Sunday, February 27, 2005


I've been busy all weekend with rehearsals and preparations for our symphony concert tonight. I had every intention of taking my camera to take some pictures, but didn't realize I'd forgotten it until I got there. Damn! Hopefully the next concert...

As far as concerts go, this one was not my favorite. Mind you, I'm not saying it was a bad concert! It's just that every once in awhile, certain concerts favor different aspects of the orchestra. And that's fine. This particular concert just wasn't spectacular for the trombones. It was heavy on the vocals, however. The Chorale sang a couple of haunting, contemporary sacred pieces. Very listenable, however. Then the orchestra joined the singers for a couple of Mozart sacred pieces. All in all, a very good concert. Just not one of my favorites.

Perhaps the best part of the concert was the fact that I wasn't home to watch the Oscars. I am so tired of award shows! They're so meaningless anymore. And fairly phony. But I'll bet that I would have ended up watching it if I wasn't busy playing my horn!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Book Tag

I hate these things. Good thing I had this book, rather than some dime store romance nearby!

Book Game

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

Its upper range is weak and it is much better to use the flutes in that register. Slow, lyric melodies in the lowest twelfth of its range are charcteristic of the instrument. The alto flute is also useful as the bass for a harmony in the flutes.

Okay, tag…you’re it!

Criminal Behavior

There's very little in life that gets me riled up anymore. I attribute ignorance, self-righteousness and stupidity, as well as alot of other things, to basic human nature. I generally just shake my head in disbelief, happy in the thought that I'm above all that. Fortunately, most people I know don't let the stupid things that other do/say bother them much. (Though I can't stand ignorance. The type where you just want to slap some sense into their heads. Not the ignorance that comes from lack of knowledge, but ignorance like calling the purple Tele-Tubby gay, or not knowing how to deal with a 4-way stop.).

Then I run across something like this. The Kansas attorney general wants the medical records of about 90 women and girls who had late-term abortions, saying he needs the materials to investigate crimes. Are you kidding me??? Just look at the picture of him--looks like someone shoved a stick up his ass. Or maybe just his head.

I was raised Catholic, and would still consider myself one, but I've also been a high school teacher who has seen plenty of students (girls and boys) suffer through the agonies of having, or not having, an abortion. And to anyone who thinks that teens are going to give up sex, see my rant about ignorance in the first paragraph! In my typical, apolitical way, I don't have a firm stance on this issue, and thank God that I've never personally had to deal with this among anyone close to me. But I know that what this guy is trying to do, and has been doing in secret since October, totally undermines the civil rights of all involved. Regardless of which side of the abortion issue you stand on, how can you justify what this guy is trying to do? He happens to be "a staunch opponent of abortion", which makes his motives suspect, at best.

I'm sure there are some of you out there who are much more eloquent than me, but am I wrong? Just though I'd share this because, for some reason, it struck a nerve. And that's not normal for me.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Blood Results

The numbers are in! All of you medically inclined people can interpret them to your heart's content! The first number will be my results, then the desirable results, then underneath, my numbers from a year ago.
  • Total Cholesterol
    199 mg/dl (less than 200)
    184 mg/dl
  • LDL Cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol)
    122 mg/dl (less than 130)
    121 mg/dl
  • HDL Cholesterol ("good" cholesterol)
    53 mg/dl (45 or more)
    46 mg/dl
  • Risk Ratio (Total/HDL)
    3.8 (less than 4.0)
  • Triglycerides
    120 mg/dl (less than 150)
    83 mg/dl
  • Glucose
    99 mg/dl (less than 110)
    92 mg/dl

So in spite of my overweightness and piss-poor diet, I'm not doing too bad. I'm not going to give you specifics about weight, BMI or girth, because those numbers are big numbers. But dammit, my blood's good!

Now I have to call my sister--we've got a bet going on our total cholesterol numbers. The one with the higher number (bad) pays the winner a buck per point. I'm guessing that I'll be eating at Howard's Pizza tonight!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Potty Musings


I wasn't going to write this, but the more I thought about it, the more it became clear that I had to. I was up about 4 times last night to go to the bathroom. Not to pee mind you. My stomach was not happy with me last night. Not sure what it was that I ate, but it didn't agree with me. I'll spare you the details, but I will tell you that I had to drink alot of water this morning to rehydrate. But that's not what this is about.

This is about my upstairs neighbors. They manage the apartment complex that I live in. Their floor plan is the same as mine--their kitchen is above my kitchen, their living room is above my living room, etc. They don't blow a gasket when I'm late with my rent. They're friendly. Very nice people. What I can't figure out is what they do at night.

When I've come home really late from gigs, their lights are on. At all hours of the night. They're fairly quiet, but occassionally you can hear them moving from room to room. At all hours of the night. But it's not bad at all. What I truly hate is that when I'm in the bathroom, there's almost always one of them in their bathroom. And for as quiet as they may be anywhere else, you can hear every little sound from there. You can hear her splashing in the bathtub. You can hear him when he takes a shower. Needless to say, you can hear every time they use the toilet. And it ain't a pretty sound. It's bad enough to hear him peeing directly into the bowl, but you get to hear those final pulses to make sure that everything is drained. And I can't help but visualize. If he were a good-looking man, I might not mind that, but he's not, and I've probably said more than I should have....

Have you ever thought about the acoustic properties of a toilet bowl? Between the bowl shape and the porcelain, the resonating qualities are unbeatable. Now imagine either one of them sitting down and doing their business, complete with grunts and farts. Or worse. I don't particularly like the sounds of that when I'm the one doing it, let alone getting an image of either one of them spouting their own toilet symphony.

So last night I made numerous trips to the can. They weren't pleasant trips, either. They were the types where you thanked God for watching over you and keeping you from tripping over your dirty laundry as you race to get to the toilet in time. And damned if someone upstairs wasn't there too. Do they have some sort of motion sensor connected to be sure that if I'm taking care of business, THEY'RE doing the same thing? At 3 in the morning??? Well, as I was sitting there praying that my own noisy activities would be over for the night, a happy realization popped in my head--


Monday, February 21, 2005

Happy President's Day!

Today is President's Day. That wonderful day when kids, dressed up as their favorite president, look for their shadows, knock on stranger's doors, search for hidden gifts, and bring them home to pile under the President's Tree. Then at night, after their dinner of corned beef and cabbage, they exchange their pink and lacy President's Day cards to each other, then head outside to shoot off some fireworks. The evening ends with everybody hugging and kissing at midnight, and singing "Auld Lang Syne". Ah, the memories!

Of course, there are those who won't celebrate President's Day. Won't take the time to remember all that Pres. John Tyler did for his country (including fathering 15 children!). Won't care that Pres. Chester Arthur remodeled the interior of the White House to the grand stature it enjoys now. These people will still go to work or to school or whatever they do just as though today was like any other day. Or even worse, accept the three-day weekend without reflecting for a moment as to why they've got it! Missing out on the joys of one of the truly meaningful days of the year. Sad.

In spite of the fact that Hallmark doesn't even acknowledge the holiday (but they do have cards for "Sister's Day" on Aug. 5th! No "Brother's Day", but there IS a "Sister's Day!!! What's the world coming to???), I would like to personally wish all my readers a very Happy President's Day! May it be all that you hoped it would be!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Seconds, anyone?

NASA scientists have determined that the Dec. 26th earthquake that triggered the tsunami disrupted the planet's rotation and has shaved 2.68 microseconds (millionths of a second) from the length of the day. That means that in one million days (approximately 2,737 years, 311 days at 6:00 PM), we will have lost 2.68 seconds that we'll never get back.

So that brings up some questions. If I'm not going to be around that late, can I get my seconds back now? Who do I see about that? It's not like there's enough hours in the day, let alone seconds! Granted, I'd probably just sleep those seconds away, but isn't that my choice? And what about the Pearly Gates of Heaven? Won't St. Peter be checking to see how long I was alive down here? What if I haven't fulfilled my full allotment of God-given seconds here on earth? It'll be just like Warren Beatty and his soprano sax, all over again!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Say What?!?

I had my wellness screening this morning. The last time I had this done was almost exactly a year ago. I won't get the blood numbers for about a week, but I can give you some general things that I found out, and how I compared to last year.

My Body Mass Index (BMI) is almost identical to last year. This is good. Only in the sense that it wasn't any worse. In other words, I didn't grow up or out in the past year. I won't give you an exact number. Let's just say that I'm nowhere near "ideal".

My waist-to-hip ratio (waist in inches, divided by hips in inches) calculated out to .93. For men, the "desired" ratio should be <.95. This must mean that my body is desirable. What it obviously means is that I'm big in both areas, rather than having a big beer gut hanging out. But they say that's more "healthy", in my overweight state.

I bombed the grip strength test. Partially because it was early in the morning, and I hadn't done anything with my hands. In fact, as I squeezed (squoze?) the device, every knuckle in every finger cracked and popped. I think I surprised the nursing student working with me at that point. Sounded like my fingers literally had snapped and broken. Sort of woke everyone up in the area though! I generally have a strong grip, so this was a personal downer.

One area of improvement was the flexibility test. Basically, it's sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, then bending forward to see how far you can reach. It's checking your back flexibility. I scored pretty well last year, and this time I blew past last year's mark. And that's with having to reach past my big gut that's in the way! Not quite sure how I did it this year, but I'll take it!

Also had a lower blood pressure than last year. Not by much, but lower. But that's sort of like saying you only drank 10 beers last night instead of the whole 12-pack. You drank too much, but you've done worse. Again, no specific numbers for you, but it's about borderline high--don't need to medicate, but I should be watching it closer.

So the biggest surprise/disappointment? They threw in a simple hearing test. I apparently have some hearing loss in my left ear at the 4 kHz level. I can hear higher pitches. I can hear lower pitches. The girl giving the test made the comment that the woman just ahead of me missed the same pitch, and wondered if the machine was screwed up. Of course it was! It COULDN'T have been me! I'm a musician! I can hear everything! Well, she tried it herself, and she could hear it. It must be a short in the headphones or something. I put them back on and watched her hit the button. Nothing. So I switched the headphones around so that it would come through the right ear. Damned if I didn't hear the pitch in my right ear! Damn, damn, damn!

I have spent over 3/4 of my life as a performing musician. Rock bands, jazz bands, pep bands, concert bands, marching bands, orchestras, choirs. I've taught music for about half my life. I've had trumpets, screaming cheerleaders, timpani, ref's whistles, crash cymbals, piccolos, drums, squeaking clarinets, guitar amps and vocal monitors in my ears for most of that time. I've stood in front of gigantic speakers at concerts and gone home with a ringing in my ears that lasted for days. And now they tell me that I've lost some of my hearing???

I only had one response--say WHAT?!?

Hungry & Saturated

My sister called this afternoon (two of my three sisters live here). Her company is having a wellness screening tomorrow from the local hospital. This is where they take some blood, measure you, weigh you, see how flexible you are, and check your mental well-being, etc. Not an official physical exam though. Then in a week or so, you get the results to find out how "well" you are. Ultimately, it's a ploy by the hospital to force you to come in and get further tests, or get involved in various self-help groups.

Back to my sister. She asked if I wanted to be included, so I said yes. What I hadn't planned on is the 12-14 hr. fast you have to go on beforehand. I'm going in at the crack of dawn, and she didn't call until late in the afternoon, so I haven't eaten since noon. You can't do caffeine either, so it's been water, water, and more water. Guarantees I'll be up all night. My kidneys and bladder work "real well"! I've known that for years!

I'm always a little nervous about these things. I'm afraid that they're going to come back and tell me I have some sort of rare disease I think I'd prefer not to know about. I've decided that ignorance is a really good thing at times. I already know about my physical health. It's not great, but I'm not so bad that I'm homebound or anything like that. I am overweight. My blood pressure is higher than it should be. I don't exercise, eat right, or any of that. Alot of what they base your "wellness" on is how you answer their questionaire ahead of time. I've never smoked, so I know that my score on the "smoking" section is going to be pretty good. I rarely wear seat belts around town--I'm going to score low on safety. I've been known to drink & drive--you fail that section of "wellness" if you've done it even once. If you answer that you sometimes don't handle stress well, they'll recommend seeing a counselor. The point being here--I know all this. And they have the audacity to say, "Studies show that the use of seat belts increases your chances of surviving an automobile accident....." "Because you've never smoked, you'll live to be 100, unless you drink and drive...." Like I've never heard any of this before!!! I don't need someone telling me the incredibly obvious!! This part of the screening is a joke!!!!

So why did I say yes? The blood! My father suffered a couple of heart attacks in the mid-90's, which was a wake-up call to me and my siblings. (He's fine now. Currently spending 3 months in Hawaii with Mom. Spending my inheritance.) BUT... we all got blood tests soon after his first one, and in a wonderful competition, we compared our blood results, with $$$ up for grabs. I'm proud to say that I, the pizza-eating, beer-guzzling, "deep-fat fry the Twinkies" overweight bachelor consistently scores about 181 for a cholesteral number. My sisters? Pushing 240! And when you take into account the numbers for the HDLs and LDLs and triglycerides, etc., etc., I've won every competition! Drives my sisters nuts. Which, in turn, helps me and my "wellness". So that's why I do it. To win cash, to check on my numbers, and to enjoy the domination over my sisters!

Now it's time for another glass of water and bed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Mysteries of Online Banking

I hesitated about whether or not I should be posting this, but I have to admit, I can't wait for your responses!

I rarely go online to see what my checking account balance is. I have a general idea what's in there, and I'll go in to check the balance maybe twice a month, just to be sure. Today I checked it and it seemed a little low, so I dug deeper to look at the details. Lo, and behold! For the past three months (as far as the detail went back), I've been dinged $29.99 each month (unauthorized!). Further investigation indicates that it's probably for a membership to some porno site. And I have no idea how long this has been going on!

This means I have to call some toll-free number based somewhere in the midwest to talk to some unsuspecting, pure-as-the-driven-snow customer service rep, and tell her that I've never joined a porno site, that I don't know what porno site is charging me, or how long it's been happening. You can just bet that there's some sort of button they push for situations like this. Marking me as a porno hound. A pervert. Assigning me a secret code on my account so that in the future, the next pure-as-the-driven-snow customer service rep can pass me off to Bubba, the pure-as-the-yellow-snow customer service rep who sort of likes these calls.

I have no idea how this site got my debit card number, or any other information. It pisses me off! I wish my own bank could take care of it, but they don't get to make these sorts of adjustments. So I have to talk to a faceless, uncaring voice on the other end of the line. With her finger on the button.

So there it is. Let the comments begin! I'll keep you posted on my journeys through all of this....

Monday, February 14, 2005

Stanley's Cup Runneth Dry

Just saw on the news that the NHL is calling for a news conference tomorrow to announce that what remains of the hockey season will be cancelled.

(crickets chirping, light breeze ruffling, maple leaves fluttering to the ground.....)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day

Right off the bat, let me comment on what a incredibly stupid holiday this is. In the immortal words of a fellow blogger,"Oh yeah, like people having sex on a regular basis deserve their own freakin' holiday!!" (thanks Rachel!)

With that having been said--I hope you all have a wonderful and Happy Valentine's Day! If you've got no one to share it with, you can shoot a Valentine back to me! And if you DO have someone and want to gloat about it, you can shoot a sympathy one too me as well.

Weekend Reflections

The weekend is only hours away from ending, and I've been trying to come up with a whiz-bang post. Ain't gonna happen, but I did have a couple of thoughts!

The Inaugural Ball(s) were apparently a big success. Lots of lights and cameras. Alot of people who thought that this was a big deal. Two things I noticed--first, people pushing other people out of the way to get close enough to get a picture of the governor. I'm sorry, but this is just some rancher from Whitefish who doesn't own two decent suits. Maybe it's because I live in Helena, but I don't see the fascination. Second, for all the news coverage, I didn't see anyone DANCING! Anywhere! It's a ball. That implies DANCING. One venue looked so crowded that it resembled a very well dressed mosh pit. But no DANCING! By God, if WE had been playing, there'd have been DANCING!

The crazies from the Westboro Baptist Church were in town this morning. Picketed six churches during the morning. Heard through third party discussions that they were just creepy. Even though there were only about a dozen of them, they knew how to cause a stir. Apparently by using drill sergeant techniques of getting right up into your face and screaming about being fag lovers and going to hell. And nasty horrible placards. But there were no big fires burning anywhere, so I guess it was "peaceful". The questions I had were these--where do these people stay when they're in town? I don't believe that the local Baptist churches in town follow their "doctrine". And where do they eat? Perkins? Applebees? Where do they leave their signs and banners when they aren't picketing? If I owned a service establishment in town, I'd excercise my right to not serve them! If I hear of any stories, I'll be sure to post. They're supposed to picket the MT Supreme Court tomorrow--I might make it down to check out the circus myself.

As I'm writing this, I'm also watching the Grammys (thank the good Lord for wireless internet!). I've liked the performances, especially the collaborations. I'm young enough to recognize the names of some of these bands, but too damned old to know what they sound like. Maroon 5 looks like a band I might have to check out. Loretta Lynn just won the country album of the year. Haven't heard the album, but I kind of like that song about Portland. HOWEVER, can someone tell me what the hell is going on with her and Jack White??? Watching the video is kind of scary. Has she found the new "fountain of youth"? Is he getting any on the side? She's old enough to be his grandmother, and then some! But it was nice to see they won a Grammy.

UPDATE!!! 2/14: I just found out that Melissa Etheridge has been undergoing chemo to battle breast cancer. I commented about her new hair "style" at the Grammys on another blog, and wasn't very polite. My apologies to anyone who was offended!

No more thoughts on the weekend. It was pretty quiet. And don't we all need that every once in awhile?

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Fancy Dance(s)

The newly-elected governor of the State of Montana will be presiding over his Inaugural Ball tonight. Actually, that will be Balls. (no, this has nothing to do with that!) Spread out over three different venues, the governor will make appearances at each. Two of the venues have sold out, and they say that if try to buy tickets at the door at the third, you might not get in. It seems to be a big deal for two reason, as I see it.

First, it's returned to Helena, the capital of MT, after having been hosted elsewhere for the past 2 or 3 times. I still don't understand why it ever left. How weird would it be for George W. to have his Balls in TX? Secondly, and maybe the bigger reason, is that the Democrats have regained the governor's seat for the first time in 16 years. They've actually taken control of the House & Senate, too. Now I don't have any political idealogy--if anything, I might lean a bit left, but I've found that most of my readers, hence most of the blogs I read, have a definite GOP flavor to them. That's OK--I don't really care. In MT, we had a very popular Republican governor--almost everyone liked him. He went on to head the RNC for awhile. But his Lt. Governor succeeded him. She was, and I think you MT Republicans would agree with me to some degree, a crazy lady. I don't know that I'd call her incompetent, but damn, she was embarrassing at times! So there's a bit of giddyness in Helena that the Democrats are on the firing line now. And this is a state that W took easily!

So now the Demos are in charge, the Ball is back in Helena, and they're sold out. Of course, the Republicans are launching an investigation about the fund-raising for this. The governor's brother is heading up that effort. Geez, how else will they pay for it??? Do they want to use state funds for it??? Of course someone's got to go out and raise money!! The brother is an unpaid volunteer for this, whose expenses will be paid for by any leftover contributions. The Republicans (who are doing a great deal of whining this year since they're no longer in control) claim that he's working as a lobbyist. It's good to know that things like this weigh heavily on everyone's mind, so that they don't have to deal with other issues, such as education funding....

What you have just read is as political as I'll ever get on this blog. Why do I even mention any of this? My band isn't playing at any of the venues! In fact, there's only one group from Helena playing (a mediocre jazz group). And there's like 20 different musical groups of one kind or another involved. One group from Helena??? We were excited to hear that the Ball was back in Helena. We were "a shoe-in" to play at one of the venues. Our sax player works for Legislative Services. We had legislative staff, as well as legislators, pushing for us with those who did the planning. "Great band!" "They play everything!" "They're cheap!" We even penciled it into our calendar. But no, we're not playing. Apparently the wrong asses were being kissed, or the right ones weren't kissed enough.

So tonight I may blog. I may watch TV. I see that "Die Hard" and Die Hard 2" are running back to back tonight on FX. And the Hallmark Channel is running "Family Plan", starring Tori Spelling, 3 times in a row. Do I sound bitter? I was, but I've gotten over it. Really, I have.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Year In Review

Here's something I never thought I'd do. For this past Christmas (actually not until Jan.), I put together an online album to share with friends and family at, complete with descriptions of people, places & things from 2004. And now I've decided to share it with the world. Here's the link to my Ofoto album. If you don't have an account, you can sign up for one for free. I suppose it's similar to every other online photo album, but this one's run by Kodak, so that can't be a bad thing!

If you don't think you'd find anything interesting, then don't go. If you want a quick peek into my life, then come on in!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Man Music

I am such a music geek. In a prior lifetime, not too long ago, I used to manage a local independent music store. CDs, tapes, etc. You remember, back when you had to go to a store to buy your music, rather than downloading it. One of the things that I was able to do was order CDs at cost, and thus I ended up with about 1500 CDs at home. If I were to play them 24/7, it would take months to get through. But I digress.

I've made another purchase. I heard the latest Miller Lite ads on the radio, and they sounded (if the page is "unavailable", try refreshing it, twice if necessary) like the old NFL Films, complete with the driving percussion, that punching brass, and the narration that was so deep and resonant. It got me to thinking that there probably was some sort of collection of that old NFL music. So I did some searching. Oh my, was I ever blessed!

Autumn Thunder: 40 Years of NFL Films Music is a 10-CD set, comprised of about 183 tracks (mostly less than 3 minutes each) of some of the most glorious music you've ever imagined. And now I'm the proud owner of my own set! As I tore the wrapper from the set, you could smell the scent of testosterone escaping from within, swirling around your head like a temptress' veils. As you listen, particularly to the music from the early years, you feel the manliness surging in your veins. The only other music that comes close to doing the same are the soundtracks to Conan the Barbarian and Gladiator. You can feel your beard actually growing! You stand taller, your voice gets a little deeper, and your muscles quiver, especially "that" one. Women who hear the music are affected too. Their breasts become firmer, their lips start to tremble (not those!), and they can feel the rush of excitement seething throughout their bodies. Though some just lose two cream colored lace bras and a baby blue thong. Ah, but not all of the music is brutish. There are some softer tracks, as man is not just an animal of lust! Real men have that gentle side as well. Gentle, but driven by manly hormones. I haven't listened to a great deal of this collection yet. It will take some time. But so far, I have noticed that each piece has its own character--proud, defiant, defeated, victorious, hopeful. Truly the music of our lives!

I bet it would make a good soundtrack to a porno movie too!

Monday, February 07, 2005

In Cahoots w/the Mob Rules Horns

Lizabeth suggested when I first started this blog that I include a listing of the gigs that people might be able to catch us at. That's not a bad idea, so I've included that in the sidebar under the heading "Leaving the Back Row". I'll keep it updated as best I can. Things are a little slow right now, but will pick up quite a bit as the summer approaches.

This will also be the first installment of the Cast of Characters. This is In Cahoots w/the Mob Rules Horns. Yes, I know that name is too long, but it works for us! There is a history involved in the Mob Rules name, so we keep it. We play a wide variety of music. Swing, country, disco, rock, polkas, Sousa marches--whatever comes up. We're a cover band. In other words, we don't write any of our own music. But we have our own arrangements. And it's surprising how well you can add horns to country music! The horn line consists of two trumpets, alto sax, and two trombones. One of the trumpet players will often jump on the acoustic guitar or the bass, and I'll throw in some keyboard stuff. I'm proud to say that the horn line doesn't do choreography. That would be more than scary!

We mostly play for the "fancier" parties in town, wedding receptions, private affairs, and a number of outdoor street dances. We have pretty much given up on playing the weekend bar scene for a variety of reasons, primarily because there's a severe shortage of places to play in this town! And the places that DO have live music generally have stages way too small for our merry band of musicians. We range in age from about 25 to 55. Plus we've recently added the second trombonist, who's 16. Talented little shit. I'd walk you through the band members, but the picture up above is a little old, and the personnel has changed some. I'll do the individual members at a later date.

So that's the band. I'll keep the schedule updated, and hopefully get a newer picture of us. If we're in your neck of the woods, try to come see us. And be sure to stop up and say hi!

The End Is Near, the Dark Angel Is Lurking....

I've been hoping this day would never come, but it happened today. I turn 48 in April (ugh!). And in today's mail, I received my first bulk mailing from AARP. I have to go now. Time for my nap....

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Remains of the Day

Sorry for the semi-gross picture. It's the remains of the mesquite bbq w/lime chicken nuggets I whipped up for our Super Bowl party. Some friends got together early for a couple of hours of cutthroat poker (5¢ antes, 50¢ maximum raises). I came out about $4 ahead, so that was a good thing. We did the chicken, Howard's pizza (those of you who have had it know how good it is!), some burned nachos and some little smokies. And beer. Lots of beer. Cold beer.

At some point the game started. Being stuck in MT, there's not any "local" professional teams to follow in that rabid way that fans in larger cities do. I think western MT generally will root for Seattle, the rest of the state seems to like the Broncos. Needless to say, neither of those teams played today. I think we were hoping the Eagles would pull it out, and no one really liked the Patriots (sorry Rachel!). In the end though, the day was all about getting together, drinking beer, laughing at mediocre commercials, and hoping that Sir Paul would show his little smokie in some sort of "malfunction" at halftime.

All in all, a good use of a Sunday afternoon. Cold beer, cold pizza, cheap poker and good friends. Hope your day was at least as fulfilling!

Saturday, February 05, 2005


I've been doing alot of thinking recently, and that's not necessarily a good thing. A couple of movies/TV shows started it with their underlying themes--Back To the Future (I & II, not III), Quantum Leap, It's A Wonderful LIfe, Scrooged. See a pattern? Not time travel, but the consequences or possibilities of altering the past. Changing the time/space continuum. Changing your current timeline. Can you tell I've watched too many of these types of shows?

I think we've all made bad decisions in our lifetimes. I'm not talking about things that you say/do when you're drunk or in the heat of passion. I'm talking about decisions where you've had a discussion with yourself about the pros & cons, right or wrong. Personally, I've made several bad ones. But at the same time, those decisions have led me on a road that has allowed me to make my current batch of friends, given me current opportunities, and the like. So if I went back and changed them, chances are very good that I wouldn't have those things today. I look at my choices and see how they've changed my life like a broad butter knife. I don't know that I would, if given a chance, change those decisions. Sure, my life would probably be easier and vastly different, but would I want to lose the good things in my current life? I don't think I would.

By the same token, I think that there are bad decisions/actions that are sharper, and more well-defined. Sometimes as simple as head/tails. Or an impulse decision. You see only one road leading from that decision. It could result in the permanent loss of a friendship, the death of a loved one, a job opportunity lost. You get the idea. I'm fixated these days on one single action that HAS affected my life drastically. One single action that I can pinpoint to a specific date and time. Nothing good has come from that decision, nor will it. One single action that, if given a chance, I'd take back in a heartbeat. Who's to say that things wouldn't go downhill later? But who's to say they wouldn't be substantially better?

I believe that we are all accountable for our actions and choices. And that's why I tend to just accept the past, hopefully learn from it, and look to the future. Every once in awhile, though, I'd really like to go back and change that one thing.

To those of you who know me, none of you (not even you!) know of the specific decision, or its consequences, so quit speculating. And I'm not about to die or anything grand like that. I'm just procrastinating, and this is what came out!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Another Opportunity Missed....

I missed the big "Happy Days" 30th Anniversary Special tonight. Dammit.


In one of the few non-musical things I do in life, I spend half days during the week working in the corporate offices of a popular Helena sandwich restaurant. So popular, in fact, that one of our sandwiches was named as the second best "meat hog" in America by MAXIM magazine (Oct. issue, I believe). I won't name it, because I don't want to get Googled for it. I don't work in the kitchen--I work more along the lines of administrative assistant. That's OK. It keeps me off the streets, the guys (owners) treat me well, and I get to play on Macs most of the time. No, we're not talking brain surgery, and things may start getting incredibly busy in the near future, but for right now, it helps pay the rent.

So why don't I want to get Googled? Because I can think of two or three other sandwiches IN THE STATE that I'd order before one of ours! I'M A TRAITOR!! Don't get me wrong--ours are great. Everybody loves them. I love them. Maybe it's the memories associated with the others that make them more desirable to me. Whatever. So who are my favorite sandwiches?

  • The Pickle Barrel, Bozeman, MT--Either the Italian (hold the tomatoes, please) or the Cheesesteak. There are a couple of stores in the state, but if it ain't from Bozeman, it ain't quite the same! I grew up with these in my undergrad days. Most people will by a half sandwich, WHICH IS 12" LONG! I remember the first one I ever ordered. I was told to only order the half sandwich. I scoffed, but they "knew" what they were talking about. I was defeated! I couldn't even finish a half sandwich! Needless to say, over the years, I learned to eat two halves in a sitting, hence the reason I'm a big boy, but that's an acquired skill, and a different story. They won't sell a "whole" sandwich, unless you ask them to. The added treat to this: whole dill pickles that you pick out of a pickle barrel in the corner (giving the place its name)--one free pickle per half sandwich. And these are BIG HONKIN' PICKLES--not the type that you'd get from a Vlasic jar. These are whole pickles that would make a porn star gasp!

  • Hoagieville, Missoula, MT--I was introduced to these by a friend when I was in grad school. These are smaller and less messy than the Pickle Barrel, but they make up for it in taste. The Hoagie seasoning is what makes these so good. Don't know what it is exactly--maybe a little paprika, maybe some other things. I'm sure it's got to be some sort of secret family recipe. When you drive to the original location, which is a former A & W Drive-In, you're still greeted by bellhops (sorry, not on skates)! Very young, very attractive bellhops! Even in the infamous MT winters. Makes you feel good to tip them! I've never ordered any of their other sandwiches, so I don't know how good they are, but their Hoagie is wonderful. Be sure to get the Hoagie Cheese Fries too! Makes a perfect meal! Again, like the Pickle Barrel, if it's not from the original location, it ain't quite the same!

What I like to do when I go to Missoula is hit the original Hoagieville, get 2 Hoagies, an order of Hoagie Cheese Fries and a medium Dr. Pepper, eat, then head across the street, where there's a Pickle Barrel (!), and order my whole Italian (hold the tomatoes, please) and whole Cheesesteak to take back home with me! Granted, the Missoula P.B. isn't quite the same as Bozeman's, but it'll do! So the question is put to you--is there a favorite sandwich that you'd get into a fight over? Let the condiments fly.....

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


You'll find that I've added HaloScan for my comments/trackback. In an unexpected twist, I've lost all of my past comments. While I doubt that this is the last time that something unexpected will happen with this blog, it was certainly disconcerting. I've appreciated all who have commented so nicely so far, and I'm glad that I've saved my email notices to prove that I actually got them!

Blog Name Change

I have made a slight change to the name of my blog. From "View" to "Views". I hope this doesn't cause any personal hardship! And if it does--you need help!

Here a Tweak, There a Tweak, Everywhere a Tweak, Tweak

As I was trolling around the blogosphere (a word I don't like--not sure why), I saw a post by a woman who was so excited that she found an alternate way of posting pics without using Hello, or whatever PC people use. Being a Mac geek (and damned proud of it!), Blogger suggests using Flickr. Well, I did, and it's a hassle. Just another website to get an account on, forget the password, spend hours uploading files to, and maybe never use. So I thought that whatever this woman did, it should work for me, too.

I'm happy to say that it will (or at least looks like it will), which means I'll have to start posting more pics and linking a little audio. Check the Beethoven post for my first attempt at that. For me, it's a big deal, since I've had no training on this stuff, and grew up when a basic calculator cost about $100 (+,-,/,* only--had to pay big bucks for square root!). Lord help me if I ever bought a book and actually taught myself some of this. But I have just enough knowledge to snoop around in the code and see what I can do. I'm going to make little modifications as I find time. I'm never satisfied with what I've got. I know that there's always just one more thing to make my little site a bit better. Eventually, I'll ask some of you for suggestions or comments, but for right now, I'm enjoying the goofing around!