Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ah, that 'New Blog' smell...

Welcome to my NEW BLOG HOME! Don't worry, I'll get unpacked soon enough and maybe put up a ficus or two to make it more 'homey'.

So, I'm trying to ween myself off of "CrackSpace" by switching my blog to Blogspot. I've been blogging for about 2 1/2 years now. Mostly personal stuff, updates for friends and family of my goings on, and subject matter that would seem fairly irrelevant to most of the general public.

(Just found out something else I like about Blogspot: The Microsoft spell checker works in this editing window! No more danemd tpyos!! ...oops)

Here you'll mostly find entries about my outings with my barbershop quartet, thoughts on various aspects of pop culture important to me, ramblings about my family life, and thoughts of fatherhood, work, and life in general. Oddly enough, I may feel a bit more free to express myself here than on MySpace, so you may find a bit more insight into the deeper, darker, and seedier side of the man some call Paulie, Dad, PK, Femur, or even....Aloisius?

Anyway, this entry's mostly to let you, the reader, know that most of the next bazillion or so entries will be the compilation of my 2+ years on MySpace. If you've read them before, enjoy the trip down memory lane! If you're new to my blog, don't let the dated nature of the subject matter deter you! Comment away!

Goodye MySpace Blogs...

A friend of mine posted a bulletin with a link to a blog that made some sense to me.

Granted, I don't have a large audience. My blogs are mostly intended for my own edifiaction and/or to keep those I care about informed on what's going on with me. I have maybe 40 subscribers and get maybe 150 hits a week. Pretty insignificant compared the Tila Tequilas and Dane Cooks of MYSpaceland. Several people have commented, however, that my writing skills could get me somewhere and may even earn me some money, given the proper subject matter and direction.

The aforementioned blog was entiled "If You Blog on MySpace, You Really Are An Idiot". While the initial title set me a bit sour from the start, as I read, the guy began to make some sense.

I was immediately disarmed by meeting the qualifications he excluded from his definition of 'idiocy'. That is to say, I blog for myself and my friends mostly, I don't go bragging about hits and subscribers (as I said, there isn't much to brag about), and I tend to avoid the drama inherent in such bragging by not attracting or dolling out ridicule and harassment via comments. Pretty much all the comments on my blogs, to and from me, have been helpful, supportive, whimsical, or at least cordial.

As I read, he brought to point several facts that I hadn't really considered. Foremost of these being who profits from my blatherings. MySpace is owned by Fox Media. You see the ads flashing away at the top of the screen? Yea, the ones that encourage you to swat the flies, smash the car, or free the cartoon hottie from the ice block? Well, for every jackass that clicks one of those (of which I highly doubt ANY of you loyal readers can be counted), Fox Media gets money. These ads are directed at teeny-boppers whose few active brain cells are occupied with which Bratz character they want to dress like or how to appear more 'Emo' to the opposite sex. Nothing pertaining to the content of the blog, of course - at least not mine.

Now aside from not wanting to help out Fox Media in any way I can comfortably avoid, I figure there are a few other points to consider. I have no objection to online ads, when they're not in the way of the content I'm looking for or, God forbid, opening a pop-up window. But first and foremost, why shouldn't *I* get the ad revenue from the hits my writing may generate (miniscule, though it may be). I'm not keen on the idea of my brainfruit being utilized to fund a right-wing bohemoth like Fox, and I need the money more than the suits attempting to run public opinion (but that's another tirade altogether).

Second, if I'm talking about a barbershop convention or a sci-fi show, shouldn't the ads pertain to that, instead of some singles site or survey scam (though I suppose if you're reading about barbershop conventions, they're justified in thinking you're still single)? Ads on my blog should have at least SOMETHING to do with what I'm talking about.

So here it is. Quite likely my LAST MySpace blog entry. I have moved on to a more civilized blog venue. More under MY control, with the features *I* want on it and - best of all - with any potential ad revenue going to ME! Well, okay, split between me and Google. but I'd rather split it with them than give all of it to Fox.

Over the next few days (or weeks, depending on how crazy it is at work) I'll be moving my old posts to From there, I'll post my subsequent ponderings and goings on there. Drop by sometime, and don't be shy about clicking on links and telling friends! After all, I'm perpetually broke and even at a few cents per hundreds of clicks on the rather unabtrusive ads, sometime in 2009 I may get a check with enough to buy me a value meal as I rush between jobs and gigs.

Feel free to comment in this one. It's not like I'm abandoning MySpace completely...

I'm every bit as pathetically addicted to it as you folks likely are...

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Wife, the HEROINE!

Okay, ya know all that crap I had happen with the bank a few weeks ago, where they charged me $280 in fees over the course of a weekend? Well, crisis averted, thanks to the phoenomenal negotiating skills of...

(trumpet fanfare)


After two failed attempts by both of us to get the situation dealt with on the branch level, Sonya called up the Vice President of Customer Relations (or some such title) and got her to refund EVERY PENNY OF IT! We may yet have a Christmas!

God, I love this woman!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Holiday Survey...

I almost never post surveys and quizzes as blogs, but for this one, I found myself waxing nostalgic, so I figured it was served better as a blog with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes.

I'll probably expand on this in the coming weeks as I ponder Christmas, family, traditions, and memories a bit more.

Thanks for posting this in your bulletin, Beth!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

Depends on who makes it. If it's Jan Stewart's Egg Nog recipe, I'll go for egg nog.
Hmm. I have that recipe somewhere. Time for a shopping trip.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
The gifts from Santa aren't usually wrapped. Just the ones from friends and family.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Colored - definitely

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
On occasion.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
We try to do them the week after Thanksgiving, but usually are too busy, so I'll say the 2nd week of December...
...taking them DOWN, on the other hand, can take MONTHS to complete.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Turkey.... MMMmmmm.......
Sonya's Walnut-cheese cutlets are wonderful as well.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child:
Just the same scene repeated every year in my family: Gathering with about 20 of my extended family for Christmas Eve, singing carols, munching, chatting, and having a blast. The next morning, opening gifts and chatting, then followed up with a HUGE breakfast with the best scrambled eggs in the world and some great pastries, sausage, coffee and fresh OJ.

Had to pass on the Christmas Day part the past several years to equitably divide time between both sets of family, but I still love Christmas Eve and we've been making Christmas Day traditions of our own.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Age 7, while watching an episode of "The Jeffersons" where George dresses up as Santa. I asked my dad flat out and he told me.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Sonya's family has a tradition of opening one (preselected) present on Christmas Eve - pajamas. We've been hit and miss on that one.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
I have 2 kids, so it's become an amalgamation of various ornaments from throughout the years, ranging from "1st Christmas Together", pacifiers with the kids' birth years on them, old glass balls we decorated with glitter in college, crafts the kids made, Bronner's souvies, and my obligatory resin Tin Soldier Marching Band statuettes.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love the look of it and playing in it, dread shoveling and driving in it.

12. Can you ice skate?
Nope. Weird for someone who's lived in Michigan 85% of their life, I know.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
A Colecovision. I screwed that one up, though. Opened it before my dad woke up, so he missed the look on my face. He still hasn't forgiven me for that one. Having kids myself, now, I can't say I blame him.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Family and traditions, which is tricky as Sonya and I both have traditions we want to hold on to, but sometimes conflict. We've made some good compromises that have lead to a LOT of hurried running around, but it's usually worth the effort.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Birdie's (my Great-Grandma Noble) Chocolate/Peanut Butter Fudge.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Hitting my cousin's place to spend Christmas Eve with my extended family. It's gotten quite a bit more extended and fragmented over the years as the family has expanded a generation or 2. We've all been gathering with the same family for so long, it's hard to imagine Christmas without them!

17. What tops your tree?
Some cheap star that may or my not work. In case of emergency, I have a Borg-like green electric crackle disc I got from Lou one year that has been known to be the understudy. Between that and the Star Trek Phasers I hang on the tree, you can tell "A Big Dork Lives Here".

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving gifts?
Oddly enough, being as selfish as I am, I prefer giving. It always frustrates me when my finances are tight around the holidays, because I have moderately grand ideas of the gifts I want to give everyone. I usually have to cut back a lot and give most folks fudge and cookies instead.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Sleigh Ride (orchestral instrumental version), preferably by the Boston Pops under Arthur Fielder.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
One of my favorite icons of the holidays. Peppermint only, please.

21. What do you want for Christmas?
Unrealistically - a bigger house

Hopefully - a 120G or more 2.5" USB drive for my laptop and/or a digital camcorder/camera ($50 this weekend at Radio Shack, if you're looking!)

Priority - Car Repairs (EGR Valve, Brakes, Transmission service, wheel alignment, etc.) and money to pay off this damnable Wayne State bill that's looming over me like a dark, ominous thundercloud.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Halloween Blog – FINALLY!

Okay, took me almost 3 weeks to get to it, but here's a quick rundown of Halloween.

This is mostly so I can post some pics of the kids' Halloween Costumes. Other than that, there's not much to report. I got home, we ran around like mad getting costumes on, Leigh brought over dinner ("ears and eyeballs" made with shell pasta for "ears" and veggie meatballs for "eyeballs" with LOTS of mozzarella – yum), and I headed out with the kids for a few blocks while Sonya and Leigh handed out goodies and had a chance to chat, sans kids. After about 3 blocks or so, we rounded the route back home so Sonya and Leigh could trade duties with me.

After they were done and dumped their haul on the floor for us to inspect (parental paranoia, but only a few rejects), Aunt Val stopped by drop her goodies for the kids, since we didn't have time to stop by her place. We had a good time chatting and munching, and the kids hit the hay.

Liam went as "Ghost Rider".
Halloween 2007

This was nice and simple. He had full skull mask, but it covered his hair, so I let him use my old 2-piece, glue-on skull mask from my "Grim Reaper" days. Sonya put some hair spray and red make-up in his blond hair to resemble flames. Add my skeleton gloves, a $10 leather coat from the Salvation Army (that will get a couple more years of standard use as well), and a length of chain from Home Depot, and voila! He looked GREAT!

Courtney went as a dragon.
Halloween 2007

This was Liam's costume that Sonya had made from about 4 years earlier. Sonya was digging through the closet a couple months ago and Courtney spotted it. It was a tad small, but not bad for a costume. The only addition she wanted was a set of wings, which Sonya was more than happy to oblige. She found a nice piece of iridescent fabric and simple safety-pinned it on. Courtney looked adorable – as always.

I, having a certain standard to maintain when it comes to clever costumes, went as Nintendo's Mario.
Paul Mario

I had been growing this handlebar moustache for the Moustache Contest at this Fall's barbershop convention. Well, the contest got buggared up and didn't happen, but the moustache proved useful, nonetheless.

While getting some balloons for Courtney's birthday party several weeks ago, I found myself looking at the front page of the Detroit News/Free Press. They had a story about the new video games for the holiday season and featured a picture of Mario on the front page. I found myself looking at the picture and absent-mindedly twisting my moustache like Sindley Whiplash. I realize what I'm doing, look again at the picture, and smile, knowing what my costume will be for the year.

I bought a pair of overalls from Wal*Mart (I hate shopping there), a red mock-turtleneck from the thrift store, dye my cap red, cut out the "M" from an iron-on patch, grab some old marching band gloves and my brown boots. I color my eyebrows, moustache and sideburns with make-up and – boom – perfect Mario.

That night, I shaved off the moustache and started growing my standard goatee again. I hate having a long moustache.

I'm not about to post a picture of Sonya's WONDERFUL pirate costume without her okay first. I'd be drawn and quartered for sure.

All-in-all a fun Halloween. Nothing remarkable, but just plain old-fashioned fun.

I love having kids.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Insanity is just a stubbed toe away…

This week has been one of the most mentally stressful I can remember. It seems that everything has been piling up and crashing down at all at once. Nothing that has turned me into an emotional wreck, mind you. No major tragedies or things that have made me profoundly sad, just a pile of logistical nightmares that I've had to juggle that have had me on the brink of "postal".

First and foremost stresser – finances:

This always has me stressed when I think about it too much, but this week in particular. I use my debit card for everything. I almost NEVER carry cash anymore. I knew my account was getting a bit low, but I figured there was no need to panic until my card came back "declined" somewhere. I asked Sonya to stop by my work and pick up my check and deposit it for me on Friday, as I was heading to Monroe for the day and wouldn't be available. She didn't have time. Meanwhile, I used my card for necessities like lunch and gas, with no problems and no hint anything was wrong.

It seems, despite having turned this feature off SEVERAL times over the years, my bank has been extending me a "courtesy". My bank decided to spare me the "embarrassment" of having my card declined, so they continued to pay my charges – to the tune of a $5 per transfer from my saving when the checking went to zero and $21 service fee per transaction when the savings was exhausted. Yea. Thanks SO much for saving me the embarrassment and just CHARGING ME $280 OVER 3 DAYS WHILE THE BANK WAS CLOSED!!!

I go to the bank on Saturday to deposit my miniscule Blockbuster check (since my REAL paycheck from Custom Music was sitting locked up at the store for the weekend) and notice the big, fat minus after my balance even AFTER the deposit. I freak out a bit but figure we can survive the weekend and fix it Monday. Now, I'm all for honoring our veterans, but Bank Holidays fucking piss me off. Why is it the REST of the world keeps working and moving, but banks and federal services get the fucking day off!!!??? So, we have to survive on nothing till Tuesday.

Next stresser – work:

The reason I was in Monroe on Friday was to try my hand at a new job. My supervisor at Custom Music (the one I actually LIKE), Kevin, is starting a distributorship for a new line of band instruments. Good, quality stuff at reasonable prices, but he needs salesmen who can actually SELL to the retailers. I went down to his offices to make some cold calls and see if I couldn't set up a few meetings with some retailers in Ohio and get a few orders. I did pretty damned well, too. Set up 5 meetings my first day and planned 2 road trips to show samples. I was looking forward to this job perhaps slowly replacing my income at Custom Music. Not in any short timeframe, mind you, and I had no plans to just up and leave a steady income for the touch-and-go nature of commission. There was the opportunity for some extra Holiday cash though, selling at least the samples to the stores I visited while they test them out.

I get to work on Monday and the dipshit troll of an owner, Fred, comes in all fire and brimstone, yelling things about company loyalty and how Kevin is selling me nothing but empty promises. Never mind that Kevin isn't selling ANYTHING in direct competition to Fred, but Fred doesn't want me working for him. He gives me an ultimatum that if I work for Kevin, I don't work for Custom Music, giving up the primary source on income for my family.

I wanted to pummel the man with a tuba mouthpiece right then and there. I finally am given an opportunity to use my skills (sales) in a medium I know and understand (band instruments), and this megalomaniacal motherfucker tells me I can't. I can't just quit and go to the sales job because sales don't show big money until you build a client base. With bills piled high as the Great Wall and Christmas looming, that's way too many eggs in one basket.

ANOTHER stresser – family:

My mother has been struggling with her weight for years and is by all possible definitions, morbidly obese. She had a bout with congestive heart failure several years ago, but seemed to learn a lesson from it and was on the mend. She was losing weight for a time (or at least not GAINING weight), and was regaining some mobility.

Recently, however, she has been on a steady downward spiral of inactivity and overeating. She's gotten good at hiding it, but my sister is a bloodhound about it and busted her. Apparently, she called a neighbor to ask her to pick some of her diabetic supplies up from the drug store while my grandfather was in rehab, recovering from surgery. She then asked said neighbor to pick up 3 bags of Halloween candy, under the auspices that her grandchildren were coming over and she wanted to give them something for a belated Trick-or-Treat.

She only got one giant bag of candy, but ate the WHOLE BAG in one night. She also managed to eat about 6 servings of vegetable beef soup – also in one night.

Last night My sister and I staged an intervention, explaining to her exactly how all of this makes us feel and how it affects the rest of the family. I read her the riot act about using MY KIDS in a LIE to a well-intentioned neighbor, so she can defy her doctor, father, and all common sense and gorge herself on candy. I was absolutely livid. Promises were made, but more importantly, action plans were implemented where my sister and I can keep on her. Here's hoping.

The DE-stresser - quartet:

Originally, I had accidentally booked one of my road trips for the new sales job on the day of a quartet gig (serves me right for not using my planner). This had me a bit panicked at first, but then I got an e-mail from our bass that he couldn't make the gig anyway. Okay, so I have to cancel the gig, but at least I didn't have to call my clients to reschedule. I call the gal we booked with and she manages to reschedule the gig for a mutually workable time. Cool! We still get the gig an subsequent money!

Then I get forwarded an email for another gig…then another…then a phone call for another. In the span of four hours we went from having to cancel our only gig to suddenly having FOUR! At $65 a pop for each of us, suddenly the extra Christmas money was seeming a bit easier to come by.

Things continue to pile up, but some of the pieces are beginning to fall into place. I'm off to the bank to yell at them and get those service fees refunded and the "courtesy" feature disabled on our cards. I'll continue to play Tetris with the pieces of my life and attempt to stack all these pieces of my crazy life neatly, so, hopefully, I won't get overwhelmed by it all and can enjoy the Holidays this year.

Yea…and Fred Phelps might join the cast of Rent…

Coming up next: The Halloween Blog – FINALLY!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Fall Barbershop Convention, Part III: Sunday - the wrap-up...

Wake up, shower (I had to call the front desk to ask them how to get the damned thing to work), pack up, and check out. "Big Dave", our bass, and I hit the local diner for breakfast and have a nice convo about women, family, quartets and such, then hit the road.

My best friend and Lead, Lou, had reserved the hotel room for us on his card. I mistakenly got the impression that he was going to pay for the room and I'd pay him back. Whoops. He aparently had no intention of this, as he's in pretty dire financial straits himself, and "Big Dave" is recovering from a long bout of unemployment and had to owe me his share, so I had to put the whole damned thing on my credit card. $200 I hadn't planned on. As if justifying these convention trips wasn't hard enough...

Friday night when Lou and I were at the hotel bar, he ordered a sandwich. It took so long, he decided to get it 'to go', then eventually got fed up and started to walk out. As he was leaving, the waitress caught up with him, handed it to him with appologies, and he walked of with it in a frustrated huff. They eneded up billing MY tab for it.

I left a message for Lou on Sunday, letting him know about the error, figuring he'd owe me the $4 in a beer sometime. He proceeded to call the hotel and complain. Not only was the manager EXREMELY appologetic, but he comped 1/2 of his AND my hotel bill for the weekend! As bad as Lou's luck can be at times, other times he could step in a pile of shit and come out with gold-plated loafers (see my entry for last Fall's convention for another example). So, once again Lou's convention fortune rubs off on me a bit and I spend half as much on the weekend as I had planned! Maybe I should use the savings to bribe the judges a bit next contest....

Anyway, I get home, nap a bit as Sonya and her brother work on their costumes, and we wait for the kids to get back from the grandparents' place. They arrive and we hang with my father-in-law a bit, having a fun, relaxing evening.

I'll say it again: "Best...Convention...EVER!"

Coming up next: Backlog of Blogs (Backblogged?)...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fall Barbershop Convention, Part II: Saturday - the FUN part…

I got a bit more sleep on Saturday morning this year than previous years. Usually my chorus tries to go on first, but this year we were 3rd from last in our performance order. I'm roused about 9:45 by my roommate and hit the shower. I spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get the damned thing to switch from faucet to shower to no avail, so I take a bath. I hate baths – especially in hard water. It's hard enough to feel like you've rinsed thoroughly in a shower with hard water, but in a tub – forget it.

I de-slime myself from the bath, get my tux and stage makeup on (I hate having to wear stage makeup), and hit the lobby. I head to the Subway for a bite to eat and decide on just a Sprite and a yogurt, then head down to warm-ups.

My voice is still weak and sketchy around the full-voice/falsetto break, so I go back and grab my bottle of voice spray and start guzzling the stuff like it was beer at a frat party. Warm-ups, pictures, and the traditional "hurry up and wait" follow. Eventually we hit the stage and do a great job - one of our finest performances, from what I can tell. I know we won't win, but we nevertheless did a great performance. I hang around for a while in the lobby talking with dad, then head to my room to change. Dad, Ian (who will be going to International in Nashville with the new district reps, Mountaintown Chorus) and I hit the Peninsula for lunch.. We're eventually joined by Lou and his girlfriend Linda and have a great time just hanging out, talking and eating. After lunch, I decide to try and grab a quick power nap to let my voice rest and be ready for the quartet to hit the hospitality rooms after the quartet finals. On the way up to my room, I'm joined in the elevator by several kilt-clad folk with bagpipes. Hmm….?

I wake up just in time for the quartet finals show and head to the lobby. As the elevator descends, the sounds of pipes and drums grow louder. The door opens and the lobby is FLOODED with the sound of a pipe and drum corps playing on the second floor balcony of the lobby. Apparently there was a wedding in the hotel that they were hired for. Trouble was, they were loud as hell in that echoey lobby and right outside the hall the finals were in. Now, I'm all up for pipe and drum music, but when it gets in the way of barbershop – look out. Thankfully, they stopped right before the quartets hit the stage.

I enter the performance hall, looking around for my dad, when I hear a familiar riff whistled. My dad always used the same 5-note riff to whistle for my sister and I whenever it was time to come home. He can whistle pretty loud, so we could be called from blocks away. Funny – I'm 33 years old, and after all this time I still reflexively turn my head like a puppy when I hear that riff. We found each other in milliseconds and I join him to watch the show.

There were several quartets we should have beaten and several more that rightfully trounced the hell out of us. C'est la vie. It was a great show and I had a lot of fun whispering critiques back and fourth with my dad. We only get to see each other maybe once a year, and it was great to have him all to myself and bond with him in the medium we have most in common. We trade stories and barbershop related anecdotes – mine from the new school and his from the "old days". Once the scores are announced, rather than plan on driving the 2 ½ hours out and then back again to Detroit to see the rest of the family, he decided to head back to the hotel in Paw-Paw and call it a weekend. I record a quick video message from him for the kids on my camera, exchange big hugs, and we say our goodbyes. I am so grateful to have been able to do this with my dad there. Not only for support for my contests, but just to hang out and talk, and bond a bit. You're never too old to bond with your dad.

The quartet gathers in my room and Beamer has notes on some shtick and lyric changes to "Whiffenpoof" to poke a bit of fun at ourselves and our chorus's somewhat disappointing placement. Great, funny stuff, too! It was well received by our chapter, especially, as well as the couple other rooms we did the song at. We started at our own Detroit-Oakland chapter's room, and as is becoming tradition with me dragging my ukulele everywhere I go, they demanded a song on the uke before I left. I started into Rawhide, assuming I was starting a sing along. After the first verse, everyone seemed to forget the lyrics, so it died rather quickly from there.

We did the tour, hitting most of the chapter hospitality rooms before the "big" quartets were done with their evals and assessments. We heard some great quartets, got lots of free food and bottled water, but I held off on the beer until after we were nearly done singing. The last room we hit had one of my favorite quartets, Party of 4, waiting in the wings for us to finish. I love these guys. They're all around my age, former district champs, and have a fantastic sound, blend, and rapport with the audience, and are just great guys. Plus, they're one of the quartets to hang in the lobby until the wee hours, singing songs and tags with anyone with the stamina to stay up that late.

They sat and listened to us do our couple of songs, and being the last room of the night for us, I really wanted to do my arrangement of "Rainbow Connection". My voice was nearing the end for a good sound in a quartet environment, but I really wanted these guys to hear it. Beamer introduces the song as my arrangement (which I'm always reluctant to do – I do have a smidgeon of humility, on occasion), and we do a good job of it.

After we were done and bid goodnight to each other, I went to the lobby where Wally, Party of 4's bass, catches up with me and compliments me on the arrangement. He then asks me how much I'd want for it!

"YOU want to do MY arrangement?!"

Being the first time I have EVER been asked for an arrangement, I was a bit dumbfounded. I give him the heads up that I don't have copyright on it, so they perform it at their own risk. After giving the stipulation that they always mention my name when they perform it and never do it when they're sharing a venue with my quartet, I suggest a kind of "beer royalty". They should just buy me beer whenever they see me.

As if that weren't compliment enough, he asks me if I do much arranging because he has a few songs he'd like me to arrange for them.

ME?! Arrange for a district champ quartet?! Holy Pukin' Pitch Pipes, Batman!

Whether it happens or not, I'm on cloud nine from the compliment for the rest of the night (hell, I STILL am). I wander the lobby for the next 2 hours singing tags and songs, with the occasional foray to the hospitality rooms to snag a beer. After the events of this weekend and a few beers, I didn't even care that Mike, the bass from Moxxy and fixture of the late-night tagging, had us doing the "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" tag a bazillion times. I was just reveling in the high from the whole convention experience.

After about an hour's worth of attempts to hit the elevators and go to bed, each time being thwarted by another tag or song I wanted to sing, I finally hit the room about 3:30am. I write a quick blog and collapse on the bed with a huge smile on my face.

I'll say it again, "Best…convention…ever!!"

Coming up next: Fall Barbershop Convention, Part III: Sunday - the Wrap-up…