Friday, July 31, 2009

Shumpy's on TV!!

For those of you who know him (or even if you don't), longtime HNTer Shumpy will can be seen on the Jimmy Fallon show tonight. With special guest Jimmy Buffet (Shumpy's hero). Apparently, here are many mentions of Shumpy's name!

Friday Fill-Ins: #135 we go!

1. It's time for the party to get started.

2. My mind; it's not a bad place for crawling into.

3. I must be, or maybe I'm not.

4. An Ebmaj9 chord is the best thing I have ever known.

5. My magnificence is simply underwhelming.

6. The last time I laughed really loudly was in my dreams.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to doing the laundry again (I do lead the wild life, don't I?), tomorrow my plans include figuring what to do for the rest of the weekend and Sunday, I want to drink a couple of beers for a couple of friends who will be celebrating their birthdays!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shoulda Used Sunscreen HNT

If you haven't taken a look at the pictures I took up at Glacier Park this weekend, you can check them out below. They were all taken with the windows cranked down and the iPod cranked up while driving the Going To the Sun Road. And without getting out of the car. Just sticking the camera out the window and clicking. We had some sunscreen, but our actual time outside of the car was going to be limited, so we didn't use it. It wasn't until we were on the highway headed back home that I even noticed that my arm was red as a lobster. Should be called Going To the Sun and Parking Next To It Road. Ignoring the flabby arm, you can see the results. The lighting doesn't come close to doing it justice. I even got the little blisters after a day. And just to make sure the left arm didn't feel left out, I sunburned it in the same way on the way home...
I usually deal with Mystery Guest picture/write-up over the weekend. Being away this weekend, I sort of dropped the ball on it this week. Two weeks in a row without a Mystery Guest. I'm letting you all down. I suck... Instead, I'll share a video from my newest favorite group, Trailer Choir. Name of the song--"Rockin' the Beer Gut". Enjoy! (you'll have to endure a 30-sec. ad...)

As expected, summer is taking its toll on participation over at "...the Other HNT", though there's a nice selection over there. Just down in numbers. Be sure to stop by and check out all your fellow HNTers! NSFW, to be sure!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I guess I'm stuck here...

Helena made another list today. According to this past weekend's, it's listed as the #1 place to retire. Actually, it's sort of hard to tell what they're basing this on, but it appears that "young retirees" (55-59) are buying houses now, in anticipation of full retirement. Or something like that. Guess that means I'll be staying here...why leave the #1 spot? You can read the report here.

Weekend at Rachel's
(not to be confused with
Weekend at Bernie's)

The Great Disconnect turned out pretty well. Even to the point that I'm not ready to really do a post. It was great to have no concerns for 48 hours! I only checked the iPod for emails, but they were mostly just Facebook updates. Thanks for helping me not feel needed! I'll admit, I took about 5 minutes on Saturday afternoon just to quickly glimpse at a handful of sites, but overall, I though I did pretty well!

Lots of stuff that ran through my mind, so I'll do the bullet trick for this post. But while you read and look, click on the music player below. It was our theme for the day! For all pictures, be sure to click 'em to big 'em. For the most part, you won't be sorry!

  • There's a couple of ways to get to Kalispell (where Rachel lives). I took the shortest, but potentially longest (time-wise) route up through the Swan Valley. This is the route that my family has taken for decades for vacations up to Whitefish Lake. And for whatever reason, this drive up there brought back all sorts of things.
  • Nothing has really changed in the past 40 years on this drive. I remember quite distinctly sitting in the back of the station wagon and hearing the Carpenter's "Close To You" on the radio. It was the summer of 1970. I was a hormone-infused 8th grader, and that was "our" song. And there's a specific stretch of highway 200 that triggers that memory.
  • I gained an appreciation for my dad's frustration with campers boats being pulled on the road. Most of these things only go about 55 mph, and there's few straight stretches to pass. But when there's nothing you can do about it, and you're not on a specific time deadline, it's nice to just kick back and watch the scenery!
  • Trixie's Bar in Ovando still has the worn out sign, but it's still there. The only different thing now is that it advertises that there's an ATM there.
  • This is the gas station at Clearwater Junction, where the Swan Highway meets MT200. I have stopped here literally every time I come up this way. If not to pee, then to buy a drink. And that big cow on the left has been there every time, all the way back to at least 1970!
  • Just north of the big cow is Salmon Lake. On the south end is the church camp that I attended a couple of times, and my niece and nephew attended this summer already. It's also where BIL2's family comes for yearly family reunions (it's good to have relatives in the Catholic heirarchy!).
  • About the middle of the lake sits an island with a huge "cabin" built on it. It was the summer home of the doctor who invented the contraceptive sponge. When he died, it was bequeathed to the University of Montana, who now uses it for conferences and meetings. Note the boathouse on the right side of the picture next to the highway.

  • For most of the trip up the Swan Valley, the trees grow right up to the side of the road, and you can smell the pines, the duskiness, some smoke, even some of the rotting fish smell around the lake (lots of lakes!). I was fortunate enough to not really hit any traffic on my way up. Odd, for a Friday afternoon. When the trees weren't right up to the side of the road, you could see the Mission Mountains to the left, and the Swan Mountains to the right. Magnificent in their own right, but nothing like the Park.

  • I got to Kalispell, and Rachel took me to Moose's Saloon. Yeah, it's that decrepit. Nothing on the outside that even says "Moose's" anymore. And the inside is very dark, with a nice mix of sawdust and peanut shells on the floor. But it's definitely the place to go for pizza and cold beer! The place was packed for the entire time we were there!

    We made a short evening of it. We headed back to her place, watched a movie, and got to bed early. I was out like a light, and got a great night's sleep! Sleep was a major activity! I think I got close to 24 hours worth, not including a nap Saturday afternoon. It was WONDERFUL!
  • Saturday morning, we headed for Glacier Park. Since Rachel's an employee, we wouldn't have to pay to get in the gate, and we could use the employees by-pass at the gate. But first, we'd have to get close enough...
  • I'm not going to say much about the Park. I'll just let you soak in its magnificence. Be sure to click 'em! I don't know if this is the most scenic road in America, but it's got to be in the top three, at least! So here's the views from the Going To The Sun Road:

  • OK, I knew I couldn't do this without SOME sort of commentary... All of the pictures, except the one of the two of us in our dorkiness, were taken from the passenger side of Rachel's car--no focusing, no framing. Just point and click. It's obvious that you can't take a bad picture in Glacier Park! No shoulders on the road, as evidenced in the picture above. No guardrails, either. Just a very low stone wall. And do look closely at the stonework. That's some mighty fine artistry! And an engineering marvel, as found in the triple arch in the picture below the two of us!
  • The only low point of the visit happened at Scotty's Bar, where we had beers and burgers, and were joined by Montana Jones. As the beers flowed, he and I started to pick on her, and she got upset (justified), and walked out on us. Yeah, we were mean to her, and we've both apologized (she got flowers from him!). We're cool. Things are good. But I had to admit here that we were mean. :-(

  • And finally, it would be wrong if I didn't also include a picture of my other companion for the weekend. This is Rachel's pet rat, Midget. Say hi, Midget!

So that was my weekend. Ooh...not quite. I saw something I've never seen before on my drive home. Well, a couple of things. I saw three separate one-car rollovers, all of which were pulling a trailer/boat/5th wheeler. Too fast, and not knowing how to prevent fish-tailing. But the neat thing was the storm. I caught the tail end of a violent one that I was watching for about half an hour ahead of me. Really dark and lots of lightning. What I caught was that sort of rain that your wipers can't deal with, even at their fastest. Not a common occurrence up here. As it was dying down, I looked at the hills to the east, and they were covered in snow. But since it was still way to warm for snow, it had to have been coated in hail! No pictures, as they wouldn't have turned out because of the rain that was still coming down. But it was pretty darned cool!

TMI Tuesday #197 - Nonsexual Edition

1. The three words that best describe you are charming, witty, and quite funny (according to YoJ, in this post).
2. The three words that best describe your life are musical, carefree, and content.
3. Your three guilty pleasures are cheesy Patrick Swayze movies (except Dirty Dancing), yogurt, and Barry Manilow.
4. The three places you would like to visit before you die are the British Isles, New Zealand, and Augusta National Golf Club.
5. The three things you would like to do before you die are play golf at Augusta, play in a horn section for a touring musical act, and meet dozens more bloggers.

Bonus (as in optional):If you were making Chris Milk's video "Last Day Dream" (below) what three to five flashes would be your life?
May 18, 1980
Jefferson Co. Courthouse, 1990
Montana Summer Symphony, 1999
In Cahoots memories
Brewhouse memories

Last Day Dream [HD] from Chris Milk on Vimeo.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins: #134 and other stuff...

Summer has finally arrived around here. A full week of temps in the 90s sort of makes it official. Now all we need is to get the forests on fire. Lightning storms predicted this weekend, and the end of July is usually pretty busy on that front, so we'll see...
As mentioned yesterday, I'll be up to Kalispell to spend the weekend with Rachel. She's promised beer and pizza (duh), maybe some live music, and probably a trip to the Park. Pictures will be taken all weekend! Ooh, even bigger news! I'm leaving my computer at home! I'll take my iPod Touch to keep up with emails (you didn't think I'd do this cold turkey, did you?), but for the most part, I'm disconnecting. Should be interesting!
I'm contemplating taking a road trip in August. Anyone have any suggestions? we go!

1. Though you can see it from there, Butte, Montana is not the end of the world.

2. Sitting here, listening to the sound of rain falling, I figure I'm dreaming, because it hasn't rained here in a long, long time.

3. A deep-fried Rocky Mountain oyster tastes so good!

4. Sometimes, putting others first is the best way not to get egg on your face.

5. Asthma is breathtaking, really.

6. Well, maybe there is, but I wouldn't put money on it.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to beers, pizza and conversation with Rachel, tomorrow my plans include spending the day with Rachel and Sunday, I want to take the long way home!

Be sure to check out the other FFIers!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Magic Happening HNT

This should be the last I write about this past weekend's concert... A couple of things I didn't mention earlier in the week. By the way, I went back and found that I rated last year's concert an 8.5. This year, I'm happy to rate it in the 9.25-9.5 range!

First off, Dad made it to the concert! You might remember last week that there was some question regarding whether he'd be up to it or not. Part of the procedures last week, besides testing his blood and getting some bone marrow, was to get a 2-pint transfusion of blood to hopefully get things stabilized. So between the blood-letting for testing, and the transfusions that took about 4-5 hours, and the retrieval of bone marrow (not like on "House"...they numbed his hip), he spent just about 8 hours there. I saw him before the concert, and he looked pretty good. Didn't complain about the heat (in his cold-blooded state these days, I'm sure he loved it!). Didn't complain about sitting. Complained a little bit about the sun in his eyes, but he had his sunglasses on and a cap pulled down low, so there's not much more that could have been done there. In other words, he seemed just fine! Oh, we also discussed the fact that I seem to have inherited his knees (arthritic). His have been replaced, so he told me that when he dies, and he's cremated, I can have his. Score!!

Speaking of...I have neglected giving my injury report. Two years ago, some of you might recall that I almost snapped my leg in half, and the months that I blog-milked that incident. Last year there was a bit of heat stroke/exhaustion that I suffered about 5 days afterwards. This year, there were only two injuries. Well, the first one is sort of lumped together--my legs are always getting scraped and scratched. This year was no exception. No deep cuts, though, and minimal blood loss! The other injury happened as we were raising the stage roof the first time. It was lowered so that lights could be attached to the roof. I had no real business on the stage, but while I was there, I turned to grab something. Since the roof was lowered, I had that crouching feeling (short people out there might not understand that...). Apparently I didn't crouch enough, as I ran head-on into a low beam. Right on top of my head. I had the split-second "white flash", followed immediately by the split-second "black flash", and then a few seconds of trying to regain my bearings. The rest of the crew laughing at me snapped me back to reality... It didn't really hurt, and I always fear biting my tongue in half when that happens, but it really didn't bother me. Until yesterday. My neck and shoulders are stiff, stiff, stiff...

And I sunburned my face and neck. I'm peeling. Flakes of skin falling all over the place. Yes, it's sort of disgusting.

For HNT, I took a shot exactly 72 hours after my HNT from last week from the same place. The magic is happening. About 30 minutes before the concert is about to start. About 15-16,000 people in attendance. Of course, it would have been much better if I'd taken this shot vertically like I did last week, but at least you can see part of the crowd! Can you find me??

It didn't dawn on me until this morning that I didn't have anyone scheduled to be the Mystery Guest this week. Sorry about that... Remember, if you want to be the MG, just email me!
"...the Other HNT" is up and ready to go though! Be sure to stop by and check out your fellow HNTers!
Heading up to Kalispell for the weekend to see Rachel. She's been gone for over a year, and we've maybe seen each other for a total of ten minutes. Totally unacceptable! It'll be good to get out of town. And spending the weekend with a good friend...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We're #1! We're #1!

Every once in awhile I'll go out and check the search engines to see what "HNT" will bring forth. There's the standard links you'd expect to find, with the occasional unknown HNTer, or the "fake" HNTer. There's also alot of Japanese sites that pop up, though I don't know what HNT means to them. But this link caught my eye over the weekend.

You'll have to click it/big it to really read it (or if your eyesight is as poor as mine). It's from I'm don't even remember what I was looking to find there, but this just made my day! "Half Nekkid Thursday" is the #1 definition for the acronym "HNT"! The other four listed have all been verified, but we're #1! Woohoo! BTW--We rank #1 if listed alphabetically, too!

Then I went to YoJ's site, and saw this post. Ignoring all the wonderful things she said about me (if you can...), the gist of the post is that the "anonymity" we think we enjoy here isn't as anonymous as we might assume! Damn, it's good to have her back!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Be Pimpin'!

Gotta put my pimp hat on for a minute. Both of these requests came just as my weekend started, so I hope I'm not too late!

First request comes from Amy over at Sex, Chocolate and Red Lipstick. She's looking for fellow bloggers to help out with some sort of charity blog, though it's still in the development stage. Check out these two posts to see if you'd like to join in. Sounds like a good idea, and you can get in from the ground floor!

The other request comes from Alex at I'm the Mom. She's involved with the "Paint It Pink Canada" fundraiser that is being put on by Avon for Breast Cancer. Avon will be donating $2.00 CDN for every single vote that is cast. The money will be going to various Breast Cancer charities across Canada. There are prizes for most voted picture. As Alex put it, "I honestly do not care about that." You can go to her site to find more information and links. If you want to head directly to her picture in the gallery, click here!

Be sure to check out both of these lovely ladies' sites! Thus ends my pimping for the day!

Weekend Recap

Once again, another success! From beginning to end, starting Friday morning, things went smoother than they ever have, even with a couple of major glitches. Maybe it's the experience of previous years, or maybe I'm able to go with the flow better. I don't know. Interestingly, the glitches that did happen were things that the symphony and the college weren't involved in.

There were two things wrong with the stage. We have used the same stage company from Kansas for all six of our concerts. And when signing a contract with them, it was somewhat assumed that we would keep the status quo. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, some things didn't get packed on the truck. Namely a second set of stairs for the stage, and the scrim (basically, the black netting that acts as a back curtain). Both items that we've used for all prior concerts. We were able to rig a second set of steps, but we had nothing to use for a scrim. At the worst, we could have done without, but it would have caused visual problems, both for the audience and the conductor. So a call was placed to the company, and they apologized, and spent over $500 to overnight the scrim to us. That was all well and good, but that also meant that on Saturday afternoon, the stage basically had to be half taken apart so that the roof could be lowered and the scrim attached. Remarkably, this only took about 45 minutes! And was relatively painless! But we learned that future contracts will need to have an itemized list of necessities!

The other problems happened during the concert. We had four vocal soloists, and there were a couple of times that the sound guy missed turning on individual mics. And the fireworks, even though they were spectacular and no one really noticed, they were not in sync with the music, nor even started on time. And they ended early. But like I said, only a small handful of people had any idea.

As for the concert itself, the performance was pretty close to flawless. Much better than last year's. The theme of the concert was "Some Enchanted Evening", and featured the music of Rogers and Hammerstein. Songs from "Oklahoma", "South Pacific", "Carousel", "The King & I" and some others. Bordering close on becoming a "pops" concert, but not quite. The audience loved it. I couldn't hear it, but I heard that there was alot of singing along! In addition to the orchestra and the soloists, I also had to fit a 40+-voice choir, which I'm happy to say, actually fit! All in all, the performers were happy, the audience was happy, and the weekend was a total success.

One of the really remarkable things to see at this event are the blankets. The concert was set for 8:30 Saturday night. This picture was taken in the early afternoon on Friday. People claim a spot, set their blankets, and come back on Saturday afternoon, and it's still theirs! Montanans are just too damned trusting, I tell ya!

These other two pictures give you a sense of the concert atmosphere. The one from stage is mine, the one from the audience is one I found on Flickr. As I ask every year...can you find me?

(click 'em to big 'em!)

Tom and Jack and Tiger and golf

I know most of you are expecting a weekend report. That will come in a later post.

I woke up on Sunday morning in time to watch the final couple of holes of the British Open. To watch perhaps one of the greatest sports stories that never came to pass. But first, a little bit about golf in general...

I was raised in a golfing family. Without going into detail, there have been two professional golfers in the family, and three former state amateur champions (multiple times). There is not a member of my family that doesn't/didn't play, including my grandparents, down through to the nieces/nephew (well, one grandmother didn't, but her brother was one of the state amateur champions). At an early age, we were all taught about the etiquette of golf. That it was an honorable game. That, even though there are ample ways to cheat, it's basically a sport that's scored on the honor system. There are no referees. No one to "catch" you, other than yourself. There have been a number of professional tournaments lost because a competitor penalized himself a stroke for somehow breaking a rule--a rule that no one else saw him break other than his own conscience. We were taught to be quiet when someone was about to strike the ball. Nowhere more evident than when we would watch golf on TV as a family. "Shhh..., be quiet! He's about to putt!" And we bought it. When someone is putting on TV, we still keep quiet! We learned that, except in rare instances, our poor golf shots can only be blamed on ourselves, and that throwing clubs or slamming a club head into the ground was not acceptable, and showed disrespect for the course, the equipment, and the game of golf in general.

So I missed the Open all weekend, except for the final two holes of the playoff. I have never really liked Tiger Woods. Of course he's a phenomenon, but he tends to get 80% of the coverage for any tournament he plays in. The media hype is far overextended here. Though, things are different than when I was growing up. Tiger Woods is playing the same role that Jack Nicklaus did 30-40 years earlier. Young upstart taking the sport to a whole new level. But the players are much different. Tiger Woods is an athlete, as are most of today's golfers. Back then, they were just golfers. Not a whole lot of weight training going on then. But lots of skills.

Back to the Open. Last couple of holes. And Tiger wasn't involved. Thank God. But who would have ever expected Tom Watson??? Apparently, only one person--Tom Watson himself. Even in his post-round interview, he said that he came to play, expecting that he could win. He won't play the Masters anymore, because he knows he doesn't have the game to be perfect there (as you have to be). But the British courses, and the way one has to play them, fits his game. And two months shy of 60 years old, he's in a playoff to win his 6th British Open title at an age that no one else could possibly suggest as being possible. By the time I caught the playoff, it was a foregone conclusion that he wouldn't win. The man looked dejected. He looked tired. He looked beaten. And he was. All he had to do was par the last hole of regulation, and the Championship would have been his. And would be one of the greatest sports stories of all time. But he misjudged an approach shot, and missed a 10-foot putt, backing him into the playoff. We will never know if that stuck in his mind as he wilted in the four playoff holes, but it had to be at the back of his mind. Or maybe he'd just run out of gas. But he sealed his fate with poor play on the second to last hole, even stating himself that he "wasn't competitive in the playoff." He still had to make the walk up the last hole listening to the applause for the eventual champion, Stewart Cink. Much of it was for him too, respecting the legend for reminding them of the old days.

So where am I going with this? I may ramble, but I usually close the circle... While they were preparing for the trophy presentation, they showed clips from the four days of competition. Lots of shots of Tiger, as expected, but they showed a frustrated boy, not a professional golfer. I understand showing one's emotion, but on the golf course, as a's just not the place. Clubs being tossed, swearing, slamming the ground--they caught all of it. Then they showed Watson's miscues at the end. Did he pout? Did he abuse his equipment? No. What we saw was a man who showed the game the grace and respect it deserved at the oldest championship in the sport. And as he started his interview in the press tent, the first thing he said was, "it's not a funeral here!" Did it hurt? Of course it did. He missed a putt that he'd make 95 out of a 100 times if he went out to do it again. He missed a putt that would undoubtedly be the crown on a great career.

I never was a big Watson fan during his heyday, primarily because he was the one beating MY favorite, Nicklaus. But he jumped a few rungs up the ladder this weekend. Tiger continues to fall. And when I bounce my terminally non-existent grandchildren on my knee and they ask what golf was like in the old days, I'll gladly tell them about Jack and Tom and Arnie and Bobby and Sammy. And when they ask who is the greatest golfer of all time, it's going to be Jack. Regardless of how many more tournaments Tiger wins. Because golf is about much more than winning...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins: #133 and other stuff...

One last post before the weekend. I'll be off-grid until whenever I wake up on Sunday. Hopefully late in the morning. I don't know if it's a comfort level after 11 years of doing this, or if it's really running smoothly, but there hasn't been a single glitch that I'm aware of. Perhaps some on the administrative side, but nothing that would affect the weekend's activities. Just my luck, an errant firework will shoot into the middle of the orchestra, but then again, that would be sorta cool!
Untimely news...somehow the shutter button on my good camera popped off sometime after meeting Amber last weekend. I've found the button, and the spring, but there's one more little piece that I fear is lost. Worse news...there's not a camera repair shop for 90 miles around here. What's up with that? Any pictures I get from the concert will have to come from my little point and shoot. :-(
If you didn't find it on your own, Cute but Evil posted her HNTs this week with the OsShirt! However, there were lots of disparaging comments regarding its tackiness...
Probable bad news on the dad front... He had some blood work done and all his red and white blood cell and platelet counts were low. And they aren't sure why. So he gets to go in for a blood marrow test. If "House, M.D." is any indication, it's where they take a corkscrew and drill for marrow in your hip or leg, and without any sort of anesthetic. I might be wrong. In any case, I don't think he's got a clue as to what he's about to endure. I'm guessing that sitting for 3 hours at a concert is not on the list of approved activities. Nor do I think he'd be interested if it was. It'll be too bad--this'll be the first of these concerts that he'll miss.
The lemonade is almost gone. Some of you seemed surprised. Those of us in Montana are more likely to make real hot chocolate than lemonade or sweet tea. And for the one person who mentioned the syrup...yeah, I made my own syrup for it too!
I had to do this, just to wind down before hittin the sack and getting up at the asscrack of dawn. we go!

1. Pop Tarts and M&Ms make a quick and easy dinner.

2. Nonexistent is the book I'm reading right now.

3. July brings back memories of summers on Lake Coeur d'Alene.

4. The fall into desolation was obvious.

5. They say if you tell your dreams to take a left at the next light, all your tomorrows will seem like they're in the future.

6. I once had a thought, only to think it over.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to rehearsing, tomorrow my plans include rehearsing and performing and Sunday, I want to sleep in as long as I can!

Be sure to check out the other FFIers! And I'll be back around sometime Sunday!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where the Magic Happens HNT

Oh, if this afternoon is any indication, it's going to be a long week. Well, I already knew that. Today was "load the equipment truck" day. The nice, cool weather we've been having ended today. Hot and dry, and getting hotter and drier as the week continues. The good news--I'll have a crew working for me on Friday, so I get to wear my supervisor attitude! Less sweat, but more potential headaches. Also good news (and you long-time readers will understand)--I've already spilled blood! Not serious, by any means, but hopefully I've met my quota for this concert!

The fun starts bright and early on Friday, and goes non-stop until well into early morning Sunday. And in less than 72 hours, this is where the magic will happen...

I could easily be maid for you
Come on now maybe it's true
I could use my talented skill
Or then again do better yet still
Cook for you wash your laundry
Get your head in such a quandary
Tickle you with my feather duster
Create a stir and quite a fluster
Make your bed and warm it too
Cuddling in all night right through

"French Maid"--Christopher Robin

Our Master's Maid will be revealed late Thursday afternoon. Be sure to come back and check in!
Revealing things here a little earlier than normal, but things are about to get really busy this afternoon. Our Merry Maid is Diana! Stop by and see a bit more "cleaning" on her part! And some kick-ass shoes!

Some good submissions for "...the Other HNT". It's nice to get people to contribute in the busy-ness of the summer! Be sure to check out your fellow HNTers! NSFW, as usual.
Once again, circumstances are going to prevent me from surfing tonight. Probably not even until Sunday. Trust me--I will eventually be around to see everyone though!
Oooh!! I did something last night that I've never done before! Not exactly "bucket list" material, but still... I made authentic, fresh, personally hand-squeezed lemonade!!! No frozen concentrate, no powders, no juicer, no strainer, no cheating! Yes, it was messy. Yes, I lost all my fingerprints from the citric acid squeezed out. Yes, there's a seed or two and a little zest in the pitcher, but by God, I made lemonade! And damn, there's nothing quite like fresh lemonade!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No TMI, but lots of other useless information...

Bailing on the TMI questions this week. Fairly lame ones, if you ask me. And I'm too busy to really get into them this week.
We had our first rehearsal last night for Saturday's big concert. The theme of the concert is "Some Enchanted Evening". Playing nothing but Rogers & Hammerstein. As I expected, this will be a pretty easy concert for me, from a performance standpoint. I don't even have music for a half dozen of the pieces we're doing! Which is good, since last night was the first time I've even pulled my horn out of its case since the night of March 21st. Quite probably the longest stretch of inactivity in my adult life. Good news, however... The music transcription I was working on last month has passed with flying colors! I didn't have a chance to proofread it, so it was nice to hear everything sounding the way it was supposed to! Only two very minor 'omissions' that didn't even really affect the music, but the little bit of OCD that I have made them seem like more. I'll be expounding more about the concert this week, assuming I have time to post anything!
Along those lines, it looks like I'll be sparse in surfing again this week. I'm trying to get to bed before normal, just so I can function by the end of the week (18-hour days are going to kill me...). I'll stop by as best I can.
"You're gonna love my nuts..." -- Jessica sent me a link (when did she drop the 'Redneck' from her title?) this morning. I mentioned earlier this year my fascination with the ShamWow guy (and his legal troubles...). This is a rap version of the Slap Chop commercial. Pretty funny!
Future rants may include the pine bark beetle, rogue HNTers (including a whole crew of Half-Naked Thursday people--obviously haven't seen the guidelines!), AT&T/Verizon, and sexual predators in the blogs. Just have to find the time to write them.
Besides my own busy weekend coming up, it seems like a lot of bloggers are traveling or doing something big this weekend. Safe travels to all!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rachel? Lori? Leesa?

Doobie Brothers

Mission Mountain Wood Band

Big Sky, MT
Sept. 4th


Sunday, July 12, 2009


Today I had the wonderful, though brief fortune to meet up with Amber and her family. Amber is a relatively new HNTer, but a longtime blogger who can be found at Mommy Mania. She's the one who introduced me to the Friday Fill-Ins.

She and her family are moving from the midwest to British Columbia, and put out a call to anyone who might be able to meet up with them while on their way. She mentioned they'd be passing through Yellowstone Park, so I had to jump all over that! We met up at Micky D's in Butte, which is as close as they'd get to me.

What a lovely time! Her boys blew off some energy in the playground area, while her husband kept an eye on them so that she and I could talk. While traveling with two young boys must be a slice of heaven on earth (not), it was quite apparent that they're going to grow up to be some handsome, well-behaved young men!

I'm just sorry we didn't have a great deal of time, as they needed to get to Spokane (hey! that's where Dana is right now!). We hit it off, even on the phone as we determined final plans the night before. I imagine that she'd be a kick to toss a few beers back with. I hope that we get to do just that sometime in the future!

I highly recommend that you visit her site. She's got lots of family stories, very tasteful HNTs, and some great pictures with her fancy-schmancy camera! Hopefully she's got a better one of the two of us. Between my squinting and her tongue-sticking-outing, we do look like a couple of dorks. Cute dorks though. Thanks for a nice chat, Amber, and have a safe trip!

It's always nice to chat with new people and get a different perspective on things around here. I tend to assume that everyone who comes by knows what's going on. Apparently not... Two questions that have been recently asked have been: 1)What's the thing in the sidebar about "sat in the back row"?, and 2) What's up with the OsShirt thing? Two easy answers--those who have "sat" with me are bloggers that I've actually met in person. The first three are (were) real life beer drinking friends who have since abandoned me by leaving town. I'm over the rejection aspect of that. Really. The rest of them are from all over the country. Hence the title of this post--Amber is #45! And for those who don't believe it, I also offer the "proof"--click on that word and you'll see a picture of me with the particular person. With a couple of repeat visitors! I'll have to add extra pictures for the top three later...

The other question about the OsShirt. If you check out the first dozen or so "proofs", you'll see me wearing a very tacky blue Hawaiian shirt. It's also traveled the country on its own, being worn by a variety of people. You can keep track of it on its own blogsite here (best to start from the bottom). Actually, it's only current through the original OsShirt, which was lost by the US Postal Service (we think). I'll work on getting the cite more current, as version #3 of the OsShirt is making the rounds now! You can see it's debut in the click-through here, and expect to see it again this coming week!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins: #132 and other stuff...

It's been a busy couple of days. If you didn't see it earlier on her site, Dana took a side trip over here while on vacation in WA. Wednesday was spent drinking beer at one brewery's tap room, heading out to Howard's Pizza (yummmmy), and back to the Brewhouse for more beer, chips and fries. Next morning (which started at an ungodly hour for her, but a great HNT pic!) we jumped on the "Tour Train"--sort of a hokey tour through town. From there, we headed up to the York Bar for the finest burgers ever made. She's probably going to post pictures of all the food/beer. Lord knows she took enough of them! After York, we had to get back town so I could get to a staff meeting, and she headed back to Washington.

Lots of beer, lots of food, lots of gossip. We might need to make this a yearly ordeal!

Speaking of the staff meeting, alot was accomplished today. It appears that everything is coming along just fine. As I knew it would be.
For the first time in 4 years, I haven't really gotten around to HNTs yet. A small handful of regulars, but definitely not my normal surfing. Hopefully by the weekend.
Long John Silver's is giving away free fish tacos next Tuesday, I believe. Someone have one for me--we don't have one anywhere near here. Ooh! I did just recently find out that there's a Hooters in Missoula! Woohoo! we go!

1. The last thing I ate was a swiss cheeseburger and onion rings at the York Bar.

2. Toilet paper is something I recently bought.

3. When it rains, it smells wonderful!

4. M was the first person I talked to today.

5. Hugs are sometimes not even enough.

6. Extra ice cream = extra comfort.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting my laundry done, tomorrow my plans include meeting up with a fellow blogger on her way through the state and Sunday, I want to finish up pre-production details for concert week!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy HNT!

Busy, busy, busy. As mentioned earlier this week, I've come to realize that the big summer concert is only 10 days away. And I am SO not ready. But this is when I shine. In spite of some people who would disagree (M), I am very much a last minute sort of person. Everything will fall into place in time. And since writing that earlier, I really have gotten some things taken care of. Though I found out that my go-to guy for the piano move died in May...oops. Things are falling into place as expected. Good thing, as I've got company coming this week (yeah, there'll be pictures, I'm sure). And I need to put in some serious practice time with my horn, which I haven't touched since the end of March (EEEK!). I plan to write more next week of the concert. It should be another good one!

I took this as I was at the storage unit, checking out the equipment and counting music stands. If you question my nekkidness, I'll have you know that I wasn't wearing any pants at this particular moment (really!).

"Be thou the tenth Muse, ten times more in worth
Than those old nine which rhymers invocate."

--Sonnet 38, Shakespeare

This week's Mystery Guest is a blast from the past. Well known to most of us who have been around for awhile, she was one of the founders of Fuck You Fridays, which was well-used in the day! She'll be revealed late Thursday afternoon.
Our MG this week is the lady known only as Muse. She's not blogging much anymore, but still checks us out and wanted to give back some. Hopefully we'll get to see more of her!

Might be a little sparse over at "...the Other HNT" this week. I'm not sure. Having to get everything done ahead of time means that not everyone will have sent in their pictures. But the ones that ARE there are wonderful! Be sure to stop by and check out your fellow HNTers!
The other big excitement this week is that I've been chosen as a "Nielsen" family! Yeah, I'm part of the weekly group of people that determines what America is watching on TV this week. As most of you know, I don't "do" TV. But I'm faithfully keeping the little diary log with what shows I'm watching and when. If you notice a radical change in what TV looks like in the near future, you can thank me!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Busy Week & TMI Tuesday #194

I didn't have the luxury of a three- or four-day weekend, which was fine. I had plenty to occupy my time! There was a street dance/party going on downtown on Friday night. Went for a little bit but really wasn't in a party mood. Glad I went, just to be seen, though! Saturday was a bit more full, with hard core beer drinking at the lake. Lots of people/kids I didn't know, but after a couple of drinks, everyone knows everyone! Slowed down enough to make it into town for the fireworks, which were pretty good, in that this-is-Montana-and-not-NYC sort of way. Sunday was spent working on some symphony stuff, because...'s less than two weeks before the big free summer concert. How the heck did that happen?? Anyone who's followed me for the past few years knows that this is the busiest two weeks of my year. And I'm totally not ready for it this year. In fact, I haven't even touched my horn since late March. If I remember back to last year, I seem to remember being caught off-guard too. Though this year I have the added distraction of...
...visitors!! I've got a special visitor coming to town on Wednesday night. We'll drink beer, listen to music, and anything else I can come up with. And for the first time in many ages, I won't be around for HNT Wednesday night. I'll have everything ready for auto-post, but the surfing will have to wait. And my drafting will all have to happen on Tuesday. Then on Friday, I'll make the 50-minute drive down to Butte to meet up with another HNTer traveling through the state. It'll be a short visit, but fun, nonetheless!
And now for your excitement...

1. Where was the first place you ever had sex? - On the living room floor where the young lady was babysitting. It was my first time, but not hers.
2. How often do you lie? - What would you consider a "lie"? Would a dishonest comment be considered a lie? Would a little white lie be considered a lie? I don't think I could come up with a definitive "four times/day" sort of answer. I don't consider myself a liar. It's entirely too difficult at my age to keep that stuff straight. I don't remember any situation in recent memory where I've had to lie to get out of any trouble.
3. If you could only be one, would you rather be smart or good looking? - No question... Smart trumps good looking any day of the week.
4. Have you ever passed out or suffered memory loss from drinking too much? - Not often. I've been known to drive home and not remember the next morning what route I took, but that happens when I'm sober too. And I've fallen asleep before my head hit the pillow. But I don't think I've ever passed out at a party or anything like that since college, and only once or twice back then.
5. Top or bottom? - Bottom.
Bonus: Do you have any catalogs for toys/videos/lingere delivered to your home? - Nope. Though, for some reason, I get emails from Frederick's of Hollywood. Not quite sure how I got on that mailing list.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Maybe Dana will do this...

Many years ago, I was talking with a friend. He had mentioned that he had been in Seattle and went up the Space Needle. And absolutely hated it. When I asked why, he said that he hates heights, and every time he got close to the edge, his nuts ran right up into his throat. The significance of that statement can't be stressed enough. For years, I thought I was the only guy that had that feeling. I have come to learn since, that most guys know what that's like. There is no other feeling like it.

Of course, there's got to be degrees of discomfort. Personally, I don't even have to be present, or involved in the activity! I watch footage of steel workers running around while building the Empire State Building and it happens. THEY obviously didn't have the same discomfort (though I imagine they were more concerned about staying alive...)! I watch videos of a plane going over the edge of the Grand Canyon and it happens. I watch roadies climbing stage scaffolding and it happens. I've found that once I get used to working with heights (when I need to), the feeling doesn't happen as intensely. Maybe one can get used to it.

So anyway, this article caught my eye last week. On Thursday, 103 stories above downtown Chicago, the Sears Tower (I thought it had a new name...) opened "The Ledges" to the public. Glass-enclosed balconies. Top, bottom and sides. The balconies can hold five tons, and the glass is an inch-and-a-half thick. I'm sorry. I know for a fact that the day I set foot on one, is the day that the slight imperfections in manufacturing come together to break apart under my feet. There is no way I could do it. I'd say more right now, but I need to step away and clear my throat...

You must click 'em to big 'em to get the full effect...

That first step is a doozie...

The view from an adjoining ledge...

Counting the number of floors to the bottom...

Apparently the kid in black is beginning
to experience the "throat" thing...

The little girl is leaning on the window.
Leaning on the window.
Weakening the integrity as we watch.
Oh, look! Clouds right there, too!
Let's wait for a lightning storm!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

READ THIS! (I'll bet most of you never have...)
(reposted from last year)

The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Friday, July 03, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins: #131

Anyone who has seen my FB entries this week knows that my whole sense of what day of the week has been screwed up. Not about Thursday, of course, but feeling like Friday since about Wednesday. So what happens when Friday rolls around? I space out getting my Friday Fill-Ins done early. Better late than never, though. Right? we go!

1. When I heard that they'd run out of beer I knew all hell was about to break loose.

2. A loud primal scream is often the best medicine.

3. It's late, and somewhere a coyote is howling at the moon.

4. I find myself somewhere between never and always.

5. My eyes have seen the song from your heart.

6. Strangly, strengly, stringly, strongly.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a few beers, tomorrow my plans include many beers, the lake and fireworks and Sunday, I want to get the hell outta Dodge, but I doubt that'll happen!

Be sure to check out the other FFIers. I'm sure they were more on the ball than I!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Patriotic HNT

Patriotism. What an interesting concept. I don't think that any two of us have the same idea of what it is. After 9/11 there was a great deal of "patriotism" being shown across the country. Sales of US flags skyrocketed, as did those magnetic red, white and blue 'ribbons'. Almost every vehicle sported one, and you obviously were un-American if yours didn't. I never purchased one.

To others, "patriotism" means rooting for Team USA as they kick other country's teams asses at the Olympics. And display their hard-fought right to bitch and moan when things don't go their way.

To even others, "patriotism" means serving their country wherever they are deployed. Yet there's even patriots within the military who abuse their power and don't play by the accepted rules of war.

I like to think of "patriotism" in terms of what Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin did. Never heard of her? She is the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. Oh, yeah...she's from Montana. She was elected prior to the 19th Amendment (allowing women to vote), though Montana extended that right to women 6 years before it was ratified. She is the only Congressional member to have voted against the entry into both WWI and WWII. And was, in fact, the only dissenting voice in 1941. She was an instrumental figure in the women's suffrage cause, promoted legislation protecting the health of women and children, and was the founding vice-president of the ACLU. This is a woman who served her country nobly, in spite of criticism and ridicule for pacifist views. No chest thumping, bellowing show of "patriotism" from this woman. Just a quiet execution of her duties, as asked of her Montana constituents. Sadly, we don't see much of that these days...

So where am I going with this? Back to the other examples thought of as "patriotism". Jumping on the "US is #1" feeling after 9/11, a group of individuals proposed the raising of a giant US flag that could be seen from as many points in town as possible. Again, I was not in favor of it. Not because of any anti-American sentiments, but because I felt it was being done for the wrong reasons. Regardless, it breezed through the city council in record time (and with the waiving of numerous hearings), and a big celebration was held when they raised the flag for the first time, and everyone was there. And what has happened since? To someone's credit, the flags (there's different ones for different weather) have been cared for quite well. However, the little park area around isn't quite as lucky. While it was plastic patriotism that got the flag raised, it seems to have disappeared in keeping things in prime shape.

So what do I think "patriotism" is all about? I honestly don't have a clue. But what I find interesting is that, in spite of my personal opposition to how this flag came to where it's found now, I find that it looks pretty damned good. Especially when there's a breeze. That little puff in my chest, and hitch in my breath, and maybe tear in my eye? Yeah, the flag can do that. Maybe that's what it's all about for me.

This picture really does no justice in showing its immense size.
The square footage is literally more than my apartment!

"A sweet, little, beautiful one just like you
I want a beautiful, wonderful, perfect All American

Now, he's wrapped around her finger
She's the center of his whole world
And his heart belongs to that sweet, little, beautiful, wonderful, perfect
All American girl."
--"All-American Girl" by Carrie Underwood

This one should be easy, but she'll be revealed late Thursday afternoon.
The star-spangled Mystery Guest is, of course, Vixen. Be sure to check out her site for a little more patriotism!

A good showing of HNTers over at "...the Other HNT" this week. Be sure to stop by and visit, and leave some comment love! Yes, it's NSFW!
For those who plan to celebrate all weekend, party hard, but be safe. And don't be stupid! And above all, as I mention every year, DON'T DO THIS!!!

And if you think only guys do that sort of thing...