Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Axioms and Car Stereos

Here's another Billy Rhythm Axiom. If you sit down in a rocking chair with a sleeping baby, in approximately 3.5 minutes, any energy you had will be gone! Man, is there anything so relaxing as rocking a sleeping baby?

So the Green Hornet I bought back in June. It has just about every option you can think of. But it had a factory cassette deck--no CD player. So the previous owner added an RF Kenwood CD changer to the back, under the jump seat. One small problem: no remote. It only operates with a remote. So I bought one on ebay. It didn't work. It would turn the power on, but that's it. When I pushed a button, a little light on the head unit blinked, so I know the remote was transmitting, and I know the unit was receiving a code of some sort, but it wasn't working. So I called Kenwood, and said "What remote will work with this unit I have?" They gave me the model number. I found one of those on ebay, and bought it. It worked even less. No power, no lights on the head unit, no nothing. So I waited until I found the same model remote mine came with originally. I bought it. It didn't work. I've now dropped $30 on remotes that don't work. So I guess the head unit itself was broken.

So, I decided I'd buy a Kenwood tape deck to fit my car. I'd get one with CD changer controls on it. That way, I'd plug the changer into the tape deck, and I'd be able to use both. I found a unit that fit my needs at Crutchfield, and called to order it. So I'm talking with J.R. at Chrutchfield, and I'm looking at the site while I'm talking to him, and I notice this note about the unit.

"This unit controls Kenwood CD changers made since 2001. For models from 1993 - 2000, you will need widget kcd-wabk." Since my car was made in '95, I'm pretty sure the changer fits into this class. I ask J.R. how much widget kcd-wabk costs.


So I'll then have dropped $100 into getting this CD changer working, and even then I'm not 100% sure it's going to work. So I gave up. Instead, I bought a $100 Clarion unit. I have a Clarion in my truck. I picked that one because it sounded good, and it didn't have a lot of blinking red and blue gee-gaws. So I thought I'd buy another Clarion. And it's got a knob! Oh, it's so nice to reach for the volume without having to look for some button that's the same size and shape as all the other buttons on your radio. Instead, just grab the knob and turn. J.R. even mentioned that people who buy this unit frequently mention they prefer an actual knob for volume. Well count me as one of those people.

And installation was a breeze. Last night, while the boys were falling asleep, I connected the free (!) included (!) wiring harness to the head unit. Then when I came to work this morning, I had an extra five minutes or so. I pulled the old unit out, plugged the new unit in, and BANG had a new CD player in the Green Hornet. It's SOOOO nice. I can't believe I went five months with only FM (and three tapes) in my car.

(For those who were wondering--the three tapes were Frank Zappa's "Apostrophe," The Police's "Zenyatta Mondatta," and Jethro Tull's "Greatest Hits.")

Watching: Dead Poets Society Laserdisc
Eating: smoked sausage and stuffing

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, November 29, 2004

Rolling Scallops

We just finished supper. I made some fried scallops. We bought them fresh back in February or March. And though you wouldn't want to eat them raw, or even steamed, they were still very good fried. Yum.

OK, so it's a stinky update, but I needed to say something after almost a week. Oh, here's something new. Nat rolled over for the first time on Saturday. Matt rolled over for the first time today. Actually, he's done it twice! Right now, Susan's feeding them cereal.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

I Didn't Actually Have a Breakdown

So I had this dream last night. I was walking to school with my shotgun on my shoulder. I had heard a talk radio program (in my dream) about the Constitution, and was taken by the second amendment: "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." I felt that not being allowed to take a shotgun to school was infringing on my rights. As I walked into school, only one student questioned why I had a gun. I explained to her that a) it wasn't loaded, and b) it was my Constitutional right. Everyone else was cool with it, and after I explained, she was too.

Next, I was in health class at Rockland high. I went to sit at what I thought was my desk, but someone was already in it. I thought it strange, but just picked another seat. The teacher (Scott Benzie) came in, and started giving the homework assignments. He passed a card to the first seat in each row. Apparently, the really smart kids were given the first seat. These students could choose whether they were going to do the homework listed on the card or not. If they chose not to do it, they turned around and handed the card back. Every other student in the row then had to do the homework, and the smart kids would then be given a different card. The head of my row chose not to do what was on the card. I turned to the girl next to me, and said "I'm not familar with this method of assigning homework." She said "He's been doing it like this all year!" I began to think I wasn't in the right class. That would explain why my seat was taken. I asked to look at her book. She showed me some kind of marine biology book. (Why marine biology in health class, I don't know. In the dream, I didn't question it.) "That's not the same book I'm using," I said. She said "It's Monday morning, first period. Are you in the right room?" I wasn't sure, so I went to the office to find out.

I went to the office, and checked my shotgun at the door. (Strangely, there was another shotgun in the corner where I left mine. Apparently, many students were bringing shotguns to school.) In the office were Tim Dresser, Debbie McKenney, and Mrs. Sylvester. I explained to Mrs. Sylvester that I wasn't sure what class I was supposed to be in. She said she'd go pull my schedule from the file. In my dream, I was really freaking out. Something wasn't right, and I knew it, but I didn't know what was wrong. Tim Dresser decided to fax Susan all the pictures of the students who were supposed to be in 1st period health on Monday. Of course, my photo wasn't in there. So Susan called in, and asked to speak to me.

"Why are you in health class? You're in your 30s! You graduated almost 15 years ago! You're supposed to be at work! I'm coming to pick you up."

I hung up the phone, laid down on the couch in the office, and started crying.

Susan picked me up, and put me in the minivan. She explained that we needed to get to an art convention. You know how the time share condo people sit you down with a group, at a mountain retreat or something, and try to convince you to buy a time share? It was the same kinda deal, but with art. And instead of being at some cool locale, it was at the old Junior High on Lincoln St. So we walked into the room, and were the first to arrive. The salesman, who had been lying down napping, jumbed to his feet, straightened his suit, and welcomed us. Someone else came up beside me, and they, already having their nametag on, proceeded into the sales room. I had to wait for the salesman to fill out my "Hello, my name is..." form.

Then I woke up.

Reading: 1st Chronicles
Just Finished: Chicken strips, garlic roasted potatoes, and corn

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

New MIS Radio Ad

If you want to hear the new Midcoast Internet Holiday ad (complete with line spoken by Julia Valentine) you can click
here. It's about a meg, so it'll take a minute for you folks on dial-up.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

The Bible and Child Sacrifice

Mother Cuts Off Baby's Arms

No matter how you want to spin it, God doesn't call people to sacrifice children to Him. If you hear God telling you to sacrifice your children, you can bet you should be looking for some help.

Don't Sacrifice Your Children (Note: Molech was a "god" who demanded child sacrifice.)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, November 19, 2004

I Bought a Tama Rosewood

Well, the hunt of almost 20 years is over. Yesterday, I purchased a Tama rosewood snare drum. It's the older style, with the regular (as opposed to tube) lugs, rolling action strainer and extended snare wires, and die cast hoops. I paid a little more than I would've liked, but not an exorbitant price. It needs to be cleaned up a little, and given the Billy Rhythm treatment. It's got a couple of little scrapes on the finish, but nothing deep. I bought it from Shane, and he's known for years I've been jonesin' for it. If you build a web site that says "This is the snare I absolutely must have for my collection," and someone finds it and wants to sell you said drum, they pretty much know they won't have to dicker. I kidded Shane about that. I tried to get him to come down $50. He wouldn't budge. "You kinda got me here," I said. He knew.

It's a little sad though, in a way. A lot of the fun was in the hunting. Now that I've bagged my own holy grail, there really isn't much in the snare world left. I developed this theory. Snares fall into three categories: attainable, obtainable, and affordable. Billy Gladstone snare: only 40 made, haven't seen one on ebay in forever, and they go for thousands. Not attainable, not obtainable, and certainly not affordable. Radio Kings are out there, and can be found on ebay on any given day. But at $600, they're not really affordable. Rolling Bombers don't sell for a ton of money, but they don't come up on auction much, so they're not really obtainable. The Rogers Dynasonic, at about $300-$350, is everywhere. But it's certainly a ways down on the "lust" scale, so to speak.

Looks like a can take that extra cash I earn and pay off the house early!

Jim asked in a comment a while ago about my preference for Tama drums, and about a catalog Elwood gave me years ago. On the same day Elwood gave me that catalog, he also gave me a Pearl drum catalog. In reading the two (over and over and over!), I began to appreciate some of the differences that Tama brought out about why they were the better brand. Tama's wrap finishes were glued all over the drum, and not just taped at the seams. Tama staggered the seams of the wood plies used on their drums. Not everyone did that then, though they all do it now. But what really sold me was that Tama's tom hardware didn't project into the drum. The Tama l-rod to hold the tom was on the outside, while Pearl's mounts projected inside the tom. (So did Yamaha's mounts, as well as Gretsch's, Ludwig's, Yamaha's, and most others.) And the Tama holder utilized a ball and socket mount, which was slick. So, that's where the love started.

I still like Tama, as I think they have good value for the dollar. They do need to change their badge, though. It looks like a ROC POS. The Starclassic badge is nice, though.

Drinking: Black coffee
Hearing in my head: Foreigner

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

MI-5, courtesy of my sister Lisa

1. Where do you traditionally spend Thanksgiving Dinner?
Usually my paternal grandmother's house, Ma's. Since I've been married though, we switch off. One year at Ma's, and one year with Susan's family. Lately, the years that we're with Sue's family, dinner is held at our house.

2. What part of the Thanksgiving meal do you look forward to the most?
The sausage stuffing. Why I don't make it throughout the year is beyond me. It's not hard, and I love it, so why don't I make it myself at home? Maybe my New Year's resolution will be to eat more sausage stuffing. Also, that 30 Minute Meal lady my sister likes made stuffing muffins. Cooking the stuffing in muffin tins gives you more crunchy bits. More crunchy bits = more yum!

3. If you don't prepare the meal yourself, do you have a special dish that you do prepare to share at the meal? (Feel free to share the recipe if you'd like.)
We don't usually make anything when going to Ma's, but this year I'm thinking I may bring Susan's balsamic vinegar candied onions.

4. Share a Thanksgiving memory.
Hmm. I remember having to sit at the kid's table. Nothing else really notable springs to mind right now.

5. For what are you most thankful this year?
I have two new sons, and they came into the world healthy, and Mother did well, and big sister has really jumped into her role.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Tuesday Evening, Reading the Red Book

So what have I been up to? Not much, I suppose. I've had this thing for cinnamon the last few days. I made an apple pie last night to help scratch the itch. As of this writing, the pie is gone!

Joe Cappucino thought having a blog might be cool. I'm teaching an adult ed blogging class next semester, so Joe agreed to be my technical gunnea pig. So I set up a Blogger account for him, adjusted his template, and got him up and running. You can read his knightly fantasy postings over at Tales from the Red Book.

Watching: nothing right now, give me a minute!
Just finished: Lodon broil, mashed potatoes and green beans

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, November 12, 2004

Strange Dreams and Karma

Joe from 3-Dimensions sent around this little inspirational email this morning. I decided to respond to him with Brautigan's "Karma Repair Kit." I found this. I thought comment #1 was a hoot. Obviously, they didn't understand.

I had a strange dream last night. I dreamt Heather Armstrong called me on the phone! I don't remember why she called, by I do remember her saying she was covering a double shift at McDonalds that night. I thought it odd she would be working their, when she went to college (last I knew) at Johnson and Wales. Anyway, I told her that everyone was looking for her, and nobody could find her for the 10th reunion. She said she'd been living in Camden since graduation, but she just never ran in to anybody! Then in the background, I heard the voice of Tom Derby. I know Tom because I helped design his website. I said "Do you know Tom Derby?" She said "He's my stepfather! He married my mother after..." I don't know if her Mom divorced her father in my dream, or if he died. But for some reason, Heather's mom had remarried Tom Derby, and she was living in his house! (Of course, in real life, I've been to Tom's house, and I didn't see Heather. And since Tom's married, his current wife might object to him being married to Heather's mom!)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

MI-5, Old Skool (for real!)

1. What one class in school/college did you hate the most?
Fantasy, Myth, and Enchantment. The course description looked great! Mythical literature. Cool. Unfortunately, it was merely the instructors way of indoctrinating you into Transcendental Meditation. Awful class. Just awful. I preferred statistics, if you can believe it.

2. What two teachers made marks on who you are?
Music teachers Marlene Hall and Richard Walton. Dr. Faxon did a good job too, teaching not only his subject (chemistry and physical science), but teaching you how to think

3. What three hot lunch menu items were your favorites?
Scrambled hamburger. Instant mashed potatoes. Bread & butter sandwiches at Gilford B. Bulter.

4. Fourth period in high school--remember what you were doing?
Easy. Fourth period was lunch at RDHS. Three out of four years I had chorus that period. I'm not sure what I had in the off year.

5. Name five friends from "your group" in high school. Do you know what they're doing?
Brian Gamage, Nate Buter, Jeremy Newbert, Frank Chandler, and Jeremey Rackliffe. Brian was working for a college in Florida last I knew. Jeremy N. has some delivery service he works for, and drives back and forth to Boston I think. (Delivering drugs if I recall.) Frank Chandler is still kicking around I think, but I don't know what he's doing. Same for Jeremey R., although I know he was working for the Waldoboro police department for a time. (Now that was a funny story...)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Have I completed the quest for the Grail?

I got my first drum catalog in '85. It was the Tama catalog, and Elwood gave it to me. I spent years drooling over those drums. In high school, I cut out the seven piece Superstar Super Maple kit and hung it inside my locker. It's still my dream kit. Also in that catalog were the Mastercraft snare drums. The Cordia Artstar, the fiberglass FiberStar, the Bell Brass and the rosewood. Something about that drum. What? I don't know.

Shane Kinney lived down the road from me in Spruce Head. He played the drums too. He moved to Portland, and had a bit of success playing with Broken Clown. By day, he works at a drum shop. One day while I'm in there, I mention I'm looking for a Tama rosewood. He tells me he has one! I ask if it's the cool early version with extended snares and die cast hoops, or one of the late models with tube lugs and brass hoops. It's the cool early one, he says. Is it the big, deep 6 1/2" model? Oh, yeah it is! I try and get him to sell it to me. He won't. But I make him promise to give me first refusal if he ever sells it. He agrees.

I got an email today from Shane. The subject: "The time has come."

I almost jumped from my seat.

I've made arrangements to go check it out next week. Shane says it's a little battle scarred, so we'll see. Just owning one would be cool, but owning one from the kid I grew up with--that would be real cool.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Web Masterin' Fool

I'm working the 6-9pm shift tonight. It's usually not very busy, and tonight is no exception. But instead of surfin' around doing nothing in particular, I've been working on my web making muscles. What did I do? Well, I made a little button for Jimmy T's website. You can see the "Games? Must We?" button on the right there. Then, I installed this cool cgi calendar, which is way easy to update. Click the calendar link to see how it works. Did you try to add an item? Uh-uh, not without the password! Then, I worked on installing a secure order page for gift certificates over at Grapes Restaurant. My boss, JP, has re-written some code that keeps online forms from being spammed. So I had to edit the cgi a little for testing. If you don't do that, the results of the form go to the email adress of the site owner. I don't want them to get the results until it's done. So you edit the cgi to reflect a test address. And of course putting it on a secure server ups the ante. I did mostly ok. I got both form secure, but for some reason the transmission wasn't going securely. I called JP at home (he's cool like that--he helps me with the hard tech stuff a lot), and he showed me that my "post" command wasn't being referenced securely. So both pages were secure, but the transmission wasn't, just as I suspected. A quick change of one line of code, and presto! Order your gift certificates online, and securely!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thank-You Vets!

My dad, Bill Batty, Sr. His brother, Thronton Batty, Jr. Their father, Thornton Batty, Sr. His father, F.C. Batty. And I recently learned his father. (Sorry, I don't know his name.) Four generations of Batty men served in the Coast Guard/Lighthouse Service.

I have very few regrets in life. But I wish I had given more weight to serving my country when I was younger.

Feeling: Giddy (I'll explain why later)
Eating: Carrot cake muffin and coffee

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Time Flew By Halloween

Man, I really screwed up Halloween this year. I didn't watch Francis Ford Coppola's version of Dracula. I didn't listen to Saint Saens Danse Macabre. I didn't go get one of Aunt Diana's apples. I didn't read any Poe. And, I didn't post "The Pumpkin Tide" or "Trick or Treating Down to the Sea in Ships." It all passed me by. Thanksgiving is in like two weeks. Before I know it, I'll be looking back at 2004. Time is going faster and faster--a sure sign I am getting older. In my 30s, three kids. Man.

Feeling: Melancholy
Hearing in my Head: Culture Club (Damn you Jim!)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, November 8, 2004

Coastal Human Resource Consulting

Coastal Human Resource Consulting, CHRC, is located in Rockland, Maine. CHRC offers human resources consulting services which range from outsourcing of key personnel functions such as staffing, employee relations, benefits administration, compensation, job description development, HR forms development, employee handbook development, new hire orientation, recruiting and terminations to consulting projects involving employee surveys, employee retention, succession planning, human resource audits, outplacement assistance, performance management, and policy and procedure development and implementation.

Oh, and I made the site.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, November 5, 2004

Jim's Musical MI-5

1. What musical groups or people have you seen in concert?
Yikes! My memory's not that good. I'll try, though. My first real concert was Sawyer Brown, Lee Greenwood, and Kenny Rogers. My first rock concert was Tesla and David Lee Roth. I've seen BB King twice, and.. Maybe it's better I go by genre.

Country: Kenny Rogers et al, Lyle Lovett and his Large Band
Rock: Roth, Chicago (great show), Jethro Tull, Melissa Etheridge, Brian Adams, and Sarah Mclachlan (x2). Notable opening acts include Mr. Big, Pete Droge, Lisa Loeb, and Paula Cole.
Blues: BB King (x2), Robert Cray. Also, I've seen some big acts at the North Atlantic Blues Festival like Jimmy Vaughan, Bo Diddley, Marcia Ball, E.C. Scott, Shamika Copeland (Johnny Copeland's daughter), and Susan Tedeschi. I've jammed with blues players Eddie Shaw and the Worlfgang and Kenny Neal. No, not as well known as BB King, but solid blues nonetheless.
Jazz: Dave Brubeck (x2), Diana Krall, Chales Mingus Big Band, Poncho Sanchez, John Schofiled, Medeski Martin & Wood, Jane Monheit, Tiger Baku (x2), Artie Shaw Bing Band, Tito Puente Orchestra.
Folk: Richie Havens, Josh White Jr., Shawn Colvin.

I put the ticket stubs of the shows I've seen into the CD liners of my discs. That way, I have a bit of a reminder of the show. Sometimes I forget! :-)

2. If you could see one group or person who would it be. Mind you they can be living, dead or broken up. They are coming back for this concert.
The Beatles. Of course there's no real hope of that, so I'm holding out for The Police.

3. Do you own all the albums of any musical group or person?
I think I own all of Shawn Colvin's albums. I've got all the Counting Crows regular releases (I refuse to buy a greatest hits collection from anyone just so I can get one or two new tunes.) I've got all Sarah McLachlan's but her latest. I've got Debbie Gibson's first three releases. I've got all Diana Krall's albums but her latest--she's getting too lounge-y for me. I liked her better as a straight up jazzer.

4. What is the best concert you ever attended?
I can't really say. The first Brubeck concert was really good. The entire experience of spending the day with Jim and seeing the Mingus band was good too. McLachaln and Cole was a good show.

5. Is there any group/musician you simply must or really want to see before you die? More than one is fine.
I really want to see Counting Crows live. They came with Dogs Eye View once--I wish I had seen that one. I'd like to see Lenny Kravitz live too.

Wanting: Chocolate and coffee
Hearing in my head: Everybody Hurts, REM

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Caution! Cute Ahead!

If you're in a dower mood this morning, don't look. What you see will make you retch. If, however, you're feeling good, or maybe just need a little pick-me-up, then click here to see two cute twins!

Feeling: Hungry!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Speaking of the electoral process

Some Democrat in Maine is running an ad. "What does gridlock sound like?" Cue the elephant trumpet. This guy is claiming that, though the Democrats have had 30 years of control in the state congress, it's the Republicans who have blocked progress. Please.

Instead, I prefer the compasion ad of Maine in New Hampshire. New Hampshire has had a Republican congress for the past 30-ish years. Maine is the 49th highest taxed state. New Hampsire is like 6th. They have neither sales nor income tax. Their health care is about 50% of the cost of ours. How can they even survive?

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

New Photos of the Boys

Mom snapped some good photos a couple of weeks ago, and she emailed them to me. Nat is the oldest, so he gets the birthright. Matt is our youngest child (by six minutes), so he'll get spoiled and punished less. :-)

Just finished: a yummy chicken Susan made
Watching: the electoral process at work

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Lyle Lovett

For some unkown reasons, the words to Lyle Lovett's song "Pontiac" are haunting me this afternoon. I can't get them out of my head. Pretty disturbing. See the "Get More Here" section for the lyrics, if you dare. Be warned though, it might point to something strange in my psyche.

Feeling: strangely blue

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

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