Monday, May 31, 2004

Wanna hear something weird?

I was driving to Jam Fest on Saturday morning. As is my custom, I was listening to Click and Clack on NPR. Some caller mentions something about Memorial Day, and that gets me thinking about how three generations of Batty men served their country in the Coast Guard. (Thankfully, none was asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.) During the show, the guys take two breaks, and just before those breaks, they play some kind of car-related song. This week, it was some guy waxing rhapsodic about a go-cart he had had as a boy. Five horsepower, four-stroke, yadda-yadda. Then the chorus: "I'm still a Briggs and Straton man." My brain liked the joke, and I laughed. A split second later--really, just a breath passed--my heart caught the referrence, and I was balling my eyes out. From laugh to full blown cry in a heart beat. Those thoughts of my grandfather earlier must have had the pump primed, so to speak. Father was a whiz with small engines, and he too was a Briggs and Straton man. I remember something he said to me while I was living in St. George. He gave me an ancient mower for my lawn. It had a little 18" deck, non adjustable wheels and throttle, but had a full 3 1/2 horsepower motor on it. I mentioned to him one spring while he was tuning it up that no matter how high the grass got (lawn mowing not being high on my priority list, especially living in the backwoods of St George), that mower would still cut it.

"Now that thing will cut grass," he said.

It sure did.

Reading: Leviticus
Listening to: Paul Desmond,

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

That's one expensive pedal!

Ghost pedal, new in box, sells for over $250! A mint one without box sells for about $100. Average price is $40-$60. Someone wanted this one bad!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

A ton of quizes stolen from Melanie (see Permission to Vent Freely)

You are a very conservative and introverted person. You live in your own world and you're not very easy to approach.

Which Blogging Tool Are You?

What Video Game Character Are You? I am an Asteroid.I am an Asteroid.

I am a drifter. I go where life leads, which makes me usually a very calm and content sort of person. That or thoroughly apathetic. Usually I keep on doing whatever I'm doing, and it takes something special to make me change my mind. What Video Game Character Are You?

I'm completely down-to-earth!

Find your soul type

Musical thinkers:

* Tend to think in sounds, and may also think in rhythms and melodies
* Are sensitive to the sounds and rhythms of words as well as their meanings.
* Feel a strong connection between music and emotions

Other Musical Thinkers include
Mozart, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix

Careers which suit Musical Thinkers include
Musician, Music teacher, Sound engineer, Recording technician

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

Friday, May 28, 2004

Lisa and Susan will love this

Pop lyrics quiz for 80s music. My final score was 80. I'd have gotten a couple more, but spelling counts!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]


Two weeks ago, the Friday Five closed its doors. Last week, Paddy came up with his own 5. He mentioned that it would be my turn this week. I thought that perhaps we--we being the bloggers at Midcoast Internet--should take turns each week making up new thought provoking questions. I think we should pick up the torch that's been put down by the Friday Five. I think the bloggers of Midcoast Internet should start a Friday Five type meme. The name? MI5.

We've had almost a week of straight rain here in Maine. We had a bit of a reprieve yesterday afternoon, but now it's back to the drips. So I give you a sunny day MI5.

1. You may pick one day this summer to throw a big summer bash. What day do you choose?
I pick July 4th. Julia's birthday is July 8th, so it gives us a chance to combine the two.

2. You may pick any two living celebraties to attend your party (along with your friends and family, of course). Who do you pick?
I'll take Ringo Starr and Steve Martin. That should keep things lively!

3. Pick three activities/games to play at your bash.
We're definately going to need a lake, as I want some swim time. Put a canoe in the mix too. I love to canoe. And thirdly, a volleyball net. Volleyball is great 'cause you can get a whole gang of people involved at once, and it's always wicked fun.

4. You're going to need some music at your bash. Pick four CDs of party-time fun to put on shuffle play in the CD player.
I'll take Please Please Me by The Beatles, the new Essential Sly and the Family Stone, Cosmic Thing by the B-52s, and Brother, Sister by The Brand New Heavies.

5. What five things are on the menu?
Sausage on the grill. German style potato salad. Vidallia onions cooked in foil with a little butter and plenty of pepper. Strawberry shortcake on Mom's homemade biscuits for dessert. And wash it all down with America's favorite--Coca Cola. (Depending on the crowd and the temperature, I could also substitute the Coke for a galvanized tub full of Rolling Rocks.

Desiring: Maple flavored sausage!
Listening to: Joss Stone

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, May 27, 2004

More Quizes

Amber Bock
AMBER BOCH: You're more likely to be laughing at
people, not with them. You're a bit moody -
sometimes you would rather go out and have fun,
and sometimes you'd rather be left alone with
your beer. You consider yourself an
'intellectual' smart ***, and you take an equal
pride in the beer you drink.

The Greatest Beer Quiz, ever!
brought to you by Quizilla

You are nearly the perfect modern man, however you can still improve your life (and your chances with girls) by learning from gay men.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

The end of the drum bag madness?

It's been over two weeks since I posted about my Musician's Friend drum bag fiasco. I sent the cases back the beginning of last week. I've got my tracking number right here. They were received last Friday. I'm waiting for the credit. It's still not here. I call again today. "Well, Mr. Batty, we can see the credit's been issued." Really? Why isn't it in my bank account? "Here's the number for our accounting department."

I call it. "Hi, this is Megan, I'm not in, please leave a message. (To man in background) What do I press now?" (Man in background) "Press #."

Nice. Real professional.

"Hi Megan," I say. "Have I reached Musician's Friend accounting? This is the number I was given, so I'm dialing it. Here's my info, blah blah blah."

So, I call the regular Musicians Friend number, and talk to Johnny. "Hi Johnny. I called this here other number, and this is what I got."

"Strange," Johnny says.

"Is it some group you hired? If not they should at least say what business they're with."

"No," Johnny agrees, "it's all in-house. That's weird. Maybe they're all at lunch. Here's another number. It's not toll-free though."

I don't care. I call it.

"Hi, Musician's Friend."

"Hi, this is Bill, last name Batty, my zip is 04841. (I know the drill.) I want my credit." (Not that snippy really, but I use it to sum up here.)

"I see we've issued a store credit."


"I can't have that. I need a credit to my bank account please."

"Oh, wait, here's a note that just got added. It says you'd prefer a credit back to your account."

"They just added that? I talked to two techs at your regular number today, but neither time did I go deep enough into this to ask for a credit. When was that note added?"

"Oh wait," she says. "That was added on Monday." (That's the last time I called them and told them the credit hadn't shown up. I guess it really wasn't "just" added.) "Why haven't they paid this. Let me check upstairs." I hold. "One second." Holding. "I can't find anyone." More holding. "Ok, she's been out sick for a week. I'll have her put it through right now."

So let me see if I get this straight. There's only one person at Musician's Friend who can ok a credit back to a bank account/credit card/debit card?! And if she's out sick, no one else picks up her responsibilities? Pu-leaze!

So they've:
Sent the wrong size.
Canceled the order, an gave me a store credit on this cancelled order. (And, never contacted me about the cancelation or the credit.)
Sent the wrong size again.
Admitted the web site had the wrong size to begin with, and they didn't actually have the sizes I needed.
Messed up the return shipping of the second set of wrong bags.
Issued me a store credit again instead of sending refund.
Didn't send refund 'cause the girl was out sick.

My head hurts.

Mood: Thirsty
Music: Hayseed Dixie

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Reasons 4 Love #51 (The next to last one)

Reasons 4 Love #51

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 cleared of the dining room table the other night, and organized what was on it.
She also cleaned up the kitchen.
I was cold the other night, and she made me hot cocoa.
She told me she was really looking forward to some time alone with me on Saturday evening. ;-)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Poetry Quiz

I'm terza rima, and I talk and smile.
Where others lock their rhymes and thoughts away
I let mine out, and chatter all the while.

I'm rarely on my own - a wasted day
Is any day that's spent without a friend,
With nothing much to do or hear or say.

I like to be with people, and depend
On company for being entertained;
Which seems a good solution, in the end.
What Poetry Form Are You?

Strange. I took another poetry quiz a while ago, and I was a sonnet. This new quiz is more high-brow, I think. That last quiz couldn't even get the meter of a sonnet right. This new quiz gives me the chance of being a Terza RIma? A Cinquain? A Lai? Heck, I don't even know what a Lai is! I have to go look that one up!

Just Finished: Das Boot
Listening to: Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, May 24, 2004

Gladstone Snare

Paddy liked those Gladstone snares so much, hre threatened me last night. "If your next snare drum purchase isn't a gold lacquered Lang/Gladstone replica, I'm going to punch you in the mouth.

Must remember to add said Billy Gladstone gold lacquered snare to the "Snares to Get" list.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Man, what a night

Last night was a classic. I came home, put some Hartman and Coltrane in the player, and listened for about 40 minutes. Susan and Julia came home, so I sprung to get the door. From there, I started cooking supper. Then the phone rings. It's Cameron. He rented some DJ gear from me, and he couldn't get it working. Of course, it's five minutes before the dance starts, and I've got pork chops on the grill. So I run over, get the audio straightened out, only to find out my light board isn't working right. It's not chasing. (Chasing means blinking, for you non-techies.) So that adds to my grumpiness. And then, the night before I learned that I have no power out to my garage. Last night, the former owner called me and confirmed there's no fuse panel in the garage. No fuses are blown in the house, so something must be wrong with the wire underground from the house to the garage. Nice. Then I start wrecking the house looking for the damn manual for the light board. I can't find it anywhere! And wehn it comes to that kind of stuff, I'm usually fastidious. I've got the box for it, and the original packing materials. But not the manual. I know I have it, I just can't find it! I was ready to bite nails. Susan was ready for bed, but I knew I couldn't sleep. So I stayed up until midnight, watching a movie, and letting the juices relax. (Funny--see the post over on Jim's site: Games... Must We?)

Watching: Das Boot

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Lead me not into temptation

Arnie Lang was a student of Billy Gladstone, and own an original Gladstone snare. He took his snare, used it as a template, and now makes Gladstone replicas. They're down-right yummy. The silver sparkle is nice, but Billy eschewed wrappred drums. He felt the wrap affected the sound. Give me a gold laquered model, and soon!

Mood: Better than last night
In the CD Player: Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, May 21, 2004

Was anyone going to tell me?

Gwenth Paltrow played Sylvia Plath in a movie? Sylvia is one of my favorite poets. But to understand her writing, you need at least a bit of biographical knwoledge. The more you know about her life, the more you get out of her poems. A movie about her life seems like a good way to get the basics in. Haven't read the reviews yet, so I don't know how it is, nor do I know how truthful it stays to her life. But it's got to go onto the "must see" list.

Feeling: Hot! Is the A/C broken?

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

The Paddy Five

If you could change one thing about the following, without concern for cost or other repercussions, what would you change about:

1) Your job?
A bigger place would be nice. Sometimes I get a little lonely being in a room all by myself. I'd like some company more often.

2) Your house?
I'd like a bathroom upstairs, new rugs downstairs, and fresh wallpaper everywhere.

3) Your town?
I'd like to start fining businesses that use Main Street as a loading dock.

4) Your mate?
I wish she felt better while pregnant.

5) Your self?
I'd like to get back to my high school weight, back into a 38 pant, and so that an x-large t-shirt fit comfortably.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Most of this post has been sitting around a while...

Susan called me at the office a few days ago. Seem the CD club we belong to was having a big sale. So I went wild and bought 1/2 dozen or so new CDs. I bought two Hayseed Dixie CDs--you know, the bluegrass band that does covers of AC/DC songs? There stuff is great. And it sounds fantastic, too. It should, because the label proclaims it was recorded "using a bunch of really expensive German microphones, eight tracks of American analog tape and no EQ whatsoever." Amen.

Susan's birthday seemed to go ok. She wanted cheeseburgers for supper, so I cooked them on the grill, along with a couple of brats for myself. I also made a medley of portabello, yellow pepper, Vidalia, and summer squash. Throw it all into some foil with chopped garlic and a pat of butter, and I must say it was pretty good. Dessert was cheesecake from the Pastry Garden. I got Susan some DVDs that she'd been wanting, and put Julia's name on the Sound of Music one. (Of course, I picked up Das Boot and Citizen Kane for myself!) It was a merry time.

So as I'm leaving work last night, I look over at the bank parking lot, and there's a wrecker over there with a 1920s Maxim Fire Engine. It was beautiful. It appeared to be a chemical truck, with a smallish copper tank under the seat, and a hose bed, but no real pump to speak of. Anyway, it's owned by Story Land (funny, I've been there almost 1/2 dozen times and I'd never seen it), and there sending it to Andy Swift for restoration. (Andy's the premier fire engine restorer in the nation, and he lives just a short drive from here--how handy!)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Reasons 4 Love #50

Reasons 4 Love #50

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 took Julia to school today so I could make my 7:30am meeting.
She didn't bat an eye when I told her I wanted to go to a Poncho Sanchez concert on one of my rare Saturday nights off.
She is very caring. She was genuinely happy to hear good news about one of my co-workers--someone she knows, but isn't really friends with. Still, good news for them makes her happy.
She wasn't upset when I told her I was stopping R4L after I hit #52.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Elvin Jones is dead

Elvin Jones died today. He was 76. About two weeks ago a rumor spread that he had died. He hadn't, but he was very sick. No rumor this time, though.

Elvin is probably known to most as the drummer for Coltrane. He is for me the drummer from both sides of the Jazz spectrum. When he needed to play hard, the man was an animal. He would hit so hard. Keith Moon had nothing on him as far as how hard he could swing. Elvin had arms like a ballplayer. Big, muscular guy. And when he went off, look out. His playing was almost angry. Like an angry mad-man beating up a set of drums. I'm not kidding.

But on the extreme other side, he was a tender ballad player. The John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman album of ballads is a regular in my listening. And Elvin played them so tenderly.

Elvin also played the kit with mallets. Brushes are a lost art, yes. But playing the kit with mallets is so lost that people don't even realize they were there to be lost. I love to play ballads with mallets. I would bet if you asked the local musicians around here how many drummers had they played with that used mallets on a kit, I'd bet very few would say they'd ever played with someone who'd done it, and most of those who had seen it done were probably playing with me. Everything I know about playing mallets on the kit I stole from Elvin--no lie. Try and find a picture of a drummer playing the kit with mallets. You'll find a rare Chico Hamilton, and the other 99.9% will be Elvin.

Feeling: A little sad
Listening to: Hayseed Dixie--soon to be John Coltrane

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, May 17, 2004

Birthday Wishes

Happy birthday to my beloved wife Susan! I love you.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, May 14, 2004

Welcome To My Nightmare

The nightmare never ends! I called Musician's Friend today, and asked to return the drum bags that were (for those of you playing along at home)

a) Sent as the wrong size and returned for replacement, then
b) the replacement order is mysteriously canceled--even though I was told it had already been shipped, then
c) the second set came in the wrong size, and finally
d) the confess they don't actually have the size listed on their website (it's a mistake).

So the guy on the line says "Sorry, I'll send you a Fed Ex label." I explain to him there's no pick-up point around here. "Don't worry, you can schedule a pick-up." Fine. So I get the email, and print out the label. I'm then directed to drop this off at the nearest pick-up location. As I've already mentioned, I don't have one. So I try to schedule a pick-up. Turns out, that in order to schedule a pick up, you have to open an account with Fed-Ex. I don't want to do that! I just want to send the stupid wrong-size drum cases back and get a refund.

So I call again. The woman who answers the phone (Jasmine) understands right away that average Joe Citizen can't schedule their own pick-up with Fed-Ex. She apologizes, and writes a note to the previous guy's supervisor so he can be "coached." She then uses the Musician's Friend account to schedule the pick-up. Argh!

Support your local music store. Northern Kingdom, I love you!

Feeling: Somewhat sleepy
Received: presents for my girls

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Drum Bag Fiasco

So the drum bags came in today. Thery're the wrong size again! So I called. The dude who answered the phone said "Other than the bass drum case, are the others the right size?" They are. So he said he'd contact the warehouse, have them pull a 20" bag, and ship it to me. I'd then return the too large 22" bag. Great. Two hours go by. The warehouse calls me. "We don't actually have any 20" bags in that line. We had it wrong on our website--all the sets come with 22" basses. I have a 20: bag on its own from another company. We'll sell you that one for $50 and include free shipping." So instead of paying $60, I'll pay $110. No thanks, Musician's Friend. I'll just cancel the whole order.

(Wanna bet they screw that up?)

Mood: about 6 2/3

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Reasons 4 Love #49

Reasons 4 Love #49

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:

Even though she's on modified bed rest, she still gets up to pack Julia's lunch bag.
She looks really good pregnant right now.
She's a good friend to me.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

New Server

I've been moved to a new server. Please let me know if you encounter anything strange, ok?

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Is this me?

Do you think this is what Matt and Nat will look like? Ria from the Midcoast Review thinks the resemblance is uncanny. The kid is actually child actor Angus T Jones from the show 2 1/2 Men on CBS. (I've never seen the show.) I thought he did look a bit like me. Then, I found this one. Yikes! He does look like a little me!

Checkin' Out: humidor prices
Music: Lambert, Hendrix & Ross

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, May 10, 2004

Why I Love Northern Kingdom Music

So there's this online music shop that claims to be a friend to musicians. Well let me tell you a little story.

I receive an email every week from this place, and they tell me what their specials are. So 3 weeks ago or so, they have this special on drum bags. And since my bass drum case for Big Pink succumbed to the weather, I needed a set. So I check out the special, and they're what I need. But remembering a vow I made to my good buddy Harvey, I called my local store first. About 95% of the time, Northern Kingdom's prices are right in line with the big guys. But this time, the friend to musicians had a special deal, and NKM couldn't even buy them for what the other place was selling them for. So I placed an order with the competition. Here's why the local guys are muy better.

The cases show up on the Friday before my cruise. Great. I get home, and they're not the right sizes. I call customer support. They ask me to open the box, and double check the sizes--they're thinking maybe it's just the wrong sticker on the box. Nope. Wrong thing. So they offer me a return label free of charge through FedEx. No dice--there isn't a local drop off point. So then they say UPS. Not so good, as I'm leaving for the cruise, and won't be able to send them back for a week. So they give me a UPS Priority Mail label via email. I print it off, and drop the return shipment off at the post office the next day.

(A week goes by where I'm on the cruise.)

So last Wednesday, the replacement cases haven't shown up. I call a rep. He looks up my order. "The replacements have already shipped" he says. "They should be there by the end of the week."

Of course, they're not here. So I called this morning. Megan answered right away, and looked up my account. "Hmm," she said. "That order's been canceled. There's no reason why, but there's a note here that they called both your home and work number, and neither of them worked. So a credit has been placed on your account."

Hmm is right! My office phone has voicemail, and my home has an answering machine. No word on either of those. And more strange, if, as the other rep said, the bags had already shipped, then how could they have canceled the order? Have they got some way of calling back orders once they've left the warehouse? And just when did they plan on letting me know any of this? They've been sending me email, confirmation numbers, return labels, etc. Were they planning on emailing me that the order had been canceled?

Anyway, she re-placed the order for me. And as of this week, they're $10 cheaper. And they threw in free 2-day shipping for the problem. So we'll see how it goes. Still, I prefer dealing with the guys I know: Harv, Mack, and Jarred.

Eating: chocolate!
Listening to: Poncho Sanchez

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Saturday, May 8, 2004

Cruise Photos

I've set up a little cruise photo album. Check it out, if you want. Surprinsingly few photos were taken. Other than these, I also have a 24 exposure roll of real film I need to have developed. So we only took about 50 photos.

Reading: Exodus
Needing: More coffee

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, May 7, 2004

This is kinda yucky

Before you click this, let me assure you it's not very a-peeling!

Feeling: itchy

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Reasons 4 Love #48

Reasons 4 Love #48

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 helped me put a shirt on the other day when my sunburn was really bad.
She sprays my sunburn with Solarcaine thrice daily.
She found Julia's teddy bear easily last night, even though Julia and I hunted and hunted for it.

Listening To: The Cardigans

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

Learning New Stuff

I learned some new stuff today. I learned how to make tekt flow properly around an image using Dreamweaver. And I learned that the Torah can mean all the books of the Old Testament (what I thought), but it can also refer to just the first five (what I call the pentateuch) or it can also refer to a collection of Jewish writings (to include the Talmud et. al.).

Is that cool? Perhaps not. But hey, that's what's going on right now. Hope I didn't hit your hot button.

Feeling: Happy yet itchy!
Listening to: Marvin Gaye

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

After the cruise

Ok, here's the cruise sum-up.

1. If you snorkel in Jamaica for two hours at high noon, put sunscreen on your back. You will have a wonderful time, but you will get a sunburn. My back is at the itchy stage today, but my brother-in-law had to go to the ER, and he's out of work all week. Ouch!

2. Miami Airport has nothing at the American Airlines/Delta terminal. Honestly, there was one woman selling baked potatoes from a cart. No newsstand. No coffee shop or restaurant. No lounge, no shops. Nothing!

3. In contrast, the airport in Pittsburgh has everything! It truly is a mall inside of an airport. One woman we met who was from Pittsburgh said that before 9/11, people used to go to the airport to shop! It was that good. I mean, they had a Victoria's Secret and a Godiva right in the airport!

4. Food on a cruise ship is plentiful, and pretty good. I did notice that it isn't to the same quality as a local restaurant, but they are making meals for 3,000 people, after all. Certainly it's the best institutional food I've ever had. Suppers included: Steak with three peppercorn sauce; Dover sole in some kind of butter and citrus sauce; roasted pepper encrusted duck breast; fettucine with chicken medallions an mushroom cream sauce; and stuffed quail. I also had escargots for the first time--yummy! Also, my first taste of caviar. Not so yummy. Other cuisine included conch fritters (pretty good) and chilled strawberry soup (to die for!). I also had chilled mango and lychee nut soups. Neither of these would win any awards. Scrambled eggs were good (except the first morning--they were powdered!), and the corned beef hash weas very good.

5. Everyone will tell you you can climb Dunns River Falls in 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Apparently, time moves much slower in Jamaica. 45 minutes in, we were only 1/2 way up. We had to drop out early so we could be on-time for the snorkel/sun burn.

6. After 5 days at sea, it takes a day or two to get your land legs back. Until then, your balance on land is a little shaky. Strange.

Pictures will follow soon.

Sunburn: Much better, thank you.
Music: Harry Connick's "Blue Light, Red Light"

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

About me: