Thursday, December 22, 2005

Just Got Back From Illinois...

...well, a day or so ago, actually. And not from Illinois, but since the drive back is pretty much a tour of it's flat and dreary landscapes, it sure feels like it. No offense to the flatlanders, but the monotony just about put me to sleep. It's a ten-hour drive to Madison from Nashville, seven of those hours in Illinois. Thank God for Coke Zero and Starbucks coffee.

It was pretty cold in Madison, dropping to single digits and sub-zero windchills. The bride bundled up as best she could.

Really Cold

We stayed with my brother and his wife in McFarland. Their two sons, my nephews, were around for most of the visit. I was able to see all of my sibs and a few nephews and nieces.

This is my jock nephew and his girlfriend.

Lizzy and Colin

This is Ryan, Colin's computer graphics whiz older brother, looking entirely too serious while supposedly celebrating my visit. I must speak with him about that.


A trip to the parent's house with my brother led to these shots of rural Juneau County roads. It's not too different than Illinois, but at least we have some bluffs.

Fields and Bluffs

Typical Juneau County Road

Octagonal Barn

A visit home means stocking up on essentials like cheese and brats. My sister-in-law took me to a place called "Brennan's Market", which is a sort-of upscale Wisconsin deli, with cheese, meat and jams and jellies. I dropped a chunk of change there, some on gifts but most on cheese reserves.

They have a six-year-old cheddar that, instead of getting sharper, gets mellower and somewhat crystalizes. Amazing flavor. I also bought some 5 and 3 year old cheddar, some Farmer cheese, garlic summer sausage, and blackberry and strawberry preserves.

Today is my birthday. I'm 44 years old, and that is a bit sobering. Maybe a slice or two of 6 y.o. cheddar will cheer me up...!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Splendor in the Snow

After an 8 hour drive to El Paso, IL, a nice sleep at the Days Inn and a 2.5 hour drive the following morning, I arrived back in McFarland/Madison, Wisconsin for a Christmas time visit.

My brother has two rather rotund dogs, Blue and Lou. They like to eat and sleep.

Lou, pre/post eating

Lou, sleeping

We don't get much snow in Nashville, and what we do get seems only to increase the consumption of bread and milk. This is more like it.


Frosty Fuel

The Backyard

Swimming Pool in December

Monday, December 12, 2005

Time of the Season

I promised my "old" camera to my parents, the one I bought to replace the one I lost this summer, the same one that I failed to take to Australia.

I had forgotten taking these photos that were on the memory stick. This is our last hike of the Fall, in Percy Warner park in Bellevue, TN.

Foot Bridge

Down The Path




Saturday, December 10, 2005

Lipstick Sunset

We went Christmas shopping this afternoon and on our way to get our Christmas tree, we happened upon this sunset in Brentwood.

Brentwood Sunset

Finally heading back to Wisconsin for a few days to see the kin and trudge around in the snow, finishing up my shopping. Looks like we'll be able to continue a traditon we started with The Lord of the Rings - every Christmas I go see a Peter Jackson movie with my brother and nephews. This time around it's King Kong.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Bucolic Man

Zzzzzzzzz. It's noon on Monday back here in Nashville, but my body clock is still wound to whatever it was in New Zealand. We left New Plymouth at 1:00 p.m., landed in Auckland at 2:00 p.m., waited for luggage until 4:30, boarded the Qantas flight to L.A. at 7:45, flew 12 hours, landed in L.A., had a 3.5 hour layover to Dallas/Ft. Worth, then finally got home at 11:30 p.m. Sunday night.

All in all a great trip, with plenty of unexpected events that made it interesting, too. I had four or five good shows in a row teching, no gear problems and only a minor, brief mental mistake or two that went pretty much unnoticed by the crowds. Auckland was two raucous nights in a theater setting and our last gig was in the decidedly more rustic New Plymouth.

The venue - called the Brooklands - was surrounded on three sides by a duck pond moat.

New Plymouth

A small row boat was used to cross over the power and audio cables to the FOH position.

Row Boat Cable Run

There were lots of ducks and drakes, mostly mallards, but this black swan was hanging around all day.

Black Swan

The grounds were beautiful and the whole place had a very cool vibe about it. We did not soundcheck this show, so we started out "cold". No problems, everyone was happy.

The Bowl of Brooklands

Chris and David were busy working at the time of this photo, but this is the rest of the hardy crew posing outside on the loading dock.

Thanks, guys, for making it a fun trip.

Stig, Albert, Tim, Jake

I haven't posted any stage pics in a ya go...

Stage 1

Stage 2

View From Mic Stand

View From Kenny's Chair

A venue with a moat needs to plan for any eventuality... hence the lifeguards.


The Waterfront Hotel was right on the coastline.

New Plymouth Coastline

There is a functional sculpture called the Wind Wand that bends with the wind and glows red at night.

Wind Wand

According to the bathroom scale this morning, I dropped 10 pounds on this trip. Cool.

Me and Coastline

Bob and Coastline

The New Plymouth airport is tiny, and with no place else to go, we all had breakfast and talked about the tour.

KA at Airport

Now that I'm back teching JF, I also keep an eye on George's gear. Thanks for a great trip, Daddy G.

Daddy G, Looking Legit, Man!

Dave Davidian has been a fine influence on me on how to gig. He has seen it all, done it all from Montrose to Van Halen to AC/DC, etc. Thanks for a great tour, Dave.

LD Gets Backlit

Goodbye New Zealand