Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yet Another Album Update

For all you wonderful Belltown people who need new music, you can purchase Greater Seattle at Bedlam. It's a total bargain. You see, I've been looking into this: your average album of today's young-person music generally contains anywhere from 8-12 tracks, which has taken a young-person music group somewhere in the neighborhood of two years to generate. On the other hand, Greater Seattle has 17 luscious tracks, took just a bit over two months to write, lasts over an hour and, if you buy it at Bedlam, will run you a mere ten bucks. Honestly, that makes it superior to all young-person music. It's quicker, stronger and better. And I don't mean to toot my own horn, but you will like it. If it were a politician, it might become governor or perhaps secretary of the interior. It is the SOTI who is in charge of all squirrels and that would not be a bad thing.

I do not drink coffee, but those who do whom I trust tell me that Bedlam makes a delicious cuppa. For those like me, I would go with the vanilla rooibos. It has never disappointed me. Both of these will go down better if you buy Greater Seattle. This album does not suck. I assure you.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Et Tu, Marco's?

Shocker! It appears that Marco's is closed. Wow. They've been there forever. And by "forever" I mean around 20 years. I've been there several times and it was always good.

Of course, I could be mistaken about this. They could be remodeling or something. There's no "for lease" sign up. But restaurants don't usually paper up their windows without some sort of explanatory signage. Heck, even Dope Burger eventually posted a sign. Well, this is a rather sudden thing. You'll have to imagine a Belltown without Marco's.

Oh, the Humanity!

Pardon the photo from my obsolete cell phone, but this is news. The last time I walked past this place it was open. Now it isn't. In case it doesn't ring a bell, it's close to the corner of 1st & Battery. It used to be swanky, swanky Cascadia, where deals were made and money was no object. Then it became this tapas place. It looked decent enough, but I never went there. Funny thing, whenever anyone says "tapas bar," I instantly think they're saying "topless bar." My hearing isn't so great sometimes. Anyhow, it appears that 1st & Battery is the place where restaurants go to die. First there was the Del Rey - OK, that was a bar - then Twist and Ventana, now this place, whose name I never committed to memory. Strange, because all the restaurants next door in that Belltown Court complex all seem to be thriving, from Bisato to Belltown Pizza to La Vita E Bella and they've all got a rather inconvenient bathroom configuration. Unfortunately for this tapas place, even having a toilet brought to your table probably wouldn't have helped.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Your Sunday Squirrel

Once again, from the archives. Please enjoy.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Film at the Rivoli!

OK, so this picture doesn't look like much and apologies for that, but yesterday there was yet another film crew at my building. It wasn't exactly the Rivoli proper; it was at Action Small Appliance. They're my downstairs neighbor. Yay!! I knew something was up yesterday morning when there was all this door-slamming and sounds of equipment being hefted. Later on, about half a billion production assistants showed up to say things over walkie-talkies. I thought for sure that the See Sound was being used for retakes of that Kristen Bell-Aubrey Plaza epic, Safety Not Guaranteed, but no. It's a completely different movie. This one is called Eden. According to the mighty IMDB, it stars Beau Bridges (currently the lesser of the Bridges brothers) and a chick with a very large forehead. I did not see either of them or anybody else in the cast (whose names do not sound familiar) on the sidewalk in front of the Rivoli. Evidently, they had need of a small appliance store and Action suited them fine. It's nice to see the film industry return to Seattle. We kind of screwed ourselves over in the mid-90s and everybody simply shifted up to Vancouver. Having a film set here every so often makes it seem like a city.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Kind Words

This comes from - of all place - Mercer Island. James Crossley of Island Books took a liking to Greater Seattle and decided to blurb it AND sell it. Here's what he has to say about it. I also did a mini-interview. I hope I sound smart. Book-reading people like that sort of thing. So if you're on Mercer Island and you really need a copy of Greater Seattle, there's a place you can get it.

Founders Day - One and Done?

There was no Founders Day this year! Did anybody notice? I sure did. Last year's inaugural fest was pretty cool. I just figured the experiment was over. But not so! You just have to wait till next summer. That's right, plan to be around August 11 & 12 of next year. These days, everybody's got a block party. Heck, even South Lake Union has one now. Belltown deserves one and someday - I'm getting a little delusional now - it might even rival the Capitol Hill Block Party. But for the present, we have to wait for next year.

By the way, what is that little fellow up there? Is a bug-like human, a human-like bug or just a guy with four arms and dirt for a body? I'd really like to know.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Your Sunday Squirrel

Once again, we visit the archives. It hasn't been for lack of trying, sweet people. It's just that these little squirrels are so skittish that they run from everything. I mean, they're frightened by peanuts. Peanuts! Well, I'm hoping they'll come around this week. They know me well enough. Until then, enjoy a squirrel who didn't scare quite so easily.

Igor Gets Reviewed!

News flash! Somebody likes my album! And he lives in Portland. You know, my friend Jim and I have been trying our damnedest to generate interest in this silly town for this album, which is about this silly town and we're running into what I call the "Seattle Syndrome." Either people aren't interested or they're interested just to a point and no further. But no one will tell you anything. They simply won't return calls or emails. It's kind of frustrating. I mean, I'm sending copies to people who make a living from writing things about Seattle. This is a thing about Seattle. And as far as I know, nobody's done something like this before. So far, it's been a struggle. But things are looking up. There's this review from the East Portland Blog (where I saw that great Nabokov footage). He drops the g-bomb in the first sentence and although I'm flattered, I tell you that it is completely untrue. It's kind of ironic that the first person to review it comes from Portland, but Seattle, you had your chance. Like I said, things are looking up. I got interviewed by Pacific Publications last week. It should be appearing this coming week. They publish all these community newspapers in the area. Heck, they used to be right here in Belltown. But that spot is now occupied by the Moda.

OK, so pardon my frustration at the lack of attention. I'm sure these things will take time. We're trying very hard to get airplay. It's a pop album. Once again, getting people to listen to it is an immense challenge. Still, it's something that I'm very proud of and I'm not going to let myself be discouraged by the Seattle Syndrome. It's nothing personal; it's just the way many folks in this town operate.

And should you want your very own copy, go here.

After Hours

This is a two-parter. I didn't even know this existed. Thank you, internet! I saw this on the East Portland Blog (more on that in a second) and couldn't resist. You know, Nabokov was famous for never speaking off-the-cuff. In Speak Memory, he describes all the hijinks involved just talking on the phone and how his language skills desert him in his hour of need. He wrote down just about everything he was going to say to anyone (except maybe his wife), so it's quite thrilling to see him in the midst of a discussion with Calvin Trilling and a host-guy who seems to possess a brain. Sure, he does a lot of stammering, but that's all part of his charm. What I've long dug about the guy (besides his ethereal writing) is his funky accent. He was a Russian who studied in England, settled in Germany, then France, the U.S. and finally Switzerland. While he tried very hard to sound English, he ends up sounding oddly Scandinavian. His Russian accent is very much in the background. I have a cassette of him reciting his poetry and reading from Lolita and it's quite intriguing to listen to, as he speaks in this very clipped way that makes him sound quite German. Anyhow, the guy was a genius. OK, so I don't care for Pale Fire at all, but The Gift, The Defense, Invitation to a Beheading and, of course, Lolita are all masterpieces.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Your Sunday Squirrel

I've been writing a hell of a lot of music this week, but I was able to visit Denny Park a few times. I kept running into the same gang of squirrels. There were three of them - all quite little and skittish. There was no way they were going to let me take a photo of them. Every time I reached for my camera, they were off up a tree. Once again, we visit the archive. I like this picture. Though this fellow is small, he has his dignity. Please enjoy.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Your Sunday Squirrel

Here's another shot of the very friendly fellow I met not too long ago. He was the one who very boldly took peanuts right out of my hand and wasn't weird about it. And golly, he really liked to perch on that bench. When I left, he was still up there, hanging out, doing squirrel stuff.

Once again, apologies for dipping into the archives, but hey, I made an album! That's gonna be my excuse for everything from now on.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hey, I Made an Album!

The truth can be told! One of the reasons that my blogging and squirrel photography have been so remiss over the last three or four months is because I've been recording an album. It's a bunch of songs about Seattle; 17 in fact. I made this CD not because I adore this place, but kind of the opposite. It was a blast to record and it turned out about 98% of how I wanted it. And I assure you, it doesn't suck.

I know that I don't exactly advertise my musician status very often. Well, now I am. I'm a musician, I made an album and you can listen to various and sundry previews here. And if you feel so inclined, you can buy a copy. If you don't like Bellevue (and honestly, who likes Bellevue?), you'll enjoy this CD. Check it out. It's the best thing I've done since the squirrel calendar, which incidentally will return this November.


Funny story, true story: my friend Andy is turning a certain age and for this grand milestone, he decided to go to the zoo. Unfortunately, I got the day wrong, so there I was, a grownup alone at the zoo. Gee, that doesn't look suspicious at all, does it? What to do, what to do? Well, it helps if it appears like you're looking for someone. Or if you walk really fast everywhere, which is kind of difficult since so many people there are either very old, very young or very fat. So that's what I did and I made the best of my dunderheaded error. Here are pictures:

A giraffe. Another giraffe:

A very serious-looking patas monkey:

An elephant:

An orangutan:

They also had fake life-sized dinosaurs. They were kind of cool:

It costs another three bucks to see them, but it's worth it. And the exit for this exhibit really is through the gift shop.

After that, I saw a miniature panda cow (that's really what they're called):

And a bunny rabbit:

And then I left.