October 21, 2013

Nature Abounds & Brand New Sounds

Of the four seasons, I've always though of Autumn as perhaps the most beautiful time of year. I need only take a single glance at the bright hues that adorn the trees and my heart is golden. I really love all of the activities too. Over the last few weekends, I've visited a couple of pumpkin patches, wandered through corn mazes, gone on a bumpy hayride, and made two treks to the apple orchard for freshly-pressed cider. I was hoping to go on a leaf peeping adventure to Upstate New York, but, unfortunately, the timing was wrong and the opportunity didn't present itself. Nonetheless, I'm quite happy with the pumpkin faces, gourds, and chrysanthemums that rest on my front porch. I get a smile every time I walk up to the door. October is also the month in which I try to make some headway with the Christmas shopping. It's going good so far and I should have it mostly wrapped up by Hallowe'en.

In other news, this past Sunday, I went over to the public library to see a demonstration called Nature Nick's Animal Adventures. Both fun and informative, this presentation featured creatures from many different places from around the globe, such as the kookaburra, porcupine, alligator, kangaroo, and hedgehog.

I have one other tidbit to announce. If you've been following this blog for a while, you might remember that my New Year's Resolution for 2013 was to create some music. I'm glad to say that I've finally gotten around to doing it and I'm quite pleased with the results. For the past two months, I've been working on an EP called "Joyful Noise." As the blurb will explain, it is "an inspirational EP made up of 5 popular Psalms done in radio drama style with gypsy jazz and classical guitar accompaniments." It's available now through iTunes with all proceeds going to sponsor a 5th Grade trip to Gettysburg. Go get it now! Cheers!

"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,
all ye lands."

~Psalm 100:1


October 5, 2013

Summer Summations; Vol. 3: Brooklyn Cyclones

Now, with the dog days behind us and autumn officially arrived, in order to sum up the series of "Summer Summations" that I have been writing, I want to talk about a wonderful place that I had been hearing about my entire life, but never had the chance to visit until this August. I'm talking about Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY.

This long row of family entertainment runs along Surf Avenue and parallels the beach and boardwalk with its first big attraction being the NY Aquarium. At the time of my visit, parts of the facility were closed for renovation after being damaged by Hurricane Sandy with the promise that the revamped aquarium would unveil many new features as of 2016. Even so, I was treated to a sea lion show, a penguin feeding, an encounter with some friendly otters, and an indoor array of bright tanks that houses many fascinating examples of oceanic life. For the reduced price of admission, this aquatic sojourn was well worth the time.

After a stepping out of the aquarium and on to the boardwalk, a brief stroll brought me into the midst of the carnival atmosphere of a string of amusement parks that takes over the landscape. Featured here is the famous roller coaster "The Cyclone," as well as Deno's Wonder Wheel and several extreme rides such as the Sling Shot. Nearby is also the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. It is a sword-swallowing, snake-charming, fire-breathing good time. It is also the last authentic sideshow on Earth.

For lunch, I stopped at the Original Nathan's Famous for some cheese fries and chili dogs. This structure has been in place since 1916, when it was a nickle hot dog stand. While I've have enjoyed food from the Nathan's in the mall a few times, for some reason, it just tastes better when sitting under an umbrella on the boardwalk during a warm, sunny Brooklyn afternoon.

Last last stop along the boardwalk is MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Single-A affiliate of the New York Mets. As I try my best to attend at least one baseball game every summer, I was very fortunate to find out that the Cyclones were in town for an evening game at the time of my visit. The diamond looks absolutely beautiful with the now-defunct Parachute Jump tower being lit up with all different colors just beyond the right field wall. A very exciting night!

After the game let out, I took another walk on the boardwalk, which is still very active in the evening. I can definitely see why Coney Island is such a special place. I'll definitely go again in the future. Cheers!

"Remember, O LORD,
your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you are good, O LORD."

~Psalm 25:6-7