Friday, February 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, and Grrr.....

Go wish Rachel a Happy Birthday!!
If comments don't appear, it's not my fault... Haloscan is being pissy once again. Actually their new company is. And it's not just my site. How hard can it be, really???
This should not be allowed during the winter months...


Is there anyone that you can think of who might benefit from this?? (miss ya, Smiley!)

FDA Approves Depressant Drug For The Annoyingly Cheerful

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Marlboro Man HNT

"It was a d*rk and st*rmy night..." (I don't want that to show up on searches...). I was hunched over my laptop on Saturday night, getting a little frustrated with HTML and templates, etc., when I looked up at the TV. I wasn't watching was a nice, dull distraction, keeping the melodies from two long rehearsals from playing over and over in my head. I don't know what the movie was, but it was an older one in black and white. The scene that I saw was of a crusty novelist hunched over his typewriter, pecking out word after word, with only the pause to return the carriage (for those of you who have never used a real manual typewriter before, you have no idea how automatic that becomes when you hear "the bell"!). In the dark. Unshaven face, disheveled hair. With a glass of sour mash by his hand, and a cigarette dangling from his lip. And cheesy music. An inspiration was born!

So I went out that night and did something for the very first time in my life--I bought a pack of cigarettes. Marlboros (ah, what a lasting effect those old Marlboro Man ads have...). I wanted to recreate this same scene, but modernize it a bit. Couldn't do the hair, and I spaced out the booze, but I was still hunched over my laptop! I lit up, and started taking pictures...

That's what my initial HNT inspiration was. What it really came to was do smokers do this??? I am not going to go into an anti-smoking rant here. We're all old enough that it's not going to make any difference. Either you do and know you shouldn't, or you don't, and can't imagine ever starting. I spent $4.55 on a pack of cigarettes. I "smoked" two of them ("I didn't inhale," he said in his best Clinton-esque voice). My apartment smelled for two days. I showered before going to bed, and my fingers still smelled the next morning. I found cigarette ashes on my keyboard and around the general area. Smoke burned my eyes. I had a nasty case of dragon breath all night. I'm not sure, but I think I was a little woozy the next day. There was not a single pleasant thing associated with the entire experience.

I grew up with half of the family smoking. Both my grandfathers smoked (but it's not what caused their deaths). I seem to remember my mother's mom smoking too, but only when I was pretty young. Dad smoked cigarettes until an unexplained (to us) switch to a pipe (mmm....Borkum Riff....) when I was in junior high. Second hand smoke never really has bothered me. my parents--my eternal gratitude for striking me with the fear of God if they were to ever catch me lighting one up!

"A person is disposed to an act of choice by an angel in two ways. Sometimes, a man's understanding is enlightened by an angel to know what is good, but it is not instructed as to the reason why. But sometimes he is instructed by angelic illumination, both that this act is good and as to the reason why it is good."
~St. Thomas Aquinas
This angel will be revealed late Thursday afternoon!
If you didn't already figure it out...this angelic MG is Angel, from "Secret Desires"! Stop by and say hi!
"...the Other HNT" is NSFW, but still worth a look! Be sure to leave some comment loving for your fellow HNTers!
More symphony stuff coming up from now through the weekend. Of course, the weather gods took note of that and I got to load the equipment truck in the snow and the wind. It'll be cold and windy during all of my loading/unloading. And I never found my keys...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ugh...I've got nothing...

Spent most of the day looking for some keys I 'lost' on Monday. The frustrating part is that I know exactly when I last used them (Monday afternoon), and I was only in my car, my apt., and the equipment truck between the time I used them and when I realized they were missing. Not a major thing, but I'll have to replace a padlock, and ask someone for a key to a church closet where we store some equipment. And you know I'll find them after all is said and done...

Got home very late after rehearsal Monday night. Had rehearsal in a different venue, which means I had to supply everything for the rehearsal. Chairs, stands, percussion...the whole nine yards. Which also meant loading it all back up in the truck afterwards (good news--the truck is running fine right now. woohoo!). By the time I got home (late), I checked emails and went to bed. Took a look at TMI, but I couldn't come up with any sort of answers--too much thinking required.

And now you get this lame post. The good news is that I took my HNT over the weekend (and did something for the very first time in my life!). But the focus of what my motivation was has changed, and the post will follow a different tangent. That happens at times...

Monday, February 23, 2009


Have you ever noticed that in the movies, when a person is pushed or falling from a building, they almost always land dead center on the roof or windshield of an unlucky car? I assume this is done for the best movie effect, but wouldn't it be so much better if the body fell a bit off-center, allowing for far more gore and damage?
I heard a new GEICO ad on the radio where the guy rented himself a 'studio audience' for the weekend with the money he saved. Properly cued to laugh at all the right times. I was thinking it would be wonderful to have even more of that sort of thing in real life. Appropriate music to forewarn us of impending danger, cartoon-ish sound effects for daily pratfalls, and of course, a variety of rimshots to accentuate the punchline of your favorite joke! (cue the audience!) Sounds like some new applications that need to be written for the iPhone...
The tulips from Moose opened up, died, and the petals fell--all in the span of 24 hours over the weekend. It was really amazing to watch! Still looked good for the week that they were here though!
Academy Awards were on tonight. Does anybody really care anymore?
It's seven weeks until Easter, and I've already had my first Cadbury's Egg! Did you know that when you get one this early, they're not sticky or stale or anything? MMMmmmm! On top of that, it's Girl Scout cookie season! Does it get any better than that??
Spent some time this weekend working on a blog template. I prefer getting into the HTML side of things, and always learn something new when I do that. Turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself (though there's some tweaking left to do). No, not this blog.
Started symphony week this past Friday with a couple of rehearsals over the weekend. I went in fairly unprepared, and uninitiated, though my attitude improved after a couple of rehearsals. We're playing Mahler's 9th Symphony, which is a glorious work, but quite intense in its music. I'm not a big fan of Mahler (as a brass player, I should be ashamed of that), but there's stretches of this symphony where I'll struggle to keep my eyes open... Of course, those are offset by flashy brassy sections where we'll shine, but still... Anyway, I'll be in and out of the blogs all week.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Be My Valentine HNT

While running through a zillion ideas or so for this week, I found myself with an idea that brought out the following video. You don't have to watch the entire video. Just the first 40 seconds. It pretty much sets up my HNT.

I wasn't a recipient of any Valentines in the mail this year. I used to get one from my mom every year when they spent their winters in Hawaii. They don't do that anymore, so nothing from her. I did get the tulips from Moose, but they came early, and I don't think were specifically for VDay. I did get a couple of nice e-cards (thanks, ladies!), and a number of texts. However, I'm not complaining. It's been this way for a long time, and I'm used to it. And I DO feel the love from many of you on a regular basis, and isn't that what it's all about? Still...a card would have been nice...
(click here to see my SFW HNT--note the pouty lip...)

"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at
it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your
gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment,
that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one
now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen?
Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let
her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must
come; make her laugh at that."
Shakespeare - "Hamlet"
This week's MG is the skull-loving cutie (and long-time HNTer) Robyn. Stop by and say hi!

"...the Other HNT" continues to bring out the friskier HNTers! Be sure to check them all out! And be generous with your comments!
Stop by the OsShirt site to read the latest adventures (ok, lastest as of 2 years ago...). New post went up tonight! If you're new to the site, start from the bottom and work your way to the top!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Rant

I had an experience this weekend (actually, starting on Friday the 13th) that has completely opened my eyes to greed and corruption that I hadn't realized existed. Purchasing concert tickets. If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know that I have usually had pretty good luck with purchasing concert tickets. Row 2 for Chicago, row 1 for Leanne Rimes, row 4 for James Taylor, row 6 for Blue Man Group, .... the list goes on. Until the "Great Elton John Ticket Fiasco". And his return concert. I've only tried to buy concert tickets once since then. But I had NO idea how bad things have gotten.

I have a friend that asked me to help her out with getting tickets to a particular show. A show that she promised her daughter that she'd get tickets for. A show that the daughter was elated beyond words to go see. The friend wouldn't have computer access, but I could be online before leaving for work. Sure. Great. No problem. She said she had tried with a pre-sale the day before, but they had all been sold out by the time she tried. No problem. I got on to Ticketmaster to familiarize myself with the concert, prices and times. I noted that there were about 5 or 6 different pre-sale promotions for this concert, it was in (what the business would call) a small venue, and the priciest ticket was $49.50 (not including fees...), so I'm figuring about $60 each. No problem. To include some friends, she wanted me to order 6 tickets. No problem.

Friday morning rolls around, it's seconds before 9:00 AM, and I'm feeling pretty good. At the stroke of 9, I'm logged in. I request 6 tickets, best seating, any price. I do the incredibly illegible captcha thing. It's "looking" for tickets. And I get the dreaded "we cannot find tickets to match your request" window. Fuck. I immediately go back and change to 4 tickets. Same thing. For 20 minutes this went on. I even went as far as to try just 2 tickets. Nope. I have failed. But here's where it gets worse.

I call my friend to let her know the bad news. She's distraught, and I'm feeling bad because I've let her down. "Go check eBay. Go check StubHub." I found tickets. Lots of tickets. Lots of sites with tickets to sell. There's plenty of tickets for this show. If you wanted to pay. We communicated back and forth, and she reluctantly said to try for the best I could do. And only order 2 tickets. The friends can fend for themselves. So I got online, and found that the prices were rising by the minute. There's plenty of story to tell, but for the sake of keeping it short...the final tally for TWO tickets that were advertised at $49.50 apiece--$388.00! And change. WTF???
Tickets: 2 x $161.00
---------- ----------
Discount: [3.00%] - $9.66
---------- ----------
SubTotal: $312.34
---------- ----------
Service Fee 2 x $30.59
Delivery: Standard Delivery $15.00
========== ==========
Total: $388.52
(Note: Total does not include any applicable state or local sales taxes.)
Where to begin?? The 300+% markup in the price of tickets? The whopping 3% discount (which I'm not sure why I was eligible)? The $76.18 tacked on for delivery and service fees?? I don't blame my friend for spending the money. Personally, I wouldn't do it. I don't need to go to a concert that badly, and have missed out on many for the same reason. But I'm not a parent. I'm sure that there's plenty of them out there who would do the same. What is truly nauseating are the actions of the ticket brokers. How can they get their hands on these tickets before the general public? Why should I have any problems getting online at the stroke of the hour and still not get tickets? I read an online article from the local newspaper that indicated that there were no actual tickets to be sold by the time they opened up to the general public. I don't know if that's true, but it certainly seems to be!

My friend will get to go to this concert, and she'll be there with her daughter. It will be a great mommy/daughter bonding thing. The daughter will have no idea nor care in the world about how her mother had to fork out big bucks. She'll probably want a t-shirt or something too. And my friend will climb the stairs to the second to last row (but dead center-ish), enjoy the concert with her daughter, and swap stories with the other parents around her who also forked out almost $400 (or more) for the experience. Ticket brokers are now, officially, the lowest form of scum in my book (well, just above Blogger commenting trolls, but that's still plenty low...).

Edit: I just did a quick online check for similar tickets for this concert...up to $190 each for poor seats, and into 4 figures for better ones. It's a crime.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

OsShirt and TMI Tuesday #174

Did a little work on the OsShirt site. I'm about 18 months behind, but hope to get caught up soon. If you haven't read any of the posts, start from the bottom and work your way up! I've got everyone taken care of, right up to the mysterious disappearance of the original OsShirt. Enjoy!

1. What is your favorite charity? - Do you you give your time or just money to that charity? I send money to the American Cancer Society (primarily due to Boobiethon). If you're talking about non-profits, as opposed to charities, then most of my time and money go to the symphony. Some goes to alumni associations (hard to think of them as non-profits, though...).
2. Describe your bed. What side do you sleep on? - Full-size, nothing fancy bed. Same headboard as from junior high (no, I haven't only had that one. just the one I'm using right now). I sleep somewhere between center and the right side, generally on my right side.
3. How important is a partners kissing ability? - I have always seemed to adapt to whatever kissing situation comes up, so I guess I'd say their ability isn't all that important. Now I have to go back and re-evaluate...
4. Have you ever "taken advantage" of a person under the influence of alcohol? Have you ever been "taken advantage" of while under the influence of alcohol? - I've never done that, I'm proud to say, though I've had ample opportunity. Same with being under the influence of prescription drugs...I was a good boy. I don't believe I've been taken advantage of (other than making me pay for all the drinks or food, or leaving a 50% tip in a restaurant...).
5. Ever tried to replay the famous scene from From Here to Eternity? How was it? - Never tried to do it on purpose, but it's happened once or twice. Turned out more like the end of Summer School (Mark Harmon and Kirstie Alley rolling around with the dog trying to get in on the action).

Bonus (as in optional): What kind of birth control do you use? - Celibacy seems to be working pretty good right now.

Be sure to check out the other TMIers!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Doing my part to help...

I ran across this article titled "An eyeful a day keeps the doctor away". I'm happy that HNT is doing whatever it can to help men live longer lives!
Sort of a lazy VDay weekend. Found myself being domestic. Sort of a pre-spring-cleaning thing. I did, however, treat myself to a king crab leg/sirloin steak dinner. Why should couples be the only ones to do a fancy VDay dinner?? Washed down with chocolate milk and Boston cream pie. Damn, I do love myself!
Didn't mention over the past week or two that the symphony equipment truck died (once again...). The truck belongs to a gentleman whose furniture business has closed, it is parked at a construction company's lot (used for on-site storage when necessary), and we get free use of it as a donation. The short story--the symphony has finally authorized some repair money (maintenance is sort of a gray area here) to get the thing running semi-decently. Hopefully you won't hear me bitch about it anymore (but doubtful :-P ).
Spent some of my weekend watching AMC. They're running their Oscar-winning movies all month, so there's no real ringers in the line-up (other than "An Officer and a Gentleman"--what a piece of trash THAT is/was!). Watched the first two "Godfather" movies (great VDay fare!), "Casino", "Fiddler on the Roof", and "Caddyshack" last night. Sprinkle in "Star Wars I & II" on Spike, and I was a happy camper. In between bouts of domesticity, of course.
Surprisingly, my tulips are taking their sweet time in opening up.
Fourth anniversary of HNT is coming up soon. Trying to come up with something to at least match last year's celebration. Email me if you have any great ideas...

She Rocks My World

In response to question #5, from this week's TMI.

Moose. She's a keeper!
(and she gives foot rubs!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Things I Have to Go Thru For a Haircut HNT

Dana's most recent post regarding public humiliation was highly interesting. While her personal story, and the stories of those she mentioned, would seem elicit the more appropriate behavior ("don't do that anymore!"), it got me to thinking about if it would have a similar effect on me. And I came to the conclusion that it probably wouldn't.

I have had one major embarrassment in my life. I have alluded to some jail time in previous posts. No details on that, and ignoring the fact that I shouldn't have been there in the first place, there's nothing like having your name splashed in the headlines of the local newspaper (and subsequently, statewide...) to make one mind their 'p's and 'q's. However, beyond that, I don't embarrass. I tend to be proactive in that respect. Beat someone to the laugh at your expense, and the situation isn't so bad. I think that comes from years and years of being a performer. I have no problems at all making a complete and utter fool of myself in front of others. I don't take myself too seriously--neither should anyone else.

So I knew it was time to shave the head again. I went to see my favorite barber. A woman a few years older than me who has been cutting it for years, and is also a long-time volunteer for the symphony. I heard that she had a birthday last week, so I opted to give her a fun bday present. It's actually something she does anyway. Since all my hair was going to be coming off, I allowed her to play. Do whatever she wanted to do. What I didn't anticipate was that there was going to be an audience. All I could do was sit and take it. And be sure that she took pictures. Even when she cut and colored the VDay hearts in the side of my head. Here's the 'before', click for the 'after', and go here to check out the 'during'...

Definition: A note or character of time, equivalent to two semibreves or four minims.

Definition: Any writ or precept under seal, issued out of any court.

Definition: A curved mark used commonly to indicate the short quantity of a vowel.

Definition: The great ant thrush of Sumatra (Pitta gigas), which has a very short tail.

Definition: Espresso made with half and half.

Our Mystery Guest will be revealed on Thursday afternoon. Be sure to check back then!
Well, if you haven't been by her site this afternoon, you might not know, but this week's MG is Breve! All the definitions above refer to her name. Stop by her site for another extra treat (you know how to find it!).

We have a nice group of participants (including the return of two long-lost participants!) over at "...the Other HNT" this week. Still NSFW, but stop by anyway and support your fellow HNTers! Lot's o' commments, please!
Got an email today with a link to a story about David, the kid in the video down below. If you haven't seen the video, be sure to do that, then check out the story. Thanks, Ella!
For those of you who celebrate it--HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! For those who don't--have a good weekend!

The Fountain of Youth

For years I've had people underestimate my age, in spite of the gray hair. I've attributed that to my perky attitude, my healthy habits, and my rosy outlook on life. Now I find that it might be something completely different...

Divorce, Antidepressants, or Weight Gain/Loss Can Add Years to Your Face
It's a question surely as old as vanity itself: how can you look young forever? A forthcoming study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery offers one surprising idea: as you age, don't be afraid to put on a few pounds. Fat, it turns out, can significantly smooth out wrinkles and give you a younger-looking face. (Read more...)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

TMI Tuesday #173 (and some other stuff)

Not much going on to write about lately. Did absolutely nothing over the weekend, which was nice. Still having above average temperatures, so I'm not complaining there!
Ooh! I baked cookies on Sunday. I haven't done that in longer than I can remember! Nothing like warm cookies from the oven!
The thing I was waiting for in the mail last week finally showed. Woohoo! I love it when a plan comes together!
Gas prices have gone up by a quarter in the past week. I think we bottomed out at $1.42, and are up to $1.68 now. Funny how we can complain about that, yet six months ago we were happy to find it at $3.50!
Really wish I was more exciting this week...
OH! Using a new Haloscan template! Not what I really want, but I think it'll work easier for you. It appears that you still have to type in your URL. Still a pain in the butt, but at least you won't be making the ridiculous typos from typing blind!

1. What do you think is the un-sexiest part of the body? - If we're talking the male body, then it's (I'm sorry, ladies), the penis. It is the goofiest, dorkiest looking part of the male body, regardless of its state. Another proof that God has a sense of humor. As for the female body, I don't think there's a single part that I'd consider "unsexy". Honestly. Perhaps elbow skin is less sexy than other parts, but that's only if pressured to find something.
2. Toilet paper: over, under, or what the hell are you talking about? - Over. Period. End of discussion.
3. Have you ever called in sick to stay in bed with a sexual partner? - Never. Though I have been late to work due to similar circumstances.
4. Did your parents have a "birds & bees" talk with you? If so, at what age? - Mom had some sort of "talk" with me, probably when I was 11 or 12. I think there was a book involved, and she pointed at my crotch once. No naming of parts, or discussion of how some parts interacted with others. Sex ed in the Catholic school didn't do a very good job of that either. Dad, on the other hand, avoided the subject completely until I was 21, and I informed him that the 'girl du jour' and I were going to spend the night up at the cabin. He looked at me and said, "Be careful". And he wasn't talking about the bears...
5. What is one thing a someone could do to you to rock your world? - If it's a gift, I'm much more happy with something from the heart than I am with something glitzy and expensive. But I also love getting flowers. Hasn't happened too often. If we're talking about non-material things...ooh, I just read the question again. "To" me, not "for" me... Give me a good foot rub, and I'm yours forever!

Bonus (as in optional): What does sex mean to you? - Sorry. Wimping out on this one.

Be sure to check out the others at TMI!

Friday, February 06, 2009

David After Dentist

Some of you might have seen this video around already... How many of us can say we aren't somewhat familiar with what he's experiencing??

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Randomness Abounds HNT

Going with a bullet list of diversely random stuff that has nothing to do with my HNT...
  • If you're driving in a parking lot, and the cars are all pointed the wrong way, and the drivers coming at you give you nasty looks, wouldn't that be a clear sign that you're driving the wrong way? Your blank "lost" stare doesn't help your cause...
  • Temperatures have become springlike around here, with nothing to imply that they won't continue for awhile. That puts a smile on my face!
  • Does anyone else find the Hillshire Farms "go, meat!" commercials just a tad creepy? Not like Burger King creepy, but more like a WTF creepy?
  • I do like the commercial though. Looks like a great time-waster!
  • I have a zit that grew this weekend on the tip of my nose. Not the top, not the bridge, but the tip. The kind that makes my profile just a little bit longer. What's up with that?
  • Speaking of the weekend--the concert was great. The marimba is finally out of my hands. But the equipment truck is throwing a tantrum. Hasn't started since Saturday night.
  • Had two VERY vivid dreams last night. In the first one, Summer was selling "Naked For Obama" calendars, and was a national phenomenon. Newspapers, TV, magazines--the whole nine yards. The other was a dream about the concert hall where we play being gutted by fire. I distinctly remember directing one person to make arrangements for the only other decent auditorium before everyone else did. I also distinctly remember worrying about those with reserved seating, and how we'd deal with them. The demolition of the entire building happened before we could get inside, and all our instruments were destroyed. Anyone want to take a stab at either of those? I didn't even eat anything weird before going to bed!
  • I've been watching alot of N.C.I.S. reruns. I'm particularly liking the character of Ducky, played by David McCallum. I've missed him since his role as Illya Kuryakin!
  • It was asked of me earlier this week... No, there is no specific theme for Valentine's Day this year.
  • Ever had to wait for something really good to come in the mail that you know should be coming, yet it never does? Currently dealing with that...
  • Went back through my archives, and found that this January is the first in five that I haven't been laid up with a cold/flu/cough/hack. Maybe it's my healthy eating habits...
Didn't find the inspiration to take new HNT pics (last week really did take alot out of me), so I resorted to "cheating". Got a local artist to sketch me (don't ask why I'm wearing a skirt), and a local company liked it enough to paint it on a wall!

I look at you all see the love there thats sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps
I dont know why nobody told you how to unfold your love
I dont know how someone controlled you
They bought and sold you.

I look at the world and I notice its turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps
I dont know how you were diverted
You were perverted too
I dont know how you were inverted
No one alerted you.
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" - George Harrison
Our rockstar MG is Cowgirl! Stop by and get a smooch over at her site!

A little bit tamer over at "...the Other HNT" this week, but still NSFW. Be sure to stop by and leave some comments for your fellow HNTers!
Still don't know what the 'thumbs up' means in Urban Dictionary, but I think that the more, the better! Stop by the HNT entry and click on the 'thumbs up' in the upper right!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

TMI Tuesday #172

I've got nothing of interest to blog about. Thank God for TMI!

1. When you sleep with someone, how much or how little contact do you like to have? - I believe I was more of a cuddler, and it's probably still true. Though I think that separation tends to happen with familiarity.
2. Do you think there is a appropriate amount of time for a divorced parent to date before introducing the kids to the "new" "special" person in their life? - Such a hard question for a bachelor... I think there's nothing wrong with meeting the new person fairly soon. Though I do think that a certain amount of time should pass before they meet the new person at 6AM in the kitchen drinking OJ. Age of the kids has a huge amount to do with this, too, I would think.
3. Which ONE do you wish you had more of in bed... romance, experimentation or foreplay? - How about "sleep"? I can never get too much of that.
4. What do you thinks makes a kiss great? - The wisp of a warm breath. The taste of another's lips. The quiver of anticipation. The surprise of spontaneity.
5. Describe your sex life in two words. - Pleasant memory.
Bonus (as in optional): Do you remember a time when you were having sex that you smile or even laugh about now? Do tell.... - The first time with Volcano Girl will always make me smile. If you don't know who that is, go digging through my archives!

Be sure to stop by the TMI site to see who else is sharing today!