Friday, December 28, 2007

My MI-5, New Year Style

1) Do you make New Year's resolutions? Why or why not? If yes, do you keep them? How long?
I don't make them. The whole "New Year" concept seems silly to me. I half think it's mostly an excuse for people to go drinking. I really never saw the point of the holiday to begin with. So no, I don't bother with resolutions.

2) "What are you doing New Year's, New Year's eve?"
I'm playing two gigs. Thankfully, this year they're in the same venue. (I wasn't so lucky last year.) I play with the steel drum band from 6-8pm, then from 8:30 - 11:30 I'm playing with a rock-a-billy band.

3) Would you rather be doing something else? What?
I'd rather be home with my beloved wife, snuggling on the couch, and going to bed two hours before the ball drop.

4) Have you got some goal you'd like to see come to fruition in 2008? New house, or get married, or something?
Sure, I'd like to move into a new Victorian in Spruce Head. Or maybe just a new fence in the back yard.

5) Have you a fond New Year's memory you'd like to share?
Since I'm not huge into New Year's, I don't have huge memories. There was one time there was a youth "Lock In" at the YMCA in Camden. That was fun. And, one time Susan and I threw a party with movies and such, and invited some friends. I believe that party featured Deathrow Gameshow, quite possibly the worst movie ever made.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

The Battys of Rockland had a great, albeit long, Christmas. Presents started last night at Ma's, then to Uncle Houndog's at 9am, then my Mom's at noon-ish, then back home for our own tree. The boys went down with nary a peep. I got a new coat from Ma, Susan and I got a big bag of stuff from her parents, my Mom went overboard (as usual), and Susan got me some very nice things. Highlights? Mom got me a new copper pan and a Grecian pepper mill. Susan got me a new shower head (I like the waterfall effect) and a police scanner! It will hold 10 banks with 150 frequencies in each bank! I think I ended up programming about 60 frequencies into it, and that's all the stuff I could find for Knox county! Susan's big presents from me were a food processor (which she asked for) and a towel warmer! Actually, we got all kinds of new things for the bathroom: a shower radio, a new family electric toothbrush, lots of soap and shower stuff. I joked we could open a spa!

Feeling: tired!

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, December 24, 2007

To Jesus on His Birthday

For this your mother sweated in the cold,
For this you bled upon the bitter tree:
A yard of tinsel ribbon bought and sold;
A paper wreath; a day at home for me.
The merry bells ring out, the people kneel;
Up goes the man of God before the crowd;
With voice of honey and with eyes of steel
He drones your humble gospel to the proud.
Nobody listens. Less than the wind that blows
Are all your words to us you died to save.
O Prince of Peace! O Sharon's dewy Rose!
How mute you lie within your vaulted grave.
The stone the angel rolled away with tears
Is back upon your mouth these thousand years.

~Edna St. Vincent Millay

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Shelly, the scarf, and a quiche

I need to throw out some props here. Shelly is a lady who attends our church with some regularity. On Saturday morning, Julia and I were ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. I knew it was going to be cold, so I really bundled up: long underwear, two pairs of socks, long sleeve shirt, sweater, hat (and I don't really like hats), and mittens. Well, it was only 11 degrees. Julia rang the bell with me about an hour, then had to give up. About 15 minutes later, Shelly came by. "Where's your scarf?" she asked. I explained that I really had dressed up, much more so than usual, but it was just much colder than I expected. We had a little chit chat, then she went into the Wal-Mart to shop. A few minutes later, she came out with a new scarf. "I thought your coat was blue," she said as she handed me a blue and gray scarf. "I really am a scarf person," she went on "and rarely am I without one when it's cold." Thank you Shelly! It really does make a big difference!

Supper tonight was a quiche. It happens to be one of my specialties. When I got home, Susan had laid out a recipe for me. It actually worked really well. I didn't have to "blind bake" the crust. The filling is easy to remember: 4 eggs, 1.75 cups milk. Then your flavor ingredients. Ta-dah! Everyone loved it; it's all gone!

Reading: Carpe Manana
Listening to: Jimmy Smith's Cookin' Christmas

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, December 14, 2007

Merry Christmas, You Stink!

So I manage this ISP, see, and I'm in charge of accounts receivable. Even before I started working here, the company would "lock" accounts that were 2 1/2 months past due. Basically, a locked account is still an open, active account, but you can't browse the web, and you can't send/receive email. About one week before we lock accounts, we send an email. "Hey, you might've overlooked this; your bill is past due. Please pay on your account, or we will lock it." So that means the customer has had two bills and an email asking them to get current. You all set on the background, now? Ok.

So yesterday was the day we were supposed to lock accounts. Instead, I sent an email to the folks and said "In the spirit of the holidays, we're granting you all a reprieve this month. I won't be locking accounts today." Ten people replied to me. (I'm not making that up. It really was 10.) One (the first reply back) said:

"Bill, you've renewed my faith in the holidays."

Nice. That made me feel good.

And one said:

"Cmon, cheksinmail"

Nice. That did not make me feel good.

It reminds me of the story of Jesus and the 10 Lepers. Now I need to remind myself to focus on Sarah (the first reply), and not the person from the second.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Gina's MI-25!

1. Do you usually use wrapping paper or gift bags?
Usually, wrapping paper, though a bag does get used on occasion.

2. Is your tree a real tree or is it artificial?
Fake. Real trees are a pain to deal with.

3. If you do put a tree up, when do you usually do this?
Whenever there's time. We have no specific day. This year, it was last Saturday.

4. When do you take your tree down? Any specific reason for this – tradition etc?
Same as #3. No particular time.

5. What about eggnog? Do you like it? Any special ingredients added?
Do I like egg nog? Oh yeah! And, for the last few nights, Susan and I have taken store bought nog (no where near as good as Uncle Ade's version) and put a little spiced rum in it. Just a touch. Delicious. Still way off from Uncle Ade. Like, blocks away way off.

6. Do you have a nativity scene? A menorah?
I do believe we have a nativity scene. We do not have a menorah.

7. What was a special (or favorite) gift you received as a child?
My first drum set. As I got older, a target .22 rifle from my grandfather and a bass drum microphone from my wife (then girlfriend) and Mom became special.

8. Who is your hardest person to buy for? Why?
My Mom. She offers no hints.

9. Who is your easiest person to buy for?
My kids.

10. Do you send Christmas (or holiday) cards? Email or snail mail?
Usually Susan does a family photo card. I think she ran out of time this year.

11. What was the worst Christmas present you ever received?
I can't think of any, really.

12. What is your favorite holiday movie?
A Christmas Carol. I remember one particularly dark version of the movie I watched over at Papa's house. The scene where they fly out the window among the spirits was particularly gruesome in this version. (That particular scene, incidentally, is left out of most versions.) Now that I have a Tivo, I Tivo every version I can find. I haven't found it yet.

13. When do you start your holiday shopping?
Sometime in November.

14. Have you ever recycled a present?

15. What is your favorite thing to eat during the holidays?
Egg nog!

16. What about the lights on your tree – colored, clear, mixed?
I like colored, and I like blinking ones. I seem to recall my Dad was anti-blink, but my sister tells me Mom was anti-blink. I seem to recall growing up, they didn't blink. I say BLINK! I'm so rebellious.

17. What is your favorite Christmas/holiday song?
I can't pick one. I like too many. How about a short list? "How Great Our Joy"; "Gabriel's Message"; "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"; "Coventry Carol"; "March of the Sugar Rum Cherries."

18. Do you travel or stay home for the holidays?
Stay home. We do travel to Ma's and Mom's, but they're only 15 minutes away.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

20. What goes on the top of your tree? Angel, star, squirrel?
A star. It blinks. :-)

21. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning?

22. What’s the most annoying thing about this time of year?
Ungrateful customers.

23. Will you attend a religious service this Christmas season?

24. What would you really like to receive on Christmas this year?
Some new garbage cans.

25. And finally just to see if you’re paying attention, in A Charlie Brown Christmas, what does Lucy want for Christmas?
A night alone in the pumpkin patch with Franklin?

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, December 10, 2007

Busy Monday Madness

Man, what a crazy time. No MI-5 this week. I asked two people to do it, and no one wanted to, I guess. I've got a desk load of work, and all kinds of Christmas stuff that needs doing. Plus, billing day is in a week. And, I should post a weekend wrap up. And so I shall. Just not right now.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Monday, December 3, 2007

Weekend Wraps

Well, another weekend gone. And it went by fast, too!

I left the office at 5pm Friday, and headed to my gig in Brunswick. It was cold, but otherwise uneventful. We beat feed outta the place, as I needed to be up early for Saturday. We (Blind Albert was riding with me) didn't even stop for a snack and coffee on the ride home. The result? I was home at 2:15am, about 15 minutes earlier than normal from that particular gig.

I woke up about 7:45 on Saturday morning. I needed to switch out some cymbals, shower, and get coffee. (Switch out cymbals? You use different cymbals for Jazz than rock/blues.) I stopped and got a plain chocolate donut at Willow St. Donuts, then headed to the gig. I was there about 9am, and was all set up when the other guys got there at 9:30. We played some Jazz and Christmas favorites, and everyone was happy. In fact, they already booked us for next year! That was done at 1pm, and then it was off to the Rockland Elks to set up for the next gig. I got that done with little time to spare before heading off to the North Pole on the Polar Express train ride fundraiser for the Toy Library. Susan's folks took the kids after the ride, and we flew home so Susan could change. Then, off to the 6pm dinner for gig #2. Dinner was fine; the roast was very good, the lasagna not so good. By the time the company give-aways were over, we only had about two hours to play. That's ok, I guess, but I spent almost as much time setting up/tearing down! Still, it was an early night, and I was home by midnight.

Since we had no children, Susan and I slept in as late as we could on Sunday--about 8am. Then it was off to church. Right after lunch, I had to get to the museum for my 2pm gig. That's four gigs this weekend for you playing along at home. Once that was done, I went home to pick up Julia and Susan for church. Susan, you see, went to pick up Julia at her parents, but we left the boys there. Matt apparently told Susan "I don't want to go home" as soon as she set foot in the door! Anyway, back at church we had our Moldovan missionary supper. Then it was home, and again, I think we went to bed early.

The end.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

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