Sunday, April 29, 2012

Your Sunday Squirrel

I spotted this chubby little fellow this morning eating popcorn under a bench and not looking very happy about it. Giving him a peanut really improved his squirrel-mood. I have a temp job that's in the vicinity of Denny Park, so I get to stop in about every day. This should probably lead to some more nice squirrel pictures.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Your Sunday Squirrel

It's a Sunday Squirrel triptych! All the same guy. Enjoy!

Igor Sells T-Shirts! Disbelief Ensues!

On Thursday, I got a call from my temp agency. They had me at "motocross." The assignment: sell t-shirts and assorted (exorbitantly expensive) stuff. They warned me in advance that it would be a long day - at least 13 hours. That ended up being very close to the amount of time I spent at Seahawks/Qwest/Century Link Stadium. It was all very straightforward: we organized the merchandise and then awaited the hordes of crazed motocross fans to besiege us. This is what it looked like before the public fell upon us:

Those are my booth-mates, Michael and Emily off to the left. They were good to work with; no drama, no stress, just a deep commitment to selling overpriced junk. Did I mention that we were but one of many, many stands? Well, I believe there were seven others, including one off to our right that was quite a bit bigger than ours. Anyhow, here's a picture of me wearing a hat that we sold out of four times during the day:

The doors opened at 12:30 and the whole event was to go till 10:30, so it took a while for the total onslaught. But I was a little surprised when my first customer rushed up to me and hurriedly purchased $160 worth of gear without even batting an eye. That was just the beginning. As the crowd accumulated, people came forward in masses to pay $25 for t-shirts and hats, $55 for hoodie sweat jackets and any amount in between for other items. At first, they paid with cash, but the same people kept returning. When the cash was gone, they paid with credit cards. And they kept returning. Strangely enough, many of them were buying stuff during the actual races they were supposedly there to see. It was crazy. Now, you might be thinking, "Motocross fans, ugh, they must have been a vast herd of rednecks!" Nothing of the sort. Almost everybody was extremely well-behaved (especially the Canadians, of whom there were many) and even polite. Rednecks with terrible manners couldn't afford such an event.

Just when I thought things would settle down, we were assailed by something very much like a human tsunami. I spent the next three hours in a retail trance. We ran out of items, were resupplied and ran out again. It was absolutely insane. People bought everything in great quantities and spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars each. My biggest sale was just south of $400. They spent a ton and kept coming back. When it finally tapered off, I had so much money in my cash-apron, it was practically falling out. Once I got it all sorted, I handed Emily a stack of twenties at least two inches thick. And then there were the fifties and hundreds - many of them, as well. So much money. It was incredible.

I did actually get a chance to have a look at one of the qualifying races. It's weird; once the thing starts, you really can't tell who's winning or what. I mean, does this make sense?

How about now?

Or now?

So there followed several more hours of furious crap-hawking. I totally began to feel like a carny, except that people came to us waving their money (instead of us trying to entice them onto a rickety ride or into a rigged game) and credit cards, expecting nothing in return but gaudy t-shirts and assorted shoddy gear. Well, they got a lot of it. But I want to stress once again that the crowd was surprisingly pleasant and alarmingly willing to spend their hard-earned dough on inessential things. And so it continued until the final race. Some guy won. And then those whose credit wasn't yet in shambles bought us out of much of our remaining inventory. We sold out of numerous sizes of hoodies many, many times during the day, were restocked and sold out again. If we had had a thousand more, we would have sold out of those, too. Like I said, it was insane.

Here's how it was. Each charge produced a receipt. At the end of things, the stack looked like this:

I'm thinking that the average charge purchase was around $75 or so dollars. And this stack contains probably around 400 sales. We had two machines. There were seven others, each with two machines apiece, doing the same brisk business. You do the math. On top of that, I took in armloads of cash. I have to tell you something: we're all in the wrong business if it's not selling t-shirts at a motocross event.

The day was exhausting, but it was truly a trip to the surreal, which made it worth it. I toiled for 13 and a half hours and then walked home. And that was the day.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Here's a New Video by Me!

I had to wade through about a zillion hours of grade-Z gangster films for this video, but it was a total scream to make. When I was about half done, I found some Warner Bros. outtakes from the thirties and forties to add to the mix. The result: lots of Basil Rathbone. The tune itself is really nice; Jeff Fielder plays guitar, the Beau Metro Quartet does all the string work and I provide the dulcet tones. Oh, and I also wrote and arranged it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Your Sunday Squirrel

There isn't much back story here. This guy was running around, doing squirrel things when I called him over. Denny Park squirrels are very responsive. Other squirrels, for instance those in Seward Park, are not. Anyhow, so this guy came over when I called him, posed for a few pictures, took a peanut and went on his way. And that was that.

Hey! Goats!

When I was walking back from lunch last Wednesday, I caught this intriguing sight:

Those are goats, all right. And as you can see, they're right under the viaduct around Blanchard St. Goats in Belltown, how exciting.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A New Discovery...For Me At Least!

Usually when I go to Uwajimaya, I discover all kinds of weird Asian stuff, but today's trip was different. I found this stuff totally by accident when I was looking for rice vinegar. Maybe you're already aware that this stuff exists, but not me. Gosh, this is an exciting day! OK, so I didn't buy it, but I know where to get when the need arises.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Igor's New Video

Here it is:

OK, so hooray. This is the first track on the new album (Instant Classics), which will be out next week. It's a short, punchy number about taking a very fast French train - something I've never done. But I can sort of imagine what it's like, so I wrote a song about it. This isn't really a single; I just thought it would be fun to make a video with vintage railroad footage. And guess what? It was fun!

Anyhow, I'll post this on Book of Face and leave it at that. Let the buzz for Instant Classics begin in earnest!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Your Sunday Squirrel

Squirrel bartender says: "What'll it be, hmmmm?"

Oh, and here's another slightly out-of-focus itchy squirrel:

Monday, April 2, 2012

Another Crane!

I was walking by 2nd & Bell today and figured I should take a picture of the crane there. When it's gone, I'll miss it.

Igor's Got a Brand New Axe!

I finally did it. I am now a guitar owner. I resisted and resisted, because guitar is so not my instrument, but I've got three years to get proficient. I have plans for something guitar-centric then. Plus, I'd like to play live and write tunes that I can actually play. So it all works out. What you're looking at here is an Epiphone SG Special. It's the best, cheapest guitar I could find. As luck would have it, I was able to get the so called "player's package." They give you a gig bag, a strap, a cord (which didn't work), a tuner, sundry other trinkets and this tiny and cute but surprisingly loud amp:

Even at mid-volume, this thing makes everything in my apartment rattle. It's quite thrilling. And all for the low, low price of around $250. I've already broken a string, so I'm totally on my way.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Your Sunday Squirrel

And there you go!

Trappings of Spring...

For the last few years, I've run around Belltown, documenting which tree was in bloom and whatnot. I did this because I believed that genuine spring weather was right around the corner. And I've been wrong every year. OK, so I might refrain from doing that this year, though I think you should know that the cherry trees around the former Frederick Cadillac lot between 5th & 6th and Battery & Bell are in bloom. The shot above is from a few weeks ago. Here's what they look like now:


When was the last time you could cram three construction cranes into the same shot? The nineties, maybe? Really, I'd like to know. This was taken from 7th & Blanchard on my way back from Whole Foods. Two of the cranes belong to that block-long monstrosity on 6th that sits on the former site (*sob*) of the UA Cinemas. The one in the background is a new building going up in the Cinerama's parking lot. I believe it's a Paul Allen project. I'm hoping for the building to be as simple and appealing as all those down in South Lake Union.

These aren't the only cranes, though. There's another one at 2nd & Bell where the new condo building is going up. And there used to be a very large crane at the McGuire, but, in case you haven't noticed, the place is completely gone. It was so gradual and free of drama (though it was quite noisy) that people stopped noticing after a fashion. Well, at least that ugly-ass scaffold is gone.