Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mahler HNT

It is symphony week this week. Perhaps it's all getting easier for me. Perhaps it's my advanced years and I'm mellowing out. Perhaps I've broken down and given in to the usual crap. Whatever reason, I haven't been getting as stressed out as I have in years past. That's a good thing, I suppose.

We're playing Mahler's 7th Symphony Saturday night. Mahler is not one of my favorite composers, mainly because of my unfamiliarity with his music. Just not one of my top composers. Which is too bad, because he writes some great stuff! Mahler tip-toed (hell, danced!) on both sides of that line between genius and insanity. He was as screwed up as they come. And it shines through in his music.

Since I'm not familiar with his music, imagine my surprise when I come to find out that there's actually a short bass trombone solo! Not just a part where I'm playing without the rest of the bone section, but an honest-to-goodness solo! Tchaikovsky did that quite a bit, but I know those solos. This one caught me off-guard. So I'm having to practice it. I hate practice. But it did offer a photo opportunity with Michelle! (yes, for those who don't horn has a name...)

"This Girl Is a Woman Now"
by Gary Puckett & the Union Gap

This girl walked in dreams
Playing in a world of her own
This girl was a child
Existing in a playground of stone
Then one night her world was changed
Her life and dreams were rearanged
And she would never be the same again

This girl is a woman now
She's learned how to give
This girl is a woman now
She's found out what it's all about
And she's learning learning to live

This girl tasted love
As tender as the gentle dawn
She cried a single tear
A teardrop that was sweet and warm
Our hearts told us we were right
And on that sweet and velvet night
A child had died
A woman had been born

This week's MG is a birthday girl (hence, the birthday suit). She's also the youngest of the regular HNTers! As of Thursday, she's no longer a teenager! She'll be revealed Thursday afternoon--be sure to check back!
Our young but always sexy Mystery Guest is none other than Amy, over at More Sex, Chocolate and Red Lipstick. Be sure to stop by and wish her a Happy Birthday!

A little low on numbers for "...the Other HNT" this week, since I was computerless for most of the day. However, it's definitely NSFW this week! Take a chance and check them out!
Edit--Snuck some late submissions in this morning. Be sure to stop by!

As mentioned above, it's a busy week. Wednesday I'll be out of town, and Thursday through Saturday night will be spent with the symphony. I'll get around to everyone as soon as I can, but that might not be until Sunday! Have a great end of the month!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Boring Stuff

I sometimes feel like I have to write something here, just so people don't think I've landed in the hospital again. Or worse...

Not a terribly exciting weekend. Saturday was spent at two full rehearsals, plus the loading in/out of equipment. We're playing Mahler this weekend. I'm not a huge Mahler fan, though, as a brass player, I should probably be flogged for that statement. I think it comes from a lack of exposure to his music. That being said, this particular symphony (his 7th, for those keeping score) is a great piece of music! So sitting through two full rehearsals in one day wasn't that bad! It was cold and snowy out, so it's not like I missed out on anything during the day.

Unfortunately, it was cold and snowy out, meaning that the load in/out happened in the cold and snow. I must be getting old in my old age, because that really wasn't all that bad either. WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME??? I can't even bitch decently anymore!'s something. Friday night, I loaded the truck and dropped it off at the rehearsal site for the night. I had to walk about a quarter mile to get back to my car. Not two steps away from the truck, I fell. The first of the snow came Friday afternoon, covering the ice from the week before. The ice that was as smooth as a freshly-zambonied rink. So I fell (I'd give it a 7.35--not very good at all) in one of those total body, bone-jarring falls. Landed mostly on my elbow. Which in turn jammed my shoulder. Which really hurt all day Saturday while loading in/out. Today--it doesn't hurt at all. I can't even get injured properly these days!
I have to set everything for Wednesday on auto-post, as I have to drive over to Missoula. I have a date with my favorite and oldest niece! She's over there now (finally...a fellow Griz in the family!) working on her PhD in toxicology. She's involved in research primarily, meaning she's making big bucks as a student. Well, big bucks compared to when I was a grad student there. Apparently, research pays grad students far better than music does...

Anyhoo, we have tickets to see "Jesus Christ Superstar" there. Remember back in 2008 when I went to see it with Moose in Minneapolis? Same production. Some changes in cast members, but Jesus is again played by Ted Neely (the some role he played in the original movie). I got front row seats (and pretty close to center, if my figuring is right) for this show, so I'm all sorts of excited! And my niece is too, even though she's not familiar with it. Full report is forthcoming...
So the Super Bowl is set. I was happy that the Colts won. Not because I like the Colts, but because my fantasy football team was loaded with them. And because I didn't get sucked into the whole Jets lovefest that seemed to crop up. I never really thought they belonged this deep into the playoffs (and wouldn't have made it as a wild card if the Colts had played them straight up in the last game of the regular season). As for the Vikes/Saints...I don't think the better team won, though I'm happy to see the Saints in the Super Bowl. I would have been happy with the Vikes, too, but they pretty much handed it away. I refuse to blame Favre for the loss--there was plenty of blame to go around. In any case, I'm rooting for the Saints. But they'll have to play a much better game than they did this weekend!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ski hills should hire me...

Os: What a great weekend! Two long rehearsals on Saturday, with equipment load-ins/load-outs by myself, all at the same facility where I almost snapped my leg in half two years ago, and where I ran into that guy's truck last year. The music is great, and it should be enjoyable. And hey, it could be worse...




Thursday, January 21, 2010

Warhol-ian HNT

I'm still trying to dump this cold I caught in Nashville (I don't blame the Nashville gang. I think it happened on the flight down. But as usual, I digress...). As a result, my motivation for blogging in general has been lacking. And when motivation is lacking, one reverts to old tricks for HNT!

Actually, I've been continuing the photo manipulations I did last week. Playing with things like the white and black balances, the gamma (what is that exactly?), and all the other things available. Not pre-set buttons, but actually making minute changes and seeing the results. And the results are often surprising. I mean, change things by one pixel when playing with the black balance, and the full picture can make a radical change (almost like inverting colors in the span of one pixel, but different).

Some of the results are below. Sort of took me back to the mid-60s (oh, sorry--that's like ancient history to some of you). I specifically remember this technique in junior high art classes, without the computer technology. Including the over-saturated, conflicting colors. And without the drugs...

Yeah. This space is still empty...

"...the Other HNT" is full of wonderful people, as usual! Be sure to check them out--they are, after all, your fellow HNTers! And of course, they're NSFW!
In case you missed the post yesterday, this blog turned 5 years old last night! Thanks to everyone who had such nice things to say in the comments! Wish I could say that there was a wild 5th Blogoversary party last night, but I ended up chatting with a couple of people, working on the pictures above, and keeping WWE Smackdown on in the background. Yeah, you're envious. I can tell. But it was a necessary mind-drain. I've got a concert coming up in about 10 days, and that's going to pretty much wipe me out for the next week or so...
In case you didn't hear about it, Taco Bell founder Glen W. Bell Jr. died on Saturday. This comes less than 6 months after the death of Gidget, the Taco Bell Chihuahua. Since fast foods are pretty much off my diet list these days, I would ask that all of you have a 5-layer burrito for me this weekend. Preferably after a night of beer drinking, and at some time after midnight...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Holy cow!

I was flipping through channels just now, and VH1 was actually playing a video! The new MJ one (he's going to make millions for years yet...). But hey! A real video!!

5th Blogoversary

At 10:39PM tonight, "Views From the Back Row" will officially be 5 years old! I started out with that awkward introductory post that we all have. Dipping my toe into unknown waters. Knowing that there's no possible way that anyone will actually read it.

In these past five years I've met 45 people whom I wouldn't have met otherwise, traveled to more places than I have in the 48 years prior, have had over 870,000 visitors, and seen more "things" than I ever could have imagined. I have seen scores of people come and go, and I've seen people who have stuck it out through thick and thin (including my very first commenter--what a shock THAT was!). There's been marriages, divorces, births, deaths, successes and failures. There's been a lot of changes, good and bad, over the years. Not much gets past the blogosphere!

So Happy 5th Blogoversary, VFtBR! Hope you're still here in another year. Because if you are, that means I am, and I think that's a good thing!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Click it to big it!

Experimenting HNT

As noted earlier, I've been in a funk. Certainly not helped along by the cold I'm suffering. Needless to say, inspiration for HNT this week was lacking. I even took in a couple of suggestions, but I was able to come up with a reason not to try any of them. So, like so many other times in the past, I decided to let the computer do something with my picture.

My program of choice last night--Preview. Which is one of the basic Mac programs. It's actually wonderful. You can open up all sorts of different types of files. Pictures, video, music, pdfs...lots of stuff. What's nice about the pictures is that it does allow for basic photo manipulation. So I started playing. I don't know that I could ever exactly replicate what I did below. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, doing things in a specific order... And, voilĂ ! You come up with something different! Enjoy...

I've decided to suspend the Mystery Guests here for a little bit. Not something I really want to do, and I know that you guys enjoy them. But it's just gotten to be a bit too much work to line them up each week. In days gone by, I would have 5 or 6 individuals sitting in my MG folder, awaiting their turn. I actually had to draw a name out of a hat some weeks because I received pictures from numerous MG hopefuls. Over the past year, however, I've found that I've had to request people to be the MG. Perhaps that's my fault, for not getting the word out that anyone can be the MG. No one has ever been turned away. And I do use repeat MGs. Most recently, I've had to resort to calling upon friends whom I know will always want to help out. It's just not worth the effort to me right now.

If you guys feel differently, then don't be shy! If you want to be the MG, just email me. If you don't really care one way or the other, then it might become an occasional thing.

A surprising thing happened this week for "...the Other HNT". Out of the blue, we've got 4 newbies involved! And in a definitely NSFW manner! I swear, you guys must call each other during the week! Anyway, head over to check everyone out, and leave some comments! Your fellow HNTers are certainly worthy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Nashville Brush with Fame

When in Nashville, one never knows when you might run into someone famous. Or somewhat famous. Or maybe someone who was an extra in a Brad Paisley video. Well, we did!

Summer was an extra in Paisley's newest video, "American Saturday Night"! Sort of a quirky video--a mix of 2-dimensional people in a 3-dimensional virtual world. As far as I can tell, Summer can be seen in 3 different parts, two of which I got screen captures of. She's also in a toga party scene, but you can only see people from the back in that one. The video is below the screen shots.

Did I get her autograph? Nope. Screwed up in that regard. It was just cool to be in the presence of someone almost famous!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Notes from Nashville

I hope you guys aren't expecting wild tales or anything from last weekend. My entire reasoning for heading there was to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Sunday night. It's a trip that I planned with M back in September. There were other locations that could have worked, but the timing didn't work. And it happens that Nashville is closer to her than Indy, and flights from MT to TN were similarly reasonable. And if I were going back to Nashville, then I could meet up with all the bloggers I visited the last time I was there three years earlier!

Well, the timing didn't work well here, either. There was a lot of interest from those within a 2-hr radius, but as the time got closer, it was apparent that not many of them were going to be able to make it. Too close to the holidays, too expensive to stay in downtown Nashville, illness and that nasty cold weather that I brought down south with me. Disappointed? Absolutely. But not like I'm taking any of them off my Christmas list! If, of course, I had a Christmas list... But I digress. Anything beyond the concert would be icing on the cake!

So, on 2 and a half hours of sleep on NYE, I got up and on the road to Bozeman by 3:30AM to catch my plane (ah, the things we do to save a couple hundred bucks...). Happy New Year! If anyone tries to tell you that no one flies on New Year's Day, you can laugh in their face. I had a flight to Denver, then on to Nashville. Both flights were filled. Puddlejumpers, but filled nonetheless. As I'm at baggage claim in Nashville, I got a text from 13 Messages that he'd be there to pick me up momentarily. My initial impression of him...taller than I'd anticipated. He got me to my hotel downtown, and came back that night to meet me at Hooters. We did a lot of talking, gossiping, ogling, and generally catching up. Definitely enjoyed the evening.

Saturday was a day of exploration for me. Spent a lot of time downtown on Broadway, where all the honky-tonks can be found. Nothing like walking down a street and hearing live music in three adjoining bars. And none much wider than my living room. This is where the real magic in Nashville happens! Here is Tootsie's (looks like lots of fun can be had here!), LP Field (home of the Titans) and the Batman building (AT&T) towering over Broadway.

M got to town in the late afternoon, and we headed down to the Big River Grille for drinks and dinner. 13 met us there and we sat and waited to see who else would show. Actually, we were waiting for Summer. She finally shows up, with her DD (and temporary housemate), and we had a whole new level of fun and discussion! In the midst of the frivolity, I look up, and there's Bat! Yeah, most of you don't know him, but he was one of the early-day HNTers. We ended up closing down the place, so we headed up the hill to see where we might be able to get into trouble. I don't even know the name of the place where we landed, but we went to the top floor, where there was karaoke (with a really greasy MC), and a hip-hop dance floor. I would bet a full year's salary that I was the oldest person on that floor. Great people watching opportunities, and the drinks were flowing.

I, of course, didn't get to partake in that. In fact, I ended up leaving before anyone else because, for the first time since the hospital, I could tell that I was needing my insulin fix. The rest stayed out, closing the place down, and heading home around 4AM. Consensus says we're too old to be doing that!

On Sunday, M & I headed to Opryland to check out the ice museum. Their Christmas show, "ICE!" was closing down that weekend. This year's theme was A Charlie Brown Christmas. Last year, it was the Grinch. This incredibly cold building housed ice sculptures depicting the main scenes of the TV show. And the last room had an ice Nativity scene, and other general Christmas sculptures. Very cool. Cold, even. They provided fashionable blue parkas for everyone!

The concert was different than I anticipated, though I wasn't sure what to expect. Perhaps I expected my ears to be bleeding at the end. This was heavy metal, after all. Well, it wasn't. In fact, it was quite well balanced. Perhaps we were too close to get the effect of the full banks of speakers. But nothing overpowered the other instruments. The 8-person string section was made up of string players from the Nashville Symphony, and honestly, I don't think they were needed. I'm not sure I even heard them. Again, our position might have had something to do with that. But the lighting was amazing. Lasers, moving light scaffolding, fog machines, flames, pyrotechnics---all in the name of Christmas! And hot women. They sang, they danced, they looked good. And one of the two electric violinists reminded me of Britney Spears. Before she got trashy. And my, could they play!

After the concert, M had to head back home. Not my favorite idea, but with the new job, she didn't really have much of a choice. The next day was spent exploring some more, and doing a lot of walking. I had the great idea of renting a car and running up to Louisville to see some people, but I couldn't get a car until mid-afternoon, which would have been too late. Should have thought about that earlier... Tuesday was travel day, but I had the morning to myself. I had worked on a dinner date for my layover in Minneapolis, but that fell through due to a sick kid. Not much more to tell. Though I did take some notes, presented to you in bullets, cuz you know I love the bullets!
  • Lots of hills in Nashville. I got in all sorts of exercising just from walking around!
  • I learned that I could get away with occasionally eating poorly for someone in my condition, and I wouldn't keel over later. I don't anticipate doing that, but it's a handy tidbit of info.
  • I love the honky-tonks. I can't imagine starting a gig at noon on a Monday. And there's not a great deal of people around at that time on that day. But there were some!
  • More Spanish being spoken than I would have anticipated. I spent some time watching Telemundo, since we don't get that around here. Is it all soap operas???
  • It was colder there than in Helena for the entire time I was there. Glad the sun was out, though. You could tell who was from Nashville and who wasn't. The tourists were dressed for the weather. We saw girls on Saturday night running around outside in outfits that would be chilly in August!
  • Everyplace in Nashville checks IDs. Not used to that.
  • I expected the Nashville airport to be larger. I guess that flying mostly in and out of hubs (Denver, Salt Lake and Minneapolis), that's what I'm used to. Also noticed that the bathrooms in Nashville are nowhere as clean as those other places.
  • I flew the same basic type of plane for 3 of the 4 legs that I traveled. United's seat belts aren't long enough. Northwestern/Delta's could strap in 3 at once.
  • What's up with women traveling in skinny little heels? All sorts of women trying to run down the concourses in heels... Almost as good as the flip-flops and shorts on the couple in Minneapolis.
  • Speaking of Minneapolis, as I'm waiting for my flight, CNN reports that the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport had been evacuated, due to a bomb scare. Apparently all was well by the time we arrived there.
  • About 70 miles out of Bozeman, the pilot had everyone put their seatbelts on, due to the bumpy approach. It was snowing, but I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary with the landing. Once on the ground, the stewardess welcomed us to Bozeman, yadda yadda yadda, and then asked that we give the flight crew a round of applause for safely landing the plane. My seatmate and I just looked at each other and would have rather thought that it was a routine landing. Apparently it wasn't...
So that's about it. Some disappointment that we weren't able to get together with everybody, but totally understandable. It was fun, nonetheless, and relaxing. To those that I did get to see, thanks for the good time! I shall be back someday!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wow. I must be in a funk.

This totally passed me by...


Hello internets.

I am SO unmotivated to post anything these days. There's a definite funk in the world of Os these days. Nothing specific, just things. The post-holiday letdown.

This cold that I caught at the beginning of the week is still here. Not as bad as the colds I normally have, but just bad enough to be bothersome. No power coughing...just that constant whimpy cough. It's really the prime cause of funkiness.

It's not the weather. In spite of the cold, it's been fairly sunny, which is always a good thing. And it's supposed to be warming up over the next few days. Hell, it's into the 40s up in Calgary!

Since coming back from Nashville (and I promise to write about that later today!), I've gotten very tired about this whole diabetes thing. I'm sticking to everything I'm supposed to, but for the first time really, I'm getting tired of the routine. The details of what/how much I can eat. The fact that I'm in this for the long haul.

I'm having communication issues with one of my go-to friends. Literally and figuratively. Technology is a wonderful thing, until it doesn't work. Don't like it in the least. Sort of along the same lines...the fact that, as far as meeting friends in Nashville--it was a bust. I'll get to that in my next post, but I came away with a great deal of disappointment. Expectations and all. And unfortunately, there's no one to "blame". But it doesn't diminish the fun I had with the ones that I DID meet up with!

The one thing that really got me to thinking about this funk is what I did for most of the afternoon/night yesterday. If you check the blogrolls in my sidebar, you'll see that I did some major housecleaning. The main blogroll has always been the list of HNTers. Back in the early days, I would add literally every person I was aware of who posted a picture for HNT. That practice ended after about the first year. Even today, I don't link everyone. When I started yesterday, there were 576 names in that list. That's after culling over 400 links about a year ago. Today, there's 249 links.

It was an afternoon of reminiscing and sadness. That list was a record, if you will, of HNT's history. No one made that list that didn't post at least one picture. I'll be the first to admit that there were some links that I hadn't visited in years. An incredible amount of them were "dead" links. Many were "invitation only", which means they were probably shut down. There were a few that were still quite active. But a quick check showed that they hadn't done HNT since 2006 or something like that, so they got deleted. And then then there were a handful that, even though idle for some time, I just couldn't delete.

It was a cleansing day, actually. I spent more time on it than I should have (partially because of the process--Blogrolling doesn't make it excessively easy). I spent time going through archives of old names that none of you, save a small handful, would even recognize. And then wondering whatever happened to these people. Even though there was a huge number of weekly HNTers in those days, there seemed to be a tighter sense of "community" than there is now. Though I know that the cleaning was needed, I can't help but feel a little sad about losing those contacts forever.

So, yeah. I'm in a funk. It happens. I'll snap out of it. I always do. Now it's time to take down the Christmas tree...

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Music City HNT

As you might have told from my prior posts, Nashville was a great time! Unfortunately, I appear to have gotten a cold out of the ordeal. Last night didn't help either, as I had to drive back home, after midnight, in the midst of a nasty blizzard. I'm sick, I'm tired, and I have stories to tell. Which will have to wait.

The skyline of Nashville is dominated by the "Batman" building, towering over all below it. At night, its distinctive shape can be seen for miles. I couldn't leave Nashville without showing you!


Bitterly cold. Light snow this evening will give way to some clearing late. Low -6F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 70%. Snowfall around one inch.

A mainly sunny sky. Very cold. High 14F. Winds light and variable.

Tomorrow Night
Clear skies. Cold. Low -3F. Winds light and variable.

This week's Mystery Guest will not be revealing herself. Instead, she'll be working on staying warm. Seems to me that clothing might help...

The new decade over at "...the Other HNT" is starting with a healthier dose of gentlemen than normal. Be sure to go check everyone out! NSFW, of course!
Hope to get back into the swing of things soon. Spending 5 days on the road tends to make things pile up around here. Normal programming will resume shortly!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Fun in Nashvegas!

I think I'm stealing someone's wireless around here, so I'll throw this post up while I can. Met up with 4 other current/former HNTers here in Nashville. Between the timing (so close to the holidays), the cost for out of towners (nothing's cheap here), and a bit of the nasty cold weather (well, nasty cold for here), the larger group of people just didn't happen. But this was nice, as we were able to have real conversations! And a plus--what happens in Nashvegas, stays in Nashvegas!

M, Chad, Me, Summer, 13 Messages

M and I went to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's final concert of the season last night. Great seats, but no way to take decent pics. More to write about that when I have better access...

I'm heading home tomorrow night, but looks like I'll still get to meet up with one more friend during my layover. I'm very excited about that! I probably won't get on here again until HNT. I'm able to check up on you from my fancy new phone, so I'm not totally missing civilization! Hope you all had a safe NYE!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

I'm here!

Hell. I had hoped to post a picture of 13 Messages and me at Hooters last night,but my fancy new phone won't let me upload pics. Hmmm... Also having internet ethernet issues with the laptop. I promise to post later. Edit: Ah, wireless is available in the lobby!

I find it humorous how, when I leave MT, the Midwest is hit with an Arctic blast. They deal with it differently here, that's for sure!

More fun planned for tonight. For the blogger who requested me to squeeze 13's ass, he is aware of the request. I won't tell you yet if I have or not...