Insert Wise Saying Here!

Before starting another list of my favorite Christmas tunes, scroll down and have a look over the first sixty!

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My Favorite Christmas Songs 2017 #4

“All I Want For Christmas Is You,” Vince Vance and the Valiants (feat. Lisa Layne), 1989

Vince Vance and the Valiants are a novelty group that broke style for this country ode to Yuletide desires.  This was their only song to chart, but what a song!

Click here for sixty more Christmas songs!

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2017 #3

“Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home),” Darlene Love, 1963

This classic often accompanies Christmas scenes in movies, and why shouldn’t it?  It’s a wonderful song.

TRIVIA: Darlene Love appeared on David Letterman’s late night show nearly every year from 1986-2014 to perform this song.

Click here for sixty more Christmas songs!

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2017 #1

“Dominick The Donkey,” Lou Monte, 1960

Starting off 2017 with a cute bouncy song that musically seems to borrow a little from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.  It’s about a donkey that gives Santa a hand because his “reindeer cannot climb the hills of Italy.”

Click here for sixty more Christmas songs!

My Sixty Favorite Christmas Songs!

Every Christmas these last three years I have made lists of my favorite Christmas songs. Some classic, some modern, some out there, but all full of Christmas cheer!

Click here to listen to them all on YouTube!

I tried to pick some of the more eclectic songs and different renditions of classics the first time around in 2014:

Please Come Home for Christmas – The Eagles
Winter Wonderland – The Eurythmics
Little St. Nick – The Beach Boys
If It Doesn’t Snow on Christmas – Gene Autry
Baby It’s Cold Outside – Dean Martin
Christmas Vacation – Mavis Staples
What Child is This – Liona Boyd
White Christmas – The Drifters
Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid
Santa Claus and His Old Lady – Cheech and Chong
There’s Always Tomorrow – Janice Orenstein
Feliz Navidid – Jose Feliciano
Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town – Bruce Springsteen
Last Christmas – Wham!
Happy Xmas (War is Over) – John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Run Rudolph Run – Chuck Berry
Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy – David Bowie and Bing Crosby
Someday at Christmas – Stevie Wonder
Merry Christmas Darling – Carpenters
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings” – Barenaked Ladies Feat. Sarah McLachlan
We Need a Little Christmas – Percy Faith
Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
A Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack – Vince Girauldi Trio
Christmas at Ground Zero – Weird Al Yankovic

2015 featured more standards but there were still plenty of oddballs to be found.

The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole
Holly Jolly Christmas, Burl Ives
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Gene Autry
Happy Holiday, Andy Williams
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Andy Williams
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Brenda Lee

You’re a Mean One, Mister Grinch, Thurl Ravenscroft
Frosty the Snowman, Willie Nelson
Winter Wonderland, Huey Lewis and the News
Let it Snow, Dean Martin
There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays, Perry Como
I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas, Gayla Peevy
Mannheim Steamroller
Santa Baby, Madonna
The Twelve Days of Christmas, John Denver and The Muppets
I’ll be Home for Christmas, Fats Domino
The Chipmunk Song, The Chipmunks
Sleigh Ride, Leroy Anderson
Carol of the Bells, Mykola Leontovych
Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Jingle Bells, The Singing Dogs
Give Love on Christmas Day, The Jackson 5
Chrissy the Christmas Mouse, Debbie Reyonlds and Donald O’Connor
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, Elmo and Patsy
Christmas Dragnet, Stan Freberg

Things slowed down in 2016 with only ten songs, with some fairly recent ones catching my ear.

It Must Have Been Ol’ Santa Claus, Harry Connick, Jr.
Where Are You, Christmas?, Taylor Momsen
Chiron Beta Prime, Johnathan Coulton
Believe, John Groban
Merry Christmas (Exclamation Point), Jon Lajoie
All I Want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey
Merry Christmas from Cell Block 2, Matthew Ebel
The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack, Danny Elfman, et al
Welcome Christmas, M-G-M Studio Orchestra & Chorus
Snoopy’s Christmas, The Royal Guardsmen

I’m shooting to have another ten for this year, so stay tuned!

All Furries’ Eve

furryween
I’m the guy taking the picture

Halloween has been a non-holiday for me ever since I took my last trick-or-treating sojourn as a kid many years ago. I didn’t have many friends in my teen and college years to be invited to parties or to engage in trickery.  Upon moving out, I discovered that exactly zero kids come seeking treats at your door when you live in an apartment.  Except for handing out candy at my parent’s house a few random times, the only thing Halloween meant to me was that Mary Jane peanut butter kisses were available.  Hey, at least it’s not candy corn.

When I purchased a house a few years ago, I figured that I was going to spend my future Halloween nights handing out candy to excited trick-or-treaters.  As fate would have it, that never happened.

At least, it never happened at my house.

You see, I had joined the furry community a year before buying the house and as a result, made some new friends.  One friend that lived nearby also owned a home, and he had spent the previous Halloween handing out candy while wearing his fursuit.  (“Fursuit” is the term for the animal costumes that some furries wear)  When the next Halloween rolled around, he invited a few friends and myself to come over and hand out candy.

I don’t own a fursuit myself.  They can run in the few thousands of dollars so I like to joke that I have a mortgage and a car payment instead.  My lack of costume made me the ‘handler,’ a person that helps out fursuiters by making sure they don’t trip over things or bump into kids.  Since fursuit heads severely limit vision, a handler’s job is essentially to keep fursuiters from accidentally hurting themselves or others.  In addition, my job was to take pictures and occasionally run into the house for more candy and bottled water to keep our three fursuiters hydrated.

The fursuits were a smash!  After the trick-or-treaters got candy from each one of them, their parents often wanted to take pictures of their costumed children (and sometimes themselves) with the fuzzy people.  It wasn’t unusual to have a large group of people congregated in front of the house: Trick-or-treaters collecting candy, parents taking pictures, fursuiters being silly and everybody having a great time together.  We stayed outside until our supply of candy was gone.  Despite being pretty bushed from all the running around I had done that evening, it was easily the most fun Halloween night I’d had in years.

We gave it all away, too!

The tradition continued with seven fursuiters showing up the next year and more and more joining the fun with each successive Halloween.  Lucky for me, more handlers showed up, too!  One guy even bought an ice chest that we filled up with candy before getting to work.  There were a grand total of fourteen fursuiters last year, making the house a veritable bonanza for the trick-or-treaters in terms of the amount of candy and fun to be had.

I have yet to spend a single Halloween night at my own house.  Instead, I have furries to wrangle, candy bowls to refill, pictures to take, and memories to make!

42 Things I Noticed at Guadalupe State Park

It has been a while since my last solo adventure at Guadalupe State Park. I had spent a night with friends in freezing temperatures back in December, but that’s neither here nor there.  As always, I noticed a few things…

handwriting
#1 Needs Improvement
  1. I wrote this list down on paper and thought about posting scans of the pages. I looked at my terrible handwriting and thought better of it.
  2. I think I like taking Blanco Road up to the park instead of 281, fewer lights and a more relaxed drive.
  3. Also more jackasses tailgating you on the slower parts, but what can you do?
  4. Had to take a site with electricity due to the water-only campsites being worked on, oh well.
  5. Nothing like that OH GOD, PLEASE DON’T BREAK feeling when putting up tent poles.
  6. Of course the sun comes out after I set up the tent and go hiking.
  7. Sound that I don’t miss: Vehicles.
  8. Yes, I have my phone on me, for pictures. With the ringer muted and my smartwatch on, I don’t have to worry about missing calls.
  9. There aren’t many people here, which is nice.
  10. Since I don’t go outdoors as often as I should, I find myself constantly wondering what all the noises are.
  11. Lots of butterflies about, even managed to photograph a few.
  12. More work in the park being done near the river, not sure what’s going on there.
  13. Beginning of hike: Feels good! One hour later: Whew!  Nearing camp on the hike back: OMG ARE WE THERE YET?
  14. Got spooked by a large bird taking off from the branches above me, nothing like that WOOSH of big wings flapping.
  15. As I neared camp, I wondered if maybe I should have packed sandwiches instead of canned food.

    butterfly
    #11 Butterfly!
  16. Surprised I haven’t burned off my eyebrows from lighting my camp stove yet.
  17. It’s nice to have camping cooking equipment instead of borrowing from the kitchen.
  18. Upon further review, hot food for lunch hit the spot!
  19. Slightly disappointed that I still have a cell signal, but at the same time it’s good to know it’s there.
  20. I’d been going nuts trying to find one of my flashlights only to find I had left it in my tent when I folded it up back in April.
  21. Note to self: Take the picture first before trying to move in closer. Armadillos spook easily.
  22. Also: Don’t only pack food things that contribute to heartburn. Off to H-E-B.
  23. Yes, I always have to say ‘LET THERE BE LIGHT’ whenever I light my lantern.
  24. Had a story idea pop in my head mid-afternnon. It had an unfortunate ending until a more optimistic one came to me during dinner. Don’t write when hangry if you want happy endings.
  25. If you like them, they’re ‘critters,’ if you don’t, they’re ‘varmints.’
  26. They had better not be any awoo-ing while I’m trying to sleep tonight.
  27. Heard a bunch of what I hope were fireworks at around 8:24pm.
  28. This being Texas, gunfire isn’t necessarily unusual, though.
  29. Shop towels aren’t bad for washing dishes.
  30. Always gotta find that one dark spot in camp for, how can I put it, ‘taking care of business’ without having to walk to the men’s room 😀
  31. Got spooked by a pair of raccoons fighting in a nearby tree.
  32. I had put up my food and know to not feed the wildlife, so to the victor, go no spoils.
  33. I’m not saying I’m paranoid about raccoons, but I’m making damn sure the Excelsior (my Honda CR-v) is locked whenever I’m not nearby.
  34. Almost fell into temptation during the trip to H-E-B, but avoided stopping at the Whataburger across the street for dinner.
  35. Thing I forgot: Radio.
  36. Idea: Replace the ‘nut-buster’ tripod chair I use in the tent with a small beanbag.
  37. Nice to know the animal I’ve been hearing for the last half hour was just an armadillo
  38. Armadillos are noisy!

    cooking
    #17 A perfect fit!
  39. My battery pack can charge my phone all the way…now that I have a smaller phone!
  40. The overnight weather was perfect, cool without being too cold.
  41. I chose poorly at breakfast; sometimes a McDonald’s McGriddle isn’t worth the lousy service.
  42. Going to pass by my old office on the drive home, going to be hard to not flip the bird at the building as I pass.