Playing Catch-up: TPP Update

Apologies to my regular readers for the very delayed post today.  Now that I have a large contingent of British readers, I really like to hit the 6:30 AM EST posting time, which I imagine is around lunchtime for them, so they have something to read over their tea and crumpets while my American readers have something to read over their grits and coffee.

As I’ve alluded to in other posts, the past two weeks or so have been absolutely insane for yours portly.  As my school’s music teacher, I’m also the audio-visual wizard on campus.  With Homecoming Week last week, it was my responsibility to make sure the sound system at the football field was working properly, and to assist with setup for some of the Homecoming games.  I also set up another ad hoc sound system for my High School Music Ensemble to play a couple of songs at a pep rally Friday morning.  When most of your musicians play guitar and piano, the logistics of plugging everything in become more daunting when taken outdoors.

Needless to say, all of my planning time was consumed with these activities, and I spent most of my Music classes using student labor to move equipment to and from the football field.  That meant more time in the evenings and early mornings working on school-related stuff, and less time to focus on the blog.

In the midst of all of the Homecoming Week wackiness, I’m also running for reelection to Lamar Town Council and practicing and preparing for the 2021 Spooktacular.  Tonight I have a candidates forum for the former, and last night my buddy John and I practiced for the latter.

Add to all of that a whopping dollop of after-school music lessons, and you can tell I’ve had precious little time for much else.  I had a fun-filled day with my girlfriend on Saturday, then turned around Sunday and immediately set to work finalizing first quarter report card grades.

I’m not complaining—I like being busy—but I hope readers will extend some graciousness and excuse some occasionally late posts.  My poor dog has been getting the short end of the bully stick, too, though we both collapsed into a snoring heap on the couch last night after John departed.

Such are the rhythms of life.  Here’s hoping things return to a more stately tempo after the frenetic rhythm of the last few weeks.  Again, I don’t want to be bored, but having a little more time to focus on writing would be great.

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October Bandcamp Friday

It’s the first day of the best month of the year!   My annual Halloween Spooktacular is tantalizingly close—just twenty-nine days away!—and my interest in horror movies now takes on a seasonally appropriate veneer, instead of just the odd obsession of a potentially deranged individual.

It’s also another Bandcamp Friday, which means it’s the best possible time to purchase my music.  Indeed, my entire discography (seven albums!) is just $19.98, a whopping 35% discount (just £14.76 as of 28 September 2021, according to Bing, for my newfound British readers).  That’s $2.85 (£2.10) per release, the kind of deal you only get on cassette tapes at the gas station (or from yours portly!).

What better time to spin my classic hit “Ghostly,” a spookily unhinged ballad in creepy 3/4 time, or the electronic opus “Zombie Unicorn,” featuring irregular multi-meter insanity and shades of Saint-Saëns?  They’re on Contest Winner EP and The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse, respectively.

Not in the mood for spookiness?  Then enjoy the boppy, poppy fun of perennial fan favorite “Hipster Girl Next Door“—or the pleading piano-pop balladry of “Greek Fair.”

Are your tastes inclined in a more heavenly direction?  Then check out The Lo-Fi Hymnal, a love letter to hymn singing and playing recorded on over a tiny phone microphone.  Trust me—it’s better than it sounds!

In short, ’tis the season for merriment and fun—and for forking over your hard-earned cash to support the blogger, musician, and teacher you love:  me!

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The Weather

From the title, you’re probably thinking, “wow, he’s really reaching for content now—he’s literally writing a post about the weather.”  Well, yes, it’s a bit of a stretch for a blog post, but while enjoying the absolutely glorious weather this past weekend, I began contemplating the topic.  It’s perhaps not quite as trite as we think.

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Bull Terrier Tuesday: It’s Official!

Well, it’s finally happened:  pending some signatures and initials from folks at The Bull Terrier Rescue Mission (at the time of this writing; they will likely be immortalized in digital ink by the time you read these words), I have officially adopted Murphy.

It’s been quite an adventure since I picked her up at the Sam’s Club in Goldsboro, North Carolina on 22 July 2021.  Since then, she’s been all over the I-20 Corridor in South Carolina, and all the way to Athens, Georgia.  She’s spent a great deal of time sleeping on couches—those on which she is allowed, and those from which she is forbidden—and she seems to win fans wherever she goes.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: 1000 Days

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

Well, here it is—the 1000th consecutive day of posting to WordPress (I hit 1000 posts about 114 pieces ago; now I’ve reached 1000 days of consecutive posting).  It’s crazy to think, but this latest incarnation of The Portly Politico has been going for roughly two-and-three-fourths years, a fresh post every single day.  I’ve written so much at this point, I’ve forgotten a lot of it.

Granted, some of those have been filler posts, saying, “Oops, I will have to post a real post later,” but I tried to avoid those as much as possible, and I have generally made them up (especially to you paying customers).  I’ve also come up with some series, like Monday Morning Movie Review and Supporting Friends Friday, to help with ease the load a bit (not to mention Lazy Sunday and TBT, both of which let me off the hook with some reblogging of old material).

It being the 1000th day, I’ve decided to look back at this latest incarnation of The Portly Politico—where it was, where it is, and where it’s going.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Bull Terrier Tuesday: Dog Sitting

After a long and eventful weekend, Murphy and I are back in Lamar with an additional guest:  my childhood friend’s eight-year old blue heeler mix Gracie.  My buddy is going to the beach with his wife and kid, and needed a place along the way to drop their pup.

As such, I’m now running an assisted care facility for elderly dogs.  In all seriousness, the dog, Gracie, is a real sweetheart, and she and Murphy seem to get along well enough.  Murphy quickly established dominance once we got back to the house the other day, but then I put Murphy on her back to remind her who is really in charge, and it’s been relative peace in the house ever since.

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The Inexorable Forward March of Bandcamp Friday

Yes, poor readers, here it is again: another Bandcamp Friday.  Other than one of the earliest times I posted about this glorious monthly holiday—during which Bandcamp waives its usual commission on sales through its site—I don’t know that I’ve ever made a sale hawking my musical wares via the blog.

Well, if at first you do not succeed, pester, pester again (alternatively, doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, but all musicians are a bit crazy… right?).  Also, with my lovely new readers from the British Isles, it’s never been a better time to bilk them out of their hard-earned pounds sterling.

Fortunately for them—and you, my fellow countrymen!—my entire discography (seven albums!) is just $19.98, a whopping 35% discount (just £14.50 as of 1 September 2021, according to Bing).  That’s $2.85 (£2.07) per release, the kind of deal you only get on cassette tapes at the gas station (or from yours portly!).

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Back to School 2021

Well, after starting back to work Monday a week ago, we’re finally back at school today.  We’re one of the latest schools to start back in our area—my county’s school district started back classes last Monday, and Florence County schools resumed on 2 August 2021—but it still seems too soon.  The Florence start date seems insanely early as far as I am concerned, but they’re transitioning to a semi-year-round model, in which the students will get a week off in October and February, as well as some other juicy breaks.

Of course, any time off is never quite enough, is it?  I often find myself thinking, “if I only had one more weekend to finish this up” or “I really need another week of break so I can work on writing.”  That said, during the peak of The Age of The Virus in 2020, when I had virtually limitless free time, I didn’t complete any of the big projects I had set aside for myself.  That puts to the lie the idea that more time necessarily means getting more done.

Indeed, I often find that I am more productive when working against a deadline.  As I’ve gotten older and more experienced—albeit not much wiser—I’ve learned to plan ahead, and to churn out a great deal of work in long stretches of focus, in order to save me some time later.  That’s a necessity with my crazy schedule, and helps keep me from getting caught flat-footed by some unanticipated deadline or task too often.

Regardless, school is starting back today, and things are (mostly) back to normal—no more remote learning, no students tuning in from their cars or bedrooms to class, no more mandatory masks (again, mostly) [update:  we have received word that we are starting the year with masks—nooooo!].  I’m hoping it’s going to be a normal-ish academic year.

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TBT: Back to the Grind 2020

This past Monday, teachers at my small private school resumed work, sitting through our annual OSHA blood-borne pathogens training and another sales pitch from the AFLAC representative (start offering long-term disability insurance, AFLAC, and I’ll buy a policy).  Registration for new and returning students is now in full swing.

Last year was a unique school year, with its own challenges and opportunities.  As I detailed in this post, we had a host of new sanitation procedures, as well as the odious masks.  This year, the masks are optional, but we’re still sanitizing desks and checking temperatures at the door.

Unlike last year, we’ll have all the fun stuff again:  pep rallies, chapel, etc.  I know the students will be excited for some fun events to return to campus.

Of course, that means yours portly will be back to hustling to satisfy the bottomless appetite for audio-visual production values the students (and my administration) crave.  One silver lining of last school year was the vast reduction in constant events and activities, which allowed me the time to focus on teaching and grading.

Oh, well—here’s to another year!  And here’s 10 August 2020’s “Back to the Grind 2020“:

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