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Monday, October 14, 2019 3 comments

Pictures of a Week


I'm happy that it's October for several reasons, especially as the cemetery I walk by every day now has extended hours now! (Well, it is the perfect month.)

Here's some shots of one side of the grounds and I'm hoping (dying is too strong a word) to make it to the back area this week.

Having walked past these gates 2x per day, 5x a week for the last two months, when I saw them finally open, I was like, "I'm so going inside."

Starting up the first path, I could already sense every inch was taken...

Many of the grave sites were decorated and well maintained...

...And then, I discovered some grave sites as simple as this one...

Having explored other Spanish cemeteries, they are always fascinating - and full.

Many, if not most, graves at this town cemetery are above ground, which is the norm, at least in this part of the country.

It was sad to see the possibly forgotten laying next to the well-remembered...

No headstone nor ceremony, but at least they had made it to the cemetery...

It was 5:45 p.m. when I entered, and with 15 minutes before the gates were closed, it was nice to walk the peaceful grounds alone.

The moon made an early appearance last week, too.

The trees in Orange Plaza are full of fruit, but no one eats them as they are incredibly sour and not at all tasty!

Which is why this is such a common sight in most every town or city right now!

Someone has a good sense of humor!

Made me hungry for a fish dinner...

One of the roadside barriers was "repaired" the other day!!!

Thank God there's an orange cone there, too. Nothing can go wrong.

Monday, October 7, 2019 7 comments

Reuniting through WhatsApp


For many people on Facebook, joining groups of like-minded people, old friends or former workers is a great way of staying in touch, but with so much going on with Facebook, it can be easy to miss posts or comments from the group...

A couple of years ago a life-long friend of mine got the seven of us arseholes who grew up on the same streets of Dublin together on WhatsApp. Although some of us hadn't talked to one another for more than two sentences in more than two decades, we all joined in, and now we're yapping away whenever someone posts a "picture of current beverage" or has a snarky comment that must be replied to - forthwith!

(For anyone who doesn't know about WhatsApp, it's a free phone app/service [owned by Facebook] that allows messaging, calls and videos to be made between individuals and groups.)

Anyway, the other week, after another good session of laughter and bantering between some of me mates, I thought this is such a good idea - but why not use it for other groups of friends and colleagues that I miss and haven't talked to much?

Working for the former EuroDisney in 1992 was a life-changing experience for me and the months I spent at Annette's Diner, a 50's themed restaurant will never be beaten for the joy, fun, hard work and friendships made.

On 6 September 2019, I posted on Facebook that I was forming a WhatsApp group and invited all the former colleagues in my friend list to invite anyone that they knew.

Over the last few weeks it's been so great to catch up with some friends I haven't spoken to in decades and to hear and share what's been going on in everyone's lives. The 30th anniversary of Annette's opening is 12 April 2022 and we will be there - ALL of us, right T.T. :)

Thanks to Carrie and Marcy for sharing these memory lane pictures!! So, if you have some old buddies, mates or colleagues that you haven't talked to in donkey's years, grab your phone, send out a request and ask WhatsApp :)

The boss arriving at work :)

I think we were happy to be off work - and still amongst friends

Laying down for the good of the group :)

Luckily, Mark grew up and became less shy as time went by...

I still don't have any dance skeels - but the fanny pack is gone!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 8 comments

Trashy Story Re: Garbage. Bin it, They say, but I Refuse!

Some may suggest to bin this story because it’s absolute trash, but I refuse! I demand to share how garbage collection works over here.

Strange subject I know, but it fascinates me because for my entire life, I’ve had a garbage can in the garage or a bin around the side of the house, but over here it works completely different, and it doesn’t matter if you live in a cottage, apartments or detached homes.

Here, i
t’s all about the communal collection of your garbage. 

When I first got here, I lived in an apartment, so me and my first bag of trash rode the elevator down to the basement and I walked over to the Cuarto de basura, but the door to the trash room was locked.

Absolute garbage, I said, looking down at the little, forlorn bag in my hand. What do I do now? I’d seen four huge bins outside, like skips you might see at a construction site, so was that where I was supposed to throw the trash?

 Me and the bag skulked our way up the third floor, which is the ground level and I walked down the entrance, crossed the road, looked left and right, and not seeing anyone, I grabbed the lid of the green container, pushed it up, which was a bit gross, lobbed in the bag—bye friend— and let the lid silently close like a coffin. (Well, it was the dead of night.)

(The clean up guys even arrange to have all the stuff next to the containers picked up, too!)

Not knowing anyone, I still wasn’t sure I’d done the right thing, so over the next couple of days, I snuck glances out of my sixth-floor vantage point and watched as other people from the complex walked over, the lid opened automatically—how did they do that??—and then deposited their trash in the various containers.

Ok, so I’m not doing anything wrong, and that was good to know, but now I had to investigate more. The next day, I walked over to the green one. With some garbage strewn around, it was a bit messy, but I saw it had a metal foot-pedaly bar thing, and when I stomped on it, the lid opened. One mystery solved!

There was also three other containers, yellow for plastics, another green one for cardboard and yet another green one, but this was bell-shaped and that’s were all the bottles and glasses went.

Someone had left part of a couch next to the glass container and I was thinking, ah crap that’s going to be there for weeks, but it was gone the next morning and when I went over that afternoon, all the strewn trash was gone, too. It was—and continues to be—so impressive that the garbage guys who work in the very late evenings dump the respective containers into the trash truck, but if there’s something oversized to be gotten, someone in a flatbed or box van is called and the thing is got.

And, it’s seven days a week.

Fantastic service and truly a community service that needs to be recognized more!

It may not be pretty, but we'd be lost without garbage containers -- and the hard-working men and women who do the dirty work on our behalf!

Monday, September 30, 2019 5 comments

Art Bell

At 50.5 years old, I’m hugely lucky(blessed) to have attended only two close-to-me funerals, and for both of those it was a grandparent, so I wasn’t expected to give a speech or write an obituary. 

Today though, I want to celebrate a life that was—and is—important to me. When you read his name, I guess there'll be two main reactions.

Either you’ll smile when I say Art Bell, or you’ll go who? and possibly do a Google search, so I'll save you the trouble. You can find out about him here.

I first “met” Art Bell in 1996 when I was a restaurant manager in Atlanta, GA, and as I generally had the late shift and a boring 30-minute drive home, I scanned the AM radio in my Pontiac Sunbird convertible. (It is truly the squarest convertible ever made, but by God, it was my first of any car and I loved that ‘86 rust bucket!)

One night, I found this deep voice dude talking about UFOs and I was instantly hooked!

As time went by, I listened to Coast-to-Coast AM at 2 or 3 a.m. more often, and became so entertained that I was never sleepy and sometimes continued listening once I got home and began the nightly ritual of restaurant decompression.

Art Bell.

A complicated man, but a blessing to those who needed him when we needed him (I never fell asleep or crashed on the way home!) Daytime radio listeners may think of Sean or the hosts of All Things Considered, but for us night owls, there will only ever be one (lower case) rush— and that was Art Bell.

I’ll never forget listening about Mel’s Hole, or amazing interviews with Michio Kaku, Malachi Martin, Richard C. Hoagland and so many more such as JC and Ma Bell (Ma Bell is easy to figure out, but it’s so well-worth finding out about the very strange and unique JC :)

The best part of the 5-hour show was when Art opened the lines to the always unscreened callers.

“West of the Rockies, you’re on the air,” he’d say, sometimes swiftly followed by, “Turn down your radio, please!”

Here is a 1999 interview Art did on Larry King Live. I want to say a public thank you to those who established the Ultimate Art Bell station, which streams replays of his shows via TuneIn radio. Art’s show ran for more than 20 years, so there’s little worry about getting bored.

Now that the shows are available 24/7 (without ads!!), they'e also fun to listen to from a historical point of view—especially the end-of-year prediction shows where Art would take predictions from listeners about the upcoming year and relate the success of that year’s predictions. (Some nailed it, we had a financial meltdown in 2008, but we’re nowhere close to living on Mars... yet.)

Sadly, Art died in April 2018, but as mentioned above, his voice, huge heart, endearing patience and absolute understanding of his middle-of-the-night audience will never be beaten.

RIP, Art Bell, formerly of the Kingdom of Nye. 

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