Neil Diamond, Periscope and Changing the Concert Experience

From the comments I hear from others I’m certainly not the only person ambivalent in my feelings about social media and the advancing charge of technology. I have bought into it with full commitment, yet fairly often look back with a bit of longing for the ‘good old days’ less than a decade ago when I didn’t even have a Facebook account.

I am not as connected as I could be. In most areas I think I’m primarily a dabbler, but more and more I’m realizing that many of the news outlets and local radio personalities I enjoy are teasing and throwing out incentives to connect by apps that seem to be proliferating at a rate that far exceeds my learning curve.

I’ve been thinking more about this since Jay and I enjoyed a May evening with Neil Diamond at the Hollywood Bowl.

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I am sorry I didn’t write down the names of these two very enthusiastic fans. This was NOT their first Neil Diamond concert.

At one point Jay did comment, “Where are the young people?” His sincerity in the question did strike me funny, so what did I do? I immediately posted his comment to Facebook, which then started a conversation with friends all over the country. I don’t post that often, but I must admit I enjoy the potential for immediate connection.

As we found our seats and settled in for the evening the large video screens invited the audience to participate in tweeting messages at #tweetcaroline.

Some of the messages were hilarious. “The guy in front of me has a big head,” or “Older crowd tonight. Forever in Mom Jeans, ” and “Wait!…This isn’t the Slayer concert?”

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Then 74 year-old Neil Diamond took control of the stage, and backed by his incredibly strong (they’ve been together a long time) 12-piece band, delivered an almost 2 1/2 hour non-stop, intermission-free show.

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The only “senior moment” appeared when Neil stumbled upon announcing the Bowl concert was LIVE on #Periscope, the very new video streaming app purchased by Twitter in March of this year. Even a septuagenarian performer recognizes the value of social media in replenishing an aging fan base.

This aging fan temporarily downloaded Periscope, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it once I had it!

I guess even the telephone was once eyed with suspicion–and now look at us! I’ll keep sharpening my skills and try to keep up!

 

{a weekend with a bird, bees and butterfly buffet}

This week I was reminded that it’s possible to create a friendly and hospitable habitat for all sorts of visitors–the invited and the party crashers.

Last year, at just this time, Karina and I sat in our back yard and witnessed a Black-Crowned Night-Heron swooping into our backyard pond. 

 

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This week he showed up again, presumably on a fishing expedition. I had nothing to feed him, so off he went!

I have thought about restocking the pond  many times, but  I’m ambivalent. The poor fish!

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I probably should have considered the possibility that he might return.

I recently read that wild Black-Crowned Night-Herons have been invading the Smithsonian National Zoo each summer for over 100 years. It’s the only known rookery for black-crowned night-herons in the region, and each spring the birds stop by to gobble up the zoo’s fish.

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But where do the migratory herons go in the autumn?

Peter Marra, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center tells how they started putting transmitters on the herons in an effort to monitor the birds’ habits. Over the past three years they’ve tracked birds as far south as the Florida Everglades, and it’s suspected they return to the Zoo because it sits on a high point, offering the birds a good view from which to forage.

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My oak tree offers a high point above the pond. If I offer him the incentive of a meal will he be back?

I recently learned the black-crowned night-heron was almost extinct at the turn of the 20th century. The long feather on its head, known as a filoplume, adorned women’s hats during the Edwardian Era and Jazz Age–makes me cringe to think of it!

They may now be plentiful in number overall, but they’re not typical inhabitants in suburban Southern California, and perhaps I have a responsibility to add to its survivability. Maybe just a few fish?

I do think that every little bit of effort to support urban wildlife potential increases my own well-being.

This weekend my focus is increasing my bee and butterfly garden potential. The bees are all over the lavender and rosemary. And I’ve had a Monarch butterfly spending a lot of time close by! This afternoon I found her on one of the new milkweed plants, but by the time I grabbed the camera she was gone.

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Despite the presence of pests and watering issues (you can see the pests in the slideshow photos) I’m  hopeful that seeing the Monarch land on the milkweed today promises eggs.  I am hoping to witness the complete lifecycle.

Butterfly chasing! The perfect level of activity after a busy week. What are your plans for a weekend “exhale?”

Whatever you do, I hope you breathe a little lighter–maybe just sit and watch for butterflies!

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Remembering a friend with simple but challenging words

 

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Today we gathered with friends and family to say goodbye to an old friend. It was bittersweet in the way that memorials are; sadness and tears in the immediacy of loss, but also a special and particularly heartwarming gathering, seeing some friends again after long absence, and smiling at personal stories and memories of the life we were celebrating.

The service was beautifully simple. By the standard of so many I’ve attended it was actually brief. But the words that were shared touched me very deeply in that they were to the point. They didn’t require an accompanying sermon. They required no amplification. The few short readings shared from The Book of Common Prayer said all that needed to be said.

The family chose a scripture reading I’ve heard dozens of times before, but today the words gained life  as they described a special, very kind man. The challenges are simple and clear; not so easy perhaps to live.

“Let love by genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:9-18

This reading fits the life our friend will be remembered for. I don’t see a lot of ego in this brief passage–perhaps these calming words are worth contemplating in a world that likes to stir up conflict. Peace.