Friday, June 30, 2006

My Country Music MI-5

The Country Music Inspired MI-5

I was downstairs folding laundry, listening to country music. The DJ played some really good stuff, and his set list inspired this MI-5. Country music inspired me, but you may answer freely, regardless of genre.

1) Is there any particular song that always makes you smile? (This question inspired by "Tight Fitting Jeans" by Conway Twitty.)
Almost anything that Lois Armstrong sings will make me smile, especially if he scats.

2) Is there any particular song that always brings a tear to your eye? (This question inspired by "Three Wooden Crosses" by Randy Travis.)
Well, in addition to the above, there's a song called "The Little Girl" that always makes me tear up.

3) You have the opportunity to spend the day with someone who's no longer around. (Could be they've passed on, could be they're just not around.) Do you take the opportunity? Who do you pick? (Inspired by Diamond Rio's "One More Day.")
You know, I'm going to say I'm going to pass on bringing someone back. The people I would really want back are in heaven, and I'm thinking they don't really want to come back here. (See Saul bringing back Samuel, 1st Samuel 28. It was a sermon I wrote that became a Sunday School lesson.) I'd really like to see Dad again, but in reality, one day isn't going to help me all that much, and it certainly isn't going to help him. So I think I'll leave him in Paradise. Instead, I'll opt for the "bring someone around who is still (ostensibly) alive" route. Where the heck is Heather Armstrong and Steve Parks?

4) You're going somewhere tropical. Where are you going? What's on your agenda? (From Kenny Chesney's "How Forever Feels.")
I see a beach and some kind of local BBQ pork. There's some deffinite snorkling going on, too. And maybe a banana daiquri.

5) We all probably have a little habit/love/idea that some might consider a little "red neck." What's your "white trash" secret? (Inspired by "Redneck Yacht Club".)
Well, I think blue jeans and a white t-shirt is probably the best outfit a woman could wear. I'd take that over business suits or fancy lingere or anything. I also have a soft spot in my heart for Skynyrd. I don't need to hear "Free Bird" ever again, but I still like that guitar riff in "Sweet Home Alabama." Ok, I admitted it!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Vacation Photos

If you'd like to see the photos from my camera on our little three day trip to Santa's Village, then visit the album!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, June 26, 2006

What A Hose

My first day of vacation, and already I'm checking email. I'm a jerk.

This weekend? Well, no gigs Friday night. Saturday morning I was at the office for the nine to noon shift. After that, I came home and did some stuff around the house: washing dishes, going to the dump, that kinda thing. A short side trip to Northern Kingdom was stuck in there. Then a little rest before my gig.

The gig in Brunswick was really strange. The first set was ok. The second set was awful! I sounded and played like a jerky hose-bag. Blind Al couldn't get the sound he was after either. It just wasn't too tight. On the third set, I tweaked my bass drum pedal a little, and changed the rosewood snare out for the copper. And that seemed to do it. The copper seemed to fit the room better, and the sound inspired me. So thrid and fourth sets were back to normal.

Sunday morning, and we went to church. In the afternoon, Erik the contractor dude came by to put the new side door in. While he was doing that, I was vacuuming and shampooing the carpets in the van. Then I went to evening church. Supper was leftover Chineese food from lunch. And then bed which was pretty early for us, say, 9:30.

Now, I'm off to make breakfast for the fam, and then we'll start vacation in earnest. I'll post progress reports when appropriate.

Watching: Chicago Live on Soundstage DVD

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, June 23, 2006

Amy's MI-5 (Which She Almost Forgot! ;-) )

1. A meal is being prepared in your honor. What is prepared (include specific dishes and don't forget dessert as this is a special occasion!)? Who is invited? Why are you being honored? Do you give a speech?

OK, this is just honesty on my part--I'm not feeling gloomy or anything like that. But really, I'm not really banquet-worthy for anything. So why am I being honored? Who knows! Maybe for having a really cool drum collection. Sure, let's go with that. We'll start with some nice little appetizers. Maybe some of those little quiche-lettes that Jim's sister Carol made at that Christmas party. Next up, Caesar salad. Soup too; choose from French onion or cool raspberry. Then a little lemon sorbet to cleanse the palate. We'll have three entrees: mustard crusted lamb, chicken marsala, and some kind of scallop dish. Dessert is bananas foster. Who will be there? Well, all my friends of course. All my music buddies, and the guys at NKM. Ringo would be there. So would Mike Curotto. (In reality, Mike probably has the best drum collection. He owns five of the seven Ludwig Triumphals in known existence.) And Chick Bailey should be there too. Speech? Sure, maybe a short one. Then a giant drummer jam!

2. Your neighbor accidently backs into your car and gives it a nice sized dent. The dent is for the most part purely cosmetic in nature. The neighbor is a nice guy...and also doesn't really want insurance companies to get involved. He gives you the option: have his friend (whom you don't know at all) fix for you or take it to a repair shop. What do you choose and why?

Hmm... This sounds vaguely familiar, Amy! :-) If I know the guy well, I'd say fill out an accident report so you have something to fall back on. Then let his guy take a crack at it. You've already said he's a nice guy, so probably everything will be fine.

3. You win a trip to any place OUTSIDE of the United States. Where do you go? You can take only two people with you...who do you take?

I couldn't take two more. I could do one more, or three more, but not two. So it would just be me and Susan. We'd go to either Italy or the UK. Either one would be fine by us.

4. Now let's talk about work. You bend over backwards to get something done quickly for someone as a courtesy because of the situation- something that requires you to call on other people to do YOU a favor to get it done. They don't say thank you and the next time they require something of you they expect it to be done just as fast. What do you do?

I make sure they realize just what I had to do to bail them out last time, and how many of my own chips I had to cash in. I'd then tell them they'll just have to be reasonable this time around.

5. If you could start A NEW hobby...any hobby...(money is NO object) what would it be?

Ahrens Fox collecting!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Some Quiz-y Stolen From Amy

TEN random things you might not know about me:
*I own a pair of red Converse All Stars
*I'm not a huge fan of lobster
*I drink my coffee black
*I've let all my kids try beer
*Much to the opposite of its intended effect, one really liked it!
*I've never smoked a cigarette
*I hate bicyclists who don't follow the rules of the road
*I love ferris wheels
*I only owned a dog once, and he was killed about three months later
*All my typing skills are self-taught

NINE places I've visited:
* Empire State Building
*Statue of Liberty
*Capitol Building
*Viet Nam War Memorial
*Lincoln Memorial
*Eustis, ME
*Hershey PA
*Some airport in Ohio

(More in the "Get More Here" section)

Reading: The Raggamuffin Gospel
Listening to: The music of Paddy's life

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

Monday, June 19, 2006

Oh, Yes... Comments

I've been getting a bunch of comment spam recently. It usually happens in spurts, but I've never gotten as much as I have now. I've shut the comments off for a little bit, to see if they'll go away. We'll see how long before spam shows up in this post. Comment away!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Weekend Wrap-Up

Oh, what a great weekend it was! The kids were at grandmas!

First, I had a gig Friday night in Waterville. What a dead night it was! They're now allowing people to eat on the sidewalk. So everyone was outside all night long. No big whoop, but with no one listening to you, the energy level stays low.

Saturday morning, and Susan and I went to Second Read for a pastry and coffee, then of to Waldoboro Days for a set with Three Button Deluxe. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the band, and we got many compliments. On the way home, we decided to stop in a new antique co-op where Reed's Gifts used to be. We looked around a little, and headed up stairs. There, at the end of the building, was a Hoosier. I said to Susan "I've always wanted a Hoosier. They're so handy." She really liked it. The one we looked at was green with flowers. It had some age on it, but it was in really good shape. She loved all the storage possibilities, and I loved the price. I told her "If you can find a place to put it, I'll buy it for you." So we took some measurements, and headed for home. Alas, it was too big for our kitchen. But we thought we'd hit up some antique stores, and see what they had.

Well, one of them had something very special. I've been looking for a Wyeth print called "Sailor's Valentine" for my sister for a long time. (July of 2001, to be exact.) Well low and behold, I found a copy! I near about died right there in the store. I couldn't believe it. As I checked out, the lady who waited on us sad she was sad I didn't find a Hoosier. I told her I found something much better.

In the evening, we went out for supper at Amalfi, a little Mediterranean place on Main St. We didn't have reservations, so we had to eat in the downstairs (read: basement) dining room. In actuality, we really dug the ambiance down there. It was quiet, secluded. We started off with appetizers. Susan continues her salad fetish, and ordered something delish. I had some kind of meatballs with yoghurt sauce and flatbread. It was great too. My main dish was a lamb ragu with pasta and goat cheese, garnished (Garnished, mind. That's the word they used.) with two lamb chops! It was fantastic! The pasta was rocket hot, which it should be. The lamb had some tasty grill marks, yet all pink inside. Susan had one of their many specials: mixed grill. It was a lamb chop, 1/2 a cornish game hen, and a piece of filet mignon, all with garlic mashed 'taters. She reported it very tasty. We'll be going back.

After supper, we headed up Main St. for Rockland's "Summer Solstice" festival. We also stopped into Second Read to get Susan one of their carrot cupcakes. She reports the frosting is really good, Jane.

Sunday morning we headed out to breakfast at the Brass Compass. I had roast beef hash and eggs, and Susan had an omelette, I think. We finished too early to head straight to church, so we went to see Dad's grave stone. It really is quite nice. It's polished black granite, with a massive base that has some un-polished granite left. And it's a good size; the proportions are right. Mom did a good job picking it out. Then onto church. After that, we headed to Susan's parents so she could spend Father's Day with her dad. Oh, and we had to pick up the kids. As soon as we arrived, though, they needed to go down for their nap. So they slept until about 4pm, I think. I ended up nodding off on the couch. We ended up at home for a few minutes before I had to take off for evening church. After that, I came home. Susan went to bed early, and I watched a little TV before bed.

That's about it!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Stolen from Amy, and Other Unconcious Mutterings

I say ... and you think ... ?

1. Voice :: Line
2. Us :: Them
3. Passionately :: Kissing
4. Humbly :: Bow
5. Love songs :: Some people ought to fill the world with them
6. Dim :: -ly lit
7. Calendar :: Full
8. Careless :: Whisper (LOL! A WHAM song. Who'da thought?)
9. Block :: Party
10. Goal :: Tender

In other news, I'm a white male, married, land owning, gun owning, conservative Christian with three gas guzzling cars who votes Republican. Could I be any more politically incorrect? Apparently not.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, June 16, 2006

Lisa Takes the MI-5 Helm

"The MI-5 is easy this week. Although you can give a one-word answer, itís much more fun to elaborate a little bit with the reasons for your choices, or am "I remember when" type of story. Guess I'm hungry."

* If you could only have one type of cereal for the rest of life, what would it be?
I guess Count Chocula. I've liked that since I was a kid. But I also like oatmeal. It's a bit of a tossup. It's summer now, so I'm leaning towards the Count. If it were winter, I bet I'd say oatmeal.

* If you could only have one type of ice cream for the rest of your life, what would it be? Be specific as to flavor and brand.
If I could have any type, it would be Ben & Jerry's "Dastardly Mash." It was chocolate ice cream, with chocolate chunks, raisins, almonds, and walnuts. They haven't made it for years, but that's my all-time favorite. Second to that would be Dorman's Mocha Chip. Or maybe B & J's "Chuncky Monkey."

* If you could cook potatoes in only one way for the rest of your life, how would you cook them?
Mashed, just for the sake of versatility. They must include salt--potatoes cooked without enough salt taste flat. Also, my buttermilk recipe is killer.

* If you could have only one type of pizza for the rest of your life, what would it be? Be specific.
I ran into the ultimate pie toppings while playing a gig in Castine. I just picked some random ingredients off their list. It turned out to be what I call the "Gestalt" pie. If you look at the ingredients, it doesn't seem like anything major. But when you put them together, well then, my friend, you have a work of art. Here it is: hamburger, chopped raw garlic, and roasted red peppers. There are some things you MUST do, though, in order to get it right. First, you CAN'T put the ingredients under the cheese. They must be on top. You also should precook the hamburger. Why? If you just put raw hamburger on the top, it will cook all the way through, but the top of your pie will get all greasy. No, instead, cook it off a little, then drain. Then the beef will get a lovely crunchy-brown when you bake the pie. Yum!

* If you could have only one type of TV Dinner for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I'm older now, and they don't appeal to me like they once did. I suppose if I had to pick one, though, it would be the $1.00 Banquet "Mexican Fiesta" meal, with enchiladas, re-fried beans, and Spanish rice. At a buck, they're cheap, and the rice is actually quite tasty.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Fathers Day Wish List

A barbecue grill brush.

A square snare drum case. (Used for drums with extended snare mechanisms, like my Supersensitive.)

Some CAO MX2 double maduro cigars. Don't buy a whole box. One or two would be fine. (If you can find them!)

A glass jar with a tight fitting lid for coffee storage.

You know, the whole reason I started this list is because earlier today, I thought of something that would make me a great father's day present. And yet for the life of me, I can't think what it is!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, June 12, 2006

Promise of a Weekend Wrap-Up

OK, here's the deal. I did lots of cool stuff this weekend. But it's late, I had a bunch of stuff I needed to take care of tonight, and I'm tired and don't feel like doing it.

I will say I made supper tonight. Brats for me, steak for Susan and Julia, white rice, and roasted red peppers stuffed with ricotta. Um, yeah, it was good!

Reading: The Ragamuffin Gospels
Listening to: XM Radio, channel 70, Real Jazz

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, June 9, 2006

Jim's Quite Strange MI-5

Jim says "The five this week is a bit different. One might say a bit of a riddle. I will give you a phrase and you tell me why it is true. There is a riddle in the truth. Once you figure out one of these the rest are easy. I hope you have fun! If this turns out to be too hard let me know and I will give you one or give you a hint. In a few days in my web log I will post what I was thinking when I wrote these or what we might call the answers."

When Animals Speak!

1. Horses are so negative.
They always say "Neigh" (or "Nay").

2. Cats are selfish wimps.
Meow. Or selfish me is always hurt: me ow!

3. Dogs need to be more refined.
They tend to be rough (or Ruff!).

4. Donkey's love to laugh.
And, they like to make an *** of themselves.

5. Ducks never like their doctors.
They're always just a bunch of quacks.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Crazy Dreams of Crashing Space Craft and Dad

Two dreams, actually, last night. Here they are.

Dream One: Susan and I are staying in some swanky hotel. Outside the door to our room is a little landing, and on the landing is a tabletop hockey arcade game. As I'm exiting the room, I see Susan and her scrapbooking friends Heather and Debbie beating on the game, with it now on its side. Apparently, they lost a quarter in the machine, and they wanted their money back. I said:

"Why don't you let me call my friend Sam (or whatever--I don't remember the actual name I used). He is, after all, a maintenance man here."

Susan said "Sam's a heating maintenance guy. He doesn't know anything about electric hockey games!"

"Maybe not," I said, "but I'm sure he could point us to the person who does!"

Cut to me, outside the White House. I'm some guy on the President's staff. There's some big shin-dig going on, and I'm standing on the front steps. My job is to hand flags to the President's guests as they leave the White House. I have a plastic tub, and in it are American and Christian flags. There's also a flag in there that denotes the holder as a former member of the military. As guests leave, I offer them a flag. I also happened to notice that the lawn is covered in dog poop. And I think to myself "Why the heck did groundskeeping not clean this up?" Then I turn around, and see the reason why there are so many guests at the White House: there is a space shuttle launch, and everyone has come to see it with the President. From my vantage point, I can see the engines touch off, and I can feel the heat. The shuttle rises into the air. It doesn't get very high, when I notice it appears to be doing a loop! What's up with that? "Something's not right" I think. After the loop is completed, the shuttle starts falling--flat like it's in flight-- but straight down. Almost like it had no forward motion, and it just fell straight down. It smacked into the ground with a horrible CRACK! Of course, everyone is screaming. The explosion causes debris to fly into the air, and then of course, it comes down. Mini-van size pieces of debris are falling on the crowd.

I start running towards the back of the White House, looking back over my shoulder, trying to judge where debris is falling, and how I can NOT be under it. I get around back, and start towards the front again from the opposite side. This side is off limits to the public, but since I'm staff, I'm ok. I can see reporters trying to get inside the White House from the front. There's this window in the President's office, and as I'm running by, I can see him inside. I run up to the window, and knock on it. He's inside, watching what's unfolding on his front steps on the TV! I yell to him that the reporters are trying to get to him. He turns towards me, his face in shock. (This isn't President Bush, btw. It's some other guy.) I tell him he needs to get out there! He holds one finger up at me, giving me the "just a minute" sign. He pushes his chair back from his desk, stands up, and pulls up his pants, which were apparently around his ankles under the desk!

Ok, that's where that one ended.


This dream is much shorter. The phone rings. I pick it up. There's no one there. I say "Hello? Hello?" No answer. Yet in my dream, I know it's Dad. How many times have I dreamed Dad is calling me on the phone? I bet we're close to 1/2 dozen. This is the first time, though, where he didn't say anything. Usually he says something not too important. Sometimes I beg him to tell me what he wants. Only once did he say anything really meaningful. (He told me he missed me.) This time, nothing. C'mon, Dad, leave me the lottery numbers!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Another Weekend Wrap-Up!

Do you want to know what went down this weekend? Probably not, but here it is for posterity.

Friday night. One of my drum students had his first gig. Ian and his band, The Audiophiles, along with two other high school bands, booked a hall, paid the soundman, made t-shirts, and had snacks for sale. They played six or eight tunes, and three of them were really quite good. He also took two drum solos. I think he did real well.

Saturday. Well, it was supposed to be the Rockland Kiwanis Bike Rodeo. Unfortunately, it was canceled due to weather. In the afternoon, Three Button Deluxe played a wedding, and we had a blast! It was laid back, and everyone really liked the band. The rain was a bit of a damper, but it seems like everyone still had a great time. I got home relatively early (before 10pm), and went pretty much straight to bed.

Sunday morning we went to church. Dwane, my brother-in-law and song leader was out, so I filled in for him. I had so much going on that morning: resumes of potential new pastors had to be printed and distributed; it was communion Sunday; I still had to lead the Sunday School opening; I felt really swamped. We had lunch at Moms; my sister made spaghetti sauce that was really yummy. After that, we went home and took a nap. I think I had to run to Wal-Mart in there somewhere. No, wait, that was Saturday. Oh, now I remember. Julia and I went to Bookland to grab a copy of the Boston Globe for her Uncle Josh. Then we went to church in the evening. I pulled nursery duty so Susan could watch the "Day of Fasting and Prayer: Egypt" DVD, and she said it was very good. And I think that about wraps it up!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, June 5, 2006

The Doors, or Why I Hate Home Depot

When Susan and I received our tax return, we decided we'd use the money to spruce some things up around the house. We bought four more vinyl windows, so now we've got new windows everywhere in the house. We also decided to buy two new doors. Susan wanted more glass in the side door (the one everyone uses), so she could see who was there. And the front door is old and drafty, so we wanted to change that one too. I went to my local hardware store, and then to Home Depot. Home Depot was having a sale: 20% all custom ordered doors. So if I ordered from them, I would save $130. As much as I like to support the local guy, $130 is $130. And that will buy some diapers. So I ordered them. The salesman asked "Do you need right in-swing or left in-swing?" I told him I had no idea. Do you go from the side the hinges are on, or the knob? He asked me to demonstrate how I opened the door. I showed him, and he said "This is what you need." Fine. Order them. He needed to know how thick the jamb was. I went home, measured, came back, and we completed the order. Great. "Sign here. This means we're using the measurements that you supplied me with." OK.

Six weeks.

The doors come in. They're exactly backwards of what I need. They open on the wrong side. They will take them back, but they want a 15% restocking fee. So I ask to speak to the manager. This is our conversation. It's abridged, but we went round and round with the same points, so you'll get the idea.

"You signed for the doors," he said.
"Yes," I said.
"That means you read what you were buying, and that everything was explained to you."
"Yes," I said.
"So I told your guy I had no idea about right/left inswing. He told me what I needed, and I signed based on him telling me what I needed."
"But you signed," he said.
"I signed based on information given to me by your employee, and he told me what I needed."
"But you should know what you're buying. It's your responsibility."

I couldn't make the guy see that a) Yes I signed, but b) I signed based on his employee telling me information that wasn't correct. No dice. After two hours, I decided to pay the 15%, and take it up with their home office. Lesson learned.

Now, back to Spears, my local place...

Feeling: quite sad
Listening to: XM Radio, channel 74, Bluesville

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, June 2, 2006

Jim's Spring MI-5

1. What is your favorite spring flower? (name many if you have many)

Daffodils are my favorite. They last a long time, and are inexpensive. Lilacs are another favorite. They smell great! I like the purple ones, and there seems to be a new, darker purple variety. At my home we have a white lilac tree. They smell nice, but they're the wrong color! I also like irises, but they're just too fragile. They only last a day or two, and they're gone. And they're expensive.

2. We all seem to have those little areas or things of our life that get neglected. Maybe it is a plant or something that needs cleaning or even some movies you keep meaning to watch. Tell us something in your life that gets neglected using the examples as a guide. Wow! I could just use your examples!

I have a non-self-cleaning oven that needs to be cleaned. I have an LP record that I've had for, oh, five years that I haven't listened to yet! I've got two movies I can think of that I've had for some time that I haven't watched. And I still haven't made it all the way through the Johnny Quest box set either.

3. What is your favorite comfort food(s)?

Probably smothered beef and onions over egg noodles. Hot turkey sandwiches are a fav too.

4. Do you have any heartfelt beliefs and how strongly do you hold to them?

As a Christian, I have many. One, though, hit home with me this week. I saw a photo online of an aborted fetus. I'm strongly pro-life, but many pro-life people want to hit you over the head with super graphic images of what abortion does. And I don't think it helps our cause. There was one time some pro-lifer with a sandwich board had a way to graphic image, showing it to all the world. I was angered, and Susan started to cry. I'm not denying that abortion happens that way. I've seen the photos of babies in a trash can. And, if people want to protest that way, they can. But I don't think it will change anyone's mind.

Ok, so why did this hit home this week. Well, I saw a photo online. It's a photo of a 4 month old aborted fetus. And instead of hitting you over the head with graphic, bloody detail, it treated this un-loved infant with the proper respect it deserved. Here it is. No blood, no gore, but it is sad. It is, after all, a dead baby. Or is this just a mass of cells, just part of the mother? (That's a hand with a rose to the right, if you can't make it out.)

5. Tell us something you do every week that you hate to do?

Well, there isn't really anything I hate to do. I'm not big on going to the dump and mowing the lawn, but those are just annoyances. Not hate, really.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

About me: