Zip Line Kid Video of crane loading freshly cut trees – with commentary

Zip Line Kid shows a clear appreciation for the power and spectacle of what can be accomplished using big equipment.

Another kid-friendly night of music starts at 6pm in all 4 Cape Ann towns.  Excellent live music continues into the wee hours.  See complete live music schedule here.  Why would we ever want to live anywhere else?

New Years Day Rocky Neck Plunge Video w/ GMG Stars

After shooting plunge prep, the Zip Line Kid gave me his camera to shoot all the brave souls who took the plunge with a warm ending at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center with gracious hostess, Karen Ristuben.

Zip Line Kid Shoots GMG Plunge Prep

Using his new Christmas present, the Zip Line Kid completes his first photo shoot assignment for GMG.  I think the kid’s got a future at this!

P&V’s LOL #7: You’re freezing when it’s colder than your age

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit

Of course, this LOL is only true for those of us who use the temperature scale developed by the inventor of the mercury thermometer, Mr. Fahrenheit.

This Law of Life, was inspired by Kevin Ricci of The Village Restaurant in Essex, whose answer to my question about why he always vacations in warm climates was, “I just don’t like when it’s colder than my age.”

It didn’t take me long to realize that Kevin was on to something.  You can easily test this law by asking yourself at what temperature do you feel like you’re freezing.  As predicted, that temperature (for me) is right about my age, which is considerably warmer than either the air or water will be tomorrow, hence the reason I will NOT be taking the plunge.  (There’s part 1 of your answer to this post, Joey.)

Last year Vickie took the plunge, but she’s a year older now.  More importantly, she’s a lot wiser, so she will not be taking the plunge either (part 2 of the answer).  Now the Zip Line Kid, is certainly young enough not to feel freezing in 45 degree water, but his commentary in yesterday’s video was so good that he’ll be filming instead of plunging (part 3 of the answer).  So we’ll bring donations to the Open Door, a camera, a commentator and plenty of enthusiasm for those young enough and/or crazy enough to plunge tomorrow.

But before we even think about tomorrow, we just have to point out just how much music is available tonight MORE THAN 70 SHOWS TO CHOOSE FROM!   See the full NYE schedule here.

Here’s a wintry video from 25 years ago to get you into the NYE and plunge spirit:

These girls ROCK, but their version omits the 2nd half of the bridge from Simon & Garfunkel’s original.  Does anybody know what those lyrics are?  Here’s some help:


Zip Line Kid builds it up and knocks it down

Isn’t it fun to watch what kids will do with junk?  Last year John built a Zip Line with stuff from the garage (see those videos here).  Watch his balancing act from today:

Nope, he’s not playing with any of those expensive gifts you get at the malls.  Something to think about this time of year, huh . . .

Harbor Walk, Harbor Loop, Blues Fest, Farmers Market …

There’s just too much going on this week to fit into one post a day, so today we’re just going to step back, catch our breath and review what’s coming up.

Gus Foote Park Garden designed by Kim Smith ~ From Gloucester Daily Times ~ photo Allegra Boverman

Let’s start with music.  We’ve been adding new shows almost every day this week as we find out about them.  Remember, there’s even music at the Farmers Market.

Check the live music lineup to see the latest.  Check it again tomorrow; it’s likely to list more shows.

If you were paying attention, you’ve already saved the date for the Harbor Walk Ribbon Cutting.  Today’s excellent article in the Times gives you a first glimpse at what you can expect.

Later today, we’ll post a full schedule of Harbor Walk events that start Thursday, connect with the Harbor Loop Concerts and continue all weekend long.

Now, you DID take my advice yesterday and get your ticket to the Blues Festival, right?  Good, because we (including the Zip Line Kid) will be live blogging from the festival all day long — with a special focus on those of you who are like us and decide what to do at the last minute.

more to come later …

“Wish I could be wrong that often and get paid that much”

That’s what I hear people say when weather predictions fail, as they did this week.  The Harbor Loop Concert and Seafood Throwdown were both canceled on Thursday due to warnings of severe thunderstorms and flash floods.  Not a drop of rain fell.  The Farmers Market braved the storm that never was and now they all look like geniuses!  So next time the weather man or woman predicts severe weather on a Summer Thursday, go to Stage Fort Park and join the good people who put on the Farmers Market RAIN OR SHINE in defiance.

When light rain finally fell yesterday, the Zip Line Kid spent the entire time outside with a friend — not necessarily in defiance — neither of them seemed to care that it was raining.  Or perhaps they were inspired by it.  They got out a big barrel, filled it up with water, threw stuff in and went bobbing — reveling in the joy of childhood.  Joey would have gotten a good picture of it.  Vickie and I just sat on the porch with a glass of wine and relished the gentle warm rain on a midsummer night.

Regardless of what the unpredictable weather decides to hand us tonight, there’s plenty of good music around the Cape.  It’s going on right now and will continue into the wee hours.  See the full live music lineup here.

“Stay in the street,” we tell the Zip Line Kid, who sees 20 friends at the Block Party

No pictures (if you want pictures click here).  Just a quick note to say that one main goal of the Block Parties (to build community) was realized last night for kids and adults alike.

Now that John has his own phone (more about that here) we figured he could enjoy a bit of freedom at the Block Party as long as he stayed within the blocked-off section of Main St.  (sounds funny telling your kid to stay IN the street) and checked in with us every fifteen minutes or so.

At the end of the night, I asked how many friends he saw.  “At least 20,” was his immediate answer.  “Kids from the cast [Holiday Delights], kids from school, kids from camp, kids from St. Ann’s, kids from all over.”

Vickie and I connected with at least as many — and met a few new friends.

The Block Party worked!

But there’s more — a dozen live music choices on Cape Ann today.  Keep the momentum going.  Don’t stay home.  Check them out here.

You know you’re in the middle of a paradigm shift when the best way to inspire the Zip Line Kid to read & write over the summer turns out to be getting him a phone

My aunt says not to worry.  “You just don’t see 9-year-old boys curling up with a good book during the summer.”

Why should I listen?  My Aunt Mary taught “grammar school” for decades; plus she taught me all the 2nd grade I needed to get into 3rd grade in about a month over the summer of 1963 (yes, dating myself — Vickie’s no where near this old).

I had spent the prior academic year in the Kindergarten row of a two room school-house in Céligny Switzerland because I couldn’t speak enough French to do 2nd grade work.  That’s right Kindergarten row.  You see, there were six rows in one room (K-5) with Madame Fiorina – and she was scary.  Grades 6, 7 & 8 were in another room with Monsieur Fiorina.  He was terrifying!

I hadn’t read, written  or spelled anything in English for a year — and I hadn’t done any subtraction, which is about all the math taught in a U.S. 2nd grade class back in 1962.

Anyhow, Aunt Mary reminded me last weekend that all I wanted to do during the summer was go out and play — just like John.  “It’s normal.  Don’t worry,” she advised confidently.

Back to phones.  We didn’t think we were getting John a phone in order to encourage him to read.  But that’s what happened.  Maybe it’s because this phone has a keyboard, which he likes because it makes it easier for him to text.  And that’s nearly all he uses it for.  Great — he’s reading!

I told John that, about 100 years ago, this guy invented a device that empowered you to have a conversation with another person in real-time.  You didn’t have to type anything.  You didn’t have to read a screen.  You could even close your eyes if you wanted.  I didn’t have to look for my glasses in order to use it.

He gives me a quizzical look for a moment and then, in disgust, blurts out “Oh, Dad,” with that pre-teen attitude you get when you ask if he’s brushed his teeth after he actually has.  Then he turns back to finish texting his cousin in CT.  I hear a bleep from his phone.  Deftly he switches to answer a text from his brother, who’s in the next room.

We’re witnessing the advent of a new era, folks!

Pier Tag & Diving with Zip Line Kid @ Magnolia Pier

Pre-K to college kids to grandpa.  Everybody jumps off Magnolia pier. In this video, we catch part of a game of Pier Tag, followed by some aerial acrobatics and the Zip Line Kid’s first jump off the railing.  Given the ages of some of these kids (and adults) you could say they’ve got at least as much skill and daring as the greasy pole walkers!

It’s a beautiful summer Sunday with over a dozen live music choices on Cape Ann (see full live music lineup here).  Since the weather is soooooo good, consider the Celtic Music Sunset Sail with Michael O’Leary aboard the Schooner Lannon.  Truly acoustic–no mics, no amps, no power except the wind in the sails and the power of great songs and excellent musicianship to move your soul.

Zip Line Kid shows you how to chop wood and use a socket set to fix a wagon

When we built the zip line (See those videos here), we had to chop down some trees and since yesterday wasn’t much of a beach day, John decided to chop them up and fix his wagon so he could haul the wood into the garage to store until it gets really cold.  In this video he shows you how to chop wood with an ax and use a socket wrench to repair a wagon (red wagon, of course).

Lots of great live music going on RIGHT NOW on this beautiful Father’s Day (click here for some ideas we gave you yesterday).  If you play your cards right, you could take Dad to see 8 shows between now and 9 tonight!  See full live music lineup here.

Zip Line Kid Saves Bird Nest & Eggs

Well, our son John has a new project this week.  While repairing our roof, we displaced a bird nest with eggs in it and John moved the nest with some help from Vickie, who’s been talking to the bird for some time now suggesting that she really didn’t want to be in our roof anyhow.  Watch this video and see how mother and son help out another mother and her (hopeful) offspring.

13 venues with music spread throughout the day, all day and night — it’s going on right now!  No reason to stay home.  Check out the full music lineup here.

Zip Line Update ~ Neighborhood Friends Pick Up the Speed.

Here’s a zip line update for all of you who have asked about it.  You may remember last week we showed you John’s improved zip line (see here if you missed it).  Well the neighborhood kids decided they wanted to see how fast they could go.  Wow!  It helps to be a gymnast.

Starting tomorrow, we’ll have a week-long preview of Gloucester’s first Blues Festival on August 11.  We’re all hoping this will become a tradition as Gloucester welcomes some of the world’s best Blues musicians to Stage Fort Park.  Stay tuned for some great music and video of blues musicians young and old.

There’s music going on right now all over town (11 choices today and tonight).   If you missed Orville Giddings last Thursday or Allen Estes last Sunday, you can see them together tonight at the Rhumbline — and that’s a great show!   Check out the full Sunday music lineup here.

Homemade Zip Line Improved

Last Sunday we showed you a video of our son’s homemade zip line built with stuff found in the garage.  He used a PVC elbow in place of a pulley because we didn’t have one.

As the week went on, friction cut a ridge in the PVC, slowing down the zip.  John noticed that it worked better in the rain (yes, moms, neither he nor his friends care about being out in the rain).

Finally, he started nagging us to get a pulley and on Friday after school we stopped at the Building Center and bought a good, strong one.  He offered to buy it with his money (earned from working various jobs) but we figured he deserved this one on us since he’d engineered the whole thing, witnessed first hand the effects of friction and figured a pulley would solve the problem.

There’s simply nothing like hands-on experiment and experience to spark a child’s thrill of discovery and inspire his quest for the best!  Here’s a video of the first zip line so you can see the improvement:

This experience also offered a chance to overcome his fear.  The first run on both zip lines was terrifying.  He simply didn’t know what would happen.  It took real courage to take those first leaps off the ladder.  Congratulations John!

Plenty of true Gloucester sounds tonight from Sea Shanteys to Bandit Kings.  Check out the music lineup here.

Homemade Zip Line ~ engineering by a 9-year-old using stuff from the gerage

Well we don’t usually like to brag about our super talented son 🙂 but today we will.  Not only did he come up with the idea, design and test this zip line himself, he even gave us credit for the tiny amount of work we did, which consisted of getting the rope up in the tree and tightening it enough to work.

Some people think of Sunday as a slow entertainment day, but not on Cape Ann.  There’s music playing RIGHT NOW and it will continue through the night.  Nine events to choose from.  Check it out here.