Thursday, July 29, 2004

MI5, just in time for the next MI5

1. If you could start over from scratch, what instrument would you play?
Same one I'm playing now. If I weren't a drummer, I'd like to play bass. But the instument I play is the one I love.

2. With your current instrument, what would you change about the way you learned it?
I didn't take a private lesson until I was in high school. I had a lot of bad habits that it took me a while to unlearn. In fact, it wasn't until college that my private instructor noticed I played left flams and right flams backwards. And, I didn't learn to count out loud rhythmically until college either. Now, as I teach students, I get them to count aloud. Once you learn how to do it, it becomes second nature.

3. Why did you pick your current instrument?
I was leaving a picnic at my Aunt Ginny's house. We were in the green Nash station wagon. A tune came on the radio that had an awesome sounding snare drum. I new I wanted to learn to play that.

4. If you could, would you change how much time you devote to music, i.e. choosing it as your main career? If so, where would you live? Or like to live?
I decided as a freshman music major that I wanted to live in Maine the rest of my life. As such, I realized there was no reason for me to take a degree in Jazz and Contemporary Music. It just didn't make sense. People in Maine who play music exclusively for a living are few and far between. I new it made the most sense to take a degree that would help pay the rent, and just play music on the side.

5. What would be your dream instrument purchase?
I have a soft spot for a Tama Superstar kit in natural maple. A DW kit in Tobacco Burst with satin nickel hardware eould be nice. I used to want a Gretsch kit in tangerine sparkle or Cadillac green, but I don't like how Fred Gretsch is running his business. Instead, I'll take a Ludwig kit in Oyster Pink Pearl.

All this being said, I agree with Jim. If we're going to take over the Friday Five empire, we need questions that'll appeal to the masses. If you're not a musician, you'll have no interest in this weeks MI5.

Lunch? Ceasar salad with chicken
Listening to: Howie Carr

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, July 26, 2004

Oh, we had some babies!

Nathaniel Lewis was born on July 23rd (not June as reported earlier ;-) ), at 10:29am, and weighed 6lbs, 12oz. Seven minutes later, at 10:36, Matthew Thornton arrived, weighing 6lbs, 3oz. Both were 19 inches long. Everything went well, and all are fine. If you want to see the photos, they're here.

Just finished: Jackie's mee and noodle casserole
Watching: ER

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Sorry Lucielle! (The Susan Update)

Sorry for those of you who worried! Susan's fine. On Sunday, she started having some labor pains. We called the midwife, and she had Susan drink 1/2 gallon of water in two hours (thinking she was dehydrated). Two hours later, she still was in a lot of pain, so we went to the hospital. They checked her out, and had her on the monitor for about three hours. The pain lessened, and the contractions got farther apart, not closer together. So they gave her some sleeping meds, and we went home. She didn't sleep well, so I didn't sleep well. Monday morning, I mis-read my clock and ending up getting up earlier than I needed to, so I got even less sleep. Monday morning at the office, I made coffee you could stand a spoon up in!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Paging Lindsey Zaltman

Heard something at the office today. Actually, I overheard it. A Mr. Zaltman called to ask about broadband availability at his home. Hmm. I once went to school with a Lindsey Zaltman--he was a buddy of mine. Turns out this Mr. Zaltman lived on a point in Owls Head. Funny, Lindsey lived on a point in Owls Head. So I asked Barry to ask the guy if he were related to Lindsey. Of course, he didn't bother. But I had the guy's number, so I called him back. It's Lindsey's dad! Lindsey is a market researcher in Pittsburgh for his dad's company. Seems he was up here just a little while ago, looking to but some property for a summer home. He mentioned that Lindsey only went to school up here for one semester (in 3rd grade no less), but I never forgot him! And I also remember he had the greatest Lego collection!

Feeling: Groovy
Just Finished: A Mounds Bar and a cup of coffee

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, July 19, 2004

Lots to Say, and No Time to Say It!!!

What do I want to cover? Well, Pat Lamarche, my trip to the rifle range with Jim, and Susan's trip to the hospital last night. But right now, let me tell you my Sam's Club tire experience.

My truck is due for a state inspection. In order to pass, I knew it would need some new tires in the front. So I took it to Sams to get some cheap tires. After waiting for someone who could actually help me (the guy dusting the batteries was apparently too busy), I told the guy I wanted some cheap tires.

"Are you looking for performance, or traction, or fuel economy,or..."

"I'm looking for cheap."

"What are they going on?"

"A 1992 Ford F-150."

"These are the cheapest truck tires we have: $65 each."

"I don't need light truck tires. My truck is two wheel drive, and is rated for regular passenger tires."

"They're for a Buick Roadmaster or something like that."

"What's that?" I say.

"It's a station wagon," he says.

"No, I realize what that is. I mean why are you talking about a Roadmaster."

"Because that's what a passenger tire is for."

"Yes, I realize that. But if you check the door pillar of my truck, you will see that it came equiped with P 175R 15" tires. (The P is for Passenger, as opposed to LT or light truck tires.) This truck goes to the dump on weekends, and other than that hardly gets driven. Cheap tires are fine."

"Ok," he says. "The cheapest tires we have in that size are $55."

"Fine," I say walking towards the front desk. As I walk by this one pillar of tires, I notice they're the size I need. "What about these here for $45?" I ask.

"Those are real cheap tires."

I almost can't believe what I'm hearing. "That's what I want then."

"Ok," he says. "If that's what you want, but they're real cheap."


According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Cool Drum Motion Shot

I was able to find another cool motion drum photo. Actually, it's me playing my first drumset ever. I was 4. Dig the cool hair! Here's me and my first kit ever!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, July 16, 2004

Blues Fest Wrap Up

So last weekend, on Saturday, I played on the main stage of the North Atlantic Blues Festival. It was quite unusual for a local act to appear in the show. In the 10 years since the show's been going on, I can't remember another local band playing the main stage. So in that sense, it was an honor (I guess). So many people were caught up in the "glory" of it all. "You're playing on the main stage! How does it feel?"

It feels like any other gig.

I showed up. I played. I got paid. I had fun. Was I blase? I don't know. I did what I always do. Someone said that perhaps my attitude was the mark of a professional. I don't know. I just didn't get caught up in all the "you're opening the blues fest" hype. Was I nervous? Not in the least. I played in front of 3000 like I would've played in front of 30. Yes, the sound was good. Yes, the applause was nice. But I enjoyed playing the club crawl that evening, and at Market on Main the night before, just as much. Actually, I liked the smaller crowd better. They seemed to get into it more than the large crowd. (But we were the first act of the day--maybe the bigger crowd wasn't into it as much yet. Plus, there's a big difference between an 11am crowd in a public park, and a 9pm crowd in a bar.)

Oh, and the main stage provided me with a house kit. It was a really nice Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute in a kinda creamy white marine pearl. The kick sounded really nice. Tom were not bad after a little tuning. But all in all, it was a wicked nice house kit.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]


1) What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
If I had only one flavor to last me the rest of my life, it would be chocolate. I also have a soft spot for mocha chip.

2) What is your favorite ice cream vendor and why?
I'm with Paddy (as are all real mid-coast Mainers) and Domans Dairy Dream. Their chocolate is the best around. Their mocha chip is very good to. Miss Plum's used to have "Devil Mint Chip": chocolate mint ice cream (not the green stuff) with chocolate chips. Edward's Ice Cream on Tilson was good too. Dad used to work there, in fact. Dad, tell us the story of you driving to Edward's on the scooter Father put together for you from parts out of milk crates.)

3) Have you ever made ice cream?
When I was living with my parrents, we had an old green White Mountains looking hand crank ice cream freezer. We always made something with a vanilla base. For some reason, our chocolate never came out right. Susan and I have a powered unit now with a tank that you just put in the freezer. No ice needed. The peanut butter recipie in Ben and Jerry's book always comes out well.

4) How often do you eat ice cream?
Not a lot, really. Maybe once or twice a week in summer, and less in winter. I will say though that at birthday parties, I prefer the ice cream to the cake.

5) If you don't feel up for ice cream, what is your second choice for a summertime treat?
Ice cold Rolling Rock, in a bottle, while taking a cool shower. I also like the Grant's Rocket Aide served out of a shopping cart full of ice at the Thomaston 4th of July.

Just read: "Last Chapter and Worse," Gary Larson
Listening to: Joss Stone in White Lightnin'

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Paging Heather Armstrong of Rockland Maine

I had this weird dream last night. I know, I'm not usually one for weird dreams, right. ;-) Anyway, I was at some kind of class reunion. I was helping set up the music, and milling about, and talking with people. At one point I looked up, and saw Heather sitting way up in the bleachers. I made my way over to her, grateful that I'd gotten to see her again after all these years. But when I got closer to her, it turned out it wasn't her.

When I woke up, I had this idea. You know how you search for your own name in Google, just to find where you might be mentioned on the web? Well, I figured maybe Heather would do the same thing. (I hope she remembers to use her maiden name, if she's married!) So I've used her name and former hometown in the title of this post, and hopefully Google will index it. And then I hope Heather searches for herself someday, and finds this post.

Heather, once you find this, I want you to know that there are a bunch of people from the class who've not heard hide or hair from you since graduation day. It's my understanding that when the 10th year class reunion rolled around, no one had any idea where to find you, and many people asked about you. So please, leave a comment or email Susan and I would love to know what you're up to. You remember Susan, right? My high school sweetie? And she and I and you and Chris Clayton all went to Perry's Nuthouse on the last day of school? Yeah, her. Well, I married her, and well, there's a bunch I'd like to tell you.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]


Big weekend for Billy Rhythm last weekend. Three gigs in three days. Two of the gigs were for the blues festival, and one was with jump/swingers Three Button Deluxe. For this post, let's concentrate on 3BD. JP showed up to Market on Main with camera in hand, and he snapped some fantastic shots! Probably my favorite shot of the group is this one. I don't know what tune we were playing, but you can tell we were throwin' down a stanky groove. See how Paddy's slightly blurred? Notice you can't even see Quick's right hand on the guitar? That's because JP wasn't using a flash, and the slower shutter speed (to allow more light) also allowed faster moving objects to blur. Dig? It was that technique that yeilded the the coolest action shot of me playing drums ever.

Speaking of how I look when playing... (Rated R section follows.) I've had two different women (neither of them my wife) mention that the expression I get on my face while playing is what they imagine I'd look like when having an orgasm. Really? I wonder if the same holds true for bass players and guitar players?

You may also notice the new uniforms. This group usually wears Zoot suits and all the accoutrements. But we decided that in the summer, playing un-air-conditioned venues in a zoot would just be too hot. So, since we do play some early 50s rock-n-roll, we decided to go with bowling shirts. I'm sporting my new blue Cosmic Twin Drive In bowler. Not bad for $30, huh?

If you want to see all the photos JP took that night, go here. Dial-up users be forwarned: it's a graphics heavy site, and will take some time to load all the photos, but they are really great.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Goodbye to another friend.

Well, it happened today. Moto was my fish in the office Macquarium. It was over two years ago that I bought him. He wasn't even supposed to be the main mac fish. The pet store was out of the black goggley eyed ones that day, so I threw him in instead. He was just supposed to be a transitional fish. But today, he died. We fished him out, and many gave a euology on what a good fish he was. He was in our front office everyday. He never took a sick day. He never got a raise. He made many people happy. Many couldn't figure out if he was real or if he was a screensaver. In the end, only JP could think of something bad to say: "He was the only employee to go to the bathroom in the front office."

May we take a moment to remember Moto, and to remember him with all the same love and fun he gave us all.

Mood: Very Sad (not really)
Going to listen to: Aquarium Resque Unit

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, July 12, 2004

Slight Site Changes

Made a couple of site changes. Pulled down Genova's link, as he says he's not posting anymore. Added JP and Snake's links, as they update more than some. I put David's link back up too, though he only posts twice a month. And I updated the picture of Julia (at my Aunt Ginny's request).

I'm going to rub Susan's feet now, so I'll post about my weekend later.

Watching: Well, what Susan's watching: Law & Order
Just Finished: Chicken Helper Fried Rice

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, July 9, 2004


1. What places have you traveled to? Countries? States? Places? Include anywhere you might have traveled for pleasure.
Hmm. I've been to most of the regular places Nor Easters have been to. Boston, Nueva York, stuff like that. Virgina Beach had been the farthest point south I'd travelled. Then two years ago, Susan's folks took her whole side of the family to Florida. Then this year, my folks to us on a cruise to the western Carribean.

2. What was your favorite place to travel to? Would you go again?
Disney World was awesome. I loved it. Epcot and the Magic Kingdom were it! Really, that's the destination I care about. I could care less about Florida, really. But I'd like to go back to Disney World.

3. Tell a good story or stories related to one of your trips? It can be anything funny or interesting. Include as many as you want.
This one time, while camping, we thought my hermit crab died. I think it was Mom who was leaning on the picnic table, diging a hole with a spoon, when he decided to come out and take a look around. That was funny, and we still talk about it. And of course, there's the recent sunburn while snorkeling story.

4. Where do you think you will take your next trip to?
Probably Pen Bay Medical Center. Really, now, I've no idea. Probably going back to Disney with three kids will be my next big trip.

5. The money no object question. If money was no object what trip, tour etc. would you take?
I'd love to go to Texas, Italy, and the UK. I used to want to go to Paris. Not any more. I'd rather go around France at this point. I've always thought about driving all of Rt 1 or Rt 66 in a convertible. Of course, there's not much of 66 left anymore, so Rt 1 looks a little more promising. Fort Ken to Key West. Sounds like a good trip for the early winter months. I think a Carribean snorkel trip would be nice too.

Just Finished: Some yummy pizza Susan made
Listening to: Dave Weckl

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Fish, NKM, and DVDs

Wild day today. Well, not really. What did I do of interest? That's kind of subjective. I did buy a new goldfish for my tank. It was almost a year ago that I threatened to buy a bulging eyed goldfish. Now I've done it. His name is Dizzy.

For lunch today I went to Northern Kingdom Music to pick up some parts for my cocktail drum. When they didn't have what I needed, Harvey cannibalized another part, and gave me (for free!) what I needed. I told him I couldn't possibly take something for free when he could've sold both pieces together as a new product. But he wouldn't hear of it. What a cool guy. They're all cool guys up there.

I also put a new DVD-rom drive in my office Mac. The old one died; the drawer wouldn't open anymore. You know what it takes to change one of those out? On a PC, you pull the side off, and often that can be done without any tools. Then, you rip the face plate off. Again, no tools. Take the screws out that hold the CD-rom in, and replace. On a Mac, though, you need to take the handles off: that's four allan screws. Allan screws! You need a somewhat special tool to fix this stupid thing. Then, you need to take a side off. Another four allan screws. Pop off the cowl, and then two screws to slide the CD-rom out. It's not really the six or so extra screws that I think is a waste, but it's the fact you can't get the side off with a regular screwdriver. That's just plain numb, in my opinion. Please, why can't we run Mac OS's on PC hardware. That would be so awesome!

Hearing in my head: Steely Dan
Just finished: a chocolate donut

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

For My Zappa Friends

If you like Frank Zappa, go here and get Weird Al's tune "Genius in France." It's a riot. It's 10 megs. If you don't like Zappa, don't click it. You won't like it, and it will take up my bandwidth. If you do like it, buy Weird Al's "Poodle Hat" album. And slightly off topic, Weird Al's drummer John "Bermuda" Schwartz hangs out on a bunch of drum message boards I haunt. He's famous, but he's just a regular guy. Cool. I'll remember that style when I'm famous some day.

Listening to: what else?!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

More GHOST props

Over a year ago Rob Cook included me in his Ludwig Book as a resource on the GHOST pedal. Today, John Alderidge of Not So Modern Drummer asked me to write an article for him. I'll get a free subscription in exchange. Cool!

Listening to: Red Sox baseball

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, July 2, 2004

Stupid Remotes!

Man, am I ripped! I bought this station wagon, right? And it's got a Kenwood 602-RF CD changer in it. But it only works with a remote. And of course, it didn't come with the remote. So I started looking on ebay, and found this one. I wasn't sure if it would work or not, so I emailed the guy. "Well, it should work, but I can't guarantee it." So I ordered it. The power button works. None of the rest of the buttons work. So I called Kenwood. They said a CA-R6 remote would work with my unit. It's not the original unit that shipped with mine, but the codes were the same. So I ordered this one. Guess what? It works even less. On the other remote, there's a little blinkng light that shows up on the receiver unit, so I can see a code is being sent--just not the right ones. This one doesn't even blink. Nada. So now I've spent $25 on remotes that don't work. For about $100, I could've put a new CD player in the dang car!

Feeling: Angry!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Animated GIF Avatars

I found this drum message board a couple of weeks ago. You know on message boards how they let you pick little avatars for yourself? Like if you click here, you'll see a little icon I use for myself on the bbs system. Most message boards have a size limit on how big your image can be. They don't want you choking things up by you having some big picture on there. Well, this other board doesn't seem to have real strict restrictions. Check these two animated GIFs out. This great air guitar GIF is about 100 kilobytes. This here really nice PG-13 GIF is almost 300k! 1/3 of a meg for an avatar image! For comparison, that little drummer image I use for myself is 8 kilobits, or 1/10th to 1/30th the size of the others.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

MI5, compliments of me this week

MI5, Buying and Selling

Most of us on the MI5 have some sort of hobby in which we buy and sell merchandise. Whether it's drums, guitars, hi-fi equipment, or motorcycles, sometimes you sell stuff to buy new stuff. Paddy's selling of two motorcycles to buy one inspired this weeks set of five.

1) Other than your home and a daily driving vehicle, what's the most expensive thing you've ever purchased?
I guess that would have to be my Amber Gold Tama Starclassics. Photo is not my actual set, but it is the right model and color, so you get the idea. Cost was just a smidgen under two grand. Of course, I also use them to make money, so it's an easily justifiable expense.

2) What's the most expensive (again, excepting real-estate and cars) you've ever sold?
Hmm. I once sold a Fender Millennium Strat for Nothern Kingdom Music on ebay. That went for a grand, but it didn't actually belong to me. I guess it would have to be the Roland TD-7 electric drum set I sold for $800.

3) Of all the things you've sold, what do you miss the most?
I traded in a set of Ludwig Standards in Blue Strata. I bought them for $125 from Blind Albert's music store. I reconditioned them, and traded them in on $400 worth of gear at Down Home Music. Oh, I wish I had that kit back.

4) Ever sold something for more than you paid for it? Tell us about it. (Again, please no homes and daily drivers.)
No, I don't think I have. I have an Akai 636 reel-to-reel tape deck, and they go between $400-$600 on ebay. I paid $150 for it, and Susan and I used it for our wedding. We got married back when CD recorders were $1200, so I bought this reel deck, put six hours of music on it, and "DJ'd" my own wedding! Just turned it on and let it run!

5) Do you have some dream "something" you hope to purchase someday? What is it?
An antique fire truck. I'd like one of those someday. I'd like a Tama Rosewood snare. Actually, there are about a dozen snares I'd like. In reality though, I'll probably get most of them. I mean, the stuff I'm dreaming of is pretty cheap stuff. I could get a fire engine for way less than $5k. Snare drums are maybe $500 each. That's all stuff I can "afford" now. I can't just go plunk down the cash, but if I want a snare drum bad enough, in three or four months I can save the money to get it. So it's relatively easy for me to get the stuff I'm dreaming of. Paddy's $6000 motorcycle? I haven't really got anything I'm dreaming of in that price range.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, July 1, 2004

To Go Along with the Meat Museum...

Weird Japanese Ice Cream. Stuff like raw horse flesh, and deep salt water, and garlic flavored. Ice cream? You got it! Stolen from /usr/bin/girl.

(Oh, if you are looking for the Potted Meat Museum, it's here.)

Hearing In My Head: Four Non-Blondes
Eating: Not right now, thanks!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

About me: