Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Checking in again...

Yes, I'm still around.
  • Gig on Friday went very well. A good crowd, but not quite as big as we had hoped for, but still packed the place. A couple of unanticipated 'happenings' in the performance that never even cropped up during rehearsals. Being the consummate professional musicians as we are....we faked it. But landed on our feet every time!
  • Spent the weekend writing for the other band, with our wedding gig coming up on Saturday. It's nice to get out of a 'soul' mentality, and back to rock and country. Still, it's been non-stop writing, and many of you have noticed my absense. Nice to be missed!
  • Cold and rainy here all weekend, which was a great motivation to stay inside and work on it. Interesting how the hottest and coldest days of the summer have happened during the span of less than a week!
  • Football starts this weekend. I'm woefully unprepared to face that, though I don't think it'll take much more than one weekend to get back into the swing of things. I'll again put the table in my sidebar on how my three favorite teams fared each week. For those who don't remember, all three of them advanced to the championship game of their respective levels, and all three were beaten. Hoping for better this season!
  • Nothing else new or exciting to share. Hope your lives are a tad more fulfilling than mine at the moment!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Burning the Midnight Oil HNT

I've written a lot over the past couple of weeks about how busy August has been. I'm just not sure how I underestimated exactly how busy it would be. I am SO burned out on writing music... I never thought I'd ever say that. Maybe it's the combination of that and the rehearsals we're having to have. I don't mean to say that they're bad--I love working with these guys. I've worked with almost all of them in the past. But it's not the old band. The band over there in the sidebar (towards the bottom). We put in over 11 years together, and after that amount of time, we instinctively knew what each other would do, how we would play, and how we'd communicate with each other while we were playing. Knowing what a simple eyebrow lift or specific jumble of words meant. Things that only come from spending so much time together.

But this band is different. I find that we have to work harder to make things work smoothly. It shouldn't have to be this hard. It's not that we don't have the players/singers. It's that we don't have that same unspoken communication with each other. It's coming slowly, but it's frustrating at times.

When I signed on to play in this band, I assumed I'd have to write some horn arrangements. I didn't anticipate necessarily needing to make them so concise that silent communication wouldn't be necessary. Whereas the trumpet player and I played together for so long, the sax player (who normally is the only horn player in any group he's been in) just isn't used to having to sound like a section player. He's getting there, and I think he's working harder than he thought he'd have to, but it's a learning process. But by God...give him a solo, and he's great!

So my past few weeks have been spent in front of my computer putting music together. Then over the weekend, my software went wonky on me. Short story, as you might have read earlier this week, is that I had to resort to writing by hand. Eek! Need to get someone in here to rub my hands after a session of that! Fortunately, I have a six-year old version of the software on my laptop (which means re-learning all sorts of things about the program). But I can't really do all this while sitting in my recliner, so I've moved to the space in front of the desktop computer, pushing it back and out of the way. I've even moved my mouse over to the laptop, just to make things easier. Perhaps the desktop will see how it's supposed to be done. This is the view it has, watching me work with the older, more mature version. Hopefully it learns something!

"...For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils."

~ William Wordsworth

This pensive flower will be revealed late Thursday afternoon. Be sure to come back to see who it is!
This week's MG is Dafs, from over at Night Moves! She's fairly new to HNT, but eager! She generally posts hers on Thursday nights, so don't be alarmed if you don't see a new HNT. Feel free to go back a few posts!
Lots of people over at "...the Other HNT" this week! Definitely NSFW, if you care about that sort of thing...
Perhaps the desktop is plotting its revenge on me. I emptied the trash on the laptop's desk the other day. I'm not sure how I did it, but I suddenly gained over 6GB of room on my hard drive! And then I found out why. I emptied my entire iTunes library! The good news--I still had my iPod synched with it, so I didn't panic. Though I didn't have the absurdly large amount of Christmas music on it. I'm not so concerned about that. I did an iPod-to-iTunes sync last night. (side note--it's not a cut and dried process! always read up on how to do it, or you'll lose everything!). So now I've got my music, but I don't think they're in the right place on my drive. It all plays, but something's still not right. And I don't have the time to fool with it now. I totally blame the desktop...
And for something totally different...you may have seen this on the news. For those who remember, it's sort of like an old Spike Jones bit!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Well, frick!

My music writing software crapped out on me last night. And now, the install DVD gets to a certain point, and then does nothing. So now I'm forced to write it the old-fashioned way--by hand. Just like how your handwriting deteriorates from typing everything anymore, my music writing is barely legible. I suppose this is a good thing for me--to get that back to a decent appearance. But it's slowed things down considerably, and there's SO much more to do... And now I have to run to a rehearsal (first of three this weekend).

September can't get here soon enough...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Busy August HNT

Well, I should have expected it. I run off for four days of brain-clearing fun, and I come back to "do this, finish that, don't forget those..." I've been going non-stop since coming back from the pool party. Writing music, rehearsing music, changing the music I wrote the first time around, rehearsing some more, etc... Oh, and squeeze in a high school reunion, a couple of concerts by friends (which I ended up missing), and meeting blogger friends passing through town. Somewhere in there, I've also had a doctor's appointment, a couple of symphony staff meetings, meals and sleep. Oh, yeah. I have to work up HNT and OHNT (good thing I can do that from work!). Oh, oh, oh... work!

I seem to have lost my routine this month. My regular chatting buds have noticed it. My family has noticed it. Is it weird that I'm now looking forward to September, and the beginning of symphony season?? It'll be so less stressful than it is right now!

Since my mind is fried for current HNT ideas, I take you back ten days ago to the pool party, when life was mellow and relaxing. And no one cared that I was wearing my really tacky trunks! Hopefully I'll get back to that feeling soon!

Another human being sharing my blood,

My baby boy you were made out of love,

After many months resulting in tears,

We are soon to have one that ends in cheers!,

As the light shines on my curve,

Happy HNT it’s time to perve!

This week's Mystery Guest will be revealed late Thursday afternoon. Be sure to check back!
Not too hard to figure out who our mom-to-be is, if you've been surfing around HNTs at all. It's Jas, over at Evocative Abyss. Be sure to stop by her site to see another great belly picture!

Still getting a good selection of pictures for "...the Other HNT"! Be sure to stop by and check out your fellow HNTers! As always, it's NSFW!
I've got to get going on the OsShirt site as soon as things slow down some. It's had some really great adventures this summer! You'll want to see evidence of that!
I'm getting the occasional question asked on my formspring thing over there in the sidebar, so I'm going to keep it up for awhile... Go ahead and ask me anything you'd like over there. Anonymously, even!
Made mention of a doctor's appointment earlier. The good news...I'm healthy as a horse. A diabetic horse on meds, but healthy! Blood pressure is finally to a "good" level. Cholesterol is excellent. My A1c level is excellent. My kidneys, which at one point actually shut down, seem to have recovered nicely without any problems, though I'll have to keep monitoring them at my check-ups. Everything is so good that the only thing he can tell me to do now is lose weight and exercise. Ugh... It's one of those things I know I need to do, and in my own little way, I'm doing it, but I need to get serious about it.
Those who might remember back to last summer...when I lost the shutter button to my good camera...I've finally gotten a replacement part! After numerous attempts to get the thing repaired at a real camera shop (all out of town---nothing local), I just decided to order the part and have a go at it myself. I have really missed using it. It's just a point & shoot, but a higher end point & shoot. I'm also considering pulling out my 35mm camera and taking some pictures with that. If I can find someplace that actually still sells film...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Good Weekend

But very busy.
  • Friday night was my high school 35-year reunion. Sort of an informal affair, and not sure what sort of showing we'd get. Out of a class of around 320, I'd guesstimate that there were over a hundred that came. Not bad for old farts. Thank God there were name tags. I think that we all underwent some sort of physical change when we hit 50. The good news...no one looked 60! There were a handful of people who were attending their first reunion (and kicking themselves for not coming to the others). There were a few bored spouses (why would you drag your spouse to one of these things?). There were a few widows/widowers, which was sad. While I was one of the die-hards that stuck around until getting kicked out at 1:00 AM, the crowd was noticeably smaller by 11:00. I guess those were the classmates that didn't take a nap earlier...
  • Most interesting meeting of the night was with the girlfriend of one of my classmates. He is a guy that I really had nothing to do with back in the day. But he really followed my band starting about 5-6 years ago when we were playing a lot in town, so that changed. Anyhoo...he came up to me by the bar with his very attractive, and obviously much younger girlfriend. And said, "My girlfriend needs to tell you something..." Generally, not words one wants to hear. She simply said, "You were always my favorite band director." OK. I haven't taught HS band in over 20 years. And this girl didn't look like this back in the day, or I would have remembered! She did tell me her first name, and I took it from there. I definitely remembered her and her classmates--I just didn't recognize her. It was a nice blast from the past!
  • I mentioned I was to have a date of my own for the reunion, but travel plans changed, so I went stag. But she DID pass through town early Saturday morning, and we got together for about an hour or two. It was former HNTer, and current adult movie star Tara Tainton! We talked about her road trip, peeing in the snow, fetishes, boob jobs, health food, car problems, the pool party (that she had planned on coming to), and all sorts of other things. Of course, since I still had the OsShirt for the weekend, the obligatory picture (and flash) were taken! The one thing I forgot about her is how petite she really is! Then she went on her merry way to points north and west.
  • The rest of the weekend was spent in front of the computer writing arrangements for the soul band. Once I get in a zone, I can't stop writing, and I was definitely in it on Saturday. Other than a Sunday morning rehearsal, I was back at it the next day, too. I don't have any other distractions in the coming week, so I should get things finished up pretty quickly.
So how was your weekend?

Friday, August 13, 2010


I had an interesting chat last night with someone I hadn't chatted with for awhile. And most of it came off as whining. Though I think she felt I was in desperate need of sleep too (and I wouldn't argue with that). But I got to thinking about what exactly it was that I was whining about. And it all came down to expectations. My expectations. And how they just haven't been matching reality. Mind you, sometimes not meeting expectations turns out pretty good. It's not always a bad thing, but just a different thing. But often times it is simply disappointing. Examples:
  • I suppose this last weekend would be a prime example. I expected a much better turnout for the pool party. I talked it up pretty good and expected to write long posts about it and you'd all be sorry you didn't make it. But there were 5 or 6 people that I expected to see there that didn't show. Not including BTE's friends who didn't show. Granted, a couple of them certainly had no control over circumstances. I had a great time, and I'm glad I went, but my expectations were different.
  • I hinted that there could be some exciting news I could relay. My flight was overbooked at LaGuardia, so I volunteered to give my seat away for a $400 ticket voucher and a seat on the next flight to Minneapolis. Well, things got weird as the plane was already late leaving, and the two of us who volunteered ended up getting on the flight, but not in the seats we had expected. But we were rushed to leave our mailing address with the ticket agent, saying "I'll mail them to you." Yesterday, I got a $100 ticket voucher from Delta. Wonderful, but not what I expected (let the trip requests begin!).
  • Prior trips have also not met my expectations. My trip to Nashville in January was fun, but I expected more people to come out, particularly the locals (there seems to be an awful lot of lip service involved with expectations). And the concert we went to wasn't what I expected. And other things did or didn't happen based on my expectations. The Dallas trip in 2007, while incredibly fun, didn't meet expectations either.
  • And since I'm listing expectations--for years I used to expect that HNTers were rather civil, and somewhat "above" the general perving commenters. That expectation was shot down long ago. I expected that lines and boundaries would be understood and respected. Nope.
  • I have had certain expectations of friends, both online and off, and have constantly been disappointed in their questionable decisions and off-beat direction. Sure, I have no say in their lives, but if crashing/burning is an expectation, then many of them have met those...
  • I'm certainly not meeting some of my own expectations either. I've got music I have to write for two different bands by the end of the month (realistically, by the end of next week), and others waiting for me to get it all done. I expected to have most all of it done by now, but I haven't met that. I expected my life to be in a totally different place than it is right now, but that's not going to be met. Not that it's a bad thing, but just different than I expected.
This isn't to say that none of my expectations have been met. Meeting Minority Report on Monday went beyond my expectations. The summer concert in July went beyond expectations. Buying a car was easier than my expectations. There's plenty of others.

I could aim lower with my expectations, or I can either quit having expectations that constantly disappoint me. Or I could continue to keep them high, and revel in the expectations that have been met or exceeded.

I expect I might be able to do that...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

You should see this...

OK, I'm not sure how to embed a movie from Facebook, but click here, and go check it out. If you don't cry within the first 90 seconds, you're a cold heartless bastard! (actually, if you don't cry within the first 30 seconds...)

And apparently, you have to be logged into Facebook.

The Best Laid Plans HNT

The problem with traveling anywhere from Montana is that it's not going to be a cheap nor easy endeavor. I was able to get a decently priced ticket (by MT standards), but it meant that I had to drive 3 1/2 hours to get to my flight. So I was up bright and early and before the sunrise!

I had a long layover in Minneapolis, where I was able to have a good lunch with a former girlfriend! It's probably been close to 15 years since we've seen each other, so it we had a lot to talk about. She didn't know about my diabetes or my dad or my BIL, so she got the abbreviated versions. Like a total dorkfish, I had my camera in with my carry-on stuff, which all got locked into a storage locker on the secure side of the gate, so I missed out on the photo op. Suffice it to say we both looked great!

I rented a car to get from LaGuardia to a hotel somewhere near BTExpress' place (by the way--he's reverted back to his old blog!). The driving wasn't bad at all, and I didn't get lost once! Of course, the GPS in my phone helped that (though I've found that it's not always infallible!). On Saturday, I headed to his place for the festivities. One thing that the GPS or Google Maps don't help with is when the streets are blocked off for SummerFest... I stopped and walked around for a bit. Lots of really short shorts. Lots of funny accents. Lots of friendly people. And what a great area! BTE's place is only about 500 feet from the shore, so there's always a nice breeze coming in.

Main Street

As for the party itself...it wasn't the wild free-for-all that BTE had hoped for. In fact, it was more of a friends-over-for-swimming sort of gathering. Sickness, unfortunate travel circumstances and friends that backed out at the last minute. Certainly nothing they had control over. So it turned out to be quite a small affair. As a surprise, Shizzle had contacted me late in the week and decided to come out. I think BTE might have had a minor heart attack when she came around the corner! Of course, it's always fun to meet up with her! And she brought Tornado with her!

Poor Tornado was bored most of the time...

Later in the afternoon, Hubman and ASM stopped by, just in time for dinner! More talking, more pool time, and photo shoots with the other guest to the party---the OsShirt! More pictures were taken, and then the two of them hurried out of there to find themselves a motel to reacquaint themselves with each other! At that point, the no-suits rule went into effect, and skinny-dipping until midnight ensued! And Lori (BTE's girlfriend) made sure that the underwater camera didn't just lay around idle...

Summer, Me, ASM, Hubman, BTE, Lori
Please note that I DID out-tacky BTE!

On Sunday, I went back, but for beer and conversation...no swimming. It was laid back and quite relaxing. Just what I needed! Headed back to the hotel to get packed and to bed early, as that damned eastern time zone kicked my butt, and I had to head back towards the city in the morning for a brunch date!

I was headed to Flushing, NY and once again, had no problems getting where I needed to go. However, I was surprised at what I found! In checking Google Maps, I thought I was going to be driving into a quaint downtown area. Ummm...no. A bustling, urban area, to say the least. Loud, a bit stinky, and no one knows how to interpret traffic lights (drivers and pedestrians alike). A very Asian area...predominantly Chinese or Korean. Not sure which. Regardless, this boy from Montana was definitely not in Kansas anymore! I found out numerous things here. New Yorkers like to honk their horns. Often. And generally at other drivers who are blocking traffic 20 cars ahead of them. What's up with that? And one should not open the door for a woman and allow her to walk in ahead of you without expecting a puzzled look from said woman. And when you bump into someone, it is not necessary to apologize, nor look them in the eye nor say anything! I was early to pick up my brunch guest from the train, so I did some walking/bumping/honking of my own.

I loved that there was a walk-up window for McDonald's!
You don't find that in MT!

Of course, if you've been to her site already, you know that I met up with Minority Report! Utterly charming and cute--I just wish I didn't have to get my car back to the rental place so soon! We ate, then found a nearby park and talked some more, fed a squirrel, chased geese, and got her picture taken with the OsShirt (it did make the rounds this weekend!). Due to where her train station was located, and our cutting it close on the time, I unceremoniously dumped her off while getting honked at and called names by Asian drivers. Next time, I promise to do better! ;-)

Minority Report & Me
She's not ugly--she's just careful of posting her face!

Google Maps once again came to the rescue, letting me avoid the really high-traffic areas, and allowing me to drive through the old neighborhoods to get back to the LaGuardia area. In this case, under the Long Island R.R.

The rest of the trip home was uneventful (though there might be some exciting news to report in the next couple of days!). I had another long-ish layover in Minneapolis, most of which I spent in the observation deck overlooking the Delta terminal. Quiet, cool, and a place to charge my phone. After a few texts, the sun was going down, and it was time to head home. I got an upgrade to first class (not sure why, but possibly related to the exciting news mentioned above), and thoroughly enjoyed that! I still had a 3 1/2 hour drive home once I landed, but it was still worth it!

Delta's terminal.
My plane is usually way down at the other end...

So, in a nutshell, that was my weekend. Met people, swam nekkid, drank beer, ate food, honked, apologized, and didn't give a single thought to anything back home. I'd do it again in an instant!

I hope people have been clicking...

Some might recognize her.
Most will not.
Some could remember her from her old blog.
Most will not.
Some might think they've seen her over at OHNT.
Most will not.

This week's Mystery Guest will be revealed Thursday afternoon.

Anyone who has been over to OHNT should recognize this lovely lady as the one who submitted the "Chilly" series, then the "Encore" series (thanks due to your comments). She's Leela Lamore, and though she doesn't blog in these circles anymore, she still takes the time to to surf your sites! No word on if she's working on a new series yet...
The middle of August is playing havoc with participation over at "...the Other HNT", as it does every year. Still, higher numbers than in years past, and always high quality! Stop by and check out your fellow HNTers! NSFW, but leave a comment anyway!
Having been offline as I have, I'm a little late to the game with this next thing... My last HNT mentioned the former HNTer who lost two children in a house fire. Dana has taken the bull by the horns and has made a few posts regarding her. Most of you have already mentioned it, and many have included the buttons. In the interest of time, I'll just direct you to Dana's site to read about the details. Go. Give.
My HS class is having their 35-year reunion on Friday night. Just a one night, no-host, informal thing. And I have an unexpected date!!! No details yet, but I'll share pictures! She's a former HNTer, former MG, former OsShirt model, and used to send a picture or two in for OHNT! And she's in that list in the sidebar (need to update that, too). Can't wait to see the looks from some of the wives when they see her! I'm just hoping she behaves...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Public Service Announcement

Need to recharge.
Will be back shortly.
Pics, observations and stories to follow!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I'm here

I'm here.
Asshole drivers here aren't much different than asshole drivers at home.
It's humid.
8:00 AM happens a whole lot sooner than at home.
People talk funny here.

A little over 3 hours before the "official" start of the party.
I wonder if there'll be name tags?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Did Someone Say Party? HNT

It was over a year ago that BTExpress had the grand opening of his new pool. He had started the project a year before that, and he documented the entire process for us, with plenty of pictures, a few HNTs, and lots of venting about what was going wrong. But through it all, he held out hope that this project was going to be worth it, and now, a year later, it certainly has proven that it has.

We were chatting last summer and he expressed a wish that he could share the pool with all the bloggers who had followed him throughout this journey. So I offered him my best advice and told him to throw a party! I could see the lightbulb click on above his head (a pretty neat trick from 1800 miles away, and not on a webcam!). My second bit of advice--plan it for this summer, giving a year for people to make plans, and for him to get the pool "just right" (which has resulted in the addition of the hot tub and plasma TV!). Next thing you know, he's picked a date, and sent out FB invites to all his friends.

Well, that date is this coming Saturday. And I'll be there! Plus bloggers & HNTers from Texas, New York, New Jersey, and other states as well! It's not going to be the wild spring break type of crowd, and there's going to be some people missing that he had really hoped could make it, but it's still going to be a great time! Will it rival one of Vixen/Roxy's pool parties? Hard to tell, but I'm sure we'll give it a run (probably less booze, possibly as much nekkidness, doubtful there will be bubbles...)!

I fly out on Friday, and return home late Monday night (Tuesday AM, actually). I thought originally that this would be an easy flight to pack for, but I'm finding I can't decide exactly which Hawaiian will be best, so I'm packing most of it! I do need to out-"tacky" the host, if I can!

Judging pigs and judging pies
Fighting for the first place prize
And have you seen this year's queen
4-H Club and FFA working toward a better day
And a petting zoo, yeah, they got that too
And eight o'clock rolls around, everybody knows
The grandstands open up and it's time for the big show

This week's champion has chosen not to reveal herself, but she's well known to many of you!

Summer has caught up with "...the Other HNT" this week, but there's still a good showing over there. Be sure to stop by and leave some comments. It's your HNT friends, ya know! NSFW, even!
Got some horrific news about a fellow HNTer today. Not really sure that I can say much more than that right now (hate it when I do that, don't you?). It involves the tragic deaths of two of her kids. I don't know that she's ready for a wave of bloggers stopping by yet. But she can use a lot of prayers, support and good thoughts. She hasn't done HNT for awhile, and her posting has been sporadic, at best, due to circumstances of location, so that might put some of you at ease regarding her identity. I promise to let you know more once the dust settles.
Busy, busy, busy times before I head off to NY for the party. Work was really busy today. Rehearsal last night was only partially productive (had hoped for better). Rehearsal tonight could go either way. Staff meetings in the morning and evening. Laundry needing to get done. Posts to get posted. Whew... I will be away from my computer for most of the weekend, though I will have it with me. Don't get too terribly lonely out here while I'm away!