Random without numbers…

The birthday weekend went pretty much as planned.  So that worked out fine, thanks for wondering about it if you did.

I’ve been kinda taking it easy today after a long and BUSY weekend.  I think I got a little bit dehydrated or just plain over-exposed to being outside over the weekend.  I don’t usually hang around outside and for some reason it takes its toll, especially in Summer weather, as I’m sure many of you can identify with.  So sitting around tonight felt like a good idea.

Plus, I keep going back and forth between having and not having a toothache.  Like the other day, I bit into a hunk of pork-steak and as I was chewing, I hit the tooth that’s been bugging me on and off with a crunchy, burned chunk of the meat and felt a huge shocking pain and saw a white light…then felt fine for the rest of the day.  And it’ll ache a little bit when I first wake up.  But most of the day, I don’t notice it, and thus-far I’ve been able to sleep.  So I don’t know what’s going on.

Most I’ve done today is that I went to Best Buy and picked up the new My Morning Jacket record.  Short review based on my first listen…  I don’t love it, but I think I’ll grow to LIKE it.  It’s pretty laid back and sparse, and that’s jarring after Evil Urges was so epic-sounding.  It just bears the curse of following what was probably their best record (in my eyes, anyway) and was bound not to measure up.  But that doesn’t mean it’s bad.  It’s just not as good as the last one.  …and aside from work, that was today.

I’ve been keeping with updating the Tumblr page pretty much daily.  Not a lot today (I’m going to post one thing, I think, and it’s not even anything I made), but it’s been buzzing—especially on the day of my birthday.  Always worth checking that…it’s probably more interesting than this blog right now.

…and that’s about it.

I think we just learned why I normally number these things.  I write like a crazy person.  Sorry about that…but there it is.

Birthday Weekend

It’s the weekend of my birthday.  As you’ve no-doubt read in other years, I LOVE my birthday.  I ascribe to the Sammy Hagar philosophy that your birthday is your own personal New Year—a time of renewal, reflection, and celebration.  It bums me out when adults say that birthdays are just for kids or when people act like their birthdays don’t matter.  What must it be like to not celebrate one’s own LIFE?  To feel no renewal?  It must be very sad.

I’ve got a lot going on this weekend, partially in celebration, and partially by coincidence.  Figured it was worth sharing on the blog.

FRIDAY:

Friday began with going to work, which usually doesn’t serve up much to report since the only people interested in reading about day-to-day insurance jobs are other people who work in insurance, and even THEY get bored with it.  But my coworkers PASSED the Friendship Test I’d noted that I was performing in the previous post.  I walked in and they’d decorated my cubicle, made brownies, and all signed a card for me.  It was nice.  Well done, ICS.  🙂

Then last night was the Vincentennial—Vincent Price’s 100th birthday.  My brother and I watched a (really BAD) documentary about Price and then watched his classic Muppet Show appearance.  I am deeply disappointed in both AMC and TCM for letting this event go by unrecognized.  For shame.

Although the Vincentennial is not directly related to my birthday, it’s still pretty cool to share a star sign with one of my home-town heroes.  I don’t even mind Vincent getting the lion’s share of the attention this year.  🙂

Also last night, Dave and I made a trip to Friar Tuck’s in O’Fallon.  It’s basically a beer/liquor/wine superstore.  A little more pricey than I’d like…but often worth it.  I picked up some Stone Pale Ale and some O’Dell’s Red Ale, both of which I am very excited to try. (Especially the Red Ale, as I’ve never had an O’Dell product that has been a disappointment.  O’Dell makes AMAZING beers, even boasting my favorite American beer–their seasonal Isolation Ale.)  But the real story here is that I found my favorite whiskey sitting on their shelves—like a birthday gift from God (and Ireland)—and a litre bottle of Paddy Old Irish Whiskey came home with me.  I’ve only had one small sip of it so far, but it is worth every penny (about $32 worth of pennies, in case you’re curious).  Click here to see the pic of the discovery and read about it on my Tumblr page.

So Friday was cool.

SATURDAY:

Today has thusfar been fairly lazy.  I slept in (not an unusual occurrence for a Saturday).  I am presently watching a Doctor Who marathon on BBC America (which is also not that unusual for a Saturday, now that I think of it).  But tonight should be fun.

Tying in with my love of Deadliest Catch, I’m heading out to Gulf Shores (a restaurant) with my family and we’re eating fish and whatnot.  I’ll be having the crab.  (And hopefully some calamari!)  There will be giving of gifts as well.

Which raises a point.  I said above that I love my birthday—and I do.  But you know how restaurants have those birthday songs?  The staff gathers around the table and sings something loud and intrusive to the other diners, makes the birthday boy/girl wear something stupid and then eat cake they didn’t want?  That thing?  I HATE that.  I don’t like the attention, I don’t like the embarrassment, and I don’t like the damn cake.  I have asked my father to explain to the waiter/tress that if there is any song or embarrassing outfit of crustaceous ridicule, we will be leaving immediately without paying.  I can’t stand that crap.  As much as I love my birthday, I’m still a naturally shy person (no, seriously) and I don’t like unwanted/unrequested attention.

…so barring any ridiculous songs and/or belts made of crawfish, tonight will be fun.  (Hoping to cap it off with a Stone Pale Ale and an O’Dell Red!)

SUNDAY:

Sunday (my actual birthday) is also the day before Memorial Day (in the States).  There is a picnic that ALWAYS takes place at my Dad’s club that day.  Every year.  So I’ll be at that, drinking something that hopefully isn’t a Budweiser product.  (Hoping to pick up some Guinness on my way there.)  It’s usually a good barbecue with good music—as long as no one insists on killing the music while a baseball game is on and thus completely kills the party atmosphere, as has happened in the not-too-distant past.  It’ll be pretty much an all-day thing, so that’ll be how I officially ring in 31.

MONDAY:

I’ll be sleeping in again on Monday (I’m looking forward to that!) and then I’ll be heading to a barbecue that my friend Mike (from the Michael Feldman Group—he’s the Michael) is throwing for his musician friends.  So that’ll be fun too.

Busy holiday, busy birthday!

Hope you’re all having fun this weekend too.  Enjoy the day off, unless you’re one of the suckers who has to work—in which case you should at least be getting holiday pay, so that’s still pretty cool.

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Current Listening:

Been switching back and forth between Aimee Mann and Frank Zappa.  I can’t explain that.

Up to Speed…

Hi.  Sorry I haven’t written anything here since—yikes!—Sunday.  Been kinda busy and distracted, and also the Tumblr page format allows me to post stupid stuff quickly, so I’ve been spending time there.  (It’s been buzzing lately.  Go take a look if you haven’t.)  So…let’s do a random post and get up to speed.

  1. So…the Rapture didn’t happen…but the days following were fucking FILLED with tornadoes!  My deepest sympathies to the people affected, particularly in Joplin, MO.  I’ve been to Joplin a few times, and hearing/seeing that about 75% of the town is just GONE is humbling and terrifying.  My heart goes out to them.
  2. On a similar note, we came close to a tornado at my office this week too.  Yesterday afternoon some serious storms blew through St. Louis.  As much as I think the news media is now intentionally over-reacting to storms in order to generate ratings, the storms were pretty scary.  We had HUGE hail that sounded like someone was dumping buckets of baseballs on our roof.  At one point the office manager ran through the building telling everyone that a funnel cloud had been spotted nearby…but of course by the time she got to us, it would’ve passed over anyway…so whatever…  It got kinda dicey, even though nothing serious happened.  It was worth taking seriously, even in the Town that Cried Tornado.
  3. My birthday is on Sunday.  I’m performing a friendship test on the people I work with to see if anyone mentions it tomorrow.  Results pending.
  4. Also coming up (but on Friday, the 27th) is the 100th birthday of Vincent Price.  I love Vincent Price, and I’m almost more excited about his birthday than my own this year.  How will I celebrate?  Dr. Phibes?  Haunted Hill?  A marathon of the worst Poe adaptations he did?  Scissorhands?  Lots of choices.  If I don’t talk to you before then, I hope you have an awesome and spooooooooooky Vincentennial!
  5. Two Hangmen coming soon.  We’re about to release the EP…but here’s the thing.  I think we already know what 80% or so of the first FULL LENGTH will be at this time next year.  So stay tuned!  (No release date for the EP yet.  Got ink on order for my CD printer…so when that gets here, we’ll move faster and let you know when the thing’s finally OUT.)
  6. I bought some Little Caesar’s yesterday.  Haven’t had that in a while.  I think I remember why…  It tastes fine…but I presently have heartburn and while I was eating it I felt something rock-hard in-between my teeth that may have actually been PART of my teeth.  Talk about a chewy hard to swallow pizza.  (Seriously, I have a tooth on one side that’s basically in pieces that’s not saveable, and I think the pizza crust might’ve torn a large piece of it off.  Doesn’t REALLY hurt, but I think that happened…even if it did, I think I’ve got enough tooth-nerve death over there that I wouldn’t feel it.  Pulled out a chunk of something white and rock-like.  Could be tooth.  Could be rock.  Either way, it wasn’t pleasant.)
  7. So I found out that the Doctor Who people make a Sonic Screwdriver that actually functions as a real screwdriver.  That’s the kind of thing that it just seems like someone looked into the File of Shit I Didn’t Know I Needed and said, “Here you go!”
  8. Also, “Sonic Screwdriver” would make a great name for a mixed drink.  I think it’s got to be made like a regular Screwdriver, but with blue raspberry juice instead of orange juice.  Someone make that, drink it, and tell me how it goes.
  9. I’m thinking seriously about the kitchen remodel.  I’ve got some crazy-assed plans that I don’t know if they’ll work.  I’m having some trouble arranging a meetup with the guy I hope will be doing the project, but hopefully it’ll happen soon.
  10. I’m also beginning to think about some things I might want to do in my basement.  I’ve got one room that was a more-or-less “junk room” for a long while, but that actually has a bar in it. Why did I let this room sit so long without stocking the bar?  Unknown.  Must’ve been laziness.  But here’s the thing…the room took some damage after some flooding that happened in the basement.  (Long story short—old air conditioner.)  Needs some new flooring…maybe some drywall.  But just bare-minimum stuff to get it functional.  I think I know what kind of flooring I’d want to put in, and drywall’s easy if I end up needing to do that kind of thing myself.  Then a splash of paint, and it’s good.  But, let’s focus on the kitchen first…and by first, I mean “this year” and the basement might be a project for NEXT year.  🙂  (But I would like to rent a dumpster and at least clean out some of the crap down there sooner than later.)
  11. Oh…and work’s fine, even though we could use more of it.

Well…that’ll do it.  With the 31st birthday on the horizon, I’m looking forward to a new year.  30 wasn’t that fun.  Lots of stupid crap happened…so I’m hoping my new year will be a good one.  And if nothing else, I’ve decided that as much as it depends on me, it’ll be a productive one.  Wish me luck!  (Hopefully I’ll blog at least once more before then though!)

Belated RIP to Frank Hackney

Last night I played bass at Rumples Pub on Main Street in St. Charles with the Michael Feldman Group.  The gig went well.  Lots of friends came out to see us, and the bar had a good ebb and flow of foot-traffic that made the numbers pretty good throughout the night.  A lot of people hung out on their patio area that was a few degrees cooler than the inside of the pub.  It was right at that level of hot that the air really should have been on, but at the same time it wasn’t quite worth firing it up either.  They opted to open the doors and try to create a breeze that never really found us…but if it had it would’ve been a nice night.  🙂  As it was, it was a little hot, but the crowd was good and the folks who run the bar are good people (and make an EXCELLENT prime rib, by the way!).  So it was fine.

However, I was saddened to hear that one of the good people from Rumples is no longer with us.  I found out when Mike dedicated a song to him that the bar’s owner up through last year, Frank Hackney had passed away after a battle with brain cancer.

I’d only met Frank a few times, and I think in those times we only had one real conversation, so we weren’t best friends or anything.  But I liked him.  He had a reputation in the area as being an excellent musician and a crabby but loveable old curmudgeon.  That seems about right from what I could tell.  He had all the saltiness (not a word!) of a seasoned musician/bar owner, but there was a heart of gold under there too.

The first time I met Frank was at a two-fer gig with Mike.  We played two nights back to back at Rumples.  The night before New Year’s Eve and then again ON New Year’s Eve.  I remember on the first night, Frank showed up briefly and we were in full swing.  The night had gotten going and we were playing song after song in rapid succession.  The crowd was into it and it was going well.  At one point, Frank came over, gave us a thumbs-up and said, “Good job Mike.”  That’s about as good as it gets when you’re playing a bar—if the owner’s having a good time, you’re doing something right.  (Even more-so when you know the bar owner’s also a musician.)

The next night was New Year’s Eve and that’s the night I actually got to have a few words with Frank.  I’ve played a lot of bars and met a lot of owners, but the conversation I had with Frank was very different from most and sticks out in my mind.  I don’t remember if I introduced myself or if he introduced himself first…but I remember him asking how long I’d been playing with Mike (he and Mike were friends).  Then he went on just to ask me stuff about my life.  “So what’s your day job? What do you do for fun?” etc.  He laughed a good belly-laugh when I told him that I was (at the time) “a Librarian—quiet by day, loud at night.”  It was my stock line in those days, and Frank liked it.  Most bar owners don’t ask you those kind of questions and they’re certainly not nice enough to laugh at your jokes.

Later that night, Frank ended up being very funny by accident.  It was coming close to the time for the countdown to the New Year, so the band stopped playing and Frank took to the microphone and turned on the TV for the local countdown.  He started counting. “10…9…8…7…” and he got all the way down to “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”  The only problem was that he’d looked at the TV wrong.  He’d been counting down from the SECONDS, but there was a full minute left when he got to zero.  We all just kind of went with it, then he realized his mistake and said, “Oh the hell with it.”  The band started playing again and Frank brought out bottles of champagne.  He was trying to fire the cork of one bottle across the room and make a big splash of foam, but it just kinda flopped out of the bottle and nothing happened.  Can’t win ’em all…but it stuck with me as a memory of a fun, funny, good guy.

And it’s a shame that there’s one less of those in the world now.

Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you’re not raptured…

Okay…well…  I set this to post in advance, and I’m writing/publishing it on Friday at 7:30 pm.  If you’re reading this, then it auto-published and appeared, and presumably the Rapture either didn’t happen…or it did and somehow the Internet still works, and you didn’t go to Heaven.  Super sorry to hear that.

I’m having some fun with the concept and I’m posting this with the set-in-advance time as a joke, of course.  I’m not convinced that some old guy who has abandoned the church for his own teaching actually had the ability to predict the day, much less HOUR of the Rapture.  I’m not even 100% sure that the Rapture is a literal event.  (That’s not a statement about my faith—still believe in Jesus and whatnot…but I’ve done so much reading and study that I’m just not sure the Bible is 100% literal or interpretable on that one.)  But all the hub-bub did make me think…

If I knew the rapture was coming, what would I do?  Well…apart from listening to the playlist I posted on my Tumblr page, I would probably spend time with my family.  Tell some people I love them.  Sing a religious song or two.  Pray a little—or a lot, depending on how I lived my life that week.  I might play a guitar or two.  I’d probably have one really awesome last meal.  Post a Rapture joke or two on Facebook.  Stuff like that.

…but I don’t think I’d worry.  I don’t think I’d focus on my regrets (if any).  I don’t think I’d doubt.

That’s sort of what Jesus is for in the first place, isn’t He?  Seems like it’s only a bad day for it if you don’t know Him.

Sorry to get kinda heavy on you there in a post that started as a joke.  But seriously…if we were all raptured a little bit ago, I’m cool with that.  I’ll be cool with that if it happens 40 years from now, or way after my lifetime…or if it’s NOT literal and doesn’t happen at all…or whatever…  Mostly I just hope I’ll see you on the other side, unless you’re Hitler or somebody.

Anyway…hope it was fun.  If it didn’t happen, I’m at a gig with the Michael Feldman Group down on Main Street St. Charles at Rumples.  Come on down and celebrate the fact that you didn’t go to Hell today!  🙂

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Oh…and rest in peace to Macho Man Randy Savage, who had a heart attack while driving and crashed his car.  I always went back and forth on if I liked the Macho Man…but he was always in the middle of something interesting, something fun, and often something ridiculous.  I think it’s only fitting to leave it with this… 

Heaven: Snap into it! Ooooooo YEEEEEEAH!!!!