Danny Seraphine – Live

I’ve been a drummer forever — I’ve got the cliche story of pressing my face against the window of a music store lusting after the sparkle-covered drum set. I was obsessed. I ended up getting one piece of a drum set for each birthday and Christmas between 2nd grade and 5th grade until I had a full set. Like most kids I didn’t like practicing rudiments. What I loved most was putting on earphones and playing along with albums (yes the vinyl kind). I listened to a lot of players, but by far my favorite was early Chicago with Danny Seraphine on the drums. I’d play along to Chicago II for hours. I loved the fact that it was written as a sequential piece with each song transitioning to the next.

About 35 years later I got a notice that Danny and his band, California Transit Authority, would be playing in Natick — just one town over from where we live. I jumped at the chance to go see him live. This is a short video of one song from that performance: “I’m a Man” (an early Chicago classic). His drumming technique is still amazing, but even more impressive is the fact that he seemed to love every minute of it and had a great rapport with the audience.

I guess there’s one good thing about aging. Your idols become more approachable. Danny: you’re the man.

Danny Seraphine and CTA live at Natick Center for the Arts from rusty williams on Vimeo.

Santander and Calabria

We´ve enjoyed our stay on the north coast of Spain.  It´s a beautiful area that looks more like Switzerland than Spain. That is, if Switzerland were on the water.   We´ve gone bike riding along the beach and the kids enjoyed riding Segways around the castle.

Yesterday we rented a car and drove to a cave in the mountains that was amazing.  We also saw the reproduction of the caves at Altamira (16,000 year old cave drawings).  We also visited a small town called Santilla del Mar.  Because we got a late start we ended up having three different dinners — some seafood salad at 6pm, barbecue at 9pm and fish dinner back in Santander at 11pm.  It´s really strange but the locals don´t  seem to start their evening until 10pm.  It´s fun and we figure it´s helping us get adjusted to US time.

This afternoon we´re going to the open air market and beach and then we take the train back to Madrid.  We´ll arrive at 9:30 tonight and stay at a hotel near the station and then take a taxi out to a fun area of Madrid for our last dinner.  We fly home tomorrow.

We´re still using an internet kiosk to check e-mail (and write this entry) so we can´t post any pictures.  Maybe we´ll have a better connection back in Madrid.  But of course we´ll be back in the US soon anyway and we´ll be able to fill everyone in.

We haven´t heard from Ryan yet but he has a very busy schedule and it´s probably hard to find a place to check e-mail.

Much love,

Rusty, Sue, Cal, and Roby

Espana – Madrid and Santander

We spent two days in Madrid.  Although it was a short visit we saw all of the highlights – the royal palace, the Prado, and of great tapas for dinner.

We said goodbye to Ryan yesterday and we took a train north to Santander.  We´re now in a hotel near the beach in Santander.  Unfortunately the warm weather that we had in Madrid doesn´t happen here for a few more weeks.  Because we´re near the mountains it´s much cooler.  We are thinking about going up to see the caves of Alta Mira this afternoon or maybe just renting bikes. Cal and Roby say they just want to chill out at the beach, but with the weather that may turn out to be literally true.  We find something fun to do.

When we were in Madrid I uploaded a bunch more photos from Italy onto Flickr.  It´s the same link as before (I´m trying to figure out how to paste it here, but I´m on a spanish keyboard that I don´t understand.

Much love to everyone.

Rusty, Sue, Cal and Roby

Good wine, great scenery (but no internet)

We’re just waking up in Madrid after a difficult late night flight and last minute change of hotels.  We’ll tell more of that story later, but for now just wanted to let everyone know that we’re OK and had a great time in Tuscany with the Sheltons and Bryants.

Rusty, Sue, Ryan, Cal, and Roby

Family Unity

Sue and Ryan made it to the apartment about 1pm without any of the unpleasant side stories that we described (the rip off conductor and the broken down tram).  initially Sue insisted that she’d power through the day on just a few hours sleep.  We went to the Colosseum tour together.  It wasn’t quite as a hot as the day before due to a few clouds in the sky.  During the tour we learned about all of the gruesome things that Romans did for entertainment.  It made me feel better about earning my living (in part) from shows like The Batchelor, Survivor, and Temptation Island.  They’re all tame compared with hanging Christians and letting wild animals rip their limbs off until they die (that was the half time entertainment while they waited for the Gladiators).  Really classy stuff.

Sue and Ryan slept for about 3 hours until 7.  Cal Roby and I went to visit the Palantine Hill which was very pretty and certainly has a lot of historically interesting stuff, but without a guide, we didn’t get too much out of it.  I’m sure we’ll read about it later. 

After Sue and Ryan woke up, we really wanted to see St. Peter’s and we bought bus tickets but after waiting for 45 minutes for the right bus, we just gave up and walked to Piazza Navano by way of the Pantheon (which was closed).  We then had dinner, saw the crowds at Trevi fountain and walked home.   The kids enjoyed introducing mom and Ryan to the gypsies and the various trinkets they sell.  Somehow they all make a living selling knock-off handbags, belts, watches and pens.  Roby seemed to think that he needs a good gypsy pen, but we talked him out of it.

We hung out for a bit in the apartment before going to bed.

Today we’re leaving for Tuscany as soon as we can get organized.  We have no idea whether there’s an internet connection anywhere near there so it could be a few days before we check in again. 

More photos posted on Flickr:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/61465501@N00/

Italy_2007_day_2_14 Italy_2007_day_2_17

Long Day — Fun Night

Cal, Roby and I made the long trip to Italy.  Plane from Boston left on time.  We encountered some nasty turbulence which wasn’t fun.  Then upon arriving in Madrid to make the connection we realized that we had to go through passport control and make it to entirely different terminal — about three miles away — in less than 45 minutes.  As luck would have it our tram broke down en route.  We waited as the recording said "due to unavoidable technical problems this train has been detained".  Luckily the got it going quickly enough for us to run about 1 mile to the gate and jump on the plane before they pulled back.

We landed in Rome on time, got our bags and took the train from the airport to downtown "termini".  It was a really ugly and uninspiring route — not the best way for the kids to get introduced to Italy.  Plus the conductor, who didn’t speak any English, informed me that I had the wrong ticket and needed to pay a penalty of $25 per person. After arguing as best I could, I showed him that all I had was 25 euros and he took that as compensation. That wasn’t a good introction to the "new" Rome for me.  (I remember Italy as being inexpensive so that may be an ongoing theme as we write this journal).

Once we got settled in our room we explored the forum and the colleseum which are literally just one block from our plan.  It was extremely hot and we got tired fast.  We came back and took a nap from 3 to 6 and then met up with Barb, Jim, Ali, and Jon and went on a tour of the pantheon.  Then we had dinner together and explored Trevi fountain.  It was a really nice way to end the day.

It’s morning now and we’re waiting for Sue and Ryan to arrive around 1pm — we hope their travel and connection went well.  It will be nice to be back together.

Italy_2007_day_1_006 Italy_2007_day_1_023