Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Ravages of Time

Another week has zoomed by and I haven't had time to get everything I wanted to get done, done. I've been meaning to update the YBR since last Sunday night when I got back home from a ride up North with the Rianna and Son-in-Law to be, Adam. So, I thought I'd put down the paintbrush for a couple minutes and indulge myself with some writing therapy.

Way back when we had just one child (1985) and were doing art shows up and down the West Michigan coast as an outlet for me to pander my photography to the tourists who visited the area, we'd take rides up North on the Sunday's that we weren't doing shows and cruise the backroads, looking for anything photogenic. Rural scenes, like farms with dilapidated old barns were always a favorite of mine, along with old school houses that had been retired from use and left to suffer the abuse of time and the seasons. One late summer day in 1985 we had packed a lunch basket, loaded up the camera gear, put Jennette in her car seat between us and headed up North with no particular destination in mind. Crusing along, about an hour into the drive, we can upon Fern School
, just sitting at the intersection of two country roads, facing East and bathed in late Summer light. To me it was an impressive structure, standing there among the cornfields and as I got the tripod out of the truck and started to set up my shot I wondered how long it had been sitting there abandoned. I thought about the kids who'd spent time inside that building learning their 3 R's and wondered where they were nowadays and if any of them ever cruised by to check out their Alma Mater

After shooting a couple dozen images at various focal lengths over the course of a 1/2 hour, we packed up the gear, jumped back in the truck and headed off down the road to continue the search for images worthy of their silver content.


Now, let's jump ahead to a early spring day in 2006. Myself, my daughter Rianna and her boyfriend Adam are headed up North to Whiskey Creek, a campground resort community where Adam's family has a trailer (click on the title link for the website). Adam is the driver and I'm in the back seat of his Saturn, just enjoying the view and the fact I'm not at home with a paint brush in my hand. All of a sudden, as we're cruising down the road, what should I see out my window, but the vestige of Fern School, Still facing East, bathed in the harsher early Spring light this time. I asked Adam to stop so we could check it out and take some pics.

I was immediately struck by the fact that it was not in the same shape it had been the last time I was in the neighborhood. The windows and the window frames had been trashed, no doubt by juvenile idiots sired over the last 20 years and were long gone. The front door had been busted down and and the interior upon inspection was littered with trash and busted up parts of the structure. I wanted to go upstairs and check out the view, but some chucklehead had decided that it'd be fun to tear apart the staircase and so without a ladder I wasn't going to be able to get past the main floor. I took some pics of the interior and then went out into the front yard and tried as best as I could to replicate the images I took 20+ years ago. Looking at the two images after I got home I was struck by the fact that after the obvious windows and what little white paint that was left in '85 is now completely gone, the biggest difference I could seen in 20 years was the tree that had sprouted sometime in the last 20 years and stood guard at the Northeast corner of the building. While the manmade structure had fallen further into disrepair since '85 Ole Ma Nature had started to reclaim the site and add some life to my image. After capturing my images, myself and Adam walked around the outside, noticing the gaps in the walls where the motar had released it's hold on the bricks, giving it the appearance of having survived an earthquake. Not too likely an event in Michigan though.....So, we crossed back over the road and rejoined Rianna in the car and headed off, on to Whiskey Creek, leaving Fern School to fend for itself there on it's corner, still looking East.

Now, with building maintainence in mind, I guess I'll grab the paintbrush and get back to work.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Spring Fever & Motorcycles

It's Sunday morning, the proverbial day of rest. After yesterday I need a day of rest. Spent the entire day working on the upstairs and at this point it's 95% complete. I have a couple things to tweak and then I head back downstairs to do Christopher's room next.

Anyhow, it's the middle of March and in Michigan that can mean 70° & sunny or 30° & snow. Today is somewhere in between...sunny, but only 27° currently. too cold to get the bike out even if I owned a snowmobile suit to ride in, which I don't. deal with the Spring Fever I thought I'd talk about the bike.

I sold my last bike (Yamaha maxim 750) in 1989, after it sat in the garage for a year due to the fact our second child, Rianna, had come along the previous year and with 2 kids at that point and all the work that entails there just hadn't been time for a cruise. So, rather than let it sit and rot in a dark, dank garage, I sold it to a guy I worked with who promptly, from what I recall, wrecked it.

So, flash ahead to 2005. Ri is now almost 18, the oldest daugter is gone, married and with child and I have a bit of spending money for the first time in years. One beautiful warm and breezy day in June I happened upon a sales ad one of the local Yamaha dealers had put out and the thought crept into my head that sure would be nice to have a bike again. well, to shorten this story up a bit myself and the wife went up to take a look at what they had in stock and I almost immediately fell in love with a black & blue 2005 V-Star 1100 Classic. (Click on the title link for the V-Star website) We talked to the salesman awhile and then signed some papers.

After allowing the dealer a couple of days to prep it and get things ready we went back to pick it up. I drove it home and boy did I feel like a rookie after a 16 year layoff. This bike was a bit bigger and quite a bit more powerful than the old 750 was, but it felt real comfortable sitting in the seat and I realized how much I'd missed cruising around on two wheels.

I managed to put almost 3,000 miles on her last summer with the longest trip consisting of 800 miles in one weekend. Myself and my son Chris rode down to Seymour Indiana, the hometown of John Mellencamp and hung out there for two days checking out the sites. More about that trip at another time.

So, here we are now, Spring of '06 and any day now I'll be able to get the bike back out and initiate another cruising season. Needless to say, I'm ready to go, just need some of those 60° + temps to make it bearable. I guess for now I'll just head back upstairs and do that other 5%. :-(


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

New Beginnings

Well, today was the first day at the new job. I got there at 9:00am and filled out forms for awhile. After the paperwork was done I spent the remainder of the day hanging out with the guy that has been doing the CMM work. My understanding at this point is that I'll be taking over most of the CMM work and doing programming for the new jobs coming in along with whatever else needs to be done or whereever else I can help out.

It seems like a pretty laid back place and the folks there are friendly and seem to interact well with each other but it's a little too early to make any serious assessments. I can see that it'll have it's pluses and minuses compared to AMS...I have to punch a clock again but the up side of that is I'll actually get paid for my time.....overtime on anything over 40 hours. No more of the AMS 55 hour weeks for 40 hours pay and no thanks for the extra effort. No, I'm not bitter, just pretty disgusted with the AMS leadership and the lack of class they showed in how they handled things. I did like what I was doing there so that made it easier to put up with the little irritations.

At any rate I'm cautiously optomistic, again...and hope that the job will last for awhile this time. No telling the way things are going in this state these days how long any job is gonna last...and of course with the bird flu pandemic thing kicking into fear and panic mode soon it may be a moot point whether the job last or not.....Aw well, gotta keep a sense of humor and just keep plugging on. If I stand still I have no doubt I'll get mowed down by whatever it is that's right behind me and closing....

Monday, March 13, 2006

Blog Opening Statement we are and here we go. 1st problem to circumvent so that I could even get this far was realizing that this blog outfit doesn't care for Netscape which has been my browser of choice for the last 10 years now. So......being old but still somewhat flexible I'll be doing this over here in the Explorer Browser.

This is hopefully my last week of unemployment. I'm anticipating starting a new gig sometime later this week. I talked to the guy I interviewed with Friday, this morning and he said there was a couple details yet to work out. I'm optomistic that things will go in my favor and we can get the show back on the road again. Hopefully this gig will last longer than the last one did.....

It's a Typical Spring day in Michigan today after a night full of major thunderstorms. I stayed up until almost 4am watching them come across the Intellicast screen and stuck my head outside occasionally to watch the lightning. Today the temperature is in the high 50's....tomorrow the predicted high is 33° so no sense getting giddy just yet. Check out the Title link for a view of a Michigan weather loop in real time.

Time for me to get busy now with the house renovation and get that upstairs area wrapped up. I want this place on the market by April Fools day. :-O