Thursday, August 30, 2007

Assorted Photos 8/30/07

Below are just a few (5) photos that I took ealrier this year and never found a place (or post) for them. (Click on each photo for a larger version.)

The newly-renovated apartments on Central Street, Spfld.

This historic depot in East Longmeadow has an uncertain future.

This burned-out house on Greene Street was a chance encounter, as I was passing by doing a video of Eastern Avenue.

I snapped the Hooters entrance as a passing thought, too. I had always meant to go there, but never got around to it.

Main Street, looking towards the South End.

And then there is the monument in the Springfield Cemetery, which from the opposite side - and looking at it from the interior of the cemetery - looks merely like an old, overgrown tree trunk.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

City Blog Updates...

Swing on by my Springfield, MA, blog for the below stories....

1.) "Downtown Springfield was busy with things to see and do for both the fortunate and the unfortunate this past Friday. For those whose lives are on track, there was a farmers market and free concert in the Tower Square park on Main Street, part of the City Block concerts series. Local eateries had their tents up, as a variety of other sellers offering anything from baked goods to flowers and trinkets..." STORY HERE

2.) And I recently did a short video tour of American International College, seen here: AIC in August


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Vacationing at Mi-Te-Jo's

Each year my family gets together from the far reaches of New England to descend upon the Mi-Te-Jo Campground, located in Milton, New Hampshire, for a week-long camping reunion. Milton is a little town north of Rochester, along the border with Maine. It’s one of those typical remote, small towns, where they are lucky when all three of their town selectmen show up for a vote. Important issues such as boat launching egress points and licensing roadside produce carts are the cause of much intrigue in such towns.

My trip started out on Saturday, at 9:30am, as I met up with my brother, Bryan, and his wife, Lydia, at their house in Somers, CT, for the journey up north. Our mother and her boyfriend, Dale, also met us there as they were hauling up the pop-up camper of my other brother, Gerry, who was not going up until Sunday. (Gerry was bringing up his jet ski, too, so he had enlisted our mom to haul up one of the two trailers. And since I was shacking up in the pop-up, it needed to go up with us.) We had estimated our travel time as being approximately three hours, at the most. So we packed up all our gear into my brother’s truck and sped away into the bliss of our getaway vacation.

Traveling late morning on a Saturday at the beginning of August, however, proved to be a challenge. And so it was that four-and-a-half hours later, we finally drove into Mi-Te-Jo’s to check in. Happily, my sister, Debbie, her husband, Craig, and their two young sons, Chris and Ian, were already there waiting for us. They live in Campton, NH, so their travel time was considerably shorter. They had arrived less than an hour before us, and had already set up their campsite, which was right next to ours.

Heading up to New Hampshire was no joy ride.

It was very hot and humid that day, so our plan upon arrival was to work as a team. We would set up Bryan’s camper first, then set up Gerry’s (which I was to use). Finally, we would put up my mother and her boyfriend’s tent, which was the easiest task.

Things went well until Bryan’s camper was set up. Then the lolligagging began – drinks were poured, and casual banter filled the air as Bryan and Lydia chit-chatted with Deb and Craig.

When were we getting to my home? Impatient, I started cranking open and setting up the pop-up – which I had never done before. My Mom’s bo, Dale, came over to help out, but he was equally clueless. And so it was that after a half an hour of labor, it became cruelly evident to us that things were just not working out. Bryan walked over to the site to check up on us. “You’re supposed to put the support rods in before you pull out the sleepers,” he said casually. “Close it all back up and start over.”

I should have gone up Sunday with Gerry.


Sunday was a beautiful day. I hit the beach for some sun, hanging out there for over an hour while perusing a recent issue of PC magazine. My sister-in-law walked by me; “You’re as red as a lobster, Bill,” she observed.

“Nah,” I said. “I’m all right.” And in truth, I really was.

Just before lunch, my nephew, Chris, and I decided to go kayaking on the lake. Deb and Craig joined us, too, and off we paddled for about an hour before deciding to head back for lunch. Back at camp, we cooked up some food, then relaxed a bit before I decided it was time to go out hiking around with my camera and camcorder. I wanted to hit a trail that I remembered from the previous year, where about halfway along there was an old family cemetery, set just off the trail. I did a little video of my journey, below, which includes my trek along the "stonewall trail" that led back to camp.

By the time I got back to camp, I have to say, I was more than a little tired - and as red as a lobster! 'Time to start drinking,' I decided.

Later that night, as we all sat around a roaring fire getting loaded, I felt my eyes drying up pretty good. Then it dawned on me that I should probably take out my contact lenses. So off I went to the camper, where I peeled the contacts from my eyes. Stupid me. My left contact tore in half as I lifted it off my eyeball. Damn! And I didn’t bring any spares, so for the rest of my vacation, my vision would be impaired. Fortunately, I’m near-sighted, so I could still read without a problem.

Monday started out with an overcast sky, and then only got worse after about 10:00am. By noontime, it was raining pretty steady. 'Time to start drinking,' I decided.

Tuesday turned out to be a good day. I hiked around some more, took in some rays, and generally lounged around. I also shot some video of my bro, Gerry, taking nephews Chris and Ian out for a tubing run on his jet ski.

On Wednesday, it rained all morning, so I spent much of my time editing video and surfing the Internet. By midday, the rain stopped and the sky cleared up. I went out on one of my daily walks, snapped a few photographs, then made it back for an early supper. We sat around the campfire until 11:00pm or so before we all took turns calling it a night. The cool thing about being in a campground with cable TV hookups is that my brother and I could watch TV until we slipped into unconsciousness, then we’d wake up to the morning news. Not bad.

Thursday was more hiking and beach time. Later in the day, four of us went out to have a pizza at a nearby pizza joint called “The Pizza Nook”. The inside of the little place was incredibly hot – no AC and only one open window that we could see. We ordered a large pizza and then took a seat at a booth table. There was no waiter service, so we had to go up and get our own plates and drinks (from a display refrigerator). When our pizza arrived, we saw that it was actually about the size of a medium pizza – with only eight slices! That meant two slices each. A mere appetizer of a meal! Oh well, at least the pizza itself was good. We gobbled it up quick – we couldn’t wait to get out of that sauna! – and headed back to camp.

"Time to start drinking…"


Friday was the final day to get in some fun & relaxation. The photo above shows, from left-to-right, my nephew, Ian; my sister-in-law, Lydia (listening to an audio book - the latest Harry Potter!); my sister, Debbie; and my brother-in-law, Craig. We also took the time to get some "pre-packing" done on this day, since we had a lot of stuff to pack up and we to be off-site by noontime on Saturday.

I made my most ambitious hike on this day, too, as I trekked deep into the woods, where no pathways lay. The forest surrounding the Mi-Te-Jo campground is strewn with old rock walls - a testiment to a much more cleared-out landscape all those many years ago. I was gone for perhaps three hours in the afternoon before returning for dinner.

Below is a short video I made of the Mi-Te-Jo Campground.


Just before the main gate, on your left,
is this collection of old tractors.

The campground office and dayroom building.

This is the dayroom, which is open to everyone. The far doorway leads to the pavilion area. There is also an upstairs dayroom for adults only, with TV, books, a pool table, and a PC for Internet access. The campground also has WiFi Internet available around the office builing/pavilion area.

Our campsite. The camper I used is at center.

My bro, Gerry, at the helm of his jet ski.
Riding are nephews Chris & Ian.

Looking out to the lake. Our campsites were just a few dozen feet away from the beach.

There was a little boat inlet along the backside of our campsites, and these ducks were our constant companions throughout our stay.

The beavers left the mark in the forest interior.

While hiking around, I came across this tree growing right out of a rock!

This bridge and stone pathway are located towards the end of the hiking trail, leading back to the campground.

This creepy looking tree reminded me of something out if "The Lord of the Rings" fiction.

Below is a video I put together in my spare time, entitled "Animal Delinquents" (skip ahead a bit if you get bored with the duck)...

And finally, a very brief video on why some opinions matter...

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Friday, August 03, 2007

On Vacation 8/4 -> 8/11

I'm off to New Hampshire for the week, so even though I'm taking my laptop with me and the campground we're going to does have WiFi Internet access, I may not opt to post until I get back home. But then again, maybe I will! Who knows? In the meantime, check out my story on the Guardian Angels' visit to Springfield this past week, and check out Tommy Devine and Heather Brandon's blogs all this coming week for more interesting goings-on in our little place in the universe.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Action on Adams Street - 8/01/2007

2:10am, Aug 1st, 2007

Trouble in the South End early Wednesday morning, as Springfield Police cruisers filled the streets. They appeared to be in search of someone (or more). By 3:00am, cruisers still cordoned off the corner of Richelieu & Adams Street.

MORNING UPDATE: According to the morning edition of Masslive, a gunfight took place at the corner of Adams Street & Dwight Street Extension. There were no injuries, and two people were arrested. Both suspects - a man and a woman - were charged with multiple firearms violations. Apparently the male suspect, Mario Ortero, who had already fired his weapon, pointed his gun at police officers a couple of times during the incident. Talk about restraint on their part. Ortero is lucky he's alive. More on the story HERE. Below is a short video.

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