Sunday, July 28, 2013
Every Saturday, I walk down to Lake Union to watch the seaplanes come in and dock at the Kenmore Air terminal. It's usually very empty and serene, even at this time of the year. Yesterday, however, it was the scene of lots of activity. See:
All kinds of people were there for dragon boat races. Normally, there's a dragon boat that launches at around the time I show up for the planes. This time of year, they might manage to muster two. There were a lot more than that yesterday.
Here's a boat. They have a drummer who sits up front.
This is some of them racing. The boat on the left won by a mile.
Each team wore its colors. It was like gang warfare without the body count!
It's a real thing. They have their own sign. See?
Well the seaplanes landed in a swarm. There were about seven of them. It was quite thrilling. The racing didn't allow a few of them to dock for a while. But they finally did. And then I left. And that's the end of my story.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Yes, I've been complaining about the lack of squirrel sightings at Denny Park of late, but yesterday, I ran into a fellow who was quite photogenic. The only problem was that he would strike a nice pose and I'd push the shutter button like a crazy person only to have him move when my camera finally got around to snapping the picture. There were lots of blurrels. I did get a few good shots. Observe:
First, he looks to his left...
...then to his right.
He eats a peanut...
...and then he runs away. The end.
It's a whole story right there!
Oh, and I found a cute plastic squirrel at the Rivoli's temporary thrift store. Here it is:
Not very realistic, but who cares? Most squirrels aren't that obese.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Well, it has to happen sometime, sweet people. This guy really didn't like my album. Here it is in its glorious entirety:
Well, at least they are upfront about their aspirations.
Longboat’s latest album, Unpopular Songs for Unpopular People, purports to be an exercise in subverting indie-pop tropes, which is the sort of thing that I can usually get behind if done right. I’d say that the subversions don’t hit the mark, but after experiencing Unpopular’s boorishly-messy sixty-three minutes, complete with keyboards that could have been done better by Ray Manzarek’s corpse and a lead singer whose boorish voice and detached demeanor bring to mind Marcy Playground, I’m not sure what mark Longboat was trying to hit. To hear these guys tell it, the world sucks, everything in it sucks, and everything that could be good about it will suck in due time. Aren’t those common music tropes? The wittiest song here, “Last Words”, is a collection of the last recorded words of noteworthy people, most of which are darkly comedic given the expressed optimism, set over too-cheery music. For many artists, this would be deemed a good start. For Longboat, “Last Words” is a good place to end.
Whew... OK, for the record, I harbor absolutely no ill will toward this reviewer. Maybe he got up on the wrong side of the futon that day or something similar to jar him out of a Longboat-esque frame of mind. I'm just left scratching my head at a few of the pronouncements here - mainly the "everything sucks" part, as it's not accurate. If he'd actually listened to the entire album, he would probably discover that he was in error. For example, I really go out of my way to sing (literally) the praises of the CERN Large Hadron Collider in "Supercollider," because it's an unbelievable achievement of humankind and so forth. He must have missed that. I also discuss how fun it is to hang out with smart drunks in "Gutterati." That, too, seems not to have registered. In fact, to my recollection, there isn't a single track on the entire album - except for maybe "Tuesday Night" - about anything sucking in either the past, present or future. My guess is that he listened to the first and last tracks and extrapolated everything in the middle, while noting the running time for due diligence. That's only a guess. I'm not saying that it would be his cup of tea if he'd listened to the whole thing, but at least I don't think the review would be as off-base as it is. So he didn't like the album. That's fine. But he should at least be accurate in his condemnation. That's all I'm saying.
Oh, and he should probably use the word "boorish" in either its adjectival or adverbial forms just once per review. But to be honest, while making the album, I did have my engineer EQ my voice especially to bring out its boorishness.
And also for the record, I've never, ever heard anything by Marcy Playground. Are they any good?
Sunday, July 7, 2013
I've been meaning to post this for awhile now, but it seems that Belltown is getting yet another building. This is on 3rd, between Blanchard and Bell - right in my neck of the woods. It's where Crawford-Waage Hardware used to be. Walking into that place was like stepping into a time machine. And they were helpful. And I bought my Christmas tree there. But now it's been gone for quite some time. Lord knows what they're constructing, but it appears to have a basement.
As usual, I went to my aunt's boat on Lake Union to watch the fireworks. My iPhone took dismally bad pictures of the whole display which was nothing to write home about in the first place. There where no smiley faces, no cowboy hats and a limited number of Saturns. Boo! This is the best picture I took:
And that was the Fourth.
And that was the Fourth.
Another year, another Edmonds Fourth of July parade. That's how it works. Edmonds is my hometown. Whenever I visit it for very short stretches, it seems idyllic. But all too soon I remember how crushingly dull it was and how you needed a car to get to anything worthwhile. I know things can be worse. A cousin of mine lives in eastern Oregon and it's a two-hour drive to get to the nearest town. For us, it was a half-hour walk to get to a store. When you're a kid, that's forever. Plus, the store just wasn't that interesting. Anyhow, in small doses, Edmonds is a very charming place. But its Fourth of July Parade varies in quality quite a bit. There have been years, when it's been super-short and very entertaining and other years when it's gone on forever and had the same floats go through three times. This year was somewhere in between. Here's how it went:
The first thing was the - *heavy sigh* - Children's Parade. It even had its own announcer. I'm sure he had a name, but I will always know him as Ponytail. He's in none of these pictures.
OK, so maybe Ronald McDonald did ride a Segway. He was at the head of the mob.
It was all like this. See? Just a bunch of people shuffling down the street, I tell you. All you needed to do to get into the parade was to either be a kid or to own one. That's all. Back in my day, you had to put in the time. You had to be a Cub Scout. Or be in a marching band. These days everybody gets a trophy; that being a chance to walk down 5th Ave. and perhaps a high-five from Ponytail.
And amid all the chaos was Captain America looking very buff.
OK, so that was kind of boring - just lots of bikes and wagons and scooters and scateboards and strollers and whatnot. Children are the future, true enough, but the present belongs to me. Anyhow, Ponytail was sent back to the minors and Grumpy Old Guy (GOG) took his place. Although not dynamic. this guy's workman-like hosting was way better than the guy last year. Mr. Last Year could barely read, was nearly inaudible and sounded like he was about 100. OK, so the real parade:
As tradition dictates, the parade is begun by the Edmonds Police's "drill team." Yes, there are only three of them. My guess is that they're the thinnest members of the force and thus are unlikely to break their motorcycles.
Yes, and there were fire engines...
...and army trucks/Humvees...
...and - excitement! - this is the closest thing they've ever had to a tank in the parade ever! Like I said: excitement!
Oh, and also the Coast Guard Auxiliary: the second-to-last line of defense in case of Canadian invasion. Of course, the last line - and I've made this joke before - is the Cub Scouts.
Here's the chamber of commerce float. It's in the parade every year and it's always the same. One year it went through three times. Yeah, they didn't think we'd notice, but we did.
People in cars...
...and here's a guy in a Lincoln, the kind with the suicide doors, which are open. I dunno, it's weird to see it driving around with them open. And if you ask me - and you should - it also looks slightly un-American.
Here's some indie band singin' about flowers and nature and mountain streams and such. The kids in the foreground think that every single thing in the parade is throwing out candy, but from this band they got squat.
These are Job's Daughters. They're part of the vast Masonic conspiracy. They also gave out no candy.
This is a bad picture, but that guy in the costume is dressed as an orca. He was with the Job's Daughters, so that means he's also in on their scheme for world domination.
Say hello to Shorewood High School. Unlike my high school, it's apparently still open.
They carried a giant flag - pretty impressive for such an inferior school.
People dressed up like colonial times folks, except much fatter...
...the Sons of Norway and their fire-breathing dragon boat. Actually, it's probably just a fire extinguisher or something.
Here's the Snohomish County Sheriff's Posse. If you break out of jail, they'll come after you on horseback. But they'll probably be dressed differently.
Ah yes, a guy dressed as a raccoon...
...more people in old cars. Who are they? Who knows?
...and a drill team. I'm sorry, but drill teams are pointless and they make me sad.
This is a non-marching band. It's very interesting how they manage to cram so many people into such a small space. The thing that struck me about these people is that they're very quiet. I guess that's a product of the limited space.
Tae-kwan do kids splitting boards. Hi-YA!
This was voted the funniest float. Am I missing something here? Or maybe the Edmonds sense of humor is different from regular humans.
Star Wars nerds! Always a treat. This year, there seems to be fewer of them than previous years. The highlight? The very large ewok in the center. No, that ain't Chewbacca!
OK, this is all the planets coming into alignment: you have Captain America (from before), Oxy-Gene (some environmental mascot) and an Uncle Sam impersonator from the crowd. What a moment!
This got the award for best decorated. If you look closely, you'll see that it's just a bunch of potted plants. Jeez, everybody gets a trophy!
...two dragsters. This is a first for the Edmonds parade. At least as far as I can remember.
This is some random piece of modern equipment. I believe it turns people into food after they're dead.
And this is the end of the parade. At last!