Monthly Archives: December 2008

Follow-up on a post long overdue

I had forgotten to take pictures of the front of the house last week, so could only post pictures of the front and backyards.


Good think you keep visiting this otherwise uneventful blog, wouldn’t you say?

This is what you’ll see as you approach our house from the south – a mailbox with the wrong name, the front yard, and a pair of vehicles if we’re both home and haven’t loaned out either of them…

As you come around the front, you’ll see this glorious view! (That’s our barn visible straight back behind the left side of the house.)

And most likely, we’ll be watching you through those huge windows while eating our grub.

And if you forgot to hit your brakes, or hit them too hard on an icy day, you’ll progress across the front…

… and then see the far side of the house as you skid past, looking over your shoulder at it while your wife screams in terror.

I mean seriously, why do women get so worked up over a little ice slide?

Interesting Christmas presents

While it’s no Leg Lamp, there’s no danger of my wife “accidentally” destroying this lamp (unless it’s a genuine accident), since she gave it to me!

It’s a sweet pump-action rifle, model and caliber are unknown, only a Chinese brand with which I am unfamiliar.

It’s constructed after the manner of the Hi-Point Carbine, being made of steel stampings and large screws and bolts. Some assembly was required, but I got it together without much hassle.

I have no doubt that it’ll light up a room full of baddies whenever it’s called upon to do so.

The official Better Late Than Never Christmas Music Rant

Here in Happy Valley, USA, there are only two FM radio stations worth listening to: an oldies station, and a heavy metal station (despite a significant portion of heavy metal being really sucky, a higher percentage of it is less sucky than the entire content of the country stations). However, as of two weeks before Thanksgiving, the oldies station had already switched to an all Christmas music format.

Now, a lot’s been complained already about the overdose of Christmas music around the holidays, and I’m not repeating that tired old rant here. No, here I am ranting exclusively on the quality and varity of Christmas music cover songs.

Summary: Too many artists suck at coming up with original arrangements and don’t bother singing someone else’s, and they fall back on the tired old trick of starting a line of lyric late, and then singing extra fast to catch up with the music.

Oh boy does that chaff my hide!

Which brings me to my list of favorite / least favorite Christmas songs:

Most favorite: Carol of the Bells.
Least favorite: Silent Night.

Most favorite song that is continually butchered by artists who think they have great voices but can’t arrange music: O Holy Night.

O Holy Night is like the National Anthem of Christmas songs. At every baseball game in America, someone butchers the National Anthem trying to come up with an original way of singing it, rather than just singing it well. So it goes with O Holy Night. Even the mighty Josh Groban, in his version, rather than just singing it well, falls into the old trap of holding a note too long, delaying the start of the next line, and then singing extra fast to catch up, utterly destroying the tempo and timing of the song.

In contrast, Carol of the Bells is already such a fast song that no singer dares even try the delay-and-catch-up trick with this mighty morsel of music, and at least half the arrangements of the song don’t even have lyrics. But again underscoring the point, none of the instrumental variations ever dare to stop playing for a few counts at a point where there are not supposed to be pauses, and then playing extra fast to catch up. And yet, genius musicians have come up with an amazing variety of arrangements of the Carol, while maintaining the quality and beauty of the song.

Take for instance, the slightly jazzy piano version by George Winston, or the even jazzier version by Hary Connick, Jr., or the acapella versions by Rockapella and N’sync. There’s the rockin’ version by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the celticized version by Celtic Woman, and the slightly techno version by Manheim Steamroller. And that’s just scratching the surface of well-arranged variations! IT BOGGLES THE MIND AND DELIGHTS THE SENSES!

Silent Night is just too slow and monotonous for my tastes.

An update, a week overdue.

Exactly last Monday morning, at 8:08 AM, Becky and I went to a nicely furnished room with three other people, and plunged ourselves deeply into debt.

But in exchange, we now have this view from our new front porch!

And this is our new view from our new back porch!

Well, we don’t actually have a back porch, so that’s the view from the garage’s back door. Still though, it’s pretty nice.

If you’ve been dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones you used to know, but don’t have any snow where you are, feel free to drop on by!