Monday, February 27, 2006

Spooky Dreams of Dad

Here's last night's dream. Family, be forewarned: Dad's in it, and it's a little spooky.

Let me give you some background info. On Sunday morning, I was leading Sunday School when I thought I heard the phone ring. "Was that the phone?" It wasn't. (Of course I've had a few dreams about Dad calling me on the phone.) Mom looked at me, and I looked at her, and then my sister, and then one of them said something to the effect of "It was Dad!" We chuckled.

Onto the dream...

It was after a play. Rockland's "Just Off Broadway Players" had just finished some production, but not at Rockland High. As I'm leaving, this Asian guy says to me "Bill?" It was my old Junior High friend Steve Parks! (Now in the dream, I had this memory. I had found a picture of me and Steve at his birthday party. It was dated. So I did a google search for Steve Parks and his birthdate. Google gave me a phone number. I called and left a message, saying "If this is Bill Batty's old friend Steve, please call me. If not, sorry for the trouble." Of course in real life, none of that happened. Is it funny in my dreams I have memories of stuff that didn't happen?) He had come to surprise me. I ran up to him and gave him a big hug. We talked a long time. He told me he was married, had five kids, and two of them were twins. Twin girls--fraternal. Just the opposite of me! Cool!

We said goodbyes. As I was leaving the school, I overheard two little old ladies leaving the play. "Shouldn't we go out dinner, or something like that? Don't we do something after a play?" one asked the other. "I wonder what Bill Batty would do if he were still alive," the other one said. I felt quite proud that people will still using him as an example.

OK, here's where things get weird. Mom, if you're reading, you probably ought to stop here.

I'm outside, on this little island. There's a beautiful white staircase coming down from the sky. It was a glossy white lacquer, almost as if Weatherend Furniture made staircases. But it just went up. And the surroundings were really beautiful. It was almost like Disney! And there was Dad. But he wasn't in good shape. He looked like, well, someone who's been dead for a few months. And he said to me "Why haven't you paid Jeannie Baker that $40? The only thing I asked of you before I died was to pay her back that $40. I even gave you $20, and only asked that you make up the other $20. I can't rest until that's paid." I opened my wallet, and there was a $20 bill, with a yellow sticky note on it. It read "Jeannie Baker."

I said "Gee, Dad, I'm really sorry. I don't really remember you asking, but I'll go pay her right now!" Ironically, Jeannie had attended the play from the beginning of the dream! She came down on a school bus with a bunch of other ladies from the Augusta area. So I ran to catch up with the bus. Jeannie was standing on the stairs of the bus, and the door was open. I explained to her what I needed to do, and she was very understanding that it had taken awhile for me to catch up with her. So I paid her the $40, and she thanked me. I looked across the little brook back to the island. Now on the island is a bed, and Mom is sleeping in it. Dad is just about to crawl in with her, and I'm thinking (Mom, I told you not to read this!) 'I can't let Dad get in bed with Mom!' So I yelled over to him, and gave him the OK sign. He nodded, and left.

And I woke up.

For those keeping track at home, for supper I had tomato/basil pasta with some sliced bratwurst on top.

About to eat: Chinese Food

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Re: the previous post

I've picked up a rider. Sorry if anyone was thinking about going. We could caravan, if you want.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Saturday, in the office, I think it was the 25th of Feruary

Hey, all. Sup? Not much posting going on, either by me or the cadre over on the left hand links there. Winter doldrums must've set in. I know for myself, I'm thinking this layout needs a major overhaul, but I just can't figure out what. I get some ideas down (one I even had up on the web for about five minutes), and then decide I don't really like them any better than what I had. So in the trash it goes.

Later this afternoon I'm going to the dump. I bet you're all glad about that. The kids spent the night with Grandma and Granddaddy in Somerville, so Susan and I will be picking them up after the boy's nap time. Northern Kingdom Music has a new ride cymbal in stock I'm going to try out, so I hope to snag that this afternoon. Tonight I'm playing at Joshua's in Brunswick. The front passenger seat is open if someone wants to tool along! I'll have you home by 3am!

Just watched: The Crow
Drinking: French press coffee

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, February 24, 2006

Gina's Random MI-5

1. If you had to admit to the most selfish thing you do on a regular basis, what would you say? The least selfish thing?
Most selfish thing, I guess, would be drinking coffee in church, even though some of the older folks think it's inappropriate. In deference to them, I should probably not drink it, yet I continue to so do. Least selfish thing would be the buying of an occasional lunch for some of the guys in the office.

2. If you had to chose an "entertainer" for your funeral, who would you choose and why?
I would like some "entertainment" at my funeral, but not from anyone who's famous. I'd like a dixieland band to play my coffin into the cemetery. Then, a bagpiper to play at the committal. Then, the dixieland band plays us out with happy, upbeat music as is traditional in a New Orleans Jazz funeral.

3. What would you say has been the most powerful moment of silence you have ever experienced?
I got nothing for this one.

4. If you could have the characters in any painting come to life, which painting would you choose and why?
The folks in Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la Grande Jatte. Why? It looks like a cool group to hang out with.

5. If you found out you did have a guardian angel, what would you name it?
Xavier. That's Ex-Avier, not Zaivier.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, February 20, 2006

Weekend Wrap-Up, Samoset Supper

Hi all. Wanna know what I did this weekend? If so, continue. If not, please skip down a post or two. Or, just go to someone else's more interesting blog.

Friday night, I left the office and headed straight to Waterville. Man, was it cold and windy! Some winter weather finally made it to Maine. I arrived at a little after 7pm. Mark "Guitar" Miller was playing the 6-9pm shift already, so I hung on a bit to bring my gear in. I ordered the chicken salad sandwich, and ate it. They wanted Mark to play until as close to 9pm as he could, so I ended up setting up offstage, then handing the drum kit up, completely assembled, when he was done. The first three or so sets went well; the last set was sparsely attended. The drive home was uneventful.

Saturday morning, Susan and Julia went out to do some errands. For Valentines Day I gave Susan some money to go pamper herself, whether it was clothes or nails or whatever. She decided to have her hair done and buy some clothes. I stayed home with the boys. We smoked cigars and drank single malt, and chased redheads. Oh wait, no we didn't. They took a nap after lunch, and before Susan got home. We went to my nephew Caleb's birthday in the afternoon, and I had a couple of my sister's famous "half baked brownies." Then in the evening was the supper.

Ah yes, the supper... Part II of Susan's Valentines gift was a trip to The Samoset for supper. I had the escargot, a ginger spiced 1/2 duck, and Bananas Foster. Susan had a salad, a filet mignon with blue cheese, and a chocolate "puzzle cake." (The cake had layers that were both flat AND at an angle, like --//-- that, sort of. Also included was a white chocolate covered heart of vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet--the kind you find at a second hand store. While in the throws of this super-fantastical meal, Susan said "The kids are going to my Mom's next weekend. Let's come back!" I agreed. When the bill came, though, we decided we probably ought naught.

On Sunday we did church in the AM, then lunch at Mom's. In the afternoon we took a little nap. Back to church in the evening for a Valentine's Sundae Social. Home, bed.

The end.

Feeling: Ready to give up
Waiting for: Clarke to answer the phone

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, February 17, 2006

Gig Wrap-Up Before A Gig

I'm just about to head to Waterville to play at the Midnight Blues Club. And yet, I haven't even posted about last week's two-nighter in Millinocket. I'll just hit the highlights. The owner, Tom, is an old hippy. He takes care of the bands, too. He makes sure your glass of milk is never empty. He makes supper for you. His pizza crust is awesome. Millinocket is three hours from here, but to play for a guy so nice, it's worth it. At the end of the first night, this lady came up, gave me a friendly hug, and said she liked the band. Then she said "You know, I don't usually go for drummers, but you're pretty cute. It's something about your feet." Really! That's what she said! Then Sunday morning, at like 1:30am, we're getting ready to come home. There's a storm going to hit the coast, and we want to beat it back. Too bad Blind Al's van won't start. I helped him for an hour to try and get it going, but it was no use. I had to leave him there. I needed to get home to the fam, and I wasn't helping with anything he couldn't do by himself. So at 2:30, Glen (the bass player) and I headed home. I was in bed at about 5:30am. I slept until noon.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Jim's 2nd Week of MI-5

1. How old would you like to live to be?
My Dad was 58. If I could get to 70, I'd be happy. But for the past few months, I've really been contemplating my mortality. Not so much for me, but for the sake of my wife and family. I know where I'm headed, so that's not worrying me, but I don't want to leave my family in a lurch. If I go at 58, my boys will only be 25. That's way too young to lose your dad.

2. Finish this sentence with your own opinion or philosophy. Marriage is...
The type of relationship I'm in right now, and it's treating me very well, thankyourverymuch.

3. What are your three best traits or qualities?
My sense of humor, my generosity, and my Jazz shuffle feels pretty good.

4. The last time you got mad, why did you get mad?
I can get frustrated pretty easily, but I don't get angry too much. My guess is probably I got mad at Susan over a household/money issue. (If Susan and I could eliminate money issues, we'd almost never fight. We don't fight much to begin with.)

5. Tell us the best school teacher you ever had and why.
I don't think I could single out one, but those who made impressions on me were:
RDHS music teachers Marlene Hall and Dick Walton.
RDHS English teacher Roz Costa.
RDHS science teachers Dr. Faxon and Tim "Jim" Dresser.
UMA professors Terry Plunkett and Jill Rubenson-Fenton.
UMA drum teacher Steve Grover.

Feeling: Funky and Mellow
Drinking: Lapdog Shoeshine Tea

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Jimmy T's MI-5, 5 Days Late

1. What is the best thing that has happened to you this year so far?
You know, I can't think of anything real exciting for this. I was on TV, which for me really wasn't any big whoop. I hurt my back breakdancing. I guess that's not a good thing though. I guess we're back to the TV.

2. You get a call that you have won a large sum of money. It doesn't matter how much. In order to get this money you must do something publicly humiliating to yourself. What do you choose to do? Keep in mind that your gift may ride on this so make sure it is humiliating enough or they may move on to someone else for the gift.
Drink a shot of vinegar? Dress up like a woman? I got it! Stand on the corner of Mn St. and Limerock, in a bustier, singing "Oklahoma," and doing shots of malt vinegar. How's that?

3. Somehow you have made the mob mad at you. They haul you in to "take care" of you but you plead with them and they agree that if you will give up one of your pleasures of life they will let you go. Let's just say they like the creativity of it. What pleasure of life do you give up to keep your life?
Just about anything. Milk? Chocolate? Physical, um, closeness? I'd get rid of all it for life. I've got three kids and wife whom I love. I'd sacrifice anything of mine for them.

4. Another contest. This time you get to be any political leader for a week. Whoever you want. Who would you like to be for the week?
I'd want to be the President of the US, but only for his week of vacation. I'd fly the fam to Disney on Air Force One, and we'd just kick back.

5. As a kid we all loved certain food or snacks. Maybe it a kind of candy or soda. Maybe it was something like a happy meal or a hot dog. Tell us the things you loved to eat as a kid? These would be the special treats you loved...
Mom would occasionally put some special stuff in the old lunchbox. Whenever I went on a field trip, she would let me have a can of Fresca, which she always wrapped in tinfoil to help keep it cold. Hostess cupcakes and Suzy Qs were also favs--and still are!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

For My Valentine

I could not ask for a better wife than my beloved. She is a gift to me from God. I need to remember to treat her as such everyday, not just today.

"I had a dream last night, of lovers who walked the plank, out on the edge of time, amidst ridicule.
They laughed as they rocked and reeled, over the mining fields,coming to rest on this ship of fools.
But he just took polaroids of her smile in the light of the dawn of the menacing sky.
And before they went overboard, she turned and held up a card, and it said 'Valentine.'"

~Shawn Colvin

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Shootin' Props to Amy

So I just got back from Bible Study. The interim pastor was out, so I led a little study on Valentine's day, and whether we should celebrate it our not due to it's pagan roots. (I say it's fine. If some don't like it, that's fine too. See Romans 14:5 if you'd like my angle.) Anyway, I get home, and there on the porch is a box from Amazon. I figured Susan had bought me another Valentines present, and left it for me to find on the porch. When I got inside, Susan said it wasn't from her. Aha! It must be from Jim then. He dropped it off while I was gone. I opened it up, and there was a wrapped present inside. I read the note.

It was from Amy and her Bad Groove!

She asked for advice on headphones on her blog. I offered some free advice on some headphones that I love. She ended up buying them! She sent me an email, and told me so. I replied "You better post some props on your site." She did even better. She bought me the Johnny A CD from my wishlist! Too cool! My first present from a cyber-person! (Amy and I have never met. I know her only from her blog.)

Thanks so much, Amy!

Listening to: Farewell June

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, February 13, 2006

Millinocket and the Olympics

Wow! It's been a long time since I posted! Almost a week. Well, I spent this weekend in Millinocket at a gig. So I want to cover that. And, I didn't do the MI-5, so I'll need to do that. But the olympics are on, and I've been watching the curling. What a strangely cool sport. I'd try it sometime if someone is heading to the Belfast Curling Club.

Also last week I spent a bunch of time working on the Bayview Concierge site. And I did some work for Leisure Maine Rentals. (Paddy was the designer, but he's too busy for the upkeep, so he threw it my way.) Tonight (while watching curling) I'll be working on Susan Gilbert's site. (I didn't design that one either, but she needed someone to do the maintenance.)

Maybe tomorrow you'll get a bigger post. But, it is Valentine's day, and I'm leading Bible study tomorrow night, so maybe you won't. Who knows?

Listening to: Skin Ephraim Lewis

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Mystery Drums

Harvey* paid me a great compliment today. I don't know if he even realized he did it. He called me up, and said

"I need to talk to the master of all things struck."

I really dug that.

He said "I've got these drums here, and I've never seen anything like them. They're supposed to be congas, but they're made by Slingerland."

"Yeah," I said knowingly.

"And they're both the same size," he said.

"Yeah," I said. "Twelve inches." You could almost see his quizzical look over the phone. "And it's got straight sides, right? No belly like a regular conga..."

"Right!" he said.

"Does it have an oval silver and black badge?" They weren't right in front of him, so he couldn't tell me. "They're what American drum companies called congas back in the '60s and '70s. They're nothing like real congas, though."

"I need to get some heads for them. Where do I get them?"

I was so honored the manager of a music store was calling me for drum info!

"Only Ludwig makes them anymore. They have a real deep collar to fit over the shell. Hold on, I'll get you the part number." Again, here's little old me getting a part number for the greatest music store in the world. And they even have a "drum specialist" on staff. But who did they call? That's right! "The master of all things struck!" Really, it made me feel real good. All warm and fuzzy.

*He's been getting a lot of press here recently, huh? Well, cool people have cool things happen to them. Like being mentioned on a blog.

Listening to: Farewell June

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Two Nights Worth of Dreams

On Monday night, I dreamed I was at my Mom's house. She was hosting a weight loss club-something that's been done from time to time within Spruce Head families and churches. It's kinda like a Weight Watchers group, just not sanctioned by WW. At this particular "Fat Club" (as my Dad always called it), when you got weighed in, you held onto a heavy box. The idea was this: it wasn't about how much you weighed, but how much you lost. No one knew how much the box weighed, so when you stepped on the scale, no one knew how much of that weight was you, and how much was box. So no one had to be embarrassed.

I would have none of it. "I know I'm overweight," I announced, "and that's why I'm hear. I don't care if anyone knows how much I weigh." I stepped up to the scales. "285 pounds," I guessed, like I was some kind of fair barker. I got on. My actual weight was 346! I couldn't believe it! I had to lose 60 pounds just to get back to my normal overweight weight!

I was so depressed I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to participate with the group anymore that night. So I decided I'd clean my Mom's kitty litter box. I got the little scoop, and noticed it had slots like a normal scoop, but also some sharp ridges. And the openings in the scoop were much more narrow than normal. When I griped about how long it was taking to sift the litter through the smaller holes, my Mom explained "The sharp ridges are there to break up the clumps. You have to sift it longer in order to break up the clumps, and then I dry out the wet litter a little, and reuse it."

Before I could question why you would reuse previously peed on cat litter, I woke up.


Last night, I had three dreams. Here are two of them.

First, I dreamt South Thomaston was selling another fire engine. I somehow saw a picture of it online, and made arrangements to go look at it.

Suzanne Ward, owner of Second Read Books and Coffee, was brokering the deal. Why? How should I know, that's why it's a crazy dream! I got there, and she explained the truck was around back. She got in my car, and we went around back. It wasn't there. I looked over at Arthur Greirson's house (who actually does live next door to S. Thomaston's fire station), and saw a cool old ladder truck.

"Is that the one?" I asked.

"No, that one's not for sale. Arthur is going to restore that one," Suzanne explained.

As we got around front, Arthur and his brother Bobby pulled up in a truck. It was not the one from the picture. It was some big, square, '70s era tanker. I said "Yeah, I'm not interested in that at all. I'm looking for something older, rounder, and in a pumper.

End of that one...


Family members read on with caution!

Dream #2

I was downstairs in my house folding laundry. Only it wasn't my actual house. The basement was huge! So anyway, there I am folding laundry, when I turn around to put something on a rack, and there's my Dad!

"Surprise," he said. "Your sister told me upstairs that I should yell down to you, and let you know I was coming so you wouldn't be frightened, but I wanted to surprise you." I gave him a big hug, and kissed him on the check. He said "I've missed you." And then I woke up crying.


Well, how's that for a happy way to start your day!

Reading: Is This All Their Is To Life?, Ray Stedman
Listening to: If This Bass Could Only Talk, Stanley Clarke

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

I Played Me Some Jazz

Sometimes, if you're going to play it right, you really do need the right instrument. Let's take me (of course) and Jazz. I've never been too happy with my Jazz chops. I love to play Jazz. But I never really thought I sounded good while playing it. I always thought I sounded like a poser--someone who wanted to play Jazz, but really couldn't. I just never had the right sound.

Until today!

On my lunch break, I headed downstairs to the studio. I slapped the hand-hammered Sabian hi-hats on the stand (hats borrowed from Northern Kingdom, btw), put the Vault Artisan Light Ride on my right, and my Jack DeJohnette Signature ride on my left. Put on some Charlie Parker (as played by Charlie Watts and his band--see my new desktop photo), and WAILED! Man, is that ride a nice cymbal! It was kinda funny: the sound of that cymbal influenced what I was playing! Is was so thin, it responded differently to my sticks. It was crash-able for accents. It spoke without having to beat on it. The sound of a Jazzer's cymbal influenced me to play like a Jazzer.

I've got to get a set of Jazz cymbals.

No wonder Clarke changes guitars so much.

Reading: Matthew
Listening to: Devonsquare

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, February 3, 2006

The Rockin' Guys at Northern Kingdom Music

They've figured out the ultimate marketing plan! First, figure out who the good customers are. Then, figure out what they would like, but don't as of yet, own. Then order those things! Instant sale!

Paddy saw the new Fender Jaguar bass in Musician's Friend. He mentioned it to the super fantastic guys at NKM. Harv says "Yeah, we were thinking about getting one of those. What color does he want?" Red! You know as soon as that bass shows up, instant sale!

I've been checking out some ride cymbals. I've narrowed it down to two: an A Zildjian and CIE and a K Constantinople light ride. You know what they're willing to do? They'll order both for me, and I can pick the one I want! How cool of them, huh?

Then today, Harv called me to check on Nat. He mentions he ordered some new Sabian cymbals, including a new 22" Sabian Vault Medium ride. I said something to the effect of "Oh, a medium is too heavy for me. I'm looking for something lighter." And he said "I'll call 'em up and change it to a light ride if it's not too late." Just so I could hear it! Total coolness from this guy! Then he calls back and says "The order just arrived. And come to find out, I actually ordered the light ride. Come check it out." Wicked! Major props to Harvey!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Paddy's MI-5

SPAM comes true! Yes, like wishes granted, suddenly SPAM messages are coming true ... care you ready? They are all separate, by the way ... so treat each as its own deal.

1) Congratulations! You can pick one location to visit this winter free of charge for a week. Where do you go?
Hmm. This is a toss-up. If it's sans kinds, then probably Italy. Or maybe Grand Cayman. That seemed a nice place when we went on our cruise, and someplace I'd like some more time to explore. If it's with kids, then there's no doubt: Disney World! I can't wait to get back there.

2) You won! Pick any software program you want, free of charge! What do you pick?
Some crazy bundle with Dreamweaver and Photoshop.

3) Mr. Abdul Muddawhanny of Niger has forwarded the check for $1,000,000.00 to you for helping him with that nasty foreign banking business. How to spend it?
Pay off the house. Go to Grand Cayman, Italy, and Disney World. For myself, a little Gretsch be-bop kit in burnt orange lacquer. With leftover, buy a new house. Now if only I could get a good rate on a mortgage...

4) You secure a fixed 1.5% mortgage on a new home! Where and what do you buy?
Susan and I agree on this: a Victorian. Probably a Queen Anne style cottage. We love the funk lines, the spires, the round rooms, the cool windows, the furniture, mahogany, a library with dark red wallpaper... Hook us up! Now, if we could only have that put in Spruce Head!

5) Look years younger! You've been awarded a free plastic surgery procedure. What are you gonna fix?
My double chin. I'm not to overly concerned with my appearance, but if I could, I'd have that reduced.

Listening to: Steely Dan's Everything Must Go (Thanks Jim!)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Nathaniel's Surgery Follow Up

Everything went super smooth! They said Nat would be a little angry and disoriented when he woke up. And he was. For about 10 minutes! After that, he was pretty much back to his laid back, super cool self. He took a three hour nap this afternoon. He and his brother and sister just finished up a fantabulous supper I made (with my famous mashed potatoes that beat up all over Susan's mashers). We're getting them ready for bed, and I thought I'd let you night readers (Harvey, any one else?) know now, and the morning readers will find out, well, tomorrow.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Nathaniel's Surgery

Nat is having ear tubes put in. He's scheduled for 7:30 tomorrow morning. We have to be there at 6:30. I know we made the right decision to have them put in. The poor kid's had fluid in his ears for the last three months, at least. His nose is always stuffed. He's not speaking as well as is brother, probably because he can't hear as well. And even though I know we should do it, I'm still a little worried. And I'm not usually a worry-er. But putting my boy under... I just pray he's not allergic to the anesthesia or something. It's crazy, isn't it? They do this thing all the time. He'll be at a hospital, for crying out loud! Is there anyplace safer he could be?

So pray for Nat. And better, pray for Nat's old man!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

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