Tag Archives: Web site

National Orgasm Day 2015, July 31, “Orgasms: 101 Facts & Trivia” FREE All Day.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> “National Orgasm Day”.
** “Orgasms: 101 Facts & Trivia” book …

++++ Search on ‘orgasm’ or ‘sex’ for other potentially related posts >>>>


o101freejuly31

Click to ENLARGE and see better. Free promotion scheduled at Amazon.


As promised “Orgasms: 101 Facts & TriviaeBook will be available, readable on ANY PLATFORM, including Web browsers and Apple, from Amazon ALL DAY July 31, 2015 — National Orgasm Day.

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Back cover of “Orgasms: 101 Facts & Trivia”. Click to ENLARGE and read.


Since it is an Amazon free promotion the timing will most likely be West Coast time, i.e., 3 hours AFTER Eastern. But it will run for 24 hours. So per east coast time it will spill into August 1.

Please help yourself to a FREE download.

I only, please, ask two things:

1. Can you, after you read through some or all of it, please leave a review at Amazon. Even if you got it for FREE you qualify as a purchaser of the book.

2. Have at least one good orgasm on National Orgasm Day. OK? That is the WHOLE point. SMILE.

orgasms 101 Website Anura Guruge

“Orgasms 101” Website — new, bold look. Check it out. You will be GLAD you did. Just click.


Steve Barton, A Talented Artist From California, The Creator Of The ‘Wavy Frame’, Is Related To The ‘Sawyers Open House’ Folks.

Click to ENLARGE.



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by
Anura Guruge


Related post:
>>
Sawyers Open House

>>Nov. 29, 2013.


I have stood in front of this painting, with its compelling ‘wavy frame’, for three years now — in awe.

I know, even without asking, that it is way beyond my league.

This year one of the ladies just happened to tell me, without me even asking, that it was done by her cousin, ‘Steve Barton’,
in California and that he invented the ‘Wavy Frame’. She told me to look him up on the Web. I did.
I knew he wasn’t painting a scene in New Hampshire because I have never seen oranges like that
up here — not even at a supermarket.


Click to ENLARGE to see it in its full glory.

Click to ENLARGE to see it in its full glory.


Click to access the 'Steve Barton' Web site.

Click to access the ‘Steve Barton’ Web site.


Amazon’s Product Return System Is Temporarily Not Working! But, You Can Get Them To Call You To Handle Return, In This Case A PetSafe Wireless Pet Containment System.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Amazon Proves To Be Exemplary Re. Refund … — May 6, 2013.
>> Amazon amazingly sends us replacement — Jan. 20, 2013.
>>
Panasonic Lumix ZS20 Digital Camera: Automated Lens
>>Cap Started To Stick …
January 14, 2013.
>> Amazing 20x optical zoom on Lumix ZS20 — Jan. 5, 2013.


I don’t even want to talk about it right now, I am so mad. Another $200+ item, highly rated, that proved to be a total failure. I just don’t believe it. It was a wireless Pet Containment System for Maya to keep her in our yard during the Summer – the ‘PetSafe Wireless Pet Containment System, PIF-300‘. We installed last week, I even going to the trouble of fabricating a bracket to have it wall mounted, out of the way, in our utility room.

It sure works — no question about that. The problem is the false warnings to the dog — the audible beep that tells the dog that it is getting close to the boundary. Our collar was beeping even in the house! It was driving Maya nuts because she couldn’t figure out what to do. Deanna, who wanted a containment system, tried every possible setting: ‘Hi’, ‘Low’, the distance setting from 4 to 8. Still INTERMITTENT false audible alarms in the house and also outside. For me it was the false alarms inside the house that was the killer. That is not fair on the dog — and I have had invisible fences in the past.

The instruction book does talk about false alarms in the house! Yes, of course, Deanna did all the suggested rectification steps and the damn thing would still beep while Deanna is holding it in her hand! That was it. It was going back.

petsafe


As I have mentioned before, I do the ordering, Deanna handles all returns (irrespective of vendor) — in the case of Amazon logging into my account to do so.

She tried to process the return yesterday. Right at the end, when they are supposed to print a copy of the ‘return authorization’ the Amazon Web site would croak. She tried a number of times — hampered somewhat by the 6 hour TDS outage we suffered. Still no luck.

She tried again this morning. Her computer has a mind of its own. So, I tried it from my computer. Same result, which was this:

amazoncute

 



Not a problem. Given my very long, very involved, intimate relationship with Amazon I know how to get them to call me. I had them calling me within the minute.

Yes, they handled the return right then and there on the phone and arranged for an UPS pickup tomorrow. They even sent me all the ‘slips’ by e-mail, though I don’t have to do anything. Was pretty painless. Took less than 5 minutes — though I handled the return with Deanna standing at my elbow telling me what to say.

So just a heads up. If you get this error message when trying to return something to Amazon just get them to call you. Then Bob really is your uncle.

NH Highland Games At Loon, 2012: Weather, Parking, Groups, Celtica and The Brigadoons.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
NH Highland Games At Loon, 2012: The Featured Band Is ‘Carnegie Mellon University Pipes & Drums’Sept. 16, 2012.
Updates: Laconia Multicultural Day September 8 & NH Highland Games At Loon September 21 …, 2012Sept. 5, 2012.
New Hampshire (NH) Highland Games, At Loon, September 21 – 23August 17, 2012.

Celtica, the featured group at the NH Highland Games 2012: Click image to access YouTube video of Celtica


In terms of weather, it looks like there is an equal chance of rain showers (in the morning/afternoon) on both days; Saturday being much warmer than Sunday.No hurricanes, however. That is always a plus; having done the games twice during or right after an hurricane; the first time before that had the ‘Concert Tent’, which came to be the next year after the chaos of trying to put on a show without enough covered area. [Yes, we even got dragged to the school in Lincoln for a performance!]

But, Saturday’s tend to be packed and you pay $15 MORE per ticket (adults only, kids always free) for the privilege. Yes, they have the Clan Parade and Massed Bands — but as I have already stated there isn’t a great slate of marching bands this year. Sunday, post 4pm, you also get all the hard-to-resist ‘give away’ sales at the food booths. Yes, I love those. Three sausage rolls $5 as opposed to $4.50 for one. We are still torn as to whether to go on Saturday or Sunday. Going today, Friday, was no longer an option because of school. We like Fridays — less crowds, full program of bands and the sheep dogs.

Celtica, supposedly the featured band for 2012, is also only playing Friday and Saturday. I went and found them on YouTube. They sound OK … shades of ‘Seven Nations‘ and a toned-downRed-Hot Chilli Pipers‘ (who made it rather clear last year that they were not coming back). Despite what the organizers like to tell us, groups as soon as they get a name stop coming to Loon. This by all accounts is considered a ‘small’ show of little consequences.

After about 3 minutes of Celtica, I realized what was missing. No vocals. Then it cracked me up. Read the first comment on YouTube against the above video: ‘Celtica needs vocals‘. I concur. I think 40 minutes of them on top of Albannach will get tedious. I think I have seen both Searson and Hardrian’s Wall before, but I am holding up hope for them.

Scheduling continues to deteriorate and confound. On Saturday they have Albannach playing in the ‘Concert Tent’ at the same time as the Clan Parade and Roll-Call. This is stupid. I have seen them do this before. This is not fair to anybody. People are conflicted and you have the group and the bands on the Parade Ground competing for sound with each other. Plus during the speeches, even if there are solemn moments, you have Albannach pounding away behind you.

On Saturday, my perennially favorite The Brigadoons don’t get a slot in the ‘Concert Tent’. Yes, I know they are old and have been playing there continuously for 20 odd years. But, they still represent quintessential, unadulterated Celtic music. They represent the tradition, the roots, the essence. They still draw a faithful crowd.

All said I am getting increasingly disillusioned by organization of the Highland Games at Loon, and given that I have been attending since 1998 (only missing one, and that was because I could not take it when it was at the dirt and cow manure in Hopkington) I think I am entitled to a say. It is not complacency. There is some cynicism. They are selling us old rope knowing that there are so many who love the games. So they don’t see a need to reinvigorate, to rejuvenate. I wish they would make a concerted attempt to make the games bigger and better. I will do a report card after we get back.

I saw a query here about parking. Unless you have VIP credentials you are not going to be able to park in or near the Loon complex. Period. Parking on Rte 112 (Main St.)/Kancamagus Highway is not permitted for miles before and after Loon; it is taped off, by the police (and strictly enforced). Yes, in 1998, I parked right next to the Loon bridge on the road. The next year I talked an attendant into letting me park inside Loon. Those days are gone. Park-and-Ride is the only way to do it, unless you are a VIP. There are at least 3 ‘Park-and-Ride’ sites — starting at the I-93 exit. We use the last one — by the ‘Inn Season’ hotel and Lincoln Shopping Center; but we haven’t been to the games on a Saturday in a long time. So not sure whether it gets full, though it, encompassing 3 fields, is HUGE.


Click to see ‘The Brigadoons’ at Loon in 2011 (on YouTube) sans my ‘buddy’ Jackie (electric bass) who passed away a couple of years ago. Miss Jackie. Chatting with him was the highlight of MY games.

NH Highland Games At Loon, 2012: The Featured Band Is ‘Carnegie Mellon University Pipes & Drums’

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
Updates: Laconia Multicultural Day September 8 & NH Highland Games At Loon September 21 …, 2012Sept. 5, 2012.
New Hampshire (NH) Highland Games, At Loon, September 21 – 23August 17, 2012.

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The Strathclyde Police Pipe Band that regaled us at the 1999 Loon Highland Games. No they, nor any Grade 1 bands, will be there in 2012.


It took me awhile to find the ‘Featured Band‘ for 2012 mainly because I was not expecting it to be a University band. I am going to keep an open mind and wish them well. Yes, I went and read up about them. They have a new Piping Director from Northern Ireland, Andrew Carlisle, who is highly ranked and looks very promising. I am looking forward to seeing and hearing him.

All this said, I am a tad disappointed and frustrated and as is my wont when I am like that, I did some research last night. Here is a complete list of the pipe bands at the 2012 games as published on their Web site [and I am not sure whether they meant to include the not-so-generous travel stipends that are being doled out]. Notice that there is not a single Grade 1, i.e., top-tier, band. Carnegie Mellon (CMU) is ranked as a Grade 4 band, though some of my Web research indicated that they might have got up to Grade III on some occasions.


Queen’s Piper Jim Motherwell that lit up the 1998 Games. What a MAN.

Over the last few years I had a sneaking feeling that we were getting short changed by the organizers of the Highland Games when it came to the bands and the performers. So, yesterday I went looking for my old programs from past games, because I remember enjoying PROFESSIONAL regimental bands from the U.K. In 1999 we had the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band. In 1998 we had the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. In 1998 we also had two Pipers to Her Majesty The Queen, Pipe Major Gordon Webster and the incomparable Pipe Major Jim Motherwell, the 10th Queens Piper.

I ‘know’ Gordon Webster and his wife. I have chatted with them often, they always amused at my willingness to go back home given that they moved heaven and Earth to move up here. Very nice people. I think at the sombre 2001 Games Gordon marched up to the top of the bleachers on the Parade Ground and I think played ‘Taps’ or something equivalent. It was moving. I still remember his story about when he was the Queens Piper and had to on one occasion play for the Queen and her guests from a row boat on a Loch — and how the boat sprang a leak.

But, whenever I think of the Queen’s Piper, it will be Jim Motherwell that will always come to mind. What a man. One of those rare men with irrepressible presence and a surfeit of charm. What an ambassador he was for the U.K., the Queen, piping and mankind. During those Games of 1998, which I attended with my son (6 years old) on both Saturday and Sunday, Jim seemed to be everywhere — invariably talking to people. I spoke with him a number of times. One of my most abiding memories of the games is that of Jim, in full kilt, kneeling on one knee, with his pipes in his hand, talking to Matthew and showing him the details of his uniform — this taking place on the concrete between the Parade Ground and the Governor’s Lodge. Matthew thought he was the cat’s whiskers. He was in awe of him. Talked about him, the Queen’s Piper, for years. I am sure that meeting Jim was a key factor in why Matthew was devoted to those games for the next 6 years or so. [In those days when he was little, Matthew had a knack of getting people to kneel down and speak with him. Another indelible image is that of John McCain, in 1999, during his Primary Bid, on a extremely bitterly cold February day in Gilford, kneeling down, on one knee, talking to Matthew for about 3 minutes — while about 100 people looked on; Matthew having listened to the Senator’s speech from right below his feet.]

I haven’t seen Gordon at the Games in a few years. This could be because we tend to now go either on Friday or Saturday. I don’t think Jim Motherwell has been back. They really should invite him back. He would do so much to lift the Games, which of late seem to be sagging, like a Helium balloon slowly losing its shape.

New Hampshire’s Famous ‘Live Free Or Die’ Motto Only Came To Be In 1945.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge




I moved to New Hampshire in the Fall of 1986 BECAUSE of the motto!

I was living in Maryland (having come over from Britain in February 1985 (for what was my second stint in the U.S.)) and had been offered a job with Wang in Lowell. On one of the trips up to Lowell I saw a NH license plate and knew that I had no choice. I had to live in NH because that motto struck a chord. I was hooked. I could relate to it.

I still love it. I even adopted it to be mine: ‘Think Free Or Die‘, as you can see on my Web site.



I will, however, readily confess that despite my obvious fondness and affinity I had never bothered to check up on its origins or history. I am also sure that it wasn’t a topic covered in depth in my 2-day ‘Granite State Ambassador‘ (GSA) training class in 2001.

So, I was taken aback, when reading in my AARP Monthly Supplement for September (and getting even more convinced that I am ready to shortly keel over) an article about the battle ground states for the November election I saw a claim that the ‘Live Free Or Die‘ had only come to be in 1945. Wow. I had assumed that it went back to the 1860s, post U.S. Civil War. Since I do not take everything I read as Gospel I Googled it. Wow. They were right.

1945 — during the midst of WW II. The State Emblem came to be at the same time. I learned a lot in a very short time.

It comes from the American Revolutionary War, as opposed to the Civil War. It was coined by General John Stark, supposedly NH’s most famous soldier in that war. He wrote it, in July 31, 1809, as a toast to be given at a Battle of Bennington anniversary reunion dinner that he could not attend due to poor health. His toast was: Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.

I kind of remember seeing that there had been protests against the motto — especially its appearance on ALL NH non-commercial license plates. I now found details. As you could guess there are those that find this battle cry too incendiary, especially the part about the dying. Per the U.S. Supreme Court, as of 1977, you can cover up part of the motto on license plates … possibly even the whole motto, though in 27-years of living in NH I don’t recall ever seeing a covered up motto.

Laconia Multicultural Day September 8, 2012: They Pulled It Off Again. Thank You. THE REPORT CARD.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1/ Laconia Multicultural Day September 8, 2012: Finally Found The ProgramSept. 7, 2012.
2/ Updates: Laconia Multicultural Day September 8 & NH Highland Games …, 2012Sept. 5, 2012.

3/ Laconia Multicultural Day, NH, September 8, 2012August 18, 2012.

They never did put the program on their Web site.
That is a cardinal, inexcusable sin.



Click on ANY of the pictures to enlarge them. For those that don’t know … the building in the back is the historic Belknap Mill.

Check out the boy doing an Indian ‘Namaste’. That is priceless and epitomizes all that is GREAT about the Laconia Multicultural Day. Bravo.

This was around 12:30. It started off ‘light’ but the crowds grew as the afternoon progressed … but it was dead by 3:45 even though RasMoon & Monsoon were still playing their hearts out.

To watch kids mesmerized is what this day is all about. Yes, the one in yellow is ours. She thought it was great. This is the future. The kids loved it. Well done, Laconia.



Well done Laconia. Well done organizing committee — you pulled it off again. Thank YOU. Bravo. It is so good to have this in Laconia. It makes me so happy.

In 1999, I had, on business, to meet with a high-flying networking Sales Lady in Meredith, at the ‘Inn on the Bay’. She lived in Center Harbor. She worked for one of the top tier networking companies of the time, flying around the country from Manchester or Logan. She brought her two daughters, 6 & 4 (with a nanny). Afterwards she told me that I was the first non-white person her kids had ever seen! That was 1999.

People don’t believe me but I can go for a week in Alton without ever seeing a non-white person. So having this celebration of diversity once a year, in the very diverse Laconia, is indeed a treat, a treasure and joy. Thank you again, Laconia.


My REPORT CARD for 2012
(as somebody who has attended each and everyone of the Laconia Multicultural Days).

For just doing it: A+

Effort: A+

Overall Experience today: A

‘Energy’/Ambiance: A-

Organization: C, and that only because in my opinion publicity and the Web site let the side down badly (and I am not sure whether they even did any social media marketing).

Event Programming: B-. I understand that they have to cut their suit according to their cloth and that the budget has to be tight. Having the event fizzle out at 4pm (most having left earlier) is anticlimactic. In the early days we had an evening concert and they used to be a blast. I remember a Reggae group. We have their CD downstairs. We rocked into the night. A 4pm finish is way too early. Plus, this years selection of performers was OK but not great. I think we had at least a 50% repetition from the last few years; we having seen that same Indian Dance troupe and the Burundi Drummers before. [My initial claim that we might have seen these last year might be erroneous though the wife and the kids think that the Burundi Drummers were there last year. Might have been the year before. If I was wrong, I am sorry; old age.] While writing this I also realized that the customary martial arts segment was missing. Overall it felt a tad flaccid and tired. It sure wasn’t HopFest 2012 — BUT as I said with HopFest, that was Dartmouth and they rarely put a foot wrong.

Weather: B+. No rain! Blustery and more than one tent looked like it would blow away. But, the sun shone.

Crowds: C. Wasn’t bad, especially given the ‘iffy’ weather forecast. About the same as last year, though the bulk of the crowds were there between 2 and 3. Around noon it was still quiet. By 4 most of the audience was gone. Always amazes me as to who is not there! There is some palpable snobbishness, but that is OK. Also, understandably, more Democrat politicians running for office pressing the flesh, as opposed to their rivals from the other party who probably don’t feel that this is their demography. Got a chance to talk with Andrew Hosmer who is running for NH Senate. First time I have met him. Very nice guy. Nice family. I was impressed. I hope he wins. Though this was not a Granite State Ambassador (GSA) event, I went in uniform and even wore my badge. Two people who have known me for years exclaimed that they had not realized I was a GSA; this being the first time I had worn my insignia to the event.

Web site: F-. That it was last updated on July 29 is a crime. Get with it Laconia, this is 2012.

Sound: C, and for the first time in my experience sound quality was variable and in some instances, especially for poor ‘Cinder Conk’ downright poor. Yes, we had swirling, near gale force winds which didn’t help. I know the 2 guys who do the sound. Nicest people in the world. Yes, I went and spoke to them 3 times. I have always, prior to today, said that they do a better job than those at the Highland Games who always stumble about as if they have never done it before. A rare miss and I am sure we will be back to ‘A+’ next year.

Food Selection: A. I think there were even more vendors, and other than ‘China Bistro’ that had jacked up their prices, the other prices were compelling. Thank you.

Bible Tents: D. Way too many. Somebody told me that they shouldn’t be there. I don’t agree. It is multicultural and religion is a part of that though more diversity would have been more in tune. Maybe they should strive to get more eclectically in these ‘in your face‘ tents — though of course, we had a Jewish, Turkish and Nepali food tents.

Printed Program: C. Par for the course. Nothing special. When we got there at noon I couldn’t find anybody handing them out. I went looking for some and came back with a handful that I gave to people. Why couldn’t this be online as a PDF?



The Performances We Saw

Cinder Conk (Baltic Sea): B. They performed out of sequence at noon because the Burundi Drummers were having car trouble and were late. That was very good of them to step in. Bravo. Just three of them; could have been father and two daughters. Talented musicians and they played some Romani music to which I am very partial. They were, however, low key, low tempo, low energy. They did not have me or the crowd up and hopping. It was very pleasant, soothing chamber music; elevator music with lyrics. That they had the prime noon spot, by accident, did not help them. The sound system did them a grave injustice. I spoke to my two buddies in the sound tent. It all had to do with Cinder Conk being all acoustic. Cranking up the sound resulted in unacceptable feedback on the speakers. They tried. The performers complained — albeit not realizing that they were not being heard towards the back. I would love to have them play at a restaurant. They said they specialize in ‘life events’: weddings, christenings, birthdays etc. They will be excellent for that.

NH Burundi Drummers and Dancers: A-. They certainly energized and entertained the crowd. The kids were enthralled, especially since they had a few very cute, very young dancers. Their high tempo percussion forces you to tap your feet. They were, as ever, fun. I think they felt and looked distracted; car troubles trying to get to a gig can easily do that. I am glad they made it. I am glad we got to hear and see them.

Classical Indian Dance: A+. They have been doing this for a few years now and it gets better each year. Though not Indian, I was very proud and delighted to see the dancing. I have, having spent a lot of time in India, seen a lot of Indian dancing in India. This was good. The crowd appreciated it. A couple of men, thinking that I am Indian, complimented ME on the dancing. Bravo. It would be great if we could have some live Indian musicians to accompany these dancers next year.

RasMoon & Monsoon: B-. I love Reggae and so do the kids. They were good BUT they were no monsoon; more like a Spring shower. Yes, they had some on the floor dancing, but it lacked punch and a compelling beat. Yes, the sound system let them down too. As with all the performances, I walked right up to listen to them close and get some pictures. They sounded better at the back of the bandstand than at the front. That they failed to keep their audience till the end says its own story. A friend who was with us said that people left because it was too loud for them — and that made me feel guilty because I was urging the sound folks to crank it up. But, Reggae isn’t parlor music. It is supposed to be loud, boisterous and exuberant.

As far as we could tell, and we didn’t leave till about 4:20 (because I was chatting with ‘Dem Pols’), there was no Closing Ceremony though there was supposed to be one. That kind of summed up the day, but I am not complaining. It was a good day.

Captivating the next generation is what today was all about.

Laconia Multicultural Day September 8, 2012: Finally Found The Program With Times. Get There By Noon.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
Updates: Laconia Multicultural Day September 8 & NH Highland Games At Loon September 21 …, 2012Sept. 5, 2012.
Laconia Multicultural Day, NH, September 8, 2012August 18, 2012.

It is 7 pm, the night before … and I checked the Web. Nothing. NADA. Mr. Stamps … what gives? No update. This crucial page has NOT been updated since July 29, 2012. Does NOT bode well.

But, in the end I started going through the back issues of the Laconia Daily Sun. Found this in yesterday’s paper. So we now have it.



Updates: Laconia Multicultural Day September 8 & NH Highland Games At Loon September 21 …, 2012

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
Laconia Multicultural Day, NH, September 8, 2012August 18, 2012.
New Hampshire (NH) Highland Games, At Loon, September 21 – 23August 17, 2012.

Japanese Drummers at the Laconia Multicultural Day 2011

I have been visiting their Web site on a regular basis to see if they have a exact schedule indicating when each of the performances will take place. So far, on their ‘Program’ page (and you may have to click on it at least twice to get it to display) they still only have a list of those scheduled to perform this year — sans the times that you can expect to see them. Most likely they will appear in the order listed, with the first performance probably around 11:30 or noon. But, I could be wrong. I know there is the Flag Parade prior to the performances. [I enjoy going to the Web site for another reason. Check out the ‘Home Page‘. Very colorful, graphic and vivid. But, rather than being done as a Web page with HTML (and possibly some scripts) that whole page is but one big image, most likely created in PowerPoint. Nothing wrong with that. I used to teach web site design for SNHU at the post graduate level. This was actually one of the quiz questions I posed to them. Is it possible to create a Web site (or at least some pages) that are but large images. My ‘buddy’ David Stamps who designed this Web site could have gone further. He could have put ‘hot spots’ on that image file so that you could still have links to other pages. I am just glad that I now have an example of an ‘image-as-a-Web page’ that I can show people.]

I have been checking the weather for Laconia for this Saturday. It looks like we might get some rain. The show goes on rain or shine. We have been there in the rain. Given that they have the covered bandstand, one performance tent and another tent for spectators, you can most definitely still enjoy it in the rain. Gets a bit crowded in the tent, but in general it is a great bunch of folks (mainly Democrats) and you can get by. We will probably go even if it rains.




On the other hand the 3-day program for the Highland Games was available today, as a PDF, on their Web site at this link. I printed it out. Last few years we had gone on a Friday or on the Sunday. You get to see the ever so cute sheep dogs and a mixed bag of handlers. This year we can’t do Friday. Teischan can’t miss another day of school, though I doubt anybody could argue the educational benefits of the Games. I am looking at Sunday. The Brigadoons are playing, as ever, at 11:30 am. I have to see the Brigadoons. So that sets me up. 11:30 is a good time for us since it takes us about 3 hours garage-to-performance tent. The program looks light in terms of marquee performers. Yes, Albannach is there. I need to study the schedule more. I do not see a big name or even a Canadian marching band. I will look. Too early yet to check the weather. I have been, at least twice, during hurricanes — and the first time was before they had a Performance Tent.

We Went To The Balsams Grand Resort Auction

It was fun. We had never been to the Balsams. I have stayed at the Mount Washington a few times (twice for Thanksgiving I think) but had never made it to the Balsams. Actually I had never been further than Errol. So this was an experience. I was suitably impressed with the Great North Woods.

The Balsams looks spectacular from a distance. It had to have been quite the resort. Obviously it is not at its best right now.

The inside was depressing, cold and musty. Though it was the nicest day, weather wise he had had in weeks, it was chilly inside the hotel and I (usually warm blooded) kept an insulated vest on all day.

There was a lot of people. Parking was crazy though we got there by 9am. Everybody though was in good cheer and convivial. It was a party atmosphere. We enjoyed the experience and was glad we made the effort to drive the ~160 odd (and some of it was indeed very odd) miles.

The auction, however, was appalling, both in terms of organization and execution!  I can’t claim to be a connoisseur of auctions but I have been to some. This was beyond a joke. It was like a parody of an auction; a Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit making fun of us yokels in NH trying to hold an auction. I have no experience of North Country Auctions, but they should be ashamed. When I heard on WMUR this morning that the auction made around $250,000, after selling ~2,400 items, it confirmed my worst fears.

I had, as is my wont, visited the North Country Auctions ‘Web site’ twice before we set off. The Web site looks like it was designed in the 1950s by color-blind, visually impaired wall-paper hanger with just one good arm. Huge type in red seems to be their idea of finesse. Technology was conspicuous by its absence. In August 1967, when we were leaving Ceylon to move to Buffalo, my parents auctioned off the contents of our (fairly large) house in Colombo. The auction yesterday, in terms of technology, was no different! All they had was a portable sound system. There were no laptops, let alone iPads and no jumbo displays to project the items being auctioned. It was pitiful.

I remember at least 4 auctions that were arbitrarily re-called and redone. If I had been the winner of one of those I would have been very upset. There was confusion as to prices and actually what was being auctioned. They claimed they were auctioning 4 lots of 3 antique movie projectors. That was supposed to be a typo! They only had 4 projectors. It was pathetic.

We didn’t bid on 2 many items. I bid on the 2008 Presidential tally board — from when Obama was elected. I went up to $300. It eventually sold for $400 (according to WMUR), though I though it stopped with the bid after mine (and I kind of suspected that the house was bidding against me). I also tried to bid on a plastic Coke bin. Though I was standing up on a chair waving my card, they ignored my bid and sold it to a lady for $10. C’est la vie.

After the auction I am not impressed with the business acumen of the two (supposed) businessman who are the new owners of the Balsams. Their choice of Auctioneer let a lot to be desired. Organization was dreadful and while I know that that far up north there are very few laws, I am sure that they still managed to violate a few (but, I could be wrong). With all those people in attendance, I did not see a single uniformed policeman, a security guard or an ambulance (and I walked the entire perimeter of the hotel twice). There were a lot of old people there. Security was bad! Items were being taken from rooms and job lots. All they did was make announcements pleading with people not to steal. I did not see any checkout process. This was a joke. They could have done much better.