Tuesday, November 29, 2011

After Hours

I've been watching The Ricky Gervais Show lately on DVD. It's pretty weird - basically, it starts as a podcast and gets animated into a cartoon. I'm a little surprised that Ricky Gervais looks like Fred Flintstone, but if he doesn't mind, who cares? So they just sit around and ask Karl Pilkington questions. At first, I thought he was just stupid. That's not the whole story. OK, he might not be very smart, but he also has a breathtaking lack of imagination. They ask him a question - any question - and he can only answer back with another question. Eventually, he'll launch into a long, drawn-out answer that makes no sense at all. This is my favorite one right here, the "blind ghost" answer. In earlier episodes, I thought that Gervais and Merchant were being kind of mean to Pilkington, but by this episode, I began to admire their restraint. The one thing about Karl Pilkington that's nothing short of incredible is that he is completely even-keeled. He never gets angry or annoyed and always talks in that lilting semi-monotone. Nothing bothers him. When he tells a story that makes no sense or sounds like an idiot, he doesn't care. That's kind of admirable. But then Gervais and Merchant swoop in with the ridicule. And Pilkington just digs a deeper hole. I can imagine that some of these conversations go on for hours. We just get the edited parts.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Your Sunday Squirrel

Tonight on a very special Sunday Squirrel: the squirrels of Cost Plus. I know that photos of rambunctious, twitchy, unpredictable tree rodents are always preferable, but I found very few at Denny Park this week and when I did, I was camera-less. At Cost Plus, however, they did have a selection of squirrel-related goods. Here are a few of the items I found:

This scene wouldn't happen in nature, as squirrels and hedgehogs would run for their lives from owls. Still, it's nice to know that they get along on gift bags. The squirrel below is a bit too stylized for me. It looks more like a lemur. But what, I ask you, would a lemur be doing with Santa?

These are some abominable snow squirrels. And finally, a squirrel ornament:

As you can see, it's the only one left. I was going to get it, but it was six freakin' bucks. And the squirrel is brown, not gray, so no. My apologies for no real squirrels this week.

Meanwhile, at 2nd & Broad...

This sounds like the worst thing ever:

I know that they're trying to differentiate the two, but it caught my eye the other day and got me to wondering what a lemonade burger would taste like. I'm guessing pretty awful.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Calendar Is Here!

Behold, this year's cover-squirrel! He's Mr. April. There are 11 others, as well. Hey, what kind of calendar editor would I be if I didn't have squirrels for all 12 months? That's right, a pretty lousy one. But in this calendar we have some of the best Denny Park squirrels from this year. Here is a sampling:

This last shot is actually my computer's desktop. That's how much I like it. And as a matter of fact, this little fellow is not only Mr. October, he's also Mr. December. Yes, he was very friendly/hungry. You can see all next year's squirrels at my rather desolate Cafe Press store here. A full year of local squirrels will run you $16.99 plus shipping. Yeah, it ain't super-cheap, but I'll tell you, this year would have been a hell of a lot worse without squirrels telling me the date/day of the week. IF you feel so inclined, you can also purchase a t-shirt of this year's Mr. November. It's a very good shot of a rather sleepy-looking squirrel. I have one myself and I wear it all the time. OK, so once again, Sunday Squirrel Calendar at Cafe Press. They make wonderful gifts but sub-par Frisbees. Damn straight.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Your Sunday Squirrel

OK, so I have the calendar photos selected and sized. I just have to remember my CafePress password and we're in bidness. Until then, enjoy this shot. It again features the very friendly fellow who has been your Sunday Squirrel for more than the last month. He's also scheduled to be Squirrel of the Month twice. I'll give him the two best months. I haven't decided what they're going to be yet, but he'll have them.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Two Things

You know, I've had a sum total of about two conversations all week. That's it. I feel like I might be forgetting how to talk. When this happens - and it has been more recently - I tend to go to where people congregate. It's not like I strike up conversations with strangers or anything, but rather that I feel a bit more re-attached to the human race. Of course, if I make small children flee and old people cry with my mere presence, then I suppose that's cause for concern. It hasn't happened yet, so hooray. I decided on a trip to Uwajimaya for dinner fixins and the Market for sundries. I knew that both places would be absolutely mobbed. And they were.

It's been an intense week. I was on a revision jag that had me eradicating music and lyrics that I've considered finished for well over a year. It was one of those cases when my focus is so narrow that I lose time. It's like I start in, I do stuff and suddenly it's two hours later and I'm working in the dark. That's what three days last week were like. I got a lot accomplished. And when it's over, there's a letdown and a period of adjustment. That's today.

Anyhow, as I was walking down to Uwajimaya, two things occurred to me. The first is that yesterday was the sixth anniversary of the best gig I've ever had. We were playing up at Julia's on Broadway. For some reason, everything worked. I can't explain why it did, but it was like no matter how fast the tune was, I always had time to think about each and every note. My side guys, Hans and Chris, sounded super-excellent, too. But as my luck would have it, owing to a light snow overnight, the place was completely deserted. I think maybe seven people came in all evening, which is weird, because it's Capitol Hill and people are there all the time, rain, shine, snow, hellfire. Well, it was also Veteran's Day, but I don't think that was much of a factor, either. Whatever the reason, nobody showed up. So we had this superb gig that no one except the fine employees of Julia's heard. That's always the way it is. You've got a large-ish crowd (I can't say "huge" because I've never played in front of one of those before), and you sound like crap (and nobody notices), but you always sound superb playing to an empty room (and nobody also notices, because there's nobody around). That's what happened November 11, 2005. But I haven't necessarily lost the magic in the intervening time; July 3, 2010 was the second-best gig ever. So legendary gigs are still possible.

The other thing that struck me on my way to the ID is that I have broken my own record in the annual Rivoli Heating Derby. See, every year I make a mental note of when I switch on the heat in my apartment. In 19 years of living in this dump, the earliest has been September 23rd (I remember because it's Coltrane's birthday) and the latest has been November 10th. Well, that previous mark has been shattered. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not sitting here shivering, trying to best some meaningless milestone. Oh no, that would be - what's the word? - ah, yes, stupid. To tell the truth, I've developed a greater tolerance for cold. I guess that's what it is. God knows, once the thermometer rises beyond 58 degrees, I overheat. It's only logical that I should be more comfortable at lower temperatures. I don't know how to explain this other than I might be turning into a walrus. I haven't gained any weight, but it might explain the tusks.

So this is what happens when I don't have conversations for most of the week. The way things are going now, with a dreary winter ahead of us and people going into hibernation and such, I predict a lot of weeks like this one.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bird Swarm!

This, like many things, has nothing to do with Belltown. You know, I remember a few years back how there was this great push to eradicate starlings from the Seattle area. The argument was that they were a messy, invasive species and not good for much of anything. After all, they weren't colorful and didn't have an interesting song. Well, it turns out that if you get enough starlings together, pretty incredible things can happen. Here's how they behave out in the countryside. I swear, if you stare at it long enough, they will seem at times to be governed by a single intelligence. Oh, and please excuse the sappy Pachelbel Canon. That was not my doing.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Your Sunday Squirrel

I'm almost nearly hard at work on the new squirrel calendar. I just have to finish a tune about regicide. For the time being, here's more of last week's friendly squirrel. And yes, I'm also going to post the last few photos from my road trip. I can't believe it, but I have no pictures from either Jackson or Pocatello. Well, with the latter, you're not missing much, but I thought at least I'd take a few shots of the town's many, many jewelry and candy stores. Anyhow, that's all forthcoming.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween 2011

So many people have come up to me and asked, Hey Igor, how was your Halloween? Many, many people. I tell them that it was fantastic, I was in Edmonds and my friend Kris was in town and so forth, but for you, sweet people, I have the chance to show you with pumpkins. I carved (most of) them. Here they are by day:

OK, so ho-hum. But by night, it's a different story. Observe:

Yeah, so this turned out to be very nice. There was a lot of gory stuff in the yard, but I kind of missed all that. We had a very nice time, scared many kids and basked in the satisfaction of a job well done.