Perhaps It’s Time I Got Back Into This

With the popularity of Facebook–for the world, including me–I’ve been neglecting my blog. I suppose not so much neglecting it, as choosing not to use it. Things published on Facebook get to my 600+ friends. Things published here get seen by very few. Of course, what’s published here is available to the world, and not just my “friends.” Some things I’d like to say may be very helpful to the right people, and that audience is probably not on my friends list. Specifically, I’ve been getting back into drumming. I never got away from it; I’ve been playing for the 4+ years I’ve been relatively silent here. But for the last year or so, I’ve been doing some fairly serious practicing. And some of what I’ve been learning and working on may help other drummers–and a drummer in Ontario looking for a Stick Control practice regimen won’t find my routine on Facebook; but they could find me here.

Also, I sometimes like the history of myself, and sometimes like to review it and remember. The Facebook archiving “feature” (if you could even call it that) stinks. Want to find out what you were doing in the fall of 2013 while it’s January 2016? Good luck finding that on Facebook.

So, let’s give this a go for a while, and see if I can keep it up.

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 facebook.com/billyrhythm) 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.

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 2011-01

1. It’s 2011; I haven’t got many gigs booked yet.

2. I saw this show the other day that’s got me hankerin’ for some spicy hot pickles.

3. Thankfully I have my light saber nearby, so I shan’t have to worry about any marauding wampa.

4. My wife’s roasted broccoli is one of the best things in life.

5. I am so ready to go to bed.

6. Sometimes, when I need a quick low calorie lunch, I’ll have a bowl low fat, home-style, canned chicken noodle soup.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to finishing house cleaning, tomorrow my plans include having a giant family get-together at my house and Sunday, I want to help a friend get her computer running nice and smooth!

To Jesus on His Birthday

For this your mother sweated in the cold,
For this you bled upon the bitter tree:
A yard of tinsel ribbon bought and sold;
A paper wreath; a day at home for me.
The merry bells ring out, the people kneel;
Up goes the man of God before the crowd;
With voice of honey and with eyes of steel
He drones your humble gospel to the proud.
Nobody listens. Less than the wind that blows
Are all your words to us you died to save.
O Prince of Peace! O Sharon’s dewy Rose!
How mute you lie within your vaulted grave.
The stone the angel rolled away with tears
Is back upon your mouth these thousand years.

~Edna St. Vincent Millay