Archive for decade

Wood and Silver

Posted in Daily Pictures, Reflections with tags , on May 21, 2014 by Verge

Well, I guess this could be about things that you can use to kill a vampire, but it’s not.

My fifth wedding anniversary was last weekend, and though we haven’t officially celebrated back at Valley Green yet, we did exchange presents on Sunday when she got home.  We picked gifts for each other that are considered “traditional,” though one of us went old school, and the other more modern.

Interestingly, we did both go with a hand made gift.  We both found artisans on Etsy that craft their work by hand, from scratch, to make the things we will have for the rest of our lives (hopefully).

Like the friend that got me into them herself, I like to give away Field Notes to people as gifts.  And, lucky for me, the recent Shelterwood edition was conveniently made out of real wood.  She’s been using a few of mine recently, and probably eyeing up more, so I bought her a subscription to their limited edition “Colors” series.

Now notebook are cool, and they’ll get used, but eventually she’ll have a bunch of them, and no place to store them.  So I bought her this…

20140519_181412 20140519_181423 20140519_181431

Her new storage box fits the Field Notes perfectly, is made of a bunch of different types of wood, and was made by Kingswood Creations (check his page out, he has wonderful stuff).  Fits in nicely with our other storage boxes, but the one she now owns puts my storage box on the left to shame. 20140519_224500


She overdid herself.  I’m okay with buying gifts, but when I got married I thought I could finally stop worrying and let her buy all the gifts.  She’s way better at it than I am.

When we got engaged, I found Monika a 100 year old vintage diamond ring that was bought at an estate sale, was made of platinum, and was beautiful.  Later I had a wedding ring made to match the shape of it on her finger, so she could wear them both.  On the other hand, I didn’t really care about my own, and ordered a simple titanium ring out of a catalog and wore that for five years.

She decided it was time for an upgrade.  She tracked down a gentleman on Etsy (who also does amazing work and is highly recommended) to make a ring for me that actually meant something.  It’s a spinner ring made out of a 1930 Irish Florin, which is one of the originally coins minted by Ireland after they declared independence.  Conveniently, it is made out of silver.

The translation of the words on the ring are “The Irish Free State.”  Obviously I have an Irish heritage, but it means even more.  She is Jewish, and both our peoples have suffered genocidediaspora and discrimination in our histories, and the declaration of a free state signifies victory in both our heritages.

The ring fits perfectly and I love it.


10358104_753343596797_678005691_n 10362471_753343591807_1161911403_n



Monika and I have been together for 8 years now, and I know for some that doesn’t seem like too much time, for others, that’s far longer than they’ve ever been together with one person.  It’s been a hell of an adventure.  In that time, we’ve gone to Canada and Italy and Mexico and The Dominican Republic , we’ve bought a new car (after teaching her how to drive) and a home (which I told her she was just a guest in when we moved here because we were only dating at the time), we’ve both started new careers in entirely new fields, we’ve seen friends married and start families and unfortunately, seen others divorce, we’ve “adopted” three cats, made new friends and lost touch with others, some moved away and others moved back “home”,  lost love ones and gained new ones.

Marriage is a hell of a fucking ride.  And we’re only five years in.  But if I make it another 55 years, I’ll get a diamond of my own!


Protected: Fixing a Decade-old Mistake (just ask me for the password on facebook)

Posted in Reflections with tags on June 27, 2012 by Verge

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

My Top 15 Concerts of the Past Decade

Posted in Good Times, Reflections with tags , on December 22, 2009 by Verge

A top (fill in here) of the (fill in here).  What a great stop-gap solution for a blog that hasn’t a topic tonight.

Well, in agreement with a conversation I had earlier this week, while it is terribly difficult to rank your favorite moments of an entire decade, simply listing an un-ranked version is a cop-out.  So, I will try, as impossible as it is to rank memories. I want to also stress that I choose, and rank, these concerts not on the quality of the show alone, but have taken into account, heavily, their sentimental value to me personally.  That doesn’t mean that “at this show was the first time I kissed so-and-so” will rank highly, but it certainly does account for the fact that there are exactly 3 Radiohead shows on my list.  I like ’em, I won’t deny they have an unfair advantage, and my list doesn’t pretend to be unbiased–on the contrary, my list is heavily biased.

Before we get started, here’s some brief stats:

77 Total concerts attended in the last decade

13 Radiohead shows attended

7 Shows containing at least one member of the Grateful Dead

4 Smashing Pumpkins, Roger Waters and Mojave 3/Neil Halstead Shows attended

3 Spiritualized, Beth Orton, Bob Dylan, Ozric tentacles, and Ravi Shankar shows attended

13 Shows at E-Center/Tweeter Center/Susquehanna Bank Arts Center

9 Shows at The Electric Factory and The Theatre of Living Arts

5 Shows at The Tower Theater

4 Number of different girlfriends I’ve had over the same time period.  I married the last one.

# 15  Saturday, June 21, 2003     Peter Gabriel     Tweeter Center     Camden, New Jersey (Not the first time I ever saw Peter Gabriel, but he always puts on a damn fine show, and seeing him perform some of the Ovo songs live was pretty amazing)

# 14  Saturday, April 08, 2006     Death Cab For Cutie     Tweeter Center     Camden, New Jersey (Great seats for this one.  Franz Ferdinand opened up.)

# 13  Friday, June 02, 2006     Radiohead     Tower Theater     Upper Darby, Pennsylvania (Tons of new material in such a small venue.  Tickets were damn near impossible to get)

# 12  Thursday, March 19, 2009     The Ting Tings     The Starlight Ballroom     Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Small venue to see a band I still believe is going to blow up.  We sat maybe 20 feet from them as they performed.  This show was originally supposed to be at the First Unitarian Church, which would have been great, but the Starlight has 2 dollar Pabst shooters, and you can’t go wrong with that.  Was amazing to see how the two of them alone can pull their music  live.)

# 11  Friday, September 25, 2009     MuteMath     Theater of Living Arts     Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (First and only time I’ve seen these guys.  They pulled off some pretty neat tricks themselves, and the sound was spot on.  I love seeing shows at the TLA and always have, but the new and improved TLA is an absolute pleasure.)

# 10  Thursday, April 15, 2004     Damien Rice     Tower Theater     Upper Darby, Pennsylvania (Didn’t think this was going to be one of the besgt shows I’d even seen.  Perhaps it was my low expectations or the 2nd row seats–Damien Rice absolutely rocked, which took me by complete surprise.)

# 9  Friday, August 10, 2007     Muse     Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing     Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Outdoor shows are a bitch for sound.  The week before this show it was dreadfully hot, but all of the sudden, the heat broke and it was cool down by the water.  Cold War Kids opened up, but Muse blew them away.  These guys are amazing.)

# 8  Sunday, August 13, 2000     Summersault 2000     Rideau Carleton Raceway     Ottawa, Canada (I saw two of these shows up in Canada.  The lineup was amazing:  Smashing Pumpkins, Catherine Wheel, who I met, A Perfect Circle, Foo Fighters.  Beautiful Canadian summer festival weather.)

# 7  Sunday, August 05, 2001     Radiohead     Parc Jean Drapeau     Montreal, Canada (Technically not the most amazing Radiohead show ever, but that damn little island, with Montreal as the background, and the hill to relax on..this venue is hard to beat.   If you ever have a chance to see a show here, do it.)

# 6  Monday, June 07, 2004     Les Paul and his Trio     Iridium Night Club     Manhattan, New York City (Seeing Les Paul at all was amazing, but this was his 89th birthday and he definitely was having a celebration.  Afterward, I helped him to his seat to sign autographs, and I now have a Les Paul pick guard that says “To Ryan, keep rockin.”  Perhaps someday I’ll have the guitar to put it on.)

# 5  March 25th, 2009     Neil Halstead     Talking Heads Club     Baltimore, Maryland (This is perhaps the smallest venue I’ve ever seen a concert in.  It wasn’t at the club so much as it was in the basement of the club.  I love Neil Halstead and I really don’t understand why he would fly from England to play a show to 30 people if not for the love of music.  We got him to sign a bunch of Slowdive stuff for us, which he thought was pretty funny.)

# 4  Monday, October 30, 2006     Massive Attack     Tower Theater     Upper Darby, Pennsylvania (These guys, like Portishead, were a band I just figured I was never going to get to see live.)

# 3  Tuesday, June 20, 2000      Ravi Shankar with Anoushka Shankar     Barbican Theater     London, England (I had been in London for three weeks and I really wanted to catch the Ravi Shankar show.  I had checked for tickets and the ones that I could afford were the second balcony at hall which is an opera hall.  Didn’t want to be that far away.  That morning I called and got a pair in the second row!!  Second row to this show was hundreds of dollars, but they let them go for the balcony price as last minute tickets.  It was amazing.  My clothes made it so obvious that I didn’t belong that close to the stage!)

# 2  Saturday, October 08, 2005     Dead Can Dance     Radio City Music Hall     Manhattan, New York City (I saw these guys once before, and then they split up.  Ten years later, they reformed only for this series of concerts and I was thrilled to get to see them again.  And I finally got to see a show at Radio City.)

# 1  Friday, October 10, 2003     Radiohead     Madison Square Garden    Manhattan, New York City (This is a fairly odd choice as it’s the only show I saw alone.  No one wanted to go to NYC with me to see them, again.  I’ve seen them 14 times now, and this is they only time I’ve ever seen them play Creep.  The crowd was so into it, you could barely hear Thom.)

There were a ton of other, very memorable shows in there.  But, then again, the original name of this post was supposed to be Top 10 Concerts…it’s just too damned hard to choose.

If you went to any of these with me, leave me a comment and tell me how the show ranks on your lists.

%d bloggers like this: