Saturday, August 18, 2007

Josh Groban and Company

I was given a really pleasant surprise this month when my daughter called and asked what I was doing during the evening. She had obtained some free tickets to see Josh Groban in Milwaukee. I was very excited about this since Judy and I had tried to get tickets in the past and found them sold out. I quickly accepted and I was off to see Josh Groban with Judy and Katie, my daughter.

We got there early with plans to have some dinner at a favorite restaurant, however the Bradley Center is too far from out spot. So, we tried to get in close to the Groban site but found that everything was booked up except for a small tavern serving sandwiches. The place looked clean and comfortable so we dove in and ordered a burger each.

We got to the concert with time to spare finding our seats in the "nose bleed" section, but in a good position to see all the action. Josh Groban was everything I expected and more. He captivated the audience with his magical voice and emotional music! It appeared that everyone was pleased about the concert. His back up is wonderful and talented. There are some great surprises during the show including an outstanding violinist named Lucia Micarelli. She was absolutely outstanding! I was so impressed with the way she moved every muscle in her body to play her violin. I do not think I have ever seen anyone play an instrument with more emotion and connectedness then Lucia Micarelli. Most impressive to me was her playing of the music Led Zeppelin's Kashmir. It was so exciting to watch her play this piece that I looked it up on youtube! You can watch it here. Just cut and paste the below link to your browser.

There are lots of other pieces on youtube for you to enjoy. It will be worth your time.

I know, I started talking about Josh Groban and sidetracked into Lucia Micarelli! Well, that is what impressed me most that night. So, there you have it!

In conclusion, if you have a chance to see a Josh Groban concert, jump at it. It will be well worth your time!

Lucia Micarelli

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Experimental Aircraft Association-Oshkosh, WI

(Click of the slide show to see larger photos)

I only found enough time to spend two days at the EAA conference this year, but they were two great days. If you have never been there, you are missing a great event. This conference is for both pilots and those who do not fly but have an interest in aviation.

Events and things to do are, well, endless! There is no other word for it. There are programs for kids, adults and pilots. Pilots can attend seminars and receive credit for their work. The programs presented are awesome and interesting even if you are not a pilot.

EAA also presents the opportunity to meet other pilots and talk to "super pilots" who make a living flying upside down and doing things that appear crazy to the non-flying public. You can also take classes in building airplanes and talk to people who have built their own.

There is a huge campground surrounding the airshow. Thousands of people camp on the grounds and spend the entire week at EAA. I am fortunate to have a friend who spends the week at the camp ground and also keeps a liberal supply of "refreshments" to be enjoyed by the string of guest who stop by during the week. He keeps the refreshments in a full sized casket which he turned into a cooler. This makes for interesting conversation. At one point while I was at his camp site we were visited by a couple of guys who had built a motorized couch. So, suddenly there is a full sized living room couch with two guys sitting comfortably on it rolling past the camp site. Yes, pilots can be inventive. Or, perhaps they just have too much time on their hands!

The EAA grounds is a feast for anyone who loves to look at airplanes or watch them fly. There is airplanes that are brand new, or those that are from as far back as World War 2. There is almost every configuration of airplane you can imagine. You can get a close up look and sometimes talk to the pilots. You will be surprised at how anxious they are to tell you all about their airplane.

The one thing I always find inadequate at EAA is the food. It seems that every vendor on the grounds has the same mushy burger for greatly over inflated price. I would think that the visitors would be better served by allowing local service organizations to put up a booth and sell something that tastes close to food. But, bearing that in mind I save a lot of money by packing a lunch in my bag to avoid the tasteless food offered on the grounds.

The air show itself is non-stop all day and full of wonderful information and sights. The prepared air show generally runs from about 3:00 in the afternoon until 6:00 in the evening. The show is packed with excitement and action from beginning to end! You can find a comfortable seat along the flight line under a wing for the shade if you are early, or you can just stand where the sights are the best if you get there late. Either way, your senses will be filled with information through the entire program. The sky will be full of activity, the ground will shake and you will find yourself with your hands over your ears to block out the noise of screaming airplane engines and a smile the length of your arm on your face.

If you plan of traveling to EAA, be sure to think of room and board well in advance. Hotels within a hundred miles and further will be booked. There is a housing authority that you can use to find housing in local residences.

You will find EAA to worthwhile adventure!


(To see larger photos click on the slide show. You will be taken to a new page)

This year I was honored with the opportunity to help out on the photo team at Lifest. Lifest is a huge Christian music festival in Oshkosh, WI. Last year because of scheduling I was only able to attend one day. It was a thrill to be present for four of five days.

If you enjoy Christian music, Lifest is the place to be. There are thousands of people who come to watch the big named Christian artists. There is no drinking on the grounds, but plenty of food, games and fun. I never walked across the "downtown" area without seeing crowds of people lined up for food. I was happy planning on making it a health food week until I stumbled upon a booth put up by "Cinders" of Appleton. They make the best steak sandwiches available and I quickly found that what they were serving at the festival was every bit as good as the restaurant!

There were also many games for kids to get involved in. There was a special "kids place" where the imagination was allowed to wander. There was basketball and other games for teens and adults as well.

Worship services are available on Sunday. There is a large worship service at the main stage, or small services several places thoughout the grounds. This year there was a Catholic Mass held in one of the buildings. Prayer tents and dedication room are avaiable at all times.

Lifest was an amazing time and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys music! See you next summer!