My Cartoon Inspired MI-5

1) Johnny Quest meets his friend Hadji in India. Tell us about a friend you have/someone you met who is “far” away. (You determine what “far” is.)

I met Amy by way of Neurotic Fishbowl. The lady who ran that site–I think her name was Amy too–did something called the “Burn It.” She had this theme, and asked people to make a CD with songs that followed the theme. She then divided everyone who signed up into groups of four. You then made a CD, and sent it to those other three people. In return, those three would send you their CD. Amy was in my group. I still have her CD, too! Since then, she’s made several “friends” here in in Maine, but I don’t think she’s met any of them.

2) Scooby Doo and Shaggy are always hankerin’ for a snack. What have you got a craving for recently?

My wife let me indulge a craving for Twinkies recently. I hadn’t had one for some time, and Julia mentioned she wanted one. So at the grocery store on Saturday (I think), we grabbed a box. I had one last night. The kids like them so much, it may be the only one I get!
3) There are so many trains in “Thomas and Friends” I can’t keep track of them all! Is there a group of folks you’re involved in, and yet you don’t know everyone’s name (e.g. chruch group, business group, support group, etc.)? Can you tell us about it?

In Kiwanis, we try very hard to get around to each member of the group, shake hands, and say “Hi.” And, as the bulletin editor, I really need to know everyone’s name. Still, it can be hard. I’m also on the Advisory Board for the local Salvation Army. I’ve been a member of that board for a little over a year, I think. In that time, there are some members who are on the board, but I haven’t met them yet. If they come to a meeting, it must be the ones I have to miss!
4) Bill Cosby was only a regular on “The Electric Company” for one season before he left. What job have you held for the shortest period of time?

I had two jobs that didn’t last very long. My first real job was pumping gas at South End Exxon. I think I had maybe five months in that one–January through May. I left when they insisted that I come to work, even on my days off, just to “check in and see how things are going.” I also had a job for a short time as receiving clerk at our local Fashion Bug. It was my job to unpack clothes, and hang them on rolling carts for “the girls” to put on the sales floor. I never worked the sales floor, and I didn’t learn to run their register. I just stayed in my little room out back, and listened to CDs, and unpacked clothes.
5) Speaking of Bill Cosby, “The Junkyard Gang” from Fat Albert made instruments out of old junk. Do you have something in your house that’s old junk that you’ve turned into something useful? If not, tell us about something that’s junky, but that you just can’t get rid of.

I have a white marine pearl drum shell that I use as a trash can down in my basement.  Just put a trash bag in, and Walla Walla Washington, it’s a trash can.

Jim’s MI-5

1. Name something a friend or loved one did for you in the last month that made you feel good.

I have had many people do nice things for me, and many within the last 24-48 hours. Susan bought me some chocolate. Jim and Gina both bought me breakfast this morning. Some dude last night gave me the thumbs up when I passed him with my scoot. (And when I mean passed, he passed me going the other way.)

2.  Name something you did for a friend or loved one in the last month and how did it make them feel?

I did something for someone who doesn’t even know it was me. They were surprised and happy. They think they know who did it. They don’t. That part makes me happy!

3.  Tell us about the first childhood family vacation that you remember. If you don’t have a memory of that then tell us the first family event memory you have.  Don’t forget to include details about that experience that stick out in your mind.

The first vacation that I remember was at Cathedral Pines campground. I remember going into Canada, and purchasing a scuba diver toy that I used in the lake. I also remember the “hermit crab burying fiasco.” My hermit crab, which we brought with us, was presumed dead. He wasn’t. As we were digging the hole, either Mom or Dad was holding onto the crab. They were holding him upside down. He didn’t like that. He showed them he wasn’t dead. We laughed. (Now that I think about it, though, I’m not sure that that happened at the same time as the scuba diver memory. It may be a different camping trip I’ve combined with Cathedral Pines. Mom? Lisa?

4.  Kids get hurt.  Tell us a time you recall as a kid when you injured yourself.

I got hurt fairly frequently. I had quite the file at the hospital. I think the time I was injured the worst was the time I fell of my bike riding in the parking lot of the Spruce Head post office. I hit my head on the curb. I seem to recall someone riding to my house and getting my parents. The drove me to the hospital. The last thing I remember was heading up “Powerhouse Hill” right before the hospital. Then I remember waking up in the hospital bed. For about that 24 hour period, I have amnesia, so I can only relate to you the stories I heard. I was apparently freaking out in the ER. I didn’t know who my parents were. Dad had to hold my head down while they took x-rays. He always told me there was a film of my head with his hand in front of it. One of my parents told me they didn’t realize how hurt I was until I came to, and when I did, the nurse in the room started crying. Apparently, that made them realize it was serious.

5.  Tell us something you want to do before the snow flies.  If you live in an area that might not get snow then before Christmas will do.

Get the house winterized. Do some leaf peeping. Mow the lawn one last time. Put 100 miles on the scoot.

Paddy’s Fall MI-5

Paddy says: “Ahhh, the first few days of Fall. One of my favorite times of the year, every year … so this week’s 5 is of an autumnal nature.”

1. Describe your single fondest childhood memory of the fall season.

It’s hard for me to pick one! Fall is my favorite time of year. I guess I would have to say Halloween, but I couldn’t narrow it down to just one particular year.

2. What are your two favorite things to eat that are specific to this time of year?

Apple cider and roasted squash. I’m not really a huge squash fan, but I really like roasted squash. I like my squash really dry–more like the consistency of mashed potatoes. Butternut squash with brown sugar and cinnamon is a new favorite here in the Batty household.

3. Name three items that you dig out of the closet and wear now that the weather is turning.

There’s a particular sweater I love that has a tiny hole in the front. I love it too much to retire it. My barn coat that Paddy gave me will come out soon, as will my favorite toggle coat.

4. Tell us your four favorite activities that you enjoy between the Autumnal Equinox and Halloween (November AIN’T Fall here in Maine folks!).

Walking in the cool air, apple picking, going to the farm market, and reading spooky stories!

5. Finally, what are the top five things that you need to get done before the winter hits?

Winterize the basement, rake the leaves, trim the back hedge, wash the windows, and mow the lawn one last time. (I hope it’s the last time!)

Susan’s MI-5

1. Would you rather have one great friend or 5 pals?

One great friend.

2. Are you better at remembering names or faces?

Faces, but there’s a funny story here. Yesterday, I was coming into the office. A customer was coming out. He said “Hi Bill.” I didn’t recognize him. I said “I’m really sorry–do we know each other?” He said “It’s me, Jim K.” Well, I’ve made changes to Jim’s website for the last couple of years! The difference? “You don’t have a hat on!” I said. “I didn’t recognize you without it!” He admitted it was very rare for him to be without a hat.

3. What books on your shelf are begging to be read?

My Bible is on my desk. I read through it, then start again at the beginning. I’ve decided that every time I do it, I’ll pick a new translation.  I’m currently in Proverbs of the NIV. I’m also 2/3 of the way through a cookbook my sister gave me almost two years ago, and a non-fiction account of the “Paul is Dead” scandal Susan bought me for Christmas last year.

4. Will the world be better or worse in 100 years?

Doesn’t thermodynamics declare that it will be worse?

5. Is your best friend now anything like your best friend from childhood?

No. My best friend now is a 36 year old mother of three. My best friend then was a 10 year old boy!

Amy’s “Life List” MI-5

Amy says: I was inspired by an article in SELF magazine for this week’s MI-5.  The article was called “Create Your Happy-Life List” and this list is derived from the little workbook box in the article.  That box gave room for four answers in each of six boxes. I only used four of the boxes and added my own question to the list.  Feel free to give as many or as few answers to each question as you like.

1. Every day I would like to: (examples given were: get my heart rate up, sleep for 15 more minutes, be loving to my partner)

~I would like to spend more time in prayer. I try to have prayer time every morning, and I say grace before every meal. On and off through out the day, though, I fall short. In my job, working with customers (and frequently angry customers), I should take time to shoot up those “bullet” prayers before talking with someone. I should take a moment to get myself ready before talking to someone who’s mad, or before I need to offer words of correction to a staff person.

2. Every week, I would like to: (examples given were: cook a meal from scratch, pamper myself, spend time alone)

~Spend some really quality time with the family. By the time I get home from work, I really only have maybe three hours to spend with the kids before they need to go to bed. Factor in the nights that I leave work a little late, and the weeks that I’m gigging on the weekend, and quality time to go do something fun is really hard to come by. I should schedule family time into my week.

3. Before next year, I would like to: (examples given were: clean out my closets, take a class, track my spending, plant an herb garden)

~Own an impractical car, like a fire engine, hearse, ambulance, or convertible. Or maybe just a scooter.

4. Before I die, I would like to: (examples given were: start a business, try skydiving, go skinny-dipping, make a difference in the world)

~Visit the Holy Land, UK, and Italy. Get a Masters or Doctorate. Figure out how to get someone else to pay for aforementioned education. 🙂 Learn the basics of Hebrew and Greek. Maybe start my own drum fabrication business.

5: How likely do you think you will be to complete any of these goals? Which will be the easiest? Which will be the hardest?

~Traveling will be the easiest. There’s not much to it: get on the plane and go. Learning Hebrew and Greek has already proved a little tough, since I can’t find anyplace that teaches them locally. (The one place that teaches Hebrew–the local Synagogue, didn’t return my calls.) Starting my own business would be easy. Keeping it alive would be hard–very hard. I think the toughest one would be my Masters degree. I don’t really need it for anything. I can’t afford it. I don’t have the time to pursue it. I don’t see it happening.

Jay’s MI-5

Jay says: “It’s that time of year – back to school with the kids (that’ll learn ‘em to complain about being bored during summer vacation!).  Look back to your high school years & answer these questions five:”

1. Think back to the soundtrack of your high school years – what were you listening to then?
I was big into The Beatles then. Also, The Jimi Hendrix Experience. I can remember what albums I used to put on to play the drums along with: Skynyrd’s “Second Helping” and “One More From the Road,” Clapton’s “Best Of,” Peter Frampton’s “Frampton Comes Alive.” I was in a band, and we would listen to David Lee Roth’s “Eat ‘Em and Smile” all the time. Bob Marley’s “Rastaman  Vibrations” saw much play, as did James Brown’s “Gravity.” It was in high school too that I was first introduced to Tull.

2. It’s an average Thursday night– what’s on TV?
The Cosby Show, I guess. I don’t really remember the line-up.

3. What was playing at the local Bijou then?
Susan and I saw Arachniphobia in the theater. Really, in my home town, there wasn’t much happening by way of movies. The Strand had yet to be restored, and the big box movie house had yet to come to town. So if you didn’t like either of the two movies the Strand had, you had to wait until the following Thursday for two new ones. As a result, I don’t remember seeing many there. Movie rental places were all the rage then. I remember when you had to be a member before you could rent movies, and membership required money! I can remember a former girlfriend putting in reservations for “Dirty Dancing,” and having to wait for it to be returned.

4. What character from “The Breakfast Club” best described you during high school: Judd Hircsh, the brooding rebel without a cause?  Molly Ringwald’s pampered princess?  Ally Sheedy’s freak in need of a bottle of Head & Shoulders?  Emilio Estevez’s varsity jacketed jock?  Or Anthony Michael Hall’s dweeby dork?
I guess I was the dork. Not really, though. I think I was generally well liked, but I wasn’t the real popular kid. I was into music and drums, of course. (It was in high school I got the nickname “Billy Rhythm.”) I also did work in what would now be called the A/V club. We didn’t really have that back then; we had 3-4 guys who liked lights and sound.

5. Does looking back at your junior & senior high class pictures cause you to cringe, wondering why nobody stopped you from walking out into public looking like that?  Why?  Mullet?  Poodle perm?
My clothes were pretty normal, but I had some hair issues. I used to wear it way too long. It looked ok enough when short, but it didn’t stay that way for long. I used to part my hair in the middle, and did until about five years ago. Is that too ’80s?


Billy Rhythm says: “This five has been inspired by my recent purchase of an i-Pod Touch.

1) Do you use some form of PDA (personal digital assistant)/MP3 player/smart phone for contacts and calendar items? If so, what is it, and what do you use it for? If you don’t use some sort of digital calendar, what do you use?

Years ago, my friend Paddy bought a Palm Pilot M-125. For some reason, he decided he didn’t like it, and offered to sell it to me for $50. At that time, my “gig book” was a little yearly paper calendar. I decided I’d buy the Palm, and start keeping my gigs in the digital realm. It served me very well, but I began to want things like a color screen, the ability to play MP3s, and stuff like that. I’ve been “lusting” after an iPod Touch for some time. When I found refurb units for sale for $100 off the regular price, I bought one. I’m very glad I did.

2) Do you use any sort of MP3 player? If not, do you use anything for “music on the go”?
Well, now with the iPod, I have an MP3 player. I didn’t have one before that. Around the house, and for music on the go, my Mom bought me a boom box for my XM radio. It was inexpensive, and works well.

3) Do you have a favorite application you run on your PDA/MP3/smart phone? What is it? If you don’t use one, how about some cool application you like on your computer?

I have a couple of new apps for the Touch. They’re both weather related, sort of. I got a tide application that will show me high and low tides for any day you plug in. I also downloaded a moon phase app. They were both free apps.

4) How about a favorite game on your widget? If you’re non-widget-ized, what games do you like to play on your computer?

I like Bejweled. Dave “Quick” Clarke introduced me to it a long time ago, and it still remains a favorite. I added that to the Touch right quick! My old Palm also had cribbage and a few other games on it.  Spy Hunter, Sub Hunt, and Joust didn’t see much action; it was mostly cribbage and Bejeweled for me.

5) Most little gadgets have a way to personalize them, like a cover or faceplate or something. What’s on yours? If you don’t own one, tell us about something else you’ve personalized.

My old Palm had a faux wood burl face plate on it.The new iPod Touch has a simple rubber cover, just to protect from scratches.