31 December 2009

A new year is upon us

Goodbye 2009 with all its problems and recession or depression.
So long to all its murky moments and deaths
Obama-rama thriller killer seeker flooded tiger cheater balloon boy hoaxionage bailout fallout health care messes economic recesses
Farewell aughts, we've been good friends mostly
Now the twenty-teen days are fast upon
In with the retro and out with the new- I don't know which to eschew
Let's go back to those much better days
When we knew there would be- well, better days

With that Royce Files say "Adeiu" to 2009 but not before I make rememberance of the wall of snow which plagued my return. At left you see the neighboring garage but it looks similar yet mine was a bit higher by right of exaggeration.

Highlights of 2009 as the Royce Files saw it-
The Great Flood had the most attention for the year and help propel the blog to historic entry levels after a slow start to the year. Not much Obama coverage. Others could do much better at praising or smirking at the U.S. Prez.
NDSU Men's Basketball took their team to the big show as Fargo flooded. They did not break round 1 but Ben Woodside scored a bunch in the games against Kansas. I almost got to shake the guy's hand thanks to Segue. Instead, I was in a picture with Bret Winkelman.
As water receded yet another Fargo marathon was run. This one seemed at bit different. At little more workmanlike rather than fun. It will be known for its double loop course. Still it was a great event.
My film-making activities increased a lot this year with the feature Mary Weatherby filmed earlier in the year and another appearance in the 48-Hour Film Project. I post numerous shorts to YouTube in 2009 which you can link to on the sidebar.
In summer we had the car show, the Tour de Valli, and the yet unwritten Boundary Waters adventure. And again summer was topped off by a visit to the Minnesota State Fair.
Fall approached and I was working on ALPHA, filming 15 seconds of Star Wars and getting an early start on the Christmas Radio Program.
2009 introduced blog readers to some new features- Art of the Deal, Signs of Beer, and the special Dastardly Disguises. All will hope to return in 2010.
What's in store for 2010?

Well, an eagerly awaited World Cup in June. Finishing my first feature- "Glory Rolled." Recording and making a video my song "Lonely (but only in Minnesota.)" I might attempt to write a few more songs and of course record a few more shorts for the web.

30 December 2009

One last snow deposit despoils 2009

Over the Christmas holiday the Midwest found itself in a deluge of snow. I made it home all right but many others were stranded or unable to be with family and loved ones on Christmas. A stretch of the venerable I-94 was shut off from Christmas Eve until Boxing Day (December 26th) afternoon.

The large snow accumulation kept plows busy. Unfortunately for me, when I return home to the Go (best place to find a job as noted by CNN), a 7 foot by 3 foot high wall of snow prevented me from entering the garage. The parking lot was no better- 3 feet in most spots. Let the snow removal begin!

The next morning I got ready to challenge the snow with the winter bike. Private sidewalks were pretty well cleared. The streets were decent but compacted snow was beginning to form in places and I have not put on the studded tires yet.

Public walkways I use were largely disregarded. With the city planning on putting into effect sidewalk shoveling ordinances, it would be wise if the city also did its part in removing the snow from public sidewalks within 48 hours. I had to "portage" the bike through 3 foot banks in order to get over a bridge. It was strenuous work.
Though I tend to say roads are probably the best bet for winter riding- I am going to put in a caveat due to a wipe out I had this morning. Unless you have studded tires, if roads have impacted snow it may be safer to ride on sidewalks. At least that's how it is panning out thus far in the winter biking season. However with sidewalks, you have the chance of traffic not seeing you due either not paying attention to sidewalk traffic in the winter or snow banks impairing visual scans.
As always, wear proper attire that is bright and have good safety lighting. Increasing your visibility to traffic can prevent the risk of accident with an automobile.

24 December 2009

Of Christmas 2009

Well it has finally arrived- Christmas 2009. It's been a busy run up for myself with the Radio Show fitted in with a talent show for work. I was just able to fit in a little caroling on Sunday which was a highlight for the season. I had not sung in chorus for years. As I have written before I especially enjoy the music of Christmas. I was the only male voice so I had a lot riding on my blending and harmonization. We did good.
As I have pondered this holiday, I realize it tends to be about remembering. Remembering Christmases past and stuff. And even if the holiday was co-opted from previous celebrations at the start of winter, it certainly does fit the imagery of the old story. Yet, the imagery has certainly taken the driving wheel in this day so much so that it's lights, feasts, Santas, trees, gifts, and holly. The sacred has been watered down to be more pallible to those who consciously or unconsciously rather not remember the birth of Jesus. It can be a rare sight these days to see a manager scene in a home although they still exist.

Nonetheless, I am not bemoaning the secularization of this holiday. I have met many of those types and I find their protests justified but their attitudes sour and sometimes bitter. Anyways, Jason Boyett wrote a decent article about it in the November/December Relevant Magazine.
I recognize the Lord at this time (and others too.) If the rest of the world wants to pay homage at Christmas or rant and rave how we really are not, fine with me. Free will allows it. But I find it even better if the Lord is honored year round.
A piece of advice I got from a friend this year about gift giving- when giving clothing give a size smaller, and when you are unsure of what to give then give something that will be memorable. I think this might be concerning spouses or girlfriends. So a size too small leopard print Snuggie could possibly be appropriate. This untested hypothesis is sure to make memories.

That's all for now. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
(Note the festive sweater I picked up at the dollar store in the picture above. It's sure to make it to your festive event during the next 12 days of Christmas. I'd even gladly write a Christmas song for the event. I might write a separate article featuring it.)
This is also the record breaking 133rd post of 2009. Most posts in a year. I feel like Babe Ruth and not those other guys.

16 December 2009

Music and (X)mas

It's a musical time of year. I find it amazing how radio stations find enough Christmas music to keep up their 24 hour play lists. Much of it is tripe: mere filling for what apparently society originally sought to celebrate. Yeah, snow and Santa, gifts and more snow and then add a bit of nostalgia on top. There, you've got probably and unscientific 75% of the current cannon of Christmas songs. Heck, I'm evening re-writing one with snow and blizzards in it. I think I'll add some Christmas cheer to the mix and viola and new classic. Here, I'll make a new lyric up:

It's snowing and the gifts keep coming
Santa has been good to me
Snowing gifts like Christmas in 1953
I think I must be dreaming
Of a pleasant time next to my Christmas tree

I am mostly a fan of the older music- the carols and hymns that have seen many generations. If there is a choir singing, I probably like it. I did 2 seasons of concert choir in college and the carol concerts were a great experience. Sometimes we sang in Latin. Now that is high culture!

I do enjoy a few 20th century classics but abhor the Rudolph and Rockin' Around tunes. I do like this CD even if it does have some silly tunes. It's fun and yet reverent. I should probably update by Christmas playlist on the Zune.

Well for those looking for some free Christmas music to make yourself merry check out Amazon's 25 Days of Christmas downloads for free MP3s of holiday tunes. Then check out the Feels Like Christmas website for more free Christmas music. Be sure to check out Lord Wheaterby's Santa Claus is Freaking Me Out- a corn infused diatribe that some of my friends may desire to listen.

15 December 2009

Dylan does Xmas and so do I

It's probably pretty old news by now- Dylan has released a Christmas album entitled Christmas In the Heart. I went over to Amazon to listen to a few clips and read some of the reviews of it. It seems to get kind of a luke-warm reception. Either you love it or you think it's less than optimal Bob Dylan. Not being a Dylan-phob, I had nothing to compare to in my mind despite having beeb strangely influenced by his style yet never owning not listening to any of his music [rambling sentence]. Ok, I did hear the ones played on the oldies stations (Everybody Let's Get Stoned, Raining Day Woman?).

Coming from a nearly unbiased view I think the album is sort of nostaglia covered with Bob Dylan vocals. The album takes a traditional approach with most of the songs. However, Dylan's distinctive voice attempting to do standards comes off as awkward. It reminds me of a cross between Louis Armstrong and Tom Waits. James agrees when I reached him for comment in the hall. "He's good at what he does." James continued. That being the poetic chiseling of rambling stories into song. No Dylan penned songs on this release.

That's not to say it's all awkward or unoriginal. Some of the good cuts sort of go a la western swing. The following tracks are highlights: The Christmas Blues, Must be Santa, The First Noel, Christmas Island.

Speaking of music, I'll be playing one of my songs this week at the company Christmas shindig. I was re-writing it a bit last night to give it a bit of a love lost feel.
In the meantime you can hear me sing A White and Blue Christmas on the Rinzo Radio Show here. It was recorded this weekend before a live audience. I also sing Silent Night with the group Abra.

11 December 2009

2009 Christmas Show: It's Christmas and who carols?

It's nearly here. Just a few more hours. And for me a few more stressful hours.

2009 Christmas Show
It's Christmas and who carols?
12th December 2009, 7PM
608 Main Ave

Fargo, ND

Just a few steps from the corner of Main and Broadway.

It's a Christmas themed entertainment in the form of a live radio show with music and some audience participation. Plus, did I mention that people have said it's hilarious in past years. And I assure you it is still outrageously funny. And it's
If your in the area you don't want to miss this uproarious evening (mostly because it won't be on the radio.)

I've put a tremendous amount of work into the show as have my co-producers and the cast and musicians. Again you won't want to miss out.
There will be refreshments following the show.

04 December 2009

Enter winter

Most of us knew this could not go on for ever. Winter needed to make an appearance.
December 1- No snow. Rather warm with some NW winds foreshadowing the next days' events.
The winter bikes were ready and I just got winter bike #1 a major overhaul.

Riding home on the 2nd of December would be the last day in 2009 the C-200 would be out. It was pretty crazy on the ride home. Dakotans did the typical thing in snow storms- they avoid the main roads and take side streeets. Never ceases to amaze me how the traffic jams on these days are within residence neighborhoods and not on Main or University or 25th.
I brought out the m-200 (snow bike #2) to take on the snow since I want to put a pannier rack on #1.
It is really unusual to think just a few weeks ago I was out running in shorts. The mild November afforded many such runs. However, running in the cold especially just after a light snow is very scenic. Especially when going through bike under the light in the snowneighborhoods decked out with lights. With the temperature drop you also need to layer more so perspiration builds up differently.
I was out in Otter Tail County this weekend. And yes, they have winter there too. In fact the lake I was near had just begun to freeze over.
I caught a wonderful sunset reflecting off the fresh coming home this evening. I also saw Brett Winkelman's father just back from Italy- but that could be another story altogether.