Welcome to Jay in VA

This is my spot in the blogworld to rant and rave and ramble - three things I do extremely well - and to just talk about my life in general. My blog has opened up a whole new world to me, and I hope you enjoy reading and commenting! Please feel free to do both. I appreciate your feedback.

Monday, September 22, 2014

I Got Nothing

So you are going to have to take 10 minutes out of your busy day for more of Michael Province. I do NOT apologize.

Isn't this GREAT???!?!?!?!?!??!?!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Michael Province

Here is a presentation of videos from a violin prodigy who is now 20 years old. Michael Province is truly awesome. Enjoy.

Michael (right, 15) And Nathan Chan (Cello, 16) - Let It Be:

Another piece when Michael is 15:

Throwback to 13 years old:

Audition for the Youtube Symphony, at 16:

Original Song (Michael is now 19) with Andrew Rafferty - (20) Guitarist:

I hope you enjoyed this musical feast!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What a Long, Strange Trip It Was

It's interesting what triggers memories. I've had a relatively quiet weekend, so I turned on the telly. An ad for Orange Crush caught my ear. It made me think about about 49 or so years ago!

For the period of my life between 6 months old and 10-odd years old, I lived in Winston-Salem, NC. I loved it there! I mean, what's not to like? I was a free range kid who played for hours on end in the woods behind my house, and ran with friends all day every day. I have very strong memories of our family trips to Christiansburg, VA, my mother's hometown. Way back then, the Interstate Highway System was just a concept, at least between lesser cities like Winston-Salem (which really was/is a real city) and Christiansburg, VA (which was and still is, a large town, or maybe a small city). So our trip involved LOTS of two lane highways, and a trek through the mountains on US Route 52, and US 100. Dad used to curse Rt. 100. It was twisty, narrow, no shoulders, drop offs on one side, shear mountain walls on the other - and those alternated! It sort of scared me when the drop offs were on MY side of the car! But at the same time, it sort of thrilled me. Driving along this road was one of the few times I heard my father swear. Especially in the winter!
There weren't any Interstates back then, so the whole trip was on 2 lane roads!
(sorry it's not live, GoogleMaps would not load the "Share" window)
If you look where Rt. 52 makes a jog to the right to Rt. 221, then a left onto Rt. 100 (Hillsville), you'll see where it gets mountainous. I remember riding in both the shotgun seat (so my mom could referee my brothers in the back seat), or the far rear of the station wagon - no seats or seatbelts -  I loved being tossed around back there as we twisted and turned through the mountains!
Somewhere near the "top" of Rt. 100, there was an old store. On its porch, there was a drink machine. It was similar to this one:
Kind of strange how this memory is so vivid!
Anyway, one time we stopped at this store. Dad probably wanted to decompress from the trip up the mountain. The store was closed, but I wanted a drink. So I plunked a few coins (probably 25 cents) into the slot, opened the door and yanked out a bottle of Orange Crush.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the soda was slushy! It was double delicious! From that time on, I asked dad to stop at this store so I could get an Orange Crush. I don't remember if any of the later purchases were frozen like the original one was, but it sure was cool to get a cold soda (and soda wasn't a staple in my house like it is in so many homes today) and savor it the rest of the way to Memoo's house!
This is the house my mother was born in, and lived in until she left for college in about
1949. It has been updated a bit, and the grapevines and kennel are no longer in the back yard, but it
still evokes powerful memories whenever I see it. The same old trees are still in the front and back yards!

Here's a picture of my mom and her siblings and cousins:
Mom is the front row, right, her brother is to her right, Jack is a cousin, and her
sister is top row, center. No one remembers who the other two girls are.
So just a long, strange trip down memory lane tonight!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blast and a half!

It's 5:02PM on Sunday as I begin to write this, and I have been home for exactly 1 hour now. It's been a loooong weekend, so I figured I should get this started at least, lest it be Tuesday or Wednesday before I think about it again.

Saturday morning began at 6:40AM when I picked up this guy off a street corner in Richmond. Yeah, yeah, it was RB, and we were at the start/finish line before the appointed 7AM. Then I asked RB if he would mind parking my truck while I met with the folks in charge and worked out details. Man, were there details to be worked out. It seems none of the previous years organizers were back this year, and things were a mess. But even by the time we figured out who was riding in which SAG wagon, and I had my radio installed, RB was nowhere to be seen. I waited and waited. Finally, I had to go, but I at least saw him walking back to the starting line. We all got on the road.

Here's a couple of pics, and a short video of the first few minutes on the course. After that it got busy, and I didn't even think to take pictures.


Lunch was, um, well, pathetic. Two inches worth of Jersey Mikes Subs, or flattened PBJ on white or PB & honey on white, slices of oranges, halves of green bananas, halves of Clif Bars, some chips (at least they were Utz), and chips and salsa. I dunno, just seemed pretty sparse for people who are going to expend 5000 calories riding 75 or 100 miles on a bike!

I wound up coordinating the SAG wagons once we got past the halfway point because the guy in W'Burg had no idea what to do. It all worked out, I know the route, I know how the SAGs should work, and they all know me. We transported a few riders in (it was hot, about 93 degrees, heat index of about 98, humidity very high, so that wasn't surprising), but there weren't any serious accidents, and only a few requiring the medical staff to even check them out. When we all made it to the hotel in Williamsburg, we discovered how screwed up everything was involving the SAG drivers. No one knew who was supposed to stay, and who was supposed to go back to Richmond to work the start of the rides today from there (a 25 and 50 mile ride, while the folks coming back would ride either 75 or 100 again). It took over an hour to sort it all out, and I wound up with a different driver (and his fiance) to come back with.

I did take one selfie yesterday.
Things were so busy, I just didn't have a  lot of time to take pictures. I was too busy on the radio, texting RB, and generally having a good time talking to the driver. After dinner, we were all too tired to stick around for the awards thingie, so MH drove us to the hotel we were staying in (just down the road), RB and I got our room, and pretty much collapsed. We were right in the middle of a deep conversation (we have a lot of those when we are alone) when my phone dings with a text. You know it's the law so I had to check to see who it was. It was another gay ham friend of ours, who knows our relationship is pretty close, with a one word text: "Behave". I most certainly was! I treat RB as a gentleman should! I didn't text back (so I probably broke another law that says you have to answer a text within minutes or you are in violation). Both of us were out like lights by a little after 9, and man, that alarm went off way too early at 5:35AM.

We grabbed the hotel's free breakfast, and were back at the starting point before 7, with RB's van and driver nowhere to be seen, nor mine. DF's van was there, but no drivers. What a CF!!! Finally, everyone showed up, and here was the start.

It was another day with no serious anything, but totally messed up management.
I was tired by mid-afternoon at Rest Stop Red.

And by the time we got back to the start/finish line, I looked like this:
 It wasn't terribly exciting at the s/f line, but they had Moe's Southwestern Grill catering a taco bar - YUMMY! The DJ was playing some good music, too.
The leadership has been informed of the issues, and they assure us it will all be fixed next year. I hope so. It wasn't too long a day, and the final SAG wagon was in by about 3:45PM, so we all dispersed, I took RB back to his dorm, and I headed home. I am now about to nod off at my desk.

It was a fun working weekend, and Saturday night made the whole rest of the time totally worthwhile.