The 10 Commandments of the Blues Jam

Nine rules shalt thou follow, and ten shall be a balm unto thy health. Listen, and thou shalt not be as the heathen on stage.

1) If though calleth a tune at the blues jam, you may play of the Chicago or of the Delta.
2) Treadest thou lightly on the R&B and the R&R. Though they be of the offspring of the blues, lo they also be from afar.
3) Amy Winehouse and 4 Non Blondes are right out.
4) When thou callest a tune, thou must callest the key to thy bandmates. The key of C# is an abomination to all. Use it not.
5) If thou needest an ending, look to thy drummer who shall set thee up and lead thee. Do not just stop playing; that is most foul. Givest the bandmates the “cue” by the raising of thy hand, or lifting thy guitar neck to the heaven, and your bandmates shalt follow thee.
6) To the singer/songwriter: The open mic is your domain. You may annointest the people there. Bring not your originals to the blues jam.
7) Thou shalt play nicely with others. The jam is not for your band alone. It is not a showcase for thy group.
8) If thou bringest thy guitar amp to the jam, it shall be of the practice amp size. Thy Marshall shalt thou not bring, neither thy Twin. Turn not the gain to 10 to get “your sound.” Make not thine rhythm section’s ear’s ring; that pleaseth not.
9) If thou playest the harmonica, thou shalt keep them quiet until called to the stage. When the time comest to play your chosen harp, it shalt be in the same key as your brothers.
10) If thou listenest only at the jam, thou shalt offer a sweet offering at the tip jar.

© this day, Eleven July, in the year of our Lord 2015, William of the Rhythm

Quickbooks Won’t Print Invoices

I know I haven’t posted here in a while. Facebook has taken the place of my blog. (Check me out over at Today, though, I wanted to post a solution I’ve found for a particular Quickbooks problem: Quickbooks won’t print and invoice–either PDF or on paper. Receipts would print. Reports would print. Only invoices wouldn’t print.

What I tried:

  • Restart computer and printer
  • Verify and rebuild Quickbooks data
  • Back up and then restore the company file
  • Download and run the Quickbooks printer preference removal tool
  • Remove and reinstall printer drivers
  • Remove Quickbooks using the Revo uninstaller tool (which also removes all registry entries), and reinstall.

None of that fixed it. What did fix it? Face it, that’s why you’ve read this far. What fixed it was…

…switching to a default Quickbooks invoice template. Yup. The customer was using a custom template. Something there got hosed. Switching back to the default template fixed it.

If that worked for you, please leave a comment.

Dreaming About the White Ford and the Gun Range

Last night’s dream: It started out with me selling a white Ford truck to Spike Hyssong. We were in the parking lot of Wasses, and strangely the slope of the parking lot was the other direction–it went downhill to the west. Anyway, we jump in “my” old truck, which I haven’t used in six months, and try to get it started. It cranks, but won’t catch. I put the pedal to the floor to get the carburated engine more fuel. It still won’t fire. So then I pull up the choke handle, and it still won’t catch. (Side note: Though I’ve owned a white Ford truck, it was fuel injected. I owned a carburated Ford truck, but it was blue. I’ve never owned any vehicle with a manual choke handle.) Thankfully, due to the slope of the parking lot, we start rolling away from Wasses. I pop the clutch just before we fall into a quarry (where’d that come from!), and we start driving.

Next thing I remember, we’re driving on Old County Road. It’s there I realize that this isn’t my truck at all, but it belongs to Harley Colwell. Spike asks me if there’s anything wrong with the truck, and I tell him “It needs a battery.”

Next up. I’m at a house owned by Barbara Koster Pratt Stewart. It’s a small Victorian style New England farmhouse, and James Thompson is trying to sell it for her. Barbara isn’t living there, so she’s let Jim and his family stay in the main house.

Outside the main house is a big old barn. Inside the barn is a shooting range. a bunch of people are in there shooting, but I don’t remember who other than Blaine Curtis and Spruce Head lobsterman Jim Tripp. I’m there with my M1 Garand, and I’m teaching Paula Sutton how to shoot. She claims she’s never shot before, but she loads the Garand, drops into the prone position, and fires of a string of shots all in the black with a great grouping except for one flyer. I’m impressed.

We’re sitting around talking when Jim Tripp walks up to me, points a loaded revolver at my head, and starts laughing. I push it away from me and say “That’s not an ok thing do.” He insists he would never shoot me. And while I believe him, I’m very shook up. I say something to “Look, this wasn’t some quick ‘I accidentally passed the muzzle in front of you while I was drawing from a shoulder holster” moment. You deliberately pointed that gun at me!” I walked off the range.

I went into the main house, which was small, but immaculate. I found the living room, and Jim Thompson had the complete Monty Python collection of DVDs. Every movie, every TV show, every sketch, on 40 DVDs. I decided I needed to find one particular bit, but I couldn’t remember the name of it. I was going to fast forward through 40 DVDs until I found it. Then I heard Susan in the other room.

I went up to her, and she was telling me about her bad day. I cut her off and said “Jim Tripp held a gun to my head and thought it was funny.” Then I started crying. I couldn’t stop. I wasn’t really afraid, but just emotionally spent. Susan, sensing that, didn’t say anything. She just held me and rubbed my head. Then I woke up.

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Buns

I love cinnamon buns in the morning. The combination of cinnamon and coffee really does me in. But I’ve got three kids; time in the morning to make risen, yeast based cinnamon buns doesn’t exist. I need something fast, so usually I turn to muffins. Here in New England, though, we’ve got a tradition of biscuit making, dating back to feeding sailors on long voyages. And, someone along the way invented this olde timey biscuit based cinnamon bun. If you’re looking for a raised, yeasty, Cinnabon style cinnamon bun, this isn’t for you. If you want a cinnamon bun you can have ready in 1/2 an hour with ingredients probably already in your pantry, here’s the recipe.

NOTE: I DOUBLE everything for the rolls, ’cause I like BIG BUNS (and I cannot lie). I don’t like too much icing, so I don’t double that part. If you like your cinnamon buns smaller, like the size of those that come out of the grocery store fridge section, use as is.

IMG_1080[1]Not a pretty picture, but it’s an iPod photo

For the rolls

  • 2 cups baking mix (Bisquick, Jiffy, etc. Here in my house, we use Jiffy, as that’s what my Mom always used), plus extra for rolling
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tbps brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

For the icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • milk (if icing is too thick)

Preheat oven to 425°. Mix the baking mix and milk in a bowl. Throw some baking mix on your work surface (as you would when flouring a board). Use a little more than you think you need, as you’ll need to be rolling later, and you don’t want this stuff to stick. Turn out the mix onto the “floured” surface. Put some baking mix on your rolling pin, and roll out into a rectangle. The mix is sticky. If you’ve made biscuits, that’s the feel you want. If you’ve never made biscuits, it’s sticky and fairly wet. Don’t over work, and don’t make the mix too dry. When I make them (again, I double the mix), my rectangle is like 18″ by 10″. Once you’ve got your rectangle, schmear the softened butter onto it. Make sure the butter is pretty soft, nigh on melted. Too hard and you’ll tear your dough. After the butter is on, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, and sprinkle over everything. Leave one of the long edges bare; you’ll need that bare edge to seal the dough.

Now for the rolling… Start rolling on the OPPOSITE side of the bare edge. Just sort of flop over a couple of inches or so. I start at one end, and work my way to the other. Do it again. About four rolls or so later, you should be done with a big log. Cut the log into the thickness you want. Again, I double my recipe, and cut them about 1.5″ thick. Put the rolls with cut sides facing up on a pan. I use stoneware pans, and they don’t need to be lubricated. If using a metal pan, you might want a touch. I put my rolls close together, but not touching. Bake 15 minutes. Don’t overbake.

For the icing, melt a tablespoon of butter in a medium bowl. Add the powdered sugar and the vanilla and whisk. If it’s too thick, thin with a little milk. Go easy on the milk; a dribble will probably be all you need. 

After the rolls come out of the oven, wait 5 minutes before frosting. Enjoy!

Friday Fill-Ins 2011-7

1. New experiences and possibilities have been on my mind the last few days; I think this winter funk is somewhat inspiring me to look ahead.

2. In an effort to keep my cardio exercise exciting, I will sometimes take unexpected turn on a daily walk through the city. (It also gives me an excuse to look at all the lovely architecture of the old buildings here in town.)

3. I’m looking forward to losing these last three or so pounds. (I hope by this time next week, or maybe two weeks, I’ll be able to say “199, baby!”)

4. The challenges of raising twin boys is something I never would have imagined.

5. Try to find a delicious food that fills your belly completely for less than 300 calories; I haven’t found one yet.

6. The fact that I can lift a car full of baked beans with two clowns sitting on the roof using only my left earlobe is what’s extraordinary about me.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to an evening home with the family, tomorrow my plans include working at the office and maybe a rehearsal for “Hello Dolly,” and Sunday, I want to have had my Sunday School lesson prepared!