Homer's Travels: July 2017

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I Found A Strange Head ...

On Monday, after sleeping in after the awesome Paul McCartney concert and eating our fill at Lisa's Radial Cafe, the Matron of Honor, Best Man, the Wife, and I headed to Walnut, Iowa.  Walnut's claim to fame is a large number of antique stores running up and down the short main street.

While a few places were closed on Monday there was enough open for everyone to find something to buy.  I bought a man head shaped rattle/noise maker that is probably haunted.  I passed it by a couple time before I grew tired of it calling to me and I went back and bought the strange little head to shut it up.

After returning from Walnut we went out to eat at the awesome Benson Brewery for a very tasty dinner.

I haven't had such a nice day for quite awhile and it was ... refreshing.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Music: Sir Paul McCartney

On Sunday the Wife and I, along with the Matron of Honor and Best Man visiting from Minnesota, went to our last concert of the summer: Sir Paul McCartney.

This was an amazing concert.  The warm up was a DJ playing covers of Beatles' and Wings' songs which is a new one for me.  This definitely put me in the mood for what was to come.

McCartney and his band (only four members - guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums) came out shortly after 8:00pm and proceeded to play for three solid hours with only a short two to three minute break before the encore.  The band did have a few breaks when McCartney did solo renditions but he didn't take any breaks himself - remarkable for a seventy-five year old performer.  Near the end of the concert his voice was getting a little raspy but he still sounded great.

His sets were a nice mix of Beatles, Wings, and solo material.  In between songs he told stories to the crowd about the old days, Jimi Hendrix, and the Rolling Stones.  He sang tributes to John Lennon and George Harrison.  He played my favorite Beatles' song ("Let It Be") but he left off my second favorite ("Long and Winding Road").  A wonderful set.

Back in the USSR with Paul McCartney.
This was one of the best concerts I've had the pleasure of attending.  It was right up there with the Eagles which was my favorite.  When it comes to length and number of songs performed, McCartney is at the top of the heap.  An awesome experience.

Photos can be found in my 2017-07-23 Paul McCartney Concert Google Photos album.  (This is the first post using Google Photos for all photos.  Let me know if there are any issues.)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Moving Day Has Begun

Since I started Homer's Travels I have hosted my pictures on Flickr.  Flickr has changed hands a couple times since then.  First they were bought by Yahoo.  This year Yahoo was bought but Verizon.  In the twelve years I've used the service it has gone from one of the most popular photo sites to becoming a has been forgotten corner of the intertubes.  The culprit of this decline is social media.  People post pictures on Facebook and Instagram theses days.  This loss of popularity, along with the changing of corporate hands, has me a little nervous.  After some thought I have decided to copy all my photos from Flickr to Google Photos.

It's going to be a long process.  First I have to download all the Flickr photos.  This consists of downloading each album as a zip file - the format Flickr uses when downloading multiple files.  I happen to have three hundred and twenty one albums.  I spent most of the afternoon downloading and I'm not finished yet.

Next I will have to unzip and rename each file since Flickr adds a number string onto the filename of each photo.  This isn't that difficult since I have several programs for renaming files in bulk.

After that I have to upload the photos to Google Photos albums.  All eight thousand eight hundred and thirty of them.

Finally, after all the pictures have been uploaded and filed away into their proper albums, comes the hard part.  I have to go through all one thousand seven hundred and eighty six blog posts and change every link that connects to a picture, changing it from Flickr to Google Photos.  I think this will take the longest since I will have a large number of links to check.

I'm guessing it will take at least six months to finish the move.  It all depends on how gungho I am at tackling the job.  I'll let you know when I finish.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Music: Blondie With Garbage And X The Band

On Wednesday the Wife and I braved the 99℉ (37.2℃) temperatures and headed to Stir Cove for an evening of music.

We arrived a bit early to stake out a nice place on the grass in the open air venue.  It was HOT.  Fortunately water was available and it wasn't too bad if you didn't move too much.  When the first act came on stage the sun began to dip behind some horizon hugging clouds and the heat was moderated a bit.

The first act was half of X the Band.  The pair (Exene Cervenka and John Doe) did a short bluegrass set that was entertaining.

Shirley Manson, lead singer of Garbage.
Next on the stage was Garbage.  I was only familiar with a couple of their songs but I enjoyed their set.

Debbie Harry, lead singer of Blondie.
Last up was Blondie.  The band sounded great.  Lead singer Debbie Harry ... let's just say that her pipes haven't aged well. She came close at times but she just didn't have the range she had in her youth.  Having said this, for a person of seventy-two years she sounds pretty good.

So, in the end, this concert was entertaining but a bit below our expectations.

A few pictures can be found in my 2017-07-19 Blondie & Garbage Concert, Stir Cove, Council Bluffs, IA Google Photos album.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Another Year

Today is my birthday.  Another year has passed.  What an odd year it has been.  It has been an ongoing, low level, funk filled year of loss and disappointment that culminated in my walking off the Appalachian Trail (AT) after only a week.  Since then I've been a little lost.

Since I left the AT I have been a sedentary pile of lumpitude.  I haven't hiked since I left Blue Mountain Shelter and the idea of walking is unappealing to me now.  I've spent a lot of the past three months trying to figure out what was stopping me.  I thought it was the general crappiness of the past year that was bringing me down but this didn't ring true.  Then I figured it out.

I have been walking in earnest for the past ten years.  I started hiking in 2007 with the goal of hitting the best trails in the Ventura county area (The link in the original post probably doesn't work ... the fluidity of the internet).  2007 also happens to be the year when I first heard about the Camino de Santiago.  Since then I have hiked towards goals of one fashion or other.

First I hiked to complete the list of Ventura county hikes.  Then I hiked to prepare for my first Camino.  This transitioned to training for my second Camino, completing RAGBRAI, and hiking Rocky Mountain National Park.  All of this hiking combined together to prepare me for the AT (prepare me physically but not mentally).  For ten years I'd been working towards distant goals and now, with me walking off the AT, all my goals were finished - not meeting my last goal ended it all with a sour note.  When I got home I no longer had any hiking goals and without goals the motivation to hike withered.

So it's time to set new goals.  The first will be a simple one.  Trek Up the Tower.  I've done it before and it will give me a reasoned to get off my butt.  After that ... who knows.  I have a couple ideas of long hikes that are easier than the AT and closer to home.

I have already started training for Trek Up the Tower.  I'm riding my trainer nearly everyday.  I will start walking again some day.  Unfortunately it's been just too hot and humid to walk lately.

I am now fifty-four years old.  Let's see if I can make this a new start.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Anniversary Dinner Theater

For our twentieth anniversary, the Wife and I went out to eat in an ... interesting ... restaurant.

A raccoon soaking its front paws in a cool wading pool.
The Alpine Inn is a bar with food located north of the Florence area of Omaha.  It sits along a road that climbs through the woods in the rather beautiful Ponca Hills.  The Alpine Inn's claim to fame is not it's food but rather its unusual entertainment.  The restaurant feeds its scraps to raccoons.  As you eat you can watch the raccoons lounge around and take dips in the wading pool right outside the dining area.

We were concerned that the high temperatures we've been experiencing (95℉ - 35℃) would keep the raccoons away like it did with the Carlsbad's bats but the pool was just an irresistible draw for them.

The ambiance of the restaurant is shabby dive bar which is perfectly fine for us.  It had a quirky, biker bar, run down, yet comfortable feel to it with a friendly staff.

The menu is limited but is predominantly fried chicken-centric.  The Wife and I had the chicken dinner which consisted in a more than generous portion of fried chicken and potato wedges.  No silverware was provided which fits the place perfectly.  If you can't eat with your hands then why are you here?

Overall it was an experience full of good food and good nature filled entertainment.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Twenty Years ... Like A Blink Of The Eye

Happy twentieth wedding anniversary to the Wife.  You filled the last twenty years with love, happiness, and laughter and it went by, like all good things, in a blink of the eye.

Who knows what the next twenty will bring but I know it will be full of joy, wonder, and sunshine.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Music: Queen And Adam Lambert

Over the next couple weeks we will be going to three concerts.  The first, which was on Saturday, was Queen and Adam Lambert.

The stage was shaped like a guitar.
I have always been a big Queen fan and it kind of bums me out that I never saw the band when Freddie Mercury was still alive.  We saw one of the potential childhood homes of Freddie when we were in Zanzibar.  Adam Lambert, of American Idol fame, tried to fill his shoes and, in most part, he was successful.  I also like the Lambert announced early on that he knew he was not Freddie and this humility was refreshing.

The robot is the same from the "News of the World" album
which turns forty this year.
The music set was a mix of songs I knew well and a few I'd never heard before.  I have to admit I preferred the songs I knew.  The music was accompanied with a spectacular laser light show.  Parts were sung, via recording, by Freddie - a nice tribute to the rock legend.  I enjoyed the concert a little bit more than the Wife and I left very satisfied.

An homage to Freddie Mercury ... By Freddie Mercury.
I discovered a small coincidence about Queen and my brother.  They said the last time they performed in Omaha was in 1978.  I think this was when my brother saw them.  Kind of a nice set of bookends there.

As you can see I remembered to bring my camera this time. Pictures can be found in my 2017-07-08 Queen And Adam Lambert Concert, Centurylink Center, Omaha, NE Google Photos album.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy Fourth Of July!!!

We spent the weekend with the Mother-in-Law and family at Lake Cornelia followed by a trip up to Minneapolis to visit the Wife's cousins.

I hope everyone has a great Independence Day with family and friends.

A thirty second composite photograph of fireworks
launched from the shore of Lake Cornelia.

Happy 4th Everyone!!!