NEW YORK, PRINCETON… BUT MOSTLY “AIDA”

The main reason for this short trip is the performance of AIDA at the Metropolitan Opera. This is something I had been planning long before we left Maui. And now it is coming to fruition. We are finally going to see the “grandest of the grand operas” performed by one of the world’s top opera companies.

GREETINGS FROM NEW YORK!

Apr 18, 2017

Elizabeth and I arrived this evening at sunset at JFK after traveling all day from Arizona, with an 1.5 hr delay in Charlotte, North Carolina.

But all is well. And we finally got to wear some of our winter clothes. 🙂 Temperatures are in the 40s at night.

The main reason for this short trip is the performance of AIDA at the Metropolitan Opera. This is something I had been planning long before we left Maui. And now it is coming to fruition. We are finally going to see the “grandest of the grand operas” performed by one of the world’s top opera companies.

Meanwhile, we checked ourselves into a cute 1-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. The neighborhood is full of great restaurants and shops. And is within a walking distance from the opera venue at Lincoln Center.

Bye for now…

 * * *

Apr 19, 2017

MANHATTAN ON FOOT

Our today’s walk through Midtown gave a new meaning to the expression “shop till you drop”

I told Elizabeth yesterday that on this trip, I have no agenda or plans for Manhattan except for us seeing AIDA at the Met tomorrow night.

“So what would you like to do tomorrow?” (meaning today)

“Shop.”

I smiled. Women. Or more specifically – this woman. She loves to shop. Not that she has not done it a number of times before in Manhattan. But like good sex, it’s always new when you do it right.

So this morning, off we went on our walking tour of Midtown Manhattan. Five hours later, our legs were ready to fall off. And I understood firsthand the meaning of the saying “shop till you drop.”

Elizabeth was grateful though. She thanked me several times for being patient and rushing her. She saw I could have taken a nap while she was shopping at her favorite store – Bloomingdale’s, for example (see the photo).

And I also had my reward – a delicious crepe, my favorite dessert, which I could not resists buying from a food truck in Central Park. 🙂

PS: PALO PRIEDA (photo – above)

Palo Prieda – stone tree in Spanish – like a tree Elizabeth and I discovered in McDowell Mtns 8 years ago, grew out of a stone.

Exhausted, we had a big nap once we got back to our apartment.

“Jet lag,” Elizabeth commented.

“Shop lag,” I thought. 🙂

Here are some scenes from Grand Central Station and Times Square…

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On our way back to our Upper West Side apartment, we also stopped by the Lincoln Center where tomorrow we are going to attend the performance of AIDA.

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WE TOOK A TURN OFF 7TH AVENUE AND ENDED UP IN IMPERIAL RUSSIA

It’s funny how strange things that happen when you let your Spirit guide you seem at first, yet end up perfectly normal in hindsight. What happened tonight in New York was another case in point. It was an unexpected time and space travel back to Imperial Russia.

Elizabeth has had her taste buds set for a pastrami sandwich dinner at Carnegie Deli since before we left Phoenix. Tonight was the night we decided to do it so we are not rushed before our opera attendance tomorrow.

We had been to Carnegie Deli a number of times before so should have had no trouble finding it. It was right across the street on 7th Ave from Carnegie Hall, New York’s premiere concert venue.

But not tonight. We could not find it.

“Maybe it’s gone out of business,” I speculated. “Though that’s unlikely for such a landmark establishment as Carnegie Deli,” I added.

We turned back, and this time, we started to pay attention to every nook and cranny on 7th Ave. Lo and behold, where once was the famous Carnegie Deli, now remained a hole in the wall, boarded up with a tiny notice pasted on the window from the owner. Indeed, the place had closed after 80 years in business.

“What do we do now?” Elizabeth said.

“We’ll figure something out,” I replied. And at that moment, like a flash, an inspiration came to me: The Russian Tea Room.

“It’s just around the corner,” I explained to Elizabeth. “But don’t get your hopes up. That’s a famous restaurant and we don’t have a reservation.”

As it turned out, our Spirit guides had already made a reservation for us. We were taken directly to a private booth.

What followed was a delicious dinner consisting of Borsht (beet) soup which we shared, followed by Chicken Kiev for Elizabeth, and for me Kulebiaka (breaded salmon with slow cooked onions, mushrooms and vegetables, wrapped in pastry, baby bok choy, baby corn, kohlrabi and turnips with a light ginger miso glaze. Yum!

I then told Elizabeth the story about the White Russian emigres whom the Bolshevik Revolution had scattered around the world like mice. And wherever they landed, they brought their memories and pieces of Imperial Russia with them. One of them was the Russian Team Room.

The Russian Tea Room opened in 1927 by former members of the Russian Imperial Ballet. It became a gathering place for Russian expatriates. It gradually became famous as a gathering place for stars in the entertainment industry. Which is why it has always been a popular, though expensive dining choice.

And that’s how we ended up time traveling to Imperial Russia after turning off 7th Ave at Carnegie Hall.

PS: So now I know why I chose to wear a red shirt today. 🙂 I was not aware how this day would end when I put it on this morning.

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Apr 20, 2017

A WALK THROUGH CENTRAL PARK

Spurning the Met Museum Zoo

Two days ago, the weather forecast was calling for a 90% chance of rain in New York. So I “got on the horn” with my spirit guides and asked them if they would at least spare us the rain in the evening, when we are supposed to attend the AIDA at the Metropolitan Opera. (We are planning to walk there from our apartment).

Well, they did more than that. There was no rain at all in Manhattan today. In fact, sun was trying to break through the clouds for the first time since we got here. So Elizabeth and I went out for another walk through and around Central Park.

We also thought tentatively we might stop for a visit at the Metropolitan Museum. But the throngs of people that were there, both outside and inside, made it look more like a human zoo.

“We don’t need that kind of hassle, especially on a nice day,” I said and Elizabeth agreed.

We did stay long enough to witness the hypocrisy of this institution. The signs at the ticket booths read, “SUGGESTED donation $25.” But when we tried to use a restroom, two guards stopped us.

“Your ticket, please,” one of them said.

“I don’t have one,” I replied, adding pointing to the ticket booth: “It says there SUGGESTED donation, not a mandatory ticket purchase.”

“I know,” the guard said sheepishly. “But you need to have a ticket to get through here.”

Even to the restroom.

Money, money, money… and shysterism and duplicity – thy name is New York.

Did I mention that our new president is a New Yorker? 🙂

We had been to the Museum before so giving it a miss this time was no great loss. We walked back out to the park and had an enjoyable time watching kids’ baseball and toddlers’ games next to many mothers’ stroller conventions around the park.

Oh, did I also mention that our apartment is on the same block where John Lennon used to live and was killed in 1981? Even today people are gathering there as if it were a memorial.

“AIDA” AT THE MET: A SPECTACULAR PERFORMANCE

There’s one word that sums up the performance of Verdi’s AIDA at the Metropolitan Opera in New York: SPECTACULAR.

That’s what Elizabeth also said after our 4-hour opera experience at the Lincoln Center. She now places the AIDA at the Met at the No. 1 spot among the operas we have seen around the world. “Madam Butterfly” at the Sydney Opera House (2015) comes second. “Valkyrie” by the Hawaii Opera Theater (2010) is in third place on her list of favorite opera experiences.

Here are some photos from last night’s performance. The best part – we ended up seated next to each other after all, despite buying two separate tickets three months apart.

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To put this in a proper context, here’s a story behind our story of AIDA at the Met.

“SYNCHRONICITY ON STEROIDS”

“This is synchronicity on steroids,” commented a shaman-friend of mine from Sedona upon hearing about what had preceded our trip to New York. And this is what happened…

“I bought my AZ ticket back in December when I had no idea about this deal from last night. But I have been praying every day since then for my spirit guides to release me from physical bondage to this land, and to have the property sold before my return on Mar 8. And lo and behold.,,,

In fact, my March trip was part of another “big deal” to see “Aida” opera in New York at the Met after Anne [my daughter who lives in Vienna] and her family leave AZ in April (I had never seen Aida live before). So I booked the flights Maui-Phoenix-New York-Phoenix. I never bought the portion from Phoenix to Maui, though, thereby subconsciously manifesting my intention to be finished with Maui by then.

Fast forward about a week later. I was able to get a seat for Elizabeth on the same flight back from Maui to Phoenix, and even right next to me.

Furthermore, I was able to get her on the same flights from Phoenix to New York in April (Apr 18-22) to see the opera AIDA. And again, right next to me. Alas, I only had one ticket for the Met Opera on Apr 20. So I put mine up for sale on eBay. After 3 weeks, it had still not sold.

So I changed my tack. I went back to the Met Opera website to see if I can get a single ticket for her. Lo and behold, I did. It was the last one available. And here’s the best part: It was also on Balcony an even the same row as mine which I bought back it December. Plus it was at about half price since I bought it directly from the Opera rather than a ticket agent.”

EPILOGUE

And now, the final touch of our Spirit guides… we ended up actually sitting next to each other at last night’s performance. That was our bit of MAGIC to go with a magical opera by Verdi at the Met.

Oh yes, one more thing… the weather stayed dry throughout our stay in New York despite a forecast for 90% chance of rain before we got here.

Thank you, God!

“AIDA” AT THE MET: UPDATE

Here are a few more shots from our attendance at last night’s performance of AIDA by the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Each of us walked away with a Met souvenir: Elizabeth – with a pretty inscribed bag, me – a musically adorned watch.

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Apr 21, 2017

VISIT TO PRINCETON: LAST STAGE OF OUR TRIP

On our last day on this trip we decided to rent a car in Manhattan and drive to Princeton University in New Jersey. We had been to Princeton once before (in 2008) on our first long distance “honeymoon” trip to New York.

We had a great time then, and we had a great time in Princeton today. We ended our visit to this Ivy League school with a delicious dinner at a creperie on Nassau St. (photo).

Getting out of Manhattan, however, was a different story. Between massive construction-related street blockages, and a resulting lack of signs, it took us forever to negotiate our way to the Lincoln Tunnel. The net result was a massive headache Elizabeth developed as a result of the stress.

Don’t worry, there is nothing that a Starbucks green tea frappuccino and a drive through the green countryside around Princeton would not cure. By the time we started walking through the campus, all was well with Elizabeth’s head and mood.

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NO INDIANS AMONG PRINCETON FRESHMEN!

While waiting for Elizabeth in one of the university buildings (School of Foreign Studies), I noticed an interesting poster on the wall. It was sort of “who’s who” among the Princeton freshmen from Asia (photo).

“What’s missing on this map?” I asked Elizabeth when she rejoined me.

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She could not figure it out.

“India,” I said. “There are no students here from India!”

Yet India is now virtually tied with China as the world’s most populous country (1.31 billion vs. 1.38 billion people).

Why are there no Indian freshmen at Princeton’s School of Foreign Studies?

I have no idea. So I asked a couple of students – one white blonde and one Asian with blonde hair.

They had no idea, either. In fact, they had not even noticed this anomaly.

“Well, that’s what happens when a Truth in Media editor arrives on a liberal university campus,” I told Elizabeth on our way out. “While most people notice what’s there, he notices the things that are missing.” 🙂

Some call it “reading between the lines.” I say that’s experience of decoding the New World Order’s lamestream media lies and deceptions for 27 years. This was merely another case in point.

Anyway, we are back at our Newark hotel and ready to fly back home to Phoenix tomorrow.

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 * * *

Apr 22, 2017

A feel-good human interest story

COMPASSION AND GRATITUDE ON AA FLIGHT 550

The American people still have goodness in their hearts, notwithstanding our evil governments

We are back home now. Our 5-day trip to New York was a “red carpet” sojourn all the way. With a few stains here and there we picked up in Manhattan (stand by for an editorial on that).

Elizabeth and I both agreed that the apex of the trip was actually its main purpose – our evening at the Metropolitan Opera to see AIDA.

The second best, again we both agreed, was our spur-of-the-moment dinner at the Russian Tea Room.

The third, at least for me, was our last crepe dinner at a Princeton University creperie. Also spontaneous and unplanned.

Late Start from Newark

But our spirit guides saved perhaps the best human interest story for our return trip. Even before we got to the airport in Newark, NJ, we had been advised by AA that our flight to Dallas would be delayed by about 30 mins.

Later, we found out that the reason was a delay in incoming flight’s departure from New York via Charlotte, NC, due to congestion at the JFK airport. Or soma other JFK hassle. The same thing happened on our incoming flight to JFK from Charlotte.

So it looks like a chronic New York problem. And JFK is an airport to avoid in your travel plans, if at all possible.

As it turned out, our departure from Newark was actually 1.5 hours late. Which was the length of our layover in Dallas. So it looked as if we were likely to miss our Phoenix connection there.

But airlines pad their estimated flight times. So by the time we landed in Dallas, we still had 45 mins to make it to our Phoenix flight gate. So no sweat, no problem.

Hassles at Dallas Airport

Alas, we were not as lucky as we thought. The flight 550 to Phoenix was fully boarded with about 5 mins to spare before scheduled departure time. The captain had announced that they were about to close the doors and get ready to depart.

That’s when two Dallas cops entered the cabin. We overheard one of them say to his buddy, “we don’t even know if he (or she or they) is the first class or the economy.”

The proceeded to about the middle of the main cabin, followed by several members of the AA crew. After awhile, they walked back out with a young woman in between. She looked well dressed and groomed.

“She sure doesn’t look like a typical criminal, does she?” I told Elizabeth. She agreed.

“Maybe it’s a white collar crime,” I speculated. “Or they wanted her as a witness in a drug bust.”

I found it strange that Dallas cops would be allowed to enter and either arrest or interrogate a passenger. “Aren’t the airports supposed to be under federal jurisdiction?” I said to Elizabeth.

No answer. She just shrugged.

More waiting.

After about 10 minutes, the young woman walked back to her seat. Alone.

After some action in the front cabin, I saw a member of the maintenance crew depart the cockpit.

“Uh-uh,” I said to Elizabeth. “That’s never a good sign.”

After a few minutes, the captain came back on the horn.

“Sorry about all this. We now have new problem. Our cockpit door won’t lock. So we have now asked for maintenance to fix it. Hopefully it won’t take long.”

To cut the long story short, we departed Dallas about 1 hour later than scheduled.

Tight Phoenix Connections Lead to Magnificent Display of Compassion and Gratitude

This, of course, was bad news for all passengers who had tight connections in Phoenix. So the cabin crew chief came on the blower twice to announce that there were a lot of people on board in this predicament. And she asked the rest of the passengers, whose final destination was Phoenix, or who had connections after 8:30 PM, to remain seated upon landing to give others a chance to deplane and try to make their connecting flights.

Lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened.

When the plane landed and arrived at the gate in Phoenix, it took, what must have seemed like an eternity for waiting passengers with tight connection. for the ground crew to connect the jetway.

“Everybody is cooperating except for the airline,” one of the passengers remarked.

When the doors finally opened, most people, even in first class, remained seated, to let a flood of some 60-80 people rush through the aisle. As they were many of them were expressing their appreciation and gratitude to the seated passengers.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you…” and “God bless you all…” kept echoing through the cabin.

From the other side, one could hear the shouts, “good luck to you!… hope you make your flight!”

Compassion and gratitude

THAT’s what makes America GREAT, not the bombastic statements by our latest two-faced Liar in Chief at the While House and his group of plutocrats. And that’s what has ALWAYS made America GREAT.

In times of need, the people of this country have always reached out to each other and to the rest of the world. Even when it wasn’t our fight (like in the two world wars).

THAT is something the foreigners, who don’t understand this nation, need to remember. WE ARE NOT OUR GOVERNMENTS. Most of the American people have pure and compassionate hearts.

The spirit of compassion and gratitude was on display ini spades last night on the AA flight 550.

Epilogue

It’s good to be home. For five days, Elizabeth and I have not seen the sun. And for people who live in the Valley of the Sun, that’s ecological starvation.

The daily highs in New York were in the low 50s (F). Today, the temps in Scottsdale are expected to reach 92F.

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No wonder the beautiful Palo Verde tree in our front yard, which we planted three years ago, greeted us with a big golden smile.

Welcome back to the desert,” its golden flowers, which look like hundreds of mini suns, seem to speak.

HAPPY SAINT GEORGE’S DAY!

 * * *

EPILOGUE II

NEW YORK, NEW YORK… WHAT WILL BECOME OF THIS MODERN-DAY SODOM AND GOMORRAH?

Our trip to New York this week reminded Elizabeth and me of just how fortunate we are NOT to live in a place like that. On our flight back to Phoenix, we ruminated about that.

After living for the last 8 years on a 7-acre Garden of Eden in Paradise on Earth (Maui, Hawaii), and for the last 3.5 decades in the Arizona desert (Scottsdale), our return to New York served as a rude wake-up call. About how “the other half” live.

I have been coming to New York regularly during the last four decades while I was active in business out of Phoenix, sometimes 2-3 times a month. I spent more times in New York during the last 30 years than in any other city other than my hometown – Phoenix/Scottsdale.

Yet while many other people reveled and worshipped the City’s alleged vibrancy, I have always hated it. Could not wait to get out and back to the Arizona desert.

Because New York made me feel like a hamster on a wheel. Or a rat in a rat race whose only objective was self-enrichment.

Money, money, money… everybody seems to be about chasing 24/7 the Almighty Dollar in this modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah.

Quality of life?

What’s that? The nightmare of just trying to leave the City and get to the Lincoln Tunnel in downtown Manhattan gave Elizabeth a massive headache.

POOR BIRD, POOR PEOPLE OF NEW YORK

The day before, while walking along Broadway on the Upper West Side, I spotted a small warbler perched on an iron fence.

“Poor bird,” I said to Elizabeth. “Having to live in a concrete jungle like this.”

“Yes, poor bird,” she agreed.

We also felt sorry for the people who have to live in a place like New York City. Yes, “have to.” Because very few of them have a chance to escape this prison of human spirit. They are confined to it either culturally or economically.

For those who have lived in this urban jungle all their lives chasing the Accursed Buck, this is “normal.”

“If they don’t know any better, perhaps they don’t miss the green fields and blue skies and oceans the way we do,” I told Elizabeth.

Bird, man, spirit… caged. That’s life in New York City.

THE ACCURSED BUCK RULES THE ROOST EVEN IN THE WORLD OF ARTS AND CULTURE

Of course, New York also has some appeals. The arts and culture scene is one of them. But even the artists come here in pursuit of fame and fortune. And we saw how greedy the Metropolitan Museum was when its “suggested donation” turned out to be a mandatory $25 ticket even just to use a restroom.

So back to money, money, money. And greed, greed, greed.

The Accursed Buck rules the roost in New York City. This became all too obvious to Elizabeth and me even during our short (4-day) stay in the City this week.

‘No wonder one of my IBM 1976 Atlanta, Georgia, sales school classmates said, when we were all asked to introduce ourselves and state where we were from, “my name is Hirsch Rosenberg [fictitious name], and I am from the Shitty.”

At the time, I had no idea what he meant, never having been to New York before 1976. But now, especially after this 4-day visit, I understand my old IBM pal all too well.

“Shitty” it is indeed.

“We are so blessed,” Elizabeth said upon our return home to Scottsdale last night.

Indeed we are.

We have the sunshine, the clean air, the  pools and spas, the freedom to roam the desert, no traffic nightmares, birds and bees on the golf courses, Arizona Opera, Phoenix Symphony, Hispanic cuisine and fiestas, western rodeos and horse races… so why would we want to go to Sodom and Gomorrah?

AIDA. That’s the only reason.

RETURN TO PHOENIX SYMPHONY

Elizabeth and I did not waste any time getting re-immersed into the Arizona desert cultural life. Last night, we attended a performance of Beethoven’s 3rd symphony, the “Eroica,” by the Phoenix Symphony orchestra. It was another wonderful performance which the conductor, Tito Munoz, led without referring to any sheet music over the entire 48-minutes of its length.

But first, we had to endure – and I underscore ENDURE – you might even say suffer through György Ligeti’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra.

LIGETI’S MUSIC: CACOPHONY OF DISCONSONANT SOUNDS

Who is Ligeti? (1923-206). Exactly. Based on what we heard last night, you didn’t miss much if you have never heard of him. His music was a cacophony of disconsonant sounds. Kind of like a bunch of mice in a drunken rage partying while cat’s away. Awful.

If that’s what passes as “contemporary” or “modern” music, I’d even take rap over it.

Anyway, here’s the official bio summary for this mice music composer: György Sándor Ligeti was a Hungarian composer of contemporary classical music. He has been described as “one of the most important avant-garde composers in the latter half of the twentieth century”.

BACKGROUND TO BEETHOVEN’S THIRD SYMPHONY – “EROICA”

And now, back to Beethoven’s “Eroica” symphony. Completed in 1804 and first performed in 1805, Beethoven originally dedicated the third symphony to Napoleon Bonaparte. Beethoven believed Napoleon embodied the democratic and anti-monarchical ideals of the French Revolution.

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In autumn of 1804, however, Beethoven withdrew his dedication of the third symphony to Napoleon, lest it cost the composer’s fee paid him by a royal patron. So, Beethoven re-dedicated his third symphony to Prince Joseph Franz Maximilian Lobkowitz – nonetheless, despite such a bread-and-butter consideration, the politically idealistic Beethoven titled the work “Buonaparte”.  Later, about the composer’s response to Napoleon having proclaimed himself Emperor of the French (14 May 1804), Beethoven’s secretary, Ferdinand Ries wrote:.

“In writing this symphony, Beethoven had been thinking of Buonaparte, but Buonaparte while he was First Consul. At that time Beethoven had the highest esteem for him, and compared him to the greatest consuls of Ancient Rome. Not only I, but many of Beethoven’s closer friends, saw this symphony on his table, beautifully copied in manuscript, with the word “Buonaparte” inscribed at the very top of the title-page and “Ludwig van Beethoven” at the very bottom …

I was the first to tell him the news that Buonaparte had declared himself Emperor, whereupon he broke into a rage and exclaimed, “So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of Man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!” Beethoven went to the table, seized the top of the title-page, tore it in half and threw it on the floor. The page had to be recopied, and it was only now that the symphony received the title Sinfonia eroica.”

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UPDATE March 24, 2017

MOZART REQUIEM AT PHOENIX SYMPHONY HALL

Last night, Elizabeth and I attended a wonderful performance of the “Mozart Requiem” by the Phoenix Symphony and Chorus.

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UPDATE APRIL 2, 2017

“March Madness” Phoenix-style on April Fools’ Day

BEETHOVEN’S 9TH SQUEEZED IN BETWEEN “FINAL FOUR” AND ROCK MUSIC FESTIVAL

Our first “park and ride” experience on Phoenix light rail system

We expected this Saturday night to be a madhouse in downtown Phoenix.  The greedy city fathers – or morons, take your pick – managed to schedule at least three major events on the same day at about the same time in an already crowded city center of a major metropolitan area that’s home to nearly 5 million people.

First, and the biggest madness of them all was the culmination of NCAA’s “March Madness” basketball tournament – the Final Four.  Both semifinal games were played on Saturday, April 1.  (Never mind that “March Madness” has now spilled over into April). 🙂

Second, there was a related Music Festival featuring major rock bands.

And then there was Beethoven’s 9th and the most majestic symphony being performed on Saturday evening by the Phoenix Symphony and Chorus. Beethoven would have felt rather small in comparison to the crowds that the other two New World Order crowd opiates attracted. But what Beethoven and the Phoenix Symphony lacked in numbers they more than made up in class.

It was a magnificent performance. What made it so special for Elizabeth and me was that only a week ago we had a chance to see and hear Mozart’s magnificent Requiem at the same venue performed by the same orchestral and choral ensembles.

As we were walking out after last night’s performance, I asked Elizabeth, “which one did you like better?”

“Both,” was her answer.

Indeed. They are both so very different and yet so fabulous.

OUR FIRST PHOENIX LIGHT RAIL EXPERIENCE

As a result of all the warnings about possible overcrowding in downtown Phoenix, Elizabeth and I decided to take the Leaf on its first desert outing and park it at the Camelback Rd light rail station. We took the light rail train, which is really a tram, from there to downtown Phoenix. And back, of course, after the concert.

It was an interesting experience. Certainly a lot cheaper than driving. With gas and parking, out trips to the Phoenix Symphony Hall probably cost about $35. Last night, we spent $4 on two return tickets. And left ZERO carbon footprint for the night since we used the Leaf (our electric car) to get to the train station.

But, of course, there was also waiting and crowding in the tram car on the way back. Still, it was a good experience.

Phoenix rail

 

 

 

AN IMPROMPTU CONCERT AT COSTCO

AN IMPROMPTU CONCERT AT COSTCO

This is the first day of my post-Hawaiian life. And something quite unexpected happened at a most unlikely place.

Did you ever think you would see a $150,000-product on sale at Costco?

Never in a million years, right?

Well, today I did. And not just saw one. I actually played it.

In the world of music, the Bösendorfer pianos are what the Rolls Royce cars are in the auto industry. Top-of-the-line products in all respects, including the highest prices.

When we lived in Hawaii, before I bought my Steinway concert grand, we had traveled to Honolulu just for a chance to play a Bösendorfer (see the two shots). You can see below an excerpt from that story which – amazingly (!) – unfolded actually exactly 7 years ago (Mar 11, 2010).

Back to Scottsdale Costco this afternoon, I was stunned to see 5 of the Bösendorfers on display, ranging in prices from $110,000 to $150,000. A nice Japanese gentleman you can see in my photo also happens to be a pianist. So he invited me to try one.

I played two of them – the $140,000 and the $150,000-models. As soon as I started Mozart’s Rondo alla Turca (Turkish March), a crowd gathered around me. (But I did not know that until I finished playing and heard the applause).

I then played Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,” including my own improvisations. The same thing happened… crowd, applause.

When I got up to leave, two ladies asked for an encore. This time, I played two variations from Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Paganini Theme.” An even louder and longer applause followed.

So don’t let anybody tell you that Costco shoppers are not culturally enlightened. One gentleman came over and said, “Bösendorfer should hire you to sell their pianos.”

“You are very kind,” I replied. “Thank you. But I don’t play to make money.”

Music is a passion for me which I am happy to share it for free with any audience that appreciates it. Like Kokopelli. Or Liszt.

PLAYING A BÖSENDORFER FOR THE FIRST TIME

“Elizabeth also surprised me when she took a picture of me playing on a true gem – a white 175-anniversary Bosendorfer piano adorned with 9,000 crystals (right). There are only three such instruments in the world. You don’t want to know the price.

But that was not the best piano I played. The best one was the black one which Ashkenazy also played (display model). Its keyboard had an incredible feathery touch, making you feel as if the fingers were playing themselves. And its sound brought tears to my eyes. Long notes seemed to reverberate forever. Soft tones soaked in deep inside the soul. The music seemed to come straight from the heavens. I felt as if God were speaking to me directly through this magnificent piano. In all the decades of playing various pianos, I have never experienced anything like it. Every time I would try out another instrument, I would be drawn back to that “black monster.” (see http://yinyangbob.com/HI2010/Mar/Mar_2.html).

CANCELING THE “UNLUCKY” FRIDAY THE 13th, SUNSET FIRE CEREMONY FOLLOWED BY BLACKOUT

CANCELING THE “UNLUCKY” FRIDAY THE 13th

Today is Friday the 13th.

Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition. It occurs at least once every year in the 2010s. In 2017 it is on January 13 and October 13.

When I did my morning meditations and incantations, I became aware of the fact that today is supposed to be such an unlucky day. So I set about to cancel this superstitious myth, first in my prayers than in deeds.

As the day unfolded, the three potentially unlucky matters turned in my favor. Like magic.

friday-13th-canceled

ANNOYING NEIGHBOR BECOMES BENEVOLENT

First, with help from my spirit guides, an annoying neighbor turned into a benevolent one this morning. I’ll spare you the details. Let’s just say that what this neighbor did this morning reverses a 4.5 year trend.

FREE CAR WASH

Then as I drove into town, I thought I’d give my “Leaf” (electric car) a wash at the only car wash I know in Kahului. It’s one of those where you sit in the car the whole time and the machines just wash the outside. Meaning, you still have to clean the interior. But after weeks of rain and the last 12 days of dry weather, I thought that maybe it was time at least to get the dirt off the outside of the car.

Alas, I was not the only one with that idea on a sunny Friday with temperatures in the mid-80s. The line of cars waiting to get into the car wash parking lot stuck out all the way to the street.

So I turned around changed my tack. I drove to my Nissan dealer and asked them to check my tire pressure. And to wash the car while they were at it.

They did a super-duper job, inside and out. I could not have washed it better myself. And then when I offered the car jockey a tip for a job well done, he refused.

“That’s okay, Sir,” he said. “You don’t need to do it.

So it ended up a FREE car wash despite my efforts to pay for it.

FREE PANCAKES

Next, I decided to finally cash in on a free short stack coupon the IHOP had given me at some point last summer. I have been trying to cut back or eliminate the glutens. But since my weight this morning was lower than it had been in months, I decided it was time to try my luck with that, too, on Friday 13th.

And it all worked out perfectly. I just had to pay for a glass of milk. And leave a tip for the waitress. Who did not refuse it. 😃

So that was my way of debunking the myth and canceling the unlucky Friday the 13th.

Of course, there are still a few hours left in the day. So I’d better not gloat. 😊

PS: There is one more possible reversal of fortune that I set in motion today. But I won’t know if it will turn in my favor for another day or two. Meanwhile, I am keeping my fingers crosses. Superstition? Of course. But why not? Just for tun, 😁

  * * *

SUNSET FIRE CEREMONY: HONORING FULL MOON, VENUS’ ZENITH AND ORTHODOX NEW YEAR’S EVE

But it was all about GRATITUDE

This evening sunset I did a fire ceremony to honor the full moon, the zenith of planet Venus, and the Serbian (Orthodox) New Year’s Eve. It was a ceremony of gratitude – gratitude for two weeks of badly needed dry weather, gratitude for the new friends the spirit has brought into my life this week, gratitude for turning the unlucky Friday the 13th into a lucky day. Until MECO entered the scene… 🙂

VIDEO: SUNSET FIRE CEREMONY: HONORING FULL MOON, VENUS’ ZENITH AND ORTHODOX NEW YEAR’S EVE – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – Jan 13, 2017

Direct Youtube link: https://youtu.be/8DfPCmLIzRE

 * * *

PHOTO ALBUM FROM THE FIRE CEREMONY

 * * *

Unlucky Friday the 13th did rear its ugly head in the end

LONG POWER OUTAGE

working-by-candlelight

Eating and working by candlelight – 21st century! Welcome to Maui Electric Company “service”

Tonight, I had my dinner by candlelight.
I know, it sounds romantic. It was not. First, because I am alone. Second, because I was forced to light a candle by a long power outage.
I had just finished a nice sunset fire ceremony honoring the full moon, the zenith of planet Venus, and the Serbian (Orthodox) New Year’s Eve. It was a ceremony of gratitude – gratitude for two weeks of badly needed dry weather, gratitude for the new friends the spirit has brought into my life this week, gratitude for turning the unlucky Friday the 13th into a lucky day,
Until it became unlucky. When I cam back up to the house, I recorded a new version of AMAZING GRACE, a tune I also played on my flute during the fire ceremony. And then I was sat down to edit the video and write the story about how AMAZING GRACE MUSIC cause a lot of blue smoke to rise from fire, the power went out.
And it is still out – over 2 hours and counting. So I am writing this also by… I was tempted to say by candlelight, but actually it is by a battery-powered flashlight.
So Friday the 13th did rear its ugly head in the end. Good thing I said in my original post about canceling the Unlucky Friday that the day is till not over and that I had better not gloat. Sure enough…
By the way, there is no wind. There is no rain. There is no high surf. Nor volcanic explosion. No earthquake, either. Just MECO! (Maui Electric – our public utility).
What makes this outage even more abominable is that our solar system produces more electricity than we consume. Unlike other utilities, like with my Arizona solar system, MECO pays me nothing! They just take my CLEAN excess electricity, mix it with their dirty (coal and diesel powered) energy, and resell it at retail rates to their other customers. And to top it off – adding insult to injury – they force me to suffer from their power failures like everybody else.
MECO have the system figured out… to suit themselves and skin their customers. This is not new news. But this long and completely unnecessary power outage reminded me of it.
PS: The power came back right now – more than 2 hours after it had gone out. Want to know what I was doing at that moment? Meditating. Lying on the floor with my eyes closed in total darkness. I remembered that way back, when I was in Peru being taught by the Apus (mountain spirits or angels if you like) during my first ordination as a shaman, that they said that’s what we should do once in a while in order to access them. Lie still in total darkness for a long time.
Wonder if MECO have some connection to the Andean mountain spirits? 🙂

REKINDLING SACRED FIRE

About half an hour or so into a 2.5 hour power outage last night, I went back down to the gulch. By then, the fire was almost out. I piled up the remaining logs on top of each other and started blowing to rekindle the fire. It worked. A new fire emerged after a couple of minutes.
The moon had not yet risen so everything was pitch dark around me. I then spent the next 15-20 minutes in meditation and prayer sitting on the Haleakala “kulla” (big rock inside the sacred place) and facing the fire.
Later, I surmised that the spirits must have turned off the electricity for over 2 hours to make me do just that – and contemplate what life without modern technology would be like. I learned two things…
1. It was very peaceful. 2. But after 2 hours of darkness, I could not wait for the lights to come on so I can carry on my 21st century work.

Guess I still have ways to go before I reach the state of Nirvana – my New Year’s resolution.

 * * *

UPDATE JAN 14, 2017

TONIGHT’S SUNSET: AN EXAMPLE OF SOMETHING BAD AND BEAUTIFUL

Here’s an example of how something that most people thinks is a “bad” can become something that everybody will agree is beautiful.

This is tonight’s sunset as seen from my lanai. The close up provides a glimpse of the West Maui Mountains in the hazy background.

Beautiful, right?

Well, want to know what makes it possible?

Volcanic emissions. In other words, air pollution.

You see, we have been experiencing in the last week or so what we call here in Hawaii VOG. VOG is air pollution resulting from sulfur dioxide emitted by the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island. Kilauea emits 2,000–4,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) every day!

The so-called Kona winds (from the southwest) then spread the VOG across the other Hawaiian islands. Maui is the closest and the first to get it. This happens rarely, but when it does, it makes for spectacular air shows at sunset and sunrise.

Don’t worry. We are not in danger. By the time the VOG reaches other islands, the sulfur dioxide has largely dissipated, leaving behind ash, smoke, sulfates, and ammonia,

See how a BAD thing can also be BEAUTIFUL? 🙂

UPDATE JAN 15, 2017

“AMAZING GRACE” AT SUNSET FIRE CEREMONY [music video]

HONORING FULL MOON, VENUS’ ZENITH AND ORTHODOX NEW YEAR’S EVE – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – Jan 13, 2017 – with aerial views of the Rainbow Shower and the Anahata sacred place
 
Direct Youtube link: https://youtu.be/A-BatJjC6GA

“ODE TO JOY” BY HAWAII SYMPHONY: SPIRITUAL CLIMAX OF 2016

HAWAII SYMPHONY’S “ODE TO JOY:” SPIRITUAL CLIMAX OF 2016

Wow. I had tears in my eyes at the end of the year-ending concert by Hawaii Symphony which featured Beethoven’s 9th symphony – Ode to Joy. And not just at the end. All four movements were masterfully played.

One could not have wished for a more perfect climax to an exciting year. I had to sleep on it in order to climb down emotionally enough from last night so as to be able to write about it.

It was the first time that I have had a chance to see a female conductor in action. And boy, was she ever terrific. She conducted not just with her arms, she put her whole body and soul into it.

No wonder JoAnn Falletta has a list of credits as long as my arm. But I did not know that beforehand (see http://www.joannfalletta.com/ for her bio).

At the end of last night’s performance, the audience was positively ecstatic. You’d think you were at a sporting event judging by the cheering and applause.

I’ll probably write more after I get back home to Maui this evening. Meanwhile, happy New Year to those of you in Australia, Asia and the eastern time zone!

ABOUT BEETHOVEN’S 9th SYMPHONY

Ludwig van Beethoven was almost completely deaf when he composed his ninth symphony. The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (also known as “the Choral” and “Ode to Joy”), is Beethoven’s final complete symphony. Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best-known works in classical music.

Beethoven’s deafness created one of the most touching stories in music. When the symphony was completed, he remained facing the orchestra and could not hear the thunderous applause of the audience for his new symphony. Caroline Unger, thimg_1575e mezzo-soprano soloist, had to tap the deaf composer’s arm and have him turn around so that he could see how the crowd’s response. Many of those in attendance, including Miss Unger, had tears in their eyes when they realized the extent of Beethoven’s deafness.

It was first performed on May 7, 1824 at the Kaerntnertor Theater in Vienna.The theater no longer exists. Today, on the site of the old theater is the Hotel Sacher, right behind the Vienna State Opera House. Without knowing this historical tidbit until just now, it is interesting Elizabeth and I were drawn to Hotel Sacher and went there for meals and deserts every day during our May 2014 visit to Vienna. Like the famous Sachertorte (cake see – https://goo.gl/kFIUYm).

  * * *

GREETINGS FROM ATOP DIAMONDHEAD SUMMIT

Attending the year-end Hawaii symphony concert was the main reason I flew to Honolulu for a day and a half visit. But not the only one.

When I got to Honolulu on Friday morning, the weather was wet and drizzly. My tentative plan was to drive out to the Pipeline, Oahu’s notorious surfing spot on its north shore. But as I headed out in that direction, drizzle and low clouds that were practically touching the ground dissuaded me from it.

So I turned around and drove in the opposite direction. And decided to try to climb Diamondback. By the time I made it to the world famous volcano that seems to grace every postcard of Honolulu, the rain had abated to just a light drizzle. Which actually made the hike quite enjoyable and easier than on my two previous climbs.

So here are some shots from the summit.

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By the time I made it there, even the drizzle had stopped. But the clouds were still there, providing an unusual backdrop to the usually sunny Waikiki beaches.

Here are some more scenes from the Diamondhead hike. You can see how low the clouds were from this panorama shot.

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WALK ON WAIKIKI BEACH

After a short nap, I went back out and walked on Waikiki beach. I don’t think I have ever seen it looking so gloomy. Yet the weather did not deter the tourists for doing what they came to Hawaii to do – lie, surf, sail or frolic on the beach. 🙂

I first went to my favorite hotel – the Royal Hawaiian.  When it was build in 1927, it was the tallest structure on Waikiki. Now it looks like a midget compared to the hotel skyscrapers around it. Yet it still has that old world Art Deco charm. I just love it. I could not imagine a visit to Honolulu without stopping by at the Royal Hawaiian.

This time, as I bonus I got to see it decked out in Christmas decorations. Which included this amazing gingerbread model of the hotel itself.

Right next door lies one of those hotel skyscrapers – the Sheraton, which now also manages the Royal Hawaiian.

That was the first hotel at which I stayed on my first visit to Hawaii 30 years ago. Its lobby was also looking very festive. You can also see from its beach the view of the Diamondhead which I had climbed a few hours before.

But my favorite view was this model who posed next to a giant sand castle display in the hotel lobby. 🙂 She was actually posing for her “sugar daddy.” I think I overheard them speaking Russian. Which stood out in a hotel lobby where 90% of faces and conversations were Japanese.

WAIKIKI BEACH SUNSET SILHOUETTES

Late this afternoon, I walked back to Waikiki beach to see if the sun would grace us with its appearance at least at the end of the day.

Turns out – not really. But not for a lack of trying.

Normally, this late i the day there would have been a symphony of colors here on the beach. But not today.

Which was actually a silver lining. Literally. 🙂 For, it gave me a chance to shoot this photo essay of Waikiki beach silhouettes.

I was sitting on a bench and drinking my coffee. And people were walking by, back and forth, back and forth… as the sun was struggling to break through the clouds.

As a result, these pictures almost look like B&W photos. Do you have a favorite?

VISIT TO TRUMP TOWER, STREET MARKET

On my way back to my hotel, I stopped at the Trump Tower for a nature call.  So I texted a friend:

“By the way, I just used the restroom in the Trump tower.   For free. One of the new taxpayer perks, I hear.” 🙂

Farther down Waikiki, a street market had just opened (after 4PM). And it was bustling. They even had Elvis helping create a festive atmosphere. 🙂

* * *

Saturday, Dec 31, 2016

WAIKIKI BEACH: WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES!

The morning of my second day in Honolulu was filled with sparkling sunshine. By the time I made it back to Waikiki beach, a little after 9 AM, all sorts of usual activities were already under way.

What a difference a day makes! It’s hard to believe this is the same beach photographed from the same spots as the shots I took yesterday. It looked like God has decided to give Honolulu beautiful year-end weather. Take a look…

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KAILUA BEACH, WAIMANALO BAY AND KAPUU BEACH

After a nice Waikiki beach walk, I checked out of my hotel and pointed my car northward – toward Kailua on the windward Oahu coast. I did it with some trepidation for two reasons.

First, rainy clouds were still enveloping the high peaks of the Pali, the mountains that run like a spine parallel to the north shore of Oahu. Second, Kailua is where Obama is supposed to be vacationing. And the last thing I wanted was to run into him and his entourage or get delayed in traffic because of all his security.

But because the Kailua beach is one of the nicest beaches on Oahu, I decided to go there anyway.

As it turns out, my worries were unfounded. After driving through the drizzle at the top of the mountain range, the weather was mostly sunny over the ocean on the other side. As for Obama, there was no sign of him. So it was all good.

And this is what I saw on the beach…

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From Kailua, I continued on to the northeast corner of Oahu. From our previous visits there, I knew there would be probably a good view of the Makapuu beach from the lookout of the same name. It was very windy there so I did not hang around for too long. But here’s a panorama shot I took from the lookout.

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UNEXPECTED DISCOVERY: BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS DECOR IN DOWNTOWN HONOLULU

By the time I reentered Honolulu from the east, I thought I was done with my sightseeing. And then I took a “wrong” exit from the H1 freeway. Which turned out to be a perfect entrance into the enchanted world of Christmas in downtown Honolulu.

As I made the left turn from Punchbowl on King Street, I was stunned to see giant figures depicting Christmas scenes in front of the state and city buildings. So I quickly swung left again and ended up right at the entrance of a free public car park.  My spirit guides had it all laid out for me like a red carpet. I just had to walk on it.

And then I actually walk back along King Street admiring the spirit of Christmas in Honolulu on this New Year’s Eve of 2016.  I also marveled at it was all open to the public as our country used to be in the old days – no security screening, no cameras, just JOY OF CHRISTMAS.

Here’s a short video I shot inside the Honolulu City Hall:

Here are also some still shots now of a display of holiday spirit as magnificent as I have ever seen anywhere in the world.

(By the way, these are not inflatable figures. They are permanent sculptures.)

IOLANI PALACE: REMINDER OF SAD HAWAIIAN HISTORY

As I walked onto the beautiful grounds of Iolani Palace, the former royal Hawaiian residence, dotted with huge Monkey Pod trees, I was reminded of its sad history.

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On Jan 17, 1893, United States government overthrew the Hawaiian monarch Queen Liliuokalani at gunpoint, cowardly hiding behind a group of American sugar planters under Sanford Ballard Dole. The coup occurred with the foreknowledge of John L. Stevens, the U.S. minister to Hawaii, and 300 U.S. Marines from the U.S. cruiser Boston were called to Hawaii, allegedly to protect American lives (for more click here – https://goo.gl/CxZGoE).

And the coup was proclaimed right here, at the Aliiolani Palace, right across King Street from the royal residence at Iolani Palace.

Every time I think about it, I hang my head low in shame.

“These are hallowed grounds for Native Hawaiians,” I was thinking, “and it is a park of shame for the rest of us Americans.”

Which is why I fly the old Royal Hawaiian flag in front my Rainbow Shower home. And do ceremony of atonement and contrition at that spot every Jan 17 when I am in residence at the Rainbow Shower. It is my way of showing respect for the Native Hawaiians, and apologizing for the crime the US government committed against them almost 124 years ago.

Here are now photos of Iolani Palace. For more on that, including our visit inside the royal palace in May 2011, click on… https://goo.gl/AeOiwA.

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ALA MOANA HULA DANCERS

My final stop before going to the airport was at the Ala Moana mall. I figured they might have some holiday shows there. And sure enough, a group of Hawaiian women were performing hula dances just as I got there.

And that’s all she wrote from this trip to Honolulu.

 * * *

TOPLESS STREET WALKER IN DOWNTOWN HONOLULU

I almost forgot about this little tidbit. As I was driving from the Honolulu City Hall on King Street toward Ala Moana, I was stopped at a red light. My mind was still on the marvelous Christmas display I had just seen, and on the Hawaiian history that unfolded at Iolani Palace 124 years ago.

Suddenly I noticed a woman on a sidewalk who looked like a Native Hawaiian. She took off the pink rag she wore as her top and entered the crosswalk right in front of me topless. She seemed completely casual about that and took her time putting her hands to cover her breasts, like this woman in a file photo from NYC.

Unfortunately, the light changed to green before I had a chance to get my camera ready to shoot. Which is why I have to use this file photos to give you an idea of what I saw.

What do you suppose that was all about? An exhibitionist? And activist like these women in NYC and DC?

The Hawaiian woman, though, did not look like she cared if anybody stared. She walked topless across one of the busiest streets in Honolulu as if that’s the most natural thing to do.

 * * *

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM HAWAII!

Which Hawaii? The sunny or the rainy one?

Turns out – BOTH. On the same day. 🙂

Beautiful day in Oahu, flash flood at the Rainbow Shower in Maui

What a way to end the year. The same day could not have looked any more different between Oahu and Maui than this Christmas Eve.

FLOODING IN MAUI

My foot bridge is gone – for the third and probably final time. I could not even see anywhere its big and heavy (200 pounds) boards. The big bridge has been damaged but is still standing.

So as most things in life, the “good” often comes with the “bad.” So I wish you all a happy new year from both sunshine and rain in the same day.

 * * *

Epilogue of Saturday’s flash flood

BRIDGE REPAIRS DONE!

Finally the sun came out today and I was able to do some repairs and clean up after the flash flood on Saturday.

After about two hours work, and 2 1/2 pounds of lost weight, I was covered in mud head to toe. But the job was done and both bridges repaired.

My wonderful Japanese neighbors, Yumi and Taka, had found my foot bridge on their property and hauled it back into place before even started my work.

Of course, I thank them profusely as I never expected them to. I was just about to go hunt for downstream when they texted me that they had found the bridge and brought it back.

You can also see in the middle shot the two plants – money plant and red T-plant – which I have now put to mark the Music Crystal Transceivers despacho (buried underneath). Both were uprooted by the flood and deposited at this spot.

By the way, the erosion around the foot bridge has been so bad that the far end of it hanging onto what’s left of the riverbank by fingernails. I shored it up some more today with two long steel rods which I drove into the ground to support the bricks.
But as I said to Yumi and Taka after I was done, the next flood, if there is one (hope not), will be the end of the bridge.
“After that, I’ll cut it up for firewood,” I told them. They both laughed.

THE END. (I hope).

 * * *

UPDATE JAN 6, 2017

MORE “FARMER’S YOGA” AT THE RAINBOW SHOWER, GLEAMING ANUENUE (horse)

We have have had three consecutive days without rain! Which is a real blessing after suffering a two-year El Niño and scores of flash floods.

So yesterday, I put on my grubbies, grabbed my chainsaw and other tools, and headed down to the jungle at the bottom of the Rainbow Shower gulch to clear some large fallen trees.

The heavy and constant rains have made the tree crowns top heavy. And so they have eventually collapsed creating an impassable wall wooden wall.

I cannot remember how many times I have had to do that in the last 8 years. Probably several dozen jungle clearing efforts like that.
 

It took me a little over two hours of heavy chainsaw work to open up a path through the jungle. I worked in rubber boots because the ground was still muddy. Good news: Down 2.2 pounds at the end.

After I cleaned up, I drove on to Kihei and treated myself to a slice of delicious Maui Pie.

I know, driving 25 miles for a piece of pie may sound a bit excessive. But so was the chainsaw work I did. I had to cut most of the time by holding the chainsaw above my shoulders. And I’ve had rotator cuff surgeries on both shoulders a few years back (sports injuries – tennis, hiking, etc.).
 
Besides, I drive an electric car and have solar electricity. It’s not like I am wasting energy frivolously. And the pie was delicious, as usual. Mountain berry flavor. 🙂 Yum!

Anyway, this is what the jungle looks like now.

GLEAMING ANUENUE

Today I also polished our Anuenue bronze sculpture which has been relaxing on our front lawn for almost 8 years now. His name means “rainbow” in Hawaiian – appropriate for a guardian of the Rainbow Shower (name of my property).

Anuenue actually hails from Thailand. I had him first shipped to my home in Arizona back in 2006, and then on to Hawaii when I moved here in early 2009. So this horse is a world traveler even though he has been sedentary for the last 8 years. 🙂

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* * *

SOLSTICE SUNSET FIRE CEREMONY

December 21, 2016

This evening, at sunset, I did a Solstice fire ceremony at the Anahata – the sacred place of the Rainbow Shower.

Once again the fire created a blue smoke – a sign of its divinity and that it is being received by the spirit realm.

I recored the ceremony with three cameras. Here’s a video of it…

SOLSTICE SUNSET FIRE CEREMONY

A film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – Dec 21, 2016 – accompanying music – Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto – also recorded by ALTZAR on Dec 20, 2016.

 * * *

Direct link on Youtube: https://youtu.be/WfkiumuO1Rc

PHOTO ALBUM

Here are now some still shots from this event…

And also some from the past solstice ceremonies… on the highest island in the world – Amantani on Lake Titicaca, Peru in 2012, and on top of Haleakala in 2013:

Haleakala is a 10,000 ft volcano on whose lower slopes my property lies. In Hawaiian, the word Haleakala means Home of the Sun (Hale – home, Akala – sun).

This volcano is the Fire vortex of planet Earth. According to legend, the ancient Polynesian god, Maui, captured the sun as it passed through the zenith above Haleakala Crater. Maui told the sun that it could not gain its liberty until it agreed to give the Earth a special blessing through Haleakala, as it reached the zenith each day there.

GIF:

* * *

SOLSTICE EVE BRINGS HUMMINGBIRD SPIRIT, MOZART’S CLARINET CONCERTO

PRE-SOLSTICE MAGIC IN THE SKY

Giant Hummingbird cloud in the western sky on Solstice Eve

 
PREAMBLE

Since my spiritual awakening in this lifetime, I have always thought of myself as a Hummingbird. In fact, some of my friends use “Kinti” as my nickname (in Quechua, the Inca language, Kinti means Hummingbird.

An when I open the sacred space, for example, as a shaman, I call on the Siwa Kinti (Rainbow Hummingbird, the sacred animal of the Machu Picchu imperial court) to teach me to spread love and life with ease and grace he does as he flies from flower to flower.

The Hummingbirds knew that. When I was doing my shamanic pilgrimages in Peru, they would hang out outside my tent in the morning like little helicopters waiting for me to get out and say “good morning.” And once in the McDowell Mountains above Scottsdale, Arizona, a hummingbird hovered like a little helicopter several minutes.

I was even able to shoot a video as tears of joy were rolling down my cheeks (see a Divine Hummingbird Encounter- http://yinyangbob.com/AZ2009/2009/Mar.html). If you watch that 2009 video, the Hummingbird encounter starts at about 2:00 min mark.

MAGIC IN THE SKY

With all this as a preamble, let us fast-forward to this morning. I had just finished my usual prayers and incantations. As I opened my eye, I was stunned and overjoyed to see a giant Hummingbird cloud. It took up about a third of the western sky.

I smiled and laughed and gave thanks to God and my spirit guides. Back in Peru and Arizona, I they guided me frequently through signs in the clouds, among other things. Not so much here in Hawaii. It’s been a long time, perhaps years, since I received a sign like this.

And since it came on the Eve of the December Solstice, it was especially auspicious.

Happy Solstice!

SPIRITUAL MEANING OF HUMMINGBIRD
The hummingbird generally symbolizes joy and playfulness, as well as adaptability. Additional symbolic meanings are:
* Lightness of being, enjoyment of life
* Being more present, aware
* Independence
* Bringing playfulness and joy in other people’s lives
* Lifting up negativity
* Swiftness, ability to respond quickly
* Resiliency, being able to travel great distances tirelessly
* Flexibility, being able to fly backward

 * * *

WINTER SOLSTICE SUNSET BRINGS OUT NEW MOZART RECORDING∂

Tonight at 12:44 AM Hawaiian time, we will experience the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere. It will be the official start of winter. At the same time, our friends south of the equator will usher their summer.

As I was watching the last sunset before the solstice this evening, sitting on the Rainbow Shower lanai, I was moved to record a new (gentler) rendition of Mozart’s Clarinet concerto to commemorate the Solstice.

So I went inside and started doing it…

BACKGROUND

This piece came to me originally in England in October 2010 disguised as a violin concerto. I had to wait till Elizabeth and I got back home before being able to identify it as a clarinet concerto.

I have since renamed it Lunar Concerto because of its serenity and celestial qualities (like “music of the spheres”).

MOZART CLARINET CONCERTO: MUSIC FOR WINTER SOLSTICE 2016

Here it is now, my new recording… as I hear this celestial music, which is slightly different from the way Mozart wrote it in the last year of his life – 1791.

Mozart Clarinet Concerto: Music for Winter Solstice 2016 – recorded by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic on Dec 20, 2016 on a Clavinova at the Rainbow Shower in Maui, Hawaii.

Direct Youtube link: https://youtu.be/fHOL6h-qnUo

PHOTO ALBUM

Here are some still shots from that recording on Winter Solstice Eve 2016:

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FUN & LAUGHTER AT MAUI CHAMBER ORCHESTRA SATURDAY NIGHT CONCERT

What a night! I never expected to have so much fun and laughter at a CHAMBER ORCHESTRA concert. Of course, I love the serenity and precision of chamber music. That’s why I go to such concerts.

But fun and laughter? No. I don’t find Telemann, Bach or Haydn funny at all.

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The first two pieces were indeed serious music – Telemann and Bach. But then, after the intermission, it became a real free for all.

Enter Papa Mozart – Leopold – father of his famous son Wolfgang.  From his grave he raised the roof last bight at the historic Iao Theater in Wailuku, Maui. His “Toy Symphony” was a non-stop uproarious hoot for all of its 10 minutes.

It was better than “Saturday Night Live.” And yet it was a Saturday night live.

It reminded me of Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” (1594),  but set to 18th century music. The conductor and founder of the Maui Chamber Orchestra, Robert E. Wills, sent out 7 or 8 of his orchestra members to bring in some people from the audience, chosen at random, to play certain toy instruments (which they got to keep afterward.)  😉

What followed was a riot. The conductor demonstrated a wonderful sense of humor, cracking jokes at the speed of Jay Leno or better. Because it was unscripted. His every line brought down the house with laughter from the audience.

Here’s a video from another performance of the Toy Symphony in Germany. It was not nearly as much fun as last night’s concert, but it will give you and idea what the music is about.

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During the intermission, they also had a little kids orchestra playing Christmas songs on their ukuleles outside the theater next to the box office. They attracted a big crowd. Except for those who had to go to the bathroom, nobody bothered with any other intermission activities.  Here’s a short video clip.

LAHAINA KIDS PLAYING AT IAO THEATER IN WAILUKU – a group of young musicians from Lahaina, Maui, entertained the crowd during the intermission of the Maui Chamber Orchestra concert on Saturday, Dec 17, 2016

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THE PROGRAM

December 17 Saturday 7:30 p.m.
December 18 Sunday 3:00 p.m.

Historic ‘Iao Theater
“Conversations with the Conductor” Sunday 1:30 p.m.
  • Telemann: Concerto in B-flat Major for 2 oboes, 2 flutes and strings
  • J.S. Bach: Magnificat in D Major with Maui Masterworks Chorale BWV 243
  • attrib. L. Mozart: Toy Symphony
  • Rutter: Brother Heinrich’s Christmas
  • Carols with orchestra and Masterworks Chorale