Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Garage door opener - free!

SHERYL INSTALLED A new battery powered belt-drive garage door opener Sunday. I helped by staying out of the way and being tall when required to take the old one down and put the new one up. It has a battery and works with the solar panels on the garage roof, and so far, so good.

Since the garage didn't have electricity, Sheryl put in solar panels. She had to find a battery powered opener so that it would work with the solar batteries. So for the past few years we had to manually pull the door up and down, we rarely parked the vehicle in the garage. If the weather was bad, I'd pull it up, put the car in, pull it down, and be done. Really it's no big deal but we get used to the conveniences in life, and it will be nice to park in the garage with little effort - our backs are thanking us already.

The old one was put in three years ago and almost never used. It's sitting in the garage, and we'd like to find it a new home. On occasion we'll have what we call at "Calftown Garage Sale" and just stick it on the sidewalk with a free sign on it, but this is a little too big and we'd like it to actually get used, not taken and sold off or pawned.

Call us at the store (228-8008). It comes with all the stuff you need to put it in.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Cats and vets and car hair

TODAY WAS "TAKE the cats to get shots day." We loaded Josie into the Jeep, and she promptly hid under the back seat. Then we grabbed Fast Eddie from the store, and he meowed loudly all the way from Fifth and Maine to the Quincy Humane Society. Their immunization clinic is fast and cost effective.

Both cats were actually well behaved. Sheryl held Josie while I held Eddie. I had a lot more cat to hold onto, but both decided they'd just stare at the other dogs in the waiting room, and they both were very good when the vet gave them their shots.

Since Eddie never leaves the store, except to get shots, I think he was just soaking it all in and figured trying to make a break for it would only get him in more trouble.

On the way back I started sneezing, and I looked at my jacket. It was coated in cat hair. Coated In Cat Hair would make a great name for a band. Anyway, I shed the jacket and took some benadryl. Sheryl got Josie home, and now we are updated on shots and both cats are happy and healthy.

This comes on the heals of a rather productive Sunday. I played in church in the morning and jammed with the Matt Roberts Blues band at night. Sheryl got the garden planted, did laundry, cleaned the carpets and got the solar powered garage door opener installed. It works! I also got more rocks put down in the low spot by the garage and tilled part of the backyard, then put grass seed down. We'll see how much it grows, especially with dogs and Josie walking through it all the time.

So we are both sore today. Maybe we should get a shot to feel better. I think a new shoulder for Sheryl might be essential if we are going to do this every weekend.

We have done enough today just getting the cats their shots.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Great Venues in Quincy

ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT, I saw one of the best bands to ever come through Quincy. Andy Frasco and the UN tore up One at Sixth and Hampshire, much to the delight of about 150 people. Andy's band is really tight and they understand it's about the music and the show, and they rocked for two hours. They are opening for the Foo Fighters this summer and head to Europe next week for a tour, so it was a big deal to get them to come to Quincy.

Andy was brought to Quincy by our friend Craig, a huge fan of the band. It was a party on a Wednesday night, and the event wasn't really designed to make money, they just wanted to have some fun and get Andy to Quincy. Now there's talk of bringing him back and if that happens, you don't want to miss it.

About a month ago I saw Eric Johnson at The Castle Theater in Bloomington. It isn't much bigger than One and there were maybe 500 people there, and it was incredible. I like the idea of One being an  events-only venue, but I really wish they would tear out the restaurant booths and open the floor up. They could put temporary seating in there for shows and perhaps make it economically viable to get bigger names in town, if promoted right.

Why can't we get some big rock and roll names to come through town, much like the old days when Rush, Ike & Tina Turner and other big names would play at Turner Hall? It would make sense since Quincy is surrounded by Kansas City, Chicago and St. Louis, even Indianapolis to the east. Bands are always looking for stopover gigs.
Photo Credit Bad Wolf Media, Mike Sorenson

There are places keeping the music alive, smaller venues like State Street Bar & Grill, Revelry and The Club Tavern. The Oakley-Lindsay Center isn't really a concert venue but they have had some good ones in there.

I love Morrison Theater inside Quincy Junior High School - Emily is playing with the Quincy Symphony Orchestra Saturday night. It would be a great venue for rock shows, but let's face it, if you don't sell beer you won't draw much of a crowd. Don't hate me for saying it, because it's true.

Then there's my old pipe dream of building an outdoor amphitheater on the river, right at Gardner Expressway and Front Street, where the old cardboard box company once stood. Gosh, think of warm summer nights and a great band rocking down there - who cares about the one-road access, putting in sewer lines and flooding every spring? I've already got my secret spot staked out on the bluff to watch it from afar.

Still daring to dream, especially after seeing Andy Frasco at One.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The mall and the local impact

BERGNERS IN THE Quincy Mall is closing. I tried reading some of the social media comments but the world is full of moronic web warriors and it gets depressing. You can't engage them because you should never argue with somebody who thinks or knows they are wrong.

Many people shrug and say it's too bad, the mall is dying, Quincy is dying and there's nothing to do here. Where can I go now to buy my clothes and shoes? Where you always go - online. Hey, I can save a few bucks and it's a lot easier than battling that horrendous Broadway traffic and waiting two minutes at the traffic light, or having to park at least half a block away from a store downtown.

Meanwhile, the city is having a budget crisis and our water rates might be doubling, our police and fire departments are looking at cutbacks (including closing a fire station again) and places like our public library are looking at reducing services.

It's all cyclical, folks. If you don't spend your money here for things you can get just as easily and for about the same price as clicking a computer button, well, we are going to struggle. And it's sad that closing a nice department store has to bring the point home, and only then do people (maybe?) realize how shopping online can really hurt their local economy.

We are no better than anybody else, and I've been guilty as anybody of going online instead of shopping local. But lately we are trying to take a better look at our shopping habits.

I go to the local grocery store as much as possible. Last week we went to Carl's Shoes and got some great shoes with great service from Jamie and the crew out there. The Farmer's Market opens May 5 and we are looking forward to getting tasty grass-fed beef. If I need a shirt or suit, I am going next door to Schuecking's.

We've ordered dog food online in the past, but that has stopped and PetCo gets our business now. Besides, Angus likes visiting the local pet store where he usually convinces us to buy him a few new balls. We are suckers for sure.

This blog has been written many times. It will be written again. We all need to shop local and keep it local.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Cats in the bag

SHERYL JUST TOOK the dogs to get their shots. They were actually pretty good for her and the vet, from what she says. Now they have new shiny tags and everybody is happy.

Next week we have to take the cats, and that's gonna be a whole new adventure. Sheryl has been looking for a cat carrier - I swear we had one at one point, but who knows where it went.

Fast Eddie is always crawling into guitar cases and gig bags. So, we've come up with a brilliant solution for him - a guitar gig bag! He'll crawl in, we'll zip it up and leave a little room for air, and off Fast Eddie goes.

Josie is another matter. For one thing, she has sharp and nasty claws and she won't like being put into any kind of container. You should have seen her go to work the other day when she caught a baby bird and played with it in the house. Fortunately the bird expired quickly. I think.

I'm sure we can find an old Gus Macker travel bag or purse laying around the house somewhere. We better wear gloves and have plenty of treats to bribe the cats, especially Josie.

And, as always, we remember it's their world, and we just live in it. Carry on, cats and dogs!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Just plug it back in

TECHNOLOGY IS WONDERFUL. Unless it goes south. Then you gotta roll with it and not let the whole thing go to hell.

I used my new Boss looping pedal this weekend with HartLyss and it worked out, for the most part. One song in particular went bad and it took a couple of tries to kill the bad recording and get back on track. It's all living and learning, and I learned a lot.

I use a wireless setup for my guitar. I long ago tired of cables getting yanked out and doing damage. One night I was playing and another person stepped on the cable for my acoustic guitar, and pulled the input jack right out of the guitar. That's when I vowed to only plug in when I had to, and to get something decent to go wireless.

So Sunday I'm playing at State Street Bar & Grill and my wireless pack slipped off the guitar strap and the cable pulled right out. We were rocking at the time and it suddenly went silent.

You have two choices, at that point. You can panic and fumble around and maybe restart the song. Or you just keep strumming and hope the wireless pack will magically hook back up to the guitar.

In this case, Cori Lyssy adroitly came right over, picked it up and plugged it back in. There wasn't a huge crowd in the bar but the people watching seemed to get it and gave her a big ovation. We just kept going. What are you going to do? It's rock and roll, and it's live.

Just keep going. I know, it's only rock and roll, but I like it, like it, yes I do!