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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/blog/brennus
Rated: E · Book · Biographical · #2207577
So playing the trombone wasn't getting me in enough trouble?
I need some place to write down the often confused thoughts that enter my mind, while my stories give voice to the characters that wander through periodically, this is the place for my voice. Join me if you wish, comment if you wish, all are welcomed and appreciated.
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September 7, 2020 at 11:53am
September 7, 2020 at 11:53am
So after much prodding, poking and wrangling Mommy and Daddy have finally chosen a name for our new arrival!

A last minute hitch almost muddied the waters, but logic prevailed and Emily's Lil' Sis will not be named "Emma" not that there's anything wrong with Emma, but as I pointed out Emily has already appropriated all the nifty nicknames.

So at 11:13 WdC time last night I was officially informed that my darling new Grand Niece is —

Kailey Ann Schall

You can find all the rest of the pertinent details in here ...

Mommy and Kailey are both doing well, and barring any last minute complications will be home at some point today (Monday 9/7).

August 9, 2020 at 12:19pm
August 9, 2020 at 12:19pm
This is definitely a rant and a whiny complaint, if you don't like reading things like that RUN AWAY!

You have been Warned!

Usually I tend not to be a "sharer" of problems and those testy little things that bother me, but lately several items have been sapping my strength.

Since those things are affecting my participation here on WdC, I thought that maybe sketching them out might exorcise them and give me a bit of peace to move forward.

Retirement; How can something be exciting, scary and annoying all at the same time?

Yes, I know it's an exciting new chapter in life. I'm going to have time to do all those neat things I've been waiting to do, but haven't had the time. I get to be a better trombone player and have the time to find places and bands to play with. I'll get to play and write on WdC, without keeping an eye on the clock. I'll get the travel I've always wanted to do, without any time constraints or having to worry about crowds. Yup! Very Exciting!

But scary too; Is this the right time to retire? Will a bad economy eat my savings and pension? Band, What bands? Nobodies rehearsing or playing live ANYWHERE! Travel? Nope, can't go there. Maybe I should wait to retire? But what if I wait too long? Sigh.

And, it's annoying. This was my last year. I should be in this year; playing solos with the Concert Band (Sammy Nestico's "Reflective Moods") and Jazz Ensemble (Any one of a million great tunes), conducting the High School Musical ("Brigadoon"), it was the first show I conducted when I started teaching). Not to mention all the other goodies that won't be happening ... Thanks Pandemic.

On a personal, relative related note; My niece almost a year ago decided to become pregnant and have a baby, she decided to put the cart before the horse and have the baby before marrying the babies Daddy. Because she and the baby had no real place to live, I offered them a room in my home. Refurbishing my home office in to a bedroom/nursery. The agreement was that my niece and Daddy would contribute towards household expenses. Daddy is a lawyer for NY State DMV and makes a comfortable living.

Emily, my grandniece is a lovely baby, all smiles and giggles. She was and remains the "perfect baby", sleeping through the night pretty much as soon as she arrived home. Eating almost anything and everything. Very little crying, unless she's hungry, needs a new diaper or gets overly tired (a frequent occurrence)

Slowly but surely reality set in and showed me the error of my ways; Seems Part-time Baby Daddy is still married, and indeed still shares an abode with his wife. They do supposedly still intend to set up a house, but are looking for the "perfect home ~ must be new construction". I offered them my house upon my retirement, at whatever rate they had it appraised at — "but it's not new".

I haven't received anything for household expenses since December of last year, granted I can carry the house. But I can't understand how "part-time Daddy can justify someone else paying for the roof over his child's head.

To top it all off my niece is pregnant yet again — with apparently no plan or urgency on anyone's part for a suitable Family Dwelling for this, now family of three (or four if you count Part-time Daddies’ wife).

Lastly are two specifically WdC bugaboos;

It would seem my Muse has run off, returning briefly to taunt me, only to scamper away mid story. I’m chalking that up to the stress and concerns above, but I really think I need to lock her (the Muse … she has to be a she — no guy would have the patients to put up with me) and myself in a room and hash this out.

And the Newbie Contest? Whoever said “if you build it they will come” (actually it was “… he will come”) was fibbing to me.

Sorry to rant and whine, maybe this little entry will reignite something. Thanks for reading if you did!
August 3, 2020 at 7:47pm
August 3, 2020 at 7:47pm
Spent this evening getting ready for what looks to be a direct hit from the tropical storm, Isaias.

"Isaias seems an interesting choice for the name of a hurricane considering that, according to popular name origin websites, it means “God is my salvation.”

Isaias, pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs, is the Spanish-Latin derivative of the Hebrew name Isaiah, a prophet in the Old Testament tied to both Jewish and Christian religions."

The storm in case you aren't watching it is expected to bring heavy rain and wind, coastal flooding as well as inland freshwater flash flooding to much of the US Eastern Seaboard.

My neck of the woods won't really see a lot of flooding, mostly overwhelmed street drains, I'm far enough inland to avoid the tidal/coastal stuff.

We do often suffer in wind storms, many trees, and branches don't mix well with our overhead utility service. The last black major blackout left us without power for about five days.

Hopefully, we pass relatively unscathed, but if not and I "disappear" for a bit, chalk it up to a power/internet outage.

Hope everyone in the storm's path stays safe and snug.
June 6, 2020 at 8:28pm
June 6, 2020 at 8:28pm
So prior to receiving guidelines from NY State regarding graduation, my local school district, who is also my employer, made rather grandiose plans for a "Socially Distanced Graduation.

I had some input into the planning, how music would or could be provided, things that were more or less in my sphere of accountability.

One of my suggestions, outside my direct accountability, was that we NOT share our plans until the State issued guidelines. That advice went unheeded. The plans were published and much to everyone's disappointment quickly quashed when the State nixed ALL Graduation Ceremonies. So now Graduation will be a drive-by affair at one of our town beaches.

So Now. Parents who were made aware of the original plan, along with the School Board are planning a protest march to display their displeasure with the State's decision. All well and good, the whole thing might have been avoided by not pre-publishing the original plan. But, what do I know?

Here's the rub and what for me indicates that the State made the right choice;

The March's Organizer SPECIFICALLY said that no Children should be brought to or included in the protest. And Yet! on Facebook, parent after parent is avowing that they will indeed be bringing their children to participate.

So, you couldn't follow a simple request not to include children and you wonder why the State took the position it did? They realized you aren't capable of following the simplest of safety protocols.

Well, at least I don't have to worry about renting that Organ now.
May 30, 2020 at 1:42pm
May 30, 2020 at 1:42pm
I began setting monthly goals, about three months ago. Over the course of those months I managed to make those goals. Sometimes by the skin of my teeth, but I can still say I made them. Having them set in stone so to speak on "Destination: Goal Zone, was and is a big help. I am also participating in the "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge, which has gotten me somewhat back on track schedule wise … no more late night TV bingeing.

This month, barring a miracle, I am not going to make my goals. Not so much for lack of trying. I've spent more then enough time at the keyboard to have completed everything I needed to complete. The will and drive to actually complete anything is lost in a sea of ennui, much of it caused by the circumstances going on around me.

The world is going to you know where in a handbasket and doesn't look to be turning around any time soon. Feeling powerless to control that spiral is in many ways debilitating.

Professionally, something I worked to build all my life is being torn apart by a force I can't begin to understand how to fight. Politics, I can fight, funding problems, I can fight. How do I put one hundred students in a room today, tomorrow or whenever and make music? How do I do that if I can never put students together in a room?

Personally, how do you handle finding out someone you thought you knew and loved isn't who you thought they were? How do you deal with knowing they've lied and deceived you for their entire lifetime? How does one deal with knowing they don't deserve the wonderful gift they've received?

Sorry, I know this is more rant than blog post. Hopefully, June will be better, though this will be the first June in 15 years I won't be conducting the band at Graduation, so it's already wearing on me.
May 23, 2020 at 7:01pm
May 23, 2020 at 7:01pm
Strangely enough one of the things I miss most about not working as normal is the Lack of Bells.

Not the bells from any nearby House of Worship, rather the bells that governed the school day. The bells for more than twenty-five years pretty much governed my day.

There was a bell that told me the hallways should be clear, all the kiddies tucked away in their Homerooms, waiting for attendance, announcements and the next bell to send them off their first-period classes and me to my office and the start of my "administrative" periods.

There was a bell that announced coffee break time, prep period time, lunchtime, and finally the arrival of my teaching periods. I never realized how much I'd miss those bells, partitioning off my day into neat forty-three minute segments. Finally the last bell, another day over, but wait, really that one signaled the "extra afterschool help" period. The real end of the day was the late bus announcement.

Being totally "free" of the bells led to the start of bad habits. Staying up too late, sleeping in too much. Luckily I found 🐯 Werecat Wheeler 's , "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge, which got that aspect back under control. Taking it a step further, my phone now chirps happily at lunchtime, reminding me to get off the computer and eat. Another chirp chases me out into the yard for a brief walk.

Somewhere along the way, I came to depend on the bells. I guess that's not a bad thing. I just wonder when it happened?
May 8, 2020 at 8:25pm
May 8, 2020 at 8:25pm
I made a brilliant discovery today ... of course someone out there in WdC land made it a while before me, and is laughing at me now for being excited about something they've been doing all along.

Welp! Gonna share it anyway!

Everybody knows about Favorites, you know, you click the fingers with the string, twice until it turns to a megaphone. Now, every time there's activity in that particular item It move up to the top of the Favorites ... *Right* over there *Right* Which You Should ABSOLUTELY Do! It keeps you in the know about your favorite places, and when something new happens at or on any of them.

The drawback is, unless something new happens your Favorite could fall off the list, causing a panicked search for something you need.

My Handy-Dandy Solution? For A Wink And A Nod Allow me to present "The Notepad Favorite List";

Notepad *Left* over there *Left* allows multiple pages, just click on New Page, cleverly name it "Favorites".

Anytime you find an item or forum you want to save put it on that page.

I'm using this format to make my list:

Using this blog as an example ~

The Page/Item/Forum Name ~ "I'm Only the Trombone Player" ~ Title Text - Plain Text
WriteingML Code for Item ~ "I'm Only the Trombone Player ~ Clickable Link - {item:XXXXXXX}
The Sample WriteingML ~ {item:2207577} ~ Easy to Copy Link - ({){item:XXXXXXX}(}) - Remove the ()

There's a bit of redundancy in the listing, but it helps in the long run. The items Title Text, make things easy to find in the "edit screen", which will matter if your adding other links and want them under or over an existing link. The Clickable Link is your fast way to your desired location. The Easy to Copy Link is useful if you want to mention an item elsewhere.

While I was doing this I created a page for my "Signatures". Another for "Stories" I found and want to go back to again. "Gifs" I have created or found off WdC, and may want to use again. Also one for frequently used WritingML code like links, and embeds.

Yes, I know I might have (for some) reinvented the wheel, but this might help others.

May 3, 2020 at 1:09pm
May 3, 2020 at 1:09pm

Teachers love when someone asks them a question, it helps them judge how well they did their job teaching that particular lesson, and it quite often provides something called a "teachable moment".

I current have the privilege of serving on the panel judging Talky Tina 's "Invalid Item.

My role is to judge Compliance with the Instructions given for the particular round;

For example these were the factor's I considered in Round Three;

Objectives for this round: This round, you will introduce your character from the first round to their new world you created last round. Creativity is a focal point of this round. Please do not just drop them into their new world.

Specific Guidelines for this round: This round your entry must be at least 250 words or more. Pay close attention to detail. You must put your word count in the top right-hand corner of your text, in bold. Your entry must be submitted in Bitem format. You must use a 3.5 or larger font size.

DEADLINE: Friday, MAY 1st by MIDNIGHT WDC time!

Each of the BOLD TEXT are factor's I considered for basic compliance with the rules set forth. This is the template I used to judge the entries; "Round 3 Template. These are Pass/Fail, Yes/No factors. As such it was either correct, contestants got all the points, or wasn't correct, and no points were awarded.

However, I missed that golden "Teachable Moment" until a contestant was nice enough to ASK THE RIGHT QUESTION!!

The contestants question; You assigned 0 points for Entry Format and stated that the item was not in bitem format; I believe you are mistaken. The item exists as a separate entry in my Monthly Contests folder, completely separate from the Epic Battle of the Pens folder for the previous two entries. Why?

Several contestants lost points for posting their entries in the forum improperly and I was derelict in my duty by not explaining WHY!

Very simply, there are a multitude of ways to post an item in a forum;

If your item is in a book or blog, you need to use {entry:XXXXXXX}, that would look like this "Round 3 Template

However, using the entry format was outside the contests guidelines.

The Work Around; Create a "Static Item" copy of your book entry, and use it for the contest. You can delete it after the contest is over.

If your work is a "Static Item", freestanding so to speak, you have several choices, including the two most often used {item:XXXXXXX} or {bitem:XXXXXXX}.

For a contest the Contests Owner will chose which format the want you to post with. It is important to post with the CORRECT format, very often posting incorrectly will result in silent disqualification. (At least I only hit you for five points!)

There is a marked difference for how the two postings look;

{item:xxxxxxx} Is merely a link within the body of your text, "Newbie Contest Challenge!!, neat if you just want a link.

But, {bitem:XXXXXXXX} is packed with more information and is more like the cover of a book, it tells me quite a bit about your entry. It shows the Title, cover, the author, and an intro blurb.

Newbie Contest Challenge!!  (13+)
Contest Open To Newbie's Only.
#2219272 by Richard Lynch ~ Prin. Chambers

         Did you take the time to properly Capitalize your Title?
         Did You write an eye catching, informative introduction?
         Did you take the time to find a great Cover Photo?

All first impressions that will help or hurt your efforts, and why so many contest owners ask for {bitem:xxxxxxx} format.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE FOR JUDGES; To PROPERLY view {bitem} entries you forum post view MUST be set to UNTHREADED VIEW. WdC will truncate the post, causing it to appear as a {item} post.

If you haven't visited the "Invalid Item I suggest you do so, our six combatants are in a pitched battle for dominance and have one more round to prove themselves Champion Of the Epic Pen!!

You can also cheer on Daemoness in Sox , SB Musing , Cat, Not Suki , Miranda_TheScaryCookieWitch , 💀 Ghouldier_Mike ☠️ and
Becca Winchester over at the "Invalid Item. Buy a star for your favorite contestant or for all Six!
May 1, 2020 at 2:28pm
May 1, 2020 at 2:28pm
We All Get Them!

They Show Up In Our Mail Box.

What does it say? Should I open it? Should I run AWAY … Screaming? Is this going to wreck my Morning?

Yeah, I admit, sometimes Pessimistic Richard sees the Review of__________ (XXXXXXX) message just that way. Sometimes the wastepaper baskets gains wings, sails off the tip of my toe and flies across the room.

Face it. Most of us have gotten or will get a BAD review, it may not be on WdC, it might come from somewhere external. It has to happen. Is it disappointing? Yes!! Is it Frustrating? Yes! Is it helpful? Probably!

You got it now what do you do with it?

First, clean up the mess you made kicking the wastepaper basket across the room, the activity will help you calm down. Now, calmly reread the Review, look at it not with Authors eyes, but try to see what your reviewer saw. Reread you work, do the reviewers points make sense? Are there tweaks to be made? Don't make them yet, take a day to think about them. SAVE a copy of your original story, without the tweaks, BEFORE you do anything else. Make the tweaks and changes that YOU AGREE WITH. Reread both versions. Which is stronger writing?

A bad Review is a valuable tool, a starting point for learning and a way to make your work stronger. Don’t be discouraged, use the tool. Use what you agree with, disregard what makes no sense to you. And, realize not all reviews WILL be helpful, but most are.

A quick anecdote;

A very young trombone player, we’ll call him Mike, just starting out in his career, had two college auditions for placement on the same day at two different colleges near his home.

There was of course a complication; Mike's High School Marching Band had just returned a few days earlier from a competition. Marching Band is very hard on Brass Players, it messes up our “chops”, ruins our tone, makes it hard for us to play in tune and just generally does really bad stuff. So basically, Mike’s playing was a bit rough, to say the least.

Mike went to his first audition and played a technically perfect solo; one of three he had prepared. Bad Tone, Iffy Intonation were unavoidable, and without a weeks’ worth of practice time uncorrectable.

The single Adjudicator in the room wore a sour face throughout Mike’s playing, when Mike finished, in a less then charitable tone said, “That has to have been the worst thing I have heard all day,” he continued, “I suggest you go out to the highway and throw your instrument under the first passing bus.”

Mike’s accompanist, bless her, calmed him down and convinced him to go forward to the second audition.

Great! This time there were three Adjudicators, three people to tell Mike he sucked.

Still, stung by the first auditor’s comments, Mike’s playing was good, if possible, better than the first time. Bad tone, bad intonation and rough edges still shared the stage.

The only spoken word … Wow! And then, “did you prepare a second solo?

Mike played the second solo … and then the third solo he had prepared, wondering why these people were torturing him.

It all got really good when the guy sitting in the center of the room, (he looked a lot like a reject from Scooby-Doo) asked, “Are you in a competition marching band?” I found a home, with critics who understood.
April 14, 2020 at 2:11pm
April 14, 2020 at 2:11pm
5 DAY Andre the Blog Monkey's April Fools Mystery Writing Challenge

Blog Prompt for Day 5 Yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery. Think about your future, short-term then long-term, is it all a mystery or fairly predictable, share your findings in today's blog entry.

Thank you for playing along in this 5 Day Challenge. I enjoyed it so much I'm adding a BONUS PROMPT for Day 5.1 (April 15th)

I was going to release the prompt in this post, but then thought, No! I'll leave it a mystery.

I have more or less touched on this subject in my blog before, take a peek here if you’d like "Looking Forward...and back, so I am going to try hard not to repeat myself!

I will update the countdown for the most important upcoming date/change in my life my pending retirement is now 438 days away, sometime in June 2021, I will leave my current job and head off into the sunset of retirement years. It’ll be a little weird but not as much as it might be for some…after all I’ve got an ace in the hole – "I'm Just the 'Bone Player

Are there plans? Yes, of course there are, some are detailed in that earlier blog post and of course there are others.

A bit of travel; Two biggies are Italy and Ireland. With the love of my life, Lenore, I’d like to visit both countries for a minimum of a month each. Figuring it’s a one-shot deal, let’s do it right! Of course, places and things in the States and Canada I would like to see again for the first time with Lennie. And, Oh Yeah! A cruise or two would round everything out.

Lennie is a great baker; I’m looking forward to when she has more time to bake. I want to learn to bake bread. Maybe we’ll do a cooking class or two together.

There are “little ones” in both of our families, we’re both looking forward to seeing them grow up!

The Mystery in all this? Wellllll – “The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men”, comes to mind. If these last few months have been any indication, plans have a way of going awry in a double-time hurry. Life can change in a heartbeat; plans are wishes that don’t always come around. You can make’em, but don’t bet the farm on’em.

I’d like to Thank Brother Nature and all my fellow participants in the Challenge, it’s been fun!!

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