Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Radio City Spectacular - In Nashville

So, Hey, it's Christmas.  It doesn't matter to me if you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hannakah, Winter Solstice or the Start of Football Bowl Season, so I will wish you all a Happy Holiday - or non Holiday. Here in the South we have a myriad ways of celebrating this time of year (many of them include a non-light beer) but none of them is as spectacular as the annual visit from the Radio City Rockettes and their annual Christmas Spectacular. It's all part of the Holiday Celebration at the Opryland Hotel and at the Opry House. The Opry House is home to the long running Grand Old Opry Radio Show.

Started in 1933, the Radio City Christmas Show has been changed many times to not only meet demand, but to also celebrate it's own longevity.  This year marks the 80th anniversary and has been totally revamped with new music and stories.  1994 saw the first road show, in Branson, Missouri and along with other 'touring' groups, the Rockettes returns to Nashville year after year since 1997.

Another reason to visit Nashville during the Holidays.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Creepy Art in the Southern Winter

Regular readers will know that I take the bus to work. Between the bus stop and my building there are several art galleries. 4  in 1 block.  The other morning, in the pre-dawn dark, I came across one gallery with just one big installation. I had to take the shot you see above. The place was closed, but the installation was fully lit, allowing me to take this shot through its front door.  

Now, imagine this.  It's dark, the streets are deserted and the art gallery, with its polished tile floors has this three dimensional ...exhibit is the only word I can think of. It's big.  I mean it's a full sized room! Set up like a dorm room, it's got real twin beds and accessories, and even a nightstand with flowers on it. The room is littered with papers and things from the drawers and what appears to be a sewing kit is open in the middle of the room where two small folded white paper birds fight over a piece of string. 

Yeah, paper birds. The ceiling is covered with more, but these are big black crow like birds...maybe ravens. And just below them hangs another handful of the smaller white birds. The walls are lined with stick like branches, that stretch out, reaching into the room itself, black against the light blue walls. 
See the pretty birdies?
Creepy much? I showed it to my wife and she actually likes it. And yes, it has a certain visceral quality, but that doesn't mean that we're about to have the thing installed in our living room.  I mean, I love art - all kinds of art. My mother was an artist and I still have one painting she did when I was a mere lad. I watched her create it, watched as a futuristic city rose out of the mist she created, and when she didn't like it and was about to paint white over it, I complained enough that she gave it to me. It's a great piece and part if it is the story behind it.  Every bit of art I place in my house has to have a  story behind it and I'm afraid the story behind this big diorama is written by Stephen King and directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

I think I'll just leave it where it is, and be glad that i got to see it one morning on my way to work and don't have to see it every morning on my way to the bathroom.

The diversity.  That's what's really nice about living in a city like Nashville.  Diversity and creepy paper birds flying over your dorm room bed.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Brush With Fame

In every city of any size (heck, even the little ones) there is someone that is a local celebrity. Whether it is the local Sheriff, or a AA Baseball Team player, or the local news team, people recognize and revere these people like none other. Here in Nashville, you'd think that I'd run into Country Music Stars as often as I run into a Starbucks. (You'd be right, I never go into Starbucks - but I digress.)

So, the other day, I'm headed out to the store to pick up something for the office and I run into the celebrity above. Anyone growing up in Nashville in the last 30 years (especially my daughter) will recognize this local Nashville Celebrity who paused in his Christmas donation gathering long enough for a fun photo with yours truly. That's him on the right, and me on the left, Bubba!) 

He's Snowbird. (No last name, and it's just Snowbird, not The Snowbird and more correctly "Channel 4's Snowbird.") Originally just a cardboard cut out who squawked "No School! No School" during the weather reports on the Local Channel 4, snowbird has evolved into an entire personality. He's witty and fun-loving, but cares about the safety of kids when snow hits the streets. But Snowbird is more than a winter weather presence. During his long career, Snowbird has appeared in a year-long "Word from Snowbird" public service series, starred in three Christmas specials, and hosted children's programs about sportsmanship and self-esteem. These efforts have earned him numerous awards, including regional Emmy awards. Not many penguins can boast of a past like that.

So, go ahead and be jealous, Bubba! I'm standing in the freezing weather here in the South with a big goofy expression on my face while I stand next to Snowbird. Eat your Nawthun heart out. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nothing Is Ever As Easy As It Looks

It's amazing to me how things spiral out of control so quickly - and it tends to happen to me a lot.  Perhaps it's only because I don't have my GOB Certification, but I think there's more to it than that.  At least I HOPE so. Recently, in preparation for the annual onslaught of visitors for Thanksgiving, we decided that a few vents in the house were just a bit old and tired and thus, in need of replacement.  

Being the Southern  Handyman Wannabe that I am, this is the kind of project that I can get into. I mean, on the surface, it seems so simple. Quick trip to the Big Hardware Store...pull out the old vent cover, put in the new one. This is something even my All-thumbs Brother Bubba could handle. And yet....

So, I find myself down in the laundry room, getting ready to replace the last vent cover.  Reaching behind the washer, using a slot screwdriver, I attempt to take out the old screws. 

OH, not so fast there, says Mr. Murphy.  It seems that the old slot style screwdriver won't say in place and using it at this odd angle will wear out your arm and no amount of creative cursing will fix that.  Ok, so I'm going to have to move the washer.  Washer moved. Screws pulled out - and I'm clever enough to have a PHILLIPS Screwdriver to put in the new vent! I'm almost done!

OH, not so fast there, says Mr. Murphy.  It seems that the NEW vent cover has holes that do not line up with the old vent cover's holes!  This means I have to head out to the tool pile to dig out the drill and a drill bit for the new screws.  Then I have to line up the new vent cover and make sure that the holes are right. 

OH, not so fast there says Mr. Murphy.  It appears that the old vent has a deeper stance. This means that all the vent sides folded over have to be flattened so that the new vent cover will fit flat against the wall.  Back out to the tool area, and back with the hammer.  Get all the edges nice and flat, so that the new vent cover fits. Mr. Murphy just needs to be dealt with properly.

Mr. Murphy is duck taped to the side of the dryer, and I can now take my time getting the new vent cover installed.  Tools picked up, washer moved back into place and Mr. Murphy has been 'de-taped' from the side of the dryer and chased off until the next time. 

Replace the vent cover? Easy peasy...yeah, right!  It's never as easy as it looks.