back to the beginning and started reading from there even though I've read at least 5-6 books about this battle, I wanted to get back up to speed.

If you're not familiar with just what happened or just how close WWII was to having a different conclusion, I'd say you should jump on now and follow along.

I know I am.

Gratuitous Picture for a Wednesday Evening-
Seriously, who wouldn't want to live at a place called this-

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gunny Hartman and a Moose Giving Birth..........
What do those 2 have in common? Not a damn thing. Just a couple of things I spotted today.

My Daughter told me about this commercial the other day as she knows I love the Gunny-

I want to be just like him when I grow up!

Here's a cool series of pictures of a Moose giving birth in some guys backyard in Alaska.
Moose Calf Birth.
Pretty cool pictures.

Gratuitous Picture for a Tuesday Evening-

Rainy Tuesday..........
We've got a nice soft steady rain coming down here this morning and that's a good thing.
The garden and all of the crops around here could use a drink.

The lawn will go back into sprint mode again but ya gotta take the good with the bad.

Here's a nice video of Gene Simmons saluting our Troops for ya-

I've never been much of a KISS fan, but it's nice to see a celebrity who doesn't hate America paying tribute to our Service Members.

Ol Remus of The Woodpile Report, has this great poster up-

He also has a great Mini Manifesto by Francis Porretto, that I was gonna link to the other day and forgot to.

You should take a few moments and go read it. Food for thought, as it were.

Well, seems there's more from Porretto today, too.
Like most everything he writes, this is worthy of your time.

Gotta go get some work done around here now.

Gratuitous Picture for a Tuesday Morning-
"Somewhere, Over the Rainbow........"

(Click photo to embiggenate)

Friday, July 09, 2010

New Tractor at the Compound.........

I've gone through 2 tractor projects in the time I've been here at, "The GrumpyUnk Command and Control Bunker". The first was a 1947 Farmall H and the 2nd was a 1950 Allis Chalmers WD.

I'm not into total restoration and parade pretty tractors. I just want them to start easy, run well and that sort of thing. Crappy paint and dented up sheet metal is ok by me as long as everything works.

Not having a tractor around here is an inconvenience at times and using the Zero Turn lawn machine to cut the pasture and rough ares around is miserable on my back and likely to shorten the service life of that machine too.

So I set out to find something.
Well, here's what we ended up getting. A 1954 Ferguson TO 30.

Yep, came with a Bush Hog, a Grader Blade and a Lift Boom.

Like any old tractor, there's a few quirks and things to get corrected, but it's a pretty solid tractor, all in all.

My Friend and Co-Worker, KidK, was kind enough to round up a trailer and haul this thing home for me.

These Kids take good care of me and Damn if I don't appreciate 'em.

Today I found one thing I somehow missed when I went to check it out originally - One of the rear rims is badly rusted and is gonna need to be replaced.

It's plain as day to see, so I have no clue how I missed it. Had I seen it, I probably could have negotiated enough to cover the cost of a rim.

Ouch. My bad for not seeing it.
Rusted rims are one of those fundamental things to check when buying an old tractor. Knowing this, I have no excuse for missing it.
Oh well. It costs you when you don't pay attention.

It's a good running tractor. Starts easy, no smoke & all of the important stuff works.

Ordered an Operators manual, Shop Manual and Parts Book, along with an oil filter cartridge this morning.

I have zero experience with one of these tractors so having the manuals is vital. Hell, having the manuals is vital when you have to work on them anyway. Getting and having the proper info on hand saves you a ton of frustration and time.

I took it out and cut a bit with it this morning and I can see that the Bush Hog is gonna need some adjustment and maintenance too.
You kind of expect that and we'll get things tightened up.

This is nice little tractor and about the right size for my little place.
I'll have to start looking for some implements as money allows.
A Rotovator, disk, plow, post hole digger and a small wagon/trailer of some kind to move shit around would be nice.

I got my lazy ass out to the barn today and resumed the cleanup I had started a couple of weeks ago and made a pretty good dent in the mess.

At least I can park this thing out of the rain now.

Kinda looking forward to going through this thing and fixing it up. It's been awhile.

So that's the big news from here.

Gratuitous Picture for a Friday Afternoon-

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Bought an Old Tractor This Evening........

An old Ferguson T30. About the same age as me. It's late and I will update ya Friday as I have to work tomorrow.

Has a bush hog and a couple of other implements too.

Stay tuned.

Gratuitous Picture-
Range Report.........

Good Training session last night. MiniD ran ParamedicKid and I through a whole bunch of technical things. Malfunction drills, offhand, one hand pistol and the like.

I need more pistol time that's for sure. After not practicing much on the pistol for awhile I reverted to some of my former bad habits. Back to square one and a bit of remedial training was needed.
I did nail a bowling pin at 50 yards with the pistol and that made me happy. No, I'm NOT gonna tell ya how many rounds it took!

I'm damn lucky to have a friend like MiniD who knows what he's doing & likes to teach morons like me.

Like today, the weather was hot and humid which made things a bit uncomfortable, but not bad.
A great time was had by all.

Gratuitous Picture for a Wednesday Morning-

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Range Time..........

Getting out with a couple of folks later for a little Rifle and Pistol training. I say training because MiniD will be in charge and he is all about making me a better shooter and a great teacher.

I'm looking forward to it.

Gratuitous Picture for a Tuesday Afternoon-

Tuesday Morning Link Dump...........

For your reading pleasure and edification.

Toaster has been busy with Some Alternative History, Rock Star Commentary and Independence Day posts. He's been on a roll lately.

As usual, Ol' Remus has some interesting things to read. I won't even comment on this stuff. You read it and decide for yourself-

Phase Shift

The National Debt: Apocalypse Now

Brigid, over at "Home on the Range", who I have a major crush on, has a biscuit recipe that I have to get QueenBuffness to make this week.
Check out yesterdays Bean recipe. Damn, she writes well too.

That'll give ya something to read as you screw off at work today!

Gratuitous Picture for a Tuesday-

Yep, Just Another Day in Paradise........

Here at "The GrumpyUnk Command and Control Bunker".

Where everyday is a holiday.
Every Meal is a Feast.
And every paycheck is like Winning the Lottery.

Another beautiful morning here in Southern Indiana. Got up early today and watched the Sun rise.

It's no wonder all of y'all wish you were me.

Gratuitous Picture for a Tuesday Morning-
Celebrate Diversity.

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Bryan Lee Show and Skips Place Review......

Part II-

As promised, here's the 2nd half of my "YerUnk Gets out of the house and goes someplace" review.

I already gushed about what a great singer and player, Bryan Lee is in the post below so I'm gonna focus on the venue in this post.

I'll just get it out of the way right now so there's no confusion, Skips Party Place is a Damn Treasure. If you were thinking this was gonna be an impartial, journalistic type review .......... You'd be wrong.
I don't think I've ever encountered a place where everyone was so damn friendly. Management, Staff, Former Staff, Patrons. Everyone.

Being that it was gonna be a bit of a ride to get up there, I called a couple of days before the show to make sure there were no changes and that everything was still as scheduled. As I found out a couple of days later, I spoke with the owner. He assured me that Bryan Lee was still scheduled and seemed sort of pleasantly surprised that I was gonna be coming up from so far away.

Like I said in the previous post, riding 220 miles for no good reason isn't unreasonable for me. Riding that far to see a good Blues Player ain't even a sacrifice. Rain and cold would have made it kind of a sacrifice but no big deal.

I knew that things were gonna be alright when I walked in and saw the decor-

You can't swing a dead cat in that place without hitting some kind of musical instrument!

The walls are covered with cool old shit.

I took that as a good omen right off.

I arrived around 3-4pm or so and after getting a beer and looking around some, I asked the Barkeeper a series of questions like - "Is there an ATM anywhere close?" He pointed behind me and sure as hell, there was one I hadn't even seen right there . "You guys serve food?"- He pointed to the sign where the kitchen was!
OK. This was going real well so I asked him- "How much is it gonna cost to see the show later?" - He was having fun with me by this time and says "If you're here before 7pm it won't cost you anything." I must have had a dumber than usual look on my face, because he then said, "It's $5 bucks cover after 7pm."

There were 2 guys sitting at the bar just laughing along with this and right then I knew this was gonna be a good night.
Of those 2, one of them was the Doorman, Steve and the other was a former Barkeeper. Unfortunately, I missed his name. He took the time though to give me a bit of a tour of the place and pointed out some of the more interesting things I might have missed otherwise. There's so much shit hanging on the walls you can spend a lot of time looking around and still overlook some cool stuff.

I left and secured myself a room for the night at a cheap but clean motel. Nothing fancy but good enough for my cheapass self.

After getting that done and grabbing a bite to eat I headed back to Skips.
I made sure to get myself there early to stake out a good seat to see the show from. Unfortunately for Skip and Bryan Lee, that wasn't really necessary. The place never did fill up.
I was sorta surprised by that. Skips has great Blues every Wednesday night. Seemed like a damn shame that more people weren't taking advantage of this great venue and practically cost free opportunity to see great talent right there in NE Indiana.

Hell, even the beer was reasonably priced.

Around 7pm or so more staff started showing up to handle the show crowd.
That's when I got one of the biggest surprises of the night. The Waitress came walking in and I damn near had a case of the Vapors. She is the spitting image of my Wife 30 years ago! I mean it was like something out of the "Twilight Zone". I seriously thought I'd hit a portal to some kind of time warp or something.

It was very weird.
Cool, but weird.

She was extremely nice (and beautiful of course or I wouldn't have married her) and a very good Waitress, but I definitely had a bit of Cognitive Dissonance from the whole- "Wife 2.0" experience everytime I talked to her.
I briefly tried to tell her about the whole similarity thing, but I think she may have thought, "This Creepy Bastard is trying to hit on me" and I let it go. She didn't act like she figured me for some Creep
, but I could see how it could have crossed her mind.

Freaked me the hell out anyway.

The Boss came over and introduced himself and asked if I was the same guy he'd spoken with on the phone. He insisted that I let him take my Motorcycle helmet so he could stash it behind the bar. Asked me if there was anything I needed and seemed genuinely pleased that I had made it up to the show.
Nice guy. Provided some beers on the house and made sure I had everything I needed.

Not the kind of service one normally sees. Especially, given to a stranger. Says a lot about the man. But I saw that same attitude from everyone who worked there.

Skip, must have told Byran Lee's wife about the crazy guy who rode 220 miles to see Bryan play as she gave me an autographed copy of the CD that they were selling! I was planning on buying one and told her so, but she insisted I get one.

That was very cool and very nice of them. But I got the impression right away, that
both Mr and Mrs Lee are just genuine nice folks.

Some serious Blues fans frequent, Skips and damn if I wouldn't be there regularly if I lived closer.

This big dude named, Bear, who is a damn good photographer, gave me a couple nice pictures of Bryan Lee that he'd taken at one of the previous shows at Skips. Nice! I took my camera with me and never even took a single picture. The lightning wasn't enough for that cheap piece of shit camera of mine so I'm thankful for, The Bear's pictures.

This Guy was sitting with Bear and his lovely wife through the show and was another nice fella to enjoy a show with.

So all in all, I got nothing but good things to say about Skips. If you're able to, get over there some Wednesday evening and check it out and hear some Blues while you're at it.

Here's a cool promo video of Bryan Lee-

Hell, here's another good one for ya-

OK, that's my story on Skips in Angola, Indiana.
Great place.
Great People.
Great Bands.
No bad seats and the Acoustics are good.

Oh yeah, and you can see what Queen Buffness looked like when I first met her.
That's worth the trip right there.

Gratuitous Picture for a Monday Night-
Another interior shot from Skips

Friday, July 02, 2010

The Bryan Lee Show and Skips Place Review......
Part I

As promised in the post below, you all get an O-fish-al, "YerUnk Gets Out of the House and Goes Someplace" Review.

A little background first. As much as I like music and the Blues in particular, I don't follow the music scene at all and haven't in years.
I'm kinda stuck in place and have been for a long time. There's so many good old Blues players that following all the new folks (and being able to afford all of the music) just hasn't happened since about 1985.
Just how it is.

When Pandora Radio came along a few years ago I jumped on it and enjoy it a bunch.

And one of the reasons I enjoy it is the artists they will include that you've never heard of before.

THAT'S how I first came to hear, Bryon Lee. Pandora radio. If for no other reason than that, you may want to check it out. Hell, It's free. Not like you're spending any money for it.

I immediately liked all of the songs that they played of Bryon Lee & I ended up buying a couple of his CD's from Amazon and liked everything on them.

I started checking in at his website Braille Blues Daddy and watching show dates.

Me being me, I missed him when he was in Indy last Fall and also missed a couple of other halfway close shows.

So when I saw he was gonna be up in Northeast Indiana and that I was not gonna be working it was road trip time.

The ride to get to the show ended up being about 220 miles. Sounds like a lot if you're not a motorcycle rider. Not so much for a guy who rode almost 400 miles out of his way to see, "The Worlds Largest Ball of Twine". It's in Kansas if you're interested.

Doesn't matter. 220 miles was worth it to see this Band.
Hot Damn, Skippy! One of the best shows I've seen in a long time.

The venue, Skip's Party Place is so good I'm gonna do a review of just it in what will be Part II, Monday or so.

Ok, where to begin......... May as well give ya the bad news first.
The show started an hour later than planned due to some kind of transportation SNAFU.

Mr Bryan Lee is totally blind and can't drive himself so he and his lovely wife arrived an hour late and the show kicked off at 9:05 instead of the scheduled 8:00.

The good news: They didn't stop playing till 12:45 with only one break in there to make up for it.

The Band Members John Perkins on Drums, Brent Johnson on guitar and the Bassist, who's name I missed (Not the same guy on the link above.) worked as a solid unit once things started rolling.

Bryan settled in and strapped on a big black Gibson Flying V and the Music just flowed from there.

He's an Old Skool player who gets a hell of a lot of emotion and sound from fewer notes and smooth slick transitions up & down the neck than just blazing speed. And he bends the hell out of those strings. Wow!

Brent Johnson, the other guitarist, is a Guitar Slinger extraordinaire and could easily front a band on his own. Bryan let him off the leash right off the bat and the kid ran all over the neck of that Gibson making smoke.

The 2 of them traded leads and rhythm back and forth all night and the contrasting styles really made things move.
They really compliment each other and as the show went on it just got better.
Towards the end of the show, Brent strapped on a Gibson SG and let 'er rip on some serious slide playing. Now I love me some slide guitar and that kid really cut loose.

The Bassist was playing a crazy looking DanElectro bass and he was rock solid. I was told by Bryans' Lovely Wife, that he'd only been with the band for 4-5 weeks but he sounded like he'd been there a lot longer than that.

Drummer John Perkins, playing a no nonsense minimal kit, carried things rhythmically just perfect. All the beats at all the right times.
He was smiling all night and singing along (no mike, just having a good time) as he played.

There were a lot of smiles among the band members throughout the show and it seemed like they were all having a good time while making some fabulous music.

Check this guy and his band out if you're a Blues Fan and try to see him live if he's anywhere close. You won't be disappointed.

You have an "Oh-Fish-al YerUnk 2 Thumbs Up" guarantee on quality and fun.

Not the same band here, but here's his signature song with an example of how guitarists interplay.

I'll have a review of the Venue, "Skips Party Place" Monday, because it deserves a write up on it's own.

Here's another video that shows a bit of Brent Johnson's Chops-

Gotta get ready to head to the ER and fight the Zombie Hordes, Kids. Have a good weekend.

Gratuitous Picture for a Saturday Morning-

That's a Bluesman there.

Hey it's Good to be Back Home Again........

Great little road trip. Had a very nice ride up and back. I'm thankful that so many folks consider this "Flyover Country". It's haying time and the fields are cut with windrows of hay waiting for the baler.
Absolutely beautiful.

Got home yesterday afternoon but needed to jump right off TheBigBluePlasticMotorcycle and into the little blue truck and run to a friends place to retrieve the Rototiller and then run it somewhere else before I could relax from the trip.

That total round trip equaled about 170 miles. Added to the 220 miles of getting home earlier in the day made for a long day and a hell of a lot of pretty scenery.

I'll post a review of the Bryon Lee show and the fabulous venue, "Skips Party Place" later today.
I have a date with the lawn mower this morning that I had best get after right now.

Here's a preview for ya.
Check out that young kid on the other guitar. Two different styles that compliment each other perfectly.