Thursday, June 30, 2005

Quick Vacation Snapshot

I just wanted to share a couple of vacation photos with you. This isn't a complete wrap up. It's more like the appetizer. These are from my camera--I don't know what Susan got on hers. Here're the boys playing in the ball pit. (Why do they never allow adults in these things? It looks like so much fun!) Here's Julia with Cinderella.

Just Finished: M*A*S*H
Listening to: Tito Puente

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Vacation! I'm excited. We're heading for Story Land, so you won't be hearing from me for a few days. But I'll fill you all in (complete with photos) when we return.

Just Finished: a banana/strawberry slushy that Susan made (it was great!)
Listening to: Steve Miller

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, June 24, 2005

Lisa's Blog

Just so you all know, my sister started a blog. It's linked over there on the right. Check it out.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Aza's MI-5

1. Assuming you were asked for proof of your moral fiber, in what way or with what example would you establish it?
The book of James (one of my favorites, BTW) says "Show me your fatih without works, and I'll show you my faith by what I do." Though I fail at this far too much (especially at work), I try to do things to help others. Need a ride? I'll come get you. Need someone to work late for you? If I'm available, I'll do it. Need to borrow a car? I've an extra, use mine for a few days. Someone could also look at my church attendance and giving record.

2. Assuming you had to add an eleventh commandment, what would it be?
Hmm. The 10 that are there cover just about everything of importance. I guess mine would end up something like "If there's a sidewalk, thou shalt use it. Only when there is no sidewalk shalt though be permitted to walk in the street."

3. Assuming you had to design your own true hell, what would it look like?
Someone poking my eyeball out over and over while forcing me to listen to cheesy keyboard driven music.

4. Assuming you would receive a true and correct answer, what one question would you ask a psychic and why?
When will I die. If I know that, I can make the best use of my time now. If I knew I'd be gone in a year or so, I wouldn't work so much. But since I'm planning on being around a while, I live my life as though I've got some time to take care of things.

5. And finally, assuming that music touches you, name the music that has touched your soul the most deeply.
Country Music. Specifically, That's My Job by Conway Twitty, and The Little Girl by John Michael Montgomery. The former has really meant a lot to me in the past nine months or so, and the latter... Well, every time I hear it I tear up.

Mood: Apprehensive
Listening to: John Schofiled playing the music of Ray Charles

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Weekend Wrap Up

Here's my weekend wrap up, a day late.

I know my post on Saturday caused some confusion. That's because I wrote the post on Friday, but I forgot to actually post it 'til Saturday. So here's how it went down.

I got up. A did little piddly things around the house until 11am. Then Julia and I went to Waldoboro, as I had a gig at Waldoboro Days. That was 12:30-1:30. Julia was, of course, a peach. She stood on the curb, where I could see her from the stage, and was the best behaved little flower of loveliness you could ever ask for. She ate an entire order of HUGE onion rings, save the one I managed to wrangle away from her. And, she also had a slice of pumpkin pie. (As you'll see, I let her eat nothing but trash all day.)

After we left Waldoboro, we headed to Portland for the ball game. I stopped for gas, and Julia picked out a pink lemonade for a drink. Since I hadn't had lunch, I went through the drive through at McDonalds in Bath. "Open Pit" Julia was hungry again, so she got the usual: chicken nuggets and fries. We hit Portland a little early, so we stopped by The Drum Shop. They've got a new location; same plazza, but a couple of doors down. I tried out a bunch of ride cymbals, still looking for the perfect one. The Bosphorus Wide Ride seems to be exactly what I'm looking for. But at a shade under $300, I'm nowhere near ready to buy.

On to the ballpark. I could not imagine how much fun we would have! Julia was able to fo right down on the field, and they put her name on the scoreboard. She had her first ball park hot dog. We did the YMCA between innings. (Note: Look at those eyes! I'm going to be in so much trouble when she's older. Time for me to get that junkyard dog trained!) Everyone sang along to Neil Diamonds "Sweet Caroline," and they brought the audio down so you could hear everyone in the park doing the horn "wah, wah, wah"'s. There's so much stuff the do between innings. For six bucks a ticket, it's a blast. I can't wait to go back. My Dad's never been to a pro game either. I wanna go with him. We got home around 11.

Father's Day. In fine son fashion, Matt woke me up around 6:30. Nat was up at like 7am. I was leading the opening at Sunday School, so I needed to be there early. So we decided we'd go out for breakfast. But not before presents! Susan made me a new "brag book": a small scrapbook with photos of the boys. Julia made me a little box out of popsicle sticks, and I'll use it to store small items down in my studio. So Sunday School went off without a hitch, and most people thought I did a good job. Lunch was at my folks, and we had my Mom's famous "homemade" spaghetti sauce. (It starts from a can, but it gets doctored-up pretty good, and nothing else really compares. She cooks it in a crock pot. Maybe that's the secret?) Home about 2pm. Nap. Well, not really. I closed my eyes, but one of the boys (Nat?) wouldn't let me sleep. Church in the evening. Back home. I thought I might mow the lawn, but I ran out gas. I probably shouldn't mow the lawn on Father's Day anyway, huh?

Yesterday was a nice day here in Maine. I needed to do some stuff out on the road, and had an enjoyable afternoon tooling around the backroads, windows down and sun roof open. My drum lesson in the evening flaked out, so I was able to get the lawn mowed. Steak on the grill, mashed potatoes, and szechuan veggies were on the menu. I did a bunch of web work, and I think I pretty much finished the Warren Free Public Library. Then bed.

You are now all caught up.

Just finished: 2 chicken strips, mashed potatoes, and a biscuit
Listening to: Huey Lewis and the News

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Something I forgot to post yesterday

Man, no posts from me all week! But when I look at the other blogs I link to, no one there is posting either. Must be a busy (or slow) week. Mine's been busy. I was off Monday night, so I did a bunch of web work. Then Tuesday night I played a small gig for a bus tour with Three Button Deluxe. Although it seemed the crowd was not really into it for the most part, we swung 'em around with our charm, and by the end of the night, they were asking us to come back! Wednesday night I was supposed to have a drum lesson, but it canceled. The father of the student asked if it was possible to reschedule. It isn't. Last night, The Uptown Rhythm Kings played jazz gig. I booked Paddy and Linc Blake to play, and then Clarke (who had a gig in town) dropped by to sit in. It was nice. It really was. We played some good stuff, and the crowd really liked us. Tonight, we're playing in full Three Button mode over at the Brass Compass.

Yesterday, Julia had her closing program at school. She was the "most improved" student in her class. She won a free ticket to see the Sea Dogs play baseball. So the plan for tommorow is a little strange. At least Julia and I will be going down. I have a gig in Waldoboro that gets done at 1:30, so we'll head down to Portland after that. Susan may go. If she does, then the boys will be going to Grandma's in Somerville. Which means Sunday, Julia and I will be going to church in Spruce Head, and Susan will be picking up the boys at her mom's.

Feeling: Giddy
Listening to: John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, June 17, 2005

Jim's MI-5

1. Tell us an AM radio hit from the 70s that has special meaning to you or evokes some sort of memory . Mind you this shouldn't be your favorite or least favorite song.
BJ Thomas's version of "Rain Drops Keep Fallin' on my Head." My Aunt Ginny had a portable record player and a bunch of 45s. I can remember listening to them both at her house and at my grandmother's house. This particular tune was released in '69, but went gold in 1970, so Jim said I could count it. I really wanted to use Neil Diamond's version of La Bamba on Bang Records. I can even remember the label looked like this one. But that record was '67, so I couldn't use it. Also in that stack or 45s was "Big John" by sausage king Jimmy Dean.

2. Tell us your favorite AM radio hit and tell us why. If you don't have any then choose any song from the 70s and tell us about that.
John Stewart's "Gold." My Aunt Grace bought my cousin Jason an 8-track in the late 70s. She belonged to the Columbia House tape club. She found this 8-track with cover art sporting a very Star Wars-y looking cover. He liked Star Wars, so she bought it for him. In reality, the tape had nothing to do with Star Wars. It was just glomming on to the fame. This song was on the tape, and I really loved it. We almost never heard it on the radio, so I had to get my fix from the tape. I recently downloaded the tune,and let me tell you, not many people are sharing it on MP3. (FYI, other songs on the tape I remember were Donna Summer's "Bad Girls" and the Doobie Brother's "Minute by Minute."

3. Now do the same for your least favorite. Same rules as question 2 apply here.
This is really hard! I had to look at the Time Life AM Gold listings to find an answer for #2. Now I have to pick one I hate? Argh!"Build Me Up Buttercup" was '68, or I'd use that one. "Rock the Boat" by whoever they are. Somebody in my family (I swear I am not making this up) bought another family member (my brother Mike?) one of those motion activated stuffed Billy Bass things. But it wasn't a bass. It was a lobster. And it sang this song. I wanted to die.

4. Do you have a 70s band you wish would reunite (dead members can come back to life) or one you wish hadn't broken up at all?
I would so be into a Sly and the Family Stone reunion.

5. What are your feelings on transubstantiation?
For those of you who haven't been playing along at home, transubstantiation is the belief that bread and wine taken in communion turn into the literal body and blood of Christ. I don't believe it. It's all symbolic to me. If Christ's work was finished at Calvary, why would we need to, in a sense, beak his true body and drain his blood all over again? No, for me, the first time was enough. We do it for rememberance. There's no sacrement in it.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, June 13, 2005

The Weekend Wrap-Up

We'll start with Friday night. Unfortunately, I can't remember what happened. Oh wait, I had a gig. The Waterfront in Bangor has reopened. I can't remember what they're calling it now; Dorothy's or something like that. It hasn't quite figured out what it wants to be yet. It's a sports bar that features jazz and blues. Hmm. A little odd. For those of you who were playing along at home, I played the rosewood snare. It's a somewhat bright room, so I needed something with some meat on it. Metal snares were out. So a big wood drum was called in. The rosewood snare (because it's so dense, and because it has die-cast hoops) also has a bit of brightness, so it worked well.

Saturday was my and Susan's 11th wedding anniversary. I slept somewhat late (8am--but I didn't get home until 3am!), took a shower, and then took some baby clothes to Goodwill. Then I mowed the lawn and did some weed whacking. Around noonish, we took all three kids to Grandma's house to spend the night. After dropping them off in Somerville, we continued up 17 to Augusta to do some shopping. First was Old Navy, where I bought some summer shirts, a pair of shorts, and some pants. Next was Baby Gap, looking for hats and shoes for the boys. No luck there. Then to Pier 1 Imports, as Susan's never been to one. We both agreed that it just doesn't fit our style. Maybe some younger, single person with no kids could dig it. I'm a little too straight laced to dig the African/Asian influence, I guess. As we left Pier 1, Susan noticed a new Lane Bryant and Payless shoe store. Lane Bryant was first. They were having a super bra sale: buy two, get two free. Unfortunately, they only had one in Susan's size. I did have a good time playing "errand boy" for her though. :-) Payless did have two sets of sandals in the boys' sizes, so we grabbed them. By now it was about 3 o'clock, so we went to the Olive Garden for lunch. Usually, there's a long wait. Today, we got right in. It figures. When you've got the kids with you, and you need a seat, you can't get one. Now, we've got time available, and they get us right in. Oh well. Lunch was ok, but not as good as Vinny T's or Macaroni Grill. After lunch, it was time for Wal-Mart to grab some toothpaste for Susan. Then to Sam's Club to stock up on dishwashing and laundry detergent, paper plates, and stuff like that. It was now late enough that we knew we wouldn't be going out to a restaurant , so we cruised Sam's "gourmet" department looking for supper. We decided we weren't really hungry, so for supper we'd just have a couple slices of gourmet cheesecake! We got home around 7pm, had the cheesecake, and went to bed.

Sunday morning, we slept in. I got up at 8, Susan around 9. Breakfast was a couple of cinnamon buns purchased from Sam's. We were out of regular coffee, so I had to settle for Susan's Cinnabon coffee. Of course, I've been going through this cinnamon thing lately, so even though I eschew flavored coffees, this one was at least drinkable. We skipped morning church (gasp!), and made it to Grandma's at noon. Lunch was sandwiches, and Mom picked up some pastrami just for me! Home by three. I tried to wash some dishes, but the boys took a shorter than normal nap. We were at church of the youth program closing ceremony and supper. After that, band practice 'til about 9pm. Boy was it hot! At about 8:30 I started fading fast. Good thing Paddy said "Let's just do a few more and call it." I was all for that! Home again for a slice of strawberry cheesecake before bed.

Just finished: a chef salad
Listening to: Bob Marley & the Wailers

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, June 10, 2005

Father's Day Quiz Options

Looking for a Father's Day gift for me?

Now, some silly quizes.

You scored as Face. You are attracted to: faces. You are a face person.











What Body Part Are You Attracted To?(pics)
created with

What guitar are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

You are Proverbs
You are Proverbs.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

The Friday Gig Quiz

Select from this list:

What snare am I playing tonight?

Vote here!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Getting in touch with yourself MI - 5

Today's 5 brought to you by Swede.

1. If you had to honestly describe yourself what would you say? What kind of person are you in your own words?

2. How do you think other describe you as a person?
A jerk. (I'm not feeling good about myself right now...)

3. What tragedy that could occur to you do you most fear?
Death of my kids.

4. How do you envision your retired life?
Hangin' out, doing nothing in particular.

5. If you had your way what would your funeral be like and who would be there?
No funeral, per se. It's all at the graveside. A New Orleans dixieland plays as we enter, and everyone is sad. Durning the service, a bagpipe player hits a couple of good, mournful tunes. The preacher uses the phrase "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" somewhere. On the way out, New Orleans band smacks it with some kickin' second line stuf. Then everyone goes and has a beer, and doesn't get too sad.

Listening to: Cherry Popin' Daddies
Just finished: steak with soy and butter noodles

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

There is nothing on the Internet...

My favorite drum message board ( got hacked. What's a guy to do?

In other news, Doug's Gift Shop is relocating, so he's selling his Zippos at 40% off. I bought one for lighting my stoggies. $14.

Other than that, there is no news.

Listening to: I can't remember

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, June 6, 2005

Weekend Wrap-Up

Friday nite: No gig. Home. Ah. Nice.

Saturday morning. Matt (I think) got me up a little before 6am. I got up, got him his bottle, changed diaper, blah blah blah. Susan, Nat, and Julia all were up by 7:30. At 9am, I was off to the Kiwanis Bike Rodeo. Steel drum band "Steelin' Thunder" was asked to play, and since I play drums for them, it seems like I should show. :-) I helped the Kiwanis group (of which I'm a member) break down after the event, so I was home about 1:30. Upon arriving at home, I found my neighbor cut a section of my lawn that abuts his driveway. I hate when he does this. Why? Because it makes my lawn (not his) look bad. It's two different lengths at that point. So after some lunch and a Sam Adams Summer Ale--and a brief rest--I mowed the lawn. Late afternoon we got some sprinkles, so cooking on the outside grill was out. Chicken fried rice instead. After the kids went to bed, Susan and I spent some time laughing at one of these fine art infomercials on the tele.

Sunday: . I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip pancakes. (Or as Julia calls them, pam-cakes.) Julia likes hers play-in (she pronounces plain as two syllables for some reason), Susan likes blueberry best, so I rarely get the chocolate chip variety. But this morning, they got what I wanted. Turns out, Julia likes 'em better than play-in. Susan still prefers blueberry. I like 'em all! Then church. Lunch at the folks, which consisted of cusk, potatoes, and squash. Home a little after 2pm. I tried to catch a nap when Susan and the boys went down, but Julia was too noisy. 4pm Susan and I finished watching The Omen. Church in the evening. Then to Wendy's for supper (we forgot to defrost something).

Listening to: John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, June 3, 2005

Giant Snare Update

I haven't posted much about snare drums lately. I've been remiss.

First, I bought a Tama Bubinga Omni Tune. It's fully bubinga; there are no filler plies. There's a strip of abalone around the middle. The Omni Tune system allows you to tune the bottom head from the top of the drum. You don't have to flip the drum over! Billy Gladstone invented this system. Tama used it on some snares in the late 80s, early 90s, and I always wanted one of those. They released the Omni Tune system on a limited number of full sets--far out of my price range. But when I heard they were going to sell the snare separately, I immediately called Northern Kingdom Music and ordered one. The 6.5" deep models were already gone, so I settled for this 5.5" model. (Note: that funny little thing you see sticking up over the top rim is the special tuning key needed to tune the bottom head from the top side.)

This is a Rhythm King snare, made by yours truly. The 8X14" shell is made of fiberglass, and was purchased from Paul Mason of Tempus drums. The color is gun metal blue sparkle, or as one person described it, "Superman's hair color." The lugs are custom made by All Star Lugs. The strainer is a Nickelworks strainer. I drilled all the holes, ordered all the parts, and assembled this drum myself. I consider it the first real snare I've made on my own. Perhaps Rhythm King snares will go into full scale production some day. I just finished it up last night.

Then today, I got a great deal on an Oregon Drum.This is a solid piece of wood. Solid. No plies, no seams. It's like a log that's been hollowed out. Regular price: about $800. My price? $265.

Then, the Scott from Joyous Lake drums sent me an email. I've had a purpleheart snare on order for almost a year. It was supposed to be shipped late August/early September of last year. Well, the good news is it should be here in a month. Note that the image shows a purpleheart drum with rosewood lugs. Mine will have tulipwood lugs with "dashes of pink ivory"

If you must know, once all this stuff arrives, I'll have a total of 19 snares. Once I hit 20, I think I'll stop for a while.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]


1) How much TV do you watch each weekday? How much on the weekend days?
Be honest now!
usually about two hours in the evening. Once I factor out drum lessons, church meetings, adult ed classes, and gigs, I'll say I eat supper around 7pm. 10pm I start getting ready for bed (usually), and lights out is 10:30. So from 7-10, the TV is on. But during that time I'm usually working on the web for MIS, or working on someone's site. Last night, I worked on a drum, so watched hardly any TV. And even when I watch TV, I usually only half watch it. Susan has a bunch of stuff she watched every week, so my stuff is usually regulated to times when she's out in the kitchen, not around, whatever. TV consumption on the weekend stays about the same, or maybe goes down.

2) How much exercise do you get each day? How much on weekend days?
I get hardly any exercise. That's one thing I realize I should really do more. Walking up and down stairs, luging drums equipment,and mowing my little lawn doesn't count as exercise.

3) Do you have things you'd like to try (swing dancing, hiking, horseback riding, etc.), but you always say "I just don't have time." If so what are they?
I've always wanted to try fencing and hang gliding.

4) If you had to make more time for something in your life, how would you best go about it?
As Paddy says, I could watch less tv. Or, I could get less sleep. If I got up at say 5am, I'd have an extra hour or hour and a half to do some other suff. Hang gliding at 5am here in Maine isn't too feasible, but I could maybe get some drum practicing in. And that has really been suffering lately.

5) Are your vacations typically traveling (either in-state or out of state) or do you stay close to home?
Usually, we do some of each. Vacation is time I use to get caught up on bigger projects around the house. The garage needs painting, the walkway needs more stones, the stairwell need wallpaper, that kinda thing. So usually we spend 2-3 days doing something out and about, and then 2-3 days at home doing projects. This year, we're going to Storyland for a couple of days.

Just Finished: The Billy Rhythm Burger (it was awesome!)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Rhythmic Babies

"A new study shows that movement, such as bouncing a baby on your knee or rocking in a chair, plays a critical role in how infants learn to “feel the beat” or rhythm of music."

Full story.

I've said for years that the ability to have good rhythm can be taught, but you have to teach it early. I've had drum students that had absolutely no sense of rhythm. Two come to my mind immediately. And, they were two kids who had absolutely no interest in learning drums. In one case, Mom paid big bucks through the school rental program to buy a snare. An by gory, he wasn't going to quit. I taught him for two years, and it was like pulling teeth for both of us. He didn't want to play, so didn't practice. So I would go over for 1/2 hour every week, and say the same thing week after week, play the same exercises week after week. Oh, it was awful. Anyway, back to the topic. I think that if kids learn rhythm at an early age, it's easier for them to pick it up later on when music education comes along. But my theory is, if you haven't got good rhythm by high school, you'll never get it. If you're not exposed to the triplet swing feel early enough, you'll never get the right feel for it.

So get bouncing those kids! My boys are playing maracas already--no rattle for them! And they love to pound on the coffee table. Nat looks like he'll be a great dancer. Matt will be too busy smiling the chicks up. Julia's got pretty good rhythm, and drummer friend Barry's daughter (also a dancer in Julia's company, but a few years older) has got great time.

Watching: The Omen
Listening to: Brand New Heavies (still)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Another Graveyard Post

Susan saw something interesting on Memorial Day. As we drove by the Jewish cemetery at the head of the bay in Owls Head, she noticed that none of the graves had flowers on them. She wondered why. I have a cousin who married someone Jewish, so I thought I'd send her an email. Turns out she's on vacation. So I looked it up online. It seems that it's true. Many Jews don't put flowers on their loved one's graves. It seems they don't find it appropriate to kill the flowers to be put on a grave for remembrance. Instead, in many places, they'll put a small stone in front of the grave marker, sort of like a calling card, saying "Someone was here, and someone remembers." That seems like a nice tradition to me. Once person in a newsgroup said that when they wander in Jewish cemeteries, they'll leave a rock on someone's grave who has none. I thought that seemed very nice too.

Just Finished: A Subway chicken/bacon/ranch sandwich
Listening to: The Brand New Heavies

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

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