VPotD: Jimmy Stewart-style GPS

I bought these two photographs because they show direction signs that should allow me to figure out the exact location where the shots were taken.  I’ll need to dig out my atlas and find a compass.  Then I’ll trace some circles and see where they intersect.  Do elementary school children still use compasses?  If so, I’ll buy a cheap one the next time I’m at Target. It should be fun.

I’ll need to find a location that’s 128 miles away from Portland and 60 miles away from Seattle to figure out where this young woman ate her lunch.
viva seattle tacoma viva viva
This next one might be a bit more difficult due to the generic names of the towns listed on the sign.  I’ll probably have to start with Avella in order to figure out what state I’m dealing with.  Then it should be easy.  How many of the Independences out there are one mile away from an Avella?  Probably not many.  Once I’ve got it narrowed down a bit, it should only be a matter of a traced circle or two to determine where these stylish girls did their leaning.
washington -->
And sure, I realize there’s probably an app that could spit out the exact locations in a second or two.  I’d rather use a compass, thank you.  Or maybe some string.  Yes, I think I could probably do it with string.

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VPotD: Kamerakids

I don’t usually purchase photographs of children, but I ended up with five of them this time around.  It all started with the shot of the sister and brother eating ice cream cones.  I have a couple other ice cream pics, so I thought I’d add them to that collection.  Then I found the hilarious little girl striking a pose on the front lawn.  Her crazy hand cracks me up every time.  Then came a gigantic bunny, a little plumper in a wagon, and a couple tricycles.

(This was the third post in my new Vintage Photograph(s) of the Day series.)

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VPotD: Sweet and Lowdown

Until I get that mysterious item I won on eBay, this website will be entirely dedicated to the stack of vintage photographs I got at Fairlook Antiques last month.  I’m calling this second post in the series “Sweet and Lowdown” after my favorite Woody Allen movie.  I love it when Sean Penn falls off the moon.

Speaking of Sean Penn, here he is as a young man practicing for his role as Emmet Ray, the second best guitarist in the world.  You may ask why he’s playing the banjo instead of a guitar, and I will suggest that you shouldn’t dig too deep into things like this.  They all fall apart upon close examination.  He’s playing a stringed instrument…that’s what matters.

sweet and lowdownAlso, is this girl playing a clarinet?  I think she might be.  I sure hope she is as I’ve called this second photo “Bonnie Goodman.”  I think that’s rather clever.  Of course, it all falls apart (again) if it’s really a piccolo or an oboe.

bonnie goodmanI try to avoid knowing too much about the man, but I think Woody Allen might also play the clarinet.  See, it all comes together when it’s not falling apart.

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“Oh no, must be the season of the…

…spooky woman from the 1940s wearing long robes out in the woods next to a boulder, yeah.”

seasonI purchased the above photograph for $3 at Fairlook Antiques during my most recent trip to Seattle.  There was no way this one was staying in the store.  I had to take it home with me so I could figure out what the picture reminds me of.  I’ve had it for three weeks and I still haven’t figured it out.  Here’s what I know:

  • Sometime within the last decade (5 or 6 years, more likely) a band released an album that featured a similar image on its front cover.  A long-haired woman wearing robes outdoors.  I think she might’ve had a sword held upright over her head.  Or pointing toward the foreground.  That sounds like death metal imagery, but I think the release in question was fairly mainstream.

I don’t remember anything else.  Does that sound familiar to you?  I hope it rings a bell with someone out there.  If not, I’ll probably have to carry the photo around with me and show it to all the area record store clerks.  I really don’t want to be that guy.

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The Month in Music & Books (7/16)

Last month I bought the ugliest LP I’ve ever seen.  It’s Beaches and Canyons by the Summer Hits.  I’d never heard of the band before, but whoever wrote the blurb on the front sticker made them sound like something I’d enjoy.  The vinyl is brown and yellow and reminds me of that time I got sick after eating a Grand Slam Breakfast from Denny’s.*

The Summer Hits were good, but an even better record was the one a couple over by the Resonars.  Another band I’d never heard of, I bought this one because I thought the song titles sounded promising.  Other highlights from the month include a surprisingly terrific album by the Monkees called Good Times!, a compilation of old Bangles tracks, and a couple CDs that I’d been trying to track down for years.  Those last two were Mantra by the Roswells and The World Turns All Around Him, a power pop tribute to Gene Clark from Sweden.  The CD is from Sweden, not Gene Clark.  I think he was from Missouri.

first part of july

(music for July)

As far as books go, I read four more titles from the New York Review Children’s Collection, the latest Sidney Chambers book, and a time-traveling love story by Daniel Clowes.  I also read Nine Stories for the fifth or sixth time.

One of the children’s books, Alfred Ollivant’s Bob, Son of Battle: The Last Gray Dog of Kenmuir was very dull in places and just as long as its mess of a title would suggest.  It was the first dud-ish book I’ve read from the Children’s Collection.  Fortunately, everything else I finished in July was enjoyable.  The Wind on the Moon and Mistress Masham’s Repose were the highlights.

recent july books2

(books for July)

Although this post features all the books I read in July, it only includes the music I purchased before going to Seattle on the 21st.  I bought an entire DJ case worth of tunes out there; those items might show up in another post later on.

* = I have never eaten a Grand Slam Breakfast in my life.  That was just my polite way of saying the record looks like a mixture of poop and eggs.

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Richard Buckner @ MOTR Pub (8/6/16)

Probably the less said about last night’s Richard Buckner show down in Over-the-Rhine the better.  I arrived late to find him playing to a decent-sized crowd of people, but I soon realized that only about a dozen of them were paying any attention to what he was doing onstage.  The rest were drinking and chatting and ignoring him.  They were loud and disrespectful.  The situation made me grumpy and embarrassed for my town.  It made Richard Buckner angry.

Richard had just finished “When You Tell Me How It Is” and was starting in on “Before” when I guess he reached his limit.  He stopped the song a few lines in, stood up, and began packing his equipment.  He looked furious.  An oblivious man from the audience made the mistake of going up on stage to talk to him.  Richard yelled at him to “get off the fucking stage.”  I believe that may have been the last thing he said in MOTR Pub.  He packed his minivan in a barely-contained rage and was gone five minutes later.

blurry buckner with boxes

(blurry Buckner with boxes)

This was a rough concert to witness.  I don’t blame Richard Buckner at all, though.  I’m actually surprised he lasted as long as he did.  The audience was obnoxious and showed a complete lack of respect.  Still, I’m glad I went.  If nothing else, it’ll explain why Richard skips over Cincinnati the next time he tours the Midwest.

Here’s to happier times and better audiences:

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Richard Buckner @ the Columbia City Theater (7/24/16)

Although I’m always looking for an excuse to come out to Seattle, I usually plan my trips around a specific event like a concert or music festival.  I planned this trip around Richard Buckner’s show at the Columbia City Theater.  Not only is the theater one of my favorite local venues, but Richard Buckner is one of my favorite musicians (and has been for 19 years).  So it seemed like a good excuse for a visit.

Beth and I were the first people through the theater doors, so we ended up snagging two seats right in the middle of the front row.  That gave me an even better view than I’d had when Richard played a show in my house a couple years ago.  We listened to Hayden over the sound system while we waited for the concert to begin; I drank a beer and Beth drew a drawing of the stage.  I’d post it here, but it’s not mine to share.

The show eventually started at a little after 8:00.  Richard was great as usual, but I’m not going to go into the specific details as I’ve already done that three times in the Vox/WP era.  You should probably just go back and read those.  Sorry, I’m lazy.

Although I make setlist notes in a pocket-sized Moleskine during shows, I always clean them up and write them in the back pages of my proper journal.  I recently ran out of those pages for this year, so I had to write the corrected setlist in the rarely-used calendar at the front of the book.  I like the way it looks, so I’ve taken a picture and am posting it here instead of typing it all out as I usually do.  Here’s the setlist:


(27 days, 27 songs)

I did a bit of investigating and noticed that Richard Buckner played at least one song from each of his nine solo albums…going all the way back to 1994’s Bloomed.

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The red spines make them easy to find.

Beth and I went to two different branches of Seattle’s Third Place Books yesterday.  As a result, my Books to Read Shelf went from three titles up to eleven in less than a couple hours.  I was particularly happy with the stores’ selection of used New York Review Children’s Classics.  I’ve read seven books in the series so far this year, so I was happy to pick up six more…even if some of them featured sad personalized Christmas inscriptions written on the inside.


(six books!)

Here are those titles spelled out:

  • Barbara Sleigh – Carbonel: The King of Cats
  • Eilís Dillon – The Lost Island
  • James Thurber – The 13 Clocks
  • James Thurber – The Wonderful O
  • Esther Averill – The School For Cats
  • Esther Averill – The Hotel Cat

Those Esther Averill books will be re-reads as I went through a Jenny Linsky phase a few years ago.

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Mark Pickerel @ Sea-Tac Airport (7/21/16)

I swear I don’t plan my trips to and from Seattle around Mark Pickerel’s appearances at the airport, but I ran into the man there again yesterday.  He was performing as part of Sea-Tac’s City of Music program which features local musicians playing live music throughout the airport.  This was the second time that our schedules have overlapped.  This time I found him singing in the middle of the Central Terminal food court to an audience of travelers eating Qdoba burritos and something that might’ve been Chinese food.  I pulled up a chair and watched the rest of his set.

Here he is:


And here are the songs he played while I was there:

Setlist: … / Sway (Dean Martin) / Waiting on a Friend (Rolling Stones) / Solitary Man (Neil Diamond) / Forest Fire / Your Avenue / You’ll Be Mine / Mother of Earth (Gun Club) / One More Cup of Coffee (Bob Dylan) / Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone (Willie Nelson & others)

Much like last time, he played an interesting mix of covers and originals.  The highlights for me included a song I associate with Dean Martin called “Sway” and a cover of Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man.”  As far as the original songs go, I particularly enjoyed “Forest Fire” and “You’ll Be Mine.”  I was happy to find both of these songs on the Snake in the Radio CD I bought as Mark was packing up after the show.  It’s an album Beth tried to give me years ago.  I refused the offer back then by saying,

I don’t want a CD by some guy you gotta crush on!

As you can see, I eventually came around.

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Paul McCartney @ U.S. Bank Arena (7/10/16)

After three days of searching, I finally found my Paul McCartney ticket just 212 hours before the doors opened.  It turned out that one of my cousins had an extra and was willing to sell it to me for face value.  Once I knew I had a ticket, I felt a great relief at no longer having to deal with the scalpers on StubHub or the psychopaths on Craigslist.  I started geeking out.  I went so far as to dig out my old red JOHN PAUL GEORGE RINGO t-shirt.  Yes, I decided to dismiss concert etiquette and wear a Paul McCartney shirt to a Paul McCartney show.

My parents and I went downtown and met up with my cousin.  I gave her a check in exchange for the ticket.  It was the most expensive concert ticket I’ve ever purchased, even more expensive than the prime seat I accidentally bought for the Eagles’ Hell Freezes Over tour back in 1994.  (I’m not kidding.  It really was an accident.)  Here’s the Paul McCartney ticket:

paul mccartney ticketThere was no time for small talk.  I gave my cousin a hug and headed for one of the metal detector lines.  “I’ll see you at Christmas,” I said over my shoulder.  My parents and I split up on the other side of security, and I went off to find my seat.  It was a surprisingly excellent seat…far away from the stage, but with good sight-lines and a metal bar between me and the section in front.  The people on either side were nice, as well.  Here’s a pre-show shot:

sailor babo gets readyThe concert started about an hour later.

The next two hours and 45 minutes were probably the most joyous and magical two hours and 45 minutes I’ve ever spent in my life.  Or at least the most joyous and magical two hours and 45 minutes I’ve ever spent at a concert.  I had a big grin on for most of the show and even got a bit teary-eyed once.

view from my seatHere are the setlist notes I wrote during the show:

paul mccartney setlistAnd here’s that setlist all cleaned up with proper titles:

Main set: A Hard Day’s Night / Save Us / Can’t Buy Me Love / Letting Go / Temporary Secretary / Let Me Roll It / Foxy Lady (instrumental Jimi Hendrix cover) / I’ve Got a Feeling / My Valentine / Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five / Here, There and Everywhere / Maybe I’m Amazed / We Can Work It Out / In Spite of All the Danger (early McCartney/Harrison composition recorded by the Quarry Men in 1958) / You Won’t See Me / Love Me Do / And I Love Her / Blackbird / Here Today / Queenie Eye / New / The Fool on the Hill / Lady Madonna / FourFive Seconds (recent song recorded with Kanye West and Rihanna)/ Eleanor Rigby / Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite! / Something / Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da / Band on the Run / Back in the U.S.S.R. / Let It Be / Live and Let Die / Hey Jude

Encore: Yesterday / Hi Hi Hi / Birthday / Golden Slumbers–>Carry That Weight–>The End

For those of you keeping track, that’s 23 Beatles songs (if you count the Abbey Road medley that closed the show as three), 7 solo Paul McCartney songs, 6 Wings-related songs, and 3 other songs that don’t quite fit into one of those categories.  It was all great.  The only song that came anywhere near being a dud was “Temporary Secretary.”  It’s a slightly-annoying, completely weird song that Paul has, for some reason, plucked off McCartney II and started playing at shows.  The funny thing is that I was totally singing along about halfway through.  I’ve still got it in my head as I’m writing this.

What we really should be talking about here are the highlights.  There were so many.  The biggest highlight of a night full of them was a surprise performance of George Harrison’s “Something.”  I call it a surprise because it’s a song that’s so clearly associated with George.  Sure, it’s a Beatles song, but George wrote it and George sang it.  I’m still kind of shocked that I got to hear it–played on a ukulele nonetheless.  It was beautiful and I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried like a big, stupid baby.

Other highlights include “Here, There and Everywhere” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” played back-to-back, a mini Grand Old Opry-style set featuring acoustic versions of early Beatles classics, a boisterous “Live and Let Die” with explosions and fire shooting everywhere, “Ob-La-De, Ob-La-Da” and “Hey Jude” sing-alongs that I actually participated in, an unexpected ba-ba appearance in “Lady Madonna”, and the magnificent “Golden Slumbers–>Carry That Weight–>The End” medley that closed the show.

By the time we got to “The End,” I was happier than I’ve been in a while.  I felt light and clean and had to fight the urge to high-five complete strangers.  I would’ve been willing to spend a lot more money than I did to feel that way.  The way I look at it, I got a bargain.  I met up with my parents outside the venue, high-fived both of them, and then listened to my mom talk about how “awesome” Paul McCartney is, how great he looks for 74, and how she no longer regrets that my grandmother wouldn’t let her go see the Beatles when she was a little girl in 1964.  All is forgiven.

And my dad looked around all sneaky-like and told me he’d secretly recorded a dozen songs on his iPhone.  That pirate!

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