Category Archives: Music

Tales from the Computer Mine

I am a person who despite appearing outwardly chaotic, is very much a person of ritual. There are several websites I check daily:

The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks
Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century
Horror Movie A Day

However it is one website in particular that has made me think that I should start a daily blog about things that transpire at the Computer Mine:

Hobo Teacher

I’m not saying that I’m going to do such a thing, but if I ever get my FTP problems straightened out and a website suddenly exists at www.thecomputermine.com with a cool clip art graphic of a computer wearing a miner’s helmet, you just might know the anonymous blogger. In fact, I might make it a group effort. There are so many stories about this place that I might need some co-conspirators.

When I explain the Computer Mine to most people they without exception compare the place to The Office or Office Space. I will tell you a story that could a story about something that happened to me yesterday that could have literally been lifted from The Office.

When I first began my tenure at the Computer Mine I was immediately told who the people were that it was socially acceptable to like and who it was socially acceptable to dislike. At the time I was somewhat of a subhuman and didn’t really care to talk to anybody any more than was absolutely necessary.

As I have returned to the world of the humans and become a person with adequate social skills again I began getting to know and learn about the other people in the mine’s employ. For the most part I learned that the socially unacceptable people weren’t really that bad. They didn’t belong to certain social cliques and were less than socially gifted, but they weren’t necessarily bad people. It seemed more of a case where other people didn’t take the time or energy to get to know that person. They found out enough to make a cognitive shortcut and make their judgment about that person so that they knew how to deal with that person as a type rather than as an individual.

However, (not counting the middle aged shrews) there was one person that I have never been able to converse with at any meaningful level. Literally every time that I have had a conversation with him, it has ended poorly. Most people around the mine call him Chode. I have refrained from using this term because I don’t think most people have taken the effort to know what a chode is and what it is definitely isn’t the type of language that is thrown around a professional work atmosphere. Click “HERE” if you have a burning desire to know the definition of the term. I don’t recommend it.

I will call him D-Squared for the purpose of this story.

I feel sorry for D-Squared because I don’t think anybody ever taught him what it means to be a man. I mean to really be a man. I think he has cobbled together an image of what a man is supposed to be through images from television, movies, video games and men’s locker rooms.

Two examples of past conversations with D-Squared. On his work anniversary he brought puppy chow to work. I asked him if he made the puppy chow himself. He told me that he did make the puppy chow himself, while wearing an apron that said, “Suck the Cook”.

I was having a conversation with a co-worker about going to see Hairspray. D-Squared piped in and tried to run down my manliness for going to a musical. The co-worker pointed out that he was a hypocrite because he had went to see Rent. He countered that Rent was cool and perhaps manly because it had a stripper and she did a sexy dance.

To yesterday’s painful encounter.

I was shipping out a loaner computer. The shipping area in the mine is located near the vending machines. As I was printing the packaging slip, D-Squared came around the corner and said, “That’s what she said.”

I ignored him because I was quite certain that he was talking to Paul (who sits nearby) and not to me. I did not know that people actually used that joke in a way that wasn’t sarcastic.

I got down on my hands and knees to tape up the box because it is easier than bending over because I’m something like 64% torso.

From behind me I hear D-Squared: “You look pretty natural in that position, you have lots of experience like that?”

I finished taping the box up and stood up. I cut him off before he continued strolling down Gay Joke Avenue.

“When you were coming around the corner you said, ‘That’s what she said’. What had the person said; that made you think that such a thing would be a hilarious retort?”

“You had grunted.”

“Wow.” That was all that could escape my lips. I pushed the loaner computer over to the pickup area and walked away wondering if I would ever have an experience with D-Squared that wasn’t so painfully awkward. I am beginning to doubt it.

Fuzzy Warbles

“What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got, say, pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angels’ trumpets and devils’ trombones. You are invited!”
– Alex DeLarge (A Clockwork Orange)>

If you are a lover of high quality music, angel trumpets, and/or devil trombones then I have some good news for you. The Boone Big Band is going to be having a show this Saturday. Don’t take my word for it, read the following blurb I stole from their invite that I’m now trying to regurgitate as if it was a press release. I learned that trick from the fine reporters at the Boone News Republican.

The Big Band of Boone will be performing at their annual autumn Hangar Dance on October 27th, 2007 at 7 p.m. in Boone, Iowa.

Many members of the Big Band also perform each summer with the Boone Municipal Band and are either current or former music educators or professional musicians. Big Band members Connie Younger and Paul Navara recruited 18 other talented central-Iowa musicians from Ames, Ankeny, Boone, Madrid, Ogden, Osceola, Renwick, and Stanhope to participate. The band’s repertoire includes classic 40s and 50s era big band music as well as contemporary arrangements of well-known hits.

Big Band members include the following:
Saxophone Section: Connie Younger, Dick Humeston, Laura Britton, Christine Heintz, and Joel Jacobson.

Trumpet Section: Bill Martin, Dan Sprengler, Deidre Malmquist, Linda Younger, Jo Howell, and Steve Weigel.

Trombone Section: Dave Richardson, Larry Moeller, Dale Schoening, Lowell Davis, and Ted Erickson.

Rhythm Section: David Howell on Piano, Dave Swenson on Bass, Mark Astleford on Guitar, and Paul Navara on Drums.

The Hangar Dance will be held on Saturday, October 27th, 2007 at the Boone Municipal Airport in Boone. CY Aviation is co-hosting the event with the Boone Area Pilots Association. Dancing and music begin at 7:00 pm. Seasonal snacks and beverages will be provided and pop will be available for purchase. Dancers and music lovers of all ages are invited to attend. Admission is $10 per person and tickets are available at the door.

When: Saturday Oct 27, 2007
7:00 PM

Where: Boone Municipal Airport
BOONE, IA 50036
The United States of America

Now I haven’t decide whether or not I’m going to attend, but if YOU’RE not there, I’m not even going to bother. Or will I?

A Very Non Exciting Announcement

I was counting up the ways that a person could make contact with me and I decided that I needed one more way. So I actually took the time and energy and told the guy that hosts my website (Frank) to give me an address at my own domain. So now if you want yet another e-mail address to write to me at:

bennett@photography139.com

There might* be a prize for the first person that e-mails me at my new address.

I am excited that this weekend will be the peak of fall colors this year in Central Iowa. I hope you are able to spend some time outside this weekend to enjoy the beauty of nature. I think I might just celebrate by taking a train ride.

The Fausts are going to be joining FNSC this evening. They have been given the rare privilege of picking the location for FNSC. This is a very rare honor only given to the most highly regarded. They did not make a mistake with their choice. They have chosen the West Street Deli, which is home to the world’s best club sandwich. I’m not joking about it. If you haven’t had the club at The West Street Deli you are missing out.

Tomorrow is an exciting day as well. The Iowa State Cyclones will attempt to BBQ the Texas Longhorns. I have little doubt that the Cyclones will leave Jack Trice Stadium victors, but that isn’t why tomorrow is so exciting. Tomorrow is exciting because Jay and Derrick are attending their first Faust tailgate. They will get to witness first hand Faust doing his Johnny Cash impersonation (it involves standing on the cooler) and after the game, they might get to see him bust out the Humpty Dance. Although the real highlight of any Faust tailgate is watching him yell at Bret over the music selections. Nothing is better than Faust getting mad when Bret won’t play “Not as Good as I Once Was”. He points at his damaged foot and screams, “That’s my song. I’m not as good as I once was”. Priceless merrymaking.

I should make a confession. Almost a month ago, Stephanie gave me the Sufjan Stevens album Illinoise. She was really interested in me giving her feedback on my thoughts about the album. I think she was hoping for me to just agree with her that it is one of the greatest albums of all time. The problem is that she also gave me a copy of the Eric Lindell album Change in the Weather. I just can’t bring myself to listen to the Sufjan Stevens album because I LOVE the Eric Lindell album so much. In fact, I’ve taken to surrounding myself with a constant flow of music from the following albums: Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace** by the Foo Fighters, Change in the Weather by Eric Lindell, Once the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, and Every Second Counts by Plain White T’s. I hope to add Shannon Curfman’s album Fast Lane Addiction to the mix, but I have to find some place that is selling it first. Stupid Best Buy. Stupid Target. I’ll get to Sufjan, I swear it. Just not on anything important.

I received some exciting news this week. I’m not ready to share that information yet, but if you want a sneak peek, you can head over to the FUMC in Boone on Wednesday night at 7 pm. You will want to go to the parlor. There are a couple of strings attached. You have to be a woman, lady, female, or girl and you have to be interested in knitting, crocheting, quilting or something of that ilk. I’ll just leave this tease stand for now. Hopefully I will have a picture next to make you understand why I’m excited. Well I can’t make you understand anything. It will be an illustration of my excitement though.

I got another new toy for the “rig”*** a couple of weeks ago. I’m hoping to go out tonight and get some use out of it. If everything works out there might be some interesting night pictures in our future. Makes you wonder what toy would help with night photography, doesn’t it!

*By “might”, I mean there isn’t a prize.

** Even though Schmidt from work disagrees with my assessment, I think this album is pushing “The Colour and The Shape” for the title of the best Foo Fighters album.
*** Terminology used by the dude who annoyed me a couple of weeks ago.

Johnny Consumer

I’d like to think that I had a better than average week this week. It started out poorly as the Padres lost to the Rockies in a play in game and despite the fact that the umpire blew the call that gave the Rockies the win, I accept the loss because the umpires also blew a call that would have given the Rockies another run and ended the game in their favor after 9 innings.

Tuesday night I got the pleasure of changing the spark plugs in my car. So now when I’m cruising up the entrance ramp on my way home from work the engine doesn’t misfire or hesitate. Then on Wednesday night I changed out both front wheel bearings on the car, so now instead of listening to an intense grinding noise where ever I go, I hear only the sweet hum of my engine and whatever tune is currently emanating from the iPod.

In all honesty (I worry that I’m pointing out my honesty too much lately, which might make me seem like a less than honest person. Truth be known, I’m an honest person face to face. It is only in these blogs that I tell half truths [such as there is no Book of Maximum Overdrive – at least one that isn’t a prophetic text] to slightly skew the perspective of these tales.) it is my brother-in-law Jason that actually changed the spark plugs and the wheel bearings, but I did stay in the garage to provide enlightening and engaging conversation, in addition to moral support.

On Thursday night I got myself a haircut from Monica. During that time I learned that Monica had briefly dated a guy that played the bagpipes. I couldn’t believe that she had broken up with a piper. I know the strong spell that the sound of bagpipes put on the women folk, even though this “fact” was called into question by some women folk on Saturday night, I stand by my assertion.

After the haircut, I attended an Ames Jaycees meeting with Shannon. It is the contention of Shannon that if I were to join the Jaycees, I could take pictures of “ground zero” at next year’s Independence Day fireworks display.

The meeting took place at the Jaycees haunted house which is just north of the Halloween “Bootique” in North Grand Mall. The meeting began with a tour of the haunted house. This year they are having a pirate themed haunted house that is sure to scare the “ship” out of you. Don’t blame me if you didn’t like that play on words. I’m just reporting the facts.

After the tour everybody was guided back to an extremely large bathroom where the meeting was held. I think that Shannon thought that this aspect would be my favorite part of the meeting. This aspect was amusing, but it wasn’t my favorite part of the meeting.

A little while back I (at least I believe) mildly offended Shannon by calling her hyper-organized. She confessed (yes I’m acting like being organized is a crime) to be organized, but not to an insane degree that one would need to use or even manufacture a label such as “hyper-organized” and apply it to her.

Shannon is a Jaycees bigwig. Although I don’t believe that I’m revealing any Jaycees secrets by letting you know that in fact the bigwigs do no wear big wigs, to indicate the amount of power within their grasp. They just sit at the front of the room.

There were times when the meeting would seem to lose its focus. I would describe the meeting as having gone off on a tangent because of my love for mathematics. Others in the room would describe such a set of circumstances as “chasing rabbits” based on their love for Jefferson Airplane. Regardless of what euphemism you would use to describe the situation, on at least three occasions Shannon had to redirect the meeting to bring it back to its agenda prescribed focus or to point out some error the meeting had made in parliamentary procedure. Each time, despite a game effort to conceal it, she clearly displayed an amount of irritation. These moments were my favorite aspect of the meeting. But she isn’t hyper-organized.

After the meeting I went out to supper with Monica and Suzie. It was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the piper. However, it was slightly disappointing as it turns out the piper never once fired up the bagpipes for Monica. Although he did once show her is rather large and extensive collection of bagpipe CDs.

FNSC met at Dublin Bay. There is not a tremendous amount to report from those proceedings. Just the usual. Trying to get Willy to sign off on one of us wearing a bear suit and jumping out and surprising the people he hikes with on Saturdays so that he could look like a hero in front of them when he wrestles the bear and wins.

On Saturday night I was spared listening to the Cyclones thrashing by Tech by going out to eat with Russell, Andree, Jason and Janelle to celebrate Janelle’s emancipation from Dasher Mismanagement.

This was a good time as I learned that Jay “Mr. Secret” Janson has been keeping a secret from me, again. You have to keep an eye on that guy and that Janelle is actually more over insured than I am.

It is always an enjoyable night with those guys as I get to listen to Russell reveal one crackpot sports opinion after another. (Texas Tech is a top 25 team, Nebraska is going to be good this year, Bill Calahan is a good coach, Terrell Davis isn’t a Hall of Famer, the Celtics are winning the East next year) Then Jason gets to try to defend the Chiefs and Andree provides the only other voice of reason. Janelle is a Cubs and Bears fan, so it is was a good time watching the Diamondbacks eliminate the Cubs. The highlight of the night being when the Cubs loaded the bases with one out and some Cub grounded into a double play to end the inning. As for the Bears? Just discussing the NFL in front of a Bears fan is usually punishment enough for them. Some of them actually thought the Bears were going to be good this year.

After the Emancipation Celebration, I hopped into my quiet smooth running car for the trip down to Beaverdale for Sara’s birthday party. I had been charged with the task of inviting her Boone County friends to the party. Although I was diligent in my duty, I was also derelict in my execution.

I spread the word, but I spread the wrong time. In fact, it wasn’t until late Saturday afternoon that I learned that I had spread misinformation. Due to a new set of signs(indicating the need for quiet to facilitate or respect the “world class support” going on in our midst) at the computer mine, I now have my phone on vibrate all the time and now I never get my calls.

I missed a call from Jen. She called to tell me that the party was at 8, which was super since I told everybody 7, and asked if I would like to carpool with them down to the social event of October. However, I would not be able to reach her at home because she was going shopping. I would not be able to reach her on her cell phone because the battery was dead. Furthermore, I would not be able to reach Derrick on his cell phone because he had left it at home. Therefore I was to call Derrick at work and reveal my answer.

Sara’s party was yet another stunning success. I can’t lie. Sara goes through a dizzying array of Des Moines friends. They usually range from intolerable to “how has this person not been choked to death?” Sara’s party last year was a quick adventure for me. I made it 5 minutes before it was time for me to leave.

However, the current crop of Des Moines friends are keepers. I look forward to seeing them at social engagements in the future. I even learned their names for future reference. Something I’ve never done in the past.

Also, I got to discuss the movie “Once” with Derrick. That was another win for me, because at this time, I really enjoy discussing this movie.

Now might be a good time to discuss the future. Not the important future. Just the future of where some of my money is going to go.

As everybody knows, Tuesday is the day that new movies, CDs, and books get released. This coming Tuesday might be the greatest Tuesday of 2007.

Why?

Two great things are being released on Tuesday. First is Stephen Colbert’s new book “I Am America (And So Can You!)”. Secondly, a new Post Secret book is being released. I can’t wait.

I’m so excited I just think I might embed a video about Post Secret.



The Past

I can hear out of my right ear!!! That doesn’t seem like such a big accomplishment, but I have been stuffed up lately and my right ear has been pretty much useless as a result for the last few days. It finally seemed to unclog tonight. Hearing rules.

I’m posting a few pictures of my trip to the State Fair with Sara. There aren’t many pictures, so it didn’t seem like a gallery was necessary.

In the last couple of days I’ve participated in providing music for people going on long moving trips. Stephanie has moved to Pittsburgh to pursue her education. On Monday night she had a going away party where she had the most ingenious idea. Rather than people giving her going away presents, she requested that people make her a mix CD of some of their favorite music for her to listen to on her way to Pittsburgh. I think that this is a brilliant idea and think that there is a fair to excellent chance that I will steal it in the future.

I wish I could remember what I put on the CD I made for her, but my head seemed like it was on the verge of explosion. I can remember putting on a song by Buddy Guy, Melvin Taylor, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Jars of Clay, The Donnas, Harold Melvin, Sam Cooke The David Crowder Band, and Otis Redding. I think in retrospect I could have done a better job, but I think that I did a fair job considering my weakened condition.

In exchange, Stephanie gave everybody who gave her a CD a CD in exchange. This is another part of the idea I like. There is many a time when I’ve looked at somebody and thought, man this person could really use a listening to “Right Off” by Miles Davis off the album “Tribute to Jack Johnson”. However, I didn’t put that song on Stephanie’s CD. That song is 27 minutes long. It wouldn’t have left much room for the theme from the original “Planet of the Apes”. If you are wondering, I chose “Prince of Darkness” off of “Sorcerer” to represent Miles Davis.

Unfortunately I only was able to make the CD exchange because of my pulsing head. I bid Stephanie a fond adieu and headed home to nurse my pounding gulliver.

Nate is currently in the process of moving from Mendota Heights to Tuscon. He is doing a 3 month internship in Tuscon. Due to the length of the drive to Arizona, Nate purchased an iPod. He needed help getting songs on to the iPod. I told him to bring his computer over while he made a quick stop in Boone. I don’t want to go into to much detail about why we were doing this, but the short version of the story is that when I turned on his computer, sparks shot out the back of it and I got quite the electric shock. To add to the pain, my middle finger was bleeding when it was all said in done.

As enjoyable as the electric shock was, I was able to salvage his music by putting his hard drive into my computer. Nate got his iPod filled up with music and I only received a small injury.

Now that my head is beginning to clear, I can start putting some energy into the Pufferbilly Day Photo Contest. I might post the finalists on here before I enter them.

>I haven’t been to many weddings in the last couple of years. I went to one in June. I went to one on Saturday. I have 3 more to attend in the next month. I get the pleasure of doing the photography for two of those weddings.

>While I was under the weather, I was able to finish reading the last two Harry Potter books. I had stopped reading the Harry Potter books after the third book. I didn’t really like the third book and didn’t see a need to continue. The movies seemed to satisfy me, but after I saw the fifth movie, I was left with several questions and I decided it was time to finish reading the books. I am left with quite a few thoughts about how the 7th book ended, but I’ll save those for another time.

I would like to point out that the new Iowa State football helmet options are absolutely terrible. Absolutely terrible. I don’t think I could be more disappointed.

I’ll just finish off with those State Fair pictures.


Iowa State Fair - 2007

Iowa State Fair - 2007

Iowa State Fair - 2007

Iowa State Fair - 2007

Iowa State Fair - 2007

Iowa State Fair - 2007

Iowa State Fair - 2007

Iowa State Fair - 2007

Iowa State Fair - 2007

Iowa State Fair - 2007

Iowa State Fair - 2007

Time to Come Clean

Over the last week I have had to face a couple of hard truths. The first truth is that the Pope isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Or perhaps I’m wrong and during this time of religious bickering, it was a smart thing to piss off Jews and Protestants and unify them against him and the Catholic Church.

The second truth I’ve had to face is that I’m not going to finish my 14 part blog. Or at least not any time soon. So I’m going to break the silence on the things of done since May 19th. So these are the things I’ve done since that day, in no particular order:

I’ve went to the following movies:

Pirates 3 – Very disappointing ending.
Oceans 13 – Better than Oceans 12, but what wasn’t?
Ratatouille – Easily the best movie of the year thus far.
A Mighty Heart – Not as good as I had hoped.
Waitress – Also not as good as I had hoped and the doctor gets off way too easily.
Transformers – Easily one of the worst movies I have ever seen. What passes for wit in this loserfest is the racial stereotype transformer tells Megatron “You want a piece of me?” Megatron rips the racial stereotype Autobot in half and says “No, I want two pieces.” This movie is even bad by Michael Bay standards.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – A lot more fulfilling if you have read the book, other wise many sequences are just confusing.
I talked to and shook hands with Barack Obama and told him about my job.
I helped set a sales record for Little White Lye Soap.
Walked a few laps with Willy at Relay for Life. He walked 31 miles.
Went to the 2nd oldest restaurant in Iowa (Stone’s) with Jay.

Had lunch with Faust in Mankato.
Visited the National Hobo Museum.
Took pictures of flowers.
Saw Buddy Guy in concert with Derrick and Jen.
Turned in my photo entries for the State Fair.
Attended a birthday party for Jen.
Took the Henning family picture.
Watched K-Dawg’s team get smoked by Jefferson in the Little League tournament one day and come back to do the smoking a few days later to advance to the state tournament.
Took Jesse to the emergency room.
Bought a sweet new monitor for my home computer. (I’m not normally one to brag about my consumer tendencies, but I really love this monitor.)
Watched Killdeer lay on eggs and the eggs hatch a few days later.
Went to the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Brian Beavers.
Saw the world’s largest strawberry.
Saw the world’s largest bullhead.
Saw the Jolly Green Giant.
Despite have to walk a half mile due to a guy’s gastronomical difficulties, watched Willy complete the 5K at Midnight Madness.
Had lunch with Mark before he returns to Taiwan.
Went to Backbone State Park with Shannon.
Helped Stephanie pick out a camera for work.
Went to the State Center Rose Garden with Jay.
Attempted and failed to make Mentos/Diet Coke rockets with Eric.
Took pictures of the “844”.
Enjoyed several Friday Night Supper Clubs with Jay and Willy.
Enjoyed several New Taste Tuesdays with Frank, Jesse, and Steve.
Went to the Company picnic. Seemed like people were actually excited to see me.
Drove to Minnesota to see Nate and watch Harry Potter.
Watched a slide show of pictures from Willy’s trip to Spain.
Attended a pretty sweet Memorial Day barbecue.
Set up a new squirrel feeder and two new bird feeders.
Changed the oil in my car. (personal reminder, change oil again at 161,000 miles)
Helped make soap.
It is most likely I did more than that, but that is all that comed to my head at this time, with one exception. One major exception.
I went to the Des Moines Arts Festival with Rebecca and Jay. I would have to say first and foremost, what a dog that was. What a major disappointment.

However, it did inspire me to put together the blog that I will hopefully post on the morrow. I can’t say that it is a good blog. In fact, it is probably the type of blog that makes one lose friends and gain enemies. It is the type of blog that may make people stop returning my e-mails or phone calls. The type of blog that may make people move to the other side of the street if they see me walking down the street. It frankly might be a subject that will make some people uncomfortable. Yet, that is for tomorrow.

Catching Up with Some Friends

Here are what some of my friends and a family member have been up to lately:

Boone’s bands: Everything from Bach to Broadway

By: MARY CATLETT, Boone News-Republican

06/14/2007

If you didn’t spend last evening in a state of grace, relaxation and live music, then you’re one of the few Boone residents who weren’t enjoying the Boone Municipal Band.

Your loss.

Every Wednesday evening under the stars for the last 91 years, this musical group has kept time with the summer season, entertaining scores of Boone generations and enriching the quality of life with the sound of music.

Lowell Davis is a knowledgeable member of the band, which started its season the last week of May.

“We play on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. in the summer at the Herman Park Pavilion,” he said. “You can expect to hear around eight different musical pieces each week,” in addition to the standard opening “Star Spangled Banner” and closing “America” the Beautiful.”

The evening just wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream social, featuring cake, pie and ice cream. These duties are handled by a different church groups each week.

There’s no Paula Abdul or Randy Jackson to critique, only good times and quality sounds wafting through the attentive crowds.

“It really is a wonderful atmosphere on Wednesdays for our concerts. The Pavilion has marvelous acoustics and, as the band director Dave Richardson often points out, ‘a thousand shades of green’ as you look around the park,” said Davis. “I think it’s great to see different generations of families each week enjoying themselves.”

Morever, Davis knows all of the kids who are playing in the park while their parents and grandparents listen to music will have “wonderful memories as they get older of a community event that just doesn’t happen everywhere anymore like it does here.”

For long-time resident Twila Ingham, the band directs sweet memories to the forefront. “I do ‘remember the days’ many years ago, when my parents would take all five of us kids and one of those large paper bags full of popcorn out to listen to the Boone Municipal Band every Wednesday evening throughout the summer months,” she said.

At that time the band played at Blair Park, across the street from the high school, said Ingham, instead of its current home Herman Park Pavilion at the south end of Greene Street.

“The park had a pond that the kids would inevitably end up playing in during the concerts,” she said. “We always enjoyed ourselves, and going to the concerts meant that we kids got to stay up later than usual – that was always a treat!”

For the last 16 years or so, Boone also hosts the Iowa Municipal Band Festival on the second Saturday in July each year. “In the past we’ve had bands from as far (away) as Germany and as close as Ames join us for a full day of music in the park,” said Davis.

Be it Basie or Bach, there’s good reason for Boone citizens to wend their way to the Herman Park Pavilion for a little mid-season music.

“It was, and I’m sure it still is, a great way to spend a summer evening,” said Ingham. “The nice part of this is that the Wednesday night concerts were and still are free. There’s no charge, so get off that couch and bring the family out for a great evening of entertainment!”

The genesis of the Boone Big Band offers a musical counterpoint to its municipal cousin.

Formed by jazz enthusiasts of the concert band, the Boone Big Band is a full-size award winning community-based band made up of five saxophones, four trombones, five trumpets, drums, piano, bass and guitar. They held their first annual chili feed and dance at the Boone Municipal Airport last October.

“We really didn’t plan on ever performing as a group,” said Lowell Davis. “We just thought it would be fun to have an outlet to enjoy some of the music that we all love. Once we played together a few times people got wind of the group’s existence and asked us to perform in public.”

Their first performances were so well received, and the players enjoyed themselves so much that the group decided to continue on. They now have over 100 charts in their repertoire.

“We love playing the music and people seem to enjoy listening to us,” he said. “We’re on a bit of a hiatus for the summer months as the focus returns to the municipal band and its style of music, but we’ll be back in full force this fall.”

Source URL: Boone News Republican

IT’S YOUR BUSINESS

Quality, Iowa-made soap gentle on skin, clothes

By M. MONICA GILLEN

Ames Life & Times Staff Writer

Time is a key ingredient in Shannon Bardole’s Little White Lye Soap. Bardole, 27, started her business in December and operates from her Ames home. Lye, lard, cream of tartar and a lot of time are combined and the result is, soap, a quality, Iowa-made product that is very gentle on the skin.

Bardole’s process begins with lye and rendered lard from Iowa-raised hogs and some cream of tartar. The mixture is stirred for four hours before it is the right consistency to pour into molds, which her father designed and created. The soap continues to cure for two weeks, to ensure that the caustic lye is blended with the lard to make it gentle on the skin. Bardole carefully cuts and packages each bar and distributes them to retail outlets, all relationships that she has fostered. Bardole learned the art of making soap when she worked at Living History Farms and continues to share her excitement about the process and distribution of her product.

What is exciting about your business that draws you in everyday?

Since this business is so new, I enjoy the new opportunities to create relationships with retailers and customers due to a locally handcrafted high-quality product.

Where were you employed prior to this venture?

I spent four years at Living History Farms after I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in family services. Within those four years I was the Broom Shop Supervisor and 1900 Farm assistant domestic supervisor. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, I am currently the office manager at Atlas Media Group, which deals in collegiate athletics.

What made you decide to open the business?

After leaving Living History Farms, I wanted to continue with some of the things I’d learned there. I can garden and cook at home, but I wanted to be able to bring a quality, Iowa-made product to the public.

Why soap?

Soap was a relatively easy and inexpensive start up. I’d like to get into brooms, but that’s taking more time.

How did you become interested this process?

At Living History Farms, we encouraged visitors to participate in some of the daily processes at the 1900 Farm, and one of those activities was making soap. I remember sitting on the porch stirring soap at the 1900 Farm and thinking, “When I leave here, I think I’d like to keep doing this!” It’s an interesting process to see an extremely caustic chemical turn into the gentlest soap you can use on your skin.

What are some other uses for this product?

I use my soap to wash my hands, as we did at the farm, but we interpreted that lye soap would be used for everything from bathing to laundry. I rub my bar of soap into my shower loofah and shave it up to use as laundry soap. One of my customers commented that it helped with itchy skin. I have begun to shave up some of the soap to use as laundry detergent. It’s been very gentle on my clothes, and gets them clean. For a little extra stain protection, I rub some of the soap directly onto the stain, and it’s been known to take out stains such as grease, ground in dirt and blood.

What is special about Little White Lye Soap?

Since it doesn’t have any perfumes added, it is very mild and gentle on sensitive skin.

Describe your products?

A single bar of Little White Lye Soap is approximately 5 ounces. The molds I use are wooden boxes that I cut the bars of soap out of. Each bar is a little unique regarding shape and size.

What other items do you sell?

My dad and I make crocheted dishcloths, which we sell.

What is a price range for your items?

A bar of soap is $4-$5 and a dish cloth is $5.

What have been customer favorites?

The gift set of a bar of soap wrapped in a dishcloth has been popular.

Why would you recommend Little White Lye Soap?

It’s a mild, gentle soap that is good on your skin in whatever form you use it, whether that is as laundry detergent, hand-washing soap or as a full body soap in the shower.

Where can readers purchase your product?

Little White Lye Soap is available directly from Bardole or at the following retailers: Wheatsfield, 413 Douglas Ave, open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; in Story City at RVP~1875, 526 Broad St., Story City, open Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Heart of Iowa Marketplace, 221 Fifth St., West Des Moines, open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday; Living History Farms, 2600 111th St., open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

RVP~1875 is the only location that carries dishcloths. It will also be sold at the Webster City Farmer’s Market from 8 a.m. to noon starting Saturday.

Source URL: Des Moines Register

There are pictures on the website, but I thought I would throw out some pictures I took on the day of the interview.



Dirty Boot


Stirring


Stirring


Shannon being Interviewed


This Cat Didn’t Help at All

My Sister Teresa

Below is a news story about a Hokie Healing Blanket. My sister Teresa made 7 squares for these blankets.



Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World

As you may know, it is part of my Sunday ritual to check the Post Secret website. I think it is one of the most beautiful and compelling community art projects going. Everybody has secrets and it is therapeutic to find see that there are other people will similar secrets (struggles and burdens) as you. Most of the time I enjoy the funny ones or the ones that I can relate to. This Sunday I saw one that although it certainly isn’t funny and I can’t relate to it, I found it to be beautiful nonetheless and I wanted to share it in this way. So below is my favorite “secret” from this week.




Here is a short story:

I was walking the mean streets of Ames the other day. I walked by a place that had an advertisement in the window. It proclaimed that this business needed “Rock Stars”.

I decided that although I don’t possess the requisite musical talent, perhaps they would hire me on because of my incredible personal charisma and give me the proper training to become a “Rock Star”.

After a couple minutes of inquiry it turns out that they didn’t really want a “Rock Star”. They just wanted people to make their lousy sandwiches for a low wage.

My search for somebody to hire me as a “Rock Star” continues.

Odonata

I haven’t had the “pleasure” of being on MySpace much lately. Which means that my “blogs” have become sporadic and if I’m not mistaken, lower in quality. I can’t say that this saddens me. There are more important things I should be doing with my time, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t times that I miss the moments of entertainment I get from this little site or the contact I lose with some people that I seem to only make through this “social networking” thing. Still, Uncle Sam hit me with a pretty stiff tax bill this year. I should be trying to figure out how to raise the funds to pay the feds off before I end up rotting in debtors prison. Although I do know this one thing about many of my chums. If I do end up rotting in debtors prison, I shant be alone. Some of us will be rotting together. I think I speak for all of us when I say, “Do your worst Uncle Sam! Just not to me, I’m not like normal people. I don’t like pain.”

I have changed the background music for the blog yet again. I will not pretend to have the musical talent or knowledge of at least 4 of the subscribers to this thing. I just felt that I should cool things off a little bit after the hard rocking of Pillar’s cover of “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”. I’m also quite certain that somewhere north of where I sit typing, Mike Britson is scoffing at my tenet that Pillar is anywhere near the neighborhood of hard rocking. I can’t dispute this fact. Mike has always claimed to be the “World’s Greatest Music Snob”. I do not think that he has a t-shirt that proclaims this fact, but in my heart of hearts I hope that Stephanie made him a button that did.

I come away from that aside. All I really wanted to point out is the fact that the new background music is “Minuet in G”. It was composed by the great Ludwig Van. It has always been one of my favorite pieces of music. Due to my relative musical ignorance (despite being a wretched to middling trombonesman in my day) I may be interpreting the intent of the music incorrectly. I have always been struck by how desperate this music sounds. It is more than sad. It is desperately mournful. Yet when you feel like it should be too depressed to carry on, it seems to find a way to carry on. In that ability to carry on, I find the song hopeful as well.

Take that for whatever you like. I don’t claim to be an expert. Although I do subscribe somewhat to what Roy Adzak said about art:

“Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us.”

Meaning that the person interpreting the art is in many ways more important than the artist. That is a somewhat scary thought. I have the slight delusions of my own artistic ability I don’t like giving up my art and allowing whomever stumbles upon it to translate what it means. I don’t even struggle with the control issues that some of my friends do and it is still difficult.

I guess what makes this concept bearable and allows me to subscribe to it is the fact that the alternative is utterly unbearable. Namely, having to explain the meaning of everything. Of course, this also allows me to view “Minuet in G” as desperate and hopeful in the same breath and dear old Ludwig Van just has to accept it. IN YOUR FACE BEETHOVEN!!

Dictionary Dot Com defines “irony” in such a way: 5.an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

I’m not sure this following tale is actually really ironic in the way the word was forged by its creators or in the “Alanis-Morrisette-I-Clearly-Wrote-A-Song-About-Irony-Where-I-uses-Examples-of -things-That-Aren’t-Ironic” way.

Perhaps it is ironic that I don’t know if this is ironic and I am having a go at somebody else for their ignorance. Perhaps I should just tell the tale.

Not really much of a tale. I have found a home for some pictures of mine. Here is the arguably ironic part: that home is the Boone Homeless Shelter. My church has adopted a room at the homeless shelter. As a congregation we are donating items to fill this room. I have donated a copy of “Happiness Shared: #01” & “Happiness Shared: #02” to adorn the wall of our room.

What I found out tonight is that when each homeless family leaves the shelter and sets up their home, they get to take everything from the room to furnish their new home.

I did not hand the pictures over to Pastor Phil personally. I left them in the hands of my sister Teresa. Allegedly Phil was excited by this donation and thinks that I should donate such pictures every time a new family moves into our room.

In some small way I have a “standing order”. In no small way, this kind of excites me. Looks like I’m just doing good deeds all over the place. But before I break my arm from patting myself on the back, I should show you what is going to the homeless shelter, to somebody’s home, and perhaps someday to a Goodwill Store near you.


04-04-07

04-04-07

So what would these other good deeds be that I am doing? Depending on your ability to recall facts about me, you may remember that a while back I was instrumental ( by instrumental I mean the same way I was instrumental to the success of the BHS Concert Band by holding down the last chair trombone) in the making of a batch of soap. Some of the soap from that batch is going into care packages for people being released from Mitchelville State Penitentiary.

The truth is that I had nothing to do with this donation. It is all Shannon. Yet since, she is donating soap for this cause AND I helped make the soap. I get to glom onto some of her glory. The boys I hang with like to call that bandwagoning. Except for one. He likes to call it innovating.

However, I am going to attempt to make the world a better place in one more way. It is through something I hope to propose and railroad through Friday Night Supper Club through my power of oratory. I won’t tell you what it is, but I will give you a hint. I should also point out that at this time Friday Night Supper Club is a secular organization. I point this out for my sister Teresa.

I like to go out to the woods on my break. Some people like to smoke. I like to commune with nature. No tax on that, suckers!!

While I was out there I went a little crazy with the camera on a fellow that became a buddy of mine. Since he was what I like to call Odonata, I cracked out the 50mm lens. This is a lens that is fine and dandy for Odonata, but then I heard a rustling to the left of me. There he was for the 5th time this year. The groundhog! The problem was that I was unprepared for this development.

I did not have the proper equipment. He was staring me down, practically screaming at the top of his rodent lungs: “I’m ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille!” All I could do was take this incredibly bad picture from about 75-100 feet away. This picture is cropped quite a bit. If you saw the original you would never be able to find the groundhog. That isn’t a challenge. Just a statement of fact.


04-04-07

At least I got a few decent shots of my chum Odonata:


2007

2007

2007

2007

2007

2007

2007

Within these images I find solace, but I’m still coming for you Mr. Groundhog!!!!

Reflection on the Last Few Days (Part IV)

So we are to the denouement.

Let me say a little prayer.

“God, please let there be people out there that are reading this that know the definition of the term denouement because they have bothered to learn the English language and not because they were sitting around stoned watching “Clerks” last night. Amen.”

“Reflections on the Last Few Days” has what literati might consider a nonlinear time line.

Let me say another prayer.

“God, please let there be people out there that are reading this that know that Quentin Tarantino didn’t invent the nonlinear timeline in the movie “Pulp Fiction”, which isn’t even the first movie he made with a nonlinear timeline. Amen.”

So even though I concluded Part III with my Lenten Study Group on Tuesday night, I am going to move back in time to Tuesday’s lunch. To begin though, we are going to move a week further back then that.

I believe that it was a Wednesday at work. I went to Jesse’s office. Steve was sitting in there. I believe there was some kind of discussion about a particularly nasty customer. Jesse bribed Steve into calling this unhappy customer in exchange for buying him lunch on the morrow. Steve accepted the deal.

What Steve failed to realize is that the deal was struck under false pretenses. Jesse was not going to buy him lunch on the morrow. Nay! Jesse was going to be in the town known as “Mason” on a sales call. Therefore this lunch was rescheduled for an undetermined date in the future.

This worked out for me perfectly. You see Steve is the “Personal Climatologist” that I have yammered about in some of the past few entries. I had also bartered a deal with Steve. He agreed to watch the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” and give me his perspective on the movie. Although Steve’s day job is supporting the pre-eminent practice management software in the business, he has a degree from Iowa State University in meteorology. That makes Steve my go to guy in matters of Climatology.

He would be my go to guy in matters of weather, but frankly discussions about the weather couldn’t bore me more. In fact, if you ever catch me discussing the weather with you I probably find you to be an epically boring person and in reality I’m just counting down the seconds in my head until I can escape your presence.

Let me introduce you to Steve real quick. He is somewhere in the picture below. I hope you can find him.


Steve - Personal Climatologist

Steve has a background in studying this type of thing, so I am interested in his opinion. Way more than the person who tells me “I don’t need to see this movie to know it is all lies if Al Gore is in it. You know he thinks he invented the internet.” I’m not a fan of Al Gore, but it should be pointed out that of the many lies that he may have told in his life, he never claimed to have invented the internet. He only indicated that he supported legislation that helped create the modern internet. His congressional record bears that out. He did support and introduce legislation that helped create the modern internet. If you are going to hate a guy, hate him for things he actually did. Like evicting poor people out of the slums he owned after refusing to do the minimal repairs that were required to make their rental property livable. There is plenty of reason to hate this guy, why just make stuff up when the facts are already so good.

I’m also more interested in Steve’s opinion than the opinion of the guy at the office cooler that makes the “global warming joke” every time the weather gets cold. The underlying meaning of the joke being global warming doesn’t exist. The truth of the matter is that global warming is a fact. That debate is over. The only people still in denial are the people from the movie “Jesus Camp” and a couple of guys on talk radio. The only debate left for thinking humans is what effect humans have on global warming.

Honestly though that isn’t the reason I hate that joke. I hate that joke because it isn’t funny. It wasn’t funny the first time I heard it. It still isn’t funny the 1,000th time that I’ve heard it. I put it almost on par with my most hated joke of all-time.

You go to a party. There are a couple of people there that let their alcohol handle them more than they handle their alcohol. The words “Fruity beer!” might escape their inebriated lips on occasion. In this state their equilibrium is not working to its full capacity. They teeter a bit. Their fruity beer escapes the confines of their red solo cup.

From across the room some dolt with a severely underdeveloped sense of humor yells, “Hey! That’s alcohol abuse!”

The dolt looks at his kiss up chorus. They roll in laughter. High fives are dispensed. Jocularity ensues.

This incident repeats itself 10-15 more times during this party. The result is always the same.

I can understand why this joke is borderline amusing when you are 16 and have just swiped one of the old man’s cans of Milwaukee’s Best out of the bait fridge in the garage for the first time. The 16 year old me might have begrudgingly given such a quipster a smirk for their comedic attempt. What I don’t understand is why this mouth breathing simpleton is still amused by the same bit 20 years later. I know I sometimes will do the same bit while trying to work a new crowd into joviality, but how can the same joke be funny to these people over and over and over and over and over again.

I’m sure the answer is cultural. I have never been part of this culture. I’ve never been inclined to utter a “whoo!” when a musician on stage merely mentioned a type of alcohol. I’ve never lost my humanity to the point where I came little more than Pavlov’s dog by the mere mention of something that has been advertised to me since the crib, to the point where it was no longer a choice but a cultural norm. The type of cultural norm that makes people laugh at the same joke the millionth time they have heard it. These people are no longer humans, just automatons waiting for somebody to ring their bell. Thankfully I will always remain outside this culture.

I did enjoy a recent episode of the Colbert Report where Stephen used that “thank you global warming for this blizzard joke” on Jon Stewart. Jon Stewart pointed out that global warming is about climate change and not about the weather on a certain day. The rest of the interaction went like thus:

“I don’t believe in that.”

“You don’t believe in climate change?”

“No, I don’t believe in climate. There is no such thing as a climate. There is only today’s weather.”

Well played Mr. Colbert. I can only dream about being able to mock that lame global warming joke as well as you did. I salute you sir!

However, bad jokes and funny jokes aren’t why we are gathered here. Steve finally watched the movie and was ready for his evaluation. So I give it to you. From the mouth of my Personal Climatologist.

The first thing he pointed out was that the movie is really hard to watch because half the movie is an advertisement for the greatness of Al Gore. I can’t speak for everybody, but I certainly didn’t watch this movie to watch 45 minutes on the swellness of Al Gore. This movie takes great pains to make you think that Al Gore is just an ordinary guy. A victim of the political climate. They go to the farm where he “grew up”. They talk about his son getting hit by a car. They talk about how his family stopped growing tobacco because a friend of theirs died of lung cancer. Great. All compelling stuff, if 50% of it was true and I cared. I don’t want to see a movie about Al Gore. I want to see Al Gore’s movie on global warming.

The good part is that the global warming part of the movie is interesting. It goes by quickly, but is all too often interrupted by shots of Al Gore walking through airport security just like an ordinary guy.

The fact that the filmmakers decided to concentrate so much of the movie on Al Gore the human will actually hurt the message of the movie about global warming. My friend who won’t even consider watching a movie with Al Gore in it certainly isn’t going to be impressed by the scientific information because he has been so soured on the rest of the movie. Perhaps that guy couldn’t be reached. What other people will the “Al Gore – Great Guy” section of the movie prevent from seeing it?

One of the people I met at the Oscar Party is an Earth Science teacher at Ames High. I asked him what he thought of the Al Gore movie. He said he had two main problems with the movie. First of all, there are no answers for how we can stop global warming in this movie. There are some allusions to the Kyoto Treaty that the United States has yet to ratify and making more fuel efficient cars. That is really it. The other problem is of course the entire “Isn’t Al Gore swell?” vignettes in the film.

The science department at Ames High had a meeting to discuss whether or not to show this movie to their students. They decided not to. They have chosen not to because although there is plenty of science to teach in the movie, there is too much political pro Al Gore stuff in the movie. That part is too political. Because of that part of the movie, less people will see the movie. Less people will get the global warming information that is theoretically the reason why this movie was made.

Let me get to Steve’s scientific commentary. According to Steve the science in the movie is sound. The facts and figures are accurate. The predictions might not be so accurate. Here are Steve’s complaints.

#1. The movie spends tons and tons and tons of time talking about increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. The movie doesn’t even mention the number one greenhouse gas in causing global warming: water vapor. #2. The movie makes the case that there aren’t any scientists that disagree with Al Gore’s assessment that humans are the primary cause of global warming. Off the top of his head Steve can name two climatologists from M.I.T. that disagree the tenet that humans are the cause of global warming.
#3. The movie doesn’t mention one of the main causes for global warming. It is a cause that humans have zero control over. The temperature of the sun is also going up. The sun’s temperature naturally fluctuates. It won’t keep going up. It will eventually balance out and come back down.
#4. Most things in nature are balanced. It isn’t really the Earth that is in danger. If the polar ice caps melt and shut down the ocean currents, it might cause an ice age. The Earth will balance itself out temperature wise. Humans on the other hand might be screwed. The sooner we die out, the sooner we can start becoming fossil fuel for whatever follows us.
#5. The movie doesn’t really come up with many solutions. If you accept that carbon dioxide produced by humans and human inventions has caused global warming, then the biggest problem facing the human race is overpopulation. Does anybody out there have a quick solution for overpopulation?

That is the analysis that Steve provided me. Take it for what its worth.

The End

It is safe to say that nothing really worth reporting has happened to me since that Tuesday. At least nothing that I will report. I might write a little bit about the movie “Amazing Grace”, but I think it is time to call it a night. I’m heading up to Minnesota tomorrow morning to see Jordis Unga in concert. So perhaps there will be some writings about that in the future. Perhaps there will be a picture montage. Perhaps.