Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap-Day

Looks like we're going to get drubbed again.

What a winter. This coming storm doesn't bother me like the others did though, for three reasons:

1-Great timing again, falling all night and finishing up Saturday morning. Plenty of time to shovel, ect. and still have the rest of the weekend to get out and enjoy it.

2-It's going to be the white fluffy variety, not the wet heavy rain-on-snow-on-ice stuff.

3-In the bigger scheme, it's almost over. Winter is entering it's death-throes. Can't you feel it? The beast is almost dead. We have survived another onslaught, and are stronger for it. There's a small light in the distance, slowly brightening. We've already caught a whiff of spring and- well, you get my point.

We went up to Northampton this evening to eat, and laugh in the face of the coming storm.

Fitzwilly's again, one of my favorite places to eat, especially when we get window seats. It's great munching and watching people wearing fedoras walking by.

Fitzwilly's is crawling with odd stuff to look at. Like these cool lights coming up through the floor.

Back outside, the snow was piling up fast. This lady danced defiantly under Old Man Winter's fury.

He almost did get the last laugh though. It got a little tricky driving home down the unlit, yet to be plowed back roads. 4x4 country. (snort).

Thankfully, the snow lightened up considerably, south of the Holyoke Range. But it's going to be falling all night...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Along with the on going York St. Jail demolition, there's another big knock-down happening nearby. Across the highway and north a little bit, a familiar piece of Springfield's skyline is quietly disappearing.

The huge St. Joseph's Church, long an icon of the South End of Springfield, is being demolished. The church unfortunately had no historical preservation protection; not being in an historic district, and privately owned. Being on a commercially valuable piece of land, it didn't have much of a chance. It was bought late last year, by developers who see fit to replace the 1873 building. (thanks to Urban Compass for the info)

The once towering steeple is already gone.

This giant 'Space Available' sign has been visible from the highway for some time, on an adjacent building that is also going down.

Here's a picture of the old church, in better days. Here's a link by a local photographer, with some more pics (mistakenly labeled St. Anthony's).

I stopped in at the South End McDonald's, and coincidentally noticed this picture of the church in it's heyday. It hangs along side the former armory/now South End Community Center, and a picture of Columbus Day parade Shriners.

Testament to an old church's former importance, in a changed neighborhood.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dreams In Color

For a little color during a seemingly never ending stretch of gray days, here are a couple pictures that were back-logged on the camera, from just a few sunny days ago...

Also, an experiment; involving these balloons that had fallen to the pavement, and prevailing attitudes in NoHo...

What happens to them? Do they get popped, stepped on, kicked? Maybe just ignored, and eventually blow away? In Northampton, they are immediately picked up by the first group of passer-byes, and set back up near the window.

Would fragile, helpless balloons, adrift in other towns, enjoy the same fate..?

Finally, I wasn't sure why I stopped to take this pic, until now. Taking another look at it, I realized it reminds me of... the house.

I don't recall having too many recurring dreams, like some people do. But I definitely have a recurring setting in my dreams. It's very often the same big, old multi-family house, that I am usually a tenant in. In various dreams I've had, that have nothing to do with one another, I've lived in different sections of the same house, and usually under different conditions. Sometimes it was comfortable, sometimes it was slummy. Sometimes the rooms were big, or small, but always with high ceilings and tall doors, like the old houses have.

But in just about every dream involving the house, there was an area of it that I tried to stay away from. Always a big door or creepy hallway in one corner, that I tried to ignore or forget about, as I went about the business of the dream. Something to be avoided as I entered and left the house, or went room to room. I try to ignore it but the uneasiness keeps popping up, clashing with the comforts of the lived-in sections of the house. Sometimes I'd check to make sure the door to that area is locked as I pass by.

I remember one time where I did finally venture in, and found the structure and walls were very dark and rotted, with debris scattered everywhere. Venturing a little further into another big dark room, one whole side of the house (it was a room on an upper floor) was completely gone, and the rotted timbers just jutted out into the night...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Peeking Over The Fence

We found ourselves heading north on Rte. 5 this afternoon, looking for lunch. We stopped in the town of Bernardston, just short of the northern border of the state. We decided to check out Antonio's II, the "Taste of Italy in Bernardston", for a couple slices of pizza and a grinder.

It's not hard to find, being right at the intersection in town. The intersection, I think. The small restaurant has a cool little arcade, with some oldies. Oh yes, I threw a couple quarters in while I waited for my grinder.

They serve some local brews like People's Pint and Berkshire Brewing. Witness this 22 0z behemoth:

After lunch we continued on Rte. 5 and crossed the border into Guilford Vermont, then on into Brattleboro.

Brattleboro is a unique town. The vibe is a little bit like Northampton. But Brattleboro makes do without the benefit of being close to several huge colleges, and the flood of students half the year. The town bills itself as an artist haven, and it appears they do take art seriously here, and encourage it among the kids in the schools. The last time I was here there were several paintings from elementary students on display along the main street, and today we saw these surrealistic drawings on display in a store window, drawn by some local 8th graders :

Getting the kids used to sellng their art, I suppose, as a lot of the local artists do...

Whatever they're doing, it's working. I don't think I saw one closed storefront on any of the downtown streets we walked through. Brattleboro is a great place to walk around. And walk around we did, exploring the cafes, book stores, record stores, antique stores, and outdoor outfitter stores.

The Northampton vibe I mentioned...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sepia Surfing

Came across an interesting website called Digital Treasures, full of old pictures of central and western Massachusetts. Here's a pic of Mountain Park in the late 19th century, shortly after it's opening...

There's a lot of great old panoramic town and landscape shots, and interesting people pics, like this one from circa 1900; titled "Peddler of small wares, Hadley".

Love these old pics depicting every day life way back when. I think because they serve as a reference point to how far we've come, and how far things have come, (for better or worse).

Like this one; "Hockanum Ferry, Northampton bank, Mass.", shows life as slower-paced and serene, yet more full of hard work and danger...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Slip Slidin'

Just a couple scenes of snowy Springfield, and some people who probably wished they stayed home this afternoon...

Winter refuses to ease up, with over 12 hours of constant, if moderate, snowfall. It made for a bad Friday home commute, but this storm's timing should leave a nice fresh blanket of white for the weekend...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Head Shot

Tried to get some decent shots of the eclipse tonight, but most came out like these kind of weird organic, ultra-sound looking images:

I had just about given up hope of being able to hold the camera steady enough for this kind of shot. Then I hit upon a good idea....

Use Kelly as a tripod! I asked her to stand perfectly still and stop breathing, while I positioned the camera on her head. Got the following results...

Before full eclipse:


After full eclipse.

That's one small step for night photography, one giant leap backward for the womens' rights movement...