DAP’s, Portable Rig And Driveline Specs Updated For Reviews, Going Forward

DAP’s, Portable Rig And Driveline Specs Updated For Reviews, Going Forward…

The Updated Specs are in Bold below.

AK120 Portable Digital Audio Player and Amplifier Stack ©Christmachine 2017

 

VinylTransfer(Needledrop) / Reel To Reel Transfer/ HD TRAcks/ CD to FLAC/ALAC/ WAV/.mp3(320kbps) -> AK120 (No Mods) 24/192 Capable Portable Audio Reference Server (2 X Stock Wolfson WM8740 DAC’s [One For Each Channel]) w/ 3-ohm output impedance (64GB Onboard FLASH + 2 x 200GB San Disk Micro SDXC-10 Cards) -> ALO Audio SXC 22 mini to mini 3 Wire Silver Plated Copper -> ALO Audio International Headphone Amp w/ 24bit96kHz DAC w/ Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC Chip -> ALO Audio Green Line (balanced universal mini XLR) w/classic copper sends and silver-plated copper returns -> ALO Audio Green Line RSA 4 pin Balanced XLR -> Audeze LCD2 Bamboo rev. 2G w/mini XLR Metal Reinforced Male Input Connects.

Additional DAP Source Players: Fiio X5 & The Pono Player (For Cross Reference Listening).

Additional Headphones Used: Sennheiser HD700, Audio Technica ATH M50 (OLD Model w/ Coil Chord), Sony MDRV6 (Studio Monitor w/ Coil Chord).

Note #1…I do not use IEM’s (In Ear Monitors) so one has to know whether or not their particular IEM’s match with the 3 Ohm Output Impedance of the AK120.

Note #2…You will notice that the AK120 was not modified (for lower output impedance) as I did with the AK100.  The reason I chose not to modify is because I wanted to use a stock AK120 player…so others could hear what I was hearing if they so choose.

 

Here Is a link to the Spec Sheet for the AK120 (PDF Opens New Tab).

http://www.soundfidelity.co.uk/media/downloads/products/AstellKern_AK120_Manual_English.pdf

 

Disclaimer:  As you know this site is not here to sell anyone anything, so I must disclose that the Pono Player was given to me, as I was an early stage beta tester.  I did not know I was going to be asked to be a beta tester nor did I know that we would be able to keep the player after testing was completed.  More on that another time…I will say that whatever you have read, the people behind Pono are well intentioned.  They created a damn good DAP…all criticisms aside, they really were and are (in the end) just trying to move Hirez forward.  This is a win for all.  The Pono Player will not be a main feature in reviews…I just wanted to let people know my source DAP’s for info.

 

As Far as the other DAP’s:

Some quick thoughts that might be helpful.  I never use the bundled software with the DAP units.  You want headaches…then use the software.  I simply use the DAP’s as default external drives, when plugged into the computer, just drag and drop my music files / folders into the onboard flash or memory cards.  I fill the memory cards by using the adaptor that comes with the cards and do the heavy transferring of music files via the memory card slot on the computer.

Another helpful hint, with the exception of the Pono Player which automatically scans my it’s memory at startup, I never ever ever scan my AK120 DAP…there is no need for me to do so.  I turn automatic scanning off on the AK120 and just remember where I put the files.  I just organize the folders in a way that makes it pretty simple to navigate.  On occasion it will take a minute or two to find something but it’s not a burden.

I don’t listen the way most people do…I do not use playlists, I tag my own files with mp3 Tag freeware, I listen to full albums (except for maybe electronic).  Every time I listen to an album I try to listen for something I never heard before, and every time…no matter how many listens, it presents itself.  I’m not trying to tell anyone how to listen to their music but I see people giving excellent DAP’s a bad review because the software was buggy, or they fill their memory cards with hundreds of GB of music while in the DAPs’ expansion slots.  Sometimes the GUI in the player itself is a little glitchy, but never miserable unless you’re expecting iPhone fast.

I Have had the AK120 for 2 years now and I use it daily with no battery issues…recharge is  slow, just plug in at night and it’s ready to go the next morning.  I do not use the DAP’s continuously all day, I switch between the phone to DAP’s throughout the day and they just work.  A little clunky but sounds damn good enough to make up for any shortfalls.

Next Up Reviews…

 

 

If there’s anything I forgot I will add to the update section below this sentence.

Update: 

As of today 02/23/17 No Updates At This Time.
Thanks For Reading & All Your Endless Support!

Love You Lots! Stay Well, Be Kind & Bless.

Tak Tak, Bless!

Grazie, Ciao!

Obrigadx, Tchau! Adeus!

Gracias, Adios!

Danke, Tchuss!

Merci, Au revoir!

Dank je…Bedankt, Alstublieft!

Merci Vilmal, Adeau!

Gracies, Adieu!

Gracies, Adeu!

 

CM ☕

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the (nutty) author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

Copyright © 2017 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine ☕

Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server – Social Media Icons Explained

Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server – Social Media Icons Explained ~

Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Christmachine social media Icons Simplified…It is necessary to do two posts in quick succession before I start unloading all of the Christmachine Audio Reference Server Quality Standards Catalog recommended as best sources to seek out for your listening pleasure.

I will start with an explanation of the second post which will follow soon after (above) this one, just so you know why, as well as my reasoning for this approach.  The following post will be a rundown of the gear / rig(s) that I have been using for the last two years.  It is somewhat similar to an earlier post a few years back (which I will link to below) except for the different Digital Audio Players (DAP’s – More than one) and there updated specs, that have improved the sound quality without my taking a major hit in price to upgrade.  It’s not super cheap to be fair, but I would say within the price range for anyone who already spends money on gear and music already.

You could do with what gear you already have on hand, even go a whole different route and purchase gear within your price range as well as what sounds good to your ears.  You just have to know that your gear supports the formats you get (Easy: see your device specs), and that if you are going to listen to high bitrates that the doc / dacs (Digital To Analog Converter(s)) have to also be able to support and output the quality (# Bit Depth / kHz Sample Rate) of the audio files.

If the file formats are not supported then a little research is needed to convert and preserve the integrity of the files.  If the internal dac / dacs downsample the audio, it will still sound Very Good at say (16/44) but you will not be making use of the full range of sound afforded by the recordings.

If 16/44 is enough for you then you will have the highest quality 16/44 around, he heh!  Make it fun anyway and compare to your CD versions as well as any digital files such as .mp3’s or .mp4’s, notice any differences. Remember that listening tastes change over time,  according to your current perspective (mood/biases), and is greatly affected by ambient noise in your surroundings.  It does not have to be maniacal, whatever floats the boat, right–yeah!

So the next post will show you my reference / listening gear, so that you can get a general idea as to how I listen and made the decisions for this standardized “Christmachine: Audio Reference Server Catalog“.  The three key words to remember are “Reference”, “Standard”, and “catalog”.  These reviews are from “my” personal “reference catalog”.  Therefore it is my subjective opinion as to the “standard”.  It’s not rocket science.

The fun again, is comparing and contrasting different audio sources and training your ears and brain through a critical listening process that will mature over time.  You can learn this on your own, i.e. by say focusing on the individual instruments and differeing sound signatures, etc. inside and between various recordings of the same piece of music mastered for each specific medium and format.

Keep in mind that the recordings must be of the same sessions or you will then be getting into a whole other realm, known as artist interpretations.  These are quite common in Classical Music, for example, for different musicians, conductors, or composers interpreting a standard legacy piece (Say Mozart’s “Requiem” or Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” or Beethoven’s 9th Symphony) differently or according to how they believe it should be represented or played.  That’s another realm of exploration, but I digress.

You already own…right now, “your own” personal reference catalog and may not think of it that way.  These are just meant to be my personal recommendations, if you want to attempt to take the music to another level.  If you listen to one or two or three and disagree, happy where your at, then great.  You can always use this site (or not 😉  ) as a reference, and be solid in your opinion….”knowing” where you think I am wrong.

Here is the link I referred to above for reference to my previous rig…

http://www.christmachine.com/christmachine/show-off-the-portable-rig-and-driveline-specs/

 

Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Next I just want to take a moment to explain the social media icons, located in the upper right hand corner wedge on all the pages of this website.  There is a reason the icons visual logos do not correspond to the correct link and take you to another of my social media graveyards…heh.  For example the first icon that represents “Linked In” will take you to my twitter page…the reason being that I do not put those icons there to redirect you somewhere else to mess with you.  I do it because, having the right icon for each link just means more traffic and I am not doing this for clicks.  This is a archive website, no frills, not trying to break the net.

So below this paragraph I will post all the links in the order that they are represented in the corresponding icons.  If you want to click on these links to check them out, then you can just ignore the social media icons.  Most of the links are graveyards (save for a few), as I said earlier, but they will be used heavily once I get this website really full of fresh content and reviews.

Another thing there are some other links that readers have been going to via search engines thinking that they are mine. A few are not, and that is why I am explaining and posting all the links here.  For example…there is more than one Christmachine Youtube account…so now you will be able to see the right one, same for FB, and a few others.

Also there are a few links that I use daily, so I added them to the icons and are not my pages, but use them for reference for say Discogs and Wiki Languages and Omniglot.  Some of them like Discogs are there because I reference then a lot in regards to this website, and obviously you can use them too, for cross reference and search.  The Dynamic Range Database is in there as well…again, pertinent to this website.  So here they are for our reference.  All the links below are hot but open in a new tab, so be aware of that if you are on mobile. Stay well!

 

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/christ_machine

 

Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRealChristMachine

 

Scoop.IT:

http://www.scoop.it/u/christmachineandicelandicgurlagenda

 

Omniglot:

http://www.omniglot.com

 

DR – Dynamic Range Database:

http://dr.loudness-war.info

 

Tumblr:

http://christmachine.tumblr.com

 

Christmachine Google Image Search:

https://www.google.com/search?q=christmachine&hl=en&biw=1221&bih=680&site=webhp&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiU3-KV–PRAhWTdSYKHW-uCFwQsAQIIA#imgrc=_

 

Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/ChristMachine/favorites/

 

Christmachine WordPress.com:

https://christmachine.wordpress.com

 

Christmachine RSS Feed:

(You must have a RSS Reader Installed / Or Shared Links On Mac)

feed://www.christmachine.com/feed/

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/public/Lincoln-Dottir-Christmachine

 

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/christ_machine/

 

Discogs:

https://www.discogs.com

 

Soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/christmachine/following

 

Wikipedia Languages:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Wikipedias

 

Google+:

https://plus.google.com/116278604902632351342

 

Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/christmachine/

 

There you have it…Current Rig post up next! And then…  😉 🙂 😉

 

Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

 

Thanks For Reading & All Your Endless Support!

Love You Lots! Stay Well, Be Kind & Bless.

 

Tak Tak, Bless!

Grazie, Ciao!

Obrigadx, Tchau! Adeus!

Gracias, Adios!

Danke, Tchuss!

Merci, Au revoir!

Dank je…Bedankt, Alstublieft!

Merci Vilmal, Adeau!

Gracies, Adieu!

Gracies, Adeu!

 

CM ☕

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the (nutty) author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

Copyright © 2017 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

 

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine ☕

Irish and Italian Associates Make Strange Bedfellows For Organized Crime In Boston in the 1990’s… [First Pass Edit]

This excerpt is inspired by true events. Some of the characters , names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been changed for anonymity purposes. Any similarity to the names, character or history of any person is purely coincidental.

 

The Conclusion of Part 2 – Canada Unleashed: Montreal to Vancouver…Is coming up in the subsequent post. Thank you for your patience!

 

With the universe as my witness, I write because I have to. It is just how writers do things, 48674493wkpand as we know it does not have to follow any sensible guidelines…it can be about some pretty fucked up shit. It does bother me sometimes that the focus is on the frailties of others, sometimes even of those we look up to. It’s further strange how we as people find ourselves fascinated by movies, stories…any medium where we can find ourselves sympathetic to the villains. Music, Cinema, Photography, Art…just about anything, especially when there were real lives connected and destroyed by monsters. We laugh, repeat and mimic lines (whole scenes even), over and over again…we reset the knife or a bullet to the head and chest. I’m not passing judgement, just making an observation. The way violence plays out in real life is worth a shit ton of money, only the victims loose any sleep over it…pretty messed up when you think about it. Dollars drenched with tears, there is blood on our hands. We don’t cause the accident, but we can’t look away either.

It’s very easy to romanticise the days of old in the ethnic neighborhoods of any city, you know before all the gentrification happened and ruined it all. The world governments saw a powerfully lucrative stranglehold of an oportunity to legislate control of their own brand of organized crime. In the past “problems” were handled locally along familial, ethnic, and cultural lines. Now these problems are handled administratively by jurisdictional governmental law through taxes, fees, and for profit institutions.

Go to the neighborhoods now and a fascade of the old country still exists but it does not have the same soul. If the violence was part and parcel of the family ties, part of what gave the neighborhood soul, then I guess it’s better that we have all moved on in the last few decades. Although it did not mean to start out that way, with the eventual corruption of “Respect” and the “Code of silence” by power and greed, with the responsibility placed rightfully on the perpetrators — as that “silence” evolved into sociopathy, this led to everyone singing like birds in last ditch attempts to survive. After all it was one of the most famous gangsters in modern history who said, ‘To get where I am today, I had to burn every bridge that I ever crossed to the ground’…clearly there must have never been any intention of going back. Just as black on black violence has become perversely acceptable, warehousing of the mentally ill and addicts in prisons tolerable, white on white ethnic violence being the only slight outlier, nonetheless all of it was and still is an unholy and unacceptable terror.

I must have had a lot of misconceptions about my environment at the time, but it was the 5766489mn“beloved” neighborhood. It’s only been in recent years that I have been able to fully understand what was really going on around me, things that I had no control over. You know how it is, one hopes to feel good about the neighborhood they choose to move into…it’s only natural to look the other way. There was so much bubbling under the surface that I did not know of, nor would I want to know for that matter. It’s just striking to think that in the middle of all this awesome culture and family and worldy seamlessness, that a large part of what held it all together was so dangerous. It was obviously a case of naiveté on my part, not in the sense of lacking street smarts, as I was aware of organized crime. I actually knew that some of my friends families (over many years) were involved in it, not any specifics…it just was just “unspoken knowledge” if you know what I mean. Gruesome violence was always overshadowed with, “they had it coming kind of vibe”. Catholics and Christians really have it lucky in this arena, you know “The Jesus Christ Option”, all you have to do is ask to be forgiven on your deathbed and whamo…heaven sent! No time at all in Purgatory, what a bargain (That is if you believe in that sort of thing), No!

In the Italian section of the city, there were no supermarkets or big box stores and it was wonderful. In the morning after a couple of espressos, I would head to my local butcher, who would hack the section of meat desired off a fresh carcass in cold storage. The cleaver would come out to section chops or ribs right in front of me. For burgers and meatballs he would grind, also right in front of me, 70% beef and 30% pork to order. The reason for mixing the pork (aside from it’s amazing flavor) was to add some fat to the ground beef. The beef was so lean, that it needed some pork fat to not come apart when cooking a burger on the grill. Assorted Dry Salamis, Sausages, Prosciuttos, and Cappocola hung from the ceiling for the taking. After a little bit of everything wrapped in butchers paper, it was time to move onto the cheese shop.

If I thought the butcher shop was great then the cheesemonger formaggi was divine. Here I would get the finest aged extra sharp Yellow Italian Provolone and while it was being sliced I would taste test the ripe Gorgonzolla, Fontina, Asiago, and Parmesano-Regianna. Grabbing a block of each as needed, the store also served as a local Latteria, so I would also get some local sourced Raw Milk, Mozzarella Di Bufala, and a bucket of Ricotta. After getting what I needed and tasting a world of flavors over a few minutes time, I would stop at the pizza shoppe right next door for a huge slice of Ricotta pizza…their specialty. The Ricotta baked onto the pizza shell was an inch thick and was cooked to exactly the right moment when the surface of the cheese would just start to thicken and brown into a carmelized slice of heaven. The pizza pulled from the oven at just that moment of perfection so as not to burn. The slice could be eaten without care from one hand as I walked to my next destination, the perfect balance between savory and sweet.

The Panaficio was right around the corner and I would purchase my desired breads and pastries. Some Scali, Focaccia, and Ciabatta for Panini’s (sandwiches) and occasional Lobster Claws and Pistachio Macaroons. Right next store to that was the Vegetable Market where I could get the best (just harvested and/or in season) Cilantro, Carrots, Onions, Broccoli Raab, Basil, Red and Green Peppers, Red Potatoes, and Romaine Lettuce. I would also grab assorted fruits: Plum Tomatoes, Olives, Peaches, Pomegranates, Green Beans, Bosc Pears, and Eggplant. Every year I would pine for the time of year, the arrival of the fresh and slightly ripened green whole figs to slice and eat the green gooey flesh…a whole bag sometimes until it gave me a stomach ache. That shit was some serious natural candy.

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Johnny Depp – “Black Mass” Movie [Warner Brothers Promotional Photo]

These days some might think, what a pain in the ass to go all these places for your food. I can assure you that it was not, and is one of the best experiences one could ever have in life. Exactly the way it’s still done in many parts of the world…you got to know and talk to the people, actually see the hands that helped you to gather and select your provisions. The proprietors would clue you in on a seasonal or new gem that had fallen into their hands. We the locals got first dibs and a taste test of everything bought, and more importantly might desire to buy. I have never bought a tomato in a supermarket or big box store that had that distinct heirloom tomato taste, NEVER. The nightshade family, oh an ode to the nightshades…did you know that Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant are all in the same family as Tobacco (Nightshade Solanaceae)? Did you also know that all of these nightshade varieties contain small amounts of nicotine, even more when unripe? This is why nicotine is known to be one of the most effective and safe pesticides. This naturally stable form of nicotine is what helps keep pests away from the fruit. Oh how do I long for those days again.

There were several execution style murders right in front and in the area of my butcher shop, within the stretch of only one or two years. It was very strange how when a shooting would happen it would blow over so quick. White on white gangster crime obviously not a big priority for the police. I remember walking down the street after the bodies had already been removed, the shop owners would be outside washing their sidewalks with pressure washers as the blood ran in the gutters to the storm drains. The incidents would not even make big news…like page six at best.

I actually did not know that some of these murders were literally right on the sidewalk directly in front of my butchers’ street facing store front window. I had noticed right after the killings that the butcher shop had drawn closed steel garage doors, but because it was afternoon I just thought he had closed up for the day. The next morning while getting some stocks he told us what happened. That he was tending shop and all of a sudden bap bap bap, three shots and three dead people right in the street in the light of the day. He said it was over before anyone even had the time to register that something this crazy had happened. Their were just dead bodies lying all over the street. At that moment, a lot of shop keepers including him closed up shop for the day. Precisely the reason why his steel safety garage doors were closed so early in the day.

My flat was in the direct cross roads of the North End, in between Prince and Charter Streets. Not far from my door stoop was the Old North Church, famous for Paul Revere’s ride (“One if by Land, two if by sea”, in reference to the British Invasion of the US). Looking South was Haymarket Square and Faneuil Hall. At the time Boston’s Big Dig Construction Project was in full swing and was a major demarcation point separating the North End from Downtown Boston. It was early in 1990 and I was working two jobs to make ends meet. One was at the Fish Pier by day and the other I had begun in 1989 working at all the clubs on Lansdowne Street. I was tasked with local concert crew and band/ stage/ venue security.

Coach was dealing weed out of the flat at the time, but we were small fish, just small amounts of green to people who we were friends with (mostly College Students…none of whom lived in the North End). What was strange though was that as anyone who smokes weed knows that at times there would be “dry spells”, meaning that for many possible reasons…that a city or a whole state (or region) would have times when there was no weed to be had. The suppliers higher up on the food chain would be completely out or “dry”, unable to supply the street level dealers. This would cause minor panic within the weed community because they were unable to get their daily high. I remember one particular dry spell which lasted several months because a major dealer had been pinched by the feds for trafficking cocaine and marijuana. The thing was that Coach’s dealer never hit this dry spell so we always still had weed, but again Coach did not sell to anyone in The North End. The word that was going around in the neighborhood was that it was impossible to find a dime bag of weed, but heroin was plentiful everywhere for a mere five dollars a bag (and it was extremely potent). I’m sure you can see where this was heading, right down the tubes, and fast.

I remember one day hearing commotion outside my apartment window, dogs were barking, kids and people were whistling and screaming. So I head over to the window overlooking the street and I see a young guy who I knew was a local. He was rolling and falling onto the hoods of cars, obviously extremely high on heroin. He kept nodding out and waking up again over and over falling on to the sidewalk. Next thing I know, I see his elderly mother come around the corner with a broom screaming at him about being a “Waste” and a “Junky”. Next she starts beating him with the broom, first with the brush part then the wood handle. I was thinking this is crazy…and as usual whenever something crazy like this happened in the neighborhood, you could feel the eyes of all the people living on the street focused on what was going on from the awkward comfort of their flat’s living rooms. It was very sad, someone must have called emergency services because a few minutes later an ambulance pulls up and scoops him off the sidewalk to take him to the hospital. That’s just one example, but incidences like this were happening with more frequency.

It was normal each day to walk past the old timers sitting out in front of their stores, homes, or social clubs located in the basements of the packed together row houses. There was one guy in particular that stood out…he was often by himself sitting out in front of his building and although he was almost always alone…he seemed to interact with everyone in the neighborhood from his sharp little corner. I always greeted him everyday and he was very cordial in response. One particular day I walked by him and after saying hello, I continued on as usual. Next I went down to one of the local haunts in the tourist areas of downtown to sit and have some pints of beer.

The bartender who I knew pretty well from my patronage at his bar, was complaining that day about back pain. Somehow we got on the topic of pills, percosets to be exact, saying he needed to pick some up when he got off work. I half-jokingly asked if I could get a few as well, he affirmed and just had to make a phone call. Like ordering pizza, the only difference was that they did not deliver and that I would have to go get them from someone in the North End. Hmmm…that’s a strange coincidence. Not only that but he said that I could go get them right away if I wanted. He explained to me where I had to go and as luck would have it…I was going to get them from the guy I passed every day on the corner and had been saying hello to for like forever. Of all places to send me in the city, the bartender was an Irish guy from “Southie” (South Boston) directing me to my own neighborhood in the Italian section, the North End to pick up the pills.

I quickly finished my pint and got on it. It only took about ten minutes to walk there. So I cautiously walk up to the guy and I say, “So and so” sent me to pick something up. Without pause he yells out the name of a woman, then proceeds to tell me to go inside the door behind him…to walk up to the apartment at the top of the stairs and just knock on the door and give her the money. So I did as he said and after knocking on the door, an elderly woman opened it up and said a kind hello. I then gave her the money and she gave me a plastic bag with all the pills in it. That was it and I left just as I had come, walked back to the bar and divided up the goods, all were happy.

Sometime in the next month we decided to do it again, he made the phone call and then said I could go, but this time he had different instructions for the deal. This time I had to go inside a particular store and ask for a specific number of pills using a particular “code word”, and that they would hook me up. So I again walk over in short time and walk inside the store as instructed. There were a number of people inside doing actual business as it was the middle of the day. Again I did as was told, said the number followed by the codeword and within thirty seconds or so I was handed my merchandise. As soon as I received the goods, I noticed everyone scrambling in the store…someone ran to the store front window and flipped the “Open” sign to “Closed”, just like you would see in the movies. I thought for a second was this a raid…no…I did notice a car had just pulled up that was double parked on the one way street. Then someone ran over to me and said “off you go”…ok, that’s odd.

As I walked out the store, I noticed I was the last one out besides the store workers, who stayed behind. As I’m walking out the storefront, just as I’m about to turn right out the front door, I noticed a man get out of the vehicle that was double parked. Another man was walking toward the store with him, however I could not take my eyes of the first man, he was creepy looking. I remember vividly thinking the guy looked like a psychotic leprechaun. He had shades on and was bald on the front and top with shiny grayish blonde crown of hair from the sides to the back. I could not get the look of that man out of my head, he was all business and projected the body language of person with zero fucks given. I don’t know why I got that idea or feeling from him, but I did. I also felt the sudden urge to get as far away from the area as possible immediately. In all seriousness I was not scared just a little creeped out, again I did not know who he was but his face is burned into my brain to this day. It was also not a big scare to me because I had walked amongst gangsters before. It was common knowledge that if you keep to yourself and show active - BULGER Wanted POSTER.PDFrespect you will “most likely” get the same in return.

Several years later, after I had already left the city and was traveling on tour with bands, I read an article in a newspaper and there were a few photos of a particular gangster who was near the top of the US Most Wanted list. The article was about, and photos were of that man (in a different incident and location), who I had cautiously passed that day near that store front. I quickly realized after some research on the internet, that it was the one and only “Mr. White” (J.J. “Whitey” B.). There is a lot more to the story for another time and another day. Not common for an Expat Icelander living in a US Italian neighborhood taking advice from an Irish Bartender in an Irish Town…while running into a famous Irish Gangster (who lived in the Irish part of town) in the Italian section of Boston. Go figure…fahget about it…what a tangled web we weave.

 

 

 

For those who want a larger overview, separate but surrounding this piece visit & read:

http://bostonmobscene.blogspot.com/2005/01/mob-in-boston-1990s-until-early-2000s.html

 

 

Thanks For Reading & All Your Endless Support. My Readers Are Awesome!

Cheers and Bless!

CM ☕

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

Copyright © 2015 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine ☕

Canada Unleashed – Montreal To Winnipeg: McGill University Via Rue Ste. Catherines & The Winnipeg Syndicate Via Hostelling International Maskawa Project / Pine Falls (Powerview) – Part 1 Of 2

PNW1d

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[First Pass Edit 09/13/15] Everything I say, that is all I write, is for the record – I have to get it all out for the record. What else can I say but that nothing, and I stress NOTHING, Is EVER pre-planned travel or otherwise (except that I’m going generally somewhere and for incidentals).  As I write this in the present, about the past, I find myself having to call forth my mid 1990’s mindset.  Where I see all these travelers booking flights and trains and hotels, and I say to myself how and why the fuck would you want to do that.  I never know when I will arrive at any particular destination.  On the other hand I get it, I really do, often hotels and trains are already full when one arrives to try to get to their desired destination (I also have had to do it myself when in “On Tour Mode”)…but I’m not designed that way.  No rooms, go somewhere else, nowhere else, I pitch a fucking tent.  No room on the train, wait for the next one or share a ride from a hostel, bulletin board, or stick out my thumb.  I always get to my destination – at some point.  I learned early on from my life coach, that is in utilising guerrilla travel techniques, that the safest place to stay for the night (in a pinch) is inside an airport terminal (even if I had to purchase and get a refund for a plane ticket).  If in a vehicle, the place to be is at the local hospital parking lot.

Now that the above is out of the way…we have to begin to set the stage with music.  Music is necessary for everything…well except for maybe sleeping, but even then there was a time when I slept all the time with music playing.  Quickly pivoting to another paradigm, the best thing about music has always been when it’s not perfect.  When the live band has a few moments out of synch, a missed note on the guitar, a song played differently every time, vocals without autotune…really singing…yes, it was a thing, really singing live.  That sentiment, the reality of it all, was at the heart of what made rock n’ roll dangerous.  Picture this Guns N’ Roses – “Paradise City” blasting in the backround…”Take me down to the paradise city, where the…”, chugging along like a distorted and dysfunctional shaky fucking choo choo train, racing wrecklessly down the tracks. Same with Aerosmith’s – “Walk this way”…”The Next door neighbor, when the daughter had a favor…”, Led Zep’s – Whole Lotta Love (Hear the swagger from the opening riff in comparison to Plant’s Vocals) , and Nirvana’s In Bloom.  Just like Dave Grohl said at the induction of Nirvana, ‘That swing…during “In Bloom”… , that was all Chad (Channing)’…the drummer Grohl replaced.  Now that’s balls of steel and full of crazy amounts of respect!

All right, all right…now that we have the music let me set a vision.  I remember at the time their was a media blitz in the US for Molson Golden Beer from Canada.  I think their XXX brew was just having it’s re-debut and the commercials were endless with the catch phrase “Mölson Gölden, Eh!”. How stereotypical (heh), but driving all the way across Canada, I would find myself on dirt roads in the nether-regions of the country with my head hanging out the window (fresh air bashing me in face, and my hands on the wheel…screaming at the top of my lungs, “MOLSON GOLDEN, EH!!!.  I did it over and over as I drove across the plains of all the major territory’s.  Especially in the middle of nowhere, I would come to a sign that said something to the effect of; Make Sure To Fill Your Gasoline Tank Full At Next Gas Station: NO SERVICES for 700 Kilometers (434.96 miles).  At that I would scream, “MOLSON GOLDEN, EH!!!  I did not have one of the early model flip phones (No Smartphones Yet), and usually the sign would appear just before, the Trans Canada Highway West Route 17 (before Winnipeg) or Route 1 (After Winnipeg) respectively, the road would turn from asphalt to Dirt.  YES… the major highway system at the time had hundreds of kilometers of dirt and rocky roads clear across Canada and this was in the mid 1990’s.  I remember my car bouncing around, rocks shooting out from under my tires, and a dust storm flying every which direction…both in front and behind.  I remember thinking, “I’m going to blow a tire…how could a major highway in a modern country have dirt roads…WTF!”  Again I would scream lovingly at the natural beauty and the barren landscape, “MOLSON GOLDEN, EH!!!

So with all that chaos going on around me…I just thought, just calm down…and go slow, as I bounced all over the road with no painted lines.  I was on the wrong side of the road half the time avoiding ditches filled with water…so as not to damage my suspension in my little red Honda CRX.  One thing I loved though, once I got the hang of it, using my manual transmission to power around like I was off-roading.  I can’t believe that I just recently read an article in the US that said they were phasing out manual stick transmissions for automatics because no one was buying them.  They go further sticking me with the knife deeper saying, ‘automatic transmissions are more reliable than they used to be.’  Lazy fuckers…I love them even in stop and go traffic…In and out of first gear over and over…but I rule the road.  Excuse me while I digress, in Iceland, manual stick shifts are still the name of the game…talk about doing doughnuts on the black ice in a few inches of fresh snow!  There is no substitute!

Anyway I began my journey in Montreal, I could start in the US where the trip really began but nothing of note happened on my few hours journey through Vermont and across the border into Canada.  I went straight to McGill University where a few friends of mine were attending and stayed in their huge party house just off campus in the city.  They all thought I would be into hitting up the infamous strip clubs on and around Rue Ste. Catherine… sorry dingbats It’s not my thing…they were perplexed, but whatever.  I never got the whole pay for some bodacious “woman of my dreams” to rub oil all over over my ass to get a set of blue balls.  I never got the memo for fake breasts, monstrous booties, and chiseled faces  with botox inflated lips.  I’ll say it now, so many women felt the need to get implants and perfect chiclet shaped teeth and shit to impress men…don’t do it, you’re wrecking your natural given beauty!  This was huge in the US in the 1990’s (in reality even more today), as i said I never got it…not like you need my advice, but women…you are beautiful the way  you are…Natural.  There, I said it.

Don’t buy into the Hollywood hype.  Natural women are trending and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.  All women are beautiful and different in wonderful ways, I just hope they feel the same way about men (Touché’). Yes, they have a brain, some men…I wonder (J/K).  The only way I was going to enter a strip club was is if Motley Crue or Metallica circa 1985 on Sunset in LA were going to force me to go and have fun. That’s it right (one would think)…I know life is not so simple, there are nuances…I would find myself at one point on this adventure Staying in a Boot Ballet Hostel/Hotel/Brothel in Whistler, British Columbia because the HI – Hostel was full.  That is a whole other story for Part 2 of this crazy story.  As a matter of fact there will be a lot in this piece that will just be a setup for the bang in Part 2 of this story (It’s the money shot, and ladies I’m sorry to inform you that you’ve been pwnd, tricky this internet thing…”Hot Mess” means something completely different than you’ve been led to believe. Blame Reddit & 4C) Please keep that in mind if I just touch on something and move on.

So couch surfing at McGill in Montreal was always a great time.  I was on no set time schedule but I did know I was going west as far as I could go (Vancouver Island Ferry) by car and then take another ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State…going through customs there, to get back in the US.  I wasn’t in the best of shape to be traveling, but at the time I did not know any better.  I was on a steady diet of laudanum, absinthe, and speed and I must have looked like I walked off the set of The Walking Dead.  I had cocaine eyes and a drop gun at my side…I was not messing around, I’ll guarantee you that.  Coach was able to legally secure an unlimited supply of USP tincture of opium, so that was waiting on call whenever necessary.

Oddly enough I had a tough time keeping stocked up on REAL Absinthe…Coach had it sent to wherever we were and would patiently wait for its expedited arrival.  Coach had a special source and would get it three day air from a clandestine small batch private distiller in the Swiss/French Jura mountainous region of the Western Alps. Extremely high Thujone content from only the best naturally harvested Grand Wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium).  Natural Distillation is the only way to drink real Absinthe…if you or the person that gives it to you does not know the difference between real and fake absinth…then it is most likely fake.  All of all the absinth sold in US stores is NOT real absinthe, containing NO or only traces of Thujone.  There are a couple of private distilleries in the US that sell real absinthe distillate online but the Thujone content is regulated at below 10mg/L,  with either Southern, Oregon, or some other strain of Wormwood that are not as psychoactive as the Grand.  If the person giving you Absinth anywhere in the world does not know that “Maceration” or “Oil/Terpene” mixture Absinths are NOT REAL Absinths, then what they are giving you is most likely fake as well.

I will explain why most people have never had REAL absinthe. The Absinthe that Coach would get from French Switzerland (Swiss/High German), was and is not regulated and technically illegal, having an extremely high thujone content of between 100 to 120mg/L.  For our pleasure Coach had to pay 200$ US for a bottle and he would buy it in cases of 9 (It also took him seven years to get off the waiting list…yup, people had to die of old age for him to get on the sauce).  In Canada,  that same case that Coach would get delivered to his door in the US for 1,700$ US total,  would top out at 2,500$ US with added Canadian Customs fees.  Coach knew this about Canada (Customs fees are outrageous), but we wanted to keep it legal and did not want to take the chance of having the case confiscated at the Canadian border going north from Vermont.  Yep we’re crazy, Absinthe over decent hotel rooms…, priorities!  This stuff could kill you if you drank too much even without mixing other drugs with it as well.  …But as you know this is how I lived my life, up and down.  As a budding pharmacology/neuroscience student I knew what I was doing as a human guinea pig…all in the name of science (You heard it here first).

REAL Absinthe does not make one hallucinate as is touted…it’s basically the alcohol version of a speedball. The alcohol in the Absinthe (all alcohol really) is what is referred to as a GABA agonist which stimulates the release of the chemical (amino acid) neuro-transimitter (GABA) in the brain that induces relaxation by closing off the GABA neurotransmitter receptors at the end of their GABA specific transmission terminals.  On the other end of the speed ball quotient is Thujone, levels from which can only be distilled from natural Grande Wormwood, only grown in certain areas of the world.  Thujone is a chemical that is referred to as a GABA antagonist which works in the neurotransmitter terminals to produce the exact opposite actions of the calming and sedating effects of alcohol, which is to stimulate the GABA receptors and keep them open.  So if you are still with me, REAL Absinthe with Naturally Distilled HIGH Quality/ High Levels of Grand Wormwood sourced Thujone, causes chaos in the neurotransmitter junctions in the brain…the receptors opening and closing in a simultaneous excitation/calming storm creating the “Speedball” or “Green Fairy” like effect.  This is why the real stuff is rare and lends to the creation of all the misinformation and confusion, and further is exactly why the good stuff is illegal.  You get very drunk and don’t feel drunk from the speed like effect.

So I was talking to one of my friends at McGill, saying that I wish I had someone to share the driving with me across Canada, and I was told that there was a bulletin board on campus which had people posting (yes with paper) all kinds of things but one was for rides and it might be worth a look.  So we went there to see if anyone was looking to ride share.  There was one message from a guy named Jason who was looking to go to the West Coast US, but the message had a date two months old.  Anyhow I figured it was worth a try, and rang up the number.  A woman answered ( I came to find out later it was his mother) and I asked for Jason, fortunate for me he was home.  I told him about my journey  and he immediately said yes, he could go in two days.  He figured that he would go as far west as he could with me, and then find a ride south from Vancouver.  I was going to be spending an unknown length of time in Port Townshend, Washington at Coaches House on The Olympic Peninsula across the Puget Sound from Seattle. Then when I got the travel bug I would head over to Aberdeen then south to Olympia for a bit….Seattle…and then finally head down the West Coast Highway south (which I will cover in a future article) to Oregon and California .  I really lucked out because he was not even a student at McGill University…he had posted the message and pretty much decided to go another time because he got no calls.

My life was all about living it to the fullest while very high…full stop.  I was looking to master the art of better living through chemistry without getting myself killed.  As someone who goes to holistic aisle of any expensive whole foods store, I was doing the same as if I was running wild behind the pharmacy counter.  My main objective was to find the perfect molecular combination of psychoactive substances, that when combined could get get me out of my mind efficiently, with long duration, and with the lowest risk for physical and psychological dependence and harm.  I became a master of withdrawal, even while using some of the most addictive substances known to man.  Chemical rules, as I have said before, were the name of the game.

I had to learn these chemical rules through trial and error over many years.  First using the individual substances on their own to master the effects profile.  Then when confident combining them, starting at low doses and then titrating upwards or downwards depending on my direct experiences with the substances.  I always self administered low dosages first, then raising in small increments.  The first rule of Chemical Rules is to never mainline or inject any addictive substance.  Once you do the brain is so overloaded with dopamine that you can never reach that height again (chasing the dragon).  Ingesting or administering the  drug through the skin causes a slow rise in intoxication…allowing one to reach similar results over and over.  There are tolerance issues to contend with but no massive withdrawals daily (just discomfort).  Heroin is out because of the small safety to toxicity window as is Crystal Methamphetamine unless insulflated. Heroin is not affective when ingested orally and Methamphetamine (UNLESS Pharmaceutical USP) will rot your gut quick from foreign heavy metals left over in it’s clandestine production.  Smoking either of the two is out as well…same brain overload, horrific addiction, and leads to eventual mainlining of the drugs. Don’t ever do it, you have been lovingly warned!

Everyone knows that opioids are extremely dangerous because of the small window between efficacy, reaching the highest state of euphoria, and death.  Add into that any alcohol, any opiate addict knows that it is a VERY DANGEROUS idea from the start.  The combination of the two can easily cause one’s system to shut down and overdose, halting respiration.  What I came to find that if I mixed low doses of high strength Laudanum with 2-3 moderately small sipped (louched) Absinthes as the only type of alcohol, adding in a few small bumps of cocaine or ingested amphetamine.  I could stay extremely high with little to no nodding out for about six hours.  Because I was administering (orally) the extremely bitter Laudanum 15 minutes before the first absinthe, the opioid had a low dependence profile.  So that was the trifecta and as long as I did not stray from that…I was golden.  No desperate drug seeking behavior or overdose.  DON’T try this at home, as the levels administered were congruent to my weight, sex, and age…chemistry at it’s best, but what was right for me, the same dose could kill you.

So this was what we did in Montreal while waiting to move on to journey west.  It was great because everyone is not all passed out like at a junkie hotel.  We would play pool and go out on the town to check out the wild characters of Montreal.  What an amazing city, we are very lucky to have so close to the US…a place where everyone speaks French.  My french is shit but I can get by on the little I do know (everyone speaks English anyway).   There are so many amazing restaurants, clubs, and shows every night.  The drinking age is 18 so many in the US travel here for that. It’s a metropolitan city with so much culture and history.  As you walk the streets public art is everywhere from murals to graffiti to sculpture.  The city is seamless although containing areas of particular interest to different people, from Old Town to The Village to The Underground city.  You can’t go wrong in this city wherever you go as long as you have street smarts.

Rue Ste. Catherine’s will allow for walking and getting to the main parks, numerous places downtown, as well as the underbelly of the city.  North and south of downtown take Rue McGill to get to the two subsequent areas I will recommend next.  I love to venture up the heavenly public stairs which traverse the large uphill overseers near McGill University and lead to an overlook in the clouds of the whole city.  Another favorite is to venture down further past Old Town to the St. Laurent River and just kick it on the granite cobblestones and benches. The main Montreal Airport (Pierre Elliot Trudeau International) is easy to get to from downtown and is somewhat centrally located as well if you are flying to Montreal.

I cannot say enough of this city…Montreal is on par with the best metropolitan cities anywhere.  Sometimes the people can be a bit brash but nothing more than you would encounter in say NYC.  The difference, a few proprietors may not be English friendly but I always find they come around especially if you say a few words in French like “Bon Jour”, “S’il vous plaît” and “Merci” and you’re in!  That’s what makes traveling fun…you don’t have to speak a lot of any language to communicate.  Greetings, Salutations, and Parting words will take you anywhere around the world. As they say in blogs ad nauseum, “Live a little!”

So the two days I spent at McGill waiting around was no burden as we just got drunk and high…I even got some good sleep the night before leaving which was great.  We could start off right and drive pretty much straight for two days to get through the second half of the province of Quebec and half way through Ontario to Thunder Bay ( just above the Great Lakes Of The US).  Jason was real cool…and he had an even head as he pretty much just smoked a little weed and drank alcohol.  He was a raver actually, so on occasion he did ecstasy and even better he liked to drive sober.  I found out quick that he was an energetic kid and a really good driver.

So I met him at his house near Parc Maisonneuve in Montreal over near the Parc Olympique.  I even met his mom and she was real nice as well…she had no idea what her son was getting into on this trip.  Better for her to stay in the dark…I could tell he was real responsible right away, which I liked because going with someone I was unfamiliar with was always taking a chance.  I could sense his positive attributes might even get us out of a jam if necessary at some point.  So after he put his shit in the car off we went on The Trans Canada Highway 40 and then took the 417 to Ottawa.  There was really nothing much in Ottawa and it was raining quite hard…I remember passing a coliseum in Ottawa which had digital bulletin board flashing coming acts to the venue.  So we continued a ways on the 417 until we got to the 17 which would take us half way across the country to Winnipeg.

I remember driving along and all there was pretty much was farms with large acreage of flat grasslands and lots of cows, horses, and grain silos.  It reminded me a lot like the few times I travelled across the US (which I will also cover in another future article) where there was not much excitement in terms of stunning land formations from the Northeast Coast till I reached Colorado.  So it was the same in Canada until reaching North West Ontario.  Not that there were not attractions of which to speak of off the beaten path, but it was pretty much farms and expansive grasslands most of the way.

I pretty much stayed sober since leaving Montreal, and after driving through Ontario which was at least a 36 hours (or more) drive.  Jason and I got to know each other better and it was nice we got on well.  So we would switch off driving for the first day and a half until we reached Sault Saint Marie.  We were pretty spent at this time, not stopping to sleep much, in SSM which is right on the border of Northern Michigan.  It was nice to stop there and go grocery shopping at a proper market.  We broke out the barbecue in a park there, and ate some steaks and grilled vegetables for lunch.  It passed our minds to cross back into the US for a little bit and see what it was like in the area, but that thought quickly faded with the thought of having trouble at the border crossing.

Up in this part of the country above Lake Huron, driving along the shore at times.  There was some exciting rock formations and plenty of winding “S” shaped roads with rises and falls in sea level.  At times we would find our hearts in our throats…the only downside was that there were a lot of large tucks, busses, and winnebego’s on holiday at the same time as us.  So there was lots of traffic in an otherwise beautiful landscape.  The great lakes were stunning this time of year and it was very warm, with lots of sun.  Although we were lacking sleep, our bellies were full, and with great excitement we traveled on.  Our goal was to make it to Thunder Bay before nightfall at a Hostel to get some much needed sleep.

There was one town that we stopped at off the highway to gas up and it was really strange because it had a very foul smell.  Extremely foul and none of the nature there looked very healthy.  The waterways there smelled even worse…the trees were all dying, it was really strange.  We were wondering why this small town on the US/Canada border was in a word dead.  At the gas station we asked the attendant why this was so and he said that a toxic waste dump had been breached in the area of the lake of the town and the whole town was toxic.  The strange thing is that he was rather cavalier about the whole thing, it’s safe to say that after gassing up we got out of there quick.  We couldn’t help but feel concerned for the people of the town…it seemed that everyone was going about their lives as normal…their had to be health ramifications in really what I viewed as anytown US/Canada.  Many people cannot just give up their lives and homes to go somewhere else.  It was kind of sad…again we got out of their quick.

Our attempt to make it to Thunder Bay before stopping was futile, we were just too tired, and that meant either pulling off to the side of the road and just falling asleep (hard) for a few hours or get a hotel for the night.  We made the decision to stay at a Home Hostel in Orillia, Ontario that was affiliated with HI – Hostelling International Hostels, it was fortunate because we realized that we were only about fifteen minutes drive from it’s location.  It was pitch black with no street lights anywhere but after a short time of driving back and forth we finally found the place.  It was not too late, around 9pm, and as we pulled up to the house and parked in the large grassy area with other vehicles the owners came out of the hostel.  We asked “Is this the Orillia home hostel?” They replied “Yes, welcome…you can park right where you are.”

So we got out of the car and introduced ourselves and they (A guy and his wife) welcomed  us very kindly.  We grabbed some things to bring in and they showed us into their home and further to the room we would be sleeping in.  It was a small room but quaint with one set of bunk beds…we were quite tired but just making it to the destination gave us a little wind to sit in the kitchen with them and chat for a while.  They were very nice, they offered us some food but we declined…we were exhausted, too tired to eat.  They had a large fish tank and some couches that you would find in grandma’s house, a television, and a lot of small pillows with sayings stitched or knitted on them.

They turned on the TV, and I love watching television channels that are local and located in any particular area of any country.  I remember rabbit ears, no cable…not a problem, again I just love to check out the local channels. CBC was a great classic TV network at the time, I know now that people have said it has gone downhill in recent years.  I almost orgasmed when I got to the French CBC channel.  I love even more watching foreign language channels, wherever I go, just making out the few words I do know.  I don’t know why this is a turn on for me…but it is…not in a pervy way silly rabbit, I just love it even if I have no idea what’s going on.  I just pretend that I do…this would probably drive some people nuts, but that’s just me.  Besides I had no brain power anyway and we were in some engaging conversations with our hosts.  It all worked out great, and soon after, I went to hit the sack. Instant Zzzzzzzs.  Lights Out!

When we got up in the morning stone cold sober but well rested, there was a great breakfast spread of eggs, Canadian Bacon, muffins, home fries, milk, juice, & lots of ice cold beer.  Molson Golden XXX to be particular — just kidding, no beer.  I know some people will be destroyed as their visions of Canadians drinking Molson Golden for breakfast (at any hour of the day) will now be shattered, heheh!  As we filled our bellies a girl came into the kitchen, she saluted with a big “Good Morning”, yawn and stretch.  They said she arrived in the night later than us.  She was Canadian, going the opposite direction than we, to Quebec.  Québécois sunshine!  She was a real cool chick, piercings, tattoos, tough, cute as a dumpling.  She knew her shit and was on the level obviously…their was a lot of great conversation, because not only was she worldly but our hosts were as well.  That’s what I love about travelers, most of them (if they’re not thieves) are really laid back and down for just about anything fun at a moments notice.  It’s great conversation feeling each other out for their unique viewpoints on the world and any particular personal sentiments.  Joie de vivre, “Weltanschauung…Robert’s Dictionnaire says joie is sentiment exaltant ressenti par toute la conscience, that is, involves one’s whole being (I copped this from wikipedia).”

After breakfast we went out into the Canadian Country Morning Sunshine!  It was a beautiful day…I think we got on so well with our hosts that the guy who owned the place mentioned that he was a vorascious writer.  Just past the grass parking area he led us into a trailer that he had separate from the house, used for an office.  I don’t know how we got talking about it but he gave me some great stuff he had written (ironically enough) one piece on the modern day twelve *step** program and it’s origins…how A**A had a bad case of revisionist history.  It was not knocking the group per se, but it was an essay which claimed an alternative and interesting origin for the group based on a set of several core principles that had nothing to do with religion.  It was even further interesting that these core principles were pointed out as originated from centuries old concepts, by a Unitarian Universalist’s minister’s testimony in the early 1930’s, again (secular) not having anything anything to do with religion.  If you can wrap your head around that.  The early A**A groups  had adopted these principles and expounded upon them in 1939 to include their religious leanings (as it had helped them).  I have no agenda against the group I know many people who have been helped by them and have turned their lives around.  I’m just relating what I read and how the concepts came to be and the written history of the groups do not seem to include this version of history.  Oh well, who the fuck knows…If it works for you, and if you believe in that sort of thing…Bless!

Anyway after our educational sunrise, we went into the mid day sun, and it was luscious.  Good ol’ Guenther Grotsch (Hostel Owner) saw how my car was covered in mud from all our off roading and told us we could use the hose to wash the car.  He even offered a bucket and some auto soap.  What a gem he was, I had not thought about it till he brought it up, that the mud barely allowed us to even see out the windows…hahah…epicness.  There was cleanliness everywhere after a hot shower, we decided to take off…even at the generous suggestion of our host to stay around.  It was very kind of him and his amazing wife Rita, but we were itching to get to the massive beauty of the Canadian Rockies.  This need could not be delayed…it was time to go.

After setting off in a shiny vehicle, another half day of driving we arrived in the Thunder Bay area (On the shores of Lake Superior) and it was late in the day but the sun was at painter’s light.  Nature was tempting us to move on…we did not need to stay at the Thunder Bay Hostel because we were re-energized.  I began to notice that there were more lakes, more trees…even the smell of campfires waifed through the air.  We passed a bunch of campgrounds which was our queue, as if to pique our interest and recognize this was true back country.

We were officially in the woods, but again as before there were more amazing rock formations with the sectioned colors of purple and orange and white and blue as one would encounter in Arizona or New Mexico in the US.  Tremendous spires of soapstone and red rocks towered projecting toward the bathing clouds.  These puffy drifting clouds from the gentle winds blew smoke signals careening around the edges of the massive cliffs, visible only if to reveal small flat peaks of land, the size of which only a few people could fit on in the dusty sky.  As the sun began to set we pulled off the road at one of the several sanctioned lookouts, which lent to us the awesome deceptive and most confusing illusion of not knowing whether we were on the ground or in the sky.  Winding and spacious Lakes all around for as far as the eye could see, century old white pines hugging their shores, which at a distance looked as if they were placed there in perfect harmony with the land, although only the size of a fingernail.  There would be cities before we arrived at an unknown destination…but they would be fleeting, and little did we know that what we were seeing was nothing of what was to come.

As light moved to dark over the unspoiled splendour in Northern Ontario on the rugged coast of Lake Superior’s Northern Shore (the world’s largest freshwater lake), we began to see road signs indicating we were just above Minnesota.  No time to stop their now, we were excited beyond belief to finally make it to the border of the great Canadian Province of Manitoba (Ontario I will never forget you!), as we passed through a new lakes region in Kenora, ON.  It was not that there was anything special about Manitoba that we knew of yet, and the light of day was getting on anyway, but if you look on a map of Canada and North America our next stop was Winnipeg (150 miles/240km) which is located dead center, exactly half way across North America (Canada/US).  I’ll tell you it felt like forever getting across Ontario (not a bad thing), just an observation, but we were finally making some meaningful progress.

There was one big problem we were really low on cash, we had cards and travellers checks (Yes, travelers checks were good to use back then…not anymore) but we had misjudged our raw cash flow and it was a Sunday, so we could not get one exchanged for cash anywhere.  This was the first time this had ever happened to me, and the Hostel in Winnapeg only accepted cash.  So we were driving in circles around the city limits trying to decide what to do.  All that were around at that time of night was drug dealers and hookers, so being the adventurers that we were (heh), we decided to drive twenty or thirty minutes north through the flat grass and farmlands near Lake Winnipeg.  Little did we know that this would become a horror show…presenting The Maskwa Project!

So we had enough cash to stay at a hostel near Lake Winnipeg but just short of the amount needed to stay at the downtown hostel.  Another problem was that we only had one quarter tank of gas so driving that extra mileage up north would be taking a chance.  In my head I was doing the mileage by the gallon (liters) thing, into how much we had in our tank. It was a little close but I was sure we could make it…you might ask why not fill up using cards?  Well the answer was that we could not find any gas station open twenty four hours.  This was not ancient times…there were 24 hour gas stations all over the US back then but not here in Canada.  So boiling it all down we were not destitute, we just had to get through that night because tomorrow all the banks and gas stations would be open.  It was just a lapse in judgement on our part, after not getting much sleep since setting off across the country.

Before I get into the hell that was to come, I must say in the interest of fairness the Hostel (Which was at the time an approved HI – Hostel, now it is not/ not a bad thing) today…two decades later in Manitoba (Pine Falls: Powerview / Maskwa Project) has seemingly got it’s shit together, has good reviews, and is run well (conjecture).  I do not know if it is the same person that owned it then so I cannot attribute the horrible experience to them.  There were no handheld portable mobile internet devices then so everything had to be done by intuition or planning, and you know my stance on planning.  They now have a Facebook page and a lot of comments and people who love the place.  Also I had two different hostel books…one indicates that reservations are essential, the second book has no such information (I had never had a problem before, but we also overlooked this). So I thought it only fair to let people know all this.  It is still VERY rustic…all the photos look exactly the same as the day we made our attempt to stay there, still spooky as hell.  On a bright sunny day in the middle of summer I can imagine it being a magical retreat, whatever, enough anal disclosure.

Here’s what happened.  With one eye on the gas tank and another on the road we are heading north directly toward southern Lake Winnipeg…it takes about a half hour or more to get there in the spitting rain, overcast voluminous sky, and on the edge of darkness.  We have a hard time finding the road it was on because of the weather conditions as well as its being out in the middle of nowhere.  We knew going into this that it was going to be a budget hostel but we thought we were up for it.  So we find Maskwa Road and it is NOT paved, and a muddy mess…Not having a four wheel drive we pondered if we should attempt it.  At first it was just a little bit of slippery brownish-red mud, but just as a rock climber or adrenaline junkie knows that you have to go with you’re gut as to whether to take the next step…once you commit there is often no going back.  In our case just taking the turn onto Maskwa Road was committing and there was no turning back because the road itself was not wide enough, with all the mud, to turn around.  So as we are going deeper into the woods and the unknown, we realize that the mud is now getting quite deep…I knew that as long as we went slow and did not come to a complete stop we could make it

Next thing we know there is a bend in the road to the right, and right where this bend begins it winds a bit downhill…not good but no turning back now!  So as we fishtail and take on the small downhill, all of a sudden we come to a grinding scraping metal halt.  We had landed directly on top of a huge rock, which was hidden in the mud right in the middle of the road.  So we get out of the car to assess the situation.  No AAA out here for sure..hahahh!  We found ourselves standing in one to two feet of fluid mud…So I decide to go behind the car and push as Jason hits the throttle slowly.  Surprisingly after just a few minutes we were able to shimmy the car off the rock and even more wonderful the road became more stable with less mud and more grip.  I remember thinking how the fuck are we going to drive out of there but one thing at a time right.  So we hop in the car and as we continue on, we see a clearing ahead in the woods and what we would come to find out was the Maskwa river and a large grass yard next to the hostel.

We were excited, we made it… I could see a Hostelling International sticker in the front window so we knew we were at the right place.  Nothing was out of the ordinary until we stepped out of the car…all of a sudden, and I mean instantly we were met with hundreds of biting mosquitoes the size of small birds.  I had dealt with mozzy’s my whole life, but this early in the season in any other place I had ever been, mosquitoes would usually fly around and then land on my skin and I could smack them away with ease, not these killers.  They were vicious (I expect if the current owners of the hostel read this, they’ll have a laugh, I don’t blame them, it’s fucking nature.), so viscous that hundreds of them instantly landed on my arms, legs, face, and neck and bit down hard instantly…no warning.  It was like they were drunk on the blood of a thousand other victims but still had the accuracy of a GPS. So what do we do, get back in the car…it was that bad, we did not make it to the house.

So in the car again, after killing all the mozzy’s that made it in the car because we had opened the doors, we could make a plan of attack.  The mozzy’s that I had smashed on the inside of the windshield of the car, exploded into a big blood coagulational mess.  There was blood everywhere.  I can still laugh about it…it was gross but what can you do, at least we did not get any diseases or illness…just the expected itchy hives randomly dotted on our skin.  So I put on some sweatpants over my shorts and a North Face Jacket that zipped up to my nose and had a tight hood.  We decided that I would make it to the house and check in…there were no lights on in the house but I could see reflecting off the windows a waving fire from somewhere in the house and smoke coming out a chimney.

It was time to make the jump…so i quickly got out of the car with a one…two…three count, go!  I got out closed the door and ran up to the main side door of the hostel.  I noticed that there was campfire smoke leaking out the door, which cut down on the mozzy’s but I thought how could someone live in a house full of smoke without carbon monoxide poisoning…hmmm.  I shouted at half volume, “Hello…hello, anyone here!”, I got no answer.                I then noticed that the door was loose and was just held closed by a latch.  I lifted it to open the door and it swung open about a foot and huge clouds of smoke baffled out all around me.  For a moment I thought, was the owner of the place dead from all the smoke…I guess it’s extreme mosquito control.  Natural yes…no chemicals from sprays, still very odd, at least to me.  Maybe the hostel owner had gone mad from mozzy bites Elmer Fudd style, and was hunting mosquitoes like wabbits with smoke signals and a shotgun.  I went to open the door which was pretty massive and heavy, and as I opened it, I could see a large log tied to a rope swing up toward the ceiling,  The door was being held closed by a wood weight…never seen that before.  Physics lesson, yup!

Anyway the inside was almost completely dark except for a fire on the opposite end of the house, and it was full of smoke as I have already said.  As I called out again for anyone I noticed someone’s shadow as if they were hiding around a corner and not acknowleging me.  It was just then that all the horror movies and acid trips came full circle and hit me hard in the medulla oblongotta, this was very very very abnormal and creepy, wtf!  I stood there a couple of minutes stunned and then said to myself…that’s it, I’m getting the fuck out of here, See ya!  So I trudged back to the car and explained what I saw to Jason…at the moment we were the cast in a horror movie.  We caved, let’s go back to Winnipeg, we agreed to that pretty quick.  Fortunate to us the ride out was pretty straightforward, we were able to slide our way out of there avoiding that rock this time.  The mud was fine as long as we kept at a consistent speed…this is where I reiterate at my love for standard stick shifts in cars, if we were in an automatic we would have never even made it down the road in the first place. we would have been stranded with no phone.  We were lucky, if you believe in that sort of thing.

Yep…so looking at the photos on this link to their Facebook page, someone mentions something about respect for subsequent owners of “The Maskwa Project” Hostel.  So it does seem there is a pulse up their after all.  Our experience, as foreboding as it was I would not trade it for the world.  It is what it is.  As I write this I can’t help but think of “Blair Witch Project” as a similar name…not in substance.  If anyone needs a set for a horror movie go to Maskwa on a Cloudy/Foggy day and see what I mean.  You will not be disappointed, Eli Roth!  It’s Deliverance (The Sequel).

Check it out…Maskwa Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/Maskwa.Project

So there we were on the main highway headed back to the city (Winnipeg), again with one eye on the gas gauge…we were getting low but had enough to get us back downtown where we had started a few hours before.  A little rattled but nevertheless happy that we we were going back to where we felt safe with the hookers and drug dealers.  At some point it started pouring rain…which in one respect would clean all the mud off the car.  We shot like a bullet back to the lights of the city..hoping against all odds to not hydroplane, obsessively staring at the painted lines to stay on the road.  There was fog and we could only see ten feet in front of us.  We were in a time machine transporting back to safety. Hellions screaming to Iron Maiden blasting on the stereo…we were unstoppable, unyielding as well, we were strengthened through our adversity.  It was now time to have some good luck, we could taste it…the world was in our hands.

So as we entered the outskirts of Winnipeg proper, we found ourselves in an industrial part of the city and we were encouraged because the fog had lifted and it was not raining anymore…damn!  So after passing some billboards, we found an empty lit parking lot which had entrances and exits on both sides of the throughway.  We figured we could catch out breath and get our bearings as to what we were going to do.  Sitting on the hood of the car we could smell fumes from the cars and lorries that passed us in the night…for a moment all we had to do was get through till the morning.

It was then that I noticed a guy walking down the road and somehow I could tell he was not from Winnipeg either.  I asked him over to see if he knew where the hostel was.  When he started talking I could immediately tell from his heavy brogue that he was from Ireland and he confirmed this…from Northern Ireland.  I lit up, thinking this guy had to know where the hostel was.  He said he did not, but said he had another place to stay, and after hearing our story he said we might be able to stay there too.  All he needed was a ride! yahoo!  So we got in the car and followed his directions to the place he was staying…there was a parking lot adjacent to the residence and we pulled into a space.  He said that he would go inside and get the house manager to see if they could put us up for the night.  After about twenty minutes he came out and said to grab our things, that we could stay.  Jackpot!

The best way to describe what was going on here, I mean we got the lucky touch somehow, really I don’t believe in luck but you know what i mean when I use it as a form of expression (in terms of how people use it).  So we go inside and there are people milling around everywhere.  Playing music, strumming on a guitar, eating food, watching TV in a common area…it was just a chill atmosphere right off the bat.  So the Irish dude, introduces us to one of the senior people staying there.  He was a guy from India…very hospitable, we told our story of woe and he was sympathetic to our cause.  He let us know that this building was a housing unit used by the Canadian Government to house refugees and immigrants in exile from their home countries.  Meaning that the people housed here were seeking asylum from their home countries, which if they had to go back to, there was a good likelihood they would be killed.  Whoa…heavy shit!  He showed us to a large dorm room with several bunk beds, and said to make ourselves at home.  Even better we were the only two people in the room, we had it to ourselves.  The senior told us that it would cost us some cash per night but we did not need to pay until we got our money the next day when the house official arrived to check on upkeep.

The place was very clean…with excellent facilities, showers, and three meals a day (included)…the only rules were if anyone had to smoke do it outside and to respect others.  The place was open 24 hours a day and everyone was so thankful that no dared to break the rules.  We were the only North Americans, everyone else besides the guy from Northern Ireland, were from countries like Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, China, and North Korea.  The guy asked us if we needed to see a Doctor for any physical or psychiatric ailments…as well if we needed any emergency medications.  This place was a sanctuary…an oasis in the desert, damn!!!  We just wanted to get some sleep and a shower and we did just that then went to bed.

We ended up staying for about five days hanging out with these cool people from around the world who were hoping to get Canadian Citizenship.  The worldwide phenomenon FIFA was going on that week and all the people there were glued to the TV watching matches and having a wild time.  I learned more in that one week about their respective countries than I could in a whole year of classes and even then I don’t think that could give me the same experience.  It was life changing…they were mostly muslim but I never saw anyone pray the whole time we were there.  They all spoke great english.  Their religion seemed to be futbol(soccer) and everyone was united by the sport, no matter what their cultural differences.  It was quite a spectacle.

The next evening the government official came to the house and came to see us.  He was very nice…saying it was 5$ Canadian per night and he wanted to know how long we would be staying.  As I said we, paid him for five nights and he gave us a reciept.  He said if there was any problem after the five days and we needed to stay longer we were welcome and could pay him when we made our decision.  We were stunned…in what world does this happen, CANADA!!!

/End Of Part One/

Photos and Subsequent Edits: will be added throughout the week…so check back whenever you want. Cheers.

Part 2 ~ will chronicle what we did during our wild stay in wonderful Winnipeg…and the rest of the journey across the second half of Canada.  I can guarantee you it gets pretty crazy. heheh!

 

Thanks For Reading & All Your Endless Support.  My Readers Are Awesome!

Cheers and Bless!

CM ☕

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What do Sharon And Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, Def Leppard, Anthony Bourdain, And Deep Sea Fishing All Have In Common – Cape Cod Massachusetts

[FIRST PASS EDIT – July 18, 2015] I will add more to this Article & Edit in the coming days!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

It’s that time of year, time to head to the beach, sand, water, and sun of your local beach haunts for vacation.  It’s my favorite time of year to sit by the shore and listen to the soft splash of tiny rippled waves on the shore of the inner bay of Cape Cod. Only one of two places for east coasters to see the sun setting into the water to the west from the arm hook of the outer Cape in Truro, MA.  I have spent a week or two here every summer ever since I can remember.  The cottages are rustic and look to be built of driftwood, and overlook the Cape’s inner bay from atop a huge cliff, where one can sit and on a clear day and see the the full length of the inner arm of land from Sandwich to Provincetown.  I can assure you that it is absolutely breathtaking.  The cliff is so high that adjacent to our usual cottage on the hill, all day long, hand gliders launch from the peak and wind back and forth over the water until they descend back onto the sun dried black sea weed laden beach.  There is a winding wood stairwell that allows beach goers to go down to the tepid sea, so long is the stairs that there is a rest stop with benches about half way down the winding stairwell.

My time is based on the tidal schedule for each day, two high tides and two low tides, each separated by a six hour push and pull from the moon.  High tides are for catching rays, swimming, and beach volleyball…and on occasion fishing.  Low tides are for exploring and catching dinner.  What makes the low tides so special is that the ocean retreats for a good mile leaving teaming tidal pools of fish and sandbars loaded with Steamer Clams, Quahogs, Scallops, and large Red and Blue Crabs.  Just grab the rake out of the boot and a five gallon bucket with floaters and go nuts.  You can get the famous Wellfleet Oysters and Cherry Stones a few miles up the beach at the local seeding grounds.  The beaches are private but not exclusive as anyone can walk the length of them all the way to the tip of Cape Cod’s Race Point in Provincetown.  The good thing about this is that the beaches are not crammed with people and allow for a healthy catch of the sea’s bountiful fruit.

Every other year or so we get an extra special treat when millions of baby White Jellyfish are born and as you swim, all around you is an electric ocean full of gelatinous glee.  The just-born Jellyfish are only an inch to two inches in diameter and do not have the ability to sting yet.  I tell you friends this is nature in it’s most infinite form.  Yes I was intimidated at first being surrounded by these strange creatures, but as you swim and a sense of wonder takes over, one realizes that Rachel Carson is alive and well beside these wonders of nature.  The woman who owns all the cottages (who is legally blind by the way), every day runs her medium size metal boat with a yacht sized Evinrude Outboard Motor onto the shore and takes anyone who wants to go out deep into the bay to go fishing.  When the Bluefish are running there are so many wildly whacked out fish, that they sometimes jump right into the boat. Can it get any better than that?

I remember my Grandparents and the rest of my family sitting on the beach wasting the days away.  My grandfather would have on his pork-o-pie hat and a frosty cold cracked Black Horse or Ballantine Ale.  With a cooler by his side, under his beach chair he would always have his beloved heartbreaking Sox on a single speaker AM transistor radio.  Finishing off the look, rocking a hand carved Italian Briarwood Pipe packed with Sir Walter Raleigh Tobacco.  The thick grey smoke curled locks into the air and left a nutty sweet aroma on the beach which along with the salty brine air left me with an impression that I can call forth any time I want to experience it with eyes closed and a sly wry smile.

At the end of the day we would head back to the cottage for dinner and my grandmother would boil and fry anything I caught and we would all partake. Usually we would be eating   plenty of Cod, Flounder, and Fluke, but one time I caught a six foot Bull Shark and I ate shark steaks for weeks.  The Quahogs I dug up would be chopped up for New England Clam Chowder set in a stew of Pork Belly, Sweet Vidalia Onions, fresh Cream, Salted Butter, and hefty amounts of thyme and tender chunked potatoes. Raw Oysters and Cherrystones (Littleneck Clams) would serve as appetizer for a chocked meal of Lobster, Crab, Scallops, fresh shucked sugar corn (on the cob) along with the daily catch.  My favorite though was always the Steamer Clams, with purified drawn butter dipped in Steaming Clam Broth which I would drink down by the cup along with my every meal…even cold as a chaser for breakfast with endless wild blueberry buttermilk pancakes and tons of hot coffee.

After dinner we would go out and fly kites off the edge of the cliff as the sun went down in the distance.  One time a plane flying directly over us clipped one of the kite’s lines and flew away with it trailing and flailing in tow for a short while and then after a minute or so we watched the kite let go from the plane and slowly drift it’s way down into the deep ocean.  We would sit on picnic tables and plan the most exciting part of the day which would come right before sundown.

As I said at the point of twilight we would have a brigade of vehicles drive the few short miles to the tip of the cape at Provincetown.  This eccentric little enclave would provide us plenty of hand packed home made ice cream loads of salt water taffy, fried dough, and an assortment of other treats ( I loved the fruit slices, no pun intended).  What was so great about Provincetown besides the food and drink, was the eclectic people who at the time were a rare crowd based on respect and tolerance of “alternative lifestyles” (silly moniker that) but I remember a day when people were afraid to go there, worried their kids might catch some of the “good vibes” eminating from it’s core.  This was decades before celebrities would come out of the closet and it became trendy to do so.  The drag queens and leather bears would be out in full force…but one would quickly learn they were only the nicest and coolest crowd ever.  They would have DJ’s and bands playing music in the streets with parades and floats overflowing with gay pride.  How wonderful that there was such an oasis at that time…when it was considered taboo and even criminal in many other places.  Oh and by the way I never caught “gay” or felt intimidated or creeped out even as a child.  One thing that has changed as of today is that the crowd at that time who was struggling to be accepted by society are all now professionals and as a result, Provincetown has been affected by gentrification, sounds familiar…pretty normal.

Provincetown was originally a Portuguese Fishing Villiage for hundreds of years and you only had to go through one blinking yellow light all the way, several miles from Wellfleet to Provincetown.  Although fishing has become secondary to the town economy as a result of catch limits and overfishing, there are still the fighting few who live from year to year on the edge of defeat.  Provincetown was and is also a place where some of the most influential artists, writers, and playwrights in America have come seeking solace and solitude to live in totem pole shacks amongst the voracious dunes on The Cape Cod National Sea Shore.

I was prompted to write this piece recently for a few reasons…first it was one of my feel good summer posts, the next of which will be about another of my summer getaways, Maine.  After that I’ll focus on my trek across Canada and the Northwest US, with a few tour posts in between.  Second I was recently watching one of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown Episodes (On CNN) about the Outer Cape, Cape Cod, and Provincetown where Bourdain began his cooking journey in the early 1970’s.  Standing on the beach in front of the yellow house he and friends rented for a summer, Bourdain talked about his first bag of dope and his foray into cooking and washing dishes, learning the ropes at a Provincetown restaurant.  I wonder if they ever hazed him and sent him to another restaurant to get “The Fry-o-Later Key”.

The funny thing was while he was pointing out the house…I knew exactly which one it was in Truro, right were I always vacation.  I used to walk by his back door almost every day during my long walks on the beach (he did say that he was only there for a summer methinks).  Trying not to be creepy or stalkerish here-as I am a fan…heheh!  I got to thinking will this house one day be a point of pilgrimage for aspiring foodies…don’t worry I will not post the address…saving the poor owners of that cottage a whole lot of headaches.  We all know what it’s like at Jim Morrison’s[sic] grave in Paris.  Silly to go there I know…I don’t know Bourdain although we were “friends” on Facebook (until I shut it down)  a few years back, but now as his legend has grown he seems to avoid me like the plague on twitter, although I have gone back and forth with Zamir (that’s just as good).  I just dig his writing and travels…maybe it’s the cavalier drug references I make with so many dying in it’s wake of destruction.  I know it’s a serious subject, drug addiction in MA, people are overdosing and dying all the time.  I have been there myself and it’s very sad the damage it’s causing, sucks. My writing is nowhere near as good as his so why would he notice anyway. His publicist is probably thinking in his hashtag feed, who is this douchebag who mentions his name. Note to self…do not go on tangents.

Ok…to get to the title of this article.  It was August 7, 1981 and I was staying at the usual summer cottage in Truro, Cape Cod.  Across the sand packed road from our humble abode I met another kid who was staying in the cottage across the street.  So we were hanging out listening to music in his room when his uncle showed up to stay with his family.  He comes in the room and says something to the effect ‘that they were going to have a blast this vacation, that he brought all his Warren Zevon, Boz Scaggs, and Journey Albums on Vinyl.’  After that announcement he tells us what we’re doing tonight, “going to see Ozzy Osbourne and Def Leppard at The Cape Cod Coliseum.”  At first I thought he meant just them, but he then pulled out four tickets and demanded that I go too.  I was a big Ozzy fan but I had never heard of Def Leppard.  Go figure, I did not know anything about Randy 810Rhoads either, except that he was the guitarist on the album.  For some reason I thought of the Blizzard of Oz band was all Ozzy for some reason…I was a big Sabbath fan as well.   It was the Blizzard Of Oz Tour and I did have the Blizzard of Oz album which my aunt had bought for me and I had listened to over and over a thousand times in the previous few months since it’s release.

The problem was that there was no way my parents were going to let me go to an Ozzy concert at such a young age.  I did not even know they were playing practically up the street from us in South Yarmouth, MA.  I remember seeing a flyer at the time for the tour in a rock magazine and it specifically stated “Do Not Come To This Show If You Have Mental Tendencies Because You Will Leave Even More Mental” which we all know now that was all just publicity fluff, but the word going around the neighborhood at home at the time was that it was true and Ozzy killed animals live onstage.  All silly hogwash (pretty much anyway lol). There were tons of rumors floating around at the time that Ozzy would throw live puppies into the audience and would not perform unless they came back onstage dead.  Oh and there where the Alice Cooper Vs. Ozzy gross out challenge rumors.  You get the picture…all a load of shit of course.

So when I said there was no way I was going to be able to go, my new friend replied …’Just tell your parents you are going to stay here for the night and then you can come.’  Ah ok…good one, I thought.  So I went to our cottage and went through the motions and the rents were fine with that outright lie.  I grabbed a sleeping bag and pillow and went back to my friend’s cottage…we cranked up some Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, one last problem, I had no money.  My friend’s uncle said ‘Don’t worry about it…the ticket is on me’.  So soon after, we hopped in the back of my his uncles pickup truck and took off for the 815show.  We got there a little early for the tailgate party and the air was ripe with dope smoke and everyone was pounding beers.  I think it was probably the only show I’ve ever gone to sober.  You know how metal shows are…everyone was screaming obnoxiously great stuff. Ozzy, Ozzy, Ozzy, ya know!

So we went into the show and I now know it was Def Leppard’s High ‘n’ Dry Tour.  They came out and tore the roof off the place…they fucking rocked.  My God, Steve Clark was something else, and Joe Elliot’s voice was hitting all the high notes solid! Remember I had never heard of them, so I got on them real quick.  Then when “Pyromania” came out a few years later and blew the doors of America…I mean wow, just wow.  They were no Clash or anything but they were a fun party band for sure.

I said ‘a’ WELCOME TO MY SHOOOOOOOOW!!!

Def Leppard Setlist at Cape Cod Coliseum, South Yarmouth, MA, USA Aug 9 1981
Venue: Cape Cod Coliseum, South Yarmouth, MA, USA
Tour: High ‘n’ Dry Tour

On Through the Night
It Could Be You
It Don’t Matter
Another Hit and Run
Lady Strange
Rock Brigade
High & Dry (Saturday Night)

Note: People were screaming “Ozzy, Ozzy” throughout their whole set…the band played on undeterred.

 

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

Then It was time for Ozzy…wait a second, it was time for Randy Rhoads.  Randy came out, this tiny figure with bushy blonde hair (he looked like a girl) and I was right in front of him about ten rows back in General Admission, and once he started to play no one in could take their eyes off him.  He was the star that night!  The sound, the phrasing, the tone (for the time) was massive and precise. I am a BIG Eddie Van Halen fan, and I was watching Randy and all I could think was this guy is at least as good, if not better (could it be true or contact high).  When I look back I think it was just a different style of playing as Randy wrote all his riffs in the vein of a  Classical Music Trained Musician…really EVH was still the technical king, I just preferred Randy’s style more, as I had never heard a guitar played that way in America (A few guitarists at that time in Europe Like Blackmore, Schenker, and Roth were blending hard rock with classical guitar, but it was new).  It was really cool to hear two tracks of Diary Of A Madman which had already been recorded but not released yet.  “Believer” and “Flying High Again” really stood out because they were awesome tracks but I had never heard them before.  I remember thinking where the hell did these songs come from…years later it would be common knowlege that both “Blizzard” and “Diary” were recorded right after the other, I think within the same year.

So I had seen Randy’s name on the album but it did not connect with me at the time at just 5970_1187535964119_7451457_nhow special he really was.  As a matter of fact it is common knowlege that Randy was talking of leaving Ozzy’s band because he wanted to explore new avenues of playing guitar.  It was also in his nature that he never stopped yearning to learn new ways of playing the guitar.  It was a running joke in the band the lengths he would always go to take lessons from other guitarists while on tour with Ozzy. Truth is he was just plain happy with teaching guitar to others as he had done for many years at his mother’s music school (Musonia) before joining Oz.  Sadly Randy was just on the cusp of shaking up the guitar world when he was killed at the age of twenty-five in a senseless plane crash on March 19, 1982.  He was gone way too soon but he left a legacy that shook the music world to the core, that can still be felt to this day.  Whenever I hear “Crazy Train” played at like every sporting event in the US, I say to the people around me, “That’s Randy Rhoads”…I get the usual reply “who is that”, and I think to myself he’s only the guy that wrote the guitar for that song and every other song on “Diary Of A Madman” and “Blizzard Of Oz”…and they subsequently insist that the song is by Ozzy Osbourne.  I say politely in return “No it’s not. He’s the vocalist.”

I love you Oz…no offense…I just use that twist to drive home a point. Bless!

Randy lives in spirit with His Mother Delores Rhoads, Brother Kelle Rhoads, Sister Kathy Rhoads D’Argenzio, & His Fiance Jodi Raskin Vigier. Bless!

Yes, I have had a good chat with his Sweet Mother Delores Rhoads several years back, it’s pretty cool…someday on an anniversary I will publish part of the text.  She is an Amazing woman and Music Teacher at the age of 95 years young.

 

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

Ozzy Osbourne Setlist at Cape Cod Coliseum, South Yarmouth, MA, USA
August 9 1981
Venue: Cape Cod Coliseum, South Yarmouth, MA, US
Tour: Blizzard of Ozz (Second Leg)

O Fortuna (Carl Orff song)
I Don’t Know
Crazy Train
Believer
Mr. Crowley
Flying High Again
Revelation (Mother Earth)
Steal Away (The Night)
Drum Solo (Tommy Aldridge)
Suicide Solution
Guitar Solo (Randy Rhoads)
Iron Man (Black Sabbath song)
Children of the Grave (Black Sabbath song)

Encore:
Paranoid (Black Sabbath song)

 

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

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Photo Courtesy Of Doc Keyaza!

 

 

These are a quick sampling of Randy’s Solo’s that I heard that night…I shall never forget!

 

 

 

How Randy Rhoads Passed…

 

Note:

The next day after the show on Cape Cod in August of 1981, Ozzy wanted to go deep sea fishing and as they had the following day off… Ozzy, Sharon, Rudy, & Ross +2, chartered a sailboat to go deep sea fishing in the waters off Cape Cod.  There are several photos of them that exist from this trip (I have them in my possession) but I could not get the go ahead from the photographer, Ozzy caught a small fish and passed out on the deck drunk. Everyone looked like they where having a great time…Mr. Bourdain knows a thing or two about catching live fish while taping for a show. Respect.

Anyway here’s a link to a few of the photos on the boat off Cape Cod from Rudy Sarzo’s Book – Off The Rails.  Rudy’s a great guy and his book is a great read…he was close to Randy and has the deepest respect for him. So here’s a link to his book as well. Bless!!!

Cape Cod Deep Sea Fishing Boat Photos:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/29751236@N05/

 

 

Rudy Sarzo – “Off The Rails”:

http://www.rudysarzo.com/book/

or @ Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Off-Rails-Aboard-Crazy-Blizzard/dp/097969289X

 

More on Randy Rhoads:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Rhoads

randyr

 

 

More Interesting Articles and Reviews to come.

Cheers and Bless!

 

CM ☕

 

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