zephyr illusions photo by donna October 1992. The view atop Chasseral, Jura Mountains looking across Switzerland to The Alps on the horizon. Fog, intensely thick, rising from Lac Bienne and stretching its fingers high onto the Lignières-Plateau de Diesse after wholly filling the valley below the plateau.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Covered Bridge of Perry County

On the way to breakfast the other day, i stopped to snap some photos of Rice's Bridge, near Landisburg, Perry County, Pennsylvania, USA. pretty and practical structure, isn't it?

"This bridge is located in Tyrone Twp., on Kennedy Valley Road. It crosses Sherman's Creek. The bridge was built in 1869. It is 132 feet long and 18 feet wide."

"The construction of the bridge is unusual; it uses a combination of Queenpost trusses and Burr-arch trusses. Beneath the large burr-arch are located 2 small Queenpost trusses."

'k, no more jokes about bad women drivers!

"Discovery was just 600 feet beneath the station when Commander Eileen Collins manually steered the shuttle's nose up and slowly flipped the spacecraft over."

even though reported to be unprecedented, i wonder if Commander Collins, the first woman pilot of a Space Shuttle, had practiced this manoeuver during training sessions? sure sounds like awesome flying to me.

Time For A New Starship

as much as i support the space program and think the space shuttles are cool, isn't it time for the NASA to finally and permanently ground the out-dated space crafts? surely, technology has advanced greatly since the shuttles were first introduced.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Yay... got a room booked with Amsterdam hotel

i am very pleased.... even though the city is nearly totally booked due to the annual IBC conference & exhibition, i was able to draw upon my own experience in hotel management and charm the manager of my first choice of hotels into having a room available for me when i make my visit to Amsterdam in September. i am delighted to say that i have a confirmed reservation for a typical amsterdam single room with a view of beautiful Vondelpark.
Bedankt to that very nice and understanding hotelier for making me a happy camper :)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

MP3 of Tsunami Earthquake

click here to hear 26 December 2004 earthquake off coast of Sumatra.

source story

Sounds Like A Sci-Fi Story....

... "It appeared to be a cold-vent, or cold-seep, ecosystem, fed by chemical energy from the Earth, rather than one driven by photosynthesis from the sun or hot emissions rising from inside the planet. Domack said the likely energy source was methane from deep underwater vents raked open by receding glaciers.
"It looked like a thin slice of cheese had been laid over the sea floor. Sporadically placed, there were mud mounds, little volcanoes, 2- to 3-feet high and several feet across, spewing out fluid and mud particles," Domack said.
Surrounding the mud volcanoes were clusters of large clams. The ecosystem covered about a 3-square-mile area.
" ...

... but, it's not Sci-Fi. it's life right here on Earth.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Goal Is Soul

photo courtesy of my friend Timotheus in Holland; U2@ Amsterdam, 15 July 2005

I dig Gretsch guitars.... i love the look of those big-bodied guitars with f-holes. they sure got a great sound, too. just ask any of these musicians.
As a longtime fan of U2, i drool over this beauty. the price..... USD $3600 (€3000 EUR).

The Power of Our Minds

"It's almost as if there were two styles or two variables and they are complementary," Dunne said. "(The masculine style) is associated with intentionality. The (feminine style) seems to be associated more with resonance."

it's no wonder that government intelligence, defense and space agencies have shown interest in this.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Stashed Silverware Uncovered From Ashes

interesting story,

but how does it go from this...
"The hand-crafted goblets, plates and trays had been bundled into a wicker basket by an inhabitant fleeing the erupting Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD."

to this...
"One man bundled his family silverware into a wicker basket and ran for his life."

what indicates the inhabitant to be a family man?

Just Might Make It As A Groupie, After All :)

i began going to concerts in 1973 or '74 and one of the first concerts i attended was headlined by Dutch rock band Golden Earring. i can't remember for sure (bad memory), but i think KISS was the opening act for the show i saw. this was shortly after Radar Love became a big hit in the USA. that show rocked and Golden Earring was awesome!
i've been a fan of Golden Earring over the years and one of the things i want to do during my European holiday is to see Golden Earring play a gig in The Netherlands. Golden Earring has been actively rocking for 40 years and have a large following in Europe so i thought i'd send the Earring a fanmail telling them that a longtime fan from America is hoping to get lucky and find a way to get a ticket to their show in Zevenbergen, Holland before the show sells out. (Golden Earring seems to sell out all their shows, they are that popular.) because Golden Earring is openly very appreciative of their fans, i was reasonably certain that i'd receive some sort of nice acknowledgment of my fanmail.

WooHooo! not only did Golden Earring send me a very nice reply thanking me for being a fan over the years.....
not only does this mean that i will have a VIP pass for guaranteed admission to the gig waiting for me at the box office, i'm also invited to meet the band after the show!!! the tour manager told me that he would personally see that!
i am totally psyched! :)

btw, did you know that the original coverart for the classic album 'Moontan' was banned in the USA & Canada and was released in North America with this not-as-pretty coverart.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

we are so full of shit, but.....

it's reassuring to know that humanity can turn really insanely crappy situations around and find ways to create some small, but not insignificant, positive and productive results.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I Love My Apple Pobo

It was only about 4 or 5 years ago that i was turned on to the wonderful world of home computers. pretty much right from the beginning, i wanted a laptop. i loved the notion of having a small portable machine that would give me access to a world of information, allow me to communicate instantly with international friends and process & store my own data files. i also wanted a durable laptop that i could easily slip into a backpack and travel.
a few weeks ago i treated myself to what i consider to be my dream machine.... 12" Powerbook G4 with SuperDrive.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

"We Pass Each Other On The Stairs"

a post on my long-time fav podcast, The Rock And Roll Geek Show about one of those ridiculous (imvho) reality competition TV shows reminded me of how great a band was INXS during the 80's and 90's. INXS has produced some great songs that very gracefully and successfully bridge the gap between pure Rock and commercial Pop. INXS's songs are notable because they are well-written pieces that blend strong melodic tunes peppered with catchy hooks and powerful, thoughtful and meaningful lyrics.
but, even more important to the success of INXS is the fact that they were an awesome live performance band. accomplished musicianship and the incredibly breathtaking charm and charisma of frontman Michael Hutchence was what made INXS unique and a band worthy of much well-earned success.
i saw INXS in the mid-80’s when they played some gigs at a small, but popular, club in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. i’m not sure, but i think it might have been during one of INXS’s first major tours of the USA.
INXS was truly awesome.
there was something indescribably mesmerizing about Michael Hutchence. he exuded not only sexuality but also sensuality and the man had a voice that seem to know no range and was somewhere beyond emotion. Michael's stage presence had an ethereal quality. sometime about halfway into that evening's show, i realised that Michael had every woman in the house wanting him and the men didn’t care as they seemed to be in awe of the power Michael poured forth from stage. i feel privileged to have experienced INXS live in a small and intimate club.
good luck to INXS in trying to replace one of the most talented and awe-inspiring frontmen the music biz has ever seen. i won't be watching that competition TV show.... i know it's rather fruitless to think Michael's place behind the mic with INXS can be filled, but i guess it is good exposure to put INXS back in the spotlight, again.

just wondering if the winner of the competion will be able to write hauntingly beautiful and profoundly insightful lyrics such as this....

The Stairs
In a room above a busy street
The echoes of a life
The fragments and the accidents
Separated by incidents
Listened to by the walls
We share the same spaces
Repeated in the corridors
Performing the same movements

Storey to storey,
Building to building,
Street to street,
We pass each other on the stairs
Storey to storey,
Building to building,
Street to street,
We pass each other on the stairs
Listened to by the walls
We share the same spaces
Repeated in the corridors
Performing the same movements

The nature of your tragedy
Is chained around your neck
Do you lead or are you led
Are you sure that you don’t care
There are reasons here to give your life
And follow in your way
The passion lives to keep your faith
Though all are different, all are great
Climbing as we fall
We dare to hold on to our fate
And steal away our destiny
To catch ourselves with quiet grace

Storey to storey,
Building to building,
Street to street,
We pass each other on the stairs
Listened to by the walls
We share the same spaces
Repeated in the corridors
Performing the same movements
Storey to storey,
Building to building,
Street to street,
We pass each other on the stairs

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I'm Ready for Another Dream Like This One......

while cleaning up some files, i came across something i wrote in Spring 2004.
wow, this is one of the best dreams i can remember ever having. i also remember that i woke up feeling alive and energetic and very content with life that morning. that dream was so good that i just gotta post it here :)

Running Free.....Like The Wind

i was with a couple of friends (guys) and a couple of my sisters... we were out walking... enjoying getting across a beautiful country park and gardens.... seeing everything we could see before the end of the day... we decided it would be better if we walked faster as we explored all along the way, so we began to trot.... then we began to jog... then we began to run.... it was fun... we were running and seeing lots of stuff.... getting closer to being at the other side of the park by the end of day when darkness would close in and we wouldn't see much of all the cool stuff around us.... i discovered that if we shed our clothing and shoes we could run faster ...(my sister was in her evening gown and heels??! lol).... we were running barefoot and free of constricting clothing…. as we ran faster and faster, the park filled with natural wonders..... we came to a pond covered in water lilies and i was running so fast i was in the middle of the pond in water up to my neck before i could stop.... i thought of alligators and turned as fast as i could and tried to swim quietly and very quickly to shore where i had entered the pond (even though it was just as far across to the unknown shore)..... all was well and i caught up with my friends and sisters.... one of my sisters said that if she braided my hair, i would be able to run even faster because it wouldn't get in my eyes and blind my vision.... i said ‘ok’ and we took a really quick break while she and one of the friends braided my hair with beautiful pastel-colored ribbons intertwined (it looked great!).... a wind came up as they were doing my hair so they had to fight it a bit but they were able to braid my hair with great success.....we began running again and i was in the lead because i was running like the wind....the ribbons dangled a bit at the ends and fluttered in the breeze as i ran....i liked it... it wasn't distracting at all, but like a challenge to get the colorful ribbons to flutter in my field of vision.... they looked like a rainbow and i was running along it...
i can't remember anything specific that happened next... except my clock radio went off waking me up to some unrecognizable hard music......woulda liked to have stayed running in that dream.....it was fun and i saw soooooooo much along the way

morning, 13 may 2004

Monday, July 11, 2005

Dusting Off My Passport

over the last few days, i've been doing some research and planning for a long-looked-forward-to European vacation. i had planned to visit The Netherlands and Belgium for 2 weeks in September 2004. but, just days before my scheduled departure, Hurricane Frances decided to visit my old Florida neighborhood and shut things down. (btw, those 8 days and 7 nights without electricity... in hot, humid Florida... profoundly reminded me and reinforced with me the high level of reliance we have on electricity. as a friend of mine said, "electricity is civilization".... hmmmm, this idea reminds me of ice and Paul Theroux's 'The Mosquito Coast', but that's a whole other train of thought...)

so now, i am eagerly looking forward to making my long awaited trip to Holland and Belgium :) but, this time around i'm going to make the trip a bit longer and more extensive since i am currently without obligation to any employer or anybody/thing else. because most Americans (unlike our civilized European friends who enjoy a minimum of 3 weeks holiday time) are lucky to receive even 1 week paid vacation from their employer, my initial thought was to try and squeeze as much of Europe as i can see into only 3-4 weeks before returning to the workforce.... here's the driving intinerary i was thinking of doing...

Amsterdam - Utrecht - Brussels - Bordeaux - Narbonne - Neuchatel - Milan - Amsterdam

that's 5 countries and about 4,200 kilometres (~2300 miles). hmmmmm, probably a do-able drive in 3 weeks, but i wasn't sure. so, i asked an European friend who has done some travelling and driving around these parts of the world if i was being too ambitious. hehehe, my friend giggled at my oh-so-typical American attitude that Europe can be "done" quickly. he gently reminded me that Europe is best appreciated when given enough time to experience.

he's right, of course. Europe is far from homogeneous and it would be a shame to speed through all the diverse culture, ancient history, beautiful geography and rich and varied cuisines without stopping long enough to see, taste, hear and smell all that which i want to experience.
so, guess i won't treat my European holiday as though it were a cross-country USA marathon. lol

guess i'll spend some time exploring Amsterdam's museums and galleries, admiring the architecture and checking out some nightlife.
next, i'll make Utrecht my home base for checking out some historical sites, exploring the countryside and catching a Golden Earring gig :)
then will be a wandering drive through Belgium and France with the Dordogne Valley as my destination before making my way back to Amsterdam for another night or two before catching the flight home.

i'd love to hop over to Switzerland and say hello to some old friends before heading over The Alps to set my feet upon Italia and hear the most musical language upon my ears, but i suppose i should save that for another adventure. hehe, or maybe not...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Flower Power

what's the name of a man's corsage (spelling?) of a single flower, most often a chrysanthemum or rose, worn on the lapel?
my mind has gone blank :/

buttoneer? i cannot get the correct spelling.
aaagggghh, frustrating....it's a French word.... please, anybody out there, help me? :)

'Pobre de mi'

The annual festival of San Fermín kicked off yesterday and today began The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Some say the event is barbaric and cruel. maybe so, but i say it is more about Spanish history, culture and tradition.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Fly the Friendly Skies

forget 1st class, this is how i wanna fly
bet it's quiet, but i wonder how much runway it needs for take-off?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

What/Who do 'Benefit Concerts' benefit?

Sir Bob Geldof's recent Live 8 Benefit Concert got me to wondering if these very popular benefit concerts really make any difference. i suppose they are a means to draw attention to humanistic issues, but do they bring any real solutions to the humanitarian causes which they are intended to address?

every time a new benefit concert is announced, i always think back to the first one i can remember (and as far as i know, the original) ..... The Concert for Bangladesh

winds of change...

... have blown me back to my native home of southcentral Pennsylvania (that's in northeastern USA, for those around the world who may not know) after 15 years away,
back to the place where i always thought i wanted to leave.
funny how green the grass suddenly has become
in my old stomping grounds,
countryside so reassuringly familiar,
yet, in many ways,
intriquingly, even strangely, new.
time away sure has a way of giving
fresh perspective and appreciation
for what one once took for granted.