Friday, August 31, 2007

My Sister's Fair Day MI-5

1. Do you attend any country/agricultural fairs? If so, which one is your favorite? Why?

Usually, we attend the Union Fair. For a few years, I've acted as a judge for the talent show. I wasn't asked this year. And most years, one band or another I play in will be booked there. Not this year. So, we didn't go this year. We like to go and look at the animals and so on. The kids like the cows. We usually got to the Lobster Festival too, but I don't think that's really what Lisa had in mind.

2. What is your favorite fair ride? Why?

I've never been really big on rides. I like roller coasters, but they're not really county fair fodder, are they. I'm more inclined to the side show. Not a ride, for sure, but certainly more of a fair attraction.

3. What is your favorite fair food? Why?

A sausage. Of course, I don't usually buy one. Six bucks?! I'm too cheap. I can make them at home for maybe a buck a piece! But I think that would be my favorite. I like fudge too, but again, expensive. I might have a bite of Susan's. That's usually what ends up happening. I'll just eat whatever the kids didn't!

4. What is your favorite part of the fair overall? 4-H exhibits? Animals? Harness racing? Rides? Food?

It's all about even. I like the exhibits and the animals. The food's fine. Horse racing? Not really my thing. I pretty much could take or leave any of it.

5. How much money do you drop for your typical fair excursion?

Well, my sister spent $60 on her fair experience. I think mine might run a little cheaper, maybe $40 or $50.

Reading: Alan Ginsbergs Howl

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Furniture Weekend Wrap-Up

Friday night, I left the office, ready for a real week end: no gigs, no work at the office. We had our new pastor and his wife over for supper. After that was done, Pastor Dave and I went to the church to get the baptismal ready for Sunday, while Susan and Josie stayed and chatted. We were back at about 9pm, and we both now have a really good knowledge of the plumbing at Harmony Bible Church. :-) We talked for another hour or so, and then they took off about 10pm. I then went to bed, knowing I had an early morning. (Oh, and Matthew chucked up his dinner.)

6:30, and the boys are up and ready to go. I get up and make some coffee. When Susan gets up around 8am, I start getting ready for my big project: Susan's hoosier. I had taken it apart and sanded it last weekend (I think). This weekend it was time for paint. The inside is a sort of a dark sage green, and the outside is a sort of off white/brown. (Once I get it inside, I'll snap a photo.) I finished around noon, I guess, maybe a little later. Oh, and it was HOT! I was drinking ice tea like, well, like it was really hot out! Once Susan and the kids got home (having spent some time at the library), we headed off to Augusta. Why? Well, we needed some furniture! Susan was looking for a hutch type item for our recently renovated dining room, and we desperately need some new A/V furniture for the living room. We checked out Sams Club, Super Wal-Mart, Kohls (no furniture at all), and Circuit City. Nothing fit our needs. We had a late lunch/early supper around 5pm at Red Robin, and Matthew chucked it up. That, coupled with the fact I wasn't real hungry to begin with, meant I took most of my pulled pork fajitas home. Once back in the mid-coast, I went back to the church to do some more baptismal stuff, then home, then bed.

Sunday morning. Coffee. Donuts. Off to church. I'm grumpy. Why? No real reason. I had nursery, so I didn't actually witness the baptism I'd been preparing for for three days. We had a luncheon at church to celebrate the baptism, so we were home from church fairly early. Well, we did have to make one side stop for Susan. (On a side note, our Wal-Mart had these on clearance for $49. Too bad they're WAY to narrow for a real audio system, or I'd have bought another one. Don't think of it as an "audio pier." Think of it as enclosed bookcase.) I got a little nap in. Well, I didn't really nap. I rested and watched The Dirty Dozen. Then I started work on assembling the bookcase. Neighbor Michael stopped by, and lent a hand. Due to poor directions, we had to back track a couple times, but if you've ever assembled furniture, you know that's par for the course. Evening church was good, and then home again. The kids ate their leftovers from Red Robin. Matthew? Yup. Again. Three times in three days. I said to Susan "Why can't this kid hold down his supper?" I don't know. I had supper, then went to bed.

Thus ended the weekend.

Just finished: The Wisdom of Solomon
Up Next: Ecclesiasticus

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, August 24, 2007

Amy's "Back to School" MI-5

1. As a kid did you dread the beginning of the school year or did it excite you? What kind of student were you? A scholar? A social butterfly? The shy girl in the corner?

I loved school. I still love school. If I could get someone to pay for it, I'd go for a Masters degree! A few months ago, I took an adult ed Latin class. Barnes and Noble used to offer free online classes. I took a bunch of them, including The Bible as Literature, History of Jazz, Business Ethics, and Grammar. I was always glad to go back to school. I did pretty well in school, too. I missed being an honor grad by two one hundredths of a point. (I was a 3.23 GPA, and needed a 3.25.) I did about as well in college.

2. What was your favorite part of elementary school? What about Jr High/Middle School? And High School?

I liked art in elementary school, and of course music. In junior high, I was still into music, but I also worked in the library. In high school, guess what? Music was still my thing. But I also like biology and writing. Math has never been a favorite. While I did OK in them, I took the minimum required math courses. No elective math courses for me!

3. Do you still have any friends from school? How long have you known them?

Several people who work in my office I've known from school. Five of the 13 employees I knew in high school. Since I still live in the town where I went to high school, I bump into many old friends from time to time.

4. What was your must have school supply?

I always wanted a pair of Zips sneakers, though I never got them. Trapper Keepers were cool, and when I was in grade school, I got several new lunchboxes.

5. Did you have a favorite teacher? Tell us about them.

It's tough to pick a favorite. I did have some influential teachers. Mr. Merrow and Mr. Borgeson were rare male grade school teachers. Ms. Hall was my high school band teacher, and Mr. Walton was my high school chorus and music theory teacher. Tim Dresser was a cool biology teacher, and now I teach adult ed for him in the SAD 28 school system. He's one of the few teachers I can call by first name!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The New PA Head

This week, Three Button Deluxe has played two relatively small gigs. It was just us as a trio, and the only thing that needed amplification were three microphones. It seemed overkill to drag out my big mixing board and my incredibly heavy power amp for three mics. So I called, who else, Northern Kingdom Music. I talked a little bit with young'un Gamgee, looking to see if they had something sorta smallish and affordable. He threw some stuff at me, but it was all more than I wanted to spend. I just wanted something small and light and, most importantly, cheap! Anyway, Harvey is over-hearing our conversation, and he gets on the line. He tells me he has a Peavey 8600 that might do what I want. So I look it up, and look at the price, and say "I think that's way outta my price range."

Then he tells me the price*.

I asked him, "Are you sure? How could you sell it at that price?" He says "You made the right call on the right day. I want to get rid of it." I told him I'd be up to snag it. And I did. We've used it at both gigs, and it seems to work well. It works so well, in fact, I may get rid of my big board and amp.

* I cannot tell you the price I paid. You see, one time I mentioned a great deal they gave me, and someone from out west found my site, called the guys at NKM, and asked them to match that price. They told him to fly. Look, I've spent some coin at NKM. They're my local music store, and I support them as much as I can. Before I buy anything, I check with them first. And since I'm a good customer, they give me great deals. But you can't just call up from nowhere and expect the same deal that a 20+ year customer gets! My first drum set I ever owned was from NKM. My first pro set was from NKM. My current Starclassic kit is from NKM. Loyalty, dear readers. It goes both ways. So, for their sake, I'm not mentioning the price. But it was KILLER!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, CD!

Yes, it's slow at the office today, giving me time to post.

Well, yesterday was the birthday of the CD. In the article, people are sharing what their first CD was. Here's my story.

The first CD I ever heard was Santana's Greatest Hits. It was at Zayer's in Rockland. I was blown away how all those layers of percussion were so clear! Now, the rest of this chapter of Billy Rhythm's sordid past...

I had a friend who worked in a hardware store. His father was the manager at the store. And in that store was a CD player. It was an odd CD player. It was small, and supposed to be somewhat portable, but the battery pack was an optional accessory. Anyway, my friend, the employee at the store, decided he'd steal it, just to see if he could get it away from his father's watchful eye. So he did. Now, here's the odd part. He's got a hot CD player. (I should've mentioned this would have been about '87, so it's not like CD players were all over the place in Rockland ME.) It's from the store where he worked. His father is the manager of the store. He can't keep it. His Dad will surely notice the CD player is missing from the store, and now his son has a new CD player. Hmm... So, he gave it to me. Yes, I admit it. I received stolen property. I didn't take it, Mom, and I had no collusion in him taking it. He did it all on his own. I was just an afterthought.

OK, so now I've got a new, though hot, CD player. I have no CDs. I have no real money to buys CDs. But I did have enough for a CD single. And that was my first CD: a 3", three song CD single of Jimi Hendrix. It had "Hear My Train A Comin'" on it, as well as "Drivin' South" and the Beatles "Day Tripper." (Ironically, John Lennon was with Jimi that day, and sang back-up vocals on the song!) I bought it at Maine CD and Comics on Main Street. After that, we headed down to the local appliance/stereo store, where this friend's brother work. They had some CDs in there, so he gave me one. My second CD was The Manhattan Transfer's "Bop Do Wop."

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Brian Regan and Slips of Speech

Comedian Brian Regan tells this joke about switching thoughts mid stream, and having them come out your mouth. He gives an example of starting to say "Take care!", and then switching to "Good luck!" It came out "Take luck!" Well, I did that this morning. I was talking to Richard Haskell, local TV repairman and antenna installer, and I started to say "Thanks, dude." Thinking Richard, who's about 60 I guess, too old to be a dude, I decided to switch to "Thanks, bud." What came out was "Thanks, dud!" Nice!

Drinking: Coffee!!!
Listening to: the falling rain

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Melanie's MI-5

Mel, don't forget to pick someone for next week!

MI5 - The Internet

1. If you can remember, what year it was that you 1st welcomed the world wide web into your home? If you can't remember, how about a close guess :-)

I'm thinking it was about 1996 or 1997. Susan remembers we had our first computer in the old trailer we rented when we first got married. I know that I bought the computer at Wal-Mart while I was looking there, so that would've been after '94. We bought our new house in '96, and I think we got on the 'net shortly thereafter. That machine was a Windows 3.11 box, and was a 25mhz machine. When we decided to go online, I bought a 75mhz Pentium "Overdrive" processor, some more RAM, and a 33.6 USR modem that was v34 AND K-flex capable! Nice! And, we started off with AOL.

2. How many hours a day in the average week do you spend in front of a computer at home, at work, how much of that requires an online connection?

Since I work for an ISP, I'm online eight hours a day. I could get nothing done without being online. My billing software isn't online, but the info I need to put into it comes from email and online databases, so I really need to be online. At home, I do a little web design on the side, so I'm probably in front of my machine for another 1/2 hour to hour at home. I'm trying to cut down on some of the side things I do in life, and I've been really cutting back on web design from home. I may just get out of that biz all together.

3. Do you read anyone else's blog regularly? List your favorites.

You'll see my blogroll over there on the left. I read those people every day. I'll be making some additions and subtractions soon. (See post below.)

4. If you've discovered the wonderful world of Podcasting list some of your favorites. Whether you have or haven't share your thoughts on the concept.

I'm familiar with podcasting. I have listened to one or two of Dave Ramsey's podcasts. Other than that, I don't subscribe. I don't have an MP3 player, and would rather not listen to computer speakers. If I've got time to listen to something, it will probably be in front of my hifi. Usually, when I'm listening to something, I'm working around the house listening to XM, or driving in my car, listening to XM. :-)

5. Click on your history window share with us 5 websites you've recently visited and what brought you there.

Yahoo Mail. Just checking in.
Village Soup. I was checking the local news.
Google Groups. I'm an occasional poster to the RMMP (recreation:music:makers:percussion) newsgroup. Since Google added newsgroups to their list of services, I've been using them instead of a regular news reader. The only thing I miss is the lack of ability to killfile.
DFO, or DrumForum.Org. This is the drum community I actively participate in. I check every day, and when possible, twice.
Another Think. Charlie's got this Christian blog that I read somewhat regularly. Not every day, but at least every week. He's one that I'll be adding to my blog roll on the left, there. I like his writings, and I like the readability and look of his site.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Good bye, bloggers! We hardly knew thee.

Every morning, after I close out the MIS books from the previous day, and after answering email and procuring coffee, I open a folder in my browser called "Blogs," and have it open my regular reads in new tabs. If you're on my blog roll over on the left there, I read your site every day. Today, though, I pulled three out of the bookmarks, and they may disappear from the roll. Snake hasn't posted all year. Genova hasn't posted in several months, and neither has Clarke. And so, I bid them adieu. If you guys start posting again, please let me know.

Also, dear reader, if you know of a blog that I might be interested in, by all means leave a comment. I tend to favor blogs with original content--more journal than blog. Lists of links that point me elsewhere do nothing for me, if they don't allow me deeper insight into the posted themselves. And, I tend to favor someone who posts at least somewhat regularly.


According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, August 13, 2007

Losing my Coffee, and my Mind

(I forgot to post this last week...)

At work, my office is upstairs. The coffee pot is downstairs. When I need coffee, therefore, I need go downstairs. Since I also have other stuff that needs to go downstairs (paperwork and stuff), I usually wait until I have a bunch of stuff that needs to go down. I take it all, along with my coffee cup, and head down. I usually will drop the other stuff off at the various desks. I'll talk with the staff, see what's up, small talk, whatever. I frequently find that I've set my coffee cup down somewhere, and then left it. So, I double back, looking for my mug. And who knows where it is. I leave it all over. I joked the other day that I should make a glove with the mug sewn into the palm.

So today, I head downstairs for coffee. I've got some stuff I need to speak with Cameron and Barry about. (I know, I dangled.) As I head upstairs, I look on the counter near the coffee pot for my mug. It's not there. I figure I've left it on Barry's desk. So I go into his room, and it's not there. It's not on Cam's desk either. I head back to the coffee pot, and there's my mug on the counter. Thinking I'd just missed it in plain site, I headed back to the stairs. And that's when Ron started laughing. See, Ron knows about me and my mug losing. And he's decided that it would be funny to start hiding my mug on me. Nice! Not only am I going to be leaving it somewhere, but now Ron's going to hide it on me too!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Weekend Wrap Up

Let's start with Friday night. I did nothing special. Saturday was going to be busy, so Friday consisted of making some steak on the grill to go with the salad Susan made, and then an early bedtime.

Saturday morning I made some raspberry muffins as I waited for things to kick in. And kick they did! In the morning, Susan made the final preperations for getting herself and the kids packed for camp. And apparently, she had more to do than she figured, as she ran around stressed, trying to get the last minute things done. I had planned on leaving at 10am, and by gory she got things ready by 10! By that time, though, the Lobster Festival parade line-up was well underway. I ended up having to drive on the sidewalk to get out of our street. And then we headed to camp! We got to camp at 11:30, about 1/2 hour earlier than I thought. We were supposed to meet the camp director at noon. He was pulling out, just as we were pulling out. He apparently forgot we were coming! We found out where they were supposed to be, and I helped lug the stuff inside. I headed for home. I was able to get a little nap in before heading to my first gig at 4pm. (Yes, first gig...) That gig with the steel drum band was over at 7pm, and I headed directly for Brunswick for gig #2 at 9pm. That gig was uneventful. We did play an exceptional version of Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Crossfire" that I was sure would have the crown erupting in applause. In fact, not one person clapped hands. I wondered if they heard the same song I just heard. I was home about 2:30.

Sunday morning was church. It was easy to get ready without three kids! After church, I had lunch at Mom's. Then, I drove to Lowe's in Brunswick to get some wallpaper. (More on that later.) My buddy Jim went with me. I basically had enough time to get down there, get the wallpaper, and come straight back in time for church. Though I invited Jim and his sister Carol to come to church, they declined. And then it was home to bed.

So was the weekend.

Watching: Good Eats

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, August 6, 2007

Nick Ballsmith

I got an email from out of the blue today. It was Nick Ballsmith! When I graduated college, I went to work for Wal-Mart. Of the almost five years I was there, I served under four (that I can remember) managers. Nick was one of them, and the best of the four. He found me somehow, and shot me an email. He's working for Home Depot now, and said he'd like to come run the Rockland store. I told him if he did, perhaps I'd set foot in there again. (On a side note, I drove two hours yesterday to get to a Lowe's to buy wallpaper, rather than shop Home Depot.) Back on topic... Nick and his wife also have a little website where they sell photos. Nice!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, August 3, 2007

Susan's Camping MI-5

My beloved wife says: "I am leaving tomorrow to volunteer at a children's camp for a week, so this week's question are inspired by that."

1. Did you ever go to a "sleep away" and/or day camps when you were a kid?

Never. I did go to Vacation Bible Schools, but no camps, really. My sister went to Camp Fair Haven, once. One of my early memories is dropping her off or picking her up. (I can't remember which, really.) I wanted to attend band camp as I got older, but it just wasn't in the budget. Really, the only reason my kids are going to camp is because Susan is volunteering, thus getting them free tuition.

2. Do you enjoy camping? If so, what type: "roughin' it" in a tent or a more cushy style in a camper or trailer?

I like it ok. We used to do it when we were kids. I'm not into the tent thing. The pop-up camper is about as rough as I want to go. I really prefer the "camping" that's done in a hotel.

3. What's your favorite camping and/or outdoor activity?

I like swimming. Volleyball is fun too. And canoeing. I love to canoe. Every now and again, I think I'd like to buy one. Then, that fades.

4. Did you ever work/volunteer at a camp?


5. Any interesting/funny camping stories?

Although I didn't see the actual event, I remember my cousin Tommy talking about how he had seen various family members sneaking out to go skinny dipping. As I recall, he jumped out of a tent at them when they returned! Also, there was the time at Cathedral Pines when we thought my hermit crab had died. I think it was Mom (it may have been Dad--my memory's fuzzy) who was digging a hole with a spoon in one hand, and holding the crab in the other, when he decided to stick his head out and prove he wasn't dead. I seem to recall whomever was holding him screaming and dropping him on the ground!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

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