Skrimish: Michael’s Ultimate 21st Birthday Bash!!!!

Hello my fellow readers!  On August 2, 2015, I had the privilege and honor to attend my brother Michael’s 21st Birthday Bash at Skrimish, which is located in the state of Pennsylvania, USA.  Skrimish is a recreational facility in which one or groups of people can play the exciting and fast pace game of paintball.

When Michael first introduced the idea of playing paintball, I was excited!  All those years of intense training are final going to put to use;  All the sweat, all the tears, all the thumb throbbing will be worth it.  I say “thumb throbbing” and “training”  because the training and pain in reality was hours upon hours of first person shooter video-games on my favorite consoles.  Ha, Ha, Ha!  In all seriousness, playing paintball with a group of friends and family, unleashed a fantasy that I have always wanted to participate in, which is playing on the battlefield such as one would play on the battlefield of a video-game.

The Skrimish facility is a very large area and within their boarders lies many different fields of play.  For example, there is a forest field, where there is large amount of cover constructed with wood, empty water tanks, etc underneath the shade of tall trees.  There was a open plains area with large tanks to use as cover as well as an area with an small airplane and other large flying related objects.  It was awesome!

It was an exciting experience.  All of the participants received a rental camouflage suit, a leather torso body armor, a belt clip with holsters for ammo storage, a standard paintball gun, a helmet/mask, and approximately 800 paint-balls.  We were divided into two teams of 14 players and played games such as “team elimination” and “capture the flag.”  The last game we played was “castle siege.”  The castle siege game had one team to defend the castle while the other team advanced to the castle to try to capture a flag.  The only negative aspect of the game was getting hit by the paint-balls.  They sting…hard, especially in rapid succession.  The hits can leave a slight mark, which is why wearing the appropriate safety equipment can make all the difference when playing the game.

Here are some photos of the experience.  For obvious reasons, I could take any photographs of live game play.  I really wish I could have, it would have been awesome!

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The photo above is a group shot of all the participants of that day’s games and festivities.

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Here is the referee and our personal guide for the day.  At this point in time, within the photo, the referee is explaining the rules and regulations of playing paintball.

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The photograph above illustrates some of us shooting paint-balls at the shooting gallery.  This was at the end of our adventure.  Whomever had extra paint-balls remaining, they were unleashed at the targets at the range.

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In the photograph above lies the Birthday Boy, my brother Michael.  All Suited Up and Ready for Action!

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This is me, at the shooting range…all suited up!

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Group Shot of the Game Veterans.  Most of our players were from the Bronx, hence the sign.

The overall experience was fun and awesome.  I would definitively want to do this again!  I want to personal thank my brother Micheal for organizing and hosting this awesome event, I also want to thank all the friends and family who came and participated in on the awesome fun!

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Garden Project with Recycled Pallets: Vertical Garden Beds, A New, Improved Blueprint

Hello all my fellow readers…remember reading my last post and how it was in regards to details on how to construct a vertical garden bed with a recycled pallet or skid?  Well, I am updating that post with new important information on a new blueprint design and a new updated photograph of the finished project.

Upon my construction sequences and after more research, I discovered that more steps can be taken in order to construct a “proper” vertical garden bed.  In my first attempt, I told you, the readers, that after the pallet was affixed with filter fabric, the vertical garden bed was complete.  Then the soil was to be added through the spaces in between the boards and then planted with flowers, herbs, or veggies.  Then after 2 weeks, the vertical garden bed could be risen; once the plants fully root and lock in the potting soil, preventing the soil from leeching out.  To some extent that is true, however, there is another way to make a vertical garden bed which is, in my opinion, a better way to do it.

The idea behind this new design is to line a vertical garden bed with filter fabric pockets along the bottoms of each plank of wood.  By doing this, it creates “boxes” within the structure for one to plant flowers or herbs into rather easily and allow the product to stay vertical all the time.  This design also uses less potting soil than the previous plan.

Part I: Materials

Materials Used in Construction

Materials Used in Construction

In order to construct a Vertical Garden Bed one should have:

  • 1 to 2 Wooden Pallets (Skids)
  • A Roll of Landscape Fabric (also called Filter Fabric/Weed Barrier), 4′ Height or larger
  • Hammer & Nails
  • Power-Drill & Matching Screws
  • Drill Bits (for making holes in the wood)*
  • Extra Recycled Lumber Planks/Sheets
  • Staple Gun & Matching Staples
  • 2 Cubic Feet of Organic Potting Soil (enough fill the pallet pockets at the end)
  • Ruler and Marker (for measuring and marking)
  • Skill Saw or Hand Saw (Cutting Additional Lumber)
  • A Pair of Sharp Scissors
  • Sand Paper or a Sander (Use Fine-Grain & Course-Grain Sand Papers)
  • Hand Brush, Broom and Dust Pan
  • Measuring Tape and Marker (Black)
  • Cutting Knife
  • Small, Very Flat Crow Bar (to remove wooden planks from the pallet)
  • Safety Equipment: Dust Mask, Gloves, Safety Glasses.

Part II: Clean Up the Pallet, Sand it Down!

Use the Sand Paper or a Power Sander to smooth the pallet down and any additional lumber that may be used later on in this project. This will help to increase the products overall appeal and help to prevent splinters.  Use the course grained paper to scratch out the loose wooden splinters on the planks.  Then use the fine grained sand paper to make the planks smoother.  After that, brush off any excess saw dust and splinters; keep the pallet and the work area clean.  When doing this work, make sure to wear the dust mask and safety glasses.  This step can be done at the end after all is said and done, but before flower or herb planting, because a large portion of the pallet will be covered by filter fabric anyway.  The section that needs to be sanded down is the front side of the pallet, where the flowers and/or herbs will be showcased.

Part III: Affixing the Additional Recycled Lumber

Okay..First of all, designate one side of the pallet to be the front (where the flowers/herbs will be planted later on) and one side to be the back.  Then designate on side to be the top and the other to be the bottom.  The goal now is to completely cover the back side with the additional lumber, making it one solid piece (no gaps between the planks).  For this step you will need to use the power saw or saw, measuring tape, markers, screws and power drill, etc.  Please be careful when operating any power equipment and wear the appropriate safety equipment at this juncture; acquire some experience help if needed.

Part IV: Removing the Planks 

Applying the Landscape Fabric Part I

A Wooden Pallet, Untouched…more or less

More often than not, a wooden pallet will be incomplete; meaning loosened planks, tight or broad plank spacing.  This means that adjustments are to be made especially when the spacing between the planks on the front side is under 3″; unless ones hands are small, it will be difficult for one to plant the flowers or herbs in between the pallet spaces after all is said and done.  Also, any other work to be done in the future steps of the project will be increasingly difficult.  Take my word for it, I learned the hard way.  Anyway, remove all but the top and bottom planks on the “front” side of the pallet.  Later on, the spacing between to planks is to measure to be 3-4″ and then the planks are to be re-affixed to the pallet.  Be careful, when using the crowbar; if not use properly, the wooden planks can crack.  After the planks have been removed, set them aside for now and prepare for the next step.

Part V: Making Measurements

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Please Examine the image above before continuing.  Notice how only two planks remain on the “front” side of the pallet; one on top and one on the bottom.  Also notice that the “back” side of the pallet is boarded up with planks and additional lumber.  If your pallet looks similar to the one in the photograph above, then it is in good shape.  Also, there is a bottom plank affixed at the top of the pallet; this is the base piece and can be attached later on.  I advise one not to affix the base piece at this stage in the project.

Take the tape-measure and measure the length and the of from one side of the inside spacing to the other as seen in the photograph above.  Then, measure the width of the inside spacing.  Record the length and width.  Take the recorded length and double it, then add another 4″.  For example, if one measured 16″, then you double it to yield 32″, then add 4″, which makes the new calculated total to be 36″.   Take the recorded width and add 1.5″ to that.  The new set of numbers is important in the next step.

Part VI: Cutting Strips of Filter Fabric

Cutting the Filter Fabric into Individual Stripes

Cutting the Filter Fabric into Individual Strips

Using ones own calculated measurements, cut out 8 or more strips of filter fabric.  These strips are to be used in the next step.

Part VII: Affixing the Filter Fabric Stripes

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Before applying the filter fabric, take the pallet and rotate it so that the designated “top” section is on the bottom and the designated “bottom” sections is on the top; turn the pallet upside down.  I find it easier to work upside when affixing the filter fabric strips. Then, take one piece of the filter fabric strip, fold it in half, and affix it to the bottom as seen in the above photograph by using the staple gun and the appropriate staples (10mm staples are recommended).  Folding the fabric in half will essentially double its strength and help hold a larger amount of soil more securely.  Use the hammer to hit the staples in order to make sure that the staples seep all the way into the wood.

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After affixing one set on both sides, take one of the planks, that was removed earlier, and screw it on the pallet, after spac
ing it 3″ or so from the bottom plank as seen in the photograph above.  Then add another plank and continue this process until you reach the last plank of the pallet.

Part VIII: Attach the Base 

Using an additional piece of lumber, cut and shape the piece so that it fits across the bottom of the pallet to serve as a base, as seen in the fourth photograph above.  Use the screws and power drill to affix it in place.  After that, take a drill bit of average size to drill 10 or so holes throughout the the base piece.  This will allow water to drain out from the bottom of the vertical garden bed more easily and help to prevent root rot of one’s planted flowers or herbs.  Also, sand down the area that was drilled.

Part IX: Applying the Landscape Fabric

Applying the Landscape Fabric Part I

Applying the Landscape Fabric Part I

The dark colored cloth in the photograph above is the landscape fabric.  Using the scissors, cut the landscape fabric into a large enough piece so that it encompasses 4 out of the 6 sides of the pallet (think of the pallet as a cube) and enough that one can fold the fabric in half, as seen in the image above.  Folding one large sheet in half, helps to strengthen the fabric overall which helps keep the soil in place.

Fold The Corners!

Staple the Fabric, Fold The Corners!

Next step is to staple the fabric on the pallet using the staple gun.  Don’t forget to fold the corners.  Use ones “holiday wrapping skills” to create the folds as needed.  Staple the fabric onto the back planks as well; this will help prevent potting soil from moving into the space between the pallet planks and the fabric.  Also, when the stapling is complete, hammer in the all staples especially the ones that did not penetrate the wood all the way.

Part X: Marveling at The Finished Product

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At this point in the project, the Vertical Garden Bed is now finished.  All that is left to do is to add the organic potting soil in each of the pockets and then plant the flowers or herbs according to ones own style and the lighting condition of the area where the product now stands.  I strongly recommend the use of Organic Potting Soil; if one cannot, for whatever reason, use organic potting soil, please do not plan on planting herbs or vegetables. Remember, “You Are What You Eat!”   Anyway…Have Fun and Always Be Creative!  

As noticed, the vertical garden bed in the photograph above is slightly darker brown in hue than it was in the first set of photographs.  This is because I applied Natural Cedar Oil to the wood in order to preserve it and give it a longer outdoor life.  This is optional however, and if one is to apply the oil or other wood preservatives then the all pieces of the wood must be coated.  Apply the oils at the beginning of the project, after the planks have been removed.  I enjoyed the results, it gave the wood more color.  Make sure to use natural oils especially if one plans on planting herbs or vegetables.

A Fun Gardening Project with Recycled Pallets: Vertical Garden Beds!

When we shop in retail stores of all sizes, we sometimes see these wooden shipping pallets (sometimes called skids) hanging around in various areas of the property.  Does one ever wonder where these pallets go; most likely to the landfills or dumps.  Well instead of discarding them, how about we recycle them and use them in construction to create amazing objects, pieces of furniture, works of art, etc.  Its good, solid lumber…let us not waste it.

After some internet research, I discovered ideas after ideas of what one can construct with wooden shipping pallets.  I learned that creative people crafted wooden crates, small green houses, water features, planters, tables, furniture etc.  Then, I found a cool and creative way to use pallets within the realm of gardening that I felt was a good starting point for myself to tackle.  Wooden Pallets can be used, in conjunction with other materials, to construct Vertical Garden Beds.  What is a vertical garden bed you may be asking yourself…In a nut shell, it is a type of container that stands vertically and has numerous pockets where one can plant numerous annual flowers, herbs, veggies, etc.

I very inspired by my findings; therefore, I decided to construct one with a pallet from my job at Nature’s Cradle Nursery.  Below I am going to illustrate my experiences from this project and explain how to construct a Vertical Garden Bed.  Enjoy!

Part I: Materials

Materials Used in Construction

Materials Used in Construction

In order to construct a Vertical Garden Bed one should have:

  • A Wooden Pallet (Skid)
  • A Roll of Landscape Fabric (also called Filter Fabric or Weed Barrier)
  • Hammer & Nails
  • Power-Drill & Matching Screws
  • Drill Bits (for making holes in the wood)*
  • Extra Lumber Planks (I Used Recycled Plywood Planks, of Course)*
  • Staple Gun & Matching Staples
  • 2 to 3 Cubic Feet of Organic Potting Soil (enough fill the pallet towards the end)
  • Ruler and Marker (for measuring and marking)
  • Skill Saw or Hand Saw* (Cutting Additional Lumber)
  • A Pair of Scissors
  • Sand Paper or a Sander (Use Fine-Grain & Course-Grain Sand Papers)
  • Hand Brush, Broom and Dust Pan
  • Measuring Tape and Marker (Black)

*may not be needed, it depends on the pallet recycled

The above are all the materials that I used in my construction;  Normally one would not need a saw if one recycles a pallet that has planks distributed evenly throughout the entire pallet (both sides).  In that case, one will have to cut and shape their own planks (using the extra lumber) and affix them to the pallet via hammer & nails or screw driver & screws. I learned the hard way…Oh well, Live and Learn!

Part II: Construction, Strengthening the Pallet

Strengthening the Bonds of the Wood Planks

Strengthening the Bonds of the Wood Planks

Lets assume for the moment that the pallet has planks that is evenly distributed throughout as seen in the image above.  The next step, in that case, would be to strengthen the pallet. Unfortunately, the pallet one recycles is often not in perfect shape; some areas are weaker than others.  All one has to do is hammer or drill in additional screws or nails (recommended a combination of both) on the weakened planks.  Inspect the pallet carefully before moving on to the next step.

Please note that the two lighter color planks are the plywood planks that I struggled to affix to the pallet. 

Part III: Attaching a Base, Drilling Drainage Holes (Optional Step)

I recommend that one should affix an piece of extra lumber to one end of the pallet to serve as a solid base.  Depending on the size of the pallet, this could be crucial because when the soil is eventually added to the pallet towards the end, the extra weight could lead to a spillage of the soil from a breakage of the landscape fabric.  More Volume Plus Equals More Soil Weight, Which Equals A Need For Additional Lumber.  Again, this is optional, if you don’t have the extra lumber, then double or triple up on the landscape fabric use or if the chosen pallet is smaller than average, this can be avoided all together.  (The landscape fabric’s role will make more sense soon)

NOTE: If one does attach a base to one end of the pallet, use the power drill and drill bits to make a fair number of small holes within that plank before moving on to the next step. This will allow the water to drain out of the pallet from the bottom easier and help to prevent root rot of the plants.

Part IV: Clean Up the Pallet, Sand it Down!

Use the Sand Paper or a Sander to smooth the pallet down. This will increase it’s overall appeal and help to prevent splinters.  Use the course grained paper to scratch out the loose wooden splinters on the planks.  Then use the fine grained sand paper to make the planks smoother.  If one has a power sander, then smoothing out all areas of the pallet is recommended.  However, if one uses sandpaper, priority is toward the side of the pallet where the plants are going to be eventually planted.  After that, brush off any excess saw dust and splinters; keep the pallet and the work area clean.

Part V: Applying the Landscape Fabric

Applying the Landscape Fabric Part I

Applying the Landscape Fabric

The dark colored cloth in the photo above is the landscape fabric.  Using the scissors, cut the landscape fabric into a large enough piece so that it encompasses 4 out of the 6 sides of the pallet (think of the pallet as a cube) and enough that one can fold the fabric in half, as seen in the image above.  Folding one large sheet in half, helps to strengthen the fabric overall which helps keep the soil in place.  If one did not affix a base on one end of the pallet, then one may want to cut a larger piece and fold three or more times.

Stapling the Landscape Fabric

Stapling the Landscape Fabric

Next step is to staple the fabric on the pallet using the staple gun.

Fold The Corners!

Fold The Corners!

Don’t forget to fold the corners.  Use ones “holiday wrapping skills” to create the folds as needed.  Staple the fabric onto the back planks as well; this will help prevent potting soil from moving into the space between the pallet planks and the fabric.  Also, when the stapling is complete, hammer in the staples that did not penetrate the wood all the way.

Part VI: Fine Tuning

Completed: A Vertical Garden Bed

Completed: A Vertical Garden Bed

All the effort put towards the project is now realized!  The Vertical Garden Bed is Complete!  Before cleaning up, further inspect the pallet to see if all the construction is sound; this is time for fine-tuning.

Part VII: Adding The Soil

Adding The Soil

Adding The Soil

Lay the Pallet on floor, facing up and dump the soil on top.  Using ones arms, push the soil in between the spaces to gradually fill the empty volume of the pallet.  One may need as much as 2 to 3 (or more) cubic feet of potting soil in order to fill the pallet, this depends largely on the volume of the pallet.  I strongly recommend the use of Organic Potting Soil; if one cannot, for whatever reason, use organic potting soil, please do not plan on planting herbs or vegetables.  Remember, “You Are What You Eat!”

Note: The soil used in the photo is not enough to fill the entire pallet.

Part VIII: Planting Your Vertical Garden! 

My Vertical Garden Bed,

My Vertical Garden Bed,

After the Pallet is filled will soil, now is the time to plant one’s choice of flowers, herbs, or vegetables.  This part depends largely on the one who constructed the Vertical Garden Bed.  In my research, it was recommend that one plant the flowers while the bed is flat on the floor (horizontal) and leave it there for two to three weeks in order for the root structure of the plants to grasp the soil firmly before vertical ascension is made;  I am skeptical about this part;  I will find out later because I ran out of time and did not get a chance to plant my flowers.  I’ll update with a photo of my design later on.  In the mean time,  Have Fun and Always Be Creative!

Photographic Lecture by Robert Preston

On Wednesday April 15th, 2015, I had the honor of attending a lecture and slideshow by the serendipitous, wonderful, and inspiring photographer, Robert Preston.  My co-worker and friend Lynne Richy, a member of the Color Camera Club of Westchester, invited me as a guest; to that effect I say “thank you Lynne for inviting me!”  It took place in Stamford, Connecticut, a little ways from where I reside, but in my opinion it was a well worth trip.

The lecture was titled “Serendipity, Good Planning, & Technical Ingenuity in the Creation of Photographs.”  The word “serendipity” will be important later on in this blog post.  Anyway, Robert Preston explained to the audience that he, in fact, was a concert pianist in his earlier days before he became the well know photographer that he is today.  His photographic career first started in the mid 1960’s with the use of film cameras (black and white photography).  As time passed, his skills, as a photographer, became gradually profound and made a few friendships along the way, such as with Ansel Adams; who was an American photographer best known for his iconic images of the American West, including Yosemite National Park.  Robert Preston mentioned that in his early friendship with Ansel Adams, he traded piano lessons for photography lessons.

Remember that word “serendipity” from the last paragraph…well this word is one of the main themes of the lecture.  “Serendipity” is defined as the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way; basically luck and that is what Robert explained to the audience.  He claims that “tremendous luck” is a large component of photography.  Below is an example of a serendipitous moment; the photograph is titled “Light Dume.”

Robert Preston "White Dune" Death Valley, CA

Robert Preston
“White Dune”
Death Valley, CA

He explained that while he was on site in Death Valley, CA, he was photographing the dunes.  He mentioned that the lighting was terrible; the sky was covered in clouds and he could not get the picture that he felt was acceptable under the poor lighting conditions.  Soon as he was to leave, crawling on his left shoulder was the warmth of the sun.  A small opening in the clouds appeared and the sun’s ray slowly began to travel outwards towards the dunes in the distance.  As the sunlight quickly crawled, he hastily took out his camera, making no preparations/adjustments whatsoever, and and the image above was the result…a breathtaking, serendipitous photograph of a fleeting moment in time.  Amazing.

This is what I experienced from the lecture: “Planning is one of the many major component of photography, but one could only plan out so much.  Serendipity or extreme luck is the rare component of photography that can yield fantastic and awe inspiring moments/photographs.  Here is a fact for you, every 15 minute the sun’s light makes noticeable changes.  Therefore, the opportunity to take proper photographs under the right lighting conditions becomes a challenge.  “Luck” is a random occurrence, therefore one must always be ready…or not.

As the slideshow progressed from the middle to the end, he showed us images of his work.  below are a few of my favorites:

Robert Preston Celestial Dream

Robert Preston
Celestial Dream

Robert Preston Embrace

Robert Preston
Embrace

Robert Preston Pond at Sunset

Robert Preston
Pond at Sunset

Robert Preston Botanical Dance (B&W)

Robert Preston
Botanical Dance (B&W)

Robert Preston Live Oak Arch South Carolina

Robert Preston
Live Oak Arch
South Carolina

If you want to know more about Robert Preston please feel free to click here, which is a link to his website which has more examples of his amazing photography, as well as his biography.

As always, thanks for reading!

A Trip to the MoMA, 4/1/2015

On this April’s Fools Day, I went to the MoMA with my fellow Art Students and my friends in the Art Club.   It was part of Westchester Community College’s Trip Week, as the college does every semester.  It was fun, hanging out with my friends in the Art Club; I only see them once a week during the meetings, and don’t spend much time with them after classes are done; they are fun to be with.  The bus ride to the MoMa was filled with laughs, good conversions, and friends.

The MoMA hosted a special exhibition by the artist Bjork.  I was lucky enough to participate in watching her showing titled “Black Lake.”  The film portrayed her, Bjork, in what appears to a seaweed-textured dress as she sung within a cavern or a maze of earth.  At one point, the film illustrated explosive bright blue lava from small volcanoes; it started to flow downwards.  It was a visual representations of the explosive earth.  Click Here to Know More About Bjork and the Exhibition.

We also toured the rest of the museum and discovered the contemporary painting galleries.  We saw paintings by Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Picasso, Kandinsky, etc. I never get tired of seeing these paintings.

There was also an exhibition titled “Making Music Modern.”  I especially enjoyed this exhibition because it show cased a music genre that I particularly enjoy listening to.  There was this section where I saw this wall decorated with Album Art from bands such as the Beetles, the Rolling Stones, the Ramones, Pink Floyd, etc.  There were old concert posters and much more music antiquities.

Overall, I had a fun time.  Here are some photos of the event:

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Indoor Gardening: The Seedlings are Growing!

As you may recall on February 26th 2015, almost one month ago, I began cultivating an indoor vegetable garden from recycled flower trays as well as their respective cell packets.  I am proud to report that a lot of growth has been made on most of the veggies; the exception being one variety of lettuce.

I am excited because the micro greens are almost ready to be harvested.  I can’t wait to try the mixture of tender greens in my next salad or maybe use them to garnish future dinner meals.

Recently, I started to prepare my garden for the Spring season.  The tasks ranged from pulling out the old veggies to raking the soil.  Eventually, I will continue by mixing in organic compost to the soil and then turn over the soil beds.  I was getting really excited and I started thinking that I might get to transplant the seedlings soon.  However, that plan was halted by the addition of another snowfall on March 20th, 2015.  Great…Snow on the first day of Spring..Ugh!

Don’t worry!  Winter is almost over and Spring will come…someday.

Take a look at the photographs and see the growth:
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A Night with The “Piano Man”

On the evening of 3/09/2015, my brother and I traversed through the Mahattan streets to Madison Square Garden (MSG) to attend Billy Joel’s 50th MSG Concert.  I am going to be honest, this was my very first live concert that I have ever attended in my life and it was one of the most exciting evenings I have ever had.  My Brother Angelo purchased the tickets and presented them to me as a Chirstmas Gift; best Christmas present EVER!
Here is a picutre from our seats before the show started; it was a FULL HOUSE:

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Here’s Billy, from far away…

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Unfortunately, we were sitting relatively far from the stage.  So most of the images that I photographed came out blurry.

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However, on a positive note, at several points during the concert the room grew dark and cellphone lights flooded the room; this created a beautiful starry night sky.  I was awestruck.

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The highlight of the concert, for me, was when the song “Downeaster Alexa” was performed.  That is my favorite Billy Joel song; it is a powerful song and I love it so.  What made it spectacular was thar fact that Itzhak Perlman, who is said to be the “Incognito World Famous Violinist”, came onto the stage and played his volin for the song.  He was fantastic and truely carried the song to higher levels that I have never experienced before.

What a wonderful evening, I will never forget it.  Thank You Angelo! I also thank you, Billy Joel and the talented crew for a specatcular evening. Billy Joel is the true “Entertainer!”

A Visit to the New York City Mineral Show

The New York City Mineral Show is back in Manhattan and it was a wonderful time for my brother and I to experience.  This is my second time attending and I find that this time around there were even more beautiful minerals to observe.  One can find a glorious array of colorful minerals distributed by an assortment of different suppliers and dealers.  We passed by my Brother’s favorite dealer, John Betts; his minerals are always displayed with care and his selection is high quality.

The event was held in one of the show rooms within the Holiday Inn on 440 West 57th Street, NYC.  There was an incredible collection of minerals being displayed.  My brother and myself were able to purchase some great finds to further progress our own personal collections.  Below are some images from the showing.  Also, the event will still be open for one more day on March 8th, 2015.

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Indoor Gardening; Beat the Winter Blues!

So Begins another year of Gardening; I retrieved my shovels, my gloves, and my other tools out from the garage and headed out to the garden, only to find it covered in snow and ice.  So…rather than picking and shoveling out snow and ice.  What to do, What to do?

To get into the gardening spirit, I decided to start my adventure indoors.  I began by gathering my recycled, empty flower trays and filled them with organic potting soil;  Then after selecting cold weather tolerant vegetable seeds such as lettuces, carrots, artichokes, etc., I planted them into the trays and later applied water.

I am trying some new vegetables this year such as artichokes, micro greens, and swiss chard; I love swiss chard, it makes a great green leaf for the salad.  I am trying artichoke for one of my brothers because he enjoys the taste of prepared artichoke.  I am also planting the usual broccoli, assorted lettuces, carrots, beets, seeds and more.

Now we wait and see what happens; I will keep you posted on the progress.  Below are images of the experience and I hope that they are to your liking…I can’t wait for Spring 2015 to get here.

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Nature’s Cradle Art Exhibition Success!

I am pleased to announce that Nature’s Cradle Nursery’s annual Art Exhibition was a great success.  I am especially proud that my family had arrived at this function to support me in every way possible.  I received a large amount of feedback regarding my artwork and I hope that it will inspire me in my works to come.  I was overcome with joy and excitement just from watching people and my family gaze upon my artwork with interest and amazement.  There was good people, delicious food, and great art; what more could one ask for.

I would also like to thank those who were in attendance, especially my family, but for those of you who were unable to attend the opening night, the artwork will still be on display for the rest of the week until Friday (2/20/2015).  Therefore, if you have not had a chance to stop in please do so.  The gallery will be open during normal business hours which are as followed: Monday thru Friday (9am – 5pm), Saturday (9am-4pm), and Sunday (10am-3pm).

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