best of BFS&T, 2009 edition

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In no particular order (Actually, they’re in reverse chronological order):

veni, vedi, vici

not quite there yet

Ethiopian wedding


George Harrison

beach trip

halfway through

the mental game of music


still don’t smoke

quite a group

lovely day in Seattle


happy as we are, thank you

Silver Falls

Port Townsend trip

dream girl

non-nostalgic nostalgia

wedding, play, garden, hike, learning

Of Yakima and Feces

the Oriental Chicken

Catherine Burton (Bunton?), R.I.P.


mona lisa

lots of big musical news, and links galore

a very coherent narrative

what if it is?

apples and bananas

cello scrotum

by way of example

flirtation versus pedantry

communication breakdown


. . .and the princess in peril

cello, music, pictures, Portland, recording, Yakima No Comments »

Today I was supposed to record with IrishBand, but Singer was sick and losing his voice, so he had to cancel.  That left me with a couple of hours to kill before our band meeting tonight, so I took the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful fall day and went for a hike in Macleay Park.

I thought about taking my camera, because after a few months out of the habit, I’ve started taking it everywhere with me again.  The reason I didn’t today is because I didn’t want to carry it on the hike, and I’ve taken it to Macleay before, and while the park is supremely beautiful, the pictures have never been compelling.  So I left it at home, much to my later dismay.

When I arrived at the park, there was a guy who was practicing his sword and staff skills, which was surprisingly cool to watch.  I’ve never been into it myself, but I’m fascinated with all that SCA stuff.  There was a guy I knew in Yakima who used to make his own huge swords and armor and everything, and go out into Randall Park and practice fighting.  He was a little too into it, as a matter of fact, and he was a little bit scary.   The guy I saw today just looked cool, and was doing parries and lunges.  He was just finishing up as I was walking by, though.

I hiked a mile or so up the trail, to the dilapidated Stone House, and when I got there, a family was shooting a movie with their little digital video camera.  I sat on a log and watched them for about twenty minutes, while they filmed the last few scenes.  They were in full costume; the princess, the witch, the adventurer, the sorcerer, and the two ghouls.  I arrived just in time to see the ghouls and the witch get killed by two different spells, like this:  “Abracadabra is what I say, and I want you to go away!”  The little princess was about four years old, and when she yelled, “Save me!  Save me!  Save me!” I have to admit that it was pretty dang cute.  The best part, however, was watching the dad be a director for the kids.  It seemed like he had some sort of video experience, or at least he was acting as if he did.  It was really a fun thing to see.  I had my phone with me, so I was able to take a couple of pictures, but they both suck.



See what I mean?  Oh, how I wish I had brought my camera.  I learned my lesson, that’s for sure.  After they finished filming, I thanked the guy for letting us all hang out and watch them (because a handful of other people joined me on the log), and asked him if this film had a name.  “Indiana Johnson and the Princess in Peril,” he replied.  Sounds awesome, and hopefully it’ll be coming soon to a YouTube near you.   Let’s keep our eyes open.

Tonight is a meeting with IrishBand, followed by a happy hour at Kell’s, where they have an open Irish music jam session that Singer and I have been to see a time or two before, and it’s really great.  It would be fun to bring my cello down there sometime, but space is at such a premium in there, and the cello would make it pretty cramped.  There are lots of violinists, and mandolinists, and flutists, and even an accordionist who played for a little while.  Cello would totally rule with a group like that.  Who knows, I may bring it in at some point.

Anyway. . .signing off.

where to start

blogging, music, pictures, Portland, recording 1 Comment »

Too busy to post again lately.  What have I been up to?  By way of an answer, I’ll show you a few pictures, and give you the quick run-down.

I played one of the best and most memorable shows I’ve ever had. . .

10633_138832784259_562894259_2491578_467292_n 10633_138832779259_562894259_2491577_4528202_n

. . .I went to see some friends play a very cool night of cello music, and might have come away with a new instructor (it doesn’t hurt that she’s incredibly cute, too!). . .


. . .I made a new friend, who’s a friend of friend.  My friend in question told me that she is “Japanese, and a pianist, and she’s looking for new musical friends.  I thought of you.”  She came to the IrishBand show in StateCapitol last Wednesday, and then came up here to Portland on Saturday night.  No pics of her yet, unfortunately. . .

. . .IrishBand’s Violinist and I played our first wedding, and had a blast during the extra-curricular activities as well. . .

otbv otbv2 couple

feast canoe canoe2

canoe3 canoe4

. . .I got me a good ol’ 4-track cassette recorder for archiving FirstBand’s tapes. . .


. . .I recorded some new tracks (using the computer, not the 4-track!) on IrishBand’s theme song. . .


. . .I created a fairly esoteric (but fun!) new blog, which you probably wouldn’t be interested in, and which I will not be posting a link to. . .


. . .and I went out for dinner, a walk, and coffee with a friend who I haven’t seen in months, and took some nice pictures along the way.



Times have been good, overall, I’d say.

Tonight, I think a friend and I are going to hit the Last Thursday art ‘scene’ on Alberta Street.  I haven’t had the chance to do that in ages, because I always seem to have gigs on both First AND Last Thursdays.

So there you go; you’re all caught up now, and I feel much better too.

beach trip

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Last week was our annual family trip to Cannon Beach, but with my friend’s BirthdayPartyOne (PartyTwo is happening tonight), and my trip to Montana, I haven’t had a chance to write about it yet.  Brother, his wife, their three kids, and Mom ‘n’ Stepdad arrived on Sunday, and I arrived on Monday.

Before I left Portland, I checked in with Brother to see if I needed to bring anything, and he texted back, The house is small and not very nice, just so you know. Greeeeat.  That meant I was sleeping on the floor.  I threw in my sleeping bag and pillow, as well as a blanket to throw down, just in case.  I also brought my bike this time, just in case I wanted to get away and have some solo adventures.  When I arrived, I got the low-down on the house, which Mom and BrothersWife had spent the whole day cleaning and fixing, but there were still a multitude of things that were broken or at least annoying.  They called the rental company, who sent a repair guy down to fix the more egregious things.  The house was owned by a family named Kennedy, but it must have been the Grey Gardens branch of the family, not the Hyannisport branch.  After some negotiation, Mom’s diplomacy skills got them to refund a day of the rental fee, the entire cleaning fee, and the entire pet fee.

For the most part, we did all the usual family-type things that people do on the beach.  We lit fires, we roasted marshmallows to make s’mores, and we talked and watched the kids play in the sand.  The sunset was particularly nice one night, so I managed to get some pics before my battery died.


Stepdad had been telling us about a phenomenon called ‘minus tides’, in which the tide is extra low, but this year the minus tides were up to two feet lower than usual, and about as low as they can possibly be on the Oregon coast.  Tuesday’s was the lowest tide, apparently, but if you were lucky enough to be up around five-thirty or six in the morning, you’d be able to experience the minus tides all week.  On Wednesday, the morning of my third and final day, my eyes popped open around six, so I dressed quickly, grabbed my bike, and headed for the beach.   It was very foggy, as mornings there often are, but this time it was so foggy that I couldn’t even see Haystack Rock until I was actually down on the beach and right next to it.  I rode along the dirt roads and paths, following the dune grass, until I found a set of steps leading down to the sand.  I carried my bike over my shoulder until I got onto the wet sand, because dry sand is extremely hard to ride in, and it gets in every single crevice of your bike’s mechanical parts and destroys them, so I was quite happy to wait for the wet sand.

I came across an interesting scene, which was of a series of chairs that had been left on the sand overnight, complete with peoples’ toys and jackets.  It was very eerie, almost post-apocalyptic.  I set my bike down and pulled out the camera. . .


. . .then finally made it to Haystack Rock.  It was pretty exhausting just getting down there.  It’s a pretty good walk at the normal low tides, but during the minus tide, it took forever to walk to the water’s edge.  I arrived around six-thirty, to find about ten or fifteen other intrepid explorers down there with me.  We all were walking around the edge of the rock, admiring and touching the myriad of colorful starfish and anemones that were exposed.

starfish1 starfish2

starfish starfish3

The ultra-low tide exposed some nefarious and debaucherous activities, as well.  These two star-crossed lovers (har har) were caught in the act of spooning on a rock. . .


. . .and here we see a perfect example of the type of forbidden love that sometimes manages to transcend the boundaries of inter-species predation.


After I pulled myself away from the starfish and their activities, I walked down to the water’s edge, which was clear down to the ‘back’ of Haystack Rock, on its ocean side.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with this area, during a normal low tide, you’re normally only able to get to the beach side of the rock, where the usual tidepools are.  This time, the rock was almost completely exposed.  Check THIS out:

lowtide lowtide2

I know it’s hard to convey all of this by such close-up shots, but it was absolutely stunning, and despite the lack of sleep that morning, I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to witness it.

By this time, which was now around seven-thirty, the tide was just beginning to come in again, and some of us who were engrossed in our photography had to scramble from a couple of waves.  I turned around to find a little rock and tidepool formation that I’d attempted to photograph earlier, but the light had changed enough that it was particularly eerie and beautiful.


After that, I put my bike back over my shoulder and trudged back through the thick fog toward town.  I navigated through the stairway and parking lot of a time-share condo in order to do so, and took the liberty of using their rinsing shower on my bike as well.  Don’t tell anybody.  From there, I headed to my favorite coffee shop, Bella Espresso, for my favorite beach drink, a white chocolate raspberry mocha.  Mmmmmm.  I was the second customer of the day, and arrived just as they were opening, so I sat in the courtyard and watched people on the street while I sipped my coffee, before I rode back to our ‘small and not very nice’ rental house.

This was the fifth year in a row that we’ve done a Cannon Beach vacation.  This one was quite a bit more stressful than usual, due to the fact that the rental house was so small, and awkwardly laid out, and dirty.   The kids were also a bit much to deal with this time, at least for me.  Eight-year-old Niece is usually really great, but when she’s having an off day, she can be almost insufferable.  Three-year-old Nephew is, well. . .three, so he’s at the Constantly Looming Tantrum stage of life.  There are very few things that are more annoying to me than little kids’ tantrums (especially since I’m not much of a ‘kid person’ anyway), so I took the opportunities for quiet getaways whenever I got the chance.

This trip was fine and everything, but I’m sure next year’s trip will be better.

parties, more parties, and Beacon Rock

beautiful, blogging, music, pictures, recording, Washington 1 Comment »

It’s been another of THOSE weeks, hence the silence around these parts.

Engagement party, lots of ‘party’ parties, movie night or two, tons of recording, it’s just been a blur.  Last night was a friend’s birthday party, which was followed by a ‘party’ party, and tonight is two friends’ wedding (You may remember the bachelor party from a couple weeks ago. . .?), which is to be followed by – what else – a huge party.  The vast majority of people who will be there are also professional musicians, so I’m anticipating a ‘jam’ of acoustic instruments of all kinds.  I’ll be bringing my accordion, for sure, and my camera as well.

I don’t usually talk about this, but the weather here in Portland has been stunningly beautiful lately.  One day it was so lovely that I ditched rescheduled a rehearsal and hit the road in the afternoon so that I could go for a hike instead.  I ended up at Beacon Rock, which is along the Washington side of the Columbia river, about an hour’s drive from here.


It’s 850 feet high, and you get to the top by way of a steep trail that was engineered by one of the people who built the Historic Columbia River Highway.  The trail is about a mile and a half long, and it’s a surprisingly difficult walk.

thistrail beaconrocktrail

beaconrocktrail2 dickjuice

Nothing like a bunch of tasteless graffiti (“dick juice”) to bring you back to reality.  Anyway, here’s what the view from the top was like, on that particular day.  This one is looking downriver, toward Portland. . .


. . .and this one is looking upriver, uh, away from Portland.


There’s a plaque at the bottom of the rock which tells an Anglicized version of the rock’s history.


It was a lovely day, and a lovely random trip.

And now it’s time to get ready for the wedding.  I have to leave in an hour and a half, and I still need to shower and all that.  Today is equally beautiful, and the ceremony is being held out in the forest.  It promises to be a really great night.