Friday, July 31, 2009

Small Consolation.

For one rainy day. Some cool sky out there just now. In case you missed...

Hope you caught the rainbow too. Saw it, but wasn't quick enough with the camera.

Is it really August already? Wow. I only know that because tonight's the night I have to stay in the shop after everyone goes home, the lights go out, and all the ice cream is tucked into bed.

And what will I be doing you wonder?

Why, updating all my prices in the cash register and on the boards to work with the new meals tax rate of 6.25% of course. Don't worry, I'm planning to try to keep my prices pretty much the same with nice round numbers to keep the changemaking as simple as possible.

Guess it beats mopping at 11pm...then again, I haven't tried to program a tax rate into the cash register since the day I bought it. May need some liquid encouragement for this one...

In any event, I hope you're making the best of this fickle summer weather and you've been saving room for ice cream. And staying away from those pesky PED's.

I'll end this pretty uneventful post with a quote of today's quote on the board. It comes from one of the sites I frequent (I've talked about it here before, but I'm too ice cream weary to dig up the link to that post. Here's the site anyway - Truthteller

Smile, the purpose of life is to do some good, have fun and learn something.

Peace out.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sailing on the Nashawannuck.

How about that sky tonight? Was tough to get a good shot, but here's one...

Moving right along to earlier today...

I'd heard about it the other day, and even saw a picture on the cover of the local section of the Gazette last week, but I had to see it for myself to believe it.

Sailing on the Nashawannuck Pond?

Even before the dredging. How could that be even possible?

I submit above, exhibit A.

And exhibit B...
Don't worry, he didn't hit the flag. I watched Pond Sailor guy tack at the end of Cottage Street this afternoon. He and his crew of a woman, a boy, and even a dog might as well have been enjoying a day on Buzzards Bay. It was pretty cool actually.

And filed today also under 'Odd Sightings on The Pond', a ghost row boat...

And if you still don't believe me about the sailboat...

Seems like this guy knows what he's doing. He sailed right up to the spillway and turned her right around just a few feet away from it. Pretty sweet. Hopefully, a little foreshading of the cool activities to be seen and had on the soon to be new and improved Nashawannuck.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Safe Haven for Bears.

As I'm sure you've heard by now, the fifteen little bears of BearFest Easthampton fame, except for wire-haired bear, have been brought inside from the dangerous streets (for bears anyway) of Easthampton. After a number of thefts and near-thefts of these prized pieces of art in the form of fiberglass bears, the Easthampton City Arts group responsible for the very cool and successful public art display, made the decision to move all the small bears inside. It's sad really, that the actions of a very small number of hoodlums, for lack of a better word, have tried to put a dark cloud on an event that's been so positive for the city of Easthampton in so many ways.

In any event, the show goes on. You can still see groups of people, maps in hand, wandering around the bears, taking photos, and having fun. Here's to hoping the lowlifes that have stolen the bears are found and prosecuted to the full extent.

I'm thinking chain them to one of the empty logs in town for a few days and let the people decide what punishment suits the crime...taking a piece of art that someone spent hundreds of hours creating, taking money that would have been raised from its sale and spent on arts programs for kids...

Ok, I feel better now. Meet Hiding Bear, if you haven't already, the coolest small bear in town if you ask me. Meticulously created in a mosaic of intricately cut stained glass by Crystal Popko. You might recognize him from the front lawn of Jim's Package Store.

In more bear news, it looks like the silent auction site for the bears is just about set. Bear Auction Site. The live auction takes place on October 15th at the Log Cabin.

Note the large selection of t-shirts in the photo above (hint, hint)...
Some are BearFest tees, proceeds go to the cause. The rest are Mt. Tom's tees, new ones just in, heavier cotton (same as the 'Life is Good' tees) and a wider variety of colors. You know you want one.

In other Easthampton news, it sounds like the pond dredging project is finally a go. Here's the latest. It's looking like mid-August we'll start to see the water level dropping. I'll be keeping keen eye on things and will definitely be keeping you up to date right here, your place for all things dredge.

Soas to end on a brighter note, here's another bear image from my growing collection...

Hope you enjoyed National Ice Cream day this past sunday. Snuck up on me this year, sorry for not warning you.

Fear not though, July is National Ice Cream month, so you've still got plenty of time to grab a spoon and celebrate.

Better go check that sump pump now.

See you soon.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cool Sky last night.

Generally, thunderstorms give me huge anxiety. All it takes is one good bolt of lightning to plunge our little grid into darkness. When that happens, I get a pit in my stomach, guard all my freezers from being opened, ready the portable generator for when and if the power failure lasts more than three hours, and begin to pace up and down Cottage Street. Luckily (touch wood), it doesn't happen often, but when it does, a good thunderstorm is usually the culprit.

In any event, last night's storm never got that close, but it did provide for some awesome cloud formations, lots of lightning bolts (in the distance), and a sweet rainbow. Probably not the wisest thing to do, standing with my camera on the edge of the pond in a thunderstorm, so since I risked life and limb for the shop, I thought I'd share (you can click on to enlarge)...

Thanks to Patrick Brough for posting a link (and encouring me to post my shots here and not just on Facebook...). Check out his here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Guest Blogger - Brian Hendery.

The camera will be my tool, the pictures my inspiration. Things needn’t be great or spellbinding – but we all need something to make sure our lives don’t blend into a regular cycle of monotonous routine. Something small, or simple, symbolic or otherwise: whatever can change the regular into the mysterious, the customary into the magical.

Of course, the original form of this is simply keeping an open mind and exploring. Capturing the moment just advances the thought to those who have the misfortune of not going with you.

The themes are only as limited as where you can go. Elope from the crowds and find somewhere where you can be with the environment around you: wherever that may be. Take road trips. Go where the wind blows. Follow your dreams – be spontaneous. Am I the only one who has dreamt of being a nomad? I believe not.

- Brian Hendery

Now for the crazy part. Brian is 14 years old.

A friend shared this with me, as she says my little coffee table book on the counter, Hand-me-downs - Slightly used Tips on Life for my Little Brother, provided a bit of inspiration for Brian's piece. I was humbled when I found out I had played that role, and when I read it, I was blown away. Remember that name...

Thanks Shannon for sharing, and thanks Brian for the amazing writing, well done. Next milkshake's on me.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Some Nice Additions to the (relatively) New City.

Wandered by the first 'concerts on the common' ever held at the new 'shell' over by the old skateboard park behind Eastworks this past Friday. The big band sounds weren't quite my kind of music, but I just had to check out the new venue for the summer friday concerts. The crowd seemed a bit thinner, but that was probably because the lawn is so much bigger here. It really is a beautiful spot. You can see Lower Mill Pond and a slice of the Mt. Tom range in the background, and better yet, no road noise, car exhaust, or risking life and limb to traverse the traffic to get there.

And I must admit, the sound was pretty impressive. The hatch shell thing doesn't look fancy or high tech, but the acoustics were darn good. As I listened to the big band sounds, it made me wonder how sweet it would be to watch one of the many great local indie bands play here some night. We can only hope.

Moving down the rail trail a piece, there's another nice addition to the local landscape. It's in the form of a cool little park at the corner of the Manhan Rail Trail and Union Street, next to the Movie Gallery. Hadn't heard much about this, but the construction fences are now down, and it's open for strollers, and people with strollers. From what I understand, the fancy benches were commissioned by local artists. Not sure where the money came to build this park and its arty accessories, but it's beautiful nonetheless. Hopefully, the skateboard gangs that hang out around that spot won't figure out that the lawn furniture as art also make for great skateboard obstacles...

(you can click on the images for a closer look.)

Whether you were grilling in your backyard, riding around on your motorbike, weeding, or just relaxing on your hammock, I hope you got to get out and enjoy this fine weekend. Dare I say, the nicest day of the summer to date. Which isn't a huge feat I suppose, given the cool, cloudiness that's been most common here since early May.

Friday, July 10, 2009

101 Frightening Ice Cream Flavors.

From the website ''...

The Japanese have long taken pride in their ability to adopt, adapt and improve on customs, practices and styles from other countries. Having succeeded globally with cars, electronics and even fashion, it was only natural that the Japanese turned their hand to trying to surpass the West with one of its favorite culinary delights - ice cream. Here are some of their amazing inventions...

Just click on the link above to peruse this scary little list yourself. Let's face it, some things were just not meant to be in ice cream. Having said that, there are just a few on this list I've actually done... Stout, Red Wine, Curry (coconut curry to be exact, finishing up that tub as we speak).

Moving right along to the truly frightening flavors on this list...

Can you imagine going into an ice cream place and asking for 'a single scoop of Pit Viper with jimmies'?

I can see the conversation going something like this...

"I don't know honey, I think I'm more in the mood for Squid Gut today."

"Hmm, but they have Squid Ink too. How to choose..."

"Dear, maybe you should just get a large of the natural viagra? (wink, wink)"

"And can I just tell you...I've had the hugest hankerin' for Ox tongue all day. Do they have it? ...What do you know."

"I had the Sauerkraut last time and it was just ok. Nothing like the Seaweed and Eel, that's for sure!"

"You know what, I think I'm just going to get my usual, charcoal with rainbow sprinkles in a waffle cone."

Or something like that.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

All ice cream and no play...

makes Jim a dull boy.

After a holiday weekend spent mostly in the weeds (this is a good thing in the food biz) on account of a short staff and some good ice cream weather, I finally got a chance to get some fresh air and stretch the legs yesterday. Felt good to be behind the lens again. Here are some of my favorites from my quick little kayak paddle on the Nashwannuck Pond followed by a hike up to the top of Mt. Tom for some sunset/full moonrise shots. Was a little concerned about post-sunset descent, but fortunately, or unfortunately, a big cloud obscured the sunset a bit, so I opted for an earlier than complete darkness light jog back down to my truck. I did have a flashlight and the headlamp, but they weren't needed. Note to self though, bug spray next time.

Hope you had a great 4th (3rd & 5th).

Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy 4th to you & yours.

July 4th tends to feel a bit anti-climactic here in the fireworks capital of the Pioneer Valley. Easthampton's fireworks extravaganza is always held the weekend before the fourth, which is great because it generally conflicts with no other events or anyone else's fireworks, and people who like to get out of town for the long weekend of the 4th don't miss out. Those Kiwanis dudes know what they're doing. If only the weather was as well organized.

This was the scene just minutes before dusk and fireworks launch time...

If you were part of the festivities, I hope you enjoyed. The fireworks went off a little early on account of the looming wall of rain and lightning, but it was actually kindof cool to watch the fireworks (albeit a bit abbreviated), listen to Freebird rockin' from the main stage while being dusted by a light rain. A multi-sensory experience.

I hope you and yours have a great 4th, full of burgers from the grill, cold beverages of your choice, great friends & family, and I'll go out on a bit of a limb here and suggest, perhaps even a little sun.

And if the 4th has you in a patriotic mood (as it should), check out the mini-series John Adams, if you haven't already. I'm not sure a better depiction of the days leading up to the birth of our fine nation has ever been made.

It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. ... I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. -John Adams

Enjoy, and feel free to stop in for a cone. We'll be open regular hours (12-10pm) on the 4th.