lake huron

VIDEO: The Last (Summer) Train

Summer is over.  Today is the first day of fall.  For the final cottage video of the summer, you can see more of the incredible wildlife that we have come to expect.  This is edited to the tune of my favourite Tee Bone Erickson song, “The Last Train”.

While it is always sad when summer comes to an end, it must be remembered that things are not like they once were. I don’t think I’ve ever gone swimming in September before. Fall is not necessarily the depressing wet cold thing it was in the 80s or even the 90s.

This video also features a cameo by my old friend and guest contributor Aaron Lebold.  I don’t think I have seen Aaron in person since the Record Store days!  We hung out and shot the shit for about an hour.  He brought me some crazy Optimus Prime figures that you will see as well.  Good to see an old friend, and good to have company at the lake, which we have not had since well before the pandemic.

#991: You Shook Me All Long Weekend

Jen and I took a Friday off so we could make a long weekend at the lake. With three days to ourselves, good food and good music were a given!

Music for the road trip up:

  1. Ace Frehley – Bronx Boy
  2. AC/DC – Power Up
  3. Deep Purple – Deep Purple

Upon arrival, I spun the usual Kiss on the porch, until 9:00 PM at which point I tuned in to Thursday Night Record Club with Brent Jensen and Alex Huard, discussing AC/DC’s Back In Black.

We filled the weekend with food (pork chops, steaks, trout, and veggies) and more music (lots of Kiss and Iron Maiden).  We enjoyed a few nice walks in the cool summer air.  Yes, it was a chilly one, but we still managed a game of Monopoly on the back porch, in the open air.  Our money never blew away once!

What did blow me away?  Listening to Iron Maiden’s Live After Death on the back porch.  It was like 1986 all over again, but only if 1986 had digital quality sound on the back porch!  We also played some music for Grampa Winter, who would have cranked Kenny Rogers’ Greatest Hits and “The Gambler”.  Except he did it on vinyl with some big old speakers mounted on the front of his bunkhouse.

Friday night I did an excellent live show with Rob Daniels and Harrison Kopp, showing off some incredible collectables.  This enabled me to do some stop motion with my new phone/camera, which turned out really cool.  The new camera is also finally capable of capturing some of the majesty of Kincardine sunsets.  I was impressed with the results and intend to use it frequently all summer.  Another feature is slow motion, which I used to capture some fire and waves.

It was over all too quickly.

Music for the drive home:

  1. Peter Criss – Out of Control
  2. Peter Criss – Let Me Rock You
  3. Criss – Cat #1 (Half)

I can’t explain why I chose those, but every once in a while, you need to listen to some Peter Criss.  So I did.

Please enjoy the video of the weekend, all the sound of Max the Axe, below.

Sunday Screening: Morning Summer LakeCam x 64 speed

Here’s just what you needed on this cold, windy Sunday morning: a sun coming up on a July summer webcam! This is from the July 20, 2021 morning LakeCam, but two hours compressed into under two minutes. Feel the rays of the sun drift across your face in this fun time-lapse video. Stay warm! Music is a sneak preview of “Randy” by Max the Axe, remixed in 2022 by Robi Banerji.

#948: Post-script

RECORD STORE TALES #948:  Post-script

In this life, at least since 2018, we have learned to take nothing for granted.  We treat every trip to the cottage like it’s the last, but I really didn’t expect to get back this late in the season.

With some Judas Priest on the stereo (Sad Wings of Destiny), we made one more uneventful trip up north.  The weather forecast was not good, but the Friday was still lovely.  We arrived early afternoon and I set up my laptop and speakers on the front porch for what really might be the last time in 2021.  I did not waste a note of music.  It was raining but the overhang kept me dry.  Listening to song after song, I chose my Top 5 best album closing tracks for that night’s show.  Finalized!

The best office you could want, rain or shine

I can’t remember the last time we made it to the lake this late in October.  Friday I wore shorts.  Saturday was another story….

I woke up early Saturday morning and went for a walk in the pitch black.  It was wet from the rain but otherwise warm and dead quiet.  A few hours later, the wind and rain picked up and Saturday became an “indoor day”.

I went down to the beach for a few moments to capture some video but I couldn’t make it further than the treeline.  The wind was blasting the rain right through my clothes.  It’s been many years since I’ve experienced that kind of weather.  We battened down the hatches and prepared for a cold one.  It was a good day for movies, music and toys.  The heat went on and so did the long pants!

You can feel this picture

Sunday was the really interesting day.  The reality was hitting me that it could possibly be months before we saw this place again.  I was trying to really absorb the sounds, sights and feelings.  I had two flashbacks, and they were intense.

The first happened in the early morning.  I was cleaning the kitchen and put on some tunes to work to.  I chose Rock and Roll Over by Kiss, as it had the classic Kiss vibe I wanted and strong cottage memories associated with it.  The first time I heard Rock and Roll Over was there at the cottage – it was the last Kiss studio album I needed.  I would have been about 15.  As I was washing the dishes, singing and dancing to “Mr. Speed” I suddenly had the first flashback.  I was in that very kitchen with my best friend Bob and I was a teenager again.  We were doing the dishes and rocking out to Kiss.  It was entirely in my imagination.  We never washed the dishes to Kiss that I can think of.  Yes the parents would usually ask us to help with the dishes, and any time we had company over, I conceded because I didn’t want to look like a spoiled brat.  But we never did it with music playing, that I can remember.  But we would have if we could.

It was such an intense feeling that I needed to stop what I was doing and take a breath.  I could literally see us both, washing the dishes and rocking to Kiss.  It probably never happened that way but my flashback didn’t care.

Once that intense experience had passed and the kitchen was clean, I went outside to wander and take some last pictures.  My 49th season in this place.  An awesome season and truly one of the very best.   It was then that I had the second intense flashback.

49 years

I was walking around the side of the cottage, thinking about how awesome it was to be walking around shirtless in this paradise all summer.  And then suddenly – I was.  For a brief moment the sun was blasting my shirtless skin.  And then it was over.  It was like when Will Byers suddenly flashes into the Update Down on Stranger Things.  In a blink it ended and was gone.  I just enjoyed the experience.  I’d like more flashbacks like this to happen.  It’s all about the setting and the mindset.

Once Jen and I had finished packing, I was locking up and I noticed her at the end of the driveway staring at the lake.  It is her favourite place in the world; she calls it her “safe place”.  I joined her and asked if she wanted to take one more look around.  We walked down to the windy beach one more time and just drank it all in.  The sight of the churning lake, the sound of the crashing waves, and the feeling of the wind on our skin.

And that was it.  With heavy heart we started the car and hit the road.  If that was the end of the season, by God we had a good one!  Some of the best tunes, meals, swimming, live shows and videos were had this year.  An unforgettable summer, interviewing rock stars from the comfort of the front porch with Lake Huron before me.  Top that, 2022.

 

VIDEO: Last Summer Weekend at the Lake 2021 / Max the Axe – “Pygmy Blowdart”

Now that the new Max the Axe EP, Oktoberfest Cheer, has been released, I am happy to present to you their new never-before-heard original “Pygmy Blowdart”.  Lead singer Eric Litwiller stressed to me (more than once) “I did not write the lyrics”.

Video footage was taken the last weekend of August, but held on to until I could use some fresh new Max music.  Check out “Pygmy Blowdart” and let Max and Meat know what you think of this new tune in the comments below!

 

Available at Encore Records.

VIDEO: Max the Axe – “The Other Side” / Kincardine Sunset & Afternoon Swim

Best rock band in Kitchener, best sunsets in the world. Enjoy.

VIDEO: Max the Axe – “Blood Runs Red” / Fall at the Lake

Always happy to showcase tunes for Max the Axe, local heavy metal hero and legend!

Here’s another video of cottage memories to help keep us warm during the winter.  A little dark, a little stormy, but a lovely if short fall weekend.  Headphones recommended.  I didn’t take a lot of pictures this time, so only a short song was necessary – “Blood Runs Red” from Million Dollar Threats.

#859: Big Water

GETTING MORE TALE #859: Big Water

When I was really small, just a toddler, I can remember having a couple names for this place:  “Big Water” and “Lake Water Stones”.  48 years ago was my first summer at Lake Water Stones, better known as Lake Huron.  Lorne Beach is the exact location.  These patches of land have been in my family for many decades.  The original cottage that Grampa Winter owned is still there, now occupied by Dr. Kathryn.  A lot has changed but not our family’s long roots in that dark sandy soil.

There were several times in my younger years when I didn’t want to be there.  In those foolish years I’d rather be here near the telephone line and creature comforts.  I can remember in the mid 80s at the cottage, my dad had to drive into town to make a phone call.  I had to tape all my precious wrestling matches at home and pray that they recorded.

Perspective changes and so does technology.  Now there’s no place I’d rather be than Lake Water Stones.

2018 changed everything for us.  That was the year Jen’s mom died.  Almost like the year without a summer.  We spent the whole season in hospital rooms and corridors, and hotels in Toronto.  After she passed we spent the whole fall cleaning out her house.  When we finally got back to the lake in spring 2019, we had learned to cherish and savour it more.

As if we needed a reminder how uncertain life can be, 2020 gave us a whole new perspective.  “Essential travel only.”  No road trips to cottage country.  They were wary of outsiders stealing their toilet paper, or spreading disease from the city.  As time wore on, we questioned whether we would be able to go at all.

I kept a positive attitude and I made the most of our time stuck at home.  I took advantage of my little patio, listening to tunes out there and doing several live streams in the fresh air.  Better than nothing.  A small patch of outdoors sure beats staying in all the time.  A little bit of blowing wind feels good on the skin.

Ontario was still on shaky ground and not yet in Phase 2 of re-opening when Jen and I finally returned to the lake at the end of May.  We missed the long weekend, usually a reliable starting point for a happy summer.  Instead we had a cold, dark weekend highlighted by the ominous “Premises Closed” signs posted at the beach entrance points.

I remember walking into the cottage and taking a breath of the woody smelling air.  You don’t notice it after 10 minutes, but it’s so strong at first sniff.  We were having a quiet weekend, no stops in town and we didn’t even tell anyone besides family that we were going.  Only when I tested the internet connection with a live stream was it obvious where we were.  Non-essential travel was frowned upon but I looked at this trip as essential to the mental health of two people who were quarantining pretty strictly.

Phase 2 began in early June and at that point we tried to make it up every other weekend, working around my parents’ schedule.  We wanted to maintain some distancing.  I had some goals I wanted to accomplish this summer.  Tossing out the planned accomplishments for Summer 2020, the new goals were attainable in an altered season.

  • I wanted to live stream outdoors from the lake — and we did this many times.
  • I wanted to eat steak every weekend we were there — and we did.
  • Swim as much as weather permitted — we did.
  • Mental health being the theme of 2020, I wanted to have a virtual counselling appointment from the porch.  I did two.  The setting was incredible.
  • Create as much photo and video content as I could to remember the place by in the winter.  Mission accomplished.

Setting realistic goals helped me make the most of this summer.  I feel more prepared for the fall.  And I’m really looking forward to 2021, when I might be able to add some more goals to the list.  (Still hoping to cook a wagyu steak on my own grill.)

Here’s gratitude for a great 2020 season regardless of the obstacles.  Hoping for better next year.

VIDEO: Weekend of Awesome

Self explanatory.  Music by MAX THE AXE:  “Livin’ the Country” and “More” from Overload.

Sunday Video: Max The Axe Weekend

Instead of a Sunday Chuckle, I give you something better: this video (which has a couple chuckles in it) and three Max the Axe songs: “River Grand”, “Overload” and “Gods on the Radio”.

The video above is just a summation of our awesome weekend. Look for a cameo by Superdekes from our Live Streamin’ Weekend. I hope you were able to stay cool in this heat as I was!  Sometimes people talk about the Top Ten Swims they’ve ever had in their lives.  I may have had two of the top ten this weekend.  You be the judge!

And thank you to John Snow of 2 Loud 2 Old Music for the birthday gift below.  I promise I will review it soon!

Also a special Happy Birthday to my Grandma Dolly who turns 96 today!