Friday, January 30, 2004

Friday 5

You have just won one million dollars:

1. Who do you call first? Assuming Susan wasn't with me, I'd call her first. If she was with me, then my parents.

2. What is the first thing you buy for yourself? Probably a bebop set of burnt orange Gretsch Broadkasters, a Tama rosewood snare, and a fire truck. All at once, and all from the same guy. :-)

3. What is the first thing you buy for someone else? I would buy Susan what she's always dreamed of owning, but never thought she could. On I slightly sad note, I don't know what that would be. But I do think she'd like a bigger house with a full-time servant.

4. Do you give any away? If yes, to whom? Harmony Bible Church gets 10%. I only ask they use some of it to buy a bell. If they would use some to buy more property so we could have a church-side graveyard, that would be a bonus.

5. Do you invest any? If so, how? Gotta put some away for the kids. Nothing to aggressive, but not savings bonds either.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Amway or its evil twin

I had the strangest thing happen this morning. I saw an old high school friend. Her child attends the same school as Julia. I waved hello, and took Julia inside. Since I have to be at the office at 8am, I don't have time to dawdle. So I was going back to the truck, and she was waiting for me. After a minute or two of small talk she said "Bill, I'd really like to talk to you about a business opportunity I'm involved in."

My spidey sense started tingling. "What is it? I asked.

"Well," she said, "it's a little complicated to describe it right now. Maybe I could have an hour of your time sometime?"

"No, I don't think so," I said. "I've been to a couple of Amway type talks before, and those people are always reticent to tell you the straight poop up-front. You know, kinda like now."

"Oh, this isn't Amway. Amway isn't even in business anymore. No, what we have is an online mall, and you just buy products that you're going to buy anyway."

That was the same line the last Amway person tried to feed me. The whole "It's all stuff you're going to buy anyway, so just buy it from yourself" line.

"No, thanks. I've heard that marketing line before."

"Well, it's really working out for me. I get to stay home, and I earn enough to put myself through nursing school. But I've realized I can help more people with this opportunity than I ever could as a nurse."


She actually said that.

Why keep up the nursing schtick? I forgot to ask. Anyway, I didn't book a time for her to come over to the house. :-)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Mad props to Steve and Jim

Steve Carroll is a local appliance fix-it man. He used to run a used appliance showroom, but he was doing so much service work, he closed the shop, and is now doing full time service. I'm not sure how we originally met, but we knew each other, and when he joined Kiwanis, it was cool. (I wish he'd come back to Kiwanis--he was a hoot at the meetings!) So a couple of weeks ago, my washer went on the fritz. I called another tech place, but they were to busy to get to me. The next day, the washer worked again, so no big deal.

Fast forward to Monday this week. It's fritzed again. No biggy, I figure it will fix itself the next day, like last time. :-) No dice. So then I thought maybe it was cold. Both times it happened, it had been really cold, and the basement's not really heated. So I put the portable heater on it. That wasn't it. So I called the other fix-it shop again. The tech guy was at a conference, and wouldn't be back until Monday. Monday??? Anyway, I started lookingfor Steve's number. Since the shop's closed, it was hard to find his number. I couldn't find it on the online yellow pages either. So I looked up his old account at work, and tried that number. It worked. I left a message.

He just called me, and we had a little small talk. He then asked what was up, and I explained it to him. He said "Try the lid safety switch. Do you hear it click?" I didn't. "Sounds like the safety switch is gone," he said, "as it should click. What brand of washer is this?" It's a GE. "GE's safety switch activates on wash and spin. So if it were gone, it would fill with water, and nothing would happen."

That's exactly it!

He then lead me through the entire process. over the phone, of opening the washer, bypassing the switch, and PRESTO it worked! I told him "I feel so Macgiver, hot wiring a washing machine!"
Also, thanks to my buddy Jim for hooking me up with a case of individual Pringle cups. There's only one left! Thanks Jim!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Reasons 4 Love #38

Reasons 4 Love #38

Every Wednesday those who are involved in a relationship with somebody share a few (simple but significant) reasons for their love. I love Susan because:

She feels comfortable leaving me to take care of Julia.
She puts up with cocktail drums in her living room.
She rarely gets on my case about taking care of the trash.
She teaches Bible stories to Julia.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Cocktail drum here

Susan called this afternoon. "You got a big box and a really big box from UPS this afternoon." Pictures will follow, but let me say this: green onyx looks cool on a cocktail drum!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Is John "Bermuda" Schwartz dead?

There certainly are many clues that point that way...

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Playing along with Maria

Things that are true for you are in bold. There's more in the "Get More Here" section too.

I love to cook.
I love to shop at Linens and Things.
I love good wine!
I love gel pens.
I like cats better than people.
I love to do all kinds of crafts.
I am Mom to a kitty and a dog.
My Parents mean the world to me!
I am very much in love.

Set this day by the hand of Billy Rhythm [Link] [Get More Here]

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Father's Clock

As I mentioned over a year ago, my grandmother gave me a clock that she originally bought for my grandfather. I got Father's clock back from my clock repair friend today. Again, he mentioned what a nice clock it it. He says there's no makers mark on it, but that the insides show it to be a high quality onyx clock, probably French. It won't need to be tuned up again for another 10 years, but should be brought in for an oiling every three. He even fixed the chime. It sounds nice and full now, instead of metallic when I had it. I'm glad it's back home.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

The drums are coming out of the woodwork!

Tanco Bart (a cool guy and drum collector from Holland, I think) is selling his Tama one ply maple snare with Gladstone style three-way tuning lugs. $550 includes the shipping. Argh!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Paddy's Saturday 5

1. What cologne or perfume do you wear? Polo. Why? 'Cause it's Susan's favorite, that's why! I also have a bottle of Joop that my brother-in-law Dwane gave me. I like that one myself, but what's important to Susan is important to me. (On a funny side note, I wanted some aftershave. You know, cooling stuff after a shave? Yeah, that stuff. So I asked Susan and Julia to pick out an aftershave they thought smelled nice. They picked Skin Bracer in Ice Blue. Hey, it's what they liked, ok! I was thinking more Old Spice, but whatever.)

2. What cologne or perfume do you like best on the opposite sex? Susan doesn't really wear perfume, so I don't really have a favorite. Just her natural smell is enough. That being said, people who wear Patchouli usually wear too much. I've been told that it's very strong, and hard to use just a little. Well dilute it then!

3. What one smell can you not stomach? I had a bad experience once mopping a floor after a kid blew some kind of salmon chunks everywhere. That smell still haunts me. I can remember filling bait bags for Buzy Kinney, and one day the herring were really big, and really smelly. Buzy wanted his bags really stuffed full, but these fish were too big to fit in the bag. So when you stuffed them in, they broke open. And while most guys fills their bags on their boats out in the fresh air, I filled Buzy's inside the bait house of the Spruce Head Fisheman's Co-op. That was not a good monrnig. Also, geraniums. Pretty, and easy to grow, but stinky.

4. What smell do you like that others might consider weird? The aquarium sealant I use for making Macquariums gives of acetic acid. It smells like salt and vinegar chips.

5. How do you plan to spend your weekend? Work until Noon. Run some errands: Northern Kingdom Music, my clockmaker friend to get Father's clock back, grocery store, dump. Help Susan make room for twins. Make enchiladas for supper. Church tomorrow morning, dinner with the folks, then give a drum lesson @ 2pm. Chill. Chuch again at 6pm, and then band practice with Three Finger Deluxe.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Spam Lasagna

I have a junk mail filter here at the office, and it's 98% effective. Still, because I'm in business, I don't have my junk mail automatically trashed. I filter it to a folder, and take a quick scan everyday to make sure something important doesn't wind up in there. It rarely does, but still, I wanna be safe. So anyway, I'm scanning my junk folder quicly this morning, and I read "Learn a new lasgana in 10 days!" I thought to myself "That must be some complicated lasagna!" My eyes jumped back up to see this attention grabbing subject. Actually what it said was "Learn a new language in 10 days.

I think I'd rather have the lasagna!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, January 23, 2004

A long seven months lay ahead

Quite a bit of nervousness last night. Susan had some thin discharge. Of course, vanishing twin syndrome has been on my mind, and sometimes a discharge preceeds that. So we got real nervous. We went to the doctors today, and everyhing is ok. I asked the Dr. about VTS, and she helped put my mind at ease a little. Then they did something really nice for us--they squeezed us in for a quick ultrasound. Two kids still in there. The ultrasoundologist (or whatever) said heartbeats were good, sacs were good, plenty of fluid, good brakes, and cervix was recently refurbished, so that's all ok. Put if you're the praying type, please remember Susan and I over the next months. Problems with babies happen, and when it's twins, problems can go up exponentially. In fact, they say we're going to have a sonagram every month--most moms get 2 or 3. That way, they can keep close tabs on everything.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday 5

At this moment, what is your favorite...

I never really have a favorite song. I like so many. But Julia and I have been listening to a lot of Asleep at the Wheel lately. There is nothing cuter than listening to her sing Miles and Miles of Texas. So that's a favorite right now.

NOT turkey! Seems I've been eating a bunch of that lately. I really have a craving for some enchiladas though. (Strange Texas theme going on here.) This craving started when I found out a friend of mine from San Antonio died recently. His wife makes a mean enchilada, and she shared her recipe with me. Every now and then, I whip up a batch. Susan doesn't like them, so I have to be prepared to eat them for a few days. Now that she's pregnant, cooking enchiladas when she's around doesn't seem like a humane thing to do

3. show?
Mail Call

4. ...scent?
NOT turkey! :-) Favorite scent, how crazy is that? Ok, how about the smell of horse hair glue spread between slabs of mahogany and poplar that make up a 1964 Ludwig drum? Now that's a smell.

5. ...quote?
Romans 8:28.

Though I live on the edge time is on my side
All the doors to my life are open wide
Just as long as the wheels keep on turning ’round
I will live for the groove ’til the sun goes down
--Level 42

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Cool drums? NOOOOO!

Slingerland Rolling Bomber kit, in players (not collectors) condition. Lord, help me!

Get your Skeleton Trading Card here!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tamas for Trade? No!

We had a brief discussion at the office today about my drum habit, and how it will now die until the twins are paid for. Jim joked about me selling drums as a way to pay for things. Sad part is, I only have two drum kits left I can sell. I can't sell the WFLs; they're the first set I ever played! I can't sell my Tamas; they're my pride and joy. (And, they took many years to purchase. I don't normally buy $2000 drum sets. Nor will I be any time soon.) And I can't sell the set Chick gave me. So that leaves two available: Big Pink and a set of black Pacifics. The Pacifics used to be my road/rental kit. But since I got Big Pink, they just sit in the garage. So those could go. But not Big Pink! I just love him too much. (For some reason, I think Big Pink is masculine. Why a little tiny drum set in pink sparkle would strike me as being a he, I have no idea. But he is a he.)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Reasons 4 Love #37

Reasons 4 Love #37

Every Wednesday those who are involved in a relationship with somebody share a few (simple but significant) reasons for their love. I love Susan because:

She didn't even mention that I forgot to do my R4L last week.
She made my favorite chicken pie for supper tonight. (Of course, she made it with turkey, the way she prefers, but she did leave the vegetables out, the way I prefer.)
She made no remarks about me buying that cocktail drum. (The last drum I buy for a while, I bet!)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Some items of note

My new band, Three Finger Deluxe, is online. We've had one practice, and we already have a webpage. Solid!

Carol at the Pastry Garden has made a raspberry truffle that competes with the Harbor Sweets truffle. What does that mean? It means the best chocolate/flavor combination on earth is now available to me locally, albeit only for a short time. Groovy!

The drum account is no more. It's now the mini-van account! Swing!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Oh, and by the way...

We're having twins!

twins (10k image)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, January 19, 2004

MLK Day Results

Day off today. The office has added 4 more holidays to the calendar. Each staffer chooses two of the four to have off. You work the other two. I chose today and Columbus Day. So what did I do? I finished restoring the floor tom of the OBP (Oyster Black Pear) kit Chick gave me. The rack tom is of course 90% done. I'm waiting for a machine shop to finish up some parts, and then I can move on to the bass drum. I went to Northern Kingdom, and who did I see but Kevin Teel. His grandmother passed away, and he came home for the funeral. He looks much better than he did. He's no longer playing in that band I mentioned months ago. He's playing guitar in Nashville, and he's been there six years. He's doing recording session and hired sideman stuff. He did a six-week tour in the UK a while back, he said, and he worked with Tanya Tucker for a while. That's cool. He also filled me in on my old bass playing buddy TJ. Seems he's had it rough lately. Seems about a year ago he was in a trampoline accident, and craked 4 vertabrae in this neck. He was laid up for 6 months. Right after he recovered, his mom died. That was about six months ago or so. He's now moved to Hawaii. Guess I won't be seeing him anytime soon.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Worked on a drum

I worked on restoring the drums Chick gave. Take a look at the result. Big difference in person--not as noticable on camera. I've always wanted to do "as found" and "as finished" on the drums I work on. I never remember ro do that. Well, now I have one, at least. (I wish I had a shot of Big Pink as she was in Chuck's garage. You would never believe it's the same set.)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, January 16, 2004

Walnut Gladstone

So there's this master drum builder, Johnny Craviotto. Back in late 1980s, he and drummer Billy Gibbson (Huey Lewis and the News) formed a drum company called Solid. Due to a copyright problem, they had to change their name to select. They made great drums, but they weren't around long. But Johnny kept making drums. He has almost single-handedly brought back the popularity of solid shelled drums. These drums are not made of plywoods, but single chunks of wood that are bent using steam.

Arnie Lang was a student of Billy Gladstone, and owns an authentic Gladstone snare, made for him by Billy. Using his snare as a prototype, he has remade parts, and is making Gladstone replicas.

Walnut is a beautiful wood, and I have been lusting after a drum made of walnut for some time.

What happens when you mix all three? Extacy, that's what!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Early Morning Friday Five

1. What does it say in the signature line of your emails?
Business or personal? Business says this:
Bill Batty, Jr.
Director, P/R & Marketing
Midcoast Internet Solutions
207/594*8277 ext. 100

Solar Web Hosting, perfect for those who think green.

Personal says this:
Billy Rhythm
Rockland ME 04841

Check me out on the web:

2. Did you have a senior quote in your high school yearbook? What was it? If you haven't graduated yet, what would you like your quote to be?
If I did, I have no idea what it was. I'd have to look it up. But I don't remember any.

3. If you had vanity plates on your car, what would they read? If you already have them, what do they say?
They say brhythm, what else!

4. Have you received any gifts with messages engraved upon them? What did the inscription say?
Nothing with messages engraved. My parents bought me a Bible for graduation one year (I can't remember if it was high school, AA, or BA graduation). It said something to the effect of 'Spend time IN here, and it will keep you OUT of trouble."

5. What would you like your epitaph to be?
Ecclesiastes 4:2-3
"And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun."

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Is jealousy a sin?

We had a little discussion here in the office about jealousy, and whether jealousy is a sin. My thoughts were that jealousy in and of itself is not a sin, while others thought it was a sin. Paddy, half jokingly (I think) said “I’ll have to see it in the original Hebrew.” So, I looked it up, and thought I’d post my findings here.

In the Hebrew, there are four words that get translated as jealous or jealousy. Of those four, two (annq and awnnq) are used only referencing God (“I the LORD thy God am a jealous God”), and are only translated jealousy or jealous. The other two (anq, hanq) are sometimes translated as zeal or envy, in addition to jealousy. It used by God to describe himself ("So will I make my fury toward thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from thee”), and it is also used to describe man’s envy towards another.

There’s also an interesting chapter in Numbers. Chapter 5 talks about a man having a “jealous” feeling towards his wife. If he feels she may have been unfaithful, but can’t prove it, he can take her to the priest. The priest has a ritual he performs, and at the end of it, the Lord will make it clear whether she’s been unfaithful or not. The man does not have to make any atonement for his “jealous feeling.” It seems clear that this form of jealousy—that being in the terms of husband and wife—is not a sin. So there is a holy form of jealousy, as well as a sinless form of jealousy.

However, as Paddy read on a website he was visiting, jealousy is the seed that leads to other sins. And I go along with that. It’s like anger. There is a holy and a sinless for of anger. But anger also leads to other things that do constitute sins.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Cocktails for Gina, who went all weekend without a post

So much to say, and so little time to post!

First, something funny happened on my way to my Mac Economy gig on Saturday. I don't think I've mentioned it here, but Mac is putting together a Christian blues/funk/rock band, which is yet unnamed. We were playing in Old Orchard Beach at a Christian surf ministry called House of David Surfriders. I was driving south on Rt 1, and came to the on-ramp for I-295. The ramp starts off as two lanes, then merges into one. So I'm in the right lane, and a smaller car is coming up behind me in the left lane. He pulls up beside me, and hangs there. The merge is coming up fast, so I speed up. So does he! I'm getting annoyed now, so I look over to see who this jerk is. Turns out it's homeboy guitar player Greg McGowan! He recognized the brhythm plates, and wanted to give me a playful hello. I would never have expected to see him there--I barely see him around home!

Remember the Gretsch drum kit I traded for a Roland electric drum set? Well, I sold them. And I've been saving my drum lesson money, and stuff like that, so I've got a tidy little sum in the old bank account. I think what I'd like to do is hang on to the bulk of it, and use some to buy a cocktail drum.

What's a cocktail drum? Well, it was used back in the 50s as a stand-up drum. The original versions used just the one main drum, mostly. The bottom head acted as the bass drum, and the top head had a snare mechanism underneath to act as a snare drum. There's some good history of cocktail drums here. I contacted a custom maker of cocktails, Phattie Drums. He's got one on special wrapped in Green Onyx. Onyx wrap was popular back in the 60s and 70s, most notably on Rogers drums. Several months ago, a company did a limited run on reissue onyx wrap. It's mostly gone now, and it was mostly done in red, blue, and black onyx--the most popular colors. Apparently, the story goes, the company made two sheets of green onyx, a color never before available. Dennis of Phattie bought the two sheets, and used it in this cocktail kit. So, if the story is true, these are the only drums with green onyx wrap in existence.

And just where, pray tell, am I going to play this cocktail kit? Well, I'm working with the members of the Uptown Rhythm Kings to put a new band together: 3 Finger Deluxe. Here's the poop on that: the three of us play jump swing blues tunes, all of us playing vintage style instruments, all the while wearing zoot suits. And we're going to concentrate on putting on a show, too. You see, I realize that people will pay good money to see a band play bland music if they put on a good stage show. Play great music but don't hoot and holler, and the turn-out isn't so hot. So we're going to do both. We're good musicians, playing some tunes that swing, and putting on a show. If we really do bite the bullet and do it, it will turn out real cool. A real gas, baby--a clam bake! Ring a ding-ding.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Drums and Quizes, what else?!

You're justa like mamma used ta make! You're spaghetti!
What Snack Food are You? (With Cool Pics!!)

brought to you by Quizilla

Ghost or spirit: You are a lost soul. Very calm and
sweet, you are often the one who asks: What if?
With a clever mind, you want to explore the
world on a different level. Without the
answers, you aren't ready to move on. You are
most likely very creative and find yourself
thinking things through on a different level.
(please rate my quiz)

Where will you go when you die?
brought to you by Quizilla


You wanna talk drums? I’m sure you do. First off, Slingerland is back in production. Slingerland used to be quite a company, having both Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. They went out of business in the 80s sometime. Then, in the early 90s, they came back, offering really nice drums in a couple of lines ranging from mid level lacquered kits to real high end stuff. Then out of business again. Somewhere in here, the name was sold to Gretsch. So, say mid 90s, Gibson buys the name from Gretsch, and puts out some really high end stuff from a plant in Nashville. They’re so high end, they don’t really penetrate the market. There are only so many people looking to pay $4k for a drum kit. (How many drum kits have I owned? The most expensive was a little less than $2k, and I still have it.) So of course, they go under. Those Nashville drums are still sought, and command a high price. Fast forward to today. Promotional materials provided to potential vendors said “Buddy Kit with hardware lists for $6800, and the GK set lists for $7000… most expensive drums in industry, and worth it. Handcrafted--no two sets are exactly alike, however all are incredibly high quality--not meant for everyone." Hardly meant for anyone! Who is this going to appeal to? Certainly not up and coming drum buyers. No, this is going to be for those older players who have the nostalgia and the cash. I won’t be in the market for one.

Speaking of drum lines bought back from the dead, Gretsch has brought back the Leedy drum name. Just snares right now. I’ve never owned a Leedy, but would like too. Most notably, the Broadway Standard remains closest to the original. The Elite Standard has a modern throw-off and die-cast hoops that the originals didn’t. The brass drums have the X lug (as there appears to be an X in the casting) which I don’t care for, as well as the modern strainer. The black brass drum is authentic looking, but I don’t care for those lugs.

And speaking of Gene and Buddy and Slingerland… Buddy Rich throughout his career played many different brands of drums. He was one of the first drummer to demand cash as well as free instruments for his endorsement. He played Gretsch, Slingerland, WFL, Ludwig (two stints with Ludwig the Ludwig family there) and Vox. If the yearly cash payments didn’t suit him, he moved on. And hey, he was good enough to ask and receive it, and providers were willing to pay it, so it worked, apparently. But Buddy is known in the music world as being a big pain in the arse as a band leader.

Gene Krupa, on the other hand, is always remembered as a real class act, and a true gentleman. He played Slingerland throughout his career.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, January 9, 2004

No Friday Five

So instead, you get this:

You are Italian
You are an Italian.

What's your Inner European?
brought to you by Quizilla

You're welcome, Wop. I'm glad it's not France.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Nice Caskets

I heard about these monks on NPR months ago. Why I thought of them today is beyond me. But I thik I'd look good in a nice black walnut toe pincher.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

The Hot Lunch Play List

Somewhat depressed this lunch. My bi-polar-bear kicking in. The set list may reflect that.

"Driving South" Jimi Hendrix
"You Turn the Screws" Cake
"I Will Survive" Cake
"Never There" Cake
"Dear Prudence" The Beatles
"Witchita Skyline" Shawn Colvin
"The Facts About Jimmy" Shawn Colvin
"Tea in the Sahara" The Police
"Vincent" Son McLean
"Hear My Train A Comin'" Jimmy Hendrix

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Cold Hi-Fi Lunch

Pacos Tacos. Chicken burrito. Yummy!

Temperature this morning? 6.6 degrees. Yet of feels warmer than yesterday since the wind isn't blowing as much as yesterday.

I hooked up the DVD/S-VHS unit last night. Remeber how I mentioned that everyone complained about the inputs not summing--the DVD video output was different from the VHS video output. And how I remarked that they're basically two different machinces, with two different sets of outputs, so they really shouldn't sum. Well, the machine I bought does. And you know what? It stinks. Why? Well, this one player now uses only one input on my receiver. That's ok. But audio output from VHS is analog, and audio output for Dolby Digital Surround from a DVD is digital. It just makes it that much harder to make the receiver do what you want. With two seperate machines, I could set the DVD input on the receiver to always use digital audio, and the VCR input to always use analog. Now, there's a bit of button jockeying to be done. For me it's no big deal, but ease of use has gone down for the family. (Also, I don't like the silver color.)

There are some good points, though. My old Toshiba used to briefly mute the digital audio outputs. That means if you started a film mid-chapter, it would take a second for the sound to come on. This machine doesn't do that. Also, the VCR quality is nice, but you'd expect that from an S-VHS VCR. All in all, I'm happy with it. Of course, I've only used it since last night. I'll do an update as nessecary.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, January 8, 2004

Because you're all wondering...

The temperature at the Batty household this morning was -6. Tis the first blast of real cold this winter.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Reasons 4 Love #36

Reasons 4 Love #36

Every Wednesday those who are involved in a relationship with somebody share a few (simple but significant) reasons for their love. I love Susan because:

(I asked Julia why I loved her mother. This is what she said.)

"Because she cooks."
"Because you like the hugs and kisses."
"Just because you love her."

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Martini (reprise)

Here's what you need to get started. You will then get this. No need to repeat.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]


Talk at the shop today turned towards martinis. Why? I shall tell you anon. In any event, Paddy and I discussed the perfect martini, much as we discussed the perfect patty melt. Allow me to discuss our findings. We both agree that vodka in a martini is right out. You can drink vodka and vermouth all you want, and that's fine by me. But it's not a martini. A true martini must contain an olive. Paddy allows for a twist. I'm ok with that. I myself have been know to order a Gibson--a martini with an onion instead of an olive. We agree that the finished product should be dry. How dry? We differ a bit here. I say that there are occasions (very rare) where you can dismiss the vermouth all together. Straight gin with an olive. Not a true martini, but it can be good. Don't try this with an inferior gin! My gin of choice is Bombay Saphire. When you drink as many martinis a year as I do (read: less than a dozen), you can afford to splurge on the good stuff. I also like Tanqueray, though not as much. Tanqueray for me makes the superior gin and tonic--very refreshing in summer months. My Bombay never sees tonic. To be honest, I've never tried Beefeater. I have, sadly, had Fleishmans gin in the back of the Blind Albert R/v with Woodstove. That was an experience. Never buy gin from a company that also makes whiskey, bourbon, and whatever other spirit you need. Stick to the specialists.

Usually, I use the method that Paddy uses, sort of. He uses an "in and out" technique: vermouth goes in the shaker with ice, gets a quick shake, and goes out. I do the same, but put the vermouth in the chilled glass, then out. So it's in and out, just different real estate. We do come to a difference in the olives. I like 3 olives with pimento. He's a one olive no pimento guy. I like my olives skewered. It's like a little snack with your drink. He likes his olive free range. Paddy goes so far as to call my 3 olive martini "dirty." To me, a dirty martini has brine from the olive jar poured in. The number of olives doesn't determine dirtiness--it's wheter or not you use the olive juice.

Now, to the homestead to make with the shakin'!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, January 6, 2004


Maria's back! (And I just pulled her button down too...)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, January 2, 2004

Oh, I forgot...

The Blind Albert Band will be the opening act of this year's North Atlantic Blues Festival. It's a nice honor. Hometown boys playing the blues for almost 10 years, and we finally play the main stage at this great festival. I'm really looking forward to it.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Quzies and Movie Survey

Forrest Gump!

What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Stole this from Brewer. He's a hardcore movie watcher. Bold means I've seen it. Bold italics means I own it. Brewer has seen them all but four. I've got a ways to go...

(See the more section for the answers)

Set this day by the hand of Billy Rhythm [Link] [Get More Here]

The Billy Rhythm TV and Web Page Design

So the other night, the fam and I are watching Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. In the extra stuff, you'll find the THX audio/video set-up utility. I decided to try it, and see how it worked. I ususally use the Video Essentials laser disc. (Video Essentials has long been considered the standard set-up utility by most audio/video mags.) Anyway, I went into by RCA Home Theater series TV set-up, and pushed the "Reset" function. Ouch! Did that look bad! So I followed the DVD directions, and set the white and black levels. Then I went into the color and tint settings. Using the blue filter included with my Video Essentials LD, I set the color and tint. Once I got those set, they played some footage from the movie to show you how everything looked. How'd it look?


Very red.

The RCA has always looked too warm, but this was bad. Real bad. Lobster red bad. I double checked my settings. The color was jacked up to about 75% of what was available. But I used the blue filter, and it measured ok. Still, it looked bad. So, I set the color to where it looked good, and then looked at the correct measurement screen with the blue filter. It was telling me the color needed to be boosted. And yet when I set it where is measured correctly, it was way too red. After fiddling with it for about an hour, I went to bed.

The next day, I took out the Video Essentials LD, and decided to use that instead. I was working through the settings, and found that you could scroll down on the screen. There was more than what was visible at forst glance. One more option down was the "Auto Color" function. I had forgotten about that! When I reset the picture, it turned the Auto Color back on! So I shut it off, and ran the test again. AHA! Now things looked right! Much better, thank you. Back to how I normally view video: as close to NTSC standards as I can. Wow, though, were the default RCA settings way off.


More on video. I'm looking at replacing my VCR and DVD player. I was thinking perhaps a dual deck combination unit would be the ticket--especially since finding nice VCRs on their own is harder and harder to do. Anyway, in doing research online, I find this common compaint: "The S-Video output only works on the DVD player, not the VCR." Look at this quote.

"I've gotten to the point as a consumer of electronics devices that the minute I find that my device doesn't support some necessary functionality, I return it. I'm tired of having to adapt to poorly designed electronics. Thus, after purchasing my new SLV-D300P, I discover that the s-video output of the device only outputs video from the DVD player. This is unacceptable."

Name me one standard VCR that does have an s-video output. They don't have them! If you want an s-video connection on a VCR, you need an S-VHS VCR. These combo units don't have (usually) S-VHS decks. It only stands to reason they won't have S-VHS outputs!


I've done a little more web design work. See what you think of Bayview Concierge. It's a neat lifesylte management service here in Maine, and they seem to be doing well already. (Just a note: color scheme and logo were already in place.)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday 5

What one thing are you most looking forward to . . .

1. A Big New Yorker pizza from Pizza Hut. Whether I buy one or not is another story.

2. ...over the next week? A whole day off tomorrow. No work, no gigs. I'm gonna sleep late (circa 8am), make a corned beef hash and eggs breakfast, and drink a whole pot of coffee. After that, it'll all be good.

3. ...this year? A new baby.

4. ...over the next five years? Another new baby?

5. ...for the rest of your life? More happy life with Susan.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

About me: