Monday, December 31, 2007

The Highs and Lows of 2007 - The Highs

It's 90 minutes to 2008 as I'm about to post this. The head is shaved. There's no snow on the ground. I'm at home spending NYE drinking beer and watching bad movies on TV. I'm officially old! Be sure to read the post below this one first!! It's my "Lows" list! This one was easier to do. And it's a little embarrassing to see what I consider a "High". The one thing that didn't make the list were the beer drinking sessions that I did with Moose, Rachel and Just.A.Girl. Those are just a given...

"The 10 High Points of 2007"
(from less high to highest of the high)

10. Visit from the Pope - According to Statcounter, the Pope, the Holy See, the Pontiff, the Bishop of Rome, the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was a visitor to my site! What's a tad disturbing is that He came over from Married In Ohio's site!

9. Shaved Head - This one took you, me, and just about everyone by surprise. If I would have known about the positive reaction I would have gotten for this, I would have done it 20 years ago!

8. My Football Teams - My three main football teams all did very well, with 2 of them winning their respective championships. My UM Griz made the playoffs in the FCS (formerly 1-AA) before falling in the first round. But my former high school won the MT AA Championship (that's the big schools here), and of course, Carroll College won their 5th national NAIA championship in the past 6 years. Not bad on all fronts!
7. Symphony Under the Stars - Once again, a successful concert. After enduring triple digit heat, a severely injured leg, smoky skies, and numerous rehearsals. Plus having to set up the stage, tear it down, supervise the grand piano move, and dealing with those who "know" better. We had anywhere from 15-17,500 people, depending on whom you talk to. For all the things that could go wrong with this concert, we've had great results. We'll be doing it again next July!
6. In Cahoots w/the Mob Rules Horns - We had a great run this year, right up to the point where we called it "quits" (or not). Some great gigs out at the lake, a few wedding receptions, and of course, the Alive @ Five party downtown. In addition to the gigs, there were two new additions born to the "family"! A pretty good year all around!

5. iPod Touch - I bought myself a new iPod in November. Happy, happy, joy, joy!! Nothing more needs to be said.

4. Row 2 at Chicago - August found me in the second row for the Chicago concert in Bozeman. Great seats, fantastic concerts, and the horns "posed" for a HNT picture with me!

3. The Unnamed Love of My Life - As mentioned over the past few posts. Even though it didn't turn out the way that I had envisioned, I do have to thank her for changing my general behavior and personality. When people in real life mentioned that I seemed happier or something, it must have been working! Any of you who have been around for awhile know that I was generally in the dumps for awhile for alot of reasons. She brought me out of that, and I will always thank her for that. Has that feeling lasted? Yeah, I think so. I'm nowhere near as immediately negative as I once was. I at least wait before playing the devil's advocate. And frankly, I haven't given up on love! (btw--this will likely be the last you hear about this.)

2. Job Change - In January, my staff position in the symphony changed from personnel to production manager. It has been the perfect move for me. In spite of more physical labor, and my body enduring all sorts of abuse, it's much easier to work with inanimate objects, than trying to work with people. People suck.
1. My 50th birthday in Dallas - In spite of my family's disbelief, I ran off to Dallas to celebrate my 50th birthday. I knew it would be at least as fun as my Nashville trip, and I was right! Way too many things I could talk about but the friendships were all genuine, the drinking was excessive, the sleep was lacking, the boobie grabbing was wonderful, the stripper with hot-pink hair was phenomenal, the hours were grueling, the presents were special, and the memories are lasting. My thanks to everyone that joined the celebration! So where should I go next???
That's the list of the "high" points for 2007. I hope that in a year from now, my list is just as easy to make! Happy New Year to All!

The Highs and Lows of 2007 - The Lows

Time for that annual recap of 2007. Surprisingly, it was difficult to come up with 10 things that were worthy of making the list. And unlike past years, some of them won't have a link to a specific post. Certainly there was strife in the world, but that doesn't count for this list. Funny how certain items on this list will also be part of my "highs" for 2007! This is what makes my "lows" list:

"The 10 Low Points of 2007"
(from least low to lowest of the low)
10. Finances - Didn't really get into much of this during the year, but I have no money. I get occasional windfalls, which I immediately spend on things like plane tickets, but in general, I have no money. Lord help me if I ever really need something. A new/better "regular" job would help, but my current situation is quite flexible, and that's something I need. Without the wife, kids or pets, I'm doing OK. But I'd love to have some money.

9. Smoky Forest Fires - This only reaches #9 because it's become sort of a common occurrence around here. This year was a bit worse than normal around here, smoke-wise. We also had a major fire north of town. But most of the smoke came from the southwest of here, and while it didn't affect me directly, the continuous exposure couldn't help but give me some headaches and make me cranky. But then again, who would know?

8. Elton John Tickets - For the first time ever, Sir Elton was giving concerts in Bozeman and Missoula. I was online instantaneously as they went on sale. Through gross incompetence in Missoula, and lack of awareness in Bozeman, thousands of people in Montana were left without tickets to either concert (though the ticket broker in Pennsylvania didn't seem to have problems...). Within an hour of going on sale (and selling out in less than 30 minutes), you could buy tickets on eBay at a 500% increase. The good news--he was so impressed with Montana that he scheduled another concert for April '08. I've got tickets. About as far away as possible from the stage, but hey!, I'm in the building!

7. Loss of bloggerfriends - Nothing specific here. Just the usual numbers of people that just quit blogging, with or without notice. It's frustrating. A new twist this year--bloggerfriends that switch to Myspace (eek!) or Facebook. It's like they've moved to a foreign country (not including Canada). You like to visit, but only when you can, and there's all sorts of different rules and customs and things. It never feels like home. Some are successful at dual, or even triple, citizenship. I am not. And I've found that if I can't get that daily dose of Blogger/Wordpress goodness from my friends, the communication starts to falter. And when that happens, the closeness usually suffers. Wish it didn't...

6. Imposters - OK, I've never specifically written about this, but it's severely bugged me for the full year. That would be the tendency of posting pictures, especially for HNT, and trying to pass them off as their own. Not what like Vixen does. She doesn't infer that the pictures she puts up daily are of her. This has been going on for quite awhile on a few sites, and I finally broke down and confronted one offender. On a happy note, she doesn't do it now. The whole idea of HNT was to expose ourselves, not what we think people want to see. While my trusting nature believes that the pictures posted on our sites are our own, I hate seeing when people take advantage of that trust.

5. Cancer/Death - And other severe conditions. Too many to link here. Again, relatively low in the list, because it's unfortunately become "routine". Saucy Wildcat, Evening, Mermaid, Michelle's daughter Meagan, Charlie's dad, Biscuit's dad, my dad, and the others that I can't think of off the top of my head. And the death of Moose's mother. It's a cruel, sad thing. I might as well mention the deaths of two men who had a profound effect on me--my mom's obstetrician when I was born, and my high school band director, who was a profound influence on me. And there was the girl from my high school class who was run down by a drunk driver. The list just seems to grow and grow...

4. In Cahoots & the Mob Rules Horns - After over 10 years of playing together, the band called it quits. Kind of. In mid-September, we announced at our last gig that it would actually would be our last gig. In actuality, most of us want to continue, but I'll admit that having some time away has been nice. I think we'll meet in January to discuss the future. I hope we kick it back up again. But we'll just have to wait and see.

3. Love is fleeting... - As I mentioned for my last HNT, the whole "love" thing came and went. At the time, it was surprisingly painful. Surprisingly, because it was a long distance thing, and we'd never actually met face to face. It's not like I spent a fortune on dinners and gifts and weekend getaways. But emotionally, she did a world of good for me. And hopefully she got the same from me. Then it was over. As I said in the HNT, things are fine. She's very happy. I'm happy for her. Life goes on. But there IS a little space in my heart that could use some filling...

2. This Body Is Going Downhill - Didn't really think about it until my knee heard the phrase "a little arthritis..." But the body is showing its age. Not like I take care of it. The BP at one point was xxx/xxx. I weigh more than Vixen and Stealth together (well, I imagine that most of us do...) I had a molar extracted after it unexpectedly just crumbled apart. I damn near broke my leg. Twice. I tore ligaments in my fingers. My back, which was broken to some degree twice in my youth still bothers me at times. Both rotator cuffs are damaged to some degree. I have no ligaments left in my right ankle. My legs have been abused beyond acceptable levels. At least I still look good!

1. Betcha - By far the lowest point of the year was almost a full year ago. I mentioned it as one of the posts that defined my blog. We held off on this for a couple of days, hoping to find proof on way or the other. The update, if it can be called that, is that we know nothing more than we did that fateful week. Did she die? Did she just allow us to think that while she got out of blogging? Are one of the newbies around her actually the reincarnation of her? No way to know. It's hard to believe that we couldn't find any sort of proof or documentation of the accident. And there were some things that came to light in the week after, but nothing about her death. It's hard to close the book when there's so much unknown. One thing I'm relatively sure about--the "character" of Betcha is dead. Never to return. I still miss her...
That's it. The lowest lows for 2007. Time to work on the highs!

"Planet of the Apes" marathon on AMC!


Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Evolution of "VFtBR"

Time to get around to doing the meme that Tish tagged me with at the beginning of the month. As soon as I read it, I sort of figured that she'd tag me for it. And I have to admit, it was intriguing. And hard. As I tried to come up with possible posts, I came up with no less than nine that could be included. I was able to whittle them down to the requested five, deciding that some of them were more along the lines of personal favorites, rather than blog shaping posts (including the Fuck You! post, the VDay'07 post, and the Michelle HNT). I may not do every meme I'm tagged for, this one was one I really wanted to try. So here I go...

The Meme: Choose five posts that chart the evolution of your blog, and then tag five people to do the same.

Well, to start evolution, you have to have a starting point. For me, that was January 15, 2005. My very first post was much like everyone else's. Unsure of what to do, or where to go.

I held off mentioning much of my family until about 4 months later, when I reported on the gathering on Mother's Day. And how we were going to divvie up my parent's furniture/art/property after their deaths. Sort of introduced the internet to the quirkiness that is my family. Since then, I haven't had any sort of problem posting their pictures, or telling family stories, or reminiscing about the old days. I'm unashamed to say that my family is as undysfunctional (???) as they come (wow--I think I just used a triple negative!).

A scant 10 days later, I suggested to my wide readership (of maybe 10) that they should do something called Half-Nekkid Thursday. Notice I said that they should do something like that. I decided to do one, just as a good faith effort, and hoped that I might get a bare shoulder or something from one of them. The surprise came when readers of their blogs joined in. I think we had 6 or 7 participants--at least 2 of them who didn't even know I existed! I cannot describe the meteoric rise that it took in the next few weeks. Unanticipated, to say the least. For as much as I don't want to be thought of as only HNT, I have to accept that without it, I wouldn't have the friends I do today, and frankly, neither would you!

In December of that year, the Carroll College Fighting Saints were headed to Tennessee to defend their 3-time NAIA National Championship. I had decided earlier in the year that if they made it that far again, I'd try to get down there for the game. But little did I know that I'd actually know people in TN! I told Tish (whom I had a bloggercrush on, but then again, who didn't?) that I'd come down if she were to accompany me to the game. She jumped at the opportunity, and plans were quickly made to have a party in Nashville on Saturday night, after the game earlier in the day. We had 11 fellow HNTers show up at the Nashville Hilton! And I met up with 3 others on the way down or back. Not bad for an impromptu decision! Why is this part of the evolution? It was then that I realized that I had made REAL friends over the past 6 months, that people actually wanted to meet me (and I, them), and that those people that hide behind the templates are living, breathing humans! And made me decide to meet as many bloggers I could, face to face (so far, 30 and counting!). It sort of changed the way I read other blogs.

The last post I'm including here was so personal, and so hard to write, that it's got it's own URL. This coming Friday marks the 1 year anniversary of the death of Betchacantguesswho. We have watched fellow bloggers lose their friends and family in a variety of ways, but Betcha was one of US. And it drove home even deeper that the friends we make online are as real as the ones we see on the street. It forced many of us to face some things that we had blissfully ignored. There will be more on this in an upcoming post, but it brought together a community of us in utter shock and grief that, to this day, is hard to face. And who would have imagined that?

So there you go. The five posts on this site (out of 938) that I think define what this blog is all about. A mix of humor, family, nekkidness, and pontifications. What more could I want??

As per my standard practice, I'm not tagging anyone, but feel free to do it if you're so inspired!

Lots of Randomosity

I suppose I should write something. It's been a couple of days, hasn't it? I'll be doing a year-end review, as in years past. The 10 Low Points and the 10 High Points of 2007 in the land of Os. Better go figure out what those were!
Only a couple of more days for me to remind you of the "Collection"! Go there to read up on it if you missed it. Some of you hinted at sending something in. Don't delay!!
While you're at it--feel free to send in pics for "...the Other HNT". Holidays are almost over!
In spite of what you see on Leesa's site, Montana is a vast, large state. There's not so much as a fleck of snow on the ground here. Hasn't been since we hit the 50s about 10 days before Christmas. Definitely a brown Christmas (and holiday season) around here.
So what have I been doing? I installed a new shower curtain today! Which involved putting on a hazmat suit and scrubbing the shower, the toilet, the sink and the counter. Some places got double and triple treatment! Add that to the cleaning, the tree-taking-down, the laundry and a sinkful of dishes, and I've been downright domestic!
I've been texting with Biscuit. She's now recovering, hating the hospital, and would rather be anywhere else. Stop by and leave her some good thoughts!
Oh! I shaved my head again, just in time for the New Year! Not sure if it's as short as the first time. Seems just a fraction longer...
As much as I hate the Burger King "King", I sorta like the new BK commercials where they dropped the Whopper from the menu. Especially the two stoned guys at the end. Did you stop by there Shibari?
Some "guest" of one of my apartment neighbors parked in my designated spot (we each have a numbered parking spot). Certainly not like walking 4 blocks to get to my door, but that really irks me!
My siblings and I drew names for Christmas, and agreed that we'd donate $50 to a charity in their name. Nothing more. Of course, my baby sister loves me, and got me another honkin' big present, which ticked me off. Until I opened it. She had to use her insurance's flex dollars, so she bought me every over the counter pill she could find. And band-aids. And gauze. Pepto-Bismol. Immodium. Tums. Cough drops. Thera-flu. Ricola. Alka-Seltzer. The only thing she didn't get me was anything related to erectile dysfunction. Even SHE must have seen that as a waste in my case...
We don't get the NFL channel here, so I didn't even bother to look for the Patriots/Giants game tonight (like I really care about either of those teams). So as I'm surfing the channels while taking the tree down, I was blessed with not one, but TWO Patrick Swayze movies!! Roadhouse and Red Dawn. What a quandry! For the first time in ages, Roadhouse didn't suck me in. I ended up watching E.T.-The Extra-Terrestial instead!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Year's Favorite HNT

"It's just weird, you know, when you have a picture of how something’s gonna be, and it turns out completely different."~~Author Unknown

That was my post on July 19th. It's my favorite of the year because of the fact that precious few of you caught on to the hidden meaning. At the time, I was in the midst of putting on the symphony's summer concert, dealing with triple-digit temps, smoky skies and general stress. While most of you assumed that the quote was related to the less than perfectly framed picture, it was actually much more...

A year ago, you might remember that I hinted at a relationship. Hell, I even went all out on Valentine's Day and had red, pink and white hearts for a background and officially proclaimed that I was in love! I also mentioned that it was going to be difficult, since we lived quite a distance apart. Distance finally took its toll, and on the morning that I took that picture, I found out that there was someone else. Someone local. Someone that was able to bring her happiness on a physical, tangible level. While my head told me that this was a good thing for her, my heart wasn't as willing to let go.

Things are better now. I'm certainly not bitter. I don't hold any bad feelings towards her. She's found happiness she hasn't known for a long, long time, and I'm a much happier person than I was before all of this because of her. So all is good. I still occasionally wonder, "what if...?", but not like I used to. Anyway--there were only one or two of you that caught the reference to the quote, and knew what was up. And it was a way to sort of wash away the the hurt. And the sweat and the smoke, too!

D.H. Lawrence

There are only two things now,
The great black night scooped out
And this fire-glow.

This fire-glow, the core,
And we the two ripe pips
That are held in store.

Listen, the darkness rings
As it circulates round our fire.
Take off your things.

Your shoulders, your bruised throat!
Your breasts, your nakedness!
This fiery coat!

As the darkness flickers and dips,
As the firelight falls and leaps
From your feet to your lips!

( it!)
Since this was a "favorites" HNT, I decided to use my favorite MG of the year.
The one and only Crimson. Those Texas girls do it up right!

As anticipated, "...the Other HNT" is a bit sparse due to the holidays. Still, it's NSFW! Stop by and check it out!
For those of you who only come by on Thursdays--have a fun and SAFE Happy New Year! For the rest of you, come back later and I'll say it to you!
Forgot to mention the "Collection"! Read the details on that about 2 posts down! You don't want to miss out on that!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Aftermath

Christmas was pretty good in the land of Os--good family time, good food, good drink. I think we'll plan on doing it again next year!
Spent some time texting with some of you--on the road, in the hospital, just up late...I enjoyed spending some Christmas time with each of you!
Don't forget the theme for HNT this week--pick your favorite HNT from the past year. Even if you're a newbie! And be sure to include the reason WHY it's your favorite one, too!
I was happy and surprised to find out that 2 of the three Christmas packages I sent out Saturday (see the last post) were actually delivered on Monday!!! They were on time!!! Haven't heard yet about package #3...
Also something you should read from the previous post is the "Collection"! I've heard from a couple of you already, and anxiously await!! I'll be sure to remind you over the next week...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve Eve, and the "Collection"

Did you know Christmas is only 2 days away???
It's official. My Christmas cards will be late for the 10th year in a row, or so.
Went to the post office yesterday to mail off a couple of packages. No chance that they'd get to their destination by Christmas, but I will have at least sent them before then (see above statement). I got in line at around 11:45, and the window closes at noon. Obviously they would take care of those who were in line, but they don't let anyone else in line after noon. So I had my place in line, but it was looking to be at least 45 minutes to get to the front of it. I felt vindicated in my fellow man--all of whom were at least as inefficient with their Christmas time as I! But I had things to do, so I got a brilliant idea! I could run out to a small nearby town and use their post office!! I postulated that by the time I got out there (about 5-7 miles away), I would still be there by noon, and my delivery would be done, and I wouldn't have wasted the 45 minutes facing me here. So I head out. No real traffic, and the lights were with me. I had 5 minutes to spare as I opened the door. And as anticipated--not too many cars in the parking lot, and no line to stop me at the door to the front counter. What I didn't anticipate--THE PLACE WAS CLOSED!!! I ended up going to UPS...
I was hesitant to mention it this year, but someone I was chatting with this week talked me into it. "It" meaning the "Collection". Many of you are new and may not know what that is. So let me backtrack...

At about this time in 2005, a particular blogger made a comment about the private collection of pictures I must have, based on the wild success of HNT. There seemed to be a great deal of surprise that I didn't have one. So for the last two of weeks of 2005, I asked for boobie pictures for the "Collection". Pictures that were taken for me for Christmas. Not leftovers or anything like that. And about 20 people sent me pictures (or multiple pictures). Sort of that Field of Dreams thing..."If you build it they will come..." Even had some lurkers who have never done HNT on their own send me a picture!

Fast forward to the present. The "Collection" has continued strongly, with over 75 different individuals, and most of them with their own folders for multiple submissions. And it hasn't stopped with boobies. Alot of them are HNT outtakes. Many of them are surprising from the particular individuals sending them in. But something else happened. There's a few bloggers that have never shown their face or had any sort of family pictures on their site. But they've trusted me enough to send a family portrait, or their kids, or their face, or whatever. Those are pretty special too! And they go into the "Collection" because, like the nekkid ones, no one gets to see these (at least from me...).

I thought about not pushing it this year, but like I said, I was encouraged to. Many of you are new enough that you wouldn't know about it. SO....if you're so inclined, spread a little Christmas cheer my way! One picture, or dozens--all are accepted! And expect some mention of this until the New Year! I look forward to your holiday cheer!
Don't forget about the theme for the last HNT of 2007! Pick your favorite HNT that you've posted, and just as importantly, let us know why it's your favorite! It doesn't have to be the most nekkid, or what you think others would think of as your favorite. Click on the link at the top of the sidebar if you need more details!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This is pretty cool!

In a great bit of publicity for the school, a player from Carroll College's national championship football team will be on the cover of Sports Illustrated's Pictures of the Year issue this week. How cool is that??? You can see the cover/story here.

Three Christmas Wishes HNT

Back in December of 2005, HNT was in the midst of a meteoric rise in blogdom. For a project that had a projected half-life of maybe two weeks, it had become a phenomenon. During that month, literally hundreds of people joined in each week on the half-nekkidness. And it was continuing to grow. I figured it was about time to take a collective breath and slow down before the new year. That's when I came up with the Three Wishes idea. With all the hustle and bustle of the season, it was a nice way to be a little serious, and didn't require a picture!

My Wishes for 2005 worked out pretty well. One blogger conceived almost the same week I wished for her husband's swimmers to man up and get her pregnant. The second blogger had twins later in the year, a new boyfriend, and her life improved considerably, and the third blogger and I came to a silent understanding of our friendship.

I didn't have the same sort of luck last year. One blogger disappeared a month later, the second one ended up not needing her wish (though her life took a dramatic upturn), and the third blogger dissolved the relationship he had going, thus negating my wish for him. I hope I do better with the Wishes this year! So without further ado...

My first Christmas Wish is for Oblivion, from Day In the Life of Oblivion. She's just recently started a new job, and is required to be out of town for days at a time for training. She's loving it, but it keeps her away from her computer. Which means she's not able to post as much, or make the rounds of her favorite sites. Oh, she can't do her work either. So my Wish for her is a brand new 17" MacBook Pro. Because she may as well have the best laptop out there, right?

My second Wish goes to my favorite Londoner--Charlie, from Pookalookaville. It hasn't been a great couple of months for her recently. Lots of things on her plate. My Wish for her is a nice, big, Bozo the Clown punching bag, so that she can take out her frustrations with life on it, rather than beating herself up.
As a bonus Wish (and sort of selfish)--a new camera lens of her choosing, so she'll continue to take such freakin' great pictures! And a second bonus Wish (and totally selfish here...)--an English-American dictionary. She uses more words and phrases I've never heard of...

My final Wish goes to the kids of Blissfully Wed over at Our Epidermis Is Showing. We've all enjoyed the pictures of the two of them, but their schedules seem to keep them apart far too often to get any pictures together. the both of them--a 2-week long Caribbean cruise. No kids, no cares, and lots of time together. I'll assume they'll bring their camera...

Hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas!
This week's MG is one of the longest participating HNTers around. I'm not sure exactly how she got involved, but she's done well over 100 HNTs! (112, at the last count!) She's gotten a little tamer with her HNTs over time, but there's always an eyeful! She certainly marches to the beat of a different drummer, and apologizes to no one about that. I think that's why I like her! Someday I'll get to meet her and the clan! I'll reveal her Thursday afternoon, but you can stop by and say hi to her if you know who it is!
This week's MG is the longtime HNTer Monkey! Be sure to stop by when you get a chance!

The spirit of the season hit early at "...the Other HNT"! I had numerous submissions early on, which is always a good thing! We've got a couple of new people over there, and it's most definitely NSFW! Be sure to stop by and leave some comments!
Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. How much more redneck can this family be??
Don't forget the theme for the last HNT of 2007! Details found at the link at the top of the sidebar!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This may or may not bore most of you....

I was checking out how people came to my site, and one of the searches was a MSN search for "Views From the Back Row". So I checked to see what all came up. As expected, this site came up first, since it's an exact match. But as I scrolled down, I saw the name of Roger Bobo. I would dare say that not one of you recognizes that name, but he was, at one time, the absolute best tuba player in the world. He may still be--I don't really keep track of that sort of thing. He has played forever, and all over, and does things on the tuba that should be impossible. You've undoubtedly heard his playing--he lived in L.A. for years and recorded innumerable studio sessions for film and TV. His most recognized excerpt would be the tuba voice during the "discussion" with the mother ship from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (the tuba represented the U.F.O.).

Anyhoo...he has a website, and writes a number of narratives. Blog entries, if you will. One of them is titled "A View from the Back Row". It's based on observations from his decades of playing in various orchestras. And how the trombones and tuba players behave. And get paid. And generally aren't as "into" it as the string players. I found it a great read (but I live in the back row). You might not, but I figured I'd share anyway! You can find it here.

Now if I can just figure out who works at the Environmental Protection Agency who used the same search! (and who is a regular reader here!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dan Fogelberg died this weekend...

OK, Christmas is only a week away. When did THAT happen???
The Nutcracker was a total and complete success. Two performances--Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Personally, I think the music was better on Saturday, but the dancing was better on Sunday. I think we would have all collapsed if there were one more performance...

From Thursday through Sunday night, I unloaded an equipment truck (by myself), set up the orchestra in the pit (by myself), rehearsed three times @ 3 hours each, had two performances in less than 24 hours, then tore down the whole orchestra set-up within two hours after the second show. Today, I was up at 6AM (that NEVER happens) to deliver some equipment, and if everything works right, I'll be totally done with Nutcracker by 5PM. Thank God.
I didn't have a great deal of interaction with the dancers, though the male dancers were usually warming up on stage by the time I needed to be on site. To be upclose with professional dancers was interesting. Any jock who thinks that they could keep up with the physical demands made of these guys is kidding themselves. Or with the women! Being "in shape" is an understatement. And it takes a certain kind of mentality for a guy to be dancing out there with all eyes on you, while you've got all your manhood tucked away in your tights. And there were some who tucked away quite a bit, if you know what I mean...
I promised the injury update. You knew there's be one! Remember in June when I fell between the truck and loading dock and mucked up my leg? Happened again, sort of. Different dock, different situation, and nowhere near the damage. But I bruised my LEFT kneecap this time, and the fingers that were taped up from the LAST concert were aggravated again trying to break the fall. The good news? No blood this time around!
Should clear up the "death of a mentor" thing. No, it wasn't Dan Fogelberg (but he'll be missed...). Rather, it was my high school band director. He wasn't a mentor in the sense that I learned how to wax cars, but in my college days, I would look back at how he taught us, and I how I could take those things (or not) into the bandroom when I got out into the real world. And finding out what a different person he was when he was no longer my teacher, but my peer. I learned what an unfair advantage a student has when accusations are made. In his case it had nothing to do with being inappropriate, but with being "cranky". The school district basically fired a long-time tenured teacher for being "cranky". Of course, there's a little more to it, but that's the way it washes out. Back in the day that I was his student--when there was respect towards teachers from both students AND parents, when the school administration was actually supportive of their employees, and there was such a thing called "discipline"--he was cantankerous, but fair, and beloved by all of his students. And a great sense of humor. He never quite recovered from the whole ordeal, and as he got older, cancer and Alzheimer's were taking their toll on him. I probably haven't seen him in over two years. And that saddens me.
Of course, the big news in town was the Carroll College Fighting Saints' NAIA Football Championship. They defeated the University of Sioux Falls, 17-9, on a sloppy, sloppy field in Hardin County, Tennessee. In TV shots from the endzone, I'd guess that 60-70% of the field was under standing water. And it rained most of the game. It essentially took away most of the passing game of both teams. The last time USF lost a game (27 games ago) was against Carroll in the playoffs of 2005. Congrats to the Saints, NAIA champions for 5 of the last 6 years!
Don't forget that this week's HNT is the Three Wishes HNT! Please go read the rules! The link is at the top of the sidebar!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Checking in

Just letting you know I'm still around. Topics of discussion to write about in the coming week--
Carroll College Fighting Saints win their 5th National Championship in 6 years!
Nutcracker stories.
Injury update.
Death of a mentor.
Christmas cards.
Three Wishes HNT.
About another 24 hours, and I'll be back around!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Tree HNT

Little did I realize that in calling for the Christmas tree theme again this year that I'd be limited in what I could take. I was pretty proud of last year's pictures. There was even full-on nekkidness, if you blew the picture up big enough and looked in the reflections of the ornaments (don't go back to look--definitely nothing to get excited about!). As I mentioned earlier, I'm just not thrilled with the look of this year's decorated tree. Add to that the general assumption on my part that you REALLY don't want to be seeing this old body in its current state, and I was forced into doing the ornament trick again. Click 'em to big 'em! Just maybe, if you blow them up double size...

they say that those
who sleep in moonlight
they go crazy

their minds don’t work right
but those who don’t
it just might be
their minds are clouded

they cannot see
there is magic
in the moonlight
that gives the mind
the power of flight
for in the silver
of it’s beams
dreams become real
and reality becomes a dream
so now you know
the truth about moonlight
and now yourmind
can take it’s own flight
sleeping in moonlight

sleeping in moonlight~~sage sisam

Sorry--no reveal with this one...

A nice mix over at "...the Other HNT". Christmas spirit must be shining through! Be sure to leave some comments--they're definitely appreciated! As usual--NSFW!
Remember that for next week, you don't need to post a half-nekkid picture! It's the Three Wishes HNT. Be sure to click on the link at the top of the sidebar to get the details. REMEMBER: you're to "gift" someone outside of your normal circle. No gifting your significant other (for these purposes only!). Vixen--you don't get to gift Stealth. Hella--you don't get to gift Sassy. Or Exile. Have fun with this!
Not sure how much time I'll be online from now through Sunday night. Alot of rehearsals, set-ups and performances. Don't hold it against me if I don't stop by soon!
Check out this article. It's about a French grad student who broke his own world record for calculating the 13th root of a 200 digit number (let that sink in for a minute--that's more digits than I've typed for this section so far...) in his head. The 13th root. That's "n" x "n" x "n" x "n" x "n" x "n" x "n" x "n" x "n" x "n" x "n" x "n" x "n". To equal this random, computer-generated 200 digit number. And how long did it take? A week? A day? No. He did it in 70.2 seconds. A minute and 10 seconds. I can't figure out what I want to eat from the McDonald's drive-thru menu in that amount of time! And the answer?--it was 2,407,899,893,032,210. So the original 200-digit number was 2,407,899,893,032,210 x 2,407,899,893,032,210 x 2,407,899,893,032,210 x 2,407,899,893,032,210 x 2,407,899,893,032,210 x 2,407,899,893,032,210 x 2,407,899,893,032,210 x 2,407,899,893,032,210 x 2,407,899,893,032,210 x 2,407,899,893,032,210 x 2,407,899,893,032,210 x 2,407,899,893,032,210 x 2,407,899,893,032,210. I'll let you figure it out!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Let the hair-pulling begin...

OK. It's official. The bs has started. I really wish people would have their shit together. It's going to be a long week....

Monday, December 10, 2007

Almost there...and 1968

Don't forget that this week is the Christmas Tree HNT!! Click here to get my thoughts/details about it from last year. And start thinking about next week's theme now (click the link at the top of the sidebar)!! Speaking from experience, it's not an easy one. The key is to "gift" someone other than your usual suspects!
I'm getting closer to being in the spirit! Been running the Christmas music all day at work (but not the car yet...), have watched a couple of Christmas movies, have the tree decorated (but not totally satisfied with it--not a bah, humbug thing. just not thrilled with it), and am humming all the music from Nutcracker in my head. I won't be full into the Season until after Nutcracker though...
Speaking of Christmas music--I've yet to hear a "bad" version of "Sleigh Ride". On the other hand, when did "My Favorite Things" become a "Christmas" song??
I realized last night how protective my parents were as I was growing up. One example is the TV. We very rarely ever had it on while eating dinner. Mostly because it was big and bulky, in a totally different room, and we only had the one (as most of us did in the day). The only time TV and dinner mixed were if there was some special movie on. But that was rare (though I definitely remember a Christmas dinner (1971) at my grandparent's when Miami and Kansas City went to six quarters in the playoffs--no way my grandfather was going to miss the end of that!!). But I digress...

Last night I watched the Tom Brokaw special on the History Channel. It was a two-hour special about 1968. I turned 11 that year. Fifth/sixth grade. I remember the "high" points of the year. There was a war, but I don't ever remember watching newscasts (as a kid? gimme a break!). I remember Martin Luther King's assassination, but didn't know what that meant to the country at the time. There was only one (maybe two) black family living in town in those days, and they were certainly a novelty if you saw them on the streets. I also remember Robert Kennedy's assassination, but because he was the President's brother, and he was going to be the next one, and I thought it sad that two brothers were killed. I remember protests, especially the Chicago Democratic Convention, but not really the campus ones. It was the damned hippies doing that, but I didn't really know what that was all about. We had our own hippies in town. They had a stained glass shop near my home. I scraped together $30 for a peace sign window ornament they were going to make me. The fuckers skipped town before I returned to pick it up.

Watching this special last night made me realize how much I didn't understand the world around me. The war was certainly not talked about in class, or the dinner table. Understandable--my sisters were far too young to understand. I don't know if my parents ever talked about the state of affairs with each other or to friends. I just know that I grew up oblivious to all but the most obvious events of the day. I was fascinated by much of what I saw last night. The 60s was a decade of profound change in this country, with 1968 being one of the most divisive, violent, evolutionary years. I lived during that time, and really have no appreciation for what happened around me.

The one thing I specifically remember was the space program, and I watched TV as Apollo 8 circled around the back side of the moon for the very first time on Christmas Eve, with Jim Lovell reading from Genesis as the Earth appeared over the lunar horizon. It was a good way to end 1968.

Friday, December 07, 2007


The tree is up. Lights and ornaments tomorrow after rehearsal. Now I just have to find someplace to store the furniture I had to move. How could I possibly have so much crap??

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sugar Plum HNT

I'm not quite in the Christmas spirit yet, but I can sort of feel it starting. As I've mentioned NUMEROUS times before, it's busy, busy, busy in the Land of Os. I'm now in the "Nutcracker" mode, and really looking forward to it. We'll be working with the dancers next week (which means long, late nights), so we're cleaning up the notes this week so that any time we have to stop in rehearsals, it won't be because of us!

While this won't push me into the whole Christmas feeling, it certainly helps get things started! I'll have about a week after the last performance to really immerse myself. I can't wait!

I haven't had a great deal of time to work on HNT, but I did find a way to include the Nutcracker into it. To the right, you can find the conductor's score to "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy". Along with a hint of green to make it more holiday-friendly. As well as my painfully sore finger. I won't bore you with the details as to why it's one of my favorite dances in the ballet, I'll just say it has nothing to do with the actual music. Hehe.... So much one of my favorites that, well, there was a party I went to that had a "Come As Your Favorite Christmas Character". You know what to do to check THAT out...

This week's Mystery Guest is a long time HNTer, multiple-time contributor to the anon site, and is one of the best-looking cupcake models ever to hit the internet! Surprisingly, she's never been the MG. Not sure how that happened. I'll be revealing her Thursday afternoon, but stop by and say hi to her if you know who it is before then!
Got too busy to post it earlier, but I'm here now! The Mystery Guest is Jessica, our Redneck Eskimo! Stop by and check out the girl with a gun at her place!

There's a good crop of pictures over at "...the Other HNT", including a couple of newcomers! Be be sure to check them out, and leave a comment (of course, it's NSFW!)
Don't forget that the next three weeks have HNT themes!! You can click on the links at the top of the sidebar to get details of each theme. Be forewarned--they simply take you back to LAST year's details, so the dates don't work. Looking forward to see what you all come up with!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Guardian of the Gulch

OK--my previous post wasn't up for 15 minutes before I was chastised (politely, and in a non-judgmental way) for not having a picture of the rainbow. Not so much for not having the picture, but for having the audacity to leave the house without a camera. So I took a camera with me tonight, and I took a picture! This is one of the oldest remaining structures in town--a fire tower built in 1876. It sits on a hill overlooking downtown Helena, and had an unimpeded view of all of Helena (well, all of Helena at that time). Every December it is lit up for Christmas. No, it's not a terribly exciting picture, but I had my camera with me, and I took it!
To answer everyone's question about the day--it wasn't great (it wasn't a FULL rainbow), but it certainly wasn't a bad one. I'd say it was a very good day. Thanks for asking!

It's Gonna Be A Good Day Today...

Going to work today, I saw an authentic, real rainbow! In December! In Montana! And even more special--it was due north of town! Due to the incredibly low sun on the southern horizon. You NEVER get a rainbow in the north around here in the summer. It's pretty much impossible (I'll save you from the physics lesson). Yep. It's gonna be a good day. Maybe.

Bits and Pieces; This 'n That

The concert came off well. I guess. I just don't like the "Messiah" anymore. The four vocal soloists were quite good (and the two ladies were quite attractive!), and there were some moments where the strings sounded better than they ever have, but overall, it just didn't do "it" for me.
Happy to report that, other than the finger injury, I didn't draw blood all weekend! The swelling has gone down, and there weren't any cool colors, but it hurts like a m-fer if I do certain things. And it's surprising just exactly how much you do with your knuckle! The consensus is that I tore a ligament. So I keep it taped to the next finger and hope it heals soon. I haven't tried yet, but I think it might affect how I hold my horn, and that wouldn't be a good thing...
Rehearsals for "Nutcracker" start tonight. I'll be much more excited for this! If I can hold my horn.
Just a note--87 degrees in early June in Montana is DAMNED hot! Quit laughing.
The temperature on Saturday morning, when we were locked out of the church for rehearsal, was about 6 degrees. Sunny, but cold. At 6:00 PM today, it was 50. Cloudy, but warm. And the snow might be gone by tomorrow. On the other hand, Leesa's neck of the woods has had up to 36" of snow, with more in the surrounding areas. Gotta love living in Montana!
I got tagged with a meme that has had me going through my archives. Almost three years worth. That meme will be forthcoming, but I was thoroughly engrossed by myself!
Had the opportunity over the past week or so to start in on the Christmas movies. I don't generally like Will Farrell, but "Elf" is pretty cute. I might have mentioned that last year. I didn't sing at the end, but I think there might have been a tear. And then there was "White Christmas". Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and my dreamgirl, Vera-Ellen. I'm a sucker for dance/musical numbers (not to be confused with musicals), and Vera-Ellen was the female equivalent to Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly. As athletically and physically capable as her male counterparts, she also added the most attractive face... I could watch this movie every day of December!
Also got sucked into the "American Idol" knock-off with the bands. For as much as I despise reality TV, and don't watch any of it, I love this show! Because it's what I do (well, what I used to do). Of the remaining 5 bands, I don't understand why the semi-punk/80s band is still there, and I'm afraid that the bluegrass-playing brothers can't go much farther. The winner will be either the horn band (Denver and the Mile High Orchestra), or the veteran country group (Sixwire (?)). Both groups easily outshine the others with their level of musicianship, and their arrangements of songs are outstanding. Obviously I'm pulling for the horn band! The dark horse group--the hard rocking band made up of young teenagers (13-15). Surprisingly talented, and the lead singer actually has some good pipes! And they all have alot of hair. Think of a cross between Hanson and Judas Priest. Good thing I have my Friday nights free most of this month!
If you haven't done it yet, be sure to take OsQuiz #3. As I mentioned earlier, I've been a bit surprised about some of the scores!
I've gotten some submissions for the Mystery Guest, but am always looking for more! If you've got questions about "how to do it", shoot me an email!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I Wrote WHAT?!?!

I stole this from Leesa's site in 2005, did it last year, and am doing it again this year.

What was the first line from your blog the first day of each month in 2007?
January - "Made it through the night without incident." (Recap of the NYE festivities the night before.)

February - "'Hiding' isn't quite what I was going for when I took this week's HNTs. (Apologizing in advance for a fairly weak HNT.)

March - "I was supposed to have a rehearsal Tuesday night, but bad roads and illnesses scuttled that." (Another fairly boring HNT.)

April - "Yes, it's that time of year when pilgrims make the trek to the holiest of all lands." (Talking about the week of the Master's golf tournament in Augusta, GA. Paradise on Earth.)

May - "Sometimes you come up against the deadline for HNT, and you wrack your brains for an idea, and wonder what you'll possibly be able to do." (Alot of HNTs at the first of the month, apparently...)

June - "Yesterday, on the hottest day of the year to date (87° F), a few thousand friends, family and staff crammed the un-airconditioned PE Center at the college to watch the 33rd commencement ceremonies for one of the two local high schools." (My second niece's HS graduation.)

July - "*~Happy Canada Day to those of that persuasion! I've noticed that all my Canadian bloggerfriends are fairly hot. Must be the beer or something, eh." (My Canadian bloggerfriends are still fairly hot...even the pregnant ones!)

August - "I mentioned earlier that I'd 'received a check for a large sum of money from a madame'." (This is the post where I told the story of the check.)

September - "Well, I had a somewhat long post here, but when I re-read it, I realized it was incredibly boring." (Seems to be a common problem with many of my posts...)

October - "One of the things I've found after almost 30 months of HNT is that I can sense the fluidity of participation probably better than anyone else." (Referring to the post I wrote about Evening's breast cancer fight.)

November - "I've done alot of thinking about what I could do that would be scary or shocking for this week's Halloween HNT." (Self-explanatory)

December - "I'm pleasantly surprised that I can steal a wireless signal at the church!" (Hmmm...seems like I just wrote this yesterday...)
Feel free to steel this and do it yourselves!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Heading to Tennessee!

Well, not me, but the Carroll College Fighting Saints! They defeated the Cougars from University of St. Francis (Ft. Wayne, IN), 23-7, to earn a berth in the NAIA Championship game. And the chance to win their 5th national championship in 6 years! A fairly unparalleled feat in college football! Played on a relatively nice 10 degree day, the Saints ran and passed, and pretty much shut down the Cougar's running attack.

So who will their opponent be? Yet to be determined!!! The other semi-final game was postponed until Sunday!!! It was 32 degrees in Sioux Falls, SD, but they postponed the game! I think they were having an ice storm, so I guess that's not quite wussing out.

You'll hear more of this in the next 2 weeks. And I'll keep the Carroll purple and gold up here!


Stealing from the church...

I'm pleasantly surprised that I can steal a wireless signal at the church!

I know that you've been eager to find out if I've injured myself yet for this concert. I'm happy to report that yes, I have! Yesterday afternoon I was involved in a traffic accident. My big furniture-moving type truck versus some little poorly built American car. Unmarked intersection, icy/snowy road, and a woman who was driving WAY too fast for conditions. I braked, and actually stopped in the intersection (no way to zip through it), and she slid into the front wheel of the truck. Did some damage to her hood/front quarter panel, but virtually nothing to the truck. She was in such a hurry to get out of there and avoid a handful of tickets that she said she was okay with it, and I certainly was, and neither of us wanted to stay outside in the cold waiting for the police. So was parted ways.

What I didn't realize at the time is that I had jammed my left index finger in the steering wheel. Whereas yesterday it was just a little bothersome, today it's swollen and I can't move it. It has some range in pointing up and down, but I couldn't make a peace symbol to save my soul. I can still do the shocker though (fat lot of good that does me...)! It's at the first knuckle at the bottom of my finger. Good thing it's my left hand...

I have rehearsal stuff going for another couple of hours, then home to watch the tail end of my team's semi-final game. And then maybe putting up my Christmas tree tonight. With a big bowl of chili (it's single digits right now...). I'll probably post something else tonight. Assuming I can type one-handed.