Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Amy's "Unusual Things" Play Along

Amy tagged me for this, and I decided I'd play along.

The Idea is simple: List 10 things you have done that others might not have done. Then Tag 5 people to do the same.

1) I've fathered twins! There's no real skill involved (well, maybe some skill), but most guys won't ever fall into this camp.

2) I've played the drums in front of 6000 people, and didn't get the least bit nervous. I've also played drums with Eddie Shaw and Kenny Neal, and I opened for Toy Caldwell (of Marshall Tucker fame) and Leon Russell. I've also seen my band name in lights above the words "Sold Out."

3) I have a hamburger named after me.

4) I've preached a sermon. I've washed feet, and had my feet washed.

5) I've had medical amnesia. When I was a kid, I was riding my bike, fell, and hit my head on the curb. There's about a 24 hour period in my life that, while conscious, I remember nothing. In fact, at the time, I didn't remember who my parents where. There's supposedly a x-ray of my head with my father's hand on it, where he had to hold me down on the table.

6) I've driven a 1898 Singer Dual Propulsion Tricycle. You pedal with your feet AND your arms. You steer it by twisting one of the handles.

7) I have driven a fire truck.

8) I directed a radio play based on Poe's "The Raven."

9) I've been a DJ on a 50k watt radio station. I once spent the night in the station, in the sales office, under a desk. There was a blizzard outside.

10) I once spent the night in the bed of my pick-up. The following morning, I washed my hair in a Wal-Mart bathroom.

Who do I want to play? Well, Amy already tagged my sister. So how about Susan, Jim, Aunt Ginny, Melanie, and Dave Clarke. (Dave doesn't even read here, but I don't have many friends.)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dreaming While Playing Bass

OK, I had my dream last night, but it wasn't about Dad. (Apparently, my sister is dreaming about Dad. Do check out her blog to read her latest.) I dreamed I was playing a gig in Bangor at some new place. How do I know it was Bangor? I don't know, but in my dream, I knew it was Bangor. The place we were playing was a restaurant. The owner of the restaurant was himself a musician, and even sold some used equipment out of the restaurant. He had a little office in the back full of instruments, and even kept some on the walls of the restaurant as decorations. Thing was, these decorations were for sale! Need a steak and a new saxophone? You're covered!

Paddy, Dave, and I were playing as Three Button Deluxe. Nothing strange there really. Except Paddy was playing guitar with Dave. Since he wasn't playing bass, I took over the four string duties. Bill Faler was playing drums for us. Bill was going to be using my drums, so I got to the gig early, and set up. Dave and Paddy stayed busy setting up the PA, and Bill just sorta hung out. Once it was time to start, I asked Paddy where the bass was. He didn't bring one. He assumed I'd be bringing my own bass. Well, since I sold my bass to Paddy (which I actually did in real life), I assumed he'd realize I no longer owned a bass, and he'd have to bring one. No such luck.

I decided the thing to do would be to ask the restaurant owner to borrow one of the instruments in the shop. He hemmed and hawed, going on and on about how professional musicians don't leave their instruments at home. I agreed, and told him there was just a miscommunication between band members. I apologized, but reminded him that I couldn't drive back to Rockland, get a bass, and come back--it just wouldn't be timely. He'd lose all the patrons that had come to see us. He finally consented to allow me to play his personal bass. It looked a lot like this, but had a really short neck on it. My fingers would just barely fit between the frets. I figured, though, that as bad a bass player I am, I wouldn't be walking around too much in the high notes, so I decided I could get by.

The other three guys are itching to get going, so they decided to start playing. I don't know why they didn't wait for me to get an amp to go with the bass, but they didn't. Now I'm yelling at the owner (so he can hear me over the din), asking if I can borrow an amp too. He scowls away, but doesn't answer. I get behind the band, and just look like I'm supposed to be there. Of course, with no amp, no one can hear anything I'm doing.

As we start playing the second song, the owner pushes this great big old amp out of the back room. Unfortunately, the guitar cord to go with it is only six feet long, and the power cord isn't much longer. He doesn't want to drag this big thing out of the back room, so I move even farther away from the band, and sit in the doorway between the back room and the main dining room. I'm like 10 feet away from the band. I look like I don't belong with them.

Then I woke up.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fashion Tips from the Comedian

Lately, I've taken to wearing a sport coat in the office. Why? I use it to exude power and confidence, and to lend an air of superiority over the staff. Let you know who the boss is, you know? OK, actually that's not it. I'm wearing them for warmth. It's another layer. It can go on, or come off, and it doesn't affect the rest of the outfit. I get cold, I put it on. Eh. I get hot, I take it off. No big whoop. Of course, with the cold weather comes snow. With snow comes boots. And my boots are cold! So on the days where I have to wear boots to work, I also bring a second pair of shoes--usually my Chuck Ts. They're comfy! Today, I've got on my blue two button blazer (a gift from Paddy) and my Chucks. Jim says I look like I should be doing stand-up! I guess that means you probably shouldn't take any high fashion cues from me!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lessons From Dad

I've been thinking a lot about my Dad the last two days. Yesterday, I had a real hard time. On one hand, I'm very, very thankful for the relationship I had with him. Not only was he a fantastic father, but he became so special to me as I grew older. I really appreciated his advice and wisdom as I became a father, a home owner, a husband, etc. I knew I could count on him for good, sound, "manly" advice. Don't get me wrong. I love my wife, my Mom, and my friends. But they can't fill the void Dad left. Yesterday, I really needed him. I needed some advice. Some advice he would of been perfect for. And I can't ask him. And on top of that, I sometimes feel like there's no one else I can ask. Sure, I can ask Susan, but what I needed yesterday wasn't something she could help with. Or Mom. Or Jim. Or Dwane. Or my father in law. Or Unk. And once I got in the funk, I just couldn't pull out of it.

Last night at Bible study, we talked about the Sermon on the Mount, specifically the Beatitudes. And, there was a great big section on "blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." As other people are discussing, I'm praying: "Lord, don't let the Pastor ask me to chime in on this, 'cause I won't be able to speak." So that gets over, and I head to Burger King for some supper. There's a guy in the drive through I used to work with back in my McDonalds days. We say hello, exchange pleasantries, and he says "Sorry about your Dad. This is the first time I've seen you since he passed. I really liked him." At which point I'm thinking "How random is this, God, that you put this guy here that I haven't seen in years, and today of all days he comes at me with this. You obviously want me to get something out of today." Before bed, I prayed that maybe I'd have a dream. Maybe Dad would call me on the phone, or something. He didn't.

This morning, I talked with Dad's old boss on a business matter. He's doing something really special to honor my Dad, and I wish I could tell you what it is, and what a super-nice guy he is, but I can't. I can't tell you in public. But while I had him on the phone, I thanked him. And that was like priming the pump, because he just started about how Dad was there for him in times of trial, how he was always so loyal, how much he loved his family, and on and on. Of course, this is a business conversation, so I'm trying to hold it all together, and at least wait until I'm off the phone to let the tears flow.

So it appears my lesson from my two Fathers in heaven isn't over yet. They want me to learn some lesson, obviously. I hope I catch it quick.

Listening to: The Decemberists
Also listening to: Sarah Shannon

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, January 14, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

Friday night? Hmm. I don't really recall. I think there was a movie... Ah, yes, that's right. Ray, a staffer in the Newcastle office, has been telling me about Open Season for some time. So we watched that with the kids.

Saturday morning, and the pastor and his wife came over for breakfast: eggs, cinnamon swirl french toast, bacon, sausage, juice, and coffee. In the late morning/early afternoon, I did some web work while Susan took the boys to the library and to do some shopping. Julia stayed home with me and "cleaned" her room. In the afternoon, I thought I might take a nap, but felt too guilty about wasting time sleeping, so I re-wallpapered the upstairs hallway. Julia and I walked to the grocery store to return the movie and pick up a few things. Susan made her yummy home made pizza for supper. I think we then played the Diego game with the boys, while Julia continued to "clean" her room.

Sunday morning, and I whipped up some muffins from a mix. The lemon/poppyseed were good; the mixed berry were not. Church in the morning, and Susan made chili for lunch. I did take about a 45 minute nap in the afternoon while watching some trick shot pool tournament on TV. I washed some dishes while listening to Click and Clack in the late afternoon, then back to church. Supper last night was leftover pizza. Bed.

Upcoming this week? Snow. Billing day. No gigs, though.

Until next time.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Cell Phones and Restaurants

What's worse than a cell phone ringing in a restaurant? Someone who answers it at the table! No joke, I'm eating lunch with JP and Snake today. Twice, I hear cell phones rings, twice people answer at their table, zero times does any one excuse themselves and make their call somewhere more private. So I'm thinking to myself "This has the makings of a post," and what happens? Snake's cell phone rings! What's he do? Answer it! The punk.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Susan's MI-5, Late Again

The questions this week come from another book Susan purchased at Julia's school book fair called,"You've Got To Be Kidding!" It is a book full of "crazy, mind-bending 'would you rather' questions." One rule: you must choose one of the scenarios, you cannot answer "I don't know" or "neither." You can explain your answer if you wish.

1. Would you rather: Not be able to sleep for a week OR Not be able to eat for a week?
Not be able to eat. I've got plenty of fat reserves to live off for a week. A week without sleep? Heck, I can barely make a day without sleep!

2. Be the person in the circus who stand still while the knife thrower throws knives at him OR Be the person who puts his head in the lions mouth?
Lion's mouth, I guess. Maybe he wouldn't be hungry. Or maybe he wouldn't chomp my head completely off, and I could stick my fingers in his eyes if something went wrong.

3. Live next door to a haunted house OR Across the street from a cemetery?
They both appeal to me--nothing I wouldn't want to do here! I'd say I'd prefer the cemetery, though. I like 'em!

4. Be a boy named Muffin E. Sims OR A girl named Caspar P. Jasper?
The boy. Why? 'Cause I don't want to be a girl, no matter what!

5. Spend the rest of your life in a space ship OR The rest of your life in a submarine?
Lots of people spend lots of time in submarines, so they've gotta be safe. Only about 500 people have ever been into space, so there's a lot less practical knowledge about space travel. I'll take the sub please! I'll make my depth one five zero feet, aye, with five degrees up on my bow planes. Smartly!

(PS. A guy I work with, Charlie, used to work on submarines. He cringes every time I speak submariner. He's says I've seen too many movies.)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A New Year of Capitalism

I hope everyone's enjoying their new year. I am--sort of. Nothing huge. I'm a little sore for some reason. I got home from my New Year's gig (I played two gigs, back to back), and I was sore. Especially my knees. My right hand, too, in the carpals and metacarpals. And today, my back. Today's snow was especially heavy. Thankfully, I was outside when or plow driver came by, so I was able to move mine AND Susan's car, so we got a nice plow. Unfortunately, she plowed over some of the walk I had just shoveled, so I had to re-shovel that part. And since a truck had just been over it, that part was quite compressed, and the heavy snow was now even harder to get up. That's what pushed me over the edge, I think.

Speaking of playing gigs, I did something last week I don't normally do: I turned down a gig because it didn't pay enough. A local high school wanted me to play their spring musical. I did it last year, but didn't discuss the pay beforehand. When the check came, I made less in two full weekends then I normally make in one gig. (Actually, it was a Thursday night, two Friday nights, two Saturday nights, and a Saturday matinee, so six performances all together.) I explained that, with time home being a precious commodity, and with the amount of work I already get as a musician, blocking out that kind of time for that kind of money couldn't be done. I felt really bad. I wasn't trying to get the kind of dough I would normally get--I frequently make concessions for non-profit type gigs. But I did think I needed something more. Otherwise, it was more worth it to me to stay home. And so that's where we are. They'll be looking for a new drummer. They feel bad, 'cause they like using me. I feel bad, 'cause I like to play shows and I like the people. And, I like helping the school. But I also like my wife and kids, and hanging with them on the weekend.

Still, it makes me feel like a mercenary. And a capitalist. And a Dad. And a husband. And a traitor.

Maybe some business out there would underwrite my fee. Then I could take the gig, feel good, the school would not have to spend more, they'd get the drummer they want, and all would be well. Of course, then my family would feel bad. Hmm. Seems the more I think about it, the more I end up making more of a mess. I should stop talking now.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

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