Monday, February 28, 2011

38 - 2/28/11 - Marshside Storytime IV

Initial Impressions
Christopher Setterlund

38 – 2/28/11
Marshside Storytime IV – Swans

          Swans are one of the most beautiful birds.  They are so majestic as you watch them gracefully swim across a pond from a safe distance.  I say from a safe distance because up close swans are much different.  They are two sides of the same coin and are the subject of this Marshside Storytime.
            Being a restaurant on a marsh it is quite common to see one or several swans swimming around in the marsh river or closer to shore when the tide is high.  Unfortunately some of us who have worked at the Marsh have been guilty of feeding the swans which only made them come closer and made them hungrier. 
            If we were not there to feed the swans there would be times when the swans would come to us.  I can remember on more than one occasion seeing a four-foot tall white shape waddling its way up the small hill from the marsh to the land.  These swans had only one thing on their minds and heaven help you if you did not have it.  Sure, I am making the swans sound evil, but you tell me how you’d react when a large hungry bird began hissing at you and opening its wings to a span of about six-feet across.
            The only thing scarier than being approached by a large hungry swan in the daylight is having it happen when it is dark.  This has happened before, back when the restaurant used to serve breakfast and we would have to be in at 6am.  The dumpster area as well as the deck was surrounded by a seven-foot fence with an opening about three-feet wide to enter through.  Anything not in front of that opening would be invisible.  The shock of a lifetime came for my Dad, Jack, when he came in early one morning and rounded that corner in the milky dawn startling a swan that had been searching for something to eat.  Needless to say the swan raised up, hissed, and opened its wings.  My Dad had to get the hell out of there until the swan got sick of acting tough.
            There was another incident involving a swan during the winter time.  This time however my Dad was prepared.  When the swan waddled up from the marsh and began hissing and getting tough my Dad sprung into action.  He had been shoveling away the snow around the deck area before anyone else came in.  When the swan hissed he was met with a heaping shovelful of snow.  This knocked him back but not out.  The swan came back and was met with more snow, this time knocking him tumbling back down into the marsh and ending his thirst for a fight.  This is not to mention the times that there was nobody there to stop the swans and they would venture out into the parking lot and hiss at and chase after unsuspecting customers.  Nobody ever got hurt, at least not enough to yell at us for siccing our rabid swans on them.
            Perhaps the most well known swan story, and one of the most famous Marsh tales period involves a perfect storm.  The old Marsh had a porch section with amazing views, which is why they were always the tables to fill up first.  The customers loved watching the wildlife do their thing while they ate.  They especially loved the beautiful swans.
            On this occasion it was a summer night, still light out as the people ate just after 6pm.  They watched with glee as the swans swam over in the marsh river.  It was a perfect night for these customers.  That all came to an end when the swans took off to go find a different spot to hang out.  You’d think that in their lifetimes that the swan elders would tell the younger ones the things to avoid.  You know things like the power lines.
            One swan apparently had not gotten the memo.  It flew directly into the power lines causing a bright bunch of sparks which resulted in the power going out at the restaurant.  Oh, the horror for the people as they remarked how graceful the swans flew before one stupid one decided to give the people nightmares.
            The only thing worse than that was the removal of the cooked swan.  That job fell to Remi who had to don a pair of gloves and walk over the section of street where the swan lay smoldering and stuff it into a black garbage bag.  Contrary to popular opinion the swan was not used for any sort of special, it was deposited in the dumpster. 
            That idiot swan probably did not die in vain though, in the nearly 12 years since that incident no swan has ever even come close to the power lines.  Well, since the new restaurant opened the lines are underground, but you get the point.  Cheers! 
Beautiful, or evil?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

37 - 2/26/11 - Marshside Storytime III

Initial Impressions
Christopher Setterlund

37 – 2/26/11
Marshside Storytime III
Y.M.C.A. – c.1999

            Halloween is always a fun time, no matter what age you are.  As a kid it was always the best to get dressed up and go Trick or Treating.  Once you get too old for the candy it does not mean that the Halloween festivities have to end.  For the longest time Halloween was one of the most fun days at the old Marsh.
            Nearly everyone would dress up in various costumes.  Kristin was/is a cat every year to keep up with consistency.  I can remember Dana piercing both ears one year which was pretty wild.  I myself have been a sort of tropical skeleton, and also went one year wearing my old Target uniform which I should have burned and then thrown in the dumpster but that’s a separate story.
            Through all of the years though nothing tops Halloween of 1999 when four of us came up with the best costumes ever: The Village People.  The four of us were myself, Maui, Dana, and Remi and man it was classic.
            I was the cop complete with a gun and handcuffs.  Maui was the Indian complete with a fake ass for some reason.  There is a great photo somewhere of my jamming the gun in his fake ass, of course I seem to not be able to find it at this time, you’ll just have to imagine it in your mind.  How warped is the image?
            Dana went as the construction worker tool belt and all and Remi was the biker with the leather jacket and sweet shades.  I completed the outfit by buying the Village People greatest hits CD so that we could play ‘YMCA’ in the kitchen for everyone’s amusement.
            The day was all set as I worked the day with Maui, Dana, and Remi working the night.  Once we were all there together there was only one more thing for us to do.  Go out and dance around to ‘YMCA’ in the dining room for the amusement of our customers.
            We got a huge round of applause and I’d like to say it felt like being a rock star but being applauded by mostly elderly people while dancing to the Village People is more of a male strip club nightmare rather than being a rock star.  Still, it was fun, and it was the best Halloween at the old Marsh.  Anybody else have Marsh Halloween stories to add?  Feel free to share!

3 of the 4 Village People, before Dana had arrive, he's probably glad he missed these photos.

Friday, February 25, 2011

36 - 2/25/11

Initial Impressions
Christopher Setterlund

36 – 2/25/11
In My Footsteps Trip

            This trip was to Smithfield & Woonsocket, RI as well as Attleboro, Mass.  250 total miles of driving, $30 on gas mostly thanks to the average price of gas being $3.30/gal.  Stupid oil, everybody yaps about electric cars and hybrids but the companies make them twice as expensive to buy, where’s the logic?
            I got tailed by a pine green Mini for a good ten miles on I-295, I was even going 80-85 and wondered how fast the crazy old man driving it wanted to go.
            Kind of funny story, I got into Smithfield and began checking for an historic home to photograph.  I drove past a house four times, circling over and over trying to find a spot to park.  I ended up parking on the next road down from the house and walking back.  It was then that I realized that it was not even the right house, so I took a couple of photos and shook my head in amazement.
            I visited the Smithfield Exchange Bank which was being renovated.  It is supposed to be haunted but I did not see or hear anything.  Still, I did take my time and check to be sure.  In the same area where I parked was a State Representative’s office which was coincidentally located next to a crematorium. 
            The Smith-Appleby House was my favorite spot in Smithfield.   It was a weird mix as it was vacant and quiet yet it was right near the hum of the interstate.  The homes were gold and red and there was a sweet view of a rolling hill over a creek and the Appleby family cemetery.  The only downside was the pile of rotting pumpkins on the front step, oh well, close enough to great.
            There was another historic home I stopped at but it is now an apartment complex.  I parked at the next door church and walked over passing an old woman getting in her car to leave.  She stared at me like I was a serial killer as I shot a few photos.  She drove off reeeeeeallly slow.  Then as I was leaving she was coming back, probably to make sure I didn’t burn the place down, so I smiled and waved like an ass, ha!
            The very next spot had a similar experience, I was shooting the Smithfield Town Hall when a guy came out and said they had good photos on their website, I explained why I was there and he said it was cool as long as I was not planning on filing a lawsuit against them.  Odd question, unless something like that has happened to them before.
            I really liked the Market Square Pavilion in Woonsocket right next to the Woonsocket Falls.  It is a cool brick building, I’ll add a photo.  They were working on the falls also, there was a crew in a small boat drifting around near the edge of the falls, lucky for them they didn’t go over, although it would have made for a great shot.  Yes, I did wait to make sure.
            I was lucky enough to park across from Woonsocket’s City Hall, lucky because there was an amazing mural on the back wall of the parking area.  It gave a cool vibe to the whole area.  There was also this odd Santa’s Workshop next to City Hall, it was enclosed in Plexi-glass which made me wonder how comfortable the Santa inside would have been.  Did they force some guy in there and leave him to smile and wave for 8 hours at a time?  How did that work?
            One of the coolest places I saw ended up being a Ukranian Orthodox Church, it looked like something out of India.  Oh and Woonsocket has more churches per mile than any city I have seen, must have been 2 dozen I saw in my time there and I only saw a fraction of the city.
            I had an old woman yell at me because she thought I took her photo when I was shooting the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket.  I said I didn’t shoot her and she said she would have had to break my camera if I did.  Classy.  I guess if I looked like her I wouldn’t want my photo taken either.
            The Angle Tree Stone in Attleboro was probably the best thing I saw.  It is the old town marker dividing Attleboro and Plainville.  It looks like a 6 foot gravestone with writing on it from 1790.  Since asses kept trying to ruin it the stone is now behind plexi-glass and in a brick building.  It was still cool though set back like ¼ mi. from the road.
            My trip was good until I got to the Capron Park Zoo 10 minutes after it closed.  Yeah, so I had planned on tons of photos and a video inside, all ruined!  I rapidly lost interest in the remaining few spots after that.
            While shooting the Falls Fire Barn Museum in North Attleboro I had a nice The Birds moment with a group of crows making this horrible noise in the trees.  It’s like if you rewind a tape with the sound playing, really creepy.
            The trip was average but I was glad to have a sort of co-pilot with me, at least via texting.  Thank you, you always make things better by showing up.

Photos of the Day:
Smith-Appleby House with a great view.

Market Square Pavilion

The Angle Tree Stone behind the plexi-glass.

An amazing mural in Woonsocket.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

35 - 2/23/11 - Marshside Storytime II

Initial Impressions

35 – 2/23/11 – Marshside Storytime II
Somebody to Love c.1993-94

Time for Marshside Storytime again.  This time it is the story of the famed Prep Boys, Liam and myself.  Being young and ‘hardcore’ back in 1994-95 we would blast all sorts of grunge and alternative music to get ourselves motivated for the insanely long Maui prep lists that greeted us every morning on the prep room wall.
            These prep lists were a full sheet of yellow-lined paper with two columns of items to be done, some items contained more than one thing ie: slice and dice tomatoes.  This was also before we had the intercom, although that was short-lived as I mentioned in my first Marsh storytime.  So when we had our music loud blasting Nirvana, Pearl Jam, STP, and Alice In Chains, it was virtually impossible to hear any whistles or shouts from across the parking lot.  Needless to say that got us into lots of trouble at times, but that’s a story for another day.
            Anyway, during our long prep days we would have the grunge and alt rock blasting away, echoing off of the walls.  In fact I loved it louder than Liam did, still do.  He would get angry at times at how loud it was.  His favorite trick was to not speak at all but just move his lips like he was saying something to get me to turn the music down.  Once I did he would keep moving his lips silently and then laugh at me.  Thanks man, always appreciated that!
            After a long prep day it would be time to clean up.  Now from what you have read about our musical taste I’ll bet you have a pretty good idea as to what our ‘clean up theme’ was, right?  Something by Nirvana? Wrong.  Something by Pearl Jam? Wrong.  Something by RHCP? Wrong.  STP? AIC? Soundgarden?  Wrong again.  No, our song of choice for cleaning up was ‘Somebody to Love’ by Queen.
            Give me a break all right, it was 1993, 94, we were 16 or 17, and Queen had a resurgence after Wayne’s World had showcased Bohemian Rhapsody in 1992.  Still, even though the song is quite different from the grunge/alt we had played our reaction to it was much the same.  You haven’t lived until you’ve gone nuts to a softer, mellow song. 
            Our typical cleaning to this song consisted of playing air guitar on a broom while standing on one of the stainless steel prep tables.  There was also some dancing with the round Rubbermaid trash can, spinning, and spinning.  This resulted in the handle of the trash can crashing through the wall, leaving a nice hole in the wall which we quickly covered up with duct tape.  There was also a thrashing incident that ended with a steel, used for sharpening knives, being pitched like a javelin into the wall until only the black handle was visible.  This was also quickly covered up.
            Like I said in my first piece, there is a statute of limitations here, hell this building I am speaking of does not even exist anymore so I would like to think I am in the clear as far as any foolishness perpetrated by myself or anyone else.
            So there you have it, perhaps the most famous of all of the Prep Boys theme songs is a Queen song about being lonely without love.  Yet somehow it all fit in and all made sense.  Hope you enjoyed my secret/sad revelations.  Join me again next time for Marshside Storytime.  Cheers!